Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween at the Castle in Peoria

Full Moon
Dark of Night
Scary Faces
What a Fright!!






A few more steps
I'm not scared
Shhhhhhhhh!!
I'm near his Laird!









They can't hurt me!
No they can't!
What's that I hear?
A witch's chant?












Quiet now
I hear a scream
I'll get my loot
It's not a dream!







I'm so brave
I've got my sword
Mom? Oh, Mom!
Where's the Ford?




Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Little Ghost Story

I'm still plugging away at this painting thing. This first picture is how I wish I could paint.












This second picture is, sadly, how I paint. Notice the windows don't line up, the house is too big... and on and on.













This is a photograph of the house I was trying to paint. It's an old abandoned farm house down the road from where my father grew up and where I spent many Sunday's as a child, riding horses and chasing cats in the barn. It's also... haunted! Two people have committed suicide here, one hung himself in an old abandoned coal mine located on the property and another shot himself in the living room. I did not go inside. They didn't have any money growing up, but as they grew old and were no longer able to farm, they sold their property to the state and acres and acres of their land are now what is known as Jubilee State Park. They became millionaires but never changed their lives, living in this home til all were dead and gone.













I took my children here years ago to photograph them by the barn. It was a day still as death. Not a breeze in the air. We walked up to the property by a field where a path of weeds stood over our heads. In unison we each turned as we heard the wind coming closer and closer to where we stood. Staring down the path, we watched in amazement as the weeds farthest away begin bending in the breeze. It moved towards us and blew through the weeds as if they were tumbling dominos. I heard my daughter's voice, "Theeeeeeeeey're heeeeeeeeeere," and I knew we were not alone.













I wasn't happy with my first painting so a couple of weeks later I tried again, using the photographs I had taken. My father informed me the house needed a path so, I obliged him. It was the least I could do since he had accompanied me on my painting expedition the day I painted the first picture. If we had any visitors that day, my father did not speak of it, nor did I.



Sunday, October 25, 2009

We Need Universal Single Pay Healthcare - Public Option Isn't Good Enough for America!!

A post from Open Salon

by

Rutilus Extraho




Health Care Sent My Wife To Iraq



"Virture makes us aim at the right end, and wisdom makes us take the right means"- Aristotle

I hate this story. It is the tale of my failure as a Man. It is a story of great sacrifice. And death.

I am so very tired of the health care debate. I make no claims to either side. This is my story, you decide...

(as brief as possible)

1999-I am a retired military officer. We move to Mississippi and buy a house. We swear an oath that this is our bastion against the world. I promise my wife that I am finished with guns and violence.

The only work I can find is as an Investigator for the State. Am I nothing but a gunslinger for the man? S. is not pleased. I promise to leave my gun in the car. Blue Cross & Blue Shield. I am promoted to Chief of Detectives.

In Oct. I wake up with a headache. I have a tumor in the center of my brain. Dicey. Leave it in and die or remove it and maybe die. There are no options. Decide now.

Bad day. As they are accessing the tumor it ruptures like a grenade in my 3rd ventricle. Years of memories and motor skills dissapear as the neurons are "insulted" (A Grand medical term) Weeks in the hospital.

I go home beat to shit but determined to come back to my old self. The next morning my wife finds me crawling in blood, naked in our living room. An ambulance ride back to the hospital. Drill that skull, relieve that pressure.

Now come the days of screaming and pain. Nine months. 2 emergency room visits a week. No one knows. Hospitals, doctors, hospitals.

Staph A or Tuberculosis? A needle into my spine a scream. I learn to love narcotics. Staph A. Weeks in the ward, we'll send you home with an IV to your heart to pump in the anti-biotics. A 4 hour IV every day.

Kids. Food. Insurance. Mortgage. I decide that every day I can put my feet on the floor I will go to work. My wife helps me hide the plastic tubing, taping it to my arm she cries. I work. Since I can work BC&BS cancels my home nurse. Now I give myself the IVs.

Four months. The infection is gone but my spine is destroyed. Take a breath. THIS IS NOT REAL.

We add up our medical bills...$150,000 and we are not done yet. More surgeries loom. Corpectomys to remove the destroyed vertabrae, thoracotomys to remove parts of my lungs. But we have the best BC&BS and a secondary plan. We are once and truly fucked. We try, we struggle. For the next four years I work only 4-6 months of every year. We are sinking.

We file for Bankruptcy protection. We can keep the house. The shame makes me want to kill myself. I do have great death insurance. She talks me out of death. But it's coming and I know it's coming.

August 29th 2005, Katrina hits. I send my wife and kids north so I can do my job. The horror. 20 hour days ruin me. 5TH surgery in late Sep.

Nov.- I go to my Neurosurgeon appt. My wife is there with 3 of my doctors. This is an INTERVENTION. I'm killing myself, it's time to put my responsibilites down. Large doses of Oxycontin a 200 mile commute and a gun are not a good thing. I've been a father since I was 19, how can I stop? I must. I do. A Shame Unbound.

2008. My wife is a mathematician and computer scientist. The economy is tanking, she loses her job.

We lose our health care benefits. We are DONE.

We struggle for months. My health is failing. The bank wants the house. I am a deadbeat, no-good, gimp, pussy who can not provide for his family.

When we met, my wife and I were both in the Army. 9 years later with our life in shambles, our bastion destroyed by the barbarians, her husband a failure, she wants to re-enlist. We need an income, we need healthcare.

With out health care I can not afford my 360mg a day Oxycontin habit. So I lock the doors and pull the blinds. Cold Turkey is tough. Brutal. I shake, I sweat, I scream, I vomit. Oh, how I vomit. My brother Iron Mike breaks the lock and after 4 weeks finds me in the tub covered in vomit and blood. He saves me. My wife saves me.

I cry, she enlists. At 34. She leaves for training. She goes to Iraq. Our son is already there. I am alone.

The bank wants the house. "'Fuck You', take the house.". They agree to negotiate.

I worked hard. We worked hard. We paid our taxes and slept in the peace that our life was moving forward. A headache destroyed all of it.

We have been together 6 months of the last 24. My wife is returning to Iraq in early 2010. Our Son is dead.

Over and over I ask myself, "How did this happen. How did I stumble and fail so finitely?", "How did I cause this catastrophy?".

I have no answers. And that will kill me in the end.

Universal health care? I don't know but I wish I had had it.

This will kill me in the end.

It all ready has.


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