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Friday, July 22, 2016

Endings and Beginnings...

It's been a hectic week.

I won't go into all the problems getting my lease, and NOT getting my food stamps, and having to call 911 when my blood sugar got down to 35 mg/dL   Those were hiccups.

And because of them, I (a) now DO have food stamps coming next month (although this month was irretrievably lost I fear, and I discovered that I DO have full medical coverage for EVERYTHING, including my dental and optical, and MediCal simply hadn't notified me because (for some reason) because I was on MediCal for a few months briefly 10 years ago, I MUST have naturally assumed I'd get the benefits and retained my ancient and long ago expired card, which they apparently simply reactivated.

My new card has been issued.

My internet will be hooked up at the apartment on Tuesday, so today I've downloaded enough books to get me through a couple days, then canceled my KindleUnlimited after the free trial (which ends at midnight Monday).  Actually I spent more money buying books with the Kindle Unlimited membership (got hooked into series where only the first couple books were free) than I did without the membership.

That also means today is the last day I'm at the library racing the clock to blog.

Right now I'm coasting into next month, and because of the new startup costs (electric deposit, internet installation and connection) I'm likely not going to go to a lot of fun spots next month either, although I may try to get to the Natural History Museum despite the fact that the parking there is now $12!

I've updated my Amazon Wish List (linked in my profile) and at the end of the month will be taking down my GoFundMe, and right now it's just figuring out how to make $5 last 12 more days.  I definitely won't be driving around much!

So that's it... I'm almost down to the end of the whole move trauma, and getting into settling in and starting the medical care I came here for.

And right now I feel like I'm just holding my breath before a big sigh of relief in this new beginning.

And I DEFINITELY don't have time today to blog about the one thing I really hoped to:  The Cat House.   No, not THAT kind of Cat House... but... well... I'll blog about it soon.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Homeless in the Park

Every morning I walk Cinnamon down the block and around the park.  At 6:30 am, the park is generally empty except for the cleanup crew, who are there picking up trash and emptying garbage cans.  Sometimes in the morning she is still there, the homeless woman who is the inspiration for my latest painting.

If I didn't see her in the morning, I always did in the evening, just around dinner time, sitting at the cement picnic table near the corner of the park where I entered, or just arriving to settle in there.  I'd greet her with a smile and a hello, but she never responded... not in any way.  Never nodded, never even looked my way.

After a while, I began to wonder about her.  Was she autistic or schizophrenic? That unwavering but unfocused gaze had me wondering if my salutations were unsettling to her, or if my seeing her in some way damaged her pride.

Then, a few days ago, I saw her furiously signing across the picnic table -- and there was no one on the other side-- which seemed to answer two questions.

Most of the time she seems absent or sad, this time, angry, but not violent.  And last night I walked through the park and she had a spiral notebook, the spirals to the top, flipping the pages and tracing her finger down between the lines, pausing now and then, a faint smile on her lips and her eyes sparkling.  Every now and then she'd stop and laugh, and I wondered if she believed she were reading some favorite story, or a letter from a loved one.

Most of the homeless I see don't feel threatening. Yes, I'm unhappy that she leaves a pile of garbage when she packs up in the morning or leaves the picnic table for her camp near the hedges in  the park, but I can't help but feel sympathy for this woman, and wonder what her life would be like with the right treatment and support.

Today there was a new resident in the park, setting up a camp under a tree.  I think what made him stand out was the butcher knife stuck in the tree at a height that would be within reach whether he were lying on his blanket, sitting against the tree, or standing nearby.  He repeatedly removed his sweatshirt and shirt and put them back on, almost ritually, and I wasn't sure whether he was talking and gesturing, or just singing along with the music that might be playing in the earbuds he took off and reinserted every time he pulled his shirts on or off.

And when I think about that, when I visualize it all in my head after these hours had passed, it's the knife in the tree that makes me feel less than safe walking in the park than any of the homeless who camp there.

Now this park isn't Skid Row, and there are kids playing in the playground, in the skate park, an on the basketball courts.  Parents are teaching their kids soccer in the big field, and there are often birthday parties and baby showers going on under the picnic shelters.

Young people walk their dogs.  Old people slowly advance their walkers up the well tended paths and sidewalks, and people of all ages can be seen using the outdoor exercise equipment.

During the afternoons, the community center has events:  arts, crafts, and activities for kids and their families.  Wednesday nights are for Movies in the Park.

Kids of all ages and races rush up to ask about Cinnamon:  how did she lose her leg? is she friendly? what kind of dog is she? Most everyone is friendly (except a group of drunken birthday party goers the other day calling for me to twerk with them and making comments about the size of my 'booty')

But as I walk through the park, I also see that no one looks in he direction of the table where she sits, or the camp under the tree, or the sleeping bag along the hedges.  It's almost as if  people can't see the homeless there-- that they've learned to look past them completely.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A sense of wellbeing

I've been in my little apartment for a few days now.  I won't kid you: it's small.  My airbed has sprung a leak, and I don't have enough room in my cupboard for dishes and food.  It's going to take some adjustment.

On the other hand, it's bright and has plenty of windows.  The layout is workable, and the area is nice, with a nice urban park just around the corner, where kids play basketball, skateboard, go to the community center, have picnics, and have green space.  I love to got there with Cinnamon in the early mornings for a quiet walk, or in the late afternoons to take in all the energy of the park.

Last night I saw the park transformed into some sort of Pokemon hotspot, and there were Pokemon Go players standing in clumps all over the park swiping their phones.  It seems to be a bit of an epidemic around here, but on the other hand, I figure it's probably better that a game get kids up and out rather than glued to the couch.

Things seem to be moving horrifically slow for me right now, something I think will change in a couple weeks when I have a bed to sleep in and a sofa or love seat to curl up on and read a book.

I've met some of the neighbors, who are very friendly, and Cinnamon has made friends with the neighborhood kids and the neighborhood dogs.

Now tomorrow I'll be getting down to the business of why I came out here in the first place:  I have my first appointment with my new primary care doctor.

Halfway through the month, and I've still got to get furniture and register my car here (as well as get a CA drivers license, and a license for the dog) but I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

I've still got  my name in at one of the senior apartments in an adjacent town, and I'll be looking around for other senior communities as well.  Now that I have a safe place to look from, I'm feeling a lot better about life in this area.  

I haven't taken Cinnamon back down to the beach.  The beaches aren't my favorite places. I love the ocean, but I'm more about walking along the rocky shores than laying out on the sand.  There is one exception to hanging out on the sand:  I DO like the grunion runs, and I'll be able to go see the grunion come in later this month.

Well, the library computer is blinking that my time is almost up.  Next month I'll be calling Charter and getting my own internet set up.  Until then posting and contact will be sketchy.