Monday, January 31, 2011
I had no sleep during the night. Between migraine, and painful limbs and freezing cold temperatures I sat at the computer, went to bed, got up again in pain and sat at the computer again.
By 6 am I wondered if I could handle that drive to Tulerosa to pick up the rest of the supplies I purchased months before. This would have been the last trip had I managed to find the help to transport it right through to Ruidoso, but that didn't materialize so we unloaded at Tom's in Tulerosa and will have to go back and pick it up after this snowstorm has cleared.
The entire trip took less than 3 hours and couldn't have gone any better. It's such a joy to be around the folks I purchased these barn construction supplies from. They are so funny, yet honest and honorable. A rare find today. What could have turned into a nightmare of a day was turned around just by the kindness and consideration of those around me.
As I drove through the Mascalero Reservation coming back to Ruidoso snow flakes started to fall. Not heavy, nor plentiful.. but enough to give a warning of what is to come.
By the time I reached Alto I could barely keep my eyelids open. I had intended to go to the Lazy J before the snow became a serious hazard, but I simply couldn't risk falling asleep behind the wheel of the truck.
I can hardly believe that January is over. It doesn't seem like more than 5 migraines ago I was simply dreading Christmas wondering how on earth we would get through it, wondering how I could survive severe weather. In 8 weeks spring will be on the horizon.
Please God give me the strength to keep going and please, please send me some help. Or allow me win the lottery. Something, anything has to break lose dear Lord.
We are in a race between cooperation and catastrophe, and the threat is outrunning our response. ~ Sam Nunn
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Yesterday afternoon I ran to Wal-Mart and bumped into Jesse Gordiola , who asked me what work had been done on the single wide trailer. I was so ill, and embarrassed, that my health is going downhill I could only explain that no work has even been attempted - by anyone - since New Mexico Construction Industries Division red tagged the project last year when I was desperately trying to get the home finished before winter arrived.
I couldn't even find the energy to ask him if he still intended to put a roof on the trailer for me, or even show any optimism that I can find any help no matter what I do. And seeing as he didn't offer to put the roof on I never even approached the subject. I think I am way past talking about renovating because I have been let down so many times.
Enthusiasm just doesn't seem to be an emotion left within me.
With the daytime temperature moving towards the low 60's it was simply fabulous weather but again we are being teased with warm springlike weather directly before an impending snow storm.
I spent the entire day today frantically trying to get help with my truck. It really irks me when people far younger than myself make fun of situations instead of being helpful. Perhaps I was that way when I was much younger, meaning in my 30's.
You can't find your glasses and can't see too well with or without glasses. For someone with 20/20 vision that may seem a wee bit amusing.
You can't see the oil stick to know if you have enough oil. At a certain age it becomes a "touch" not a "see" world. Perfect eyesight isn't permanent, and when it's gone it's well and truly gone.
Physical illness is also another catastrophic event that seems to amuse younger people.
3-4 years ago I could have transported horses across the country, and handled stallions, without blinking an eye. Today I have spent cold winters without heat in a shed full of mold and I can barely move without excruciating pain. I get frustrated with my own physical health but I get more frustrated by sarcastic comments made by younger - and not always smarter - people.
I suspect that physical and emotional exhaustion isn't something that we truly understand until it hits us, depression, the feeling of hopelessness and desperation can't even be fathomed by those forging a life .. who have a home to go home to, who have not experienced adversity let alone permanent homelessness. Who have never sat alone in a shed thoroughly confused as to what comes next, or how to repair so much damage alone. Those who have so many tomorrows that a lifetime seems an eternity.
The next time I get frustrated at my 85 yr old boss because he can't hear, has the tv too loud, doesn't seem to understand that I am frozen solid having spent the night in 14 degree weather, or that I am struggling with migraines I don't seem to be able to control I'll bite my tongue because he's sure in a whole better shape for an 85 yr old than I am in for a 57 yr old.. and it's not fun being made fun of.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
I should have hidden in the shed all day yesterday and try to sleep this migraine off, but I didn't do that. I staggered around deathly ill all day trying to work and fell asleep in the early evening thankful to be able to close my eyes and get away from the pain.
At 2.30 am I was wide awake. Not as ill, not feeling good, but wide eyed and bushy tailed nonetheless. By 5 am the migraine had returned in full force and I crept back to sleep for an hour trying to stop the inevitable, knowing that I had to be at my daughters by 8 am.
There should be a natural law that forces all human beings to sleep 8 hours - irregardless of health or lack of, and wake up at a decent hour ready for the day ahead. It would make life so much easier than this organized chaos.
Friday, January 28, 2011
I don't even know how to explain how stressful yesterday was. By 7 pm one of those migraines that start in the pit of my stomach had taken hold of me and I frantically tried to get to sleep before the double vision and vomiting started.
All night long I drifted in and out of sleep. My hips and spine hurting so much that the pain killers didn't make a dent on the migraine and by midnight I had lost my vision and was deathly ill. It was an awful night, but it could have got a whole lot worse.
I woke up at 5 am with nothing more than a throbbing head, my eyes feel so swollen and sore, and I am so tired I feel like I just finished 8 hours of hard labor. Tired doesn't describe this, exhaustion doesn't even cover it for I'm just beyond both.
I really want to sleep. I want this physical pain to leave so I can function, but I also want to sleep.
Nerves are funny. About 2 years ago I started uncontrollably vomiting. I can barely speak to anyone for longer than 5 minutes because I can't stop gagging. There are times when I can get hold of myself and take enough deep breathes to speak again. There are times when I'll have to walk away because I can't stop. Often even while on the phone I find myself unable to answer or continue in a conversation because the gag reflex is starting, and I can't stop it.
My stomach feels tied in knots continually. Each week I buy lottery tickets for my boss at TR's store. When I go to buy them I may sit outside that store for 5 minutes trying to stop myself from gagging each time I speak. And every time I leave the store I will get back into my truck and start gagging again. More than once I have literally collapsed onto the front seat of the truck in front of TR's and buried my head into the upholstery.
The gagging reflex has tormented my life for over 2 years. It's made face to face conversations virtually impossible. There are times I can get more control than others. There are times when I couldn't face another human being, because I can't control it. I refuse to drive any distance with another person in my vehicle.. because I'm not too sure how long I can go without starting to gag.
But why it slowly started up during the time period I was getting subpoenas to appear in court totally bewilders me. I know that it has to be partially related to nerves, yet I also know that it's causing unbelievable damage to my stomach and throat. And I have no idea what to do to stop it.
Around the same time my hands started to "tingle" as in "pins and needles" each time I try to go to sleep. The loss of feeling in my fingers is really bothersome because I have rightly or wrongly associated it with lack of oxygen.
The last and final schedule to go to Tulerosa ended up being this coming Monday morning. And it will be just Mike and I. Jan's flatbed trailer has 200 bales of alfalfa on it, and no-one available to unload it. It's complicating matters, and gives only a narrow window to get everything picked up, but not making it impossible to do.
By Tuesday we may have snow again..several days of snow. But weathermen have been known to be wrong - thank God.
We cannot seek or attain health, wealth, learning, justice or kindness in general. Action is always specific, concrete, individualized, unique. ~ Benjamin Jowett
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Someone wrote to me and said, "New Mexico is such a barren state you need to just leave."
I actually started to post several times, but I was getting so upset at the assumption that the answer to this problem was simply telling a woman without money to wonder off into other state to become a permanent bag lady, leaving family, property and pets behind I wanted to scream: "If the situation is bad, let's make it worse" isn't something I desire.
Today I am a little calmer, but an explanation as to "where I am" geographically may be needed. The photographs I use on this blog are taken locally. But this post may dispel doubt and stop me from talking about the 9 degree weather I woke up to this morning. Or the absolute dread I have in facing going to Tulerosa for the remainder of the supplies, fearing that I won't be able to get them before the deadline and I will lose several hundred dollars- again.
Sierra Blanca (also called the White Mountains) is a range of volcanic mountains in Lincoln and Otero counties of south-central New Mexico. The range is about 40 miles (64 km) from north to south and 20 miles (32 km) wide, and is dominated by Sierra Blanca Peak, whose highest point is at 11,981 ft (3,652 m). The peak is located 10 miles (16 km) west-northwest of Ruidoso and 30 miles (48 km) north-northeast of Alamogordo.
The majority of the Sierra Blanca range is within the Lincoln National Forest, and part of this is protected as the White Mountain Wilderness Area. However, much of the southern half of the range, including the summit of Sierra Blanca Peak, is part of the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation, and requires a permit for access. To the south, across the valley of the Rio Tularosa, lie the Sacramento Mountains. To the north is Carrizo Mountain, and to the northeast lie the Capitan Mountains. On the west side, the range rises high above the Tularosa Basin.
The range serves as the headwaters for the Rio Ruidoso, Rio Tularosa, and Rio Bonito, as well as numerous arroyos draining into the Tularosa Basin, including Nogal Arroyo at the north end of the range.
Sierra Blanca Peak is the highest point in southern New Mexico, and is one of the southernmost points at which alpine ecosystems occur in the United States. Rising 8000 feet (2400 m) above the adjacent Tularosa Basin, it has the highest prominence in the state, and is the southernmost high peak in the contiguous United States (all higher peaks are farther north). The peak can be seen for many miles, particularly within the Tularosa Basin, and is visible from as far away as Sandia Crest near Albuquerque.
The eastern foothills of the Sierra Blanca range include the town of Ruidoso, and the area has a number of popular hiking and camping destinations. The ski resort located on Sierra Blanca Peak (which is located mostly within the Lincoln National Forest and managed by the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation) is called Ski Apache, and it is one of southern New Mexico's two ski resorts, the other called Ski Cloudcroft.
In 2000 the population of Lincoln County was 19,411. Its county seat is Carrizozo, while its largest community is Ruidoso. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,831 square miles (12,513 km²), of which 4,831 square miles (12,512 km²) is land and 0 square miles (1 km²) (0.01%) is water.
It was once the largest county in the United States. In the late 1870s the so-called Lincoln County War broke out between ranchers and the owners of the county's largest general store. William Bonney, better known as Billy the Kid, became involved on the side of the ranchers after his friend and employer was killed. In the end, Bonney killed the deputy that killed his friend, another deputy, and the county sheriff. Several other people were slain in the conflict, which included the other leader of the rancher faction. His death ended the conflict. In 1878, the new territorial governor, retired Union General Lew Wallace, offered an amnesty to the combatants in order to bring a long-lasting truce between the factions.
Today, Lincoln County is a much more peaceful county. Most of the population is centered in the southern portion of the county in the Greater Ruidoso Area. The town of Carrizozo serves as the county seat and is located in the Tularosa Basin northwest of Ruidoso. Ruidoso boasts several small suburbs and neighbor communities including Ruidoso Downs, Hollywood, Mescalero, and Alto which contribute to the Ruidoso Micropolitan Statistical Area's population of 21,224. Ruidoso serves as the second largest city in south central New Mexico behind Alamogordo which is 46 miles southwest of the village. Ruidoso Downs located on the southern end of the county and southeast of Ruidoso operates the Ruidoso Down Racetrack and Casino. The track hosts both thoroughbred and quarter horse racing, notably the All American Futurity, the richest race in quarter horse racing. Historical figures from Lincoln County include Billy The Kid and Smokey Bear, whose names help drive the tourism trade that is heavily popularized within the county.
I have children who have been raised in Lincoln County, and grand-children born here. The population has literally tripled since we arrived here decades ago, and so much has changed. But the rest of world still thinks we are in Mexico, not the United States. The New Mexico Magazine provides a column titled "One of our 50 is missing."
Two decades after its launch, the One of Our Fifty Is Missing humor column the magazine's most popular recurring department.
While writing this blog I made several phone calls to make find out what time we were meeting Jan in Tulerosa to pick up the building supplies, and found out that she isn't going. It's been a frantic time trying to find a 25 ft long flatbed trailer, at the 12th hour, ( between 6.30 am and 7.30 am when we had scheduled to be in Tulerosa around 9 am ) without success.
With time running short to pick up the supplies I have already purchased, that awful feeling of swimming upstream against the odds overwhelms me. As though no matter how much effort or energy I put into trying to put this home & barn together I will never have a hope in hell of ever having a home again. I feel so defeated.
The heart of a mother is always the heart of a mother, no matter what our personal circumstances. Yesterday a friend handed me 3 lottery tickets. I clutched onto those lottery tickets for hours yesterday, praying with diligence that the Lord would open this avenue to give me a home. To restore the stolen money.
But then my heart turned to my own children and the financial struggles they have just trying not to sink beneath the waves. So I started praying for a home for myself AND the means to pay off the mortgages and put some financial security under their feet.
A 3 bedroom home for 6 people isn't comfortable, so I started praying for the funds to buy my oldest daughter & son-in-law a home big enough for their family. Then I thought about my youngest daughter and her family, and realized that she had always wanted a horse farm.. so I prayed for enough funds to cover a small facility too.
By the time I had finished praying a dozen or more people had new homes, but come sun-up I was still sat in the shed and the winning lottery tickets were not in MY hand.
You've got to take the bitter with the sour. ~ Samuel Goldwyn
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Another freezing day in the Sacramento Mountains and I'm unsure when this frigid cold spell will end. I know that I am so ill and frustrated that my health is just getting worse. I would pay someone to take these migraines.
Yesterday evening I grabbed a pen and notepad and tried to start on the book again, but the throbbing migraine made it impossible to function and the freezing cold made me want to do nothing more than curl into a ball and sleep.
Drifting in and out of sleep all night I kept praying for the Lord to just take me home, get me out of this endless homeless nightmare. I didn't want to wake up this morning, as God is my witness I didn't want to wake up here on earth. No more, please God, no more of this.
To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I woke up this morning to 6 degree frigid weather, having spent the entire day yesterday in a 20 degree cold front.
My boss was in a state of panic over his cat, who had never returned home having left the night before. After noon I found the cat, "Zero," perched in the branches of a pine tree simply terrified. How he managed to get up there without any claws was a mystery, and clearly he couldn't get down. Living above 7,500 ft in the middle of pine tree's may have an advantage we had never considered before... the pine sap may be the perfect adhesive for a de-clawed cat to get to the top branches of a pine tree!
I pulled a metal ladder to the tree, but my hands were freezing onto the ladder. My boss wanted me to pull my truck around, and use the bed of the truck to reach Zero, but I didn't dare do that because the backhoe woman has closed off the rear entrance making it impossible for me to get out with a vehicle as large as a 4 door Ford350 without added problems - like getting stuck.
So while my boss became angry at the backhoe woman and ranted and raved about her breaking the sale contract by blocking off the rear entrance/exit I struggled in the freezing cold to get the cat out of the tree, and tried to get my 85 yr old boss to go back home to make it a whole lot easier.
Only after my boss went home did things become a lot less chaotic, and Zero quietly jumped from one branch to another until he was safe in my reach. But by that time I had been coaxing the cat for 2 hours and I was a frozen icicle, nothing I could do for the rest of the evening would stop that awful feeling of being cold right to the bone .
The 6 degree weather that met me this morning wasn't welcome. While I was asleep Wally had curled up and gone to sleep at my back, Copper and Rio had found a way to scrunch up to my front and sleep. Their body warmth keeping me toasty warm. When I woke up and moved them the cold cut into me like a knife.
I had so much work scheduled for the next 3 days. I was supposed to take all the dogs to Becky Washburn DVM to get their shots updated - but in this temperature my truck won't start. I have to get to the bank for my boss, and on Thursday Mike, Jan and I have to return to Tulerosa to pick up the remaining supplies for my land/home that I purchased last year.
The trip to Tulerosa isn't causing any joy whatsoever. Everyone is so disheartened that I keep trying to get this property livable but they all know that without help from someone who understands construction we are all just swimming upstream.
Without the stolen money being returned I just can't earn the amount needed to hire people... and my health can't withstand any more homelessness. The weight of the combined factors stole our joy a long time ago and with everyone folding financially in tough economic times it's such a dismal, defeating - and joyless - task.
Yet in a frozen tundra getting anything done is difficult, getting my body moving is more of a challenge than I really like. All we need is a little sunshine, and a little warm weather just to get us through the next 3 days... failing that I will try to find some humor - though humor seems not to come easily anymore.
Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keep friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment. ~ Greenville Kleisser
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Last night was one of those nights I was so deathly ill that I couldn't sleep. I finally fell asleep in the wee hours of the morning, only to wake up 3 hours later to...
Going from 55 degree sunny days to frigid snowy days in less than 24 hours is getting a little tiresome, but the alternative may be not having any 55 degree sunny days - so I will hold my tongue.
I spent yesterday evening and most of the night reading the blogs of the homeless. I didn't even know that there were such blogs around - but there are. Thousands of them . As I read each account I couldn't help but remember someone telling me that when you reach your late 50's you are in the "youth of your old age."
The fact is, I'm ill and tired. Sleepless nights and these constant migraines and health problems are draining me. And I KNOW that it would take so little to get that property livable - yet it's so far out of my reach. I'm even frustrated that I spent so much money hauling in supplies to renovate - new doors, double glazed windows, pressure tank, wood, plywood, nails, concrete blocks, new range, almost new fridge, panels, gates, roofing material and I don't even have the physical strength to even move items let alone try to put it all together to make a home.
I want to go back to my youth: I want the stamina, good health, devilish determination of youth to face this life. The level of optimism that will take on anything with no question of defeat. Maybe it takes those components to totally ignore the obvious and see everything as simple as can be.
I need a rewind button to get me back to an age where all the problems in the world could be resolved through simplistic measures. Where failure was never an option and we each believed ourselves to be perfectly capable of changing the entire world.
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. ~ Mark Twain
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Migraines, migraines, migraines...
For years my mother acquired migraine medication for me and sent it to me, but that stopped after she sold her home and came to buy one here in Lincoln County. It's no longer legal to send medication through the mail - not even over the counter medication.
I never used to get them on a regular basis, but when I did have a migraine it incapacitated me. Today they have come to live in my head and refuse to leave. It seems like a constant battle trying to fight double vision and nauseating migraines. Trying to find just a brief window where I can function before the next bout hits me like a cricket bat alongside the head.
Yesterday I tried to drive my truck out of the yard while it was still plugged in by the electric extension cord. It's almost a surreal feeling when you can't see a bright orange electric cord until it has snapped into two.
While telling my daughter about the fiasco that forced me to buy another $37.00 electric extension cord she said, "That's okay mum, I just drove through mid-town with my brake on. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with my car!"
The stress pertaining to finances is reaching a crescendo of desperation for every member of the family. It's as though the whole world is rocking around us. My youngest daughter has to come up with $7,000 for dental surgery and I am frantically wondering where to turn for relief. The recession is putting everyone through hell and I watch feeling so helpless as everyone struggles trying to keep their heads above water.
"Jax" meanwhile is settling in and we are thrilled to pieces with this wee dog who is so well mannered with such a delightful personality. It has been terribly difficult trying to find a companion animal for an 85 yr old who doesn't want to have to train a dog,who doesn't have the skills required to train a dog. And who wanted a miniature Schnauzer to replace his last one, Rexy. When I was told that Jax - then "Ernie" - was only 18 months old my heart went into my stomach fearing that he would be far too young. It turns out that he's far younger than that. He's probably between 9 and 12 months old.
We have no idea what his background is, other than he was found wondering around Alpine, Texas covered in ticks and despite an extensive stay at the animal shelter not one person came forward to claim him.
He's been so well trained that he shakes your hand and listens to every word uttered. Someone really spent a lot of time on this wee one, making sure that he was obedient and well mannered.
He's certainly become a loved and appreciated blessing to an 85 yr old who wanted exactly what Jax is.. blessings can walk in on four legs and... from homelessness. A state of affairs that animals have no more control of than humans do.
What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly. ~ Richard Bach
Friday, January 21, 2011
Yesterday would have been hilarious if not so frustrating.
I set about with the belief that if I tried to "do" my hair, wear make-up, I'd feel less of a homeless gypsy. But it's difficult to look neat and tidy when you are living in a shed.
Somehow I managed to get the hot rollers into my hair after an exercise in frustration. I couldn't find the nozzle from the setting lotion can no matter how long I scrambled around on the concrete shed floor with a flash light. And after well over an hour I gave up and tried to use a screwdriver to let the "liquid" instead of foam drip from the top of the can.
My hair set like concrete.
Trying to brush it out using the rear view mirror in the truck sent my hair into "shock therapy." By the time I was ready to leave I looked like the female version of Phil Spector.
At the Lazy J Ranch Jan said, "Oh, I DO like your hair that color." It's the same color it's always been, but it's been 3 years since I stopped trying to hide my hair because I can't keep it done while homeless.
But it was nice of her to notice my hair color. *Laugh*
Trying to put make up on in a dark shed proved impossible, which may have been a blessing because had I enough light to try and put make-up on, or had I tried to use a flashlight, I may have emerged looking like CoCo-The-Clown.
It's a good thing that beauty is only skin deep, or I'd be rotten to the core.~ Phyllis Diller
I'm tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep. That's deep enough. What do you want, an adorable pancreas? ~ Jean Kerr
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I woke up at 2.am with tears running down my face I was in so much pain. My hip going out on Saturday took out the other hip by Wednesday, then my spine, until even the tumors around my ankles and wrists had caused my joints to feel like rusted metal. Getting around just became harder and harder.
I couldn't get back to sleep, so I started trying to come up with any new and innovative way to get my home finished. Are there any methods I have not yet tried without success?
I don't know if any change in the weather has caused this week-long flair up, because it's been unseasonably warm and so wonderful, yet it's suddenly so cold and damp that I wouldn't be surprised if it snows shortly. By 10 am everything, pine tree's, the Sierra Blanca, turned ghost white with frost as a cold front hit us. Jan said that the temperature at the Lazy J dropped 20 degree's in a short period of time.
Ever since the court cases trying to find the stolen building fund I stopped doing my hair and started putting my hair into a pony tail - for no other reason than I just can't be bothered with anything. I stopped putting make-up on at the same time.
It's been very difficult trying to stay clean while staying in a dirty shed trying to come up with money for a home.. I have to use a flashlight to find anything and I started to let myself go out of sheer exhaustion.
Last night, trying to focus on anything but the pain, I decided to stop putting my hair into a pony tail and start trying to do my hair and put make up on again. It sounded like a great idea last night before I drifted off to sleep ... it didn't sound so promising when I woke up crying in the middle of the night.
Each night I dream about finishing that property. I have done so much work on that land in my sleep that I should have had a home ready and been able to move into it long ago.
It isn't that I dream once in a while.. I dream every night of fencing, putting up gates, putting up sheet rock, painting, getting the roof on both the trailer and the barn. Everything is falling into place .... in my dreams.
Items too heavy for me to carry, I can carry in my dreams. The renovations that are too difficult for me to do alone I can do.. in my dreams.
In my dreams my grand-children are playing in my garden, my mother is playing with her great grandchildren. There is a kitchen, a dining room, a comfortable home to call our own. The nightmare of being homeless doesn't even exit... in my dreams.
In my dreams everything is possible, and nothing is impossible.
Each morning is an awful rude awakening when I wake up and find that I am still sat in the shed, still no further forward. It's almost like a shock to my system because nothing goes wrong .. in my dreams.Dreams are the touchstones of our character. ~ Henry David Thoreau
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
“I Will Never Be Homeless”
by Bonnie BriggsI will never be homeless,
It won’t happen to me.
I will never be homeless,
I’m doing so well, don’t you see?
I have a good job, a nice house and a car,
I have everything I need to go far.
I am not like those Welfare bums,
To whom prosperity never comes.
You know, the ones who don’t want to work,
Any kind of physical labour, they shirk.
All they want to do is drink,
Some are not clean, and they stink.
Then, I see a man, lying in the street,
A tattered coat around him and no shoes on his feet.
But, I sense that something is wrong,
That somehow, this man does not belong.
So, I decide to stop to say hello,
And ask him why he fell so low.
He once worked on a street called Bay,
Making good money every day.
Then, one day his job was gone.
He was told, “just go on home.”
He soon just didn’t care,
His purpose in life no longer there.
He lost his family, his home, and his car.
In just a few months, he fell so far.
So here he was, on the street,
With a tattered coat around him and no shoes on his feet.
Then I saw the lines on his face and the pain in his eyes,
I will never be homeless, will I?
Someone was kind enough to sent me this poem ~ it is a reality check to all.
Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn! ~ Robert Burns
The fundamental rights of [humanity] are, first: the right of habitation; second, the right to move freely; third, the right to the soil and subsoil, and to the use of it; fourth, the right of freedom of labor and of exchange; fifth, the right to justice; sixth, the right to live within a natural national organization; and seventh, the right to education. ~ Albert Schweitzer
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I don't even know whom to turn to to get help anymore, all the help I had ran when the construction industries division red tagged the trailer, and they never returned. It's such a lost and confused feeling.
Sometimes desperation turns into panic, and that panic plummets me into a depression I barely withstand. It's been one of those times when tears fall sub-consciously and I have an overwhelming desire to just GO HOME.. but I don't have a home to go to.
I opened the letter from the State of New Mexico Corrections Department and found a money order for the January 2011 payment from Robert Huckins made out to the amount of $456.66.
That means that he now ONLY owes me $78,546.72.
At this rate it will take me over a year to be able to afford the electric poles to turn the electricity on at the land - but why worry about electricity when you can't find anyone to actually help you get a home ready to live in.
Still the sun shines, the weather couldn't be more perfect to get the house trailer and barn finished and I'm just desperate for a home and desperate for help.
"Tears are the safety valve of the heart when too much pressure is laid on it" - Albert Smith
Sunday, January 16, 2011
We actually timed it this time. Not even close to 48 hours.
I picked up the miniature Schnauzer for my boss at 4.30 pm-5 p.m on Friday afternoon in El Paso, Texas. The only people who knew what I was doing was my oldest daughter, Jan at the Lazy J, and my boss. I left a message on the office answering machine at Becky Washburn DVM at around 3.30 pm the same day. I didn't get back till 8.30 pm Friday night so no-one could see me unload the miniature Schnauzer.
He was put in the house, and no-one can see into the small fenced yard.
Today at 9.30 am I loaded up the dog and took him to be groomed by Jan at the Lazy J. When I returned my boss said, "That backhoe woman came again whole you were gone with the dog. She was peeping through my windows and finally came to the door and said that she had HEARD that I had a new dog. I'd like to know how she found out I had a new dog?"
Maybe every neighborhood has a "nosy neighbor" but I'm a bit like my boss. Thoroughly stumped at how this woman knows everything well in advance, or why it's worth her time trying to keep up with what everyone is doing as though this is PhD level information and she MUST be the first to know. I never thought that the arrival of a new dog was particularly "newsworthy" enough.
Maybe some lives are so empty they have to fill the void. I wish I had the same dilemma. No, that's not true. I'd simply like my own life back.
I spent 3 hours looking for dog leashes because I couldn't find anything in the packed boxes. Jan needed to borrow some training equipment and I couldn't find standard training equipment. It's so heartbreaking and so depressing when your life is boxed away and you can't function because you can't find anything.
The weather has been so beautiful it feels like spring and I am still worried about how to finish this trailer house and get the roof on the barn so I can have a life back.
Until then maybe I should go pick up an elephant.. now THAT may be news worthy enough for the nosy neighbor.
The only time people dislike gossip is when you gossip about them. ~ Will Rogers
A gossips mouth is the devils mailbox ~ Anon
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Yesterday I spent the day in El Paso waiting to pick up the miniature Schnauzer for my boss at the airport. I am ill equipped for cities and large towns and getting lost in a concrete jungle terrified of the fast moving 6 lane highways seems to be my "norm."
I simply abhor concrete, asphalt and crowds. Give me dirt roads and mountains and I am as happy as I can be just watching for for deer, elk and bear.
I got back at 8.30 pm simply exhausted, my hips hurting and fell fast asleep.
Today the weather was so fabulous I desperately wanted to get to my property and start working on the barn roof and trailer house, but with no help in sight I couldn't do much good. This is simply beyond frustrating, it's heartbreak that never ends.
On the blog post "Life's Simple Truths" I cut and paste comments to me from someone who claims to be a local politician. Today he's attacking others with the foulest language I have ever heard on Topix and the posters are, rightfully, threatening to him him removed and banned.
The mystery continues as to WHOM he is, yet today he wrote:
Let me guess, mac, you're pushing 70 or so, right? You and your wife are the perfect age, with lots of time on your hands, to take up a cause -- even if it's wrong -- and lead the sheep to slaughter. You can try to push everybody around, but buddy, you don't know just how very wrong you are. FYI, Clinton was not MY president. I worked for his worst enemy in the House of Representatives at the time, a very well-known and well-respected Republican.http://www.topix.net/forum/source/ruidoso-news/TRH7CKGANQUODS8AS/p4
We are supposed to be a conservative community but I have never quite understood that, because conservatives are normally Christians and Christians are called to be Christ-like in words and action. Yet as I read his tyrants against all and sundry it sadly makes sense to me. WHY Ruidoso is the way it is. Lord help us all.
What is really sad is that between the cussing this person who calls himself "Wizard" has a political stand that I agree with 100%. I'm just shocked that any person in a political position, who clearly has a lot of political savvy, would be THIS rude and overbearing to everyone in his path. What a shame.
I have my values, and if you don't like them, well I've got some others. ~Mark Twain
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Today the weather was so like summer it was difficult not to smile. Sunny, in the lower 50's and simply gorgeous.
I had to haul hay in the morning and get the truck ready to go and pick up a rescue miniature Schnauzer named, "Ernie" tomorrow at the El Paso airport. We are praying that Ernie is housebroken and will be the perfect companion for my elderly boss. I'm praying that the Ford350 will make it to El Paso.
My daughter bought a 6 month old miniature Yorkie named, "Lilly" on Tuesday so the little dog has kept us all preoccupied for the past 24 hours. Now she needs a "playpen" so I'll try to find one at a junk store in or around El Paso.
My daughter phoned and said that the payment from Robert Huckins arrived, which was a bit of a shock seeing as it's only the 13th of the month. Wouldn't it be nice if he had decided to uncover the hidden money and send me the $79,000 he owes me so I can return to living like a REAL human being, and not an animal sleeping in a garden shed?
30 degrees at 7 pm is almost like a heat wave, and it's only supposed to get to 25 degrees at the coldest. My time in El Paso tomorrow will almost seem like I am in a "tropical" climate.
There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. ~Ben Williams
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
With another sleepless night fighting violent migraines and problems associated with the Bassell-Hagens disease I have been sat next to the computer fairly numb and confused for hours. I am just so cold. It's as though my body freezes from the inside out, the pneumonia and sneezing has returned. I just can't stop vomiting.
I am desperately ill.
John Boyd has never contacted me again about finishing the trailer even though the permits came in November 29th, Jesse Gordiola never contacted me about putting a roof on the trailer before the bad weather arrived, and the welder never contacted me about the roof on the barn. You just lose faith and hope.
Yesterday I bumped into the owner of Haute Dogs while shopping, a lady I have known some years. While discussing the state of events it dawned on me how bad I must look, how ill and exhausted I must appear to people.
A few years ago I would walk into Haute Dogs with my bosses Schnauzer, always full of energy, my hair done, clean clothes on. Full of optimism. Today I'm disheveled, so ill and exhausted. I look so old. I don't even feel like the same person. I don't feel like a living human being .. I feel as though I died years ago.
My boss wants an adult Schnauzer so I spent hours yesterday trying to local a house trained, adult Schnauzer. I finally found one in Alpine, Texas but he didn't think that I was able to drive to and from Texas to pick up a dog. Perhaps Jan came pick the dog up when she hauls the racing TB's to San Antonio, Texas.
Having had to pay an additional $700 to keep my truck running this week I am wondering how to get the funds back to get a roof on that house trailer and barn. I can earn enough to make ends meet, in an economy that has become more and more instable in the past 3 years, but trying to make ends meet AND renovate and built seems simply beyond me.
What on earth do you do when you have tried everything and everything seems to fail?
I feel like I am walking in Dorothy McKeevers shoes and I know EXACTLY what she went through and how she felt before she died. I am living her despair.
There is a slight possibility of snow today. I'm confident that the snow bunnies have been terribly disappointed this year because we have had so little snow, my gain has been their loss, but I would be the first to admit that their gain may have killed me. This has been a hard winter to get through even with though it's been milder than usual.
Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad. ~ - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Monday, January 10, 2011
The past two days have had wonderful weather, but try as hard as I could, I couldn't find anyone to help me face that house trailer again. By Wednesday we should be back to the slight chances of snow again. Summer cannot come fast enough for me. I am wishing my life away trying to get into that house and get the roof on the barn.
This is so strange. The little one could do when the weather is nice, is impossible to do because you can't find the help. I've often wondered how this world is going to be if the recession deepens and people have the choice of either helping one another, or turning against one another in a survival mode. It's a terrifying proposition.
On Saturday and Sunday afternoon I was plagued with violent migraines, so bad I had to go to bed and though I slept from 4pm through the night Saturday night on Sunday night sleep wouldn't come and I stressed throughout the night. By early morning I felt like I had been beaten within an inch of my life.
I can't shake this sadness and feeling of hopelessness. There are times when I just can't believe that this is happening, times when I don't understand how it could be allowed, times when I try to deny it. Months ago I could grasp a little hope, a little optimism, a belief that being left homeless can't be a permanent situation. But today I know different.
Robert Huckins is yet again scheduled to pay me $450 on or before the 10th, today. But when you are homeless, trying to finance a home, those payments are starting to add insult to injury. Why won't ANYONE tell me what he did with so much money. Not only our building fund, but the enormous amount he stole from so many individuals, not for profits, and government offices?
These 13 degree nights are hard. Hard on me emotionally, physically and spiritually. Without the Lord I know I couldn't handle this.
Still, if it was possible to bribe God to take me home, now, I'd probably rob a bank to pay the money.
Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them. ~Henry David Thoreau
Friday, January 7, 2011
The weather was simply gorgeous today, 52 degrees and sunny, but despite driving past my property I just couldn't find it within me to actually stop and see what damage has been done to the trailer with the snow and high winds. I feared the worst and can't handle seeing the damage, even worse than the damage is seeing no progress, no chance of ever living there no matter how much I struggle to rectify everything.
My daughter's beloved Yorkie was found dead in one of their horse paddocks and that sent the entire family into shock and mourning. My daughter was teaching all day and didn't phone me to tell me that the wee dog was missing until she was driving back home after school. Little "Lucy" was an absolute angel and my daughter is broken hearted. Listening to her sob on the phone was more than I could stand. When I pleaded for no more losses I truly meant the entire family.. we are all equally exhausted.
I am holding onto the promises of my Heavenly Father with both hands tonight...
My Child,You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being.Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me.John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore.Psalms 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish youwith all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth.Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus.John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again.Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen.Luke 15:7
I have always been Father, and will always be Father.Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is…Will you be my child? John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32
Love, Your Dad
Thursday, January 6, 2011
I have been so deathly ill for the past 2 days worrying about the finances I need to restart the trailer renovations in the evenings I tried with diligence to get my mind off the problem and chat on the computer about politics and anything else that came up.
A friend in Kansas sent me a link for a book titled "Simple Truths" so I borrowed the title because no two words more clearly described my thoughts for today.
Because of my own situation the state of the economy today is more important than ever before in my life. I have reached a conclusion that America needs simple truths so that "we the people" can prepare. Never before has truth been more important, for we are in seriously perilous times.
I see a lot of changes in the American conservative movement within the 40 years I have resided in the United States. It has leaned "left" then "right" ... it's lost it's way and found it again. Ideals are fluid unless they are grounded in scripture. It's the way of the world we must watch for.
But not in 40 years have I ever seen the level of "heartlessness," lack of caring, compassion, scriptural grounds present within some conservatives today. I have seen conservatives act as though they need rabies shots.
For conservative Christians this is dangerous ground, and I don't know if it's restricted to Ruidoso (Lincoln County) or if it's nationwide.
But cold callous heartlessness and ARROGANT seems to be a prevailing emotion, at a time when the conservatives need to be showing the Grace of God. I am becoming very disillusioned and depressed with what I hear come out of the mouths of conservatives.
When people have anonymity you see the "true" person. You see the heart shed of propriety and social graces. Good or bad, you see the person as naked as the day they were born.
Because of my own situation I don't have much anonymity. Almost everything leads back to this blog. So when I started discussing politics on *Topix I responded to one poster who wrote:
Over thirty-five years ago I was involved in a political round-table discussion with some heavyweight talking heads. One Mormon in the crowd had the temerity to suggest, "Watch out for the Zionist bankers and their desire to infiltrate and control our government." I've never been a big fan of the Mormon faith, but former Governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman is a formidable force on the presidential election horizon who has even Sarah Palin AND Mitt Romney quaking in their shoes. He has unsurpassed experience in working in the Chinese financial markets, having lived there for many years. He may be our best bet for wresting control of our money away from the banksters and back into solid control by American patriots.By that post I think it's safe to say that this person wanted us to believe that he is politically connected. And perhaps he is. It DOES say that he/she ( and I suspect it was "he") was involved in a "political round table discussion with some heavyweight talking heads. Politically connected in Ruidoso?
But he seems to have forgotten all about the debt America owes China. So I responded:
I think you may be a wee bit late in trying to find anyone who can work with the Chinese. Last time I heard they metaphorically own America lock, stock & barrel, and are now working on becoming the financial backers for the EU.
And if you think that the Chinese government is not shaking the tree in both congress and the senate you are sadly mistaken.
What is really strange about this Chinese connection is that about a month or so ago a segment of the Australian internet was interfered with (shut down) and the Australian government immediately turned to look at America. The American government certainly was involved, in that there can be no doubt.
The Aussies decided to explore legal action against the USA but when the source was researched it went back to..
It's really hard to figure out who is the puppet and who is the puppeteer, but I wouldn't be in the least surprised if China is now the puppeteer. You don't owe trillions to China without something in return. Like your first born. ;)
Which is not a real comfortable feeling because China WILL manipulate the market until the Chinese economy is far larger than that of the USA - which HAS been happening for the past few years. And it won't be stopped by negotiations. It will be stopped by paying the debt. Fast.
The following responses are simply priceless:
I've just been informed that you are not American. Is this true? For the purpose of trying to follow your political theories and comments about America and American/New Mexico politics, I do think proof of your citizenship is relevant.Followed by:
It's a rhetorical question to Ms. Bundy, Cope. I'd like to know if she is a U.S. citizen who can even vote in our elections.
As for Rupert Murdoch, we know his citizenship status. He is an American. He registered to vote in 2008, I believe. Is Bundy registered to vote? I hope so, since she has roundly castigated the entire New Mexico judicial system; secondarily, her own websites attest to the fact that she has not managed her own affairs very well, something to take into consideration when she offers up opinions about our politics.
I don't tolerate folks living here who are not citizens throwing their weight around in discussions such as this. As long as Bundy calls herself British and not American (which she has in several writings), I will dismiss her and her comments.
I see a great future for America. I am not fatalistic about my beloved country, as is Ms. Bundy. Perhaps she should return to her beloved England since she has so much contempt for our political system, our judicial system, and the quality (?) of life she has brought upon herself.
Contrary to Bundy's flippant remarks, we Americans are not "a wee bit late" in selecting the best prospect for our president in 2012. Great care is being exercised all over this land to find the best leadership we can to see us up from, out of and beyond our current depression. Jon Huntsman appears to be a great prospect...and given his Mormon upbringing, I'm sure he'll see to it that no "firstborn children" of anybody will ever be given over to China, male or female.(What a ridiculous comment from Bundy, but consider the source.)
You lie, Denise Auchmoedy-Bundy. Did you forget you wrote this on your blogspot, "How can the State of New Mexico justify leaving victims homeless while Huckins has a home AND separate land? If the system is so good why doesn't the State of New Mexico pay the restitution (to me) and collect the monthly payments from him?" And this, "...our judicial system, those sworn to protect and serve the good citizens of Lincoln County did...NOTHING." And you "Goodbye, Judicial System" screed is also laced with vitriol for our elected court officials, appointed judges, attorneys and anybody else working within the U.S. system of jurisprudence.This level of spitting venom has become the absolute normal for a people who both deny reality and attack anyone in their path. No different than the Wikileaks documents that showed a level of arrogance rarely found in human beings, let alone human beings that believe in, "In God We Trust."
As I said before, your comments must be dismissed. You are not credible and apparently you are not a U.S. citizen. Was it okay for Texans to be involved in our most-recent campaign here in N.M.? No. I see a parallel here: it's not okay for people who are not U.S. citizens to be involved in shaping our political decisions on a national OR local level.
Cruel, malicious and in denial it's easier to beat someone into the ground than act like a civil and civilized human being.
Is this JUST Ruidoso or is the rest of the country suffering the same level of meanness because it will not serve America in the days to come. I wonder IF Jon Huntsman knew what KIND of supporters he HAS... so I contacted him to find out.
It doesn't take rocket science to know that America is in serious trouble. And clearly getting honest and honorable representation must be a prerequisite to any restoration. I believe that we have been lied to one too many times, and voters have made decisions based upon that deception. Never before has America faced the financial ruin it now faces, "truth" isn't an option anymore. Denial isn't an option.
But what do I know? Because I was born in Britain I am clearly a criminal because I "allowed" someone - who happened to be an AMERICAN - to steal my mothers money.
I have the sheer audacity to expect "justice?" How dare I?
And..I go further by expecting the First Amendment to APPLY TO ME?
What does that make all the other victims of Robert Huckins during his 10+ year criminal spree, victims like the Domestic Violence Shelter (H.E.A.L) and the City of Ruidoso Downs, amongst many?
The mere thought that the poster, whoever he is, may be politically connected here in Ruidoso makes my blood run cold.. the right has lost it's ever loving mind. Lord help us all.
Economic dependence: The United States finished 2009 with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 85%, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The current trend projects the United States to finish 2010 at 94% and 2011 at 98%. The 90% level has become the IMF's make-or-break point for countries hoping to grow their way out of debt. If the government debt load climbs above 90% of GDP, economic growth slows so much that growth is no longer a viable solution for reducing that debt, and the IMF insists on austerity measures. Surpassing this debt threshold has also caused China's lead credit rating agency to cut America's credit rating.
In July 2010 Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings couldn't be happy.
The world’s credit-rating giants got scooped on the biggest rating decision: whether to strip the U.S. of AAA status. Worse, the U.S. was downgraded by a company that few people have ever heard of, and a Chinese one at that.
While Moody’s and S&P ignore the wreckage that America’s finances have become, Beijing-based Dagong Global Credit Rating Co. is uncorrupted by the system that enables developed-world debt addicts to appear fiscally clean. It rates U.S. debt AA, two levels below the top grade.
Failing infrastructure: As 46 of 50 states are on the verge of bankruptcy.
Devalued currency: The value of the Federal Reserve Note (U.S. dollar) has declined 96% since the inception of the Federal Reserve in 1913. The value of the dollar is based on its supply in circulation and, to a lesser extent, the demand for those dollars. For the last three years, the monetary base has spiked literally off the charts. It can be argued that the dollar has become America's top export as the world's reserve currency, and if the volatile dollar is scrapped, which the U.N. and IMF now suggest, then demand will plummet, killing the currency.
Immigration: According to the Census Bureau & Zogby International the top 1% of US taxpayers are LEAVING the United States at the highest rate in history. Unemployment numbers, food stamps and home foreclosures continue to reach new record highs. The ugly reality of those numbers was recently on display when 30,000 people showed up to apply for public housing in East Point, GA for 455 available vouchers. Fights broke out, people were fainting from the heat while in line, and riot police showed up to handle the angry poor.
Census: Number of poor may be millions higher
1 in 6 Americans many of them 65 and older are struggling in poverty
By HOPE YEN
The Associated Press
updated 1/5/2011 4:46:10 PM ET 2011-01-05T21:46:10
WASHINGTON The number of poor people in the U.S. is millions higher than previously known, with 1 in 6 Americans many of them 65 and older struggling in poverty due to rising medical care and other costs, according to preliminary census figures released Wednesday.
At the same time, government aid programs such as tax credits and food stamps kept many people out of poverty, helping to ensure the poverty rate did not balloon even higher during the recession in 2009, President Barack Obama's first year in office.
Under a new revised census formula, overall poverty in 2009 stood at 15.7 percent, or 47.8 million people. That's compared to the official 2009 rate of 14.3 percent, or 43.6 million, that was reported by the Census Bureau last September.
Across all demographic groups, Americans 65 and older sustained the largest increases in poverty under the revised formula nearly doubling to 16.1 percent. As a whole, working-age adults 18-64 also saw increases in poverty, as well as whites and Hispanics. Children, blacks and unmarried couples were less likely to be considered poor under the new measure.
Due to new adjustments for geographical variations in costs of living, people residing in the suburbs, the Northeast and West were the regions mostly likely to have poor people nearly 1 in 5 in the West.
The new measure will not replace the official poverty rate but will be published alongside the traditional figure this fall as a "supplement" for federal agencies and state governments to determine anti-poverty policies. Economists have long criticized the official poverty measure as inadequate because it only includes pretax cash income and does not account for medical, transportation and work expenses.
"Under the new measure, we can clearly see the effects of our government policies," said Kathleen Short, a Census Bureau research economist who calculated the revised poverty numbers. "When you're accounting for in-kind benefits and tax credits, you're bringing many people in extreme poverty off the very bottom."
The official measure is based on a 1955 cost of an emergency food diet and does not factor in other living costs. Nor does it consider non-cash government aid when calculating income, which surged higher in 2009 during the recession.
Short's analysis, published Wednesday as part of a series of census working papers on poverty, shows that out-of-pocket medical expenses had a significant impact in affecting the number of poor without those costs, poverty would have dropped from 15.7 percent to 12.4 percent.
The effect was seen most notably among older Americans. Under the official poverty rate, about 8.9 percent lived in poverty, mostly because they benefit from Social Security cash payments. But when taking into account out-of-pocket medical expenses and other factors, that number rises to 16.1 percent.
The numbers cited for 2009 are preliminary, but census officials say they offer a good representative look at the state of U.S. poverty and where the numbers are headed when new 2010 figures are released this fall.
Among the findings:
Transportation, commuting and child care costs weigh on working-age Americans. The official poverty rate for those ages 18 to 64 is currently 12.9 percent, the highest since 1960s levels that launched the war on poverty. Under the revised formula, working-age poverty increases even higher, to 14.8 percent.
Without the earned income tax credit, the poverty rate under the revised formula would jump from 15.7 percent to 17.7 percent. The absence of food stamps separately would increase the poverty rate to 17.2 percent.
Taking into account millions of uninsured people in the U.S. had little effect in increasing poverty, mostly because those without insurance tend to forgo medical care rather than find ways to pay for it. Those with government-sponsored insurance generally saw decreases in poverty under the new formula, while those with employer-provided coverage saw increases. Still overall poverty for those with public insurance vs. employer insurance was higher, 31.1 percent compared to 7.2 percent.
Under the revised formula, the West had the most people in poverty at 19.2 percent. It was followed by the South (16.1 percent), the Northeast (14.3 percent) and the Midwest (12.5 percent).
The supplemental figures could take on added significance at a time when many in the government point to an overhaul of Medicare and Social Security as the best hope for reducing the ballooning federal debt. With the potential to add more older Americans to the ranks of the poor, the numbers may underscore a need for continued if not expanded old-age benefits as a government safety net.
Taxation without representation is tyranny.-James Otis
A man's house is his castle.-James Otis