Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Friday, March 31, 2006


You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

I'm very lucky, with regard to the clinic. I'm seeing an actual doctor. She's not a nurse practitioner. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but most social service agencies, etc., won't accept a NP's sig, when they want an MD's.

She's very young. She's very respectful. She hasn't learned to dismiss and disreguard low income patients yet.

And she does follow up on such things as: are the procedures she's scheduling covered by medicare and medicaid. Usually, I'm on my own, researching such.

I'm to go in for my first mamogram soon as they schedule it.

I'm already throwing away things I can't sell or take, things that I know aren't recycleable. I look around all day finding things that I can eleminate from my life. We have a nice, small, upright freezer. I'm wondering if I can just pack that full of the things I'd take and ship it. The condenser coils are covered, so it wouldn't be as prone to damage. I could pack it into a pine crate, for shipping. That way, I'd have the freezer for food storage. It doesn't weigh much, relatively.

It's way too soon to tell if this thing is going to happen, but I believe in early planning, so I won't be so overwhelmed, if and when I learn this thing is a "go." As gimpy as I am, and given that I don't have a car, it'll take some serious finagling to make this happen. It's going to be hard work. Any planning I can do now to alleviate some of the stress is a good thing.

I needed to "unload" some stuff, anyway. It's not like I couldn't replace most of my existing possessions at flea markets, yard sales and thrift stores, anyway. Then, there's trash picking, too.

So, if I can handle getting my health better, earning some money and divesting myself of worldly goods, I should be ok.

The hardest part is finding a job my tired, old body can actually do!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

same ol' same ol'

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

Whether or not I get to experience this potential transformation, I need to earn some money. Moving expenses would be astronomical. Even if it doesn't happen, I need to earn money. I have to get my teeth fixed, etc.

So, I'm applying for part time work.

I found NMPIRG (New Mex. Public Interest Research Group). They have a canvassing thing. You have to sign up $95 in memberships (which go for $25 each) per day to get $35. Over that, you get commission. Under that, they let you go.

Now, canvassing is hard work. I was told I'd be working in set locations: health food stores, colleges, etc. Standing all day is a hardship, but I was willing, as long as it was only 3 days a week, full time (that's what they mean by part time). They pick you up in a van and drop you off in the locations they've decided. They pick you up at the end of the day.

So, I applied.

He gives me this rap about how they're going to start door-to-door soliciting, beginning in May. What? Walking around in the heat, knocking on people's doors? Working late, when people get home from work and no busses are running? I looked worried.

I asked if they'd simultaneously continue what they call, "campus" canvassing. No. That will end in May. oh, gawd.

So, he says that, even in campus canvassing, "you're entitled to a ten minute break per five-hour shift, but we don't recommend you take it. You can take your break before or after work. There's no sitting down. You have to meet your quota, or you'll be fired."

I said, "so, once again, no reasonable accomodation for disabled people? I might as well be selling Avon."

I walked out.

He'd lied to me, on the phone. If I'd known it was door-to-door (and I'd specifically asked), I never would have taken the bus to their offices. It would kill me, walking the streets for 5-8 hours per day, and then having to walk from the bus stop a mile away to get home.

A few weeks ago, I applied to a local radio station. They needed someone in their news dept. I'm definately qualified. But my broken teeth affect how I sound on mic. I assured them I know how to position a mic, to minimize the lisp. They seemed interested. But, as I was leaving the interview, one of them stopped me in the lobby. There, in front of others, she palmed a $20 into my hand and insisted I take it for a dental appt. I tried to refuse it, but she insisted. I was mortified!

I didn't go there to panhandle; I went there to support myself!

I've never heard a word from them since.

Well, I finally have an appt today for a general physical at the medical clinic. So, I'd better start getting ready.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Paradise Found

Paradise Found This is a lovely blog. Once I got past the self-absorbed "superhero" stuff, particularly when I got to his descriptions of Washington, DC and SUVs, I laughed out loud.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

With absolutely no guarantee I'd actually experience this radical transformation in my life, I've begun researching everything I can about this other place.

Affordable housing is scarce; there's a serious housing shortage. There's little public transportation. The cost of living is no joke and jobs are scarce and low-paying.

On the "up" side, there's a serious movement of sustainable living and organic farming. Many farms are offering housing for workers. Some include goat dairy farming. It's beautiful there. There's a serious alternative community: queer supportive, barter currency to keep money in the community, low pollution, "green" archetectural movement, even within the government.

The customary diet relies heavily on fish, chicken and produce; it's very healthy, if one avoids fast foods, which I do. There are extremely popular farmers' markets, where I could sell stuff.

They have a college, community radio and tv, lots of internet stuff.

One CAN live there without a car, if careful.

People like me are more the norm than freaks.

Serious economic changes occurred there over the past 2 decades. There's been a dramatic rise in meth use. The prisons are overflowing. There's little health care and poor residents smile without teeth a lot, like me.

It would be difficult. But, if I divest myself of most of my possessions and don't plan to acquire as many again once I'm there, if I rely on a more vegetarian diet, if I stop smoking BEFORE I go, I should be ok.

The people recycle things, so my crazy, second-hand lifestyle will fit right in.

It's a fragile environment and must be treated with respect. It's not as harsh to live in as this is, but the trade off is that living like a middle class American is for the birds there.

Who knows? I may end up a goat herd!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

oh, HELL!

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

Something transformative might happen soon. I won't know for sure until sometime in mid April.

I can't write here about what it actually is. It involves more people than just myself. My head's about to explode.

If it happens, it'll happen soon. Part will happen in June. The rest will happen a few months later.

It means I'd have to sell just about everything I've owned for most of my life. It means I'll have to find homes for all the chickens and duck, the goats, 3 of 4 cats.

It means I'd be leaving everything I've known for my entire life to move VERY far from here. It means I'll probably never come back to this continent.

It means I'd be living someplace quite amazing, fragile, in danger. Jobs are hard to find and the cost of living is a hardship.

It means I'd, once again, have to start my life all over again. First, it was Monterey County. Then, it was Louisville, KY. Next, it was here.

I'd probably die in this new place. It's not a bad place to die, really.

I'm looking around at scissors, stapler, coffee mug, tv, felt tip pens, clothing....it's all going to go, if this thing happens. I can't take it with me.

As soon as I know for sure, I'll open up at eBay and sell off as much as I can. The rest, I'll give away.

I don't even know if I should plant a garden this year. Oh, hell. It'll take me months, if this goes through, before I'll be ready to move. I can plant. If I'm not here to harvest in fall, my neighbors can have any food.

Where I'm going, I can't even take seeds from previous gardens.

It costs too much to send animals there.

Once I get there, if I get to go, I can pretty much scrounge up everything I need. I will send my electric bicycle ahead of me, though. It weighs 80 lbs, but I'll need the transpo.

blogger's freezing up. gotta post b4 I lose this....


You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

Watched “Fiddler on the Roof” the other night. I made a tape of a broadcast on UPN. Now, I don’t know if it was being aired as an attempt to encourage Zionist tendancies in evangelicals or not. I have my suspicions, though. I mean, I’ve NEVER, in the 30+ years since the movie first came out, seen it aired on TV before!

All that aside, it provoked much thought in me.

If the Czar of Russia hadn’t been such a pig to his Jewish countrymen, would Communism have developed?

If Communism hadn’t developed, would the Czar have ordered the Jews out of Russia?

If the Jews hadn’t emmigrated as they had: empoverished, starved, sick and dirty, would anti-Semitism have become so rabid in both Eastern and Western Europe?

If the Jews hadn’t, as well, returned to the Promised Land, would we be at war in the Middle East for three generations?

If the Jews hadn’t swarmed across the Atlantic Ocean to New York and other, major cities, overwhelming their fragile social structures, would the hideously-filthy ghettos and tenements have sprouted and changed the face of urban poverty forever?

If anti-Semitism hadn’t become rabid in Europe, would the Nazis have developed?

If the Nazis had no power, would millions have been slaughtered?

I watched the portrayal of the refugees, trudging through mud and snow, dragging what little they could carry. I thought of all refugees, everywhere: Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Europe… even Australia. Everywhere on this PLANET, people have been displaced, without just cause, so the dominant culture of whatever geographical location it occurred could appropriate the properties and lands of people who did NOTHING to deserve it and who contributed richly to their location.

Imagine: if the Czar of Russia had encouraged, supported and respected the valueable contribution of the Jews of his country, what would the world be like, now?

Again, I don’t know what the motives of UPN were in broadcasting the movie. No Jews I know want pity, although the histories of their culture’s persecution over thousands of years has taught them a deep sense of compassion and social justice. I’m generalizing here, but there is an ethnic consciousness there which has contributed greatly to social justice.

I found myself, ironically (as a queer feminist), truly sympathizing with the decision-making processes of Tevyek. The precarious balance of survival, constantly threatened by new and outside forces, was his duty, as patriarch, to preserve. His motivations were not merely to save his own skin, or those of his family. He was struggling to preserve his race, his religion.

And his religion was no once-a-week placibo-slash-opiate to make him feel better about his circumstances. His religion was an ongoing conversation with his God. It was a continual source of both pride and humility. It was his shelter and comfort, true. But it was also his philosophy, his guidance, his discipline.

Oh, his sexism, his conservative outlook, his narrow perspective as a man who never left his village: these were aggrevating. But he was trying to maintain balance, security and nurture for his family.

As he pulls the cart, full of his family’s possessions, through the muddy, cold countryside, I thought: he is carrying his family, his village, his people, his god on his back. And he’s doing it willingly, at great cost to his physical health, without complaint. And, if the little ones get too tired to walk, he’ll carry them, too.

It was an honor to witness it.

I researched some of the actors. Molly Picon, who plays the Yenta, was deeply involved in the Yiddish Theatre movement in the US. She even went to Eastern Europe to study Yiddish for awhile. Her story is fascinating. The best info I got was from the Jewish Virtual Library: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/picon.html .

I’d like to write a radio play about her.

Other actors have similarly-fascinating lives.

I also thought about the pride the actors must have felt. For many, “Fiddler” was probably the first time any of them could “come out” as Jews. Too often, in order to be successful in the US, Jews were forced to “pass” as gentiles. How thrilling it must have been for some, portraying characters that resembled members of their own families and neighbors, if not themselves! How wonderful it must have felt, knowing their work would contribute to understanding between races, ethnicities and religions!

It was beautiful. I cried my eyes out and laughed my head off. Go rent it.

Post Script: As I was researching "Fiddler" on the 'net, I came across something that thrilled me to tears, literally.

"Fiddler On The Roof" is returning to Broadway! And you'll never guess who's playing Tevyek! It's HARVEY FEIRSTEIN!!!! One of my all time, favorite actors: a gay man who's been out of the closet my whole life, they guy who wrote, produced and starred in "Torch Song Trilogy!"


Oh, hell! Rosie O'Donnell played Golde, a part that doesn't require much singing, thank heavens. I seem to remember her mentioning it on Martha Stewart. Which means it's already over, darn it. Once again, it must suffice that I know it occurred, without being able to witness it, personally. The stuff I miss. Damn.

Monday, March 20, 2006

oh, those quazy queers

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

I got privately flamed by some freak on a local, queer email list. When I asked list members for assistance, I got no replies...until one rep. blamed ME for being unclear and provoking an emotional response! Then, I got grilled by phone from an organizer in another queer group, who basically said the same thing.

If one can't hold discussions in safety and respect, why bother?

I was feeling uneasy about returning to any public meetings, as this flamer was anonymous and knows my name. I'm assured the abuse is out of state now, with no plans to return.

But I don't feel safe in an unsupportive community. I doubt I'll return.

One of the m-f transexual women I interviewed in the Kicked Out Queers segment I produced for the Homelessness Marathon got busted on an old warrant. Then, she got busted for turning tricks. She just got released yesterday for possession of drug paraphanalia.

She was very young, when she hit the streets. She wasn't welcomed at home, given her gender status. She's so typical: hustling and dealing to survive, using to cope.

When I met her, she was clean and sober, or said she was. She had a home and a not-very-good job.

A mutual acquaintance is waiting to hear from her. There's a good possibility she can be admitted to a queer rehab in California. But she hasn't called.

I did some research today on the treatment of transexual and trangender detention centers here. It's pretty dismal. The authorities assign the detainee a sex, usually based on either genital configuration or on whatever other prejudices they might have. Therefore, transexual women are thrown into general population of the men's facility. They can request protective custody -- basically, solitary confinement -- but I don't know if they are informed they have that option. A rep. of the county accidentally leaked that a current prisoner complains she was assaulted by another inmate. There are currently thirty trannies in detention.

So, I have some serious energy to investigate this, possibly for New Mexico Voice magazine, possibly for KUNM or other radio.

No queer groups I've contacted seem to know anything about this issue. Not even the legal ones. Lord.

As I checked my sitemeters today, I realized someone from the county has visited my domain. Interesting coincidence, as I just contacted them, for the first time.

I'm also getting a regular visitor from the official Albuquerque gov't. page, which makes me nervous. I wish this person would email me and identify her/himself, so I could relax a little.

My goats are big. It's almost time to start gardening again.

I'm busy with recording the queer poetry at the harwood center.

I can't wait for Ma to finish her bachelor's degree, so she can quit her crappy job and we can get the hell out of this redneck burb.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Queer Poetry

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

Common Bonds is hosting monthly poetry readings at the Harwood Arts
Center, in the basement performance space.

This month's Queer Poetry reading takes place on Sunday, March 26, at

I'm an independent radio producer. I'll be bringing recording
equipment, in hopes of producing broadcast-quality recordings, which I
hope we can distribute through Queer radio networks and, possibly,
NPR, APR, etc. We'll also be burning CDs of performances to sell as
fundraisers for Common Bond and to pay our performers for their
brilliant and poignant poetry.

NOBODY will be recorded or identified without his or her permission.
If people need their voices digitally altered to protect their
anonymity, we can do that, as well.

This is an opportunity for Albuquerque to celebrate the powerful words
of our Queer neighbors. It's also an opportunity for us to read our
works -- often, for the first time in public -- to a tremendously
loving, supportive and eager audience.

Please attend. And, please, forward this email to any interested
parties. I'd also like help making sure these events get posted to
Queer-friendly community calendars.

Hope to see you there!
Thank you,

Rogi Riverstone


Sunday, March 12, 2006


You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

I did the dumbest thing last night. Ma came home with a burger, onion rings and black raspberry shake for my supper. I couldn't finish the shake. I mixed it with the regular 2% cow's milk I feed my goats.

Oh, my gawd! They started SPEWING! They had the runs -- if you can call projectile water poop "runs" -- ALL night long! Their butts, back legs and tails were crusty by morning. The protective blanket over my bed, with a sheet of plastic under it, was just a mess. I was the only one running.

I could smell the "berry" flavoring in it.

They're not sickly. They're playing and bright eyed. Which means they're sharing the wealth all over the house. I've turned into a human mop, following them with a wet towel.

I can't put them outside. It snowed last night.

Right now, they seem less incontinent than they did last night. Of course, that's why they call it, "breakFAST," because they haven't eaten in about seven hours.

I've done some internet research.

The runs in goats is called "scours," with good reason. Their guts must be completely scoured, by now!

I learned to replace the electrolytes they're losing. In other words, they need baking soda. They also need potassium, so I'm feeding a little grapefruit juice. To restore their gut bacteria, I'm making them drink a bit of brewers' yeast and yogurt in their bottles of milk. They don't like it much, but what the hell?

Some people say don't feed grain. Some people say don't feed hay. Some people say don't feed milk. Um... THAT'S ALL THEY EAT! Well, they like cornflakes, icecream cones, bread and corn chips, but that's all grains, really, and I ONLY give them in small amounts, as treats. I'm thinking starving them is no solution.

So, I'll try to keep them extra hydrated today, and suppliment with those things I mentioned above.

I can give them pepto bismal, but that sounds kinda disgusting -- for the goats, not for me. Someone suggests blackberry plants: forage or tea.

I've wiped down their backsides and dried them off. They're currently sleeping on an old blanket, in front of the heater in my room. They seem no worse for the experience, but I'm worn out.

Before this even happened, I was aware that certain types of diarrhea can kill goats in hours or days. So I was pretty alarmed to see this.

Too much milk, changes in feed, etc. can cause scours. I'm thinking a black raspberry milkshake from Lotta Burger is NOT good goat feed.

Imagine a bazooka, less than a foot tall, traveling about 8 mph, capable of climbing any furniture surface in your house, spraying split pea soup as it goes.

I'm too old for this....

Friday, March 10, 2006

CBS gives free air time for hate

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

You can go to cbs. Go to the News Dept. Find the Steve Hartman feature. I think it's called Assignment America.

Should be called Assenine America.

The public is invited to vote on one of 3 or 4 possible stories for next week. I voted for a little girl, legally blind, who's working to rebuild the libraries destroyed by Katrina.


They're also giving the option to vote on "Liberty University's" debate team. They call it "tiny." And wonder that they are beating Harvard's debate team.

I smelled a rat. I looked it up. I want you to know that, on ALL websites associated with this so-called university, they're ALREADY posting links to CBS to get their little, facist dittoheads to vote for THEM! A pig in lipstick is still scrapple, in my opinion.

Here's what I wrote to CBS:

Hartman, that's really sneaky. You didn't tell us "Liberty" (sic) University is Falwell's tax break.

Out of all the wonderful universities in this country, WHY are you focussing on a bastion of hate: self-determining women, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, global warming, Muslims, Buddists, Hindus, Catholics, Jews. Falwell hates them ALL!

Why not focus on a school that wants to help HEAL this nation, rather than further fragment it?

If you do a story on this, will you also go to the Harvard Divinity School and explore Queer Theology, multidenominational multiculturalism and feminist exigesis? 'course not; somebody might actually be challenged to THINK!

I'm just disgusted.
Thank you,

Rogi Riverstone