Wednesday, March 14, 2012


The storm window is up on the porch door this morning. Already 50 degrees. Karma has been out there a couple times already and decided to park herself right there in the sun next to the door to listen for the swallows and the geese...and all the many sounds that have been muffled by glass all winter long.
Well, no dentist visit for me today. Complicated story. Grab a cup of coffee or tea--LOL!
I got the usual call from the dentist's office yesterday reminding me of my appointment...but the girl added, "And we'll need the $32.00 when you come in." Huh? Last time I went I thought it was $5.00!
"I don't have $32.00", I said in shock.
"That's okay. We can bill you like we did last time."
"Okay. If you can wait till next month after the third."
She was fine with that.
I had just gotten a letter saying my monthly for medical was going up to $13.00 in April, but where did the $32.00 come from? So, I called my worker, Rhonda, and discovered that when I got that $28 cost of living raise from Social Security in January first my monthly medical went from $4.00 (not the $5 I thought it was) to $32.00. It is just now in April going back down to $13.00.
Rhonda suggested I move the appointment to sometime in April if I could wait (yup! just a checkup) and I'd save $19.00. So I quick made calls to the dentist and the senior bus. I now have another appointment on April 2nd. Whew! I looked in my files and couldn't find a notice for the jump to $32.00, but it obviously occurred.
Okay--this means that when I got my $28.00 cost of living raise after three years (while the prices of everything went up, of course) that they raised my monthly medical $28.00, my rent went up $9.00, and my food stamps went down $31.00! So, my $28 dollar "raise" cost me $68.00!! I lost $40. I'm glad I wasn't even aware of that $32.00--and just glad I hadn't needed the dentist or doctor since January.
In April I will have $15.00 back from the medical fee raise when it goes back down to $13.00. So instead of losing $40.00, I will only lose $25.00 after my cost of living raise. Totally confusing, eh?
Makes no sense to me. Even the food stamps alone! You gain $28.00 so they take away $31.00? I asked Rhonda why it went down so much...she said because the government has decided to allow less for utility costs. Meanwhile my electric bill--on the budget plan--has gone up from $50-70.00 in the past year to year and a half. And it wasn't even a bad winter! And the cost of food had been steadily climbing, of course.
I know times are really hard for so much of the population over here. I remember when Dagan was little how we didn't have milk the last week of the month and we had ten dollars left for the whole month after bills and groceries. I remember back when I was a waitress and how I would cry if I got a run in my nylons because it was nylons or food. I remember being a vagrant and not eating for 3-4 days at a time. I'm not complaining about my financial state (yet--LOL!) because I have been even poorer than I am now. (Not that I want to go back to that again because I am much older now and in poor health.) But I'm complaining about how it makes no sense. That when the government gives with one hand it takes away with the other. Almost feels like one big con-job. And they do it across the all the disabled, seniors, handicapped, and most who are getting essential help to survive. Used to be if I got say a ten dollar raise I was lucky if I came out ahead a dollar. Now I go in the hole and lose money. *sigh*
Okay, that's enough of that. ;)
Thought I'd show you my snapdragon socks!
These crazy pairs of socks are my early birthday present to myself. They make me smile all day long! See how fortunate I am! :)
And the books came!!
Cathy Johnson's Artist's Journal Workshop.
Quantum Touch--with a super shiny black cover.
And The China Study and Forks Over Knives--both about eating differently and healthy.
So, I guess my non-to-barely reading phase is now over, eh? But on top of the stack is The Golden Sky, which I want to read first.
Been working on Cathy's second lesson. As many of you know, I have done a lot with watercolors and plastic wrap--but I have never tried using waxed paper. I did it the same way I am used to doing the plastic wrap--left it overnight to dry. Although, the waxed paper didn't want to stay down against the paper so I weighted it down.
I loved the effect!
Similar to the plastic wrap--and I LOVE that technique--but more random and farther apart, I think. At least this first time.
We are supposed to draw buildings in lesson two. Well, you all know what I see out of my window--LOL! Garages didn't excite me and the rest are too far away. So I hunted around in google images. I love old country churches and found a couple I'll at least make an attempt to draw.
Going to try this white church on a hillside and another white church with a red roof and steeple.
I also knew I'd love to go back and try the Strathmore Workshop One with Traci Bautista about kind of free-form doodling in multi-media, it looks like. (Cathy Johnson's is Workshop Two.) So I printed off all the lessons and supplies last night and started watching her videos, too. Not that I will start it now, but just so I have the info for later. I don't know how long the free classes will be available. I believe here is where you can register for free for the workshop series. Everything is still open, as far as I can see.
It was one of those rare mornings where I woke up after an eight hour night (first half was very restless) and, at that very moment of limited consciousness, I realized that--if I didn't move a single muscle--I had no sharp pain anywhere--just the normal all over soreness. So I closed my eyes, sunk quietly past that soreness, and drifted off again. Slept another two hours! No creepy pain dreams, either. Nice-nice-nice! Sure, I hurt like hell when I rolled out of bed to the excited Karma she's-up-it's-time-for-my-treat symphony of meows and loud purring, but it was glorious, I tell you! Glorious!
And now I am chatting with you on a sunny day with windows and doors open. (I think I need a sweater but I'll be danged if I am going to close them until I have to.) True--the sun has shifted away from us and it is chillier so it won't be long now. Even Karma has opted for snoring in the catbed next to me up off the floor...birds or no birds--LOL! But it's such a treat to have them open and smell fresh air!
Dagan is stopping by after work with my sewing machine and some envelopes! You may recall I ended up with some store credit at Office Max when I got the ink for my printer and this letter writer is in need of envelopes...again--LOL! Of course, I plan to try out the sewing machine tonight to see that it is working perfectly this time. In the meantime, some reading and/or some church sketching, I presume. ;)
Have yourself a glorious day!! What's left of it, anyways. :):)
"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door."
Adrienne Gusoff


Furry Bottoms said...

Living on assistance really, really sucks. You're at the mercy of the government. I feel bad that you have to, but I'm also glad that you can, that it is available at all.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you got some sleep. I've been up all night long. I had a headache all day yesterday and didn't get up until after 5 pm when Chris came home. I actually went to bed early the night before and when I woke up at 6am I thought I was going to be back on the day shift... not. I just couldn't shake this headache and took something and laid back down to wait for it to work. It didn't. I still have the darned thing and no sleep for me. I love your wax paper background. So pretty. I love those socks too. I love bright colored socks. The sun is out here but its still around 0 degrees. Too cold for me. HOpe you keep having a good day and sleep at night.

Beth said...

The same thing happened to me after the cost of living raise. My supplemental insurance went up over $5o a month and I ended up with $12 decrease in my monthly income. It all sucks big time.

Queenie Jeannie said...

I've given up on trying to figure out any sense of our government. Frankly it's just too big and too corrupt!! I'm sorry you're feeling the pinch though!!!

LOVE your crazy socks, lol!

YAY for fresh air! It's been wonderful over here too and the birds are back and singing like crazy!

Have a great week yourself!

Jenny Woolf said...

What a wonderful cheerful and inspiring post. I LOVE the socks too!

Here in Engalnd, also, the poor and sick are getting it in the neck. We are supposed to be a welfare state too.

The idea of making you WORSE off by increasing benefits is almost funny enough to laugh at !

I bet Karma agrees with you about it being a glorious day, though. There is nothing like the advent of Spring.

Anonymous said...

I hate these stupid government stuff! Non of it makes any sense! Paint your churches and wear your cool socks! I'm thinking of you!

TexWisGirl said...

i am sorry for the money woes. i've been fortunate the last 25 yrs or so of my life, but i have also had those days where it was manually counting items to put into the grocery cart or put it back - 32 cent can of beans vs. 48 cents, etc. it is tough, but it makes you more appreciative, i think, if you can remember and not waste. :)

Megan Adamson said...

Sorry to hear about your illness, and yes, things are looking bleak in England too.
Love your drawings and it is good to experiment with different types of materials. Your church looks great.
And, oh, for some sunshine here!

Thinking of you.

Toriz said...

I know the feeling with the money! I just got my letters about increases too; of course, one thing goes up, so other things go down, and - if you're lucky - you break even. But, of course, food, utilities, etc all go up, so money gets tighter. Then people wonder why I'm using a laptop that only stays on if it feels like it, and a 5 year old copy of Jaws! I had almost managed to get together the money for the laptop, but then we had to take Willow in, and she needed the vet, so... *Sigh*

On a more cheerful note... I'm glad you're enjoying that course, and also that you were able to not only have a long sleep, but also have that moment of relatively pain-free time! :)

I know where I can get you plenty of photos of old churches; there are about 3 we pass just between here and the vet!

AliceKay said...

I'm sorry finances are pinching you where it hurts. It doesn't seem right that your medical should go up that much, but then our medical insurance took another huge jump this year, too, and there's nothing we can do about it. I think our government is corrupt, too, but is there a real answer to its problems? I have my doubts.

It will be two years next month since I've had a raise in pay, and then it was only a 25-cent per hour raise. That sure didn't help for very long. With taxes going up, and the cost of everything else going up, our paychecks don't go very far. Gasoline is $3.86 a gallon here now. Always higher than the national average in this area. Thank goodness the winter was mild so things weren't as bad as they could have been.

Love your snapdragon socks. Very colorful. :)

I loved the effect of the waxed paper, too. Looks pretty cool. Can't wait to see a painting of a church or two. :)

I'm glad you were able to get some rest...some pain free rest. I was reading an article earlier tonight about depression and anxiety caused by chronic pain and illnesses. I'm finding myself in that category more and more, and I'm not liking it. You have a bright outlook on life, even after the setbacks you've endured, and that's one thing I admire about you.

We've had a couple of nice warm days here, but I haven't been able to open the storm door window while I've been home because someone spread the field next to us with chicken manure again. Annual springtime event and always when it's warm so we can't open the windows. It stinks to high heaven out there. :( Country life ain't so nice sometimes.

I hope the rest of your day was a good one.

ChicagoLady said...

It's unfortunate that those who truly need the assistance don't get enough of it, and those who don't need it as badly get more than they deserve. Hopefully, you'll continue to find ways to make ends meet.

Love the crazy socks and the watercolor using the wax paper!

Karen Smithey said...

You write about so many different things on one post, I lose track of what I wanted to say!

I don't know what the solution to the whole government thing is. I wish the system weren't so convoluted. I do believe we have a responsibility to help take care of each other...

So glad you liked the visual journals! I get past that blank page thing is to either glue something down or gesso the page or write on the page, knowing that it will be covered up later. With watercolors the gesso would probably be best :)

Love your socks! I'm knitting my first ever pair of socks using self-striping yarn, so they won't match exactly.

Can't wait to see your churches!

DJan said...

That picture of Karma's ears sticking up is really cool! I am so sorry that your income is slowly going down while those fat cats on Wall Street are now getting even bigger bonuses. I am glad, though, that we have Social Security. What if Bush had been able to privatize it? Where would we be now???

Crystal said...

Gee, all you had to go through must have been exhausting! I love your socks! :-)

Dee Ready said...

Dear Rita,
Like DJan, I find myself being so grateful for social security in these economically troubled times. But I agree with you that the government does often seem to give with one hand and take with another. It's not only the government though, it's those wall street bankers who seem to give us loans, etc., and then gouge their customers.

Again, like DJan, I wonder where we'd all be if President Bush had gotten his wish for privatized social security and benefits.

I'm so glad that you got such a goodly amount of sleep. I can't imagine, truly, what living with your pain must be. I do find myself intrigued always by your hints here and on your comments on my blog about your life when you were younger. You are such a brave and valiant person. A true survivor.

I admire you greatly, Rita, and I thank you for following my blog and for being so upbeat always in your own. You inspire me.


Dee Ready said...

Dear Rita,
I meant to ask you if you've seen the latest "Simon's Cats" video. The one with the cat on the mantle. I laughed out loud!


Friko said...

What a rotten swindle it all is; how can they take away more than you are given.
I admire you for being so perky in spite of all your troubles, perhaps I'll have to take you as an example!

Stay happy!

carol l mckenna said...

Well, never a dull moment ~ the Government never made sense and never will ~ Am grateful that I don't have to rely on them ~ Glad you are creating ~ the wax paper effect looks interesting ~ love the palette you chose ~ can hardly wait to see the church drawn on it ~ Glad your weather is good and Karma is enjoying it also ~ here it is rather 'raw' and cold right now ~ suppose to improve ~ Zoe waiting to have me throw her toy ~ namaste, Carol ^_^

Celticspirit said...

I am totally lost on that cost of living stuff! Jeeze, it makes no sense that you lose money.
I hope your sewing machine works this time.
You books look very interesting...especially the food ones. I hope you enjoy reading them all.
I like the results of your art lessons. So neat!

Jennibellie said...

Wow that's VERY complicated, our gov makes our taxes and everything else extremely difficult but I'm glad I don't have any of that! (Well guess I will when it becomes pension time). I love that effect, super awesome, tfs much love Jennibellie xxx

Far Side of Fifty said...

Obama was supposed to "change" things..he isn't doing such a great job. It doesn't make sense to me.
I am anxious to see you church sketches..enjoy the warm weather:)

Jennifer McLean said...

I'm in pretty much the same position you're in monetarily. Two steps forward, three back, lol. Whatcha gonna do??

Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting, I hope to see you in my Artist's Play Room challenge link up starting this Saturday!
Jenn of

Unknown said...

Love the socks!
I've awarded you the Green Blend Award - see blog at

Unknown said...

I forgot you don't do awards - but I still think you worthy of it! LOL

Intense Guy said...

Your issues with money makes me want to "sock it to 'em" (I wouldn't waste a colorful one on 'em though).


I'm finally starting to Ketchup. I relish leaving comments and am happy to haved mustard the energy to do to.

Harvest Moon by Hand said...

How frustrating re: the changes in costs of living as well as what you receive. Your dentist sounds very compassionate and flexible in terms of payment/billing. That's always helpful to have udnerstanding people who you do business with.

The two books about healthy eating sound interesting. Read an article a few weeks back in the Star Tribune about Buddhist monks and their way of eating. It was fascinating. They took their time with eating each bite, savoring the flavors and texture of the food. I believe they also put their forks down between each bite.

The effect with the wax paper is beautiful, Rita. Such a lovely blend of colors and texture!