Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Message to Governor re: Factory Farms in Midwest

Dear Governor Nixon:

Here is an article that is written by Tom Philpott, examining the trend in agriculture in the Midwest. I doubt that Missouri's charts would look much different.

I remember you were celebrating exports of pork one recent year. Some of them may be landing in Asia I would think.

Because of environment, human rights, animal rights and wages to workers, we are indeed obligated, in my opinion, to revert to sustainable farming practices. This may not be as difficult to sell to the General Assembly as you think, if you show them some of these numbers. By the way I am living in a small town again in Missouri.

Thank you for your attention to these issues.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


UNFORTUNATELY neither the CAP THE RATE nor the RAISE THE WAGE issues will be on the Missouri ballot in November 2012.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


On August 18 this summer I got together with some of my fellow members of Grass Roots Organizers-- Missouri (GRO--MO), to staff a booth for a couple of hours at the Soybean Festival here in Mexico, Missouri. I already knew something about the payday loan issue which was being sent to the Secretary of State for approval to be on the ballot as an initiative petition in November. GRO had worked hard to gather signatures too, and was gathering them still at the booth. Some people are really astonished to think that Missouri has virtually no limit on loan interest rates, since it is effectively left at 1090%. Still, some States are worse, with no limit. Look around and notice how many of their storefronts are in your own neighborhood or in places you drive past. The homes for the industry are outside of our state so the profits do not do us any good in taxation. There are more of them than there are McDonalds. And their business plan is usury. Their methods of collecting the debt are not always pretty, including taking their clients to court.

On Friday, September 28 my friends in GRO and I traveled from Mexico to St. Louis in two vans. We landed downtown at the Randall Gallery. Not only did I have the opportunity to hear the appointments and swearing-in of the new board members of the newly formed Federal agency, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), by its newly appointed Director,Richard Cordray, but I learned a few things during their first meeting. They talked about the economy and the slow recovery and how it has affected personal finance in the USA.
Afterwards witnesses who had signed up were called on for testimony; and others attending also participated. Besides members of GRO, a Catholic Priest from a low income neighborhood, others who had studied the issue, and attorneys for clients of the payday industry spoke up. The list of supporters for this ballot issue is impressive.

At one point I turned around in my chair to hear the testimony in the back of the room from a woman who was noting that legislators in Missouri have received campaign funds from the payday lenders. Another woman in the middle of the room was nodding, and saying “uh huh,” and I chimed in with an echo for added emphasis a few times. When I turned back around to the front Director Cordray was leaning on his hands in rapt attention and he made a comment himself to the Board members regarding establishing federal regulation.

Briefly, here are the main points to be understood by the voters in this State. Efforts have been made in Jefferson City by nonprofit organizations to eliminate the presence of this highly visible con game that is “legal” here because legislators have failed to limit interest rates. These shops have sprung up like common weeds around us, but they are far more toxic than most individuals realize. This has been enabled as an entrapment of people who are financially needy. The clients are usually required to sign a class arbitration waiver, which convinces them they can never sue the lender. It's a scam.
Members of the Missouri General Assembly have been willing to leave the maximum interest rate at virtually no limit. The usual interest rates on these loans is over 400%. In other words, borrowing one hundred dollars could cost you four times that much, or four hundred dollars, within a year. Many borrowers are re-borrowing the principal money month after month while just managing to pay the fees.

On top of that most loans also contain a class arbitration waver, which is an agreement that suing the lender so that a judge can set up arbitration of the outcome is not allowed. This is only a scam, since it is illegal in the eyes of the State and Federal Supreme Courts, and deemed “unconscionable.”

Why would our own State Legislators not have protected us under State Law from these risks? Simply because the payday loan industry is providing “donations” to their campaign funds. Nearly all of the companies thriving as loan sharks are actually based outside our State, so the money being scammed out of our vulnerable citizens is not even useful to us as taxable income. The petition initiative on our ballot will cap interest rates at 36%, which makes loans still profitable enough without being usurious.

We may also need here in Missouri a law established which determines the will of the voters to be above and beyond the will of the legislators, since the General Assembly has more than once overturned ballot issues or amendments passed by the citizenry. We should not have to be spending state monies on court challenges so often because of politics of fund raising. How can we create more transparency and accountability in our State government? As citizens we do it at the ballot box, but that should not vacate our will when some committee meeting in Jefferson City determines that we are not worthy of an opinion.

The opponents of the petition circulated in Missouri to place this issue on the ballot in November challenged the signatures on it, in an “as usual” maneuver. But they were overruled by the Missouri Supreme Court.

Sing out for justice for borrowers in Missouri, and VOTE YES on this ballot issue!  ;->


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

LASTING EFFECT of drought in Mexico MO <"_?

Oak leaves back of my driveway here are covered with these warty thingamajigs . . . .

 This fruit tree appears to have some sort of berry produce, or small cherry like things, smaller than crabapples on this side of the tree, seen on my walk toward the park.
 This photo is fuzzy, but  the fruit on the left side gives a comparison as to what this tree normally produces, altho' all the apple trees I have seen here have much smaller size fruits than average on any previous year, I am sure.

 Now entering the park I am looking toward a grove of trees that continues on the other side of the road. They are like dead men standing. 

Used to be a gorgeous view from here I would guess.

On the other side of the road, here's a closer view looking up the trunk of one tree. Those little grey thingies are pine cones. I doubt they have much life force left in them at all.


 The total number of these ordinarily "evergreen" trees was about a dozen. Most wood that is harvested ordinarily ought to be seasoned for a year before using as fuel. These trees are a fire danger as they stand here.

Past the back of the nearby high school I am now circling back toward "civilization" again. This is one of my favorite spots in some way because these trees represent the history of the indigenous forest, with a mix of oak and hickory trees. The shagbark hickory in the foreground seems to be healthy; the oaks behind them on this small hillside are not.

Hoping to bring you more information on this sort of devastation in the the near future.

To see the photos in close-ups click on them.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Drought over? for now, at least!

Hurricane Isaac definitely brought us a few days of rain, and one day it poured for a few hours. But mostly it was a steady rain that helped the grass to recover in our yards, altho', of course, the crabbiest crabgrass survives the best. It is a little late, though, for the crops that suffered, especially, in Missouri, corn and soy. Some cattle were in danger as well because the usual amount of hay was less, and was harvested early. So the farmers have been selling their cows ahead of the regularly expected calendar.

Meanwhile, States to the west of us are still in a heavy drought pattern. We gained, they lost.

Overall the weather pattern still fits global warming in our time. The question for our future is how readily we can change our habits to use less energy, especially carbon-based fuel driven power. Until utilities and government begin to work hand in hand with the citizens to change entirely to sustainable sources, our future is at high risk. And we may never be able to go back to our previous denial, as more extremes will likely occur from the accumulation of carbon in the atmosphere in Asia. 

In other words, we are up against a wall that can only be scaled with a huge wake-up cry from governments pushed by citizen voices everywhere on the Earth.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Union of Concerned Scientists study GMO drought resistant corn

The document that I was reading last evening, released in June by the UCS, was at times causing me to laugh out loud, thinking about a soil bacteria DNA strand inserted into corn. The narrative will be easier to follow if you are a scientist yourself; but it is worth the effort for anyone interested. The whole text itself is about 21 pp. long-- with cover illustrations and references added on. The good news is that the outcome of the review is twofold. First, the seeds do not really perform all that great. Secondly, they are far more expensive for farmers, and the traditional methods of hybridization are so much more readily accomplished and quickly on the market that the USC suggests more study by Universities should be devoted to the more natural marital bliss of hybrid strains of resilient plants.

All of this over a bunch of  corporate nonsense that some people refer to nowadays as FrankenSeeds. ;->

Keeping hope alive that the labelling of GMOs becomes mandatory in California, with the issue on the ballot out there in November.

Monday, August 27, 2012

This is certainly the DRYEST EARTH in my lifetime!

No laughing matter
One day I actually looked up the word "drought' on google images out of wondering how the front yard happens to look like this. Yeah, this is what it is alright. Wet earth is usually expanded through some spongy areas where the water sinks in from intermittent rain. Now it is looking all cracked up, but this is no laughing matter, as the news is telling us.
(click under the picture for this video)   

No one wants to have to think about whether the storms in the Gulf that delayed the Republican Convention for a day will blow further north and land a few showers over us. But I remember that happening in some times past. The weather man in the above video says we may have to wait for snow!

In Columbia one landowner is attempting to save a 350 year old tree by carrying water to it. Meanwhile we have been hearing about depleted aquifers and low rivers and streams. And the outlook is not good. You can visit the drought outlook map which pertains through the end of November this year here: National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration Graphic

To me, after the record temperatures since spring, this looks like climate change. What does it look like to you?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Public Service Commission Hearing in Mexico, MO

On Thursday one of my new GRO MO friends here called me in the morning to let me know that the place of the Public Service Commission (PSC) hearing had been changed to Presser Hall instead of the Courthouse basement. I found it online and saw that I could walk there easily.

Then I reviewed my notes and wrote my comments over again to take with me. Wow, it was hot when I left home-- must have been in the 90's and humid. But nary a real rain storm at all since I moved here.

When I found myself on the grounds of the local performance venue known as Presser Hall I could see people still arriving and walked across the grass to the front door. A young man from Fair Energy Rate Action Fund (FERAF) handed me a sticker to wear on my shirt. Then he pointed me to the sign-in sheet for speaking. The front hallway was busy with people, and as I entered the large theater I saw a  fair sized crowd scattered over the rows of seats, mostly toward the front. 

The person right ahead of me on the testimony list was Robin Acree, whom I had met before, so when I walked down to find a seat she waved at me, "Hi Pat!"  Fenny, who had called me that morning was right behind her with Robin's mom. We were glad to see that many people there. 

In a few minutes, about noon, the Public Service Commission staff, the Administrative Law Judge and the Ameren staff were introducing themselves. Also present was Public Counsel. the voice of the People, representing us. Robin asked him if he could explain how much his budget is now. It had been cut from $1,000,000 to $475,000, so she was admiring the work they do with a much smaller staff. The Ameren spokesman was presenting his case for the Corporation. One member of the staff of the PSC explained the process to us. 

Quite a few questions were asked to the Ameren representative, who seemed something like a sales person to me, but did his best to provide courteous guidance. And others in the room were able to respond as well. I kept wishing that many of those questions would be brought up in the actual sworn testimony, but I suppose some people were shy or hesitant for some reason to speak up in that way. 

When questions had been answered the audience members were all encouraged to testify as well, while one of the Commissioners and the Administrative Law Judge, Morris Woodruff, were then onstage to begin swearing in witnesses. 

So several people, mostly the elderly who are on limited incomes, came up to the microphone to be sworn in and to testify, the most important part of the proceedings.The witnesses showed a lot of courage describing their own circumstances or opinions.  

I knew that I would be following Robin, which helped me with confidence. And here is what I spoke out about, as close to accurate as I remember-- because I said I will read the note that I had written, but I interjected a couple of comments along the way.

My Comment to the Missouri Public Service Commission
RE: Ameren Rate Hike Request
August 23, 2012 Mexico, Missouri

As a longtime customer of Ameren who moved to Mexico about three months ago I oppose any rate increase at this time. Economic and environmental concerns are my main points. First of all the economy is still depressed and many of your customers are not yet working. Your most recent rate increase of 9% was granted in July 2011. With the heat of this summer your current income is certainly higher than average.

We actually pay more for electrical power than what is on our bills. Perhaps Ameren could review their business plans and consider how much they cost their customers and the government in health care expense and expense to the environment related to the burning of fossil fuels. Here in Mexico Ameren is using an oil turbine. Oil is also a fossil fuel. Most of the State of Missouri is running on coal. As a member of Sierra Club and friend of Beyond Coal and Labadie Environmental Organization I expect Ameren to publicly assert a plan to convert to sustainable energy. In Labadie, Missouri Ameren has ash pits on the Missouri River flood plain. It is really just plain ridiculous!

I think that a utility company should behave like a good citizen. Wind and solar are reliable businesses in this State and already up and running. Why would we want to continue to subsidize Ameren's income on our own backs while they cannot recognize that climate change is here right now?

Thank you for this opportunity to speak. 

I seemed to be the last witness, but fortunately anyone else who wanted to testify was invited, and one woman who spoke out is someone working for a nonprofit agency with the many folks who are often unable to pay their bills, depending on Dollar Help and other resources through her. She just told the Commissioner and Judge, after they asked her some direct questions, "Just say no. Just say not to Ameren about this rate hike." Wow, I was helped by hearing her statements!

Good citizens of Missouri, you can still testify to the Public Service Commission in writing! 
Comments will be open until the whole case is closed, and the next step is the formal evidentiary hearings in Jefferson City which will begin September 25, so you have at least that long to get your comments in.

 Here is an online form for submitting testimony.

Here is more information if you prefer to write your comments on paper and mail them in, and it gives some guidance on comments too.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rate HIKES <"_? for Ameren: tell them about it!!!

Jeffrey Tomich posted an excellent editorial at the Post Dispatch today about the Ameren request for a rate hike.

Beautifully stated, and an excellent source for testimony at the hearings! I am hoping many customers of Ameren will be able & willing to attend despite or because of the heat and drought which are so record breaking they astonish me day after day. Maybe you yourself feel this way too: we are going to be paying higher air conditioning use bills for awhile to come. So their profits are likely to increase by default of the climate change.

On top of that, though, as Sarah Edgar explained to me while working with the local Sierra Club in St. Louis, coal is the dirtiest possible fossil fuel and the prices for it are going up. She is representing Beyond Coal, which works to retire coal fired energy plants. Not only are the coal prices up, but the cost of containment as decided by the EPA, also increases total costs. This method is no longer viable as a choice for other reasons too, especially the health risks, which are known to be worse in more recent years since the coal is not of the same quality as it was half a century or more ago. Other organizations, like AARP, also oppose the use of coal fired plants because many of their members, about 37%,  have medical needs that include devices that use electricity. Of course our elderly population is also extremely vulnerable to air pollution. And they certainly need cooling during months like these.

Meanwhile sustainable sources of energy are quite readily substituted for the ancient carbon based fuels. In fact wind farms are already in existence in Northwest Missouri.

So I myself am planning to testify at the hearing held here in my new hometown Mexico in August, and I will see if I can show up elsewhere just to attend as an audience member. Hoping to see a lot of you turning out to participate in Missouri governance as well.

Friday, July 20, 2012

My Comment to the USDA about GMO maize

My concerns about planting genetically modified organism (GMO) in the USA are several. First, it is a proven risk to landowners; the plants will hybridize with other nearby strains, disturbing the private crops of organic farmers via the wind. Many consumers choose natural foods. These GMO crops have not been tested for adverse effects on human or other animal.

Secondly, some corporations who are selling these seeds have been disturbing farmers with a notice that they have found such GMO plants on their land; the farmers are then threatened with a suit action on the basis of a patent on the seed. To avoid the suit they sign contracts that obligate them to buy and sew the Monsanto seeds in perpetuity. This has been shown to be true in more than one documentary about the Monsanto Corporation, headquartered in Missouri, where I reside. I deeply resent such actions, which are corrupt, and violate the privacy and ownership rights of affected farmers in this and other States.

Further, “RoundUp Ready” seeds have been lab engineered with genetic changes which make them specifically resistant to some specific herbicide. Those risky chemicals are toxic. They also escape into groundwater, streams and rivers.

Therefore all GMOs ought to be regulated out until proven safe by a board of unprejudiced scientists. The Bradford Research and Extension Center at the University of Missouri is majority opinion in favor of hybridization by natural, timeworn methods which produce much hardier crops with less expense to the farmer. There is no merit to the argument that GMO seeds can “feed the world” any better than ordinary, far less expensive seeds.

Environmental organizations are opposed to genetically modified organisms. The corporations that produce and sell them are not behaving responsibly about the outcomes. Union of Concerned Scientists has studied and written about this issue extensively. Genetic engineering is only a profit driven experiment on us all.
Friends and concerned citizens, please follow suit in commenting to the USDA about the use of genetically engineered organisms. I had some struggle with the web page because it limits characters of the entire text to 2000. Please pass this along to others as well. 

"Your Comment Tracking Number: 810a68ce" -- specifically your own-- appears at the end of the document submission. You can save this until the comment period is over to see it online among the others.

Meanwhile, be sure to vote and get your friends to the polls in August and November here in Missouri!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


One circumstance many of us may not readily grasp yet about the down turn of an economy that began under Bush in late 2007, is how jobs have been affected. Some of them took a hike out of the country-- they were deleted, as Jeff Faux says in this interview with the AFL-CIO.

. . . of the10 largest and fastest growing occupations between 2010 and 2020, only one requires a four-year college degree.”

Keep in mind, though, that the likelihood of being employed does remain higher for college grads than it is for the general population.

In May, the unemployment rate was 3.9 percent among Americans age 25 or older with a bachelor’s degree or higher. In June, it rose to 4.1 percent.”

Of course, if this is our sentence for our future, as stated in the interview, it is not over yet! We have seven and a half years until we find out if those are the jobs that will prove true for our youth now moving through their personal schooling and training. So-- outside of achieving a Constitutional Amendment to define campaign finance as definitely not free speech, which I fully support-- what else can those of us in the upward bound or educated segment of our population do to surf beyond serfdom into a better, more generous outcome for ourselves, our children, and the overall economy?

Here are some ideas that I like:

  • Sustainable agricultural development: farming, collective endeavors such as urban farms, and planting crops that are nutritiously the best choices, rather than continuing to consume all sorts of prepackaged goods that are controlled by corporations like Monsanto and Dow. Wouldn't it be a lively discussion to engage home and property owners in tax rebates for something similar to the victory gardens that many of my friends already plant?

  • Choosing energy sources that are sustainable, mostly wind and solar, and a move toward community involvement in the distribution of electrical power that is not produced from the fossil fuels that cost us so dearly in health and in climate change.
  • Continued movement toward conscious development of green buildings, which is already a reality. Beyond the change in the urban scape of the future, urban and rural America have already benefited from tax rebates for improved energy savings by retrofitting existing structures with insulation, better windows and doors, that save on heating and cooling. We could add appliance upgrades to the list too. The tax rebates should be reinstated to increase jobs.
  • Many of the jobs that began to move overseas under NAFTA might be replaced by encouragement of the small business community, the backbone of America for generations. Small businesses actually provide the most jobs in the USA, despite common beliefs to the contrary. “. . .Today the country’s 28 million small firms employ 60 million Americans, half of the private sector workforce.“ Large box stores just don't cut the mustard for job development. Definitely choose to shop in your local small businesses!

The thought that college does not enhance job availability as much as we want may be somewhat difficult thinking for educators, although stats still show that available jobs are more likely held by the college educated. Many of us older Americans have been preaching the benefits of education for decades if not for generations. But we also need to embrace the actual facts in some way. I don't think that we should backtrack entirely from establishing an educated electorate, as well as a forward looking, intelligent population. However, we might want to adjust our expectation more toward reality.

URLs as used, plus resources:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


From way back when I remember my Dad out in his garden plot in our big side yard. In the background the chickens clucked and pecked the earth. After he came home from the Army he put in tomato plants every year that we lived in Affton. Sometimes leaf lettuce too, possibly carrots. First he took out his spade fork and turned over the soil. Then he put in the rows of plants, staked them, and tended them regularly. The earth there was black, fertile enough to support the plump red fruit we could pick for ourselves. My mother bought us a bunch of tiny salt shakers, those ones that have a girl with an umbrella on them. Wash it under the water before you eat it, she said, and keep this in your pocket. My Dad liked them sliced on top of lettuce and served with French dressing-- in fact, he ordered them that way in restaurants along the road when we traveled somewhere.

More likely my mom just quartered them onto a plate, with the same old meat, potato, vegetable dinner that was routine for our German heritage family. She herself loved to plant flowers. We had a few daffodils that must have been there before we moved into that old place. It was just a frame house on a double lot with a chicken house and a garage. It seemed to me as though that plot of ground where we lived was a huge sort of wealth in some magnanimous way. We had a few small cedars, some flowering bushes, two box elders that shaded the roof, besides Mom's wildflower collection on the shady north side of the house. She liked to walk in the small woods around Gravois Creek carrying a basket to select out a few sweet williams, blue and white violets, johnny jump-ups, and so forth, that she fancied would cheer her up and give her a small nosegay in the kitchen window now and again. That window looked out over the Deutsch home, which also was on a double lot, but was actually a larger, brick house, with a screen house in the side yard. She said she always had to have a window over the sink to live through housework, and would never live anywhere where that were not true.

We lived there until I was twelve. After that we moved more than once, and the tomatoes were store bought. There just wasn't enough time, between making a living I presume. We did have some flowers in that one house in Kentucky, gladiolas every year; and a few roses. My mother moved the violets from place to place, the ones she had transplanted in Affton. When she was in her senior years and widowed the second time around someone once confronted her about digging up some sweet williams along a roadside, telling her that is illegal, ma'm. “I think I have a right to do that,” she insisted.

Meanwhile I had long ago landed my own life, so to speak. So I could stay out of her nonsense about what she could do with some wild indigenous plant that has been given environmental rights of its own. She was just an old Republican, after all. Who still had a room full of house plants, although she no longer could handle transplanting them outdoors for the warm months and re-potting them every spring, like she did when I was a kid.

My life was not so lucky, and luckier in other ways, since I had a profession that I worked in for years. Yet I never owned my own place. I had relationships, friends, chosen family, not the generic marriages that she discovered for herself, achieving some wealth by default of love. Still, she could not really pull together the kindergarten ever again. Her own children could not be together in the same room. That was how dysfunctional her life grew to be, out of the Truth that emerged over time; and could not be nurtured by her into a common space, since she needed in some place within to flee from some ancient territory of her own. I presumed this history to have existed by some of her lapses into behavior that I could not enlighten to the surface with her at all. My mother died three years ago.

At one point along my own path I had moved into an ashram, a small yoga community in the country, for about eighteen months. We had a real life large garden there, planted below the man made damn that held in a small lake. So the earth under the garden was river bottom, a tributary to the St. Francois. I helped support it by contributing the rototiller, and helped plant and harvest its goods for our group kitchen, where diverse people gathered in larger numbers if we had a guest teacher over a weekend. One summer we had a week long camp for children. And we were all living with our chosen abstinences, no meat, no recreational substances including caffeine, disciplines of exercising, yoga and meditating every day. In the center of the expanse of lawn and trees a huge gong hung for the purpose of keeping us on the clock, ringing us toward morning noon and evening surrenders to our higher selves.

The collards were our staple of every group gathering. They grow from spring to fall-- you can harvest leaves selectively and more leaves will grow. You have to know how to sweeten them a bit with onions and a small taste of vinegar to eliminate the bitterness. They are high in calcium, which is something that seemed essential to us, especially when we had American Indian teachers there who led us in sweat lodge ceremonies and vision quests. Other teachers were yoga gurus, Buddhists, people from a variety of paths, with a level of Christian underpinnings in the Great Brotherhood. Meanwhile we were all too human, when push came to shove. My daughter was four when I moved there, and I had hoped to establish a sort of family that proved beyond what I could really accomplish in a long term sense among that group. Yet it is not an experience that I could regret in terms of what I learned.

So I continued my part-time self support with a rental contract everywhere I ever lived in my adult life. Have moved rather frequently over time. Here I am now, in small town, rural Missouri, and looking out a kitchen window that has a view of a neighbor's garden in it, just a few tomato plants. It is a friendly spot on the earth's surface, and I still dream about gardening on a place of my own. The cost of living is lower here than in an urban place, and most stuff is walking distance away. The Great Heat Wave of 2012 causes one to wonder what the earth will be able to support in the coming of a future that is now. Yet I hope and hope and hope to reestablish the nostalgic small garden of my youth. On my own small space on the planet.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Personal report on a sound disturbance ongoing in Maplewood, MO February 21, 2012; updated April 28, 2012

(The following is a report that I submitted to the Maplewood Department of Police (since edited) and later to a counselor who works for Missouri Department of Mental Health, as well as to my private physician. I am posting it now because this telepathic interaction continues to injure me. I have also reported it to the FBI via phone message, and am disappointed that no law enforcement person has connected with me to help me understand it or escape it.

I am hoping that others will own up to the actual existence of this quandary.)  

An environmental sound vector in Maplewood, Missouri is causing a continual disturbance in my neighborhood. It is endangering residents as a health threat, a security threat, and an invasion of privacy for some individuals, quite specifically including me.

I am hearing that there are records at St. Mary's Hospital (nearby on Clayton Rd. in Richmond Heights) which show an increased number of emergency room visits with the complaint of “hearing voices.” Soon after this hurtful environmental disturbance began I called the Maplewood Police to report it and they sent me there myself via ambulance. At that time I was admitted and stayed about two days--in house. That was an expense to me and to the government insurance that covered it.

This whole incident began sometime in the spring of 2009. I specifically remember it being here in June that year when my mother died. It has continued ever since.

The sound can be described as conversations that seem to be held brain to brain rather than in spoken out loud interactions. People in these conversations commonly report to one another hearing events and other interactions specifically about me. Others may be experiencing this about themselves too. Some of the comments toward me have been describable as hate speech. Sometimes the conversation includes references to thoughts that I have not strictly verbalized in my brain. At times these humans references items they seem to see in my environment through my eyes. In fact one individual has demonstrated her ability to read a text before me at a higher reading speed then I commonly achieve reading to myself. Some of the time I engage in these conversations too, with my intent to be polite often challenged by the stress of my own anger. People remonstrate with one another with an intent of being helpful but none of us is free of our personal problems in communication. In fact I have lapsed into rage more than once over it all.

This is the spookiest most horrid experience of anything in the realm of psychic interplay that I know of, and I want to be away from it and out of it forever.

People have apparently been arrested in this particular building where I live on the basis of these incidents. The Maplewood Police “respond” in these conversations and seemed to be in attendance to assist in calming down some of the disputes, which have been in some cases ongoing for the entire time, as a long serial conversation. Yet I have not been aware of any attempt to surface this in a public service manner. In other words I am not aware of any announced attempt by any public servant here to address the issue as one that is in clear evidence and requires some intervention by public interaction. I believe this has been a hurtful lack of attention to what is dangerous to the residents.

On the other hand this building where I live is populated with college students among others and occasionally they fictionalize stories about me and/ or others in these circumstances which include other local and past history characters. Sometimes it is hard to know the truth from the fiction, and that seems to be the story telling game goal. This includes pretending to be a police officer.

I have not yet attended the one group which announces that it talks about it regularly. That is a community group that meets at the Maplewood Library on Saturday mornings.

At one point, I believe in the summer of the first year, an incident occurred which I reported via dialing 911. In fact I hung up before completing the report because the whole thing seems so unbelievable and bewildering to speak out loud about. However in that case the Police Department called me back and asked me to to describe what I believed I heard. It was a break-in by a neighbor, who lived in the building behind here and was drinking heavily. I reported that it seemed that he had broken into an apartment at the opposite end (the north) of me. I think he went up the fire escape one floor and broke the glass. The police arrived quickly and apparently arrested him. Later we heard that he was tried and went to prison for the crime which included exposing himself to the resident woman victim.

Other interventions may have also resulted in arrests according to personal reports on the basis perhaps of disturbance of the peace. In some cases physical and emotional feeling states are perceivable between people too.

Rumors abound, many harmful to individuals including me. Students here have sometimes been involved in playing games around the whole set up, by making up stories which go from just lying to fiction that is outrageous. Some of it seems funny or entertaining but overall it is really a worse threat than some of the young people seem to believe. Privacy has been invaded to an alarming degree for me personally and reportedly for others as well. I will not want to continue to live in this neighborhood because it is not a healthy place for me at all.

I hope that this whole mystery can be cleared up by a thorough in depth investigation with appropriate mediation. Classes ought to be held as well for any interested residents as well as in public and private schools, from primary to university level. Important points are self protection, understanding, and polite interactions to mitigate harm, especially to the children who hear way too much.

Friday, June 15, 2012

journal to myself re: moving on

Maplewood, MO
May 20, 2012

Thinking over the transition I am currently accomplishing for myself, moving from this third floor apartment that has been a quandary for me more often than not, but which I have lived in, sometimes in a lively and sometimes in a struggling manner, for twelve years now.

I moved here partly out of financial need for the lower rent, partly for location, but would not have freely chosen the third floor in this type of century or more old brick building, where heat rises to the top, and the original air conditioner furnished by the landlord was not worth running. (It was ninety degrees up here the first summer. My blood pressure was up at one clinic visit before I bought my own two year old air conditioner.)

Actually I had moved in sometime in early 2000. Back then I was working retail part-time in my first nonnursing job, while receiving SSD. Some of my friends helped me lug the stuff up the stairs, and we were still going at it into late evening. By then my plump legs were giving out on me. Afterwards I still had to go back to the Webster apartment, where I had raised my daughter, to clean it up. The landlady there had evicted me on the basis of her raising the rent. Also people from my family of origen seemed to be stalking me through religious and other groups. They were playing the shame game with their delusion that PTSD equilibrates out as “false memories,” lol, like they had not given me all the clues I needed over the years to believe those many flashbacks which have continued into more current times. I am sure I am not alone in such a history of shame-based child abuse and then re-abuse of grown children who finally meet up with the Pandora's Box of emergent memories.

That following morning I called in sick of exhaustion. My position as a stock clerk was not indispensable. So one four hour shift they could do without me, and my supervisor was a kind, caring person. Later on in the spring I did get myself kicked out of the damn place. I could not put up with some of the weird stuff perpetrated around me.

Before that job I had attempted a part time stint at AmeriCorps, but the expectations there were so huge that I couldn't stay with it while my daughter was wanting to move back in with me and begging the landlord back there to let us stay, since it would increase the total income between us.

No way. In the courtroom the property owner said something to me which referenced the word “mother,” regarding that “30 days hath” calendar rhyme. I had also seen across the street from me there a sibling back planting flowers in a front yard of a little house that was being upgraded for sale. I had radically distanced myself from my family of origin because none of them even responded to my request for mediated counseling among us. Street theater is the word for what those folks do, attempting to get you to take their bribes of silence, while people “in the program” dance around you too, attempting, for all I know, to obtain a real estate contract from the abusers for some enabled criminal intent.

Meanwhile my daughter's father wanted her to live by herself and set that up for her without my knowledge, consent, or knowing where she was living. Sheesh, life stinks sometimes.

Now, over a decade past living in Webster, it has been about three years since my mother died, and I am past a great deal of mourning, with a small fund left to me that can benefit my future.

So much for that awful history. I wish that PTSD was really a curable disorder, but it is not. You can never really entirely believe that one more flashback will not surface again sometime, and some kinds of environmental stimuli can suddenly catch you unaware, surfacing distress in the mood or body compartment of one's own person. More recently though I seem to be in remission from some of my symptoms including the depression and the physical symptoms of body movements and falls. So I am feeling blessed with this time during which I can forge my way forward to another place to live, another way to grow again, another group of friends and family around whom I may believe more strongly in my abilities, talents, and creative expression.

Already I have an apartment rented in another town, and am looking at houses there. From here forward I will have a place in which to garden.

During my life in Maplewood the United States went to war under George W. Bush, after blaming Nine Eleven on one individual in Afghanistan, a premise I really cannot buy. We are still the most energy dependent nation on the planet, and the winter season of this past year was stunningly warm. The park across the street from here was so green and blooming so stunningly early in the spring that I ran around it on St. Patrick's Day photographing it. I also noticed scads of maple seeds, the helicopter variety that usually spin in the wind, scattered over sidewalks in profusion with very little time aloft, and most of them appearing to be immature in size. The birds outside my window in the red maple have always cheered me from year to year. One year I saw robins in a nest that hatched on Mother's Day. This year I came across a blue egg in the grass down the street during the week before Easter, which was April 8. So the birds may or may not be on their same schedule as usual, but part of the squirrel and small mammal larder could be re-budgeted by global warming already. College students must be noting these things in their field studies too.

Last year the American Friends Service Committee analysed the Federal Defense Department's spending at sixty-two percent of the Federal Government Budget . This year it is still sixty percent. The U.S. Military is probably the most energy dependent organization on the face of the Earth. People are still occupying Wall Street in various manners, including friends and family of mine. But more and more of us are cogently aware that we live in an oligarchy in which the rich get wickedly richer and the rest of us are mostly lower class. Very little middle class exists anymore.

My personal power to change these conditions is limited by exigent circumstances. At the same time I find it personally empowering to choose to use less, discard less, choose products and energy sources as wisely as I can, and team up with like minded people. We all have a huge stake in the future for our children and the children of the world.

As it happens, I had the joy of hearing two youth assemblies in schools in which the children were performing popular songs of recent decades. Both of those music directors chose, in two separate towns, Michael Jackson's song, “We are the World.” It is so beautifully stated as an ambition of young folks everywhere to continue to work to benefit the needy and protect all of the less fortunate. Yet, as a culture, we are still the most flagrantly selfishly using the most energy and natural resources way above all other countries. How can we realistically change this around, or are we one country, under money, divided, until we surrender to the fact that Asia will naturally surpass us in a matter of decades, as has been predicted for some time?

Some matters of justice and human rights have indeed moved forward, but others still stun us in the news frequently. We are so human. We are so frail.

Are we also so predictable, or can we get past the divisions yet in the sense of our country's best foot forward? I have my doubts. But I will forge my own path forward as conscientiously as I am able.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Upcycling for generations to come

When I was over at SLU for my check up lately I decided to also walk down Grand to visit a local business I had spotted on the web call Upcycle Exchange. It's a shop that participates in the Earth Day collections on the Forest Park Community College parking lot every year and it whetted my appetite for fun. So I walked down the street about a mile and a half to the small storefront at 3206 South Grand.

On the way I walked just a little ways into Tower Grove Park to sit for a minute and finish eating my post-fast snack, a Clif Bar. As a MetroBus and Metrolink rider I carry along extra cloth bags and the usual water bottle of course. The park was a verdant green that day with the early spring. Way back when I had a little daughter (now grown) I lived in the South Tower Grove neighborhood, so I get a little nostalgic over the place.

A woman runner passed me by on the way back over to the sidewalks. Past the bank and Bread Company, this lovely part of St. Louis City is busy with diverse people and restaurants, many Asian and Middle Eastern. Some of the windows have display items from some Old Country places on the earth. So I was enjoying every minute of it outside of some minor distractions.

Paying attention to the street numbers I crossed to the east side of the street just before arriving at the Upcycle Exchange. Walking in I found the propreiter, Autumn Wiggins, talking to another shopper, so I looked around awhile at the colorful offerings.

There are two long tables in the middle of the shop as though waiting for a group of folks to gather around, with some of the newest recycled donations being sorted through there now, towards the back. A stack of cubicle baskets is closer to the front for the customers to fill up with as many items they need, on a pay as you wish basis, and the whole space is filled with light from the front, where the tall window is simply decorated with the shop name in sparkling format.

To my left a wall is lined with drawer cubes which are filled with assorted crafting items, with a rolling step ladder in front of it all. Autumn came over to me now to introduce herself and her shop, chatting along about how she came to get interested in this business plan along with several others around the country who network together. The original store was on Meramec, and this space has given them more room to expand as well as to invite groups in who may want to have a crafting get together to work or teach skills. On Mother's Day they will be having a create your own terrarium event.

I told her that I had found her on the web so she reminded me to check out the Pinterest and Flicker posts for ideas. Then she showed me where to look for various items, and I got started exploring-- almost like at a garage sale but in much, much better order with tons of good stuff. I collected some yarn, fabric pieces, needle crafting items, molding clay and a used book about a baby panda. She checked me out with a space for me to name my own price.

It's the conscious way to shop, so check out this bright, creative store! Also bring your unused items from grandma's attic or your own stashes to the Earth Day recycling event at Forest Park C.C.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Revisiting Conservation Lobby Day: a month later

 After a dull interlude without a regular ISP I am back online again, & catching up on stuff. After getting around to signing a petition about monitoring water related to coal ash storage, i was looking over the photos on the local Sierra Club site & remembering what a good time I had on Feb. 29, Conservation Lobby Day in Jefferson City. We had a lovely group of conservationists who shared some goals about discussing issues with the Missouri General Assembly. Since some people were not able to come that day my friend Michael and I had the assignment of covering the St. Charles County legislators, all of whom are Republicans. After a couple of interactive sessions to begin the day, one with the whole Conservation Lobby alliance (/  and another with the Sierra Club members, plus some photo sessions (, we set to work.  

Michael, who works part time at the local Sierra Club office, and I climbed up several stories of stairs, after which I had to beg for an elevator next time, we set out to cover the issues with our list of legislators. In fact we landed on 2 floors after that & I continued with the stairs. We were dashing back & forth from then on, except for a short lunch break, carrying our heartfelt opinions on coal ash, energy efficiency, and CWIP, which we backed up with appropriate flyers. Most of the legislators were polite and receptive to the message, although several of them stated they do not oppose nuclear power per se.  We delivered a couple of cookies to each of them too, which were donated by Black Bear Bakery & included in our own lunch packs. YUM!  

With Michael a bit ahead of the game with experience and having knowledge aforethought in organizing the lobbying, I learned quite a bit. I also told a couple of the legislators to be sure to see the movie FRESH, which presents the case for organic sustainable farming, and was made with the help of educators from the School of Agriculture at Mizzou.

I loved the whole day, including the ride up and back to Jeff City with my friends Ginger and Linda. It was truly energizing and hopeful to spend a day with such a lively group of intelligent activists for the conservation of resources in the State of Missouri. Happily also met up with some of my facebook friends there.

Wow I slept well that night, & part of the next day too! : )

Friday, March 16, 2012

ghosts of winters past

In these Dickensian times when our economy seems so out of whack with job stats still under average, how do we cope with the climate trends?

Ghosts of Winters Past

Ever the outlier of stat analysis
one more winter regresses into spring.
No one will notice this one either, the planet mourns,
over the constellation of some perhaps sunspot enmity
against this single digit nonsense that used to be.

That used to be. That used to free up some worthy small spaces
where organisms trended into dying off somewhat now & again.
Who will notice when micro life is expanded while the mammals die?
How many insistent migrations will matter in terms of the whole?
Won't it just go to show you that the few seconds that
humans have lived here
are ever trending into their own loss
of selves ?
Of shelves where products reign?
And who mourns them who live with death
born in some spaces of not enough
where not enough is always in place.
More humans than ever weight the planet
ever more off balance.