The Walk is SUNDAY!!!

4 days from now, Adam and I will walk 3 miles (unless they still have the 1 mile fun-walk on the inside). It might just be the two of us actually there, and I might be the only one who has raised any money, but that won’t stop me. There were a lot of folks who said they were waiting to sign up later. Well, this is as later as it gets.

Click here to check out the Team Page for Team Spinal Tap! (And join? Yes, maybe?)

Feel like donating? Click here and donate on my page.

Taking It To the Streets, Using Both Of My Feet to Kick MS’s Sorry Ass! :)

Can you believe it’s already March 21st and that in 13 short days I am going to walk 3 miles? Me either! I’ve only trained up to 1 mile, but I believe I can do it. I’m going to keep training over the 2 weeks and give it my all.

For the 4th year in a row, I am participating in WalkMS.
This year I am leading a team comprised not only of my friends, but also of Los Angeles area locals who wanted to walk to support MS patients and research but did not have a team of their own. We are still accepting and still looking for walkers on our team!

Come and celebrate with thousands of fellow friends, co-workers and families that, like you want to stop MS in its tracks. There will be fun for the whole family as you enjoy a beautiful 5K walk, roll or stroll around the Rose Bowl. There will also be entertainment on the route and at the finish festival with food, music, jugglers, face painters, team booths, fun give-a-ways and more.

Click here to check out the Team Page for Team Spinal Tap! (And join? Yes, maybe?)

Every hour of every day, someone is diagnosed with MS. That’s why I’m asking you to support my fundraising efforts with a tax-deductible donation. Doctors still don’t know what causes this disease, and without adequate research funding, the amount of time it will take to figure it out will just increase.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is dedicated to moving us all closer to a world free of MS, but they can’t do it without our help. It’s faster and easier than ever to support this cause that affects my life constantly. Simply click here and donate on my page.

If you prefer to write checks, you can send your contribution to National MS Society/Walk MS, 2440 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 115, LA, CA 90064. Please write my name in the memo portion of the check so that my team gets credit for your donation!

Any amount, great or small, helps to make a difference in the lives of people with MS.

If finances are tight for you, as they are for me and you still want to help out, (Times are tough right now!) please take the time to promote my team by posting a link on your Facebook or Twitter page or forwarding this email to people who you think may have the ability to donate.

I deeply appreciate your support on a personal level and look forward to letting you know how I do.

If you would like more information about the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, how proceeds from Walk MS are used, or the other ways you can get involved in the movement to end MS, please visit http://www.nationalMSsociety.org/cal.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, for caring about my wellbeing and the wellbeing of others, and for helping to change the world in a positive way.

Let’s Give It Up for St. Joseph’s Day – a totally awesome reason to party!

I have to say, I love being married to a nice Chicago-bred Catholic Pollack. Aside from the fact that I am a crippled Jew-Girl from the South, and that since we’re married and livin the Hollywood dream, it means between the two of us, we can get away with almost all the good off-color jokes, it also means that we couldn’t possibly have asked for a better weekend to be praying for Adam to have gotten a job.

Believe it or not, prior to this weekend, I’d never heard of St. Joseph’s Day. I mean, St. Patrick’s Day, sure. Everyone’s heard of that. They freakin make and distribute tee shirts that say, “Kiss me, I’m Irish!” because the Irish are so full up on sharing the St. Patrick’s Day spirit that day that as long as you’re wearing green and drinking, they’ll take anyone! 🙂 No standards at all! 🙂

But ask anyone on the street who St. Patrick is and what they’re drinking to, and I’d be willing to bet that they have no idea that they’re getting sauced because in the battle of pagans vs. catholics for control of Ireland, the catholics won! It’s just time to get their drink on and wear green. Irish Pride in Chicago even included turning the Chicago River green every year — but there is an awesome Italian and Polish tradition of 2 days later, celebrating St. Joseph’s Day and wearing red.

But St. Joseph’s Day, that’s pretty rockin, and definitely well deserving of celebration. I mean, folks pray to Mary all the time – but what about the guy who helped her be calm and breathe deep before lamaze was invented, when she was birthin’ the bundle of joy that would later be touted as the messiah? (You know, if you believe that sort of thing.)

There’s something pretty spectacular about a gentleman who accepts a wife exactly as she is: with child when that child is not his own.

There’s something ultimately loving about adoption, about the choice to include a child in your life that is not of your blood, but to whom you swear your love and your life.

There is something profoundly endearing about a poor-as-dirt carpenter who worked as hard as he could to provide for his wife and child, who tried his best to raise an ethical, loving man, and who is barely mentioned in the Christian/Catholic Bible. I mean, that speaks volumes to me. That is the definition of quiet cool. For Jesus to have been a good man, he had to have learned a thing or two from Joseph – who is the patron saint of husbands AND workers! (And thus, job-seekers too!)

So, for me, newly wife’d to a nice Catholic boy, who had a job interview on the 18th, and who told me about this holiday for the first time on the 19th, you can imagine how excited I was to have something to take my mind off of the anticipation of waiting for the answer! We should find out sometime soon.

Till then, I’ll be doing my best to keep calm and have faith that things will work out as they are supposed to. We may find out as early as tomorrow. 🙂

Hell is for Children Because Perception is Not Reality.

I am an adult survivor of child abuse.

When I was a small child, and my parents were both working full time, my parents were left with very little option but to put me and my younger brother in daycare during days that we did not have school.

Without going into too much detail, I will simply say that one of the daycare workers was needlessly cruel to a number of the children at the daycare center, and in an effort to make me “more appreciative” for my mother and father, punished me in a number of ways. She would make threats toward my brother and in an effort to protect him (and myself) from any worse treatment, she had my constant compliance. When my Mom came to get me one day and saw me caring for the infants, she was so upset and offended that my parents immediately took us out of that daycare center.

But Mom and Dad didn’t press criminal charges against the daycare center. Nor did they press charges against the babysitters that physically abused my brother when he was an infant.

Now, you might be thinking that this news is shocking and offensive, and that my parents don’t care about me and my brother, but that’s the farthest thing from the truth. The fact of the matter is that my father understood how the American legal system worked because he was a state prosecutor. And unless you have compelling evidence that can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, you ain’t got shit. So what’s most important at that point is caring for your children’s well-being and getting them out of that bad situation.

See, the first problem with the American legal system is that it is based on a flawed logical concept: that the perception of the jury is reality, when that is sometimes very far from the truth.

The idea that perception is reality is why there are innocent folks that can get convicted based on circumstantial evidence, and why guilty-as-sin motherfuckers can be walking the streets.

It’s also why millions of women believe in the false beauty ideals handed to them by the fashion industry. Dove did a great job of showing us our cognitive dissonance with this concept in their Campaign for Real Beauty.

At the end of the day, our system of law has less to do with justice and more to do with the perceptions of the folks on the jury, which can be as capricious as their choices in dress or in television shows.

Almost nobody listens to kids. Adults assume that they’re making stuff up. And in fact, it’s tough on prosecutors to put children on the stand because asking them to go through their traumas again on the stand causes them to go through their trauma all over again! And then, they get cross-examined, so that the defense can try to make them into liars in the eyes of the jury.

The second problem with the American legal system is that it is designed to show preferential treatment to the rich.

If you are poor and cannot afford an attorney, you are given a public defender who is not given the necessary and appropriate time to work your case. Folks who are rich can afford attorneys to work for them who can use their time solely on their client. Who do you think has a better chance of walking away from a crime they are accused of? Someone who is rich and has an attorney who has worked on only their case for a month, or someone who is poor and whose attorney got their case yesterday?

Because of the economic shift in the last 30 years, it is now required that a typical family, a mother and father with 2 kids – have 2 earners.

If “Mom” and “Dad” are both working, the kids must therefore be at the daycare center or with a nanny if they are not at their grandparents, which cannot be assumed, since their grandparents are likely working to take care of themselves, since they cannot depend on Social Security to take care of them. Therefore, they are more than likely not protected or cared for by a loving family member. You never know who is working there or who is protecting your child, and the ability to pay for quality child care is directly related to how much money you earn. (This matters, simply because I believe that the SuperRich/Corporations are subverting the American way of life and are slowly removing the natural right of any human to breed because we would not have the funds to properly sustain and protect ourselves and our offspring in a way that does not lead to criminal behavior.)

Despite the fact that my parents made sure that every daycare center they put my brother and me in was licensed and bonded, I still suffered at the hands of someone who I later re-met in a mental hospital in 2003. I had checked myself in for suicidal depression. She was there, red-banded (That’s when you’re not allowed out of the ward because you’re considered a harm to yourself and potentially others.), and even said to me that she knew I was there and that it was her fault, and that she was sorry. She was schizophrenic, a prior drug addict, and alcoholic, and was constantly suicidal. She had been ordered in the hospital after being convicted on multiple counts of child abuse at the job.

And I didn’t even remember the abuse clearly until all these years later when I was working with EMDR to help get rid of my seizures! Ha! How’s that for psychology ringin’ the old noggin. At least I forgave her in group back then, and I remember learning all about the horrible things her parents put her through as a child with their abuse and whatnot. Sick lady gave me some bad information about my Momma. She never thought I was that kind of unappreciative. Skewed my whole perspective on the world for my whole life so far. But sick folks don’t mean it bad… That’s what sickness is.

So how do you protect the little folks from big ole meanies like bad babysitters or the Chinese Government, who made sure that 50 million or so of their infant daughters died so that they kept their population under control?

You keep a close watch on them, and you make sure that they know that you love them all the time and that they always know that they should talk to you about anything that doesn’t sound or feel right, and that they shouldn’t ever feel the need to be afraid of you, and if they do, there’s something wrong.

And you protect them when they’re too young to protect themselves.

Please write to your state legislature today, asking them to bring a constitutional convention to pass a new amendment to the U.S. Constitution – one that does not equate the worth of child with limitless potential to a corporation.

We have to close the open hole in our government that could allow China’s policies to hurt our daughters.
They are too precious to lose.

Passing a Constitutional Amendment Without Congress’s Approval

Okay, I know it sounds crazy, but it actually is possible for the people of America to rally and to pass a constitutional amendment without Congress’s approval!

It seems America’s founding fathers anticipated a situation where not only had the Supreme Court overstepped their boundaries, but the Congress themselves had become corrupt. A situation much like ours, where the odds are 50/50 that your Congressperson is a millionaire and is more likely to craft legislation that will benefit folks like him/herself than the 90% of Americans who are living on “the other side” of the financial class divide.

Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution specifies two procedures for amendments.

The method for amending the Constitution that has been used with every amendment so far requires that the proposed amendment be approved by both houses of Congress (i.e., the Senate and the House of Representatives) by a two-thirds majority in each, and then ratified by three-fourths of the states.” That clearly won’t work when the members of Congress are a big part of the problem to begin with.

The other method is for two-thirds of states legislatures to call for a constitutional convention. At this convention, new amendments may be proposed, subject to ratification by three-fourths of the states. That means that in order to stop the unintended spread of fascism within our democracy, America needs at least 34 states to come together and call for a constitutional convention, and for 38 states to ratify whatever amendment they decide to create.

This constitutional convention method allows for the constitution to be amended by the actions of states alone and cuts Congress entirely out of the equation — no Congressional vote or approval is needed or required. However, not once in the history of the United States have the states ever called a convention for the purpose of proposing new constitutional amendments. I think this is because there has never been a need. 90% of the people of America have never been betrayed by 2 of the 3 branches of their government before.

The time has come for an amendment to the constitution that shouts that civil rights should belong to humans only.

When the Supreme Court gave corporations free speech in 2010, and called campaign finance “speech” rather than “donating money,” they opened our government to infiltration by other countries because shareholders can come from anywhere. It made the corporate voices louder than any citizen’s voice could ever be, and it set us up for a move toward fascism, which is when corporations and government merge into one.

If you want to make a difference for the positive, it is important to speak out and to share truth.

Corporations are not people. They are made by people and made of people. They are legal fictions — constructs. They should not enjoy natural, civil rights. It is a blatant dishonesty that works to enslave our minds and our citizenry.

Please join me in writing your state legislature and asking them to bring a constitutional convention to pass a new amendment to the U.S. Constitution – one that does not equate the worth of a living, breathing human being with wants, desires, dreams, thoughts, and feelings to a corporation, a robot, or artificial intelligence.

In this equation, A does not equal A. Even folks who love Ayn Rand can appreciate that.

It’s all about using your tools.

Well howdy, party people!

I got an email this morning from Teva Pharmaceuticals letting me know about the launch of their website for Shared Solutions.

Now, I am a BIG fan of Shared Solutions for several reasons, not least of which is the fact that they have taken care of me by immediately accepting me into their copay assistance program from the beginning when I started using Copaxone in 2006, when I was first diagnosed with MS. I tell you this because I am of the opinion that it is always important to be up front about these things when you are writing to an audience, not because I think that the work that they do is any less valuable or important to our MS community.

They have a wonderful tool called the More Solutions Planner on their website that can be used by anyone! It doesn’t matter if you have MS or not (but it helps! – The injection planner probably wouldn’t be as useful for those of you who aren’t injecting meds.) This planner helps by letting you set up optional reminders for medications, ordering refills of those medications, keeping your health insurance current, and giving you reminders about your doctor’s appointments and any other appointments you choose to put in there.

Prior to this, I had been using Google Calendar to do something very similar, but I hadn’t included a “where I injected” thingamabober or a “how am I feeling” part of it, so this gives me an opportunity to track my health at the same time as keeping up my planner. It sort of takes the health and community upkeep of Patients Like Me and mixes it with the organizational convenience of a calendar program. And anything that makes self-care easier and more efficient is good in my book.

To that end, I’ve created a tool to help myself and others with some basic self-care needs.

One of the things I’ve been having a very hard time with, thanks to a mixture of crushing depression and cog-fog is remembering to do the basics. And I mean the very basics, like brushing my teeth and showering for days. Sometimes, just having a self-care chart to tell you what needs to be done, and that you can put a sticker or a checkmark in after you’ve done them, helps you to stay on track. I mean, it’s one thing to think, “Eh, who cares if I brush my teeth.” for one day. It’s quite another to go several. With a self-care chart, you can see how many days you’ve gone as well as how much better you’ve gotten if you started back after you’ve fallen off track. That, and it gives you an excuse to use stickers! Hooray for stars and smiley faces!

I’ve uploaded em to my server – the pdfs look sideways because they’re landscape format. Once you print them, they’re good to go. I kept the spreadsheet in an open database file so you can edit it using a program other than excel if you want to edit it. It’s just pre-populated with my stuff. So, if you want to follow my routine, you don’t have to change a thing. 🙂

Self-Care Awesomeness Chart – In Black & White
Self-Care Awesomeness Chart – In Color
Self-Care Awesomeness Chart in Open Database Format

Because sometimes, even grown-ups need to be able to take it back to nothin. And there ain’t no shame in that game.

We all fall down. It’s how we conduct ourselves when we’re gettin back up that makes all the difference.

I hope I’ve made it a little easier for any of you all to stand on your own when it’s hard. Scrounging for the little bits of what make us human can be tough sometimes. ❤

The Rules.

Oh rules. They’re always there in life. Whether you play by your own rules, are religious and follow the rules of your chosen path, or are referring to the laws of the land in which you live, all of our lives are bound by rules.

So some of you might be thinking, “Hey, I’m reading this because I clicked a link on Facebook, which means you posted to Facebook — doesn’t that mean that you’re breaking the rules and are not on a break from social media, Rae?” Well, yes and no, but mostly no, since I’m writing this, and am not reading it. The whole point of the break from social media is to help control my PTSD, and writing about life and dealing with PTSD, MS, and epilepsy is not likely to exacerbate it, in fact, it’s one of the most therapeutic things I do, and it’s a wonderful step toward having a better life! Not writing would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I’ve been thinking a lot about rules lately. Rules are different in different religions about what you should and shouldn’t do to be happy. The laws in different religions are enforced differently too based on whether or not that particular religion believes in an afterlife.

Me, I don’t believe in an afterlife in the traditional way that likes to get played up in American pop culture… some mix of various Christian Protestant dogmas and the finer works of Dante, Milton, and whoever else felt like playing around with hell. Kevin Smith had a good time with Dogma, and writers Tara Butters & Michelle Fazekas did a pretty good job recently with Reaper. Too bad it ended in Season 2 just as it was starting to get its own feel.

But hey, what are you gonna do? You can’t expect the world to want new mythology all of the sudden. Especially not in comedy form. And especially not when they do what they did in Reaper, where humans are dating shape-shifting demons who regularly refer to themselves as fallen angels, a guardian angel is *gasp* gay and is believed by the lady he’s protecting to be her “fairies.” (Such an awesomely inappropriate joke!) That’s really asking an awful lot of your average viewing audience. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I enjoyed the heck out of it both for its entertainment value and on an artistic level. It showed guts that networks bigger than the CW wouldn’t have had.

The thing is, the show’s primary arch – the plot device that drives the whole series – from beginning to end was “How does our hero get out of being owned by the Devil?” or put in a more universally felt way – “How do you use the rules by which we are bound to escape the pain we are currently experiencing?”

And really, that’s what life is all about, I think – figuring out different ways that we can use our bodies, minds, and hearts within the parameters of the rules by which we are bound to experience joy and to improve the world around us for ourselves and for others, so that we all may live in less pain and with more happiness.

I believe that as adults, we mostly choose the rules by which we are bound.

We choose where to live and thus choose the laws to which we submit ourselves. As adults, we choose our religion or lack thereof. We choose the friends we surround ourselves with and the family members that we communicate with, though I am of the opinion that you should always communicate with your family, even if they’re dicks. (Hey, assholes need love too. They’re usually jerks because they didn’t get the love they needed at a crucial time!)

But the thing that sucks about choosing your own rules and being an adult is that it comes with a built in bullshit detector – meaning you know when you let yourself down. Sure G-d is watching you, but so are you! And I don’t know about you, but I have always been my worst critic and strictest rule enforcer… which has often lead back to suicidal thinking. Clearly, I need to learn how to lighten up on myself. Still haven’t figured out the “how” on that one. If anyone has helpful suggestions, I am all ears.

But anyway, back to that whole afterlife thing. If you think about it, there is only one of you in all of time and space. One genetic specimen with the exact environmental experiences that you have had. And therefore, I believe that both Heaven and Hell exist here on Earth during life and that any “afterlife” means literally after life.

For example: I can tell you from experience that having electrodes glued to your scalp for a week while they take EEGs of your seizure activity is Hell.

After I’m dead, and there’s no more me, after all of life is said and done and the whole of the universe has gone kaput, I would still have spent that week in hell in July of 2008. For all eternity, that will be true.

I think that’s what the bible was trying to say about an afterlife to begin with. Just that when you die, you’re done. So choose to not do things during life that will bring you pain. If you look at the list of sins in any religion, it’s all stuff that would bring you pain or death when they were made sins.

Basically, what every religion says to me is the same thing: that the creator does not want you to make choices that cause you pain, because this life is all you’ve got. What you do to change the world in a positive way and the memories you make with each other are the legacy you leave behind – and that is your true afterlife, the presence that will be felt of you long after you are gone. No more, no less.

The rest of it, I think just comforts people or scares them in line. But that’s just my take.