Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lights Out For Detroit

UPDATE: (6-17-2012) I have had to go through and fix or delete a lot of my links in this article. Many or all of the Fox 2 links didn't work. They are now updated, changed or another story found to make the point. I also added a bit here and there so it's worth a second look.

Charlie LeDuff "9 shot in 90 minutes. Detroit on a Friday night. Where's the gun squad in DPD? They got rid of it."

(Viewer Comment) ..in Detroit you have to be your own Fire Department, Police, and Ambulance Service because those Services are a scarcity and when crime is increasing...man, no help or services for the "Hood."

Lights out: If you live in the neighborhoods of Detroit that has seen many people leave, the lights will be going dark. For some that doesn't mean much since the lights didn't work anyway, but for others it means one more layer of protection is removed. 

There are 88,000 street lights. 40% are already broken. The City says that it will save money by making the number of working lights 46,000. And who gets to keep the lights? The Downtown area because that's where the money is made, the more densely populated areas because they must be more worthy, and um..... It comes down to this, City officials know that they cannot force people to move from “distressed areas”, so they are going to encourage them to leave by cutting off services.

Now that isn't the only change

~ The police (and their supporters) have started many "new" programs to combat crime. The police stations are now closed for more of the day than they are open. They are open 8 hours a day. They have this new and wonderful (not) system called "Virtual Precincts" that will let you record your crime complaint and someone will get back to you. 

They can't come out for any crime that doesn't involve an 'in your face, right now threat', or a death. Of course, they kind of didn't really show up before but that's another rant. Read this if you are interested. They are very under staffed, under supplied and under funded. 

The pastors are going to walk the streets to get in touch with the common folks and try to head off crime. The police are supposed to stop people with broken windows are tail lights that are out in order to stop bigger crimes from happening. *scratches head* um... I wish them luck with that.

A must see link is this one that shows the crime rate "as it's happening" but also the one that talks about how those numbers are only part of the story. (here) The numbers are worse then they appear because many people just don't call the police anymore because they know it won't amount to much, the police classify crimes to suit their purposes (an almost stolen car becomes a vandalism), and because sometimes the dead just can't stand up to be counted.

~ The good old days, and now:
Old days: Detroit knew a middle/ working class population that was over 1,800,000 in 1950  

And Now: In 2010 the population was down to 713,777 and shrinking. 53% of children live below the poverty line.

Old days: Detroit was the capital of industry. 

Now days: 47% of the population is functionally illiterate. They can get by but that's about it.

Here is a link to the most dangerous cities in America with some great numbers to put it in perspective. (June 10, 2012 the homicide number was 149, 4 more than the total in 2011)

~ Other City Services like the fire department and the EMS are suffering. The fire department was told to let houses burn, have a gifted fire engine that is hidden away somewhere, and not near enough people to man the hoses. The EMS is on the chopping block, doesn't have the life saving equipment it needs, and will openly tell you that you are in a city that will let you die. (watch that here) The empty lots get mowed once a year and that's if you are lucky. awww but yet we still pay taxes to keep our service running well.

My Point: It is the everyday people who suffer. It isn't who we voted for (because I didn't vote these folks in), it isn't my children causing the trouble, I am not a drug dealer or thief, and I do the best that I can with what I have to work with. I love hearing how we should just move, leave the city, and let it die. Here's the rub, not everyone can just move. There is money issues, work issues, and so much more. And besides, why should we have to run? 

The city demands our taxes or they will take our homes but we can't demand that they mow their lawns, pay their light bill, and keep our emergency safety departments in working order?

And if Detroit can fall, what makes anyone think that the rest of America is immune? Have you all looked at Chicago lately? Not good.

On the governmental level there needs to be changes. No, not a party change but a "responsible to your people" change. The party line crap is part of the reason no movement has been made on all levels, from city to country. We need people in office that will do their job, do it right, and do it in a way that will safe the basic fabric of America and it's towns and cities.

On the street level, we need to get together and fix what we can. We need to watch out for each other. We need to do clean up our streets. I take care of three lots that I don't own. I help my neighbor. I watch out for the kids walking and playing in my area. I make sure my kids do not grow up to be gangsters and thieves.  

We are all in this together. This city, this state, this country. We need to get back to basics and pull together.

Other Sources and links:

(that last one is from the UK.... nice. I cringe when we hit the national news but now we are hitting the other side of the pond. Wonderful.)

There are a few of my posts that go along with this:

The Updated American Revolution

Dying to be Poor



The Poor Side Of The Hood

Don't forget to hit up the tip jar to help the family out. It's up there near the top of the page. Thank You very much.

Disability Doesn't Mean An Easier Life

♥ If my heart is broken, I will remember to fill it with love until it is mended. If my lungs cause me to breathe a little slower then I will take the moments to enjoy the world a little more. If I have to see parts of me go, to help me stay, than I won't mourn them but will use the extra time to do the best I can, to be the best me that I can be, for as long as I can be. I will love, I will smile, I will Live. ♥ 

Several times in the recent past, I have had the cosmic reminder that we are living a short life. We don't have forever to do it right, to love, to enjoy the company of those we care about. But then I went to the doctor. Now I got to thinking about things from "how to cope" side of illness. I have been caregiver for so long that I had forgotten the other side of it.

Have you seen this?: The following passage is being sent around on the social media sites.

"Hard to explain to someone who has no clue, or who doesn't believe you. It's a daily struggle being in pain or feeling sick on the inside while you look fine on the outside. When you and your doctors don't know when it will be better it is impossible to explain it. You or someone you know has an invisible illness - (Pancreatitis, Crohn's, PTSD, Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Diabetes, LUPUS, Fibromyalgia, MS, lyme, ME, Arthritis, Cancer, Heart Disease, Epilepsy, ADHD, Autism, M.D. Evan Syndrome etc.) Never judge what you don't understand and try to be supportive instead."

It shows that there is enough cause for people to be concerned that others don't understand what being disabled or chronically ill is about. Because of how many times this has crossed my news feed, I know that many people are on the coping side of an illness.

Misconceptions and Realities: One of the things that came to mind when I was thinking about what life means when you are battling something, is that there isn't really a break when you are sick. It doesn't make life better or easier being sick. There is no glamor in it. There is no money in it. There is no special prize for the pain, the appointments, and the unknowns.

Your day is just as long even if you can't work because you still have the day to day responsibilities. Dishes still need to be washed, appointments need to be gone to, paperwork and bills don't care if your chest hurts or that you feel like tossing the lunch you didn't even eat.

If you are a parent, you don't stop parenting because you don't feel good. If you are the parent of special needs kids, you often put everyone else first, forgetting to let yourself heal. Did you ever say "I don't have time to be sick?"

I have heard so many people say that those on social security are just after a free ride. There is nothing easy or free about it. You have to make it on less money while adding extra bills of medication, doctors, and treatments. You still have to eat, pay the light bill, and put shoes on the kid's feet.

Not every sick or disabled person gets friends who throw them a spaghetti dinner, or has a foundation racing for a cure, or even looks "sick." Some are well put together high function people on most days but on others can barely get out of bed.

My Point: I don't have a planned point that started this blog. I was just thinking about my life and what one more doctor appointment means to it. How much more an extra test strains life. And that got me thinking about other people have judged or expressed being judge.

I don't understand why so many people look at others and try to put them into some group with out understanding that life is different for everyone, that we all have our battles (both seen and unseen), and that while there are bad in every group, it doesn't make the group bad.

I wonder if you have ever been judged unfairly and what you did about it.

Be nice to each other!

Please: Help out if you can by hitting up the "tip jar" that is at the top right of the page. Thank you.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Autistic Rose

Meagan Rose has had a rose bush that we rescued from an abandoned house. It was small then and that was three summers ago. It hasn't ever had roses. It grew a bit last year but not much.

This year though... it took off and Meagan has been watching it every day. She watched the little promise of a bud, the little tiny changes each day, the little bits of color come through and yesterday she got to see the first bloom. aww, if only you could have seen the simple delight in that - amazing.

That is so much like what the parent of an Autistic child does. We hold that hope, we watch and take pleasure in the little growths, and we explode with joy at each bloom.

Meagan teaches her mommy sometimes.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Meet: Edward R. Cox

If you saw my recent post on the "Land Of Dreams" video, than you have met my friend Edward Cox. He and another actor, Gideon Hodge, played a ground breaking part as a gay couple riding the street car in New Orleans. I was able to talk with him about the project as well as find out a bit more about this creative man.

He and Gideon have had a rise in interviews and discussions because of the unique nature of their part in the video. Please check them out if you get a chance.

~ OutSmart Magazine, click Here for a great look at the story.

~ The U.S. Constitional Free Press has and article Here, that I'm not sure how I feel about it. It focuses on a couple of interesting points including that New Orleans is featured in the video but is listed as one of America's most dangerous cities. And how *cough* far from traditional American values the add is. Right. I have a different view of America then they do I guess. Make sure to read the other post to see my view of what America should be.

Hmmm... I wonder how Detroit missed the cut on that whole dangerous thing.

There are others out there so keep an eye out for them. You can search "Land of Dreams Tourism Commercial" to find all the different videos the campaign has released so far.

Edward Cox: This marvelous man is artistic in so many ways. He is a designer of sets, costumes, and all things magical. He acts in many different types of roles. And he is a man who speaks and stands for Human Kind.

He is a proud native New Orleanian and Actors Equity member. He has almost 50 years in entertainment. From filming lots of movies, doing lots of theater and making tons of gorgeous stuff, he has made his mark on the industry.

He is a professional Theatrical Director, Author, Designer, a proud member of Actor's Equity with a career that started before salt water, as he says with a smile. He also has many Mardi Gras designs including costumes, floats and much more.

He also lays claim to the classic screen vixen Paulette Goddard as a cousin of his. The Family Von Trapp singers, Of The Sound of Music fame, are blood-line relatives as well!

He is definitely more than meets the eye. He is open, gregarious, and enjoys having a great time. While work brings satisfaction and pride, he always adds that laughter and fun are a must. He is happily partnered for over 18 years and married to the love of his life, Vatican Lokey.

Find his professional information by following the links:

IMDb http://www.imdb.me/edwardrcox 

Stage Click http://www.stageclick.com/person/2973.aspx
        * This link has a lot of great information and I highly suggest it. *

Agency Pro Public Talent Portfolio http://www.fameagency.com/EdwardRCox

Actors Access  http://resumes.actorsaccess.com/edwardrcox

Simply Stunning Designs - NOLA is a great place to look at (and learn how to purchase) some of Edward's wonderful creations. I Love visiting this page when it is at the high of activity.


Twitter! @GayGuyInAd

Gideon Hodge: The other actor in the video is Gideon Hodge. He was cast as the role of partner after Edward's own partner, Vatican was offered the part but had to turn it down due to a scheduling conflict that put him in New York.

Edward says, "To be honest, as far as I know he is straight, VERY open minded and open hearted and I adore him no matter what!

He and Gideon met on the set of "Land Of Dreams." Out of the other actors who auditioned for the role, Gideon was chosen to replace Vatican, who was cast alongside Edward since they are an actual married couple.

Gideon and Edward instantly gravitated to each another the moment we met. They became friends from the start. Edward says that he and Gideon have many things in common not the least of which is the love of acting onstage. This includes pantomime, dance and commedia del arte, and so much more.

They totally clicked while getting to know one another excitedly over breakfast before the shoot, which was great for the commercial. They filmed their segment in the St. Charles Avenue streetcar in New Orleans for about an hour and a half or so. With each take they were given direction verbally throughout, since it was silent footage to be used, and numerous setups and actions were filmed.

Edward shares a touching moment that I find speaks of why their part in the video is so note worthy to those who watch it. He describe to me the fact that he "held back" as to not make Gideon uncomfortable, but that really it wasn't necessary.

"Gideon is so wonderful a person that he 'went for it all' and I did so as well, which seems to have worked out fine. I even recall giving him a kiss on his head at one point and it felt right and natural for the moment. No bells and whistles and horns screaming "Look at us! We're GAY!"... just a Gay couple, two same sex male partners, relaxing and enjoying a streetcar ride together just like anyone else."

Gideon is a man of many talents. He acts and is soon releasing a novel called Lilith's Redemption based upon the myth of Lilith, Adam's first wife. He is the executive director at Society for Theatrical and Regional Art. 

Edward's Thoughts: A gay couple being presented in this historic first ever tourism campaign by and for the Untied States is being touted as "Groundbreaking." Gideon and Edward are being called "The Faces of Gay America to the World" in some of the Gay media. Edward says that it is most humbling and a little scary too! He is so proud that New Orleans got 3 segments in this commercial series that will appear in over 50 countries. He is prouder still to represent the Gay Community through New Orleans.

"I pray that this is a positive step forward for tolerance and understanding and acceptance not just across the world, but here in America where we truly need it, for all races, genders and especially for the LGBT community."

 Check out the first post on "Land of Dreams" here.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Moment In Mom's Heart.

The following is a rewrite of my side of a status and follow up comments I made on Facebook. I'm sharing it here because I think it says a lot about Rowan, about how I feel about him, and why I use the terms I do. This was not a planned blog topic but there is a certain part that touches my own heart deeply and I just want to keep it where it's safe. ~

Status: "Yesterday, I made the world prettier. I added the smiles and laughter of my children to it. I planted seeds and transplanted Iris, to add color to the dullness. I cleaned up other people's trash (yes, I grumbled at them.) Last night I held my son as he cried away the pain of the day. And this morning, I woke up and smiled. Today is a mix of work and play but then, isn't most days? ♥ Find your smiles today. ♥"

Added later: Rowan and I are the only ones up and going. We are up because his legs are still achy. I was going out to water the far plants (the ones in direct sun all day) before the sun got to high and hot. Rowan wanted to go too. Despite his pain he lugged three half buckets of water out all the way out there, helped water them, and do a bit of clean up (because the people around us have less respect then they should). We chatted about this and that. He saw a bug and told it to "GO!" off his plant. Amazing morning. Makes the lack of sleep disappear for awhile.

In response to a question asking if he is talking more: He has everyday words that we understand (and people who know how to listen well) that aren't all that clear to other people like NahNah is mommy, A-da is Dada, Caitbug is Cait-er-bug which is Cait's nick name. Go, car, drink, no, sissy (for Meagan) Octonauts (though not clearly, we know what he means), bye, hurt, leg.... 

Mainly he parrots or talks in syllables and signs for family and people he knows well. He doesn't talk to strangers other than a good bye kind of thing. He tries to "say" combinations like "go now" but *shrug* they don't think he will ever have totally clear speech or the muscle tone to achieve "everyday vocal communication" He looses strength so quickly.
The sometimes word that we get that makes me melt into a pile of goo is "ove ew" while he tries to do the sign for I Love You (his finger control makes sign very hard and then there is that whole lack of tone thing again)

A friend lovingly replied: that I should never forget the power of love. When her son was born they said he wouldn't live, but if by some miracle he did, then he wouldn't achieve anything. And he is now living on his own. We never know what the future holds.

I responded with: Rowan wasn't going to live, he'll be 5 in July. He wasn't going to walk, he runs sometimes. He wasn't going to hold a pencil, he scribbles me shopping lists. He wasn't going to say any word clearly, and I cried when he said "ove ew."
He lets nothing hold him back and I certainly would never add to his burdens. I will trumpet his success. BUT I have to keep some realistic points in mind when I publicly talk about him to family, friends, and others because while I see how far he's come, others don't understand how hard he had to work to make it happen.
They judge what he doesn't say, doesn't do on his own, or how he isn't like other kids. They see spoiled, babied, and lazy. They have never tried to understand the seizures and how they set him down for days on end, or how just eating half a slice of pizza tires him out, or how the heat can send him to the hospital. So when I get asked a question I tend (by habit?) to explain the why and the realistic noises that the doctors, therapists, and other caregivers make. (defense maybe?) If we know what others expect of him and we see him go past it, then they (those who don't understand or who doubt) know what I, what we, already know - that he is perfect just being Rowan.

One wonderful response: I received love and support from friends after that but I wanted to share one specific one. You may know here from some responses she has left on other posts. Sometimes I think she says what I mean far better than I do. *smile*

She said: "I understand quite a bit.. with my niece we lived through the hurtful things that doctors would say about her and even put up with "well meaning" family and friends who said the wrong things and we learned to survive the harshness of being judged and misunderstood. We learned that not all people are the classic patient in a text book and we learned to pick the right words when talking with professionals that had no clue what it was like to stay up all night with a sick child that couldn't speak and tell you what hurt. I do know what it's like being scared of the unknown and finding precious memories in the most mundane things that others would over look.. a uneventful day was a blessing to us.... "

My Point: It isn't easy to understand what really goes on in someone's struggles. I understand that dealing with a chronically ill child is hard, but even with all of my experiences, I can't say how it would be to have a child suffer through cancer or blindness. 

But the understanding that I do have, helps me be more mindful of my reactions and treatments of others. I use what I deal with to know what I can do to ease the burden of another, even if it is simply knowing that a sleepless night means we are a little more raw, that therapy can be as draining for the caregiver as it is the patient, or that an hour that the family is all asleep means that mom can just be and that is worth gold prices and then some.

I judge less, I offer a helping hand instead of criticism, I talk to the child others won't look at. I do it because I know what it's like to be talked about cruelly, to have my children left out, and to be forgotten by those I thought I could count on. I also know what it is like to have friends and strangers pull together to help me, to have someone find joy in Rowan's smile even when he ignored them, and for someone to say that my words helped them through.

Just be there, try to understand, ask what is needed, take a minute to try and see it from there side. And if you must judge, do it somewhere else because no one needs that around them when they are battling ... something.

Be Nice to each other.

Monday, May 14, 2012

"Land Of Dreams:" For Everyone

As you watched the video above, what did you notice most? Was it the beautiful photography? Or Maybe it was the music or the song that struck you? Was it the races of the people, their faiths, their sexual preference, their cultures, or their income? No, really, I want to know. Please leave your answers in the comment section below.

A Bit Of Background: The company which partners with the United States Government to operate DiscoverAmerica.com (The U.S.'s official travel and tourism website), BrandUSA, released a new ad campaign titled "Land of Dreams." This commercial is being shown world wide in countries like United Kingdom, Japan and Canada. Their aim is at attracting international tourists to the United States.

The entire crew were a rainbow of races and types from across the globe, so it made total sense that this international talent pool behind the filming and creating of these spots, were so highly capable of creating such a blending of people and types in the entire commercial series. As you watched there were faces of every race, many cultures even in the instruments that were used, and there was even examples of different family and couple styles. An excellent example of the melting pot that America was founded on.


You knew there was a but so don't look so shocked....

At around the 1:15 point in the video there is a couple that is making people talk. What makes them so special? Americans haven't always reached out to couples like them and while they have come far, they are still battling to be considered a "normal" part of our culture. The issues facing them are a hot bed topic in many state and federal elections. They are a beautiful gay couple enjoying a ride on the street car.


Why is it so hard for differences to be accepted. In today's modern world, you would expect more educated opinions about ... everything.

-To balance a budget only spend what you bring in. Simple? Not for a government.

-If you want people to stay out of your business then stay out of theirs.  This includes gun cases, bedrooms of consenting adults, a woman's uterus..... ect...

-Religion and Politics make for poor bedfellows. A good case in point would be the up roar against gay marriage. The LAW surrounding marriage should be about protecting the rights of the couple. The MORALITIES of the marriage should be up to the couples belief system.

My Point:

Poor, white, black, middle class, Catholic, Pagan, city, country, foreign, healthy or disabled - it shouldn't matter. It's about Human Rights. It's about freedoms to be looked at with out judgement. It is about the freedom to live your life by your morals.

America is supposed to be everything that video showed. A chance for anyone to be everything that they need  and want to be. To have an equal chance to be fed, housed, and loved. Race, Sexual orientation, bank account, religion - none of that should matter.

We are all in this together and I am so happy to see and hear of the progress that is being made to embrace that. But I am also worried about the areas where no progress or even reverse progress is being made.

I am very proud to call an actor in that video a friend. I am very proud to see America showing acceptance. And I hope we can all be inspired by each other.

To Learn more about the couple, please click here.

"The handsome gentleman with the beard is my husband of 20 years, multiple award-winning actor & director/designer Edward R. Cox. I'm very, very proud of him for being involved in this commercial!"
posted by VaticanLokey on 21-May-2012 11:09
On the DNA website (click Here)

To read a Forbes take on the campaign click Here.

Search "Land of Dreams Tourism Commercial" to find all the different videos the campaign has released so far.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Resources, Apps Reviews, Shares, and Free Stuff

***I will be updating this often so try to check back. Included here will be resources for help with Special Needs and Every Day Needs, App links and reviews, and links to free stuff that I find a long the way. Please share your own in the comments or tell me of any issues you have. Thanks All and I hope you find something you can use.***

Syllable Counting: This link leads you to a video about the app. and the information about cost and where to get it. I have not used it yet but when I can a chance to, I will tell you what I think.

A4cwsn: This is a great resource for many reasons. There are links to Apps, there are resources and ways to earn an iPad and other special needs items, and there is a great Face Book community to join here.

Freecycle: Need baby items? Short on food? Have clothes you grew out of... or dieted out of? Toddler done with his baby bed? Here is a great resource to give away your stuff or fill a need. You will be helping to keep good stuff from going to a junk heap and the Earth will thank you. It is easy to use and wide spread.