Thursday, September 29, 2016

Tough Day

Comcast, asthma and blood sugars. It's been a hell of a day. Warning: salty language and complaining ahead.

I'm having some troubles settling into taking my metformin because now it's lowering my blood sugar levels too low. I've had to add carbs back into my diet to keep my blood sugar level around 100. Hard core. I guess this means most of the blood sugar problems are more related to meds reactions, my asthma meds. The only time they spike now is when I use certain asthma meds. Going back to the research doc on Monday and we're going to have to talk about this. It ain't gonna be a pleasant talk.

This morning was hell going to the grocery store all because the cashier decided to douse herself in a heavy dose of whatever kind of cheap cologne she wears. I started having an immediate asthma attack as I was checking out, had to ditch the transaction, leaving Jim to buy the groceries and get out to the car, where I was medicating within a half minute of the attack started. My day was totally fucked after that point. I was wacked from the meds and lack of oxygen. Read two books today and lolled around wheezing with low oxygen levels.

I have two friends with chronic health conditions in my age group that have started speaking with an increasing frequency of ending it all. After the last ten years of severe asthma that can be triggered by things as simple as someone that has recently eaten peanuts standing near me, someone lighting up a cigarette within ten feet of me, certain cleaning solutions used near me, or one of the worst bugaboos - someone wearing the wrong perfume/cologne walking past I totally get the thoughts of suicide. It starts to look like an alternative to the constant illness and limitations of your body.

When your daily life is riddled with the inability to do simple things, like make the groceries, or go out in a crowd, you start to crave an ending to it all. You wonder why the fuck you're still here and why you fight so damn hard to stay alive. Life starts to feel pointless, and doing simple things, like a trip to the beach, start to take on the planning of a spy mission or military action. Everything you might possibly need to protect your health, you have to travel when the fewest number of folks will be flying/driving with you. You contact the hotel with a long list of ADA accommodations. You travel with so many prescription drugs, equipment and whatnots that you wonder why TSA doesn't look askance at that huge old pile of drugs. Oh yeah, you cannot traffic and sell asthma meds, although I could probably get a good thousand bucks for the three epipens I keep on me at all times.

You wonder if it's all worth it.

Comcast started working what was left of my nerves by merely decided yet again that I have one of their modems and sent me a letter saying that I was going to be billed for it. There's only one problem. I haven't had a Comcast modem for over ten years now. Every year or so someone at Comcast decides I do, starts billing me for this imaginary modem until I call them up and insist I don't have one. They've done this so many times now that today I came to the conclusion after talking to friends having the same issue with Comcast that they are likely doing it to rip folks off. This is their version of the Wells Fargo opening bogus accounts. I cannot wait until I can cancel my Comcast account at the first of the year when we move overseas. I think I'm going to file a complaint over this with the Consumer Protection Agency. 

You're griping a lot tonight, I hear you say, so did anything good happen? Yeah, there have been good things lately. Yesterday we spent a rainy afternoon at the movie theater watching 'Sully'. We were at the beach last week. Jim had his 65th birthday and I got him a customized greeting video from a guy that does BeeGees parodies. I got to hang out with one of my instant sisters/close friends. But yesterday I had one of the biggest laughs I've had in quite a long time in our local Petsmart.

I went to pick up an herbal spray to keep the cats out of my bathroom because one of them, and I cannot determine which one it is, thinks that the fuzzy bathmat is the perfect place to take a dump. The litter box can be immaculate and someone is still sneaking to poop on the bathmat once a week or so.

When I came into the store I stopped to look at the display of bearded lizards and experienced a thing I'd never seen before. ALL of the lizards in the display rushed forward to the glass and were STARING intensely as they pushed against the glass. Guess what the object of their fascination was? My purse, my burgundy, green purse that is embroidered with gold, silver and copper thread. They were dazzled by the shiny things. It was pretty funny. Odd, I never thought lizards were attracted to shiny baubles like that. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Children's Homes Re: Carol Ann Cole

Someone I've talked to a number of times now about the circumstances of the Carol Ann Cole murder and everything leading up to it put together some important information today. We talked and she was able to link up something I'd dug out and written about at NLQ about the Brownwood Reception Center with the possibility that there is a credible solid link between the former administrator/director of Brownwood and the Lester Roloff Homes. I'm looking into it right now and it's going to push back what I was going to talk about in the next segment of my series on Carol Ann at NLQ - Is Justice Delayed Justice At All For Carol Ann Cole.

I've also now uncovered a number of troubled teen homes in the Austin area that might have been places where Carol Ann may have been. Working through the information and the lists right now.

One thing is for sure, in the 1970s Texas became a dumping ground for kids with problems without much oversight. It's a textbook example of why residential treatment centers must be inspected and licensed by the state and federal governments regardless of the affiliation of ownership. Churches and religious organizations should never be given a pass on meeting or exceeding minimum standards for healthy treatment of children.

Another toxic horrible thing I lay at the feet of fundamentalist type religions is the fear that they instill and use against parents of struggling teens to get them to either not cooperate with CPS or to guilt them into placing their children in these places in the first place. Most social workers connected to state or local run social services have a huge unrealistic caseload already without having to beat the bushes looking for more kids to seize. But the more fundamentalist and paranoid a Christian cult gets, the more they drill into the members minds that CPS will do anything to seize their children. That's just not true. Resources are already stretched so thin in those places that they struggle with foster care placements. Burnout is high in the field too, stripping out experienced social workers and leaving fewer people to work the cases.

In a perfect world these children's residential treatment facilities wouldn't even exist, but we don't live in that perfect world, at least not yet. The facility I worked at many of the children were nowhere near ready to be placed in a normal life. They would have likely have been a danger to the other children in public school and needed desperately to be in a place where they could receive daily therapy for unimaginable abuse sustained started in early childhood. I would never feel comfortable knowing that a six year old that had starred in a large number of child porn films and had to be reminded hourly not to masturbate was going to public school along side other children from normal situations without that poor kid having already received enormous amounts of therapy first. Some children really do need to be inpatient for a year or two of treatment.

Workers at residential treatment centers that prey upon the children already having been abused that are supposed to be in treatment should be punished severely. Whenever I hear the tales of what happened to the girls of the Roloff homes and other IFB facilities it just makes my blood boil. Child rape, childhood sexual abuse and abuse suffered in these places should have no statute of limitations attached and should be prosecuted vigorously!

One of the big things I learned in my years at the treatment facility is that when the kids get moved around, because they've become more violent or need a different level of care, it boils down to money. Money. Many places, religious or not, have access to funding at a state or federal level, for the basic care of the child and an assortment of other reasons. Contracts are sold and children transferred from place to place to keep the money flowing instead of releasing some of the children to their parents to continue treatment on an outpatient basis. There's just not as much money that can be billed for outpatient treatment.

Another important player in treatment is socio-economic class, insurance and parental wealth. Rich kids, society kids get shipped out to specialized private schools who treat the family with deference and kid gloves. Kids from families with money or just really good private insurance end up being placed at treatment facilities almost as nice as those lovely private schools. In my teenage years in our neighborhood kids that fell into the tag of 'troubled' ended up being sent off to Catholic convent schools or abbey schools.

Those that come from families that don't have money, insurance, influence or much going for them, the throw-away kids, are the ones that end up in the hell holes like the Roloff Homes, with parents desperate to help their children, who would do anything for their kids, being pressured to sign over their children to the more abusive religious homes.

Abuse can happen even at the best private schools, but it's always those at the bottom that seem to suffer the worst of it. Which makes me think that the death of Carol Ann Cole also has deep roots in the class divides of money and society as well as religion. Throw away kids.

On another note I've stopped receiving emails from someone going by the name of 'Bonnie' who claims to be writing a book about the case and the other emails suggesting I butt out have stopped too. Good, because it's going to take more than a few negative emails to make me stop researching what happened 35 years ago.

I have no intention of lobbing rocks at the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Dept. or the investigators, but I am curious as to why I've been able to dig up some of what I have been able to access in state archives. I wonder why some leads don't seem to be taken seriously. From here it looks like Carol Ann might have been moved from home to home to home possibly all the way to Louisiana without ever leaving the oversight of Texas DHS/CPS.

Sadly Texas does not have the same amount of records in their online archives as Louisiana does.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Relationship Pondering or Strange Men Behaving Badly or Know What You're Getting Upfront

I couldn't decide on a title so this three title mess is what you're getting tonight. None of this may make any sense as I'm dealing with headaches and another sinus infection. I'm looped up on prescriptions tonight, including some nice little narcotics for my head.

This week I've been pondering male-female relationships of the past. I found a notebook filled with notes on a book I was considering writing three years ago for NaNoWriMo after a year of working at the mental facility and listening to everyone gripe and complain about their men. It was going to be called "Creeper or Keeper". During my few years there I found myself giving out basic relationship advice to many of the younger gals that worked there. I was always amazed at the things they would put up with in their sig-os and what some accepted as normal.

Just because I've been happily (for the most part because ever relationship has road bumps) married for over thirty years now does not mean I don't still have creeps and creepy interactions with the opposite sex. Or a huge pile of awkward weird stories from my romantic past. Just this morning I ran into Dapper Diaper Dude yet again. Dapper Diaper Dude is an elderly gent that cannot walk unassisted. He must constantly lean on a shopping cart, or a truck door or zimmer frame. He's portly, he's quite old and it's clear from a quick glance that he's wearing a fully loaded adult diaper under those banlon pants pulled up to his arm pits. He's got to be 80 years old if he's a day. Here's the problem, he's hit on me no less than three times in the parking lot of the grocery store, I've turned him down three times and each time he's told me afterward I was too fat for him anyway. Excuse me? He outweighs me by at least a hundred pounds. But he never gives up. I've seen him make his creepy pitch to others of a certain middle age in that store too. The eternally creepy pants pooping optimist.

You know I thought when I got a certain age these things would stop. They haven't, they've just gotten a whole lot weirder. This week I was telling Jim about some of the horrible and awkward incidents I suffered during my working and going to college days at the hands of those who were potential bosses. At least twice I applied for positions where I was told right up front I would have to sleep with the boss to seal the deal. Both times I walked away, even if they were high paying positions I wanted and I desperately needed the dough.

That's one thing I love about modern times. Someone pulls that bullshit on you now and it's sexual harassment. In those days it might have been frowned upon but woe be it to you if you thought you might complain to HR or sue. During college I worked at a high end jewelry store where the boss had grabby hands, and you had to avoid him in the diamond room or end up with his hands in your bra. His wife watched him like a hawk, but he still found some way to cop a feel when you least expected it.

I couldn't help but think about all of this as I was reading and preparing to write a review of Vaughn Ohlman's hideous betrothal book where he wants everything to return to how it used to be in the 50s. Not me, I really do not want to go back to a time when men held so much power that you getting and keeping a job depended more on sharing your sexual party favors and turning a blind eye to other shenanigans that never involve consent.

Von's insistence that getting to know the people you are going to marry is not necessary and that attraction is a terrible thing led me to tell of one of the things I learned at 14 years of age. I had a mad crush, like every other girl in 9th grade, on a guy we'll call Alton Black. Alton looks like Bobby Sherman, he was cool, he played guitar and sang, he was the football quarterback and a junior. I was infatuated with him, feeling that I would do anything to make Alton notice me. I hung around football practices, I hung around his band practice in his parent's garage, I always managed to be where he was.

If my father would have pulled a Vaughn, told me at 14 I was being married to Alton immediately I would have been overjoyed. But it wouldn't have lasted, I would eventually killed him and ended up in the St. Gabriel prison for women. There was one thing I didn't count on in my lust for Mr. Cool Guitarist-Quarterback. Compatibility.

As time went on and I got to know Alton pretty well I realized that he wasn't cool, he was actually rather dumb and dull. He was vapid and pretty, who never thought beyond the next day. All the adulation of the girls had made him conceited, petty even, and eventually I stopped going everywhere he was. I ran into him shortly before we moved and I changed schools. He wanted to know why I wasn't coming around any longer. I didn't have the heart to tell him the truth, that he was just shallow and stupid, that when he opened his mouth to spout his opinions it totally killed off every ounce of lust I had for him. I made some mumbled excuses about being busy washing my hair or something and never saw him again.

Years later I did hear about one of my ex's sisters dating Alton. He was near thirty then and everything I heard indicated he had not changed any, he still lived for the adoration of a flock of gals. Now as a local musician.

Boy, I dodged a bullet there!

To me that's the scariest of things about the betrothal theology. Von teaches that there is no such thing as companionship, friendship, a spark, or common interests. That if the girl and guy are Godly enough that none of that matters because the marriage will automatically work. Such bullshit. What happens is that you wake up one day married to a stranger who horrifies you in a culture that does not allow divorce.

That's what navigating all these different relationships as a young woman did for me, it taught me what was and was not acceptable to me in a spouse or even just a working environment. Knowing yourself and taking the time to get to know others is one of the best investments you can make. It can at least save you from those people that push your buttons in the worst way.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Why I Am Writing About Carol Ann Cole For NLQ

In the space of little over a week, a week and two days, I've started writing for No Longer Quivering about the 35 year old cold case open murder investigation on Carol Ann Cole. It's not been easy, for many reasons.

Over the course of the last ten weeks I've combed through the State of Louisiana archives and various online archives, talked to people with an interest in the cast and just started compiling as much information as I could. I've been do my research and formed a number of opinions on what was the likely fate of Carol Ann.

I'm getting questions over my motives for writing about the case and a considerable amount of push back by some involved with the case so I feel it's time to address those things here, on my personal blog, not over at NLQ.

First of all, NLQ has run stories on Bossier Doe and Carol Ann Cole before. After all our main topic of discussion is abuse in the world of fundamentalism, evangelicalism and quiverfull and that includes coverage of the sexual predators that seem to flourish in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church.  It's looks like it's a possibility that Carol Ann was at Mack Ford's New Bethany Home for Girls, less than thirty miles from where her body was discovered, shortly before she was found. That alone, the possibility that her murder may have happened, directly or indirectly, because of her time at a religious troubled teen home makes it something we would automatically cover at NLQ.

From some of the things being said I know I've upset the apple cart in Bossier City and elsewhere, prompting the question of why write this series, why do all that research? First of all, like I stated above this is a topic we would usually cover. But there are other reasons I'm doing this.

Another reason to write the series is to bring attention to the case. Somewhere out there someone knows more than what they've previously said to law enforcement investigating the case. If getting some small publicity through the Patheos platform jogs someone's guilt or memories and leads to solving this 35 year old mystery then that's a good enough motive to write about Carol Ann's case.

I'm not looking for money or fame or glory or even a 'I told you so!' satisfaction. I'm writing because the family should have some closure over the death of a beloved child that someone decided at some point was just a throw away kid. Carol Ann deserves justice as much as any other murdered kid.

But I suspect from what I'm seeing and hearing that I've upset the person that is reputedly writing a book about Carol Ann and the case who sits on the board of the foundation in her name. Which is ridiculous, as I'm not writing a book at this time. Perhaps if the case is finally solved I will, but not now. Someone should though because this case has so many twists and turns and unanswered questions it's going to take  a long time to untangle the threads.

Here's what I do know. Someone is frightening/working/manipulating the family for their own reasons and that is not me. Law enforcement has dropped the ball on this case a couple of times and seems like they aren't taking seriously the possibility of a connection between Carol Ann Cole being an inmate at New Bethany. Someone involved in the case is going very far out of their way to insist nothing I write, research or say in an article is any of my business and that no one should talk to me. Which makes me wonder even harder exactly what it is that this person is so desperate to hide. They already have a family member wracked with fear.

I don't know who killed Carol Ann, I don't know if she was at New Bethany, but I don't think it's been much of a priority for those investigating it either. Last year they announced a person of interest with the main evidence being the 34 year old memories of a 6 year old child who did not witness any murder or abuse. After stating that they would likely be bringing a grand jury in on this person it was dropped without word. Now they are looking at a suspect that they were told about two weeks before Carol Ann's body was ever discovered.

To recap: I'm not making money for any of this. I'm doing this series because I feel strongly that too much time has passed by and that the family needs closure. If I can shine a light on the terrible abuse suffered by the girls of New Bethany at the same time even better. Justice is good.

Someone out there needs to stop covering for the murderer and come forward. The family needs to know.

Every single time I post about Carol Ann Cole and then see a Facebook posting on her Facebook warning people not to be taken in by 'things posted online' about the case I know I've rattled someone's chain that needs to have it rattled. I'm not stopping until I run out of content.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Oh What a Lucky Man!

And yet again Jim proves just how lucky he is. On the flight back from Vegas he was upgraded to first class. He came home with more money than he left with, and he had bet on football games that played out a few days later and won all his bets. He didn't make quite enough to cover his plane ticket, but it was close.

Me? Here's my luck. About eight weeks ago I got a Shingles vaccination. I get Shingles once in a great while, so I wasn't sold on getting the vaccination but one of my new doctors insisted, said it would cut down on the number and severity of Shingles attacks I might get in the future. I had such a severe reaction to the injection I ended up in the ER with very low blood pressure and all sorts of crazy symptoms. My immune system reacted very badly.

Guess what I have right now? Did you guess Shingles? Shingles... yeah, after being vaccinated and reacting that badly. Now that's my luck. Maybe I need to go rub Jim's bald spot and try to siphon off some of his luck?

Friday, September 09, 2016

Luckiest of Luck

My husband Jim has been gone this week. He's in Vegas, baby, with an old friend of his from high school. This entire trip has illustrated one huge thing about my husband. He has the luckiest of luck always. He must have been born with a lucky horse shoe up his butt or something.

Example: The day before he was to fly out, on Sunday, I started telling him that the emails from the airline and from the airport were warning that he had to get to the airport no later than two hours before the boarding time for his flight because they were expecting long lines at the TSA security and there was a record number of travelers that Labor Day.

This meant he needed to leave our house no later than 1:15 pm on Labor Day by my calculations. He didn't even start packing until 1:25 pm. I was pretty gobsmacked because I know if it had been me and my luck I would have likely to have been watching the plane take off with out me. And I would have been packing and obsessing about packing and repacking for days. I make sure I leave in plenty of time and try to mitigate every single risk.

Not Jim. He flies by the seat of his pants and it works for him. So he's flying back tonight after a lucky week at the tables.

Me? I just spent a week washing all the bedding for all four beds/bedrooms and washing/ironing/rehanging all the curtains in the house like I do twice a year. All the while fending off door to door solicitors for everything from cable tv to local churches to meat to home repair. Seriously, the second he left and I was alone in the house I got three to four people on my doorstep a day.

Tonight I finally finished up a new fancy 'No Soliciting' sign and hung it by the front door after another spate of door knockers and a news article in our local paper talking about the pile of door to door scammers pretending to be selling this or that.

I miss my old fancy sign I had that read 'No Solicitors Please - Unless you come bearing cookies! Everyone else will be fed to the Kraken!' with a funny goofy looking drawing of what I imagine a ravenous kraken might look like.

One good thing about him being gone is that he will automatically talk to the door to door sales people. I just blurt out 'Not interested' and shut the door right in their face. I've learned no good comes from encouraging them in the slightest. Except if it's a Paramount Construction sales person. Those I tell in some very naughty words to get off my steps before I call the law on them. Paramount is the worst in ripping people off and their people the most obnoxious of all the door to door folks. I see them once every couple of weeks.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Fried Chicken and Porn

Strange up and down few days. I spend most of the day today with my youngest child. I wanted to see her, make sure she was alright after getting a very upset phone call from her on Sunday afternoon. Some jackass used a crowbar or a rock or baseball bat, busted out the window of her new car and took her wallet. She was shaken up, but has done all the things you must do when that happens.

She moaned again that adulting sucks. I agree.

Sometimes adulting sucks. It also sucks to watch those you love have to deal with the sad realities of life in a world filled with little criminals.

We ran errands together. Nothing too exciting (except for new shoes..shhh do not tell my husband!) at Nordstrom Rack.  Grocery shopping, going to the car wash, etc.

It wasn't until lunch came that we had a bit of weirdness. We went to one of the Italian restaurants in Fairfax and I ordered what I thought was an arugula salad with tomatoes, feta and chicken off the lunch salad menu. What arrived I can only call a fried chicken taco bowl, chicken breast pounded flat, breaded, deep-fried into a bowl shape filled with tomatoes, a few leafs of arugula and a sprinkle of feta. I hadn't planned on having fried chicken lunch. I guess I need to start asking more questions. It was tasty, just not what I needed to be eating to keep my blood sugars down.

On our way back from the restaurant I had an experience I do not miss, some random weirdo behaving crazy inappropriate. My daughter drove us around in her car and as we sat at a light this dump truck pulled along side on the right. I looked up at the driver, saw he was an older man with hair as silver as mine and thought nothing of it. Before I could lower my gaze he started making weird faces, like kissy faces and weird hard gestures. I was pretty freaked out, had to hide behind my hand and pull down the visor. What the hell? Do I have a freak magnet on me? He could not see my daughter since he was sitting up so high so he could only have been aiming that crazy crap at me. 

I got caught in the exodus leaving Washington DC when I left Fairfax, even as I tried to leave early enough to beat rush hour. Forgot this is Labor Day weekend and everyone headed out early. When I got home I found out that the company I do some freelance work for was sold today and I'm nervous about what that might mean. We're going from an industry giant owning the company to a firm I know very little about. Could go either way, but it made for an uneasy evening thinking about work.

But this evening as I was doing something someone who is a troll calls 'Googling Without Probable Cause' I discovered that one of the Good Quiverfull Patriarch's has been writing porn in the not so distant past. I found his archive and I've spent all evening doing oodles of screen shots. They should be up in a few days. Things are looking up.