How Come My Disability Check is So Small?

This is something that I was trying to explain to people who don’t receive disability, but it’s something that’s invaluable to know if you DO receive disability or anticipate that you will be receiving it in the near future in the U.S. as well (as I hope to be by next year, dammit). Thank you, as always, sleepygirl.
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How to Get On

eightfoundlingsredoFoundlings by Marion Michell

Many people get a low Social Security check for many years and do not understand why this is happening or if anything will change it.

Lucky you! You have come to the right place to figure some stuff out.

Reasons Your SSDI Check Might Be Low

Reasons Your SSI Check Might Be Low

Reasons Your SSI May be Denied or Cut Off

What is the Difference Between SSI and SSDI?

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A Really Adult Post About Male Sexuality

A friend posted this article on Facebook. Many years ago I had wanted to be a sex educator, so reading anything that has to do with sexuality in the clinical or psychological setting is fascinating to me. A friend pointed out that it’s an article that is probably aimed towards women who want to find out more about the penis. Maybe, but then again, maybe not. I think that women have to steer men in the direction of talking about these things, or at least feeling safer about talking about these things, just as this author did.

There are a couple of things that stood out to me. First, there are not many opportunities to examine a transgender penis, much less talk about one. They are often portrayed in television shows as grotesque, malformed masses only briefly glimpsed during bloody surgeries, never as final products. This article (and this picture) allows me time to actually look for as long as I want to and marvel at how far this type of surgery has come. I mean, really, genius! Go for the big penis! When I was facing my hysterectomy, I had jokingly asked my OB/GYN to make my vagina slightly longer because the big penises were posing a real problem. She laughed, of course.

Second, I had a partner with a micropenis. And neither of us handled it very well. I was in my 20s and had just moved to Arizona. He was quite handsome and we got on very well, but it all fell apart when we had sex. B. felt ashamed and inadequate, so he overcompensated to the extreme. He would demand that I would tell him he was “filling me up” when in fact the condom couldn’t even stay on. Fully erect, he was about the size of my thumb. B. was frenzied in his thrusting and when it was all over claimed it was the best he had ever had. I was just dazed. In the days after, I told him that I didn’t think that we were a good match. He kept asking why. I couldn’t bring myself to say it. But it wasn’t a relationship first and then sex, it was sex first, and I was just not equipped to bring him through the minefield. Of course I’m hoping that he found someone to love.

Third, I wish more men would quit porn. I mean it. The violence, the fake body parts, the fake orgasms, the fake positions, only being able to orgasm by jerking off fast and hard? It makes for a shitty sex life. And it’s not because I’m not doing enough to keep men interested. If you’re bored, then you’re boring.

Without further ado, here is the article: Me and My Penis: 100 Men Reveal All

How Not To Creep

Some sage advice from a fellow blogger. Don’t be a creeper. Just don’t be a creeper. Here’s how to make sure it doesn’t happen:
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My Friday Blog

Hello dear reader(s)!

If you are like many people, you have or currently do desire someone and may be worried about expressing that desire without being seen as a giant, disgusting creep.  Even if that statement has never applied to you, you may want to continue reading because it likely applies to someone who has or currently does desire you, and then you can use this to identify and head off the creeps in your life.  Heading off a creep can prevent the need to take the heads off creeps, which is much more favored by the legal system.

Despite what many fedora wearing neckbeards who think they are nice and call women m’lady believe, it is possible to express desire for someone without being a creep.  Despite what many desperate single ladies believe, it is possible to attract someone without sending random suggestive pics to their target’s phones.

So…

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Is It Time For A Vacation Yet?

I’d like to take some time off from my daily life. I’m not sure if that’s allowed, since I have loads of time off already – my only job is to rest and get ready for the next doctor appointment. But still, I’d like to look at something other than these four walls. In fact, I’d like my old life back and a reason to take a vacation. 

Anyway, yesterday was my birthday, and a couple of friends flew up from Colorado, and we decided to brave the largest art event in the U.S. – the Art-a-Whirl in Northeast Minneapolis. What was happening in one warehouse would have covered what most cities considered an arts festival, but this event takes over miles. We just stayed within the limits of where the complimentary trolley traveled. Even with the trolley my phone tracked 7,000 steps for me yesterday. That’s a personal record (and comes with a cost, because I’ll be in bed for most of the week with the exception of one appointment tomorrow morning and Wednesday morning). My legs were having none of it. They were starting to spasm in the last building we visited.

I did pick up one little piece of art, which reminds me of a line I’ve heard over and over in my dating life:
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Genie In A Bottle – EnviroKlenz Review

I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

Have you ever gotten on an elevator an nearly choked from the heavy cloud of perfume or cologne that is hanging there? The worst part is that sometimes the culprit isn’t even there, they’ve just left a toxic plume behind them. I also dread shopping and walking down aisles that contain cleaning products like laundry soaps, air fresheners, fabric sprays and softeners, surface and floor cleaners, and dish detergents. Can I hold my breath for that long? Maybe. But inevitably I also break out from hives. Why is that?

Well, I don’t just have allergies. I have SUPER allergies. I have mast cell activation disease. When I tell people that I’m allergic to something, inevitably they ask me why I don’t just take a Benadryl and be done with it. Boy, if only it was that simple. Among a huge list of things, I’m allergic to “fragrance.” You would not believe what “fragrance” shows up in. And the allergy manifests in my body by showing up as a skin irritant – a hive – because it’s floating through the air, or my skin somehow comes in contact with it, and as an asthma attack. For instance, I have gotten nasty bouts of contact dermatitis that have turned into skin infections, all because “fragrance” is one of the ingredients in Dermabond and Dermabond was used on one of my many abdominal surgeries. Who needs Dermabond to smell pretty? I’ve never noticed a particular rosy smell to it, to be honest.

I see friends who themselves have allergies and asthma or kids who do and then wonder why they have uncontrollable reactions, and it’s because they load up on fragrances and chemicals. I mix my own surface cleaners and laundry detergent because I want my environment to have the best foot forward for me. But sometimes it takes a lot of rinsing and a lot of vinegar and a lot of airing to rid just-washed fabrics of even the most simple hand-mixed detergent. If I’m not careful, leaving any kind of fragrance in my environment can mean that I’m covered in hives and I’m wheezing all night rather than sleeping.

Enter the EnviroKlenz Laundry Enhancer. I actually tried this product via three different ways: a traditional top-loader machine, an HE machine, and hand washing. The idea behind it is that it neutralizes any scent that may still be incorporated in the detergent so that any additional rinsing or vinegar becomes unnecessary. Most importantly it’s chemical free and eco-friendly. 

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For the top loading machine and hand washing, you add your detergent and the EnviroKlenz Laundry Enhancer to the water first, let the water fill half full, and then add the laundry. The HE machine’s directions will be followed with everything being added in the detergent drawer as usual.

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After I got through all of my cycles of laundry, I laid down in it. I breathed deep. I buried my face in it. And I couldn’t smell anything. I waited to see if I got any hives, either on my face or my arms, because those are the usual culprits, and nothing happened. I waited much longer to see if I got a whistle in my lungs. Nothing.

Later I laid down again (because I don’t spend much time out of bed), and again, I didn’t notice any particular scent, nor any hives or asthma. Also, it’s important to note that I didn’t notice a specific sour smell to the fabrics. Sometimes when I do laundry I miss the old days of the “fresh laundry” smell – that smell that we have all been sold on by the chemical companies, that their manufactured smells are “fresh” smells, but then everything swings to the opposite side of the pendulum and just smells sour and flat, as if it has never been laundered at all. My fabrics didn’t smell either way, just neutral.

By the way, if you prefer a powder product rather than a liquid to achieve the same results, they have you covered!

One universal product from EnviroKlenz that I’m especially excited to try next is the Everyday Odor Eliminator, which is safe to use on fabrics as well as hard surfaces including hardwood floors. Do you do yoga? Do you want to freshen things up a bit? Put one part Everyday Odor Eliminator to four parts fresh tap water into a spray bottle and spray down your area, then wipe down the excess. It’s safe for pet areas too, including pet beds! They lick the pads of their feet – do you really want them to lick chemicals? No! 

Here’s pamphlet further explaining more of their products, and of course, I have already set you up with a link to their website. We have become far too dependent on chemicals and EnviroKlenz is a safe way to scrub your environment of toxins.
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Failure Or Fun? You Choose

I get a lot of flak for my dating life. Well-meaning friends and family have tried to keep up with the names of the men I’m dating, and I tell them not to bother, because they won’t be around long. I also deliberately avoid family photos. It means that I’m often the butt of many jokes, which admittedly sting from time to time. But my refusal to settle means that I continue to avoid divorce, too. I always end up with good stories.

Here’s the perfect museum for me, and people like me: The Museum of Failure. Of course this has to do with the world’s worst innovations and not relationships, but these are gloriously bad. That shocking facial mask?? OUCH. I had my face tased for a test, it’s not pleasant. I would not buy a device and do it willingly on a regular basis. What the what…?

And the Colgate lasagna…well, this year there was an ad for toothpaste that tastes just like a Burger King Whopper, but that was an April Fool’s joke. Trust me, you do not want this unless you are going to be single forever. And not talk to anyone. Ever. And not get laid. EVER. No.

If you haven’t had the pleasure yet, one of the items included in the Museum of Failure is the Bic for Her pens. It’s not because the pen itself is dysfunctional. Bitch, please – why the fuck would you market a pen as only “for her”? Talk about trolling, Amazon couldn’t keep up with erasing the “reviews” fast enough, so there’s a ton of material out there that you can search for, but here’s a taste.

Speed Dating a la Cab Ride

When I first moved back to Minnesota in the summer of 2015, I had some leeway in being able to be upright before I started to get paralysis in my face. I could be without my cane and go incognito for about an hour before it became obvious that there was something not quite right with me (besides being “weird” as some of my friends declared my personality). But as I’ve gone on without being able to get any assistance from doctors and the pressure in my cranium has increased, I haven’t been able to leave without my cane, and the left side of my face becomes immobilized much quicker now. I become invisible to the majority of the opposite sex. I don’t dress any differently, I still put on my yummy perfume oils that smell like sex and chocolate and I still do up my makeup just right. But my cane and the left side of my face are my instant cloak of invisibility.

The exception is middle-aged Somalian cab drivers. 

First, they find out if I’ve had children. I tell them I’ve had a hysterectomy, so I can’t have children. They tsk-tsk their tongues and then say, “That’s too bad. No kids? Maybe some day. That’s okay.”
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Then they ask me what I like to do for fun. I explain that I don’t go out much because I have to lay down a lot because of my health problems. They make the tsk-tsk sound again. “You have to get out more.”
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Sometimes they will ask me if I believe in “God.” I tell them I don’t believe in religion and I will not be with someone who pushes their beliefs on me. Some will tell me I need to pray about it; some will tell me they respect that and I don’t have to believe what they believe (but I’m a pretty suspicious sort of person and I always think men will say anything to get in my knickers). 
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Then they get to the point where they ask if I would like their number. They tell me that everyone wants someone to be close to – which is true. Some try to sell me on the point that in the Somalian culture, everything is provided for the women. (This is not at all appealing to me – good thing my face is paralyzed to keep things polite! I don’t want to be thrown out of the cab.)
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Sometimes I have to refuse the offers of numbers 8 or 9 times. This last one, pictured above and most recent, was a fun sort of guy, and we talked a lot about dancing. I used to do a lot of swing and salsa dancing and miss it terribly. He told me that he goes out dancing for 4-5 hours at a time and it would be great exercise for me. When I was having a hard time getting him to take no for an answer, it was becoming a sort of unreal conversation:
Him:  You should let me take you out dancing.
Me: I can’t. I need to have brain surgery.
Him: When will that be?
Me: I really don’t know.
Him: Tsk-tsk. You should let me take you out dancing.
Me: No. I can’t even turn quickly. Dancing could kill me. (I didn’t explain the whole pressure in the cranium and stroke and aneurysm risk factor – way too complicated.)
Him: It would be fun. We should get to know each other.
Me: I really have to concentrate on my next surgery for now, but thank you.

Thankfully most of my doctor appointments are within 10-15 minutes of my apartment so the awkwardness never lasts much longer than that.

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Living with……

One of my friends only just recently decided to post on Facebook the random challenges she faces as someone who struggles with anxiety on a daily (and really, constant) basis, including scenarios similar to these. Posting on FB makes her particularly vulnerable (I think) because people tend to be a lot more random; here in the blog sphere we can tailor our focus and therefore possibly in turn be a more understanding audience for our fellow bloggers right out of the gate.

I’m learning to live with anxiety myself now, something I’ve never had to deal with. It hitched a ride with my major depressive disorder and PTSD (yes, they’re official). I now get anxiety every time I have to talk on the phone. Because of the pressure in my cranium and where the tumor is pressing, I forget words, and I stutter and stumble, and I’m very self-conscious about that. I often forget what I’m talking about mid-sentence too, especially if it’s complex.

I’ve always been a very social person. Because of anxiety though, I have to talk myself out of cancelling plans every time. I usually don’t sleep the night before doctor appointments. Recently I didn’t sleep after an appointment. But the absolute weirdest thing that happened is that I had a panic episode watching a movie. A stupid movie. I can’t even remember which movie it was (I burn through them quickly – 6 or 7 a week) – but I had to shut it off. It wasn’t an action movie.

It’s a strange club to be in.

Please read my fellow blogger’s piece on anxiety.

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I often think that the hardest thing with anxiety is that people without it can’t comprehend how difficult it is to do simple things like taking your child to school, during the school run. C…

Source: Living with……