Alcoholism, City Life, Downtown Madison, Drug Addiction, Family, gentrification, Homeless, Homeless Shelter, Madison WI, Real Estate Development, WISCONSIN

Gentrification Redux Take II

Goodness gracious, another person responds with real dialogue about an issue! Wonderful!

Christopher Patton wrote in response to Gentrification Redux:

I don’t think urging people to use the police force as a proxy to handle ‘bad apples’ really solves the problem of homelessness or drug addiction. It is merely another attempt to push societal problems out of sight instead of trying to confront them on a personal, interactive level (Cliff Fisher and you might have more in common after all). If you truly value your community than you won’t relegate it’s policing to a group that upholds the power structure by treating already disadvantaged people unfairly.

I’ve dealt with alcoholics and drug addicts my whole life. I am, in fact, what I would consider a non-addicted alcoholic who made the decision early in life that I would not go down that path because the way I drank and the effects of alcohol on me WHEN I drank could too easily have led to addiction.

I was lucky because I became educated before the booze took over my life. Many of my family members and my children’s father’s family members did not have that advantage. Alcoholism and drug addiction claimed their lives. Some of them were homeless as well.

The one thing I know about an addict and had to learn through painful demonstration over many years of trying to save the alcoholics and drug addicts I have loved is that they will not give up their addiction until they become convicted that they have no other choice. They have to hit their own personal rock bottom.

People hit bottom when they have to suffer the consequences of their behavior. You may believe that involving the police in curtailing the abusive behavior of people who are drunk and strung out on drugs is treating an already disadvantaged person unfairly. I happen to believe holding everyone to certain standards of civil behavior is more than fair. It may be the best thing that could ever happen to an addict.

I’ve learned that the only kind of love that truly helps an addict or alcoholic is tough love. It’s the same kind of love a good parent gives their child. The best present I ever got from my son is a kitschy little plaque that begins “I had the meanest Mother in the world…She loved me enough to say no.”

I’m more than willing to interact with the homeless and would agree that there are definitely social issues that need to be addressed to solve the problem. I’m not advocating that the homeless be thrown in jail wholesale but I know better than to try to confront alcoholics and addicts “on a personal interactive level” while they are using.

They don’t have an interactive level in that state. It’s a waste ot time. Basically there is no one home because they aren’t going to remember the interaction the next day anyway.


Adult children, Capitol Square, City Life, Family, Farmer's Market, Farmer's Market on the Square, Grandchildren, Life, Madison WI, Things to do/Places to go

Closing Farmer’s Market On the Capitol Square 2007

It was another gorgeous day in the neighborhood with temperatures nearing 60* under mostly sunny skies. We still haven’t had a hard frost and aren’t even going to see a light frost tonight with temperatures only dipping down into the mid to upper 30s.

What is it they say about people with a predilection for constantly discussing the weather? <grin>

Today was the last Farmer’s Market on the Square for 2007. I bought some Lemon Basil Pesto, an Eggplant, some baked goods and a wonderful arts and crafts planter for my daughter for Christmas. She is going to love it. It is so her. I can’t wait to see her face when she opens it.

I’ve found the T-shirt I want to get my son-in-law online but I don’t like the price so I am going to keep hunting. I have a general idea about my son and about where to get it–right here in the neighborhood which is great but have no clue about my nephew who probably won’t be here for Christmas anyway so I have time to delay the decisions about him.

I still don’t know what to do about the #1 (biological) Gr-son although I have some ideas. Expensive ideas. <heh> #2 Gr-son is decided. #1 Gr-daughter is taken care of. #2 Gr-daughter is partially taken care of but I don’t know what else to do for her. Each child will get two gifts. With four children that’s a lot of gifts. Biological Gr-son will probably get one more because the other (foster) gr-children have other parents and gr-parents who will be giving them gifts so bio gr-kid SHOULD be favored by me, IMO.

I think #1 Gr-son might be old enough for the game Battleship. He’s good at mazes and concentration games. He’ll be eight in March. Son used to love playing that game and it was one I could play while I made dinner or helped Daughter with homework if need be.


BLOGGERS BLOGGING AGAINST ABUSE, Blogging, BLOGGING FOR HOPE, CHILD ABUSE, Family, Incest, Madison WI, Parents United International, Sexual Abuse, The Parental Stress Center, Therapy

An Oasis of Hope In the Desert of Abuse/Blogging For Hope



The 27th has come and gone but Blagging for Hope continues until the 10th of October. So you can still join us in making history.


When October 10th comes and all the social networking busyness dies down the need to continue Blogging about this subject will more than likely haunt me until the day I die because my brothers and I were abused as children. I don’t want to turn this Blog into a sob story about me but if my parents could find a way to torment a child they tried it at least once. It comes up often in “The Crone’s Daily Groan” and is the sole reason “If It Ain’t One Thing It’s Your Mother” exists where I Blogged about preventing child abuse with a cross post.


Today I want to talk to you about an agency in town and one of their programs that I was once involved in. In fact I moved to Madison primarily so I could take part in this program. The agency is The Parental Stress Center and the program is Oasis, family sexual abuse treatment. These are both non-profit organizations who depend on funds from the City and County and The United Way as well as private donations.


First let me tell you a little about The Parental Stress Center. Aside from Oasis they help parents in a multitude of ways. From their website:


The Parental Stress Center serves Dane County through three coordinated programmatic efforts-the Families United Network program, the Oasis family sexual abuse treatment program and the Parent Stressline. The three Parental Stress Center programs are linked by a common thread-breaking isolation. Through the use of therapy and support groups, clients and participants are supported by others who share their experiences. The Parent Stressline breaks the isolation many parents and caregivers feel, by providing a listening ear from six o’clock in the morning until midnight.


I began treatment at Oasis in 1989. At the time they were treating the WHOLE family rather than isolating the perpetrator, often complicit parent, and victim from each other. They were using the Parents United International model of treatment for families affected by Incest developed by Dr. Henry Giaretto of San Jose, Ca who published the first accounts of treating sexual abuse cases in the United states. It was the most beneficial therapy I have ever had in my entire life.


Obviously I’m an adult and my parents were living in Nebraska with my father resting comfortably in the Clay Center cemetery. How on earth was I going to derive any special benefits from a treatment program that treated the whole family? Well at the time Oasis was offering Triad group therapy that consisted of mothers of children who had been abused, perpetrators (generally fathers or step-fathers but sometimes uncles, mother’s live-in companions or older siblings are family perpetrators) and Adult Survivors of childhood sexual abuse This group therapy was the most compelling and empowering experience I have ever had in all of my years of recovery.

In group the Perpetrators had to talk how they were going to gain control of their lives so that they would not re-offend. Some of them were facing trials and the possibility of prison. They were often asked to discuss this in group. Mothers talked about about how they had lived in denial and complicity sometimes for years while their children were abused. Some of them had even chosen the perpetraor over the child and refused help the child when they were told.

Their children had had to somehow fined the courage to tell someone outside of the family and ask for help. Sometimes more than once. The stories were heartbreaking. We survivors got to say BALONEY whenever we heard banal excuses for their behavior from the perpetrators and denial from the mothers that they didn’t know something was happening right under their noses to their children or excuses for not seeking help sooner.


There was a lot of healing that went on in that group for me. I couldn’t confront my own father since he was moldering in the grave and my mother simply refused to be confronted on any level about her part in the family dynamics so this was the next best thing. It WAS the best I was going to get and I can’t tell you how grateful I was for it.


If you need help because there are sexual abuse issues in your life, The Parental Stress Center and The Oasis Program is there to give your family a helping hand on the road to recovery. They have a Help line that you can call staffed by a volunteers who has been trained to help you find the best resources to serve your needs and get help.


One in four children have been sexually abused this year. Those are the reported cases. The experts who study these things believe that the incidence of child molestation is probably much higher. This is not about sex. It is about power and very often about dysfunctional family dynamics where the child is placed in the hotseat in the middle of the warring adults.


The Parental Stress Center deserve your support. When you give to The United Way you can designate Charities you wish to support. Please make The Parental Stress and Parents United International one of them. You can also make donations directly to the Parental Stress center AND directly to The Oasis program and Parents United International program. The Parental Stress Center also has fund raising events throughout the year and they are always in need of volunteers to do things like baby-sit for the children while parents are in parenting classes.


The children need your help. The children need hope.






City Life, Continuing Education, Emerson, Family, Life, Literature, Madison Senior Center, Senior Citizens, Transcendentalism, University of Wisconsin--Madison

Living lives of Quiet Desperation

Desperado, oh, you aint gettin no youger
Your pain and your hunger, theyre drivin you home
And freedom, oh freedom well, thats just some people talkin
Your prison is walking through this world all alone

The Eagles “Desperado”

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.

Henry David Thoreau “Walden”

I have been taking a class called “Emerson, Thoreau, and the Transcendentalist Movement” taught by Professor Ashton Nichols of Dickinson College at the Madison Senior Center at 330 Mifflin Street. It cost $10.00 which is a good deal by anyone’s standards.

It is on DVD, of course, and a number of us sit quietly in a room and listen to Dr Ashton lecture. Then we have a brief discussion. Very brief.  I wish there was more time, I wish I was more connected to this group of people who are taking this class.  Well, I will be in time.

I really did not study very much American literature when I was in college. I concentrated on Shakespeare’s Elizabethan contemporaries and all of the literature that came before them. It’s a deficit that I regret although I understand that you really can’t go to college forever and just getting through all of Shakespeare was a major accomplishment. So many great works, so little time.

The class I am taking started on the 22nd of August and we’ve already dispensed with Emerson! I want to call a halt and say “Whoa, hold on here! I’ve barely gotten a taste of this founding father of American literature. I want to spend some more time reading his work, discussing what he has written and exactly how it has influenced American thinking.”

I guess this class is not going to give me that. So on we go to Thoreau who I am somewhat more familiar with. Someone quoted the quiet desperation line and the class moderator said no that wasn’t a Thoreau line. Soneone else said it was Mencken. What??

My table mate and I looked at one another and I shook my head. He mumured that he thought it was Thoreau and I said I thought so too. I told him I would look it up when I got home.  Desperado started playin in my head–a mneumonic device to remember to look up that quote no doubt. <heh>

I looked it up and sure enough it was Thoreau. To get the Eagles off my inner mp3 player I youtubed Depserado. Youtube is a wonderful invention. Did Al Gore have anything to do with it?  I ran into my table mate in the hall when I went to get my mail.  He was doing laundry.  He was pleased to hear that we were right and have bragging rights next week.  <heh>

I called the University of Wisconsin today because I heard that Senior Citizens can audit classes for free. I want to audit a class in early American literature. A very nice young lady gave me this link to check out the age requirements and other auditing and continuing education opportunities.  Today is my birthday. I’m 55. I’m now considered a senior citizen by some agencies and can receive some services that only senior citizens are eligible for but alas, I will have to wait another five years to audit classes free at the University.

I wonder if my mind will be functioning well enough to manage that then? It is not cheap to audit. A three credit course is over $200 and you can’t audit any writing classes. Bummer. Maybe I could sneak in. You don’t think they’d notice the noisy fat old gray-haired lady sitting in the corner do you?

In the meanwhile I will try to read Emerson (and Thoreau because no doubt we will speed right by him on our way to Margaret Fuller) on my own and find ways to discuss them with other neophytes.  I have never heard of Margaret Fuller or if I have I have forgotten her.  And Bronson Alcott, father of Louisa May of “Little Women” fame, I had no clue he was so important a figure in American history!

I am also trying to learn html. My brain may explode. But I have heard and have been told that learning new things sets up new neural pathways so that your synapses will continue to fire allowing your brain to find ways to work around damage caused by stroke and other neurological problems.


Adult children, Baseball, Family, Football, Madison Mallards, Politics, Raising children, Sports, Summer, Wrestling

Going Swimming In the Duckpond Again Real Soon.

Now get the guns, the drugs, From my generati I’y ll take the fall, the saints, across the nation.
And it’s the sex, the gods, the freaks, the frauds.
They’re messin’ with me, Come on, come on, come on.
Let’s get it on!
Move to the music,
Play that fucking music,
Move it to the music, yeah! (Get it on)
Move to my music,
Play that fucking music,
Live through my music, yeah!

The Union Under Ground Across the Nation

Gosh this must be some kind of record for me! Two posts before 10am!

Well I guess I couldn’t think of anything to say for awhile after passing the ammunition. I was too busy waiting for The Feds to use the Patriot Act and come sweep me up in their web.

OK, I really don’t believe I’m all that big a deal to the Feds. I’m just one little Grammy who has said rude things about Georgie Porgy. He hasn’t even got the guts to kiss any girls and make them cry but that’s neither here nor there, this is about the Patriot Act. I dare them. Double dare. I want something radical to happen damnit. I’m tired of this stinking inertia.

Enough of that, this Blog entry is supposed to be about baseball! Now that we’ve had the “bombs bursting in air” celebration (or at least I have. Enough with the firecrackers People!), it’s time to go to another baseball game and so we are. The whole family is going this time. My son had such a good time that he reserved tickets for my daughter’s family, himself and my nephew and me at The Duckpond next Friday. That’s going to be 6 of us in the stands cheering on The Mallards! What fun!

I get the Daily Dugout from the Mallards and on Friday the 20th it’s William “The Refrigerator” Perry Night. The Mallards will be playing in football suits. WTF? <shaking my head> It’s all about the fans folks and we will do anything to please the fans and get ’em into the stands. C’mon, it will be fun!

Perry is an ex Chicago Bears football player for or those of you not familiar with football lore. An extremely large one who was extremely popular and very successful Also a very nice guy. I’m not particularly a fan of football but that is sacrilege in Wisconsin and Nebraska so you sort of learn these things by osmosis since everyone around you worships at the shrine of the Saturday, Sunday and Monday night football game dujour on the TV. Except I was under the impression he played for the Green Bay Packers. Maybe we just wish he did. Whatever. He’s coming to Wisconsin on the 20th, bring a football and maybe get it autographed for a large sum of money.

My Gramma on my Daddy’s side was as big a fan as any of the rest of the family. It’s an illness that settled in after church and Sunday dinne sometime in the early 60s, I tell ya’. I think I escaped it’s feverish grip because I was in the kithcen washing dishes. Hot soapy water will still protect you against a lot of nasty bugs. Make your kids do the dishes. Frequently. Male and female children.

I nterestingly enough I could not get my son to play organized sports when he was a child. I tried to push baseball, basketball (my favorite sport because I can actually see the ball and understand what they are trying to do with it) and football at him. Nope, he would have nothing to do with them. I really tried to push football onto him because football has this cult like significance in my family. All of my brothers played. It was a rite of passage into manhood.

He actually spent about four weeks pretending to go to practices while he spent time in the local swamp hunting frogs to sell at the local science supply shop that sold them to high school labs so he could play video games. I found out when I went to their first game and he was no where to be found.

It’s all because I made him do the danmed dishes in the spirit of male and female equality. But you know what, all of my brothers have problems with their knees these days and they blame it on playing football. Somebody should have made them do the dishes the poor souls.

My son is an intellectual with inclinations towards art and music. He played hacky sack and chess. He was his father’s son.  His father did the dishes.   I did not have a clue what to do with him except love him and let him be who he was and make him do the dishes.   I did not know how to raise a son whose testosterone was not sending him raging after balls other boys possessed with the urge to keep it and push him face down in the dirt if he took it away from him.

He was a pacifist. I had to teach him how to fight because he got chased home so often by little monsters calling him chicken because he had no desire to engage them in combat that he was miserable. It wasn’t that he couldn’t beat the holy crap out of them, he didn’t want to. He was bigger and much stronger than all of his tormenters.

I made him beat the crap out of one of them–the biggest, nosiest one until he drew blood after 4 years of this shit just to prove to them he could and then sent them all home with instructions to pass the word. It wasn’t much of a fight since the other kid had no idea how to protect his nose from a right roundhouse nor his solar plexus from a left hook. He was in pretty bad shape when his friends picked him up and dragged him away.

He scared me because he was different than the men I was accustomed to but thrilled me at the same time. I knew I had done something right and I knew I had picked excellent DNA for my man-child. But how to mold it properly? It gave me nightmares.

Hacky sack was good. It kept him occupied. I bought him a lot of hacky-sacks. I crocheted hacky sacks. I allowed hacky sack playing in the house. I bought Dungeons and Dragons and books on chess. I taught him and his sister and all of their friends how to play poker.

And oddly enough we watched professional wrestling on television together. He loved it. Back in the day, my Father had dragged my family to professional wrestling bouts and oddly enough I liked it too. I had a collection of autographs from those days that would have been worth a fortune if my idiot Mother hadn’t thrown them away. But that’s another bitch.

My son and I and his friends would gather around the television and watch professional wrestling and just like my father did, I would point out the ballet of professional wrestlings’ choreographed the bouts so that no one REALLY gets hurt. Horribly awfully ugly hurt I mean.  Broken back hurt.  And just like me, those boys were totally fascinated with it and the athleticism of finely tuned bodies that dates back to The Roman Coliseum. That is how I managed to be a mother *and* father and pass on fatherly lore that I learned from my own father to a son that I really didn’t know how to raise. Bless you Daddy.

But weren’t we talking about baseball? I’m really looking forward to next Friday. ;^) I got this fever from my ex Larry. Times like this I wish I could ask him to join us. I sure would like to see his reaction to baseball played in football uniforms. <snort> He’d enjoy himself. I’d enjoy him and so would the family. Too bad breaking up is so damn hard to do. But thanks Larry, you’ve given my family and me something new and wonderful and goofy to share on pretty summer evenings. Maybe we’ll get dignified and take a trip to Wrigley Field some day some day.


Apartment life, eco-tourism, Ethnic cuisine, Family, Hawaii, Kauai Hawaii, Toursim, vacation, Wisconsin Lottery

Night and You and Blue Hawaii

Come with me
While the moon is on the sea,
The night is young
And so are we, so are we
Dreams come true
In blue Hawaii

Elvis Presley “Blue Hawaii Words and Music by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger

Well, I sifted through the available videos and even though it HAS cooled down considerably the humidity is up and it still feels a little tropical so I decided I would watch Blue Hawaii. When everyone else was screaming over the Beatles, Sheila Thomas and I were swooning over Elvis.

You know, Wisconsin is one of the top vacation destinations in the USA. Tourism pays a lot of bills in this state and it’s no wonder because there is natural beauty everywhere but after 27 years I’ve sort of started taking it for granted. Watching Blue Hawaii, our tropical heat wave, and our recent luau at the Three Threes has given me the urge to go to Hawaii. I want a different life for a few days, a different kind of green, and different flora and fauna. I want to go to foreign lands and meet new people that speak slightly different than I do.

My Honey took me to Cancun for my 50th birthday. Loved it! My 55th is coming up real soon. I should go to Hawaii for my 55th.


We stayed at an everything included resort in Cancun. I don’t want to do that again. I think we missed a lot because we didn’t have to leave. It was too easy to stay in and not go out and mingle with the Natives. I think we missed a lot of stuff we would have have enjoyed a great deal if we’d have been exposed to it.

OK, this time I’ll take the whole family! Let’s just say I won the Wisconsin Lottery (Whoa! Would you look at that Powerball!) Which island though? Not the big one–too touristy although we’ll have to make a day trip there so M can show us where he was stationed when he was in the Marines and of course we have to take in a museum of the Hawaiian culture.

Let’s google, shall we? With nephew and his girl friend that would make seven. Eight if D can find a date. Gr-Son is my date. So we want a condo. On the Beach. But not on the big Island. What are the name of the islands in Hawaii? OK let’s do that little guy up on top. Kauai.


What do we want to do while we are in Kauai, Hawaii? Snorkeling is a must! We did that in Cancun and I swear it was the best thing I’ve ever done on vacation! Gr-Son will love it.


Gr-Son will want to hunt for bugs. M and K will want to ride bikes and hike. D and G will want to frisbee golf. N and I will want to meet true native Hawaiians. Gr-son won’t know which grownup he should follow! We will all have to surf. Well, maybe not me. I will swim in the moonlight, build big sandcastles and bury Gr-son up to his neck while his parents and all the youngsters go clubbing.

I want to see a volcano close-up and personal. Helicopter rides for all! In formation. Oh and Para-sailing! I’ve always wanted to go parachuting or para-sailing. At my age, I’d better opt for para-sailing into the water!

There is a name for a “green” type of tourism that I was reading about in connection with Wisconsin–one that preserves the natural environment. That’s important to all of us in this family. While the Wisconsin Dells is a fun place to go, I abhor it because of what they have done to the natural landscape. Eco-tourism, that’s it. Eco-tourism protects the environment and is culturally sensitive to the people living in the area but allows for profits by the travel industry.

A true Hawaaian luau is a must. POI! Pit roasted pig and pineapple, passion fruit fresh off the trees. Real leis. Oh, oh, oh, we must Must MUST go to the set of LOST! Schmooze with the cast. Buy them Pina Coladas and Limo rides home so none of them get killed off in season four. <heh> I want to meet Fenry/Ben. I’ve decided he is the best actor on the show. Besides the guy who plays Locke because I don’t know whether to hate him or not. And Hurley. I have a crush on Hurley.

OK first search Hawaii, Kauai vacation condo eco-tourism. Lets see what tuns up. Hawaiian Beach Rentals oooh… You can book a 5 bedroom palace right on the beach that sleeps 12 or a sudio bedroom nook up in the trees with these folks. What a fun vacation this would be for my family! I really think we should go to Kauai someday.

Since I haven’t won the lottery yet, it might be wiser to get myself this red and yellow Hawaiian bed spread for my bedroom and paint the walls sky blue. Sure would be pretty and warm. I’d remember this heat wave all winter while I was snuggling under my electric blanket and it’s a whole lot cheaper. <smile>

BTW on Thursday it was 88* here in the city. It was 84* in Hawaii. With ocean breezes. Maybe we should go now. Isn’t it Hurricane season in early September?


Apartment life, Bungalows, ceiling fans, City Life, Edgerton WI, Grandchildren, Madison WI, redecorating

Summer Breeze Makes Me Feel Fine

See the curtains hangin’ in the window, in the evenin’ on a Friday night.
A little light a-shinin’ through the window, lets me know everything is alright.
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.

James Seals and Dash Croft “Summer Breeze” 1972

Another lovely but warm day in the neighborhood; 88* in June is pushing record highs here. I don’t have air conditioning but I found out today that we could have ceiling fans installed here at the Three Threes which pleased me because I don’t want air conditioning. I get lovely summer breezes off of the lake. I came home and fired up Google and found the Ceiling Fan website to beat all Ceiling Fan websites: Farrey’s

Wow! I need to tell my daughter and son about this place. They both own bungalows over in Edgerton they are restoring and Farrey’s has The Bungalow from the Casablanca Fan Company at better than reasonable prices. One or the other of them is sure to want it.

Since I’m talking about improbabilities for myself here, for the time being, money was absolutely no object so I went ahead and fantasized and got lost in ceiling fans for awhile! I finally decided that I would have to go with something fairly neutral because I want to be able to switch from winter to summer color schemes IF I had such a thing as winter and summer color schemes. One should shouldn’t they? I would if I could.

I chose the lovely Lisa from Minka Aire in shell white. I’m going to paint the bedroom a pale pale grayish blue and I’need to find a great bedspread/comforter in brick red and yellow for winter . Yes, yellow and red. It feels warm, yellow and red does .I have a lot of red in my room already. Red antique blankets hung on a quilt rack and a red and gray pillow. I’m feeling whimsical tonight. Very whimsical!

But do you know what I really want? This gorgeous Zephair floor model from the Casablanca Fan Company that looks just like the oscillating fan my Gran had when I was a kid. Doesn’t that look substantial and like something that would be a lasting presence in your life to bring those summer breezes indoors? Not to mention Classy! I’m going to tell my daughter about this as well.

Oh-h-h. I nearly forgot, my seven year old Gr-Son would love this Airplane *Fantasy fan* by Hunter in his bedroom Isn’t it just the cutest thing? It was the first thing that caught my eye when I entered the Farrey website. What a fun place to visit!