Help out a good guy

Facing the SunMy friend Richard is having surgery. A pituitary tumor (it’s all in his head), unending migraines, and a body that doesn’t play nice in general, does not pave the road to financial stability. A hospital stay isn’t going to help.

So do me a solid. Help my friend with a donation. You’ll get some good reading in return – a collection of short works donated by his friends for this cause. Many of the contributors have been published, so it’s not like you’re getting fluff written by some hack like me.

Why him? As some of you may know I was in the hospital myself in 2007, fighting off complications from chemotherapy to treat leukemia. At the time I only knew Richard from a handful of comments exchanged on a blog. Yet I traded as many encouraging words with him as anyone during those weeks in the hospital. Some of them are in the archives of this blog.

There are many others with similar stories. That’s the kind of guy he is.

Think about it for me, will you? No amount is too small, even for a guy with a heart so big. You know what they say… “it’s the thought that counts.” Just knowing you cared enough to give will probably mean more to him than the money he gets – no matter how much he may need it.

That’s the kind of guy he is.


I can’t imagine writing a book. I read authors’ blogs, both published and not. I see the frustrations and the rewards. I look at myself and I think, “Whoa, that is so not me.” There are days when I don’t have the patience to finish a single blog post. I’ve been tinkering with a post for a few weeks now and I’m not sure I’ll ever finish. It’s only a few scattered lines looking back at me from an unassuming text editor, but it fills me with dread. It wouldn’t bother me if I didn’t want to finish this one.

There’s more to it than patience. The topic inspired me and still does, but it feels stalled. No, it’s worse. It feels like it’s missing an essential element – perhaps a little soul, something to bring it to life. There’s something in my head, in my heart, waiting there to be expressed, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out how. It’s nothing new, having a post stall out on me, but I was sure this one had the necessary spark. There’s passion in me but it’s locked up tight. It’s fitting it’s a post about intellectual struggle, about choosing the right path.

Boiled down to its essence, it’s a post about Adam, his autistic friend, and a falling out. It’s about seeing a family and the neighborhood failing this child, the responsibility I feel to keep open a safe haven, and the sometimes conflicting need to act in my own child’s best interest.

One side won out for a while and I felt terribly selfish. I felt like I’d become part of the problem for this boy who faces what I believe are terrible odds.

As a parent of a child with special needs myself, I felt double the guilt. He was back over today though and they picked up right where they left off. Kids can be resilient that way. Friendship makes it that much easier.

The episode and the weeks that followed still have me tweaked, and not in a good way. We pat ourselves on the back when we respond with charity and grace to regional and national crises. “The American spirit is alive and well,” we delude ourselves. But the myriad of small crises happening every day go ignored, or worse. We blame the victim, our minds desperately trying to shift any and all responsibility from ourselves.

Maybe that’s what I was trying to say all along. Maybe I just needed to blow up the old post and start over.

Living hungry in the land of plenty

I work with people of meager means, but you don’t have to work with the poor to know this is a particularly harsh time. Maybe you already know recessions are doubly hard on the poor. Maybe you already know social services are cut back at the moment when they’re needed most. Maybe you even saw a column in the NYT the other day which describes the problem better than I ever could.

Maybe we’re cut from different political cloth and you find political solutions distasteful, but you’d like to do something.

This might be a good start. Or this. Some folks found some of their recent campaigns controversial, but maybe this would be a good start too.

1 Comment

Many, MANY thanks

Like many of you we’ve had some money worries. With Cheryl down to her last week of saved up sick leave, her doctors saying she’ll be out of work until at least April, the bills mounting, attorneys not taking our calls anymore, and the odious application process for disability insurance (private mind you) taking FOREVER (it’s way more complicated than it should be), we’ve been a little concerned about our revenue stream.

I’m pleased to say we’re not so worried anymore. One of Cheryl’s coworkers just donated 400 hours of sick leave, and that was before her HR department got around to advertising a request for donated hours. In case you’re not aware, State of Florida employees (when they’re “vested” ) are eligible to cash in one quarter of the value of their sick leave when they leave. Needless to say, 400 hours is potentially a lot of money – even at one quarter of the value.

I hear the person in question is thinking about leaving anyway, and may not have any use for the hours. Still, we are humbled and grateful. I don’t know this person, but if you’re out there you have my sincerest thanks. You’re a bright spot in what can be (at times) a cynical world.