Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Michigan City Lake a poem by Mary E.

An original poem by Mary E. Rapier
a memory

In bright golden afternoon sun
I laid my wearies down
Imagined that I could run
and jump and be
as 5 or 6 again
No time to feel the pain of growing older
No time, but now to feel
the presence
of time as it ticks, ticks, ticks
nothing but splashes
of love and laughter
Dancing sunsets upon the waves
hands firmly clutching as if to say
please, don’t let go, never go away
dune scapes scaling,
dragon flies darting
mountain climbers climbing,
reaching up to
brand new heights, towering above
soaring, gliding like a dove
as the ruby red sun sets
and disappears,
but never lets
the world grow colder
so it, as my love goes.
As the circle ever grows
And now the room is empty
and summer silence falls
in golden streams upon my walls
I seek to make sense of it all
by capturing wordscapes of
water color landscapes held by
magnets firmly to my heart
reminding me that never
are we completely apart
as tears slowly trace the place
where only hours before
sweet angel kisses
touched my face.

watercolor pastel by 6 year old Bella

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Returning Me to Me

Returning Me to Me, a poem by Mary E. Rapier 
I’m returning back to me, 
the same ole girl I use to know, 
The one I used to be, 

not much has really changed 
it is just the last step in letting you go 

letting you know 
that you never earned 
the right to share a name 
letting go of the pain 
the pain 
the pain 
a name is a name 
and labels seek to define 
no more losing, no more 
wasting my time 
we aren’t connected, 
we never really were, 
the children that my womb bore 
are mere cellular connections 
and nothing more, 
 mine to determine, 
mine to share, 
mine to grieve, 
 I am returning back to me, 
 the same ole girl 
I used to know, 
the one I used to be 
not much has really changed 
Just the last step in letting you go, 
letting you know that 
you never had what you never cared 
for you are not my kin, 
not my birthright 
not my home, 
my sister said it, 
I am she, 
I’m returning back to me 
and taking back my dignity, 
all you stole from me, 
taking me down off the shelf, 
reclaiming familial place. 
No worries, 
the same My face, 
No longer a stepchild 
in a borrowed world 
in foreign terrain, 
letting go of the pain, 
the pain, 
the pain 
you’re so disconnected 
from my reality. 
I’m returning me to me, 
finally this hummingbird 
is free. 


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Few Thoughts to Ponder On Marriage Equality

Okay, so here is the thing...so many people are using up good energy on arguing about marriage equality. You see, it isn't about you, or is it? You see, people love as they love. They live as they choose to live. It is not your responsibility to try to change people into the way you believe they should be. That is not your responsibility. People who are taxpaying law-abiding citizens of the USA or any country that they are citizens of have the right to love as they wish, live as they wish, and if it involves marriage, then marry who they wish to marry. It is a legal contract. One that ensures quality of life afforded two people and their potential offspring. Don't give me the, but, they cannot produce children, and God produced man and woman to produce children...well, sorry to tell you there are a lot of people who because of a variety of reasons cannot produce children biologically. If they want a family, then they will seek adoption, or yes, sperm donors, or whatever else they can in order to raise children in a family surrounded with love. So, are you suggesting that a woman past child-bearing age should not be allowed to marry? Should marriage only be afforded those who can produce children biologically? Yes, in the Christian church there is a belief that man and woman shall marry, and produce offspring, yada, yada...But, we are not talking about the church, we are talking about the constitution, the law, the citizenry, taxpayers, people who are afforded equal rights. All men are created equal...(I am still waiting for clarification on the womanhood aspect of that quote!) and yes, the legal rights of two people who choose to share a life together with all the trappings of marriage. Please do not waste another election year arguing that which is not arguable. The Jewish do not eat pork and the United States trades in pork bellies...so should the United States force Jewish people to eat pork, Should the Jewish faith fight to have pork removed from the stores? If you go to some restaurants they do not serve pork, so, shall we force them to serve pork? No, if i want pork, I will go to a restaurant that will give me my fill of bacon! Because we have a nation that is founded on the separation of church and state. Let's find common ground, but, let's get focused on those things that really do impact the entire nation, like the debt crisis, children with no food, shelter adequate schooling. Let's focus on elimination of the student debt crisis, housing crisis, domestic terrorism, racism. Personally, we have joined together with 20+ other countries who support marriage equality. Let's learn from them. I appreciate the right lo live and love as I choose, I think everyone should...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I Was So Naive! When Did It All Change?

When I was 12 I was very naive. I remember thinking that it was so sad that my dad rarely saw his sisters and brothers. It was different than my mom who stayed in close contact with her brothers. She was the baby girl after all. But, I always believed that no matter what we would always exchange gifts at Christmas, that we would always break bread together. That we would always be there, right there. I remember saying, I could lose a man, but I would never lose my sisters. I even said to my ex once, "Don't ever mess with my sisters, I will choose them over you!" So naive! I remember wonderful Thanksgivings and Christmas's surrounded by family. Aunt Donna, Uncle Gene, Scott and Diane, they were a part of it all. Then it happened. People began to get to that point where there would be kids going off to college, people getting married and the large family that silenced out loneliness and separation began to dwindle. We began to see people less and less. Only 7 years later would render us motherless as Mom died too soon. Soon it was just Maureen, Michael (who had headed off to college) Me, Rick and little Miss. The others headed out for greener pasture. I remember feeling that it would be okay, I could talk with all of them as needed by phone. My weekly, sometimes daily phone calls to my sisters would keep the emptiness, confusion and feeling of orphan-like confusion at bay. I would always have them. They would always be my first friends. My brothers who are 2 years younger and 2 years older would be my protectors, my shelter from the storm. I remember feeling dread when my sister announced that they were moving to Arizona. The farthest corner of the South West to be exact. "Don't worry we will be home at least once a year." I remember thinking, "no, you won't your family will want to experience other places. Kankakee will be the last place you visit. That is the way it all happens. I know, 2 way street. So it is that time and tide has come and gone. I am blessed I still have my sisters and my brothers, there are no weekly calls, the sometime daily call. There are not visits on Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and ramblings of the week before. There are minimal exchanges by way of a fabricated social network created for people who do not have brothers and sisters and large families that gather and talk on the phone weekly and sometimes daily. Where did it all go? In the end I had and I am blessed. I stil have, I can still claim it as mine. The aforementioned rambling came as a result of thinking about National Adoption Month. Sometimes we all feel like a motherless child. Some will always feel it, others just in those moments of orphan-like confusion, like now.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Beware: Anthem Dental and The Healthcare Exchange

After a day of intense frustration, I found myself sending the following letter to all my representatives, as well as Anthem Dental, entitled "healthcare snafu":

Dear fellow representatives (US Senator Joe Donnelly, US Senator Dan Coats, US Representative Peter Visclosky, Indiana State Senator Karen Tallian, Indiana State Representative Scott Pelath),

This year, as my COBRA insurance was ending on July 31, I obtained medical and dental insurance through the healthcare exchange, to begin August 1. The medical coverage is through PHPNI (Physicians Health Plan Northern Indiana), and the dental through Anthem Blue Cross. I selected these plans for both cost reasons, and because their own website documentation listed my existing providers as being "in network".

In August, I learned from my dentist that the Anthem insurance was not fully accepted, contrary to Anthem's website information.

I called Anthem to cancel my insurance so that I could sign up with another dental insurer and thus not have to switch providers.

Anthem directed my call to the healthcare exchange. There, one Veronica first told me that she couldn't cancel just the dental; she would have to cancel the medical portion as well. Furthermore, should I cancel my medical coverage, I would not be eligible to enroll in another medical plan until November, effective January 1, 2015. That was a completely untenable proposition, because I was due for my yearly physical and prescriptions for necessary medications.

After I complained that "there must be a way", Veronica finally said, "Oh, I see how to do it now!", and she did something on her end, and told me that she had accomplished what I desired: she had canceled my dental insurance plan, but not the medical. Fine. Thanking her, I waited about a week (because she said the cancellation would take 2-3 business days to complete), and obtained new dental insurance with Humana so that I could see my dentist, because I was due for a cleaning and checkup scheduled six months earlier.

That appointment went well.

Fast forward to September 8. That morning - the day of my yearly medical exam - I received a "late notice" from Anthem, saying I was late with my payment. This, despite having been told by Veronica (of the healthcare exchange) that my Anthem policy was canceled.

I called Anthem, and they said my policy was *not* canceled. I called the healthcare exchange, where I was told in no uncertain terms that they cannot cancel just the dental, that I would have to cancel both (this is the day of my yearly checkup and prescription renewals, mind you!) and wait until January 1, 2015 to have coverage again! Furthermore, they said that Veronica "made a mistake" but that "there was nothing they could do about it".

Well, guess what that means to me, who has been unemployed since July of 2013? It means that I'm now stuck with two dental plans. I can't cancel Anthem plan, because Anthem says they can't cancel it because it was obtained through the healthcare exchange, and the healthcare exchange can't cancel it without canceling my medical insurance with it, thereby jeopardizing my health and well-being due to the timing of my yearly exams and prescription refill cycle. And I can't cancel the Humana plan, because I just saw the dentist, I don't want to wind up paying in full for that visit, and furthermore I paid a non-refundable $35 signup fee with Humana, which I would have to pay again in January should I cancel them and signup with them again in November.

So - again, I'm unemployed! - I'm going to have to dish out $120 to Anthem for the remainder of the year for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I can't tell you how disturbed and disgusted I am by this. I'm stuck paying due to the extortion also known as "going to collections and having my credit rating affected negatively", and apparently NOBODY CAN DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. Anthem responds to my online requests with idiotic customer service replies that ignore the meat of my requests (e.g. I ask for them to cancel my policy, they reply with some polite mumbo jumbo about what phone number to call for customer service). The healthcare exchange people are similarly useless, repeating back the same verbiage about what they can and can't do, none of which solves this ridiculous situation that I'm in through no fault of my own (although I'm sure all these organizations have lawyers that will be able to find some sliver of "terms and agreements" text that "prove" otherwise).

Tell me. Is it reasonable that medical and dental insurance have be canceled *together*? Is it reasonable that Anthem bears no responsibility for their website information stating that my dental provider was in their network, when the dental provider itself insists otherwise?

Where is the sensible America I once knew? The ridiculous costs of the healthcare system, the mazes of "where is such and such an insurance plan good?", and the fact that someone who just wants the kind of health and dental care they used to have BEFORE A LARGE COMPANY (IBM) DECIDED TO USE WALL STREET EARNINGS PER SHARE TARGETS AS AN EXCUSE TO PRACTICE THINLY VEILED AGE DISCRIMINATION (WHICH OF COURSE THEIR LAWYERS KNOW HOW TO DEFEND AGAINST) can get themselves into a situation where they're UTTERLY STUCK with TWO dental insurance plans, with no way out except to either cancel their medical insurance and remain uninsured for several months, or pay dearly to just ride it out in order to avoid collection agency harassment and a tanking credit rating. I'm just sick over this.

I would appreciate it if you could do something about this that leads to my not having to suffer the cost and indignity of $120 out of pocket for NOTHING. Greedy Anthem and the apparently powerless healthcare exchange remain willfully deaf on this matter.


[snipped contact information]

Friday, August 8, 2014

What a Difference a "Day"-sy Makes. Step Up and Shine!

Last evening, (August 7, 2014) Steve Champagne and I  had the opportunity to experience first hand what a few women, when they network together can do. We have had the privilege at ArtSees Productions, to feature Step Up, on our radio show. We were also guests at last night's Shine & Dine event held at the Bridgeport Art's Center, Skyline Loft.

Through the preliminary exploration into the Step Up, I was able to glean a pretty good understanding of what it was about, why professional women networking on behalf of under-resourced girls was needed, and how it works. But, last night I witnessed first hand what this program is doing for the 250 girls found at four neighborhood schools.

Upon arrival at the Bridgeport Art's Center, we were greeted with a sea of finely dressed women and young ladies all adorned with an orange daisy, which represents the organizations logo. We were also greeted by young women wearing the official SUWN t-shirt. All greeters were gracious and exuded an air of gratitude that we were there. As well as a belief in the program. We were delivered to the "Skyline Loft"  by way of a chic "service elevator" and it was there that I met Miss "Daisy" a beautiful young woman who immediately responded to my presence. I graciously asked her where the ladies room was and not only did she show me, she escorted me there. We had a nice little walk ahead of us, so I was able to explain to her why I was there and what I do as a profession. I shared with her that I am a radio show host, blogger, writer with ArtSees Productions.  She was interested and then I shared my  other profession, education. It was then that she became intrigued with my role as a high school educator. She was an interested listener, gracious, poised, and very engaging and filled with questions.

As I exited from the ladies room, there was Daisy, waiting for me. I was glad to see her as I wanted to talk with this beautiful flower ( perfectly named for the evening and as a representative of the endeavor) a little more. I was deeply touched that she waited and that she wanted to walk me back to my companion. All the way we talked and shared our passion for education.

It was in that moment that I was reminded of how valuable we are to one another. Daisy made me feel comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings and I sense that our commonality availed a sense of well-being for her too. I felt valued as a woman, and important as a professional educator. Our conversation ended with a shaking of hands and a "pleasure to meet you" farewell. But, what I walked away with was an assurance that this program works. I spent the rest of the evening witnessing the collaboration, passion, camaraderie and friendships that have emerged by way of Step Up. In addition to the aforementioned, I realized how important it is to lead, guide and impress upon each other how valuable we are to the bigger picture.

Thank you Daisy, you "stepped up" and you Shined!

Friday, July 25, 2014

On Being a MeMe (Grandmother)

This is why grandchildren are so special;" it takes all the most beautiful moments of parenting all the most precious attributes of our children and bundles them up into a new generation. Grand parenting is our opportunity to look back on those precious moments that we rushed past as we were so busy being new parents." mlaluna (2014)
Last night as I watched my precious granddaughter dancing it was like being a young mother again, only this time I just got to watch in a very different way as an observer. I was the celebrity chosen to watch a performance of a lifetime. More precious than the dance that my granddaughter insist that she would do while I was singing, was the planning. There I was, hand in hand with my Bella. She had something so special to talk to me about. So special that we had to escape downstairs away from prying eyes and ears numerous times. So special that she had to choreograph/produce how it would all play out. Listening to her little mind, (not little at all, genius mind) discuss all the aspects of how it would play out. She asked if I had any ballet songs I could sing as she had the perfect dance for that. She asked if I do any hip-hop. She insisted that we announce that she had a special dance planned for the guests at her Great-Aunt Missy's benefit.

Imagine this little peanut coming up with her check list to ensure that all of the food was being prepared correctly.

Equally  beautiful was to be able to experience the 2 grandmothers holding hands with their only granddaughter and dancing. All 3 of us dancing while BeBe was singing a Beatles' cover. That image of what it is to be a woman will be forever etched on her heart and on our's.

Sharing in the dance of life...