I am struggling. I thought I had found some answers for my foot problems by getting new orthopedic shoes from the VA on Friday. But today my feet were as painful as ever and I did not put on the shoes. I also was hit with some potentially devastating personal news that may or may not be true. I will have to wait for about a month to find out. I have cried a few times and tried listening to music. Joan Baez and Simon and Garfunkel mostly. Meanwhile I received confirmation that a fitbit is on the way as a reward from my insurance app. I have been earning points for exercise and the new shoes were going to help me. I made 11,000 steps Friday. I had noticed that my pattern had been to go all out for a few days and then be practically inert. I am hoping to become more consistent. But the wild card is what will happen with this personal news.


My mother and her nuts


A few years ago I wrote about how my mother had gone on a black walnut kick. She developed the idea that she could somehow sell these things to the Lexington Food Cooperative not far from her house. As with many hair brained schemes this one took the cake. First, black walnuts are among the hardest things on earth. Do not let your children or angry spouse get hold of these things because with a little practice and a good throwing arm one could create a lot of damage.

Second, as far as human consumption of these little missiles, forget it. You would probably destroy your house attempting to crack he things. Better to stick with peanuts or regular walnuts. I doubt that you would want to run over the black walnuts because that would damage your rims.

Third, as I described in my earlier post, they are very good at attracting squirrels. I survived a harrowing adventure with black walnuts and a hungry squirrel in my apartment years ago and have never gone near them. I heard about that story I thought surely that would be the end of my mother’s nut collecting career.

And I was wrong. Because there in the corner of the basement are the aforementioned nuts. I am certain that they are included in Mom’s will. When she passes on at 110. Nuts to you, bub.


Jazz is what brings us together




I disagree with my mother and sister about almost everything. Including my name. So for the sake of our sanity I felt it was best to live apart from them. Several states away, in fact. Better than to have awkward meals and long silences. This has worked well as mom is 93, my sister is 72 and I am a youthful 66. We have avoided appearing in the newspaper in a article about how we died under mysterious circumstances.

Many of my best memories involving my family include jazz. I am listening to Horace Silver on Spotify as I am typing this. My older sister is a big fan of Lee Morgan, Clifford Brown and Art Blakey. I can recall her playing Clifford Brown in her bedroom and being fascinated by this. I guess what I most like about jazz is the staying power of the music. I can listen to songs from 50 years ago and they sound as fresh as when they were originally recorded.

My advice is find one thing you can agree with and stick to it when you come home for the holiday. For me, what works is jazz.

Why did his son kill himself

I have been reading facebook posts promoting suicide prevention and talking about the need to look after one another. The need to offer support, empathy and resources. But there are so many places where vulnerable are most at risk.

Youths are at risk, people in mental hospitals are at even more risk and the most at risk of violence are in prison. I just read a story in the New Yorker about the story of a young man in the New York state prison system whose father was preparing to send of him a care package only to discover he had been buried 6 weeks earlier. The article by Jennifer Gonnerman, told how Lonnie Hamilton II learned that his son had died on March 18, 2016 when he went to the prison website. His son, Lonnie Hamilton III, had hung himself after becoming increasingly depressed in the Marcy Correctional Facility.

This is a story about an involved father who worked long hours to provide for his children only to lose one of them to crime and seeing his son torn away from the community. It is a story about failure to notify the next of kin about what was happening. There were signs especially self mutilation that should have set off a thousand alarm bells. I don’t think that the prison tried everything possible to assist Lonnie.

These kinds of tragedies happen all too often. I don’t think the prison was set up to meet the needs of a deeply troubled African American young man so he became a casualty. This is a cry for help, action and a replacement for the deconstruction. I would hate for this to happen to one of my nephews and hope people will use these stories

Re incarceration without conviction


I was looking for a class today at the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee about ecological health  and had bought the book and was diligently studying it. However while I was waiting a friend from the Black Lives Matter group told me about a meeting regarding re-incarceration without conviction. I had read an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about a black man who was on probation and was driving a car and was stopped by the police. It so happened that the man has a white girl friend who is a gun enthusiast and has pictures of herself with her friends on social media holding their guns. All of which were duly registered with the State of Wisconsin. But he did not know the gun was in the car and was was charged with being a felon in possession of a weapon. Fortunately a jury found him innocent but his probation officer revoked him on the grounds he was a danger to the community.

The man had roots in the community including a small transportation business and a child. Instead he became one of the more than 4,000 people who are sent back to prison in Wisconsin without having committed a crime. The Wisconsin Department of Corrections has wide latitude in deciding whether to revoke people but this case has something in common with many others in that the person  considered dangerous was a black man even though he had a spotless record and was taking tangible steps to improve himself.

The two speakers at the meeting, one white and one black, are also examples of trying to fight the odds. The white speaker was Mark Rice, who is a candidate for a doctorate from UWM, told about his battle to overcome being revoked. He had a history of mental illness and had previously lived in Madison where his probation officer had a background that allowed him to understand his situation. But when he moved to Milwaukee his probation officer had no such training and revoked him for an incident resulting from him mental illness. His former probation officer went to bat for him which helped him return to the community.

The black speaker told of being revoked 3 times and being homeless. One of his revocations resulted from a malfunction of the monitoring bracelet that he wears on his ankle. If you you use a cell phone, are late for an appointment, accept a job without permission, leave the county or violate any of the other rules, Wisconsin can and will send your most often black or brown body back to prison.

It would be value to learn more about Ex Prisoners Organizing for Statewide Penal Reform (EXPO) and do what you can to stop the trend of mass incarceration. If you follow this link you will find out more about this group :Phone: 414-831-2070 Email:
Address: 2821 N. Fourth Street, #537, Milwaukee, WI 53212




I am the fortunate son



As many people know, mental illness runs in the family.  All of us in my family have experienced different types of illnesses, including depression, schizophrenia and manic depression. I was more fortunate than my brother in being able to recover and develop resources. I have friends who struggled along with their siblings cycling in and out of the hospital including forced treatment.  i was never subjected to a mental hospital or picked up on the street for engaging in some bizarre behavior. Instead, I recognized that I was not the person who I had been told I would become.

I saw all the warning signs and decided to heed them. Again, I see a positive in my deciding I didn’t want to live like that. Recognizing that you need help and then actually need help can be painful. Some people literally may need to crash into a wall. And others unfortunately, may crash through the wall, leaving their loved ones behind to cry and wish that there something more they could have done. I am a peer support specialist certified by the State of Wisconsin and I can help see you through the woods.

Step one of the discussion

I returned to my blog this week mainly in response to a training session I participated in regarding the impact of whiteness and the ideology of white supremacy on our mental health work. I am also reading a book that I checked out of the Milwaukee Public Library. My blog entries have reached a few people in different settings: on WordPress, twitter and Facebook. I welcome responses and would be interested in knowing what people think of these ideas. Today, the news was focused on the vote in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. A driving force behind the vote was said to be a sense of unease among white people that England is becoming too brown due to immigration. The chants of We want our country back were similar to those who began opposing President Obama not after he was elected the first black President of the United States.

Some people believe that the slogan of one of the presumptive major party presidential candidates is a disguised call to make America white again. Dr. Moore pointed out that the growing number of black and brown people we see is no accident. There are more of us here every day. It’s our country, too. We are competing for jobs, housing, education and other resources with everyone else who came here. One of the barriers we face is the sense of entitlement that people of European American ancestry feel.

People are coming to America. And the people who were already here have different attitudes about topics such as race. Which means more interracial relationships. I see young couples in the stores, parks and everywhere else. I am also involved in an interracial relationship with a woman who caught my attention several years ago. Although it took some time, we found we were ready to make a life together. We match one another’s quirks most of the time. We have learned to talk that talk.



So, if any of this discussion about race, whiteness and pluralism sounds like something you could participate in, drop me a message.