Welcome To Disability Rights, Pets, Poetry & Art!

On this Blog, you will read Tamar Mag Raine's rants, raves, poetry, and articles. I hope you'll enjoy the blog, and please let me know what you think of it!

I have always known I was a writer, The computer has enriched my life by enabling me to write, and edit my stories easily. Then the Internet has changed my life by putting me in touch with other people with disabilities. This has helped me feel much more connected. So read, enjoy, and feel free to comment on my posts, and share your own ideas and life!

To Life, L'Chaim, Gracias a la Vida!

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Much creativity,

I  have neglected this blog for a long time. I have had a creative explosion that is not digitized (YET). I don't know what to call it, but it involves using the pigment of flower petals and leaves, to get their colors on paper. It's really fun, and I love that I'm using nature's bounty.  I have several implements like a meat tenderizer, and the back of a paint roller. I drag the leaf or flower petal on the paper, creating designs. Sometimes I do abstracts, sometimes I do landscapes, and sometimes I do multi-media using both flowers and paint brush pens. I plan to get copies made of my art to show here as well as to put on my zazzle website. People who see my art cannot get over how much color I get from one flower.  Be that as it may, I'm turning now back to writing my life story. I know what I want to say, but don't know what form it should take.  I suppose it will come to me the more stories I recount.

Tamar Raine

Friday, April 8, 2011

Defying Depression

Defying Depression

There are things showing signs of my 55 years, my hands unable to do what I once worked so hard to do. The right thumb joint is so loose I cannot open a plastic bag unless it has the tab that you pull. The index finger now is very crooked and bent, as are the other fingers. The other thing I miss, is being able to pick my nose.

In my torso, my collarbone was the first to move, my doctor says he’s not worried about it, that it has just moved forward… I beg to differ -- Now I have no way to avoid choking; I used to be able to place my fingers on my throat and either push the troublesome bite up or down, so that really scares me. My spine curves my body to the left, making it painful to walk for very long.

Then there are the filthy politicos, selfish rich people and big corporations, who are raping the country and our economy. At the moment I find I have to avoid reading or thinking too much about it because if I did, I sink to deep despair. How is it possible for all these mega corporations to get tax breaks, and in fact to receive our hard earned taxes on top of their profits!???!! When will Americans wake up again and realize that run-away capitalism is bringing this country to its knees??! When will we wake up and revolt against these god-forsaken corporations who whine about taxes, and ship jobs overseas where they exploit the very young, workers who should be in school? They threaten to leave the state, and yet they ship jobs overseas anyway?! Where is morality? Where the hell is justice? Where is sanity? 

Still, within myself, I refuse to let these things take my joy.  The simple things can bring bits of happiness.  The things like warm spring sunshine, brightly colored flowers, the sight of new young leaves on the trees, playing with my dog, having my cats rub their heads on my head. Eating yummy food and treats helps when I’m feeling insecure. And this empty feeling I’ve felt for decades still raises its ugly head. In college I told my therapist I felt like I was behind a cold glass wall, separated from everybody else, and I would drink a whole mug full of wine at night to try to warm myself from the loneliness.

Then I got involved with an eastern meditation ashram, and suddenly a lot of the emotional pain was gone. However all the meditation and chanting and seva makes one feel as high as being on drugs, so when you leave that environment due to seeing the mind games and abuses of power within the organization, it is exactly like going into withdrawal. You never feel high anymore. You never feel overwhelming love gushing from your heart anymore. You learn to live in “blah” and are grateful to feel the bits of joy that you can glean from life’s pleasures. If you hear yourself thinking; “Is this all there is to my life”? You tell yourself, “YES, there is no such thing as a realized being, Nirvana only exists in books, and anybody who claims to be “realized” is a fake, only after your money.”  So I grab my bits of joy, and infuse my art with bright colors and scenes from nature.

The longer I live, the more I know that every person I know or meet, and those I will never meet, all have our demons.  I took the est forum, and later the Landmark forum, and that was a good way for me to learn that so-called “normal” “able-bodied” people carry their own sorrows, their own difficulties. As Buddha said, pain is part of life. And I continue to see that nobody goes unscathed. We all seek joy in many different ways. Some people take extreme risks, others seek it through drugs and alcohol, some in dancing, others in art.

For many of us – we take medication to help us be able to get out of bed and function in our daily lives. After many years on medication, I decided to stop taking it. I wanted to find out how much it actually helped, and how I felt not taking it. I did this over three months, because I am aware that with certain medications you can die from withdrawal reactions. I found that yes, I felt things more deeply, but that crying a little over a sad movie, or being overwhelmed when watching the news from Japan, or anywhere else a natural disaster has hurt people and animals, is ok. It has not buried me, and in fact it makes me feel more connected to people, but if it ever got to the point, where I cannot deal, then that would be cause to revisit my decision. I hate feeling blah, I think part of it comes from having fibromyalgia, because there is a lot of mental fuzziness for me. I continue to try my best to live as fully as I can.

Tamar Mag Raine
April 8, 2011

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Update on my girls

My three girls, Lambkins the dog, and the two cats Marigold and Magic, co-exist peacefully most of the time. Lambkins has grown to 22 LB and has a beautiful coat for winter. She has a cute way of going into the bottom part of the kitty condo and sleeping in there. When she gets hair cuts, it looks like the perfect size for her. But now that her hair has grown back it was so cute last night, because all you saw was one ear with curly white hair hanging out the hole.

Marigold now trusts Lambkins so completely, that if Lambkins is in the office chair and Marigold wants to go from her table to my table, she will just walk right on the chair almost walking on top of her. It is good to see that.

Magic is still Magic, whiny, demanding, sweet. She won't walk on the chair if Lambkins is laying on it, but she is building. trust with the dog.

Tamar Mag Raine

Helpful Hints #3 Pipe Cleaners and Satin Underpants

Pipe cleaners and Satin underpants                   
This is the third set of helpful hints for those with disabilities

I had always had trouble opening and closing plastic bags with twist ties, but now my fine finger ability has declined, so one day, I got the bright idea to use pipe cleaners instead of those really short plastic twist ties. It works great. You can find pipe cleaners in the arts and crafts section of your big CVS or art supply store, as well as, of course, where pipes and tobacco are sold.

Pipe cleaners also come in handy for cleaning the caps of my plastic bottles. You know the kind with the pop up spout. If you don’t clean those spouts, it can become black and yucky tasting. I also have my helpers boil the caps to ensure I don’t get sick, or add to my dental woes.

I have worn leggings for many years; my issue has always been they are difficult to pill up and down over cotton underpants. Recently, I realized my underpants were all worn out, so I went on a mini shopping spree and bought many different types of underpants. Among those that fit, were some satiny types of underpants. I was pleasantly surprised when I went to the bathroom one day, and it was so easy to pull my leggings down, and then it was easy to pull them back up. I wasn’t struggling to pull them up, nor was I struggling to keep my balance. So, when I wear leggings, I now wear my smooth, satiny underpants.

These are not earth-shattering hints, but every small thing that can help people be a little more independent is worth sharing. 

Tamar Mag Raine

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It's the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Our Homes, not Nursing Homes!

This Monday, marked the 20th anniversary of the ADA, which President George H. Bush signed into law. It was a hard fought battle, and it wasn't clear how long it would take to implement it into reality. It's now 2010, and our struggles to become full-fledged members of society has borne some fruit. And yet many people are still struggling with the most basic needs. Let's begin with the ones I know the best; The struggle in California to keep the in-home supportive services for the elderly, and younger people with disabilities: The IHSS budget takes less than 1.5 percent of the entire budget, and yet, Arnold Schwarzenegger has sought to cut the program from the first day he took office, long before the economic downturn. He also went after the Regional Centers which provide additional support for those with developmental disabilities like cerebral palsy, autism, Down Syndrome. These cuts would have meant that THOUSANDS would either end up in nursing homes, or being endangered in their own homes, or becoming homeless. And that does not take into account the home care workers who provide individualized support for all the people on the rolls. Last year the Governor was set to cut 90% of IHSS consumers off the rolls. That would have meant that over 300,000 care providers would lost their jobs! And that would mean they would need to apply for unemployment, if not they would have ended up becoming homeless!

Not only that, but Governor S. tried to criminalize the disabled and the elderly by requiring us to be fingerprinted and photographed by roving social workers in vans with specialty cameras being used to fight the drug war on American borders, and being used by the military in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those cameras cost $5,000 each! The total bill would be $40 million! Yes folks! The state is so broke we can't afford to pay the In-home care providers, but we can afford $40 million to "root out those wicked" consumers ripping off the system or whatever numbers his highness comes up with. You'll have to pardon the sarcasm!

Bear in mind there is no evidence at all to support the outrageous claims! After all, the consumer isn't the one getting paid! As my friend and fellow advocate, Maggie Dee noted in a recent posting, it doesn't make any sense. The social workers at each IHSS office, have a mind-boggling caseload. In the 1990s, I asked my social worker about her caseload. She told me she had over 900 consumers! I imagine it must number in the thousands now. As Maggie asked, do you really think they're going to inspect each time sheet for each consumer for matching fingerprints? Are they going to train each payroll clerk to read fingerprints? Talk about a witch hunt! 

Another issue is the lack of beds in nursing homes! IF A.S. were  to be successful, the State, is not prepared in any way to put any large numbers of people in nursing homes. Thank goodness for small truths like this.
Oh WAIT! Here's a nice kicker; A.S. gave the nursing home industry MILLIONS of dollars to build more nursing homes! When I heard this last summer, I was absolutely LIVID!  Again; he was trying to get rid of us. It's a well known fact that nursing homes cost much more per person than paying for in-home care! The Terminator does not care one bit about us. He only cares about big business. The emperor wears no clothes and he has no heart. He also has no understanding of what the Supreme court Olmstead decision is about.  We are not sick. We just need assistance, usually non-medical assistance. Nursing homes are always understaffed and do little in the way of keeping "patients" busy and happy. Why should somebody languish in a nursing home when they could and should be able to have a life with family, friends and choices like everybody else!

I honestly do not think our Governor cares about the hundred thousand he wants to cut. I say; If he really cared, if any of the politicians really cared; if they had the will, they would find a way. So far we have had to fight every step of the way to keep services.  Thankfully, the legislature has rejected the $40 Million to use those cameras, saying that they never approved photographing or fingerprinting the IHSS consumers. So far so good, but we always have to pay close attention. 

I'll tell you what I'd like to see; instead of looking at short-term goals and taking from the neediest citizens, I'd like to see a gathering of activists and people in many fields, finally coming up with long-term solutions to the many issues we face. That is what we were doing in Berkeley on that traffic strip.  For four weeks my comrades kept a presence at this encampment called Arnieville. I will be so glad when A.S. leaves office. Just seeing his name causes me to feel nausea! I imagine that Meg Whitman will be no better.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I received this in an email.  I am posting it in its entirety. This is why I have no faith in politicians of any stripe.

An Open Letter from ADAPT to the Disability Community on the 20th Anniversary
of the Signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Sisters and Brothers in the Disability Community:

As the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act
draws near, we approach the milestone with mixed emotions. Securing national
civil rights legislation, protecting the rights of people with disabilities,
was truly historic. It is important that we recognize the incredible nature
of this accomplishment and the hard work of those that made this happen, but
20 years after President George H. W. Bush signed this civil rights
legislation into law and as our community is preparing for the celebrations,
we pause in disappointment that the promise of freedom has still not reached
our sisters and brothers in nursing facilities and other institutions.

Our sisters and brothers remain locked away, unseen and unheard. For them,
the act is just words on paper. They are not given the opportunity to
exercise their civil rights under this law because they still do not have the
basic freedoms that other Americans enjoy.

As the Anniversary date draws closer, they may hear about the progress our
community has made over the past 20 years, but knowing that you are protected
against discrimination in employment means nothing when the hub of your life
is a bedroom you share with a stranger. Knowing that buildings and public
accommodations are accessible means nothing when the facility staff won't let
you leave; and even having access to lifts on buses - as dear to our hearts as
that is - means nothing when you cannot afford to go anywhere on the allowance
that is left over after the institution has taken its share of your money.

When we gather together as a community, we must remember that our sisters and
brothers in institutions will not be toasting those that authored or advocated
for the Act. They will not be celebrating independent living, either as a
movement or personal achievement, and they certainly won't share in the power
or pride of the disability community. For them, July 26th will be the same as
every other day in the institution.

Recently, ADAPT has been criticized by some of the provider-based advocates in
our community because we are publicly demanding that Speaker Pelosi sign onto
the Community Choice Act and agree to eliminate the institutional bias once
and for all. They tell us that publicly questioning "our friends" is
inappropriate. We are told we should be grateful for the efforts that have
been made so far, and that we must be patient because change takes time.

We will not apologize for our impatience. We do this because our brothers and
sisters have waited long enough for their freedom. We cannot sit by,
patiently and quietly waiting for our government to give our people the
freedom which should be our birthright.

We had great hopes for President Obama and this Congress. Many of us believed
that his promise for change included the promise of freedom. When President
Obama was taking the oath of office with his hand on Lincoln's bible, it
seemed like fate was telling us that he would free our people. When the
President and Congress took up health care reform, we were sure that they
would finally eliminate the institutional bias, and we hoped that this
historic anniversary in the disability community would be celebrated with
historic change. Unfortunately, the President and Congress did not have the
political will to make this happen. While we recognize that some gains were
made, unlike any other class of Americans, our freedom remains a state

It is, indeed, true that one of the tools we are using to help people leave
institutions and move into the community is the Supreme Court's Olmstead
decision, which is based on the requirements of the ADA, and it is true that
President Obama's administration has demonstrated an unprecedented commitment
to enforcing the Olmstead decision. But such efforts are transitory. We have
seen, during the last 20 years, that new administrations have their own
priorities, and although there may now be a commitment to enforce the Olmstead
decision, the pendulum will ultimately swing back in the other direction. We
also know that the gains we may make in the courts are hard-fought, slow, and
constantly subject to attack. Even right now, as many in the disability
community commemorate the ADA's anniversary, the Attorney General in
Connecticut is coordinating legal efforts by the states to fight against some
of the recent gains we have made in court which will allow more of our people
to live in freedom. Ironically, the deadline for states to join the effort is
just one day after the anniversary, July 27th.

In America, freedom shouldn't ever be optional, but - in fact - for us it is.
While federal Medicaid rules require states to pay for institutional
placement, community-based alternatives are state options and continually
subject to elimination in state budget cuts. It is ironic that as we
celebrate a civil rights victory that is 20 years old, our freedom is becoming
even more precarious and the situation becoming more dire. States, facing
record budget shortfalls, are cutting the services that support community
living options for seniors and persons with disabilities. These budget cuts
force people into unwanted placement, stealing from them much of what is most
precious: their homes, their families and their freedom.

Some people have moved across the country to a different state to get supports
and services to live outside of the institution. There, they have been able
to share in the promise of the ADA, but many people don't know about the
services available in other states or simply might not be able to make the
journey on this modern underground railroad.

But as long as community services are only an option, those who have escaped
to freedom cannot escape the fear. No place is safe because their freedom can
easily disappear at the whim of state policy makers. They will be called upon
to help solve their state's budget crisis by sacrificing their freedom, home
and lives.

We all need to recognize that through personal circumstance or state policy
change any of us can lose our freedom. No one in our community is exempt. No
one is safe. No one in our community can afford to be comfortable, but it is
also our hope that - from this discomfort - the disability community will be
mobilized to take action and, together, we will build on a 20-year legacy to
address this injustice. Our movement isn't about the civil rights for some of
us; it is about the freedom of all of us.

We cannot wait any longer. ADAPT asks you, during this ADA 20th anniversary
celebration, to recommit your energy to ending the institutional bias during
the next Congress. The time is now to end the institutional bias and FREE OUR


The ADAPT Community

NATIONAL ADAPT MAILING LIST - Adapt Community Choice Act List http://www.adapt.org

Friday, July 16, 2010

California Governor wants to terminate 116,000 jobs

The governor is holding firm on his plan to slash $750 million (that will be from 116,000 workers LOSING their JOBS,) in funding from In-Home Supportive Services, the program that helps seniors and disabled Californians stay safely at home -- and out of expensive nursing or medical institutions. Will you call your state representatives and tell them that you won't stand for such inhumane and uneconomical abuses.

Call Your Reps Now (toll-free): 1-866-699-9243