Category Archives: Art

Why I Live an Un-regulated Life

In truth, if you came here to find out how not  to live a regulated life, by which I mean one not bound by routines and self-made Rules with a capital R, I may disappoint in what follows.  Why? Because while I trust that my life, lacking as it is in almost all  “regulated structure”, has a “mind of its own” and in that sense as much purpose as any other, I confess that this free-spirit eschewing of everything and anything routine is less by choice than by temperament.

Not that I have not tried, mightily, to instill in myself the values of routine, attempting to establish even one single habit that might tame a few of these impulses to spontaneity that don’t in fact help me.  Okay, phoebe, be specific, name one! Well, in point of fact, i do not eat, sleep or even brush my teeth on any routine or scheduled or regulated basis….This is not troubling to me in terms of the first two: i live alone and have no intimate relationship, so when and where I sleep or eat is really nobody else’s concern. But my mouth is full of dental work that cost a mint, so the fact that I do not brush my teeth…period, let alone on a regular or scheduled basis could be seen as a problem. If it were not for frequent dental visits and a family who at least saw to it that my teeth were taken care of, I might be lacking them altogether.

But if my title above enticed you, you did not come here to read about my lack of dental hygiene or the drawbacks to living as I do, free of routines. One might see me as either free-spirited or run-amock, depending on how you perceive my life-style of spontaneously going with the flow and hoping for or anticipating the best outcome. As I said, this is not entirely by choice, as I seem to thrive (mostly) on doing things on a “what do I feel like doing now?” basis, rather than according to any schedule. Temperament? Most likely…though I can say that I was not always this way, or so comfortable with being and living the spontaneous life. As a child I was known as the Neatnik, the one whose room was meticulous all the time, and who knew where everything was placed or kept, down to the toothpicks in my antiqued-in-6th-grade-secretary-desk, lower left hand drawer, upper right quadrant, in a handmade box, next to the pen nibs in another box…(you see what I mean?)

if i used to be neat to an extreme and thrived on order, what the heck happened? I shake my head, wondering about the transformation myself…it may be that I was wrongly “typed” as the stoic, neatnik child, when my true nature was much more free wheeling. I know my parents had to pigeonhole each of us, their children, in order to “make sense of us” but did so on the basis of what they wanted to see not on what was there by nature. But maybe, too, there was a change as I grew up, either temperamentally  or as a kind of rebellion, and assertion of who I really am.

Most or many people I know could not live as I do, and would neither want to or find it comfortable. I cannot seem to live any other way. But I will also say that if you are comfortable with routines and schedules, go for it. Find out who you really are and not who your parents decided you were, way back when. You can’t do more than survive, which is to say, you can only THRIVE when you know and are true to yourself and to what your needs and feelings are.

Sometime I will write about Nonviolent Communication and how it changed my life. Talk about not being spontaneous! This is a system and a tool for resolving interpersonal conflicts as well as developing a better self-rapport, and while you can learn to use it spontaneously , at first it feels rigid and constricting and even artificial. (But so what? I mean, baking bread is artificial, and so is using any electricity or a boat to ferry you across a river…what isn’t?).  But those skilled in NVC are also some of the most accepting, tolerant and loving people I have ever met…so even if I do it on more or less spontaneous basis, i aim for such a state of being.

Another great song/video with translation

La vie est belle

Thomas Nassi

(translated by phoebe who takes all responsability for errors )

Mon banquier pense que j’aurais besoin que l’on m’aide

My banker thinks that I need someone to help me

Tandis que mon psy dit que j’aurais plutôt besoin qu’on m’aime

While my shrink says that I really need  someone to love me

Le temps qui passe nous mène toujours face à nous même

Time passing  leads us always face to face back to ourselves

Si ce n’est pas moi, qui résoudra mes problèmes?

If this isn’t me, what/who will solve my problems?

On m’a dit, tu te prends trop la tête

They told me You’re too much in your head

Essaye de mieux voir combien la vie est belle la vie t’ouvre les bras

Try harder to see how life is beautiful, life opens it arms to you

Je me suis dit, ah ça, la vie est belle

Je told myself oh yes, life is beautiful

Peut être pour toi qui vis comme dans un rêve vêtu d’or et de soie

Perhaps for you who live as if in a dream dressed in gold or silk

Ah ça, la vie est belle

Ah life is beautiful

Ah ça, la vie est belle

Maman me voyait devenir architecte ou médecin

Mommy saw me becoming an architect or doctor 

Je taffe à l’usine, mon boss me voit comme un vaut-rien

I work at a factory (where) my boss sees me as worthless

Papa m’a dit ce n’est pas un métier musicien

Daddy  tells me  that being a musician is no career

Laisse moi fermer les yeux au moins jusqu’à demain

Let me close my eyes at least till tomorrow

On m’a dit, tu te prends trop la tête

They tell me, You’re too much In your head

On m’a dit, tu te prends trop la tête

They tell me, you are too much in your head

Essaye de mieux voir combien la vie est belle, la vie t’ouvre les bras

Try harder to see how life is beautiful life opens it’s arms to you

Je me suis dit, ah ça, la vie est belle

I told myself ah that, yes, life is beautiful

Peut être pour toi qui vis comme dans un rêve vêtu d’or et de soie

Maybe for you who live as if in a dream dressed in gold or silk

Ah ça, la vie est belle

Ah ça, la vie est belle

Oh, that, life is beautiful

On m’a dit, tu te prends trop la tête

They tell me, you are too much in your head

Essaye de mieux voir combien la vie est belle, la vie t’ouvre les bras

Try harder to see how life is beautiful, how life opens it’s arms to you

Je me suis dit, ah ça, la vie est belle

I told myself how yeah’ life is beautiful

Peut être pour toi qui vis comme dans un rêve vêtu d’or et de soie

Maybe for you who live as if in a dream dressed in gold or silk

Ah ça, la vie est belle

Ah ça, la vie est belle

Song, in French with translation

Phoebe’s translation:

Ever since we were kids,

My friend, we struggled,

But now that we are men

I want to put the oars/ struggles behind us

If tears come to you

Come then, and give them to me

Gypsy men and women

This is what we were made for

 

Tiago, I have taken the time to write you

A song in a thousand smiles

Tiago I have put in the time to say it

But my friend, I will be here for the worst

 

Whoever makes fun of you

Also makes fun of me

In 20 years you will see

How we will laugh (about it)

If that turns into a fight

We will play it four-handed

Gypsies

God gives us fists (for this purpose)

 

Tiago, I have taken the time to write you

A song in a thousand smiles

Tiago I have put in the time to say it,

But my friend, I will be here for the worst.

 

My friend, Tiago.

(Repeated)

 

The girlfriend who leaves

And will never return

It’s about time for us to see each other, yes,

And talk about you

If your heart is broken

Bring it here now

Gypsies,

We are good repairmen.

 

Tiago, I have taken the time to write you

A song in a thousand smiles

Tiago I have put in the time to say it,

But Tiago my friend…

Tiago, I have taken the time to write you

A song in a thousand smiles

Tiago I have put in the time to say it

But my friend I will be here for the worst.

 

Tiago

 

Review of my Last Book

 

Not sure why link is not working but if you click on it you will get to Disability Arts Onljne, from there go to magazine, then click on newest reviews. The second one in, so far, should be about O-rings and Cathode Rays, that is to say, the review.

 

i will try posting this address which may copy and paste better than the link does.

http://disabilityarts.online/magazine/opinion/phoebe-sparrow-wagner-learning-to-see-in-three-dimensions-o-rings-and-cathode-rays/

see my comment at the bottom of the review

Phoebe Spiro Wagner: Learning to See in Three Dimensions – O-Rings and Cathode Rays

http://disabilityarts.online/magazine/opinion/phoebe-spiro-wagner-learning-to-see-in-three-dimensions-o-rings-and-cathode-rays/

 

Walls, walls, and walls…

When people think of Robert Frost and quote his poem “Mending Wall”  they use this in support of fence making: “Good fences make good neighbors…” but rarely  have they read the poem all the way through. Here is the heart, I believe, of this poem , at least insofar as it pertains to physical walls:

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know

What I was walling in or walling out,

And to whom I was like to give offence.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

That wants it down.”

 

You can read the poem in its entirety, here

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44266/mending-wall

OTC hearing aids and lower prices-soon!

this is the fact sheet that I obtained from senator Elizabeth Warren,s website.

The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017

Approximately 30 million Americans experience age-related hearing loss, including over half of adults between the ages 70-79.1 Yet only a small share of Americans with hearing loss – around 14 percent – use assistive hearing technologies, primarily because they cannot afford to buy costly hearing aids.2 Hearing aids are not covered by Medicare or most private insurance plans, and out-of-pocket costs for a single hearing aid average $2,400 – far out of reach for many consumers.3 As a result, individuals living in poverty are substantially less likely to have access to hearing aids than those with higher incomes.4

Complex hearing aid regulations exacerbate this problem by restricting the availability of hearing aids. In 1977, the FDA imposed a set of special regulations on hearing aids, including a requirement that individuals obtain a medical evaluation or sign a waiver of that evaluation before being allowed to purchase or use a hearing aid. After an extensive review, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found “no evidence that the required medical evaluation or waiver of that evaluation provides any clinically meaningful benefit” and recommended “removing this regulation to serve consumers’ best interests.”5

Both the National Academies and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) have also recommended making some types of hearing aids available over the counter – similar to the way in which basic reading glasses are available without a prescription. PCAST’s analysis of the hearing aid market concluded that “consumers find it difficult to shop for the best value.”6 Hearing aids are typically sold “bundled” with fees charged for evaluation, follow-up, and adjustments to the device, even though many consumers never use these services.7 Allowing hearing aids to be sold over the counter will expand consumer choice, open the market to innovative hearing technologies, and drive down prices so that millions more Americans can access affordable hearing aids.

The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017

The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 implements recommendations from PCAST and the National Academies to help the millions of Americans affected by hearing impairment. The Act:

• Makes certain types of hearing aids – those intended to be used by adults to compensate for perceived mild to moderate hearing impairment – available over the counter.

• Removes an unnecessary and burdensome requirement that consumers obtain a medical evaluation or sign a waiver of that examination in order to obtain an OTC hearing aid.

• Requires the FDA to issue regulations containing safety and labeling requirements for this new category of OTC hearing aids.

• Maintains existing safety, labeling, and manufacturing protections and applies them to OTC devices in order to ensure that OTC hearing aids are held to the same high standards as other medical devices.

• Requires the FDA to update its draft guidance on Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs), consumer electronics products that may use similar technology to hearing aids, but are intended for use by individuals with normal hearing.

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1 Frank R. Lin, John K. Niparko, and Luigi Ferrucci. 2011. “Hearing Loss Prevalence in the United States,” Archives of Internal Medicine 171: 1851-1853 (online at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3564588/).
2 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press (online at: http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2016/Hearing-Health-Care-for-Adults.aspx), p. 183.
3 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Aging America and Hearing Loss: Imperative of Improved Hearing Technologies (October 2015) (online at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/PCAST/pcast_hearing_tech_letterreport_final.pdf), p. 1. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press (online at: http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2016/Hearing-Health-Care-for-Adults.aspx), p. 21-22. Sergei Kochkin. 2007. “MarkeTrak VII: Obstacles to Adult Non-User Adoption of Hearing Aids,” The Hearing Journal 60: 24-50 (online at: http://www.betterhearing.org/sites/default/files/hearingpedia- resources/MarkeTrak%20VII%20Obstacles%20to%20adult%20non- user%20adoption%20of%20hearing%20aids.pdf). Karl E. Strom. 2014. “HR 2013 Hearing Aid Dispenser Survey: Dispensing in the Age of Internet and Big Box Retailers,” The Hearing Review 21 (4): 22-28 (online at: http://www.hearingreview.com/2014/04/hr-2013-hearing-aid-dispenser-survey-dispensing-age-internet-big-box- retailers-comparison-present-past-key-business-indicators-dispensing-offices/).
4 Kathleen E. Bainbridge and Virginia Ramachandran. 2014. “Hearing Aid Use among Older United States Adults: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2005-2006 and 2009-2010,” Ear and Hearing 35: 289-294. 5 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press (online at: http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2016/Hearing-Health-Care-for-Adults.aspx), p. 120-121.
6 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Aging America and Hearing Loss: Imperative of Improved Hearing Technologies (October 2015) (online at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/PCAST/pcast_hearing_tech_letterreport_final.pdf), p. 3.
7 Karl E. Strom. 2014. “HR 2013 Hearing Aid Dispenser Survey: Dispensing in the Age of Internet and Big Box Retailers,” The Hearing Review 21 (4): 22-28 (online at: http://www.hearingreview.com/2014/04/hr-2013-hearing- aid-dispenser-survey-dispensing-age-internet-big-box-retailers-comparison-present-past-key-business-indicators- dispensing-offices/). National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press (online at: http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2016/Hearing-Health-Care-for-Adults.aspx), p. 242-243, 258- 259. Consumer Reports, “How to Buy a Hearing Aid” (July 2009) (online at: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/july-2009/health/hearing-aids/how-to-buy-a-hearing- aid/hearing-aids-how-to-buy-a-hearing-aid.htm).

 

Award-Winning Short Story — 1 page — and art

THE DRESS

by Phoebe Sparrow Wagner (formerly Pamela Spiro Wagner)

I will never forget The Dress. Worn only once, with three quarter-length sleeves cuffed in white, and a demure white collar, it had two layers of navy blue crepe skirting, with a dropped waist and a sash. This was the first “dressy” dress I ever picked out all on my own.
The first thing about The Dress was that it was not the pale pink tent that I had worn to my first mixer with Sheffield Academy, which I was convinced scared away my freckled red-haired date, not that I minded much, once I saw him dance. The second thing about The Dress was the look in the eyes of the boy at the Gunnery, where my second mixer was held. This boy was matched with me strictly by height. I don’t know why, but something clicked with us, and the first thing he said to me, to my huge relief, was, “I hate dancing, don’t you? Let’s take a walk.” With that, we linked arms and spent the evening strolling arm in arm around his campus.

To say that nothing happened would seem almost hilarious these days, except that nothing did, besides our shared and passionate discussion of Plato and the books we’d read and other schoolish stuff. By the time the bells rang to call everyone back to the buses, I knew, because after all, I was a teenage girl who had read books, what might happen. I also knew, because I was an avid fan of the advice columnist Ann Landers, that no self-respecting young girl allowed a kiss on her first date. We had been walking arms around each other’s waist all evening; I liked him, it was equally clear that he liked me. It was inevitable what would happen next. But I was a good girl. What to do?

I tried to say good-bye, smiling sadly and keeping the distance that would protect me. My adoring young man nevertheless leaned in to kiss me. Turning my cheek, I rebuffed him. I did not mean to hurt his feelings, but I knew that Ann Landers was watching me and would be happy my virginity was safe. As I climbed onto the bus with a heavy heart, I looked back and waved but my date was nowhere to be seen. I took my seat, feelings mixed about whether the rebuff had truly been a success.

Then someone behind me spoke. “Good for you, Pammy, not kissing the black boy!”

What? I looked at her. My classmate was smiling grimly. “You didn’t kiss that -–“ and she used the terrible word I had never heard anyone say to my face.

In that moment, I knew that if I could have, I would have raced off the bus and grabbed that young man and kissed him full on the lips, and to hell with Ann Landers and her crappy advice.

But it was too late to change anything. Too late to let him know why I had not kissed him, too late to kiss him in spite of my classmates and too late to spite Ann Landers and my proper upbringing. Too late, too late, too late. I never wore that dress again.

—————————-

This short account, all too true, won first place at Vermont’s Counterpoint’s annual writing contest in 2015. You can see it and the other first place winner at

https://www.vermontpsychiatricsurvivors.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Counterpoint_Summer_2015.pdf

Below is my very first painting done in about 2009 or 2010 when I was first starting to do art. I called it First Love, and now you know why.

First painting ever

The DEEPER DIG at Vermont Digger — on Mental Health Care challenges

Features me and a poem…as well as a discussion of mental health “care” with DMH commissioner, Mourning Fox

https://vtdigger.org/2018/11/16/deeper-dig-hospitals-struggle-psychiatric-care/