All posts for the month July, 2016

Please Share Your Opinion on this Touchy Subject

Published July 31, 2016 by Nan Mykel

When making a will, should the “estate” be shared equally despite the differing levels of economic status? Some say divide equally, don’t play God. People make their own choices and lifestyles and it’s not up to a parent to attempt to rectify a lack of education, circumstances,  etc.  If I love them all equally, why not “share the wealth” equally? I use quote marks above because my “estate” is miniscule, but I’m really in a quandary. I suggested to my wealthiest child that  I should not share equally and got a highly negative response from this child and the spouse.  I want justice but not for any child to feel slighted.

OPINIONS RECEIVED:  This is a biggie. My mother considered the same thing. I told her I would be terribly hurt if she did so. It is hard to explain why I felt so strongly that somehow it would mean she loved me less, though intellectually I could tell myself it wasn’t true. Equal inheritance will spare your children these doubts. It is a much secondary consideration, but those who have less need will probably look out more carefully for the others and will be more inclined to leave what they accumulate to their nieces and nephews.  (cousin)

Robert Avant Since I have virtually nothing, the issue of my will is not compelling. What little I have will go to the local Episcopal church, which was good to Mother when she was in the nursing home. But I do sometimes look around my house and marvel at how items priceless to me will go unappreciated. One place where I drew the line was my personally-autographed copy of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which locals would stick in a book sale for a quarter. I gave it to a young but already distinguished attorney in Birmingham, who was delighted. I have letters from opera singer Beverly Sills, “Ozzie and Harriet’s” Harriet Hilliard Nelson (mother of Ricky Nelson), former NY Times Editor Howell Raines, Louise Stickney Tanner (whose husband Edward Everett Tanner — under the name Patrick Dennis — wrote “Auntie Mame”), and Jessica Mitford. My God what a family those Mitfords were. Her sister Unity Valkerie was a favorite of Hitler, who dubbed her the ideal of the Aryan female. She shot herself when she realized what he really was. One sister became the Duchess of Devonshire, chateleine of Chatsworth. Another sister married Oswald Mosley, a British fascist. They were imprisoned for the duration of WWII. Okay, Bobby — enough!  (cousin)

WHY Why why why…..?

Published July 27, 2016 by Nan Mykel

Excerpted From NPR site a year ago

I have a son with Downs Syndrome. I know a lot of people with intellectual disabilities. Without exception, they love to work. Probably more so than the average person, because work can give them a sense of competence they can’t get elsewhere.

They all work in sheltered workshop settings. What I don’t understand is the dogma that this kind of work is unacceptable. This flies into the face of what I see nearly everyday. People who are very happy to work and proud of what they do.

I have seen the alternative, where the sheltered work programs are shut down. And people like my son are warehoused in programs that “include” people with intellectual disabilities by making them sit most of the day in a stuffy building playing with scraps pf paper and puzzles, and getting “included in the community” by a field trip to the Mall.

I wonder if the zealots who want to close down these kind of programs really work with the more disabled of the population ?


Wading in a Rocky Scream of Consciousness

Published July 26, 2016 by Nan Mykel

On the occasion of going to dine

at Crys’s mom’s……refined



the wine

on time

Saw a Neanderthal in a pinafore…

Twice a year my nose gets outta joint

Th Roly Poly Poet…I get no further than that, you see, after so grand a title…

Dead Ends

You poets out there know I’m sure

how sneaky words can pose a lure

in order to make you think you’re on the brink…

But some poems are dead ends–never see

the light of joyful welcome.  Sigh,  we know it’s we who have failed them.

Other poems just don’t have it, only

lie on the dock smelling fishy,,.

They do it about once a year now–

my words. They want to play with me.

They jump in the dirt and roll…and

expect me to crawl in the mud after them–(which I do)

If I say thunder rattled the window pane

where does your mind go next?

I wrote a depressed poem called Down in the Mouth

and it was so bad I wrote “Lighten Up,”

both blessedly missing from this diatribe.


For shame, Alphonse, was my response

when he suggested a rendezvous–

just we two. I got mad, then sad

for though he was my sisater’s beau

I always thought him cute, you know?




Looking for Sarah Herman aka Love

Published July 25, 2016 by Nan Mykel
Nan wanted to see "the real Medusa" which is on the cover of her new book. She met the artist for the first time and fell in love with the sculpture. She bought it on the spot, and it is now in Nan's livingroom. The artist is Sarah Love, 24. The photo was taken at their meeting at McDonald's in Nelsonville, Ohio.

Nan wanted to see “the real Medusa” which is on the cover of her new book. She met the artist for the first time and fell in love with the sculpture. She bought it on the spot, and it is now in Nan’s livingroom. The artist is Sarah Love, 24. The photo was taken at their meeting at McDonald’s in Nelsonville, Ohio.


Published July 25, 2016 by Nan Mykel

BUT I DON’T HAVE TO DO WHAT THESE LADIES DO, as described in an  Alter Net article by Larry Schwartz, a Brooklyn-based freelance writer with  focus on health, science and American history.  Victoria Beckham is reportedly a big fan of the sheep placenta facial. In this treatment, stem cells from the afterbirth of an ewe are extracted and applied to the skin.  (Happy to miss that one).  I’m even happier to avoid he snail facials utilized by Katie Holmes.  Popular in Southeast Asia, the snail facial involves applying live snails to your face and allowing them to crawl over the skin, depositing their slime (scientifically, helix aspersa muller glycoconjugates). The snails disperse their mucus when under stress, and the substance supposedly contains healthy

Still 2nutrients that will alleviate acne, stretch marks, scars, and wrinkles.

We’ve heard of the “bee-stung lips” look, but how about the bee-stung face? Believers in this facial procedure claim that applying bee venom to the face fools the skin into thinking it has been stung, causing the body to direct blood to the face and producing collagen and elastin to smooth and soften the skin, while restoring elasticity. Among the proponents are Victoria Beckham, Kate Middleton and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Another approach I am happy to have missed is to pump up the face with a dermal filler called hyaluronic acid. Then take some of your own blood, usually from the arm, use a centrifuge to extract platelet rich plasma (PRP), and in a series of injections, return that PRP back into your face. The theory is that the blood platelets contain growth factors that will repair your skin and restore your youthful glow.  Still, Kim Kardashian swears by it, so it must be true.  I give a whoopee about missing the next one:  Leech facial.  The leech facial involves allowing leeches to attach and suck blood from the face, and then smearing the leech-ed blood back onto the face. This allegedly will give you smoother, younger looking skin. Adherents like Demi Moore claim that the proteins and lipids in the leech saliva act to moisturize the skin. Needless to say, no science has shown this to be a fact. And anyway, do you really want leeches sucking blood from your face? NO. Kitty litter facial.  NO.   Bird poop facial.  AARGH!  Japanese geishas used the feces of the nightingale to remove the heavy makeup they wore, and today the geisha facial has gained adherents around the world. The dung of the Japanese nightingale supposedly has restorative properties, smoothing the skin and giving it that Tom Cruise glow. Cruise, in fact, uses the dung, according to Now Magazine. “Tom doesn’t go in for Botox or surgery, but he does pay close attention to all the new and popular natural treatments. He recently started experimenting with the nightingale poo facial.”

The fire facial is popular in spas all over China, but hasn’t yet caught on in the U.S. Not surprising since it involves setting fire to your face. Well, not exactly. A towel is soaked in alcohol and a special beauty elixir, wrapped on to the face, and then lit on fire. The towel is then quickly extinguished with another cloth (before your face melts, presumably). The treatment allegedly “stimulates the skin and addresses dullness, sagging and wrinkles.” Other than the fact that there is no science behind these claims, the fact that you would be lighting a fire on your face should give anyone pause.

Now how did I miss the last treatment on my list?  it’s a semen facial, delicately referred to as “man juice.”








Published July 23, 2016 by Nan Mykel

I learned something about myself the other day, while reading my journal entries from 1947  (that’s 69 years ago).  We had a “maid/babysitter” named Georgia who was pleasant and had a good sense of humor and whose favorite radio program was Arthur Godfrey (and all the little Godfreys).  I had always felt a little proud of myself for correcting her when she said one day she would cook at my wedding. I recalled saying that one day she would dance at my wedding, and her laughing response, “Wouldn’t that be something.”   What I found I had written at the time was that I had corrected her saying she would dance at my wedding and my replying that she would cook at my wedding.  In both instances she laughed and said, “Wouldn’t that be something.”  I do remember for sure, however, that when her elderly husband died she had to borrow a few dollars from my father. I remember thinking how unfeeling he was to begrudge the loan and that we never saw Georgia again, nor of course the money.  She was a positive light from my childhood, and we were so poor she couldn’t have been making much money working for us.  I did recognize a paucity of compassion from my father.  I think I always knew that Black Lives Do Matter.

Another Taste of the Swap

Published July 23, 2016 by Nan Mykel

…she takes her tea into the bathroom, turns on the bright lights and then, slowly raises her eyes to the mirror, literally holding onto the seat.  She breathes deeply to center herself, forces a little smile and in the process sees Elizabeth’s very white, well-tended teeth.

That’s me in there!

Amber turns her head slowly back and forth several times in the mirror, then just as slowly up and down. She makes faces, then emulates all the emotions she can think of. She makes an angry face, a menacng face,  a scared one, pouty, sad and puzzled. The puzzled face lingers. She knows that genes affect personality. What will that mean in her case?…

Feeling her way through Elizabeth’s body is like trying to fit into clothing tailored for someone else. Here and there she is restricted, and at other places fails to fill out the material…

I am in the process of changing the title  Shattered Boundaries to The Swap, and have added a final chapter.  In process.


Published July 20, 2016 by Nan Mykel

Front of Athens Messenger, Ohio News:  “Disabiities Board Eliminates Sub-minimal wage at ATCO”

“No matter who you are, you can do anything that anybody else can do. You just may have to do it a different way,” said ATCO worker Glenda Murray .”  (Like tie your own shoelaces?)
“It is important that the Athens County Board of DD and ATCO make this step of paying all their workers minimum wage to show and support the philosophical shift that individuals with disabilities  should receive the same value for the  work they perform as anyone else would, said .”  director of the board.
Remember when residents of “asylums” were taken from their jobs, which they loved and were part of the structure of their lives because they had to be paid so much for their time?   How could the board itself  do this to their charges? They are either misguided or hypocrites or fulfilling some hidden agenda which is NOT in the best interest of their charges.  Can’t they envision that the workload contracted out to ATCO will dry up if they’re expected to pay  equal for the simplest kind of small jobs that take much, much longer?
Didn’t anyone ever hear of “piecework?”  The hypocrisy of it all!  There’s a hungry shark infesting the waters of this movement, and the most innocent are the ones being sacrificed.  By the bye, I’m not anti-disabled. My daughter is included.
Nan Mykel

How to Talk with Inner Voices (Reprint from England)

Published July 20, 2016 by Nan Mykel

HVN England Release Position Statement on DSM 5
Friday, July 5th, 2013, 5:27 pm”>July 5, 2013f=””=”” rel=”tag”>News Share your views

It’s the Bad Things that Happen to you that can Drive you Crazy!

The Hearing Voices Network in England has issued a position statement on DSM 5 and the wide issue of psychiatric diagnoses following last week’s debate on the need for a new paradigm in mental health services, reported largely as a ‘turf war’ between psychiatry and psychology. Concerned that this debate can all too easily sound ‘academic’ and miss the voices of the very people these systems impact upon – those diagnosed with mental health problems – HVN are taking the debate back to the people.

“We believe that people with lived experience of diagnosis must be at the heart of any discussions about alternatives to the current system.”

Jacqui Dillon, Hearing Voices Network, Chair.

In their statement, the Hearing Voices Network (HVN) state that psychiatric diagnoses are both scientifically unsound and can have damaging consequences. HVN suggest that asking ‘what’s happened to you?’ is more useful than ‘what’s wrong with you?’.

Concerned that essential funds are being wasted on expensive and futile genetic research, they call for the redirection of funds to address the societal problems known to lead to mental health problems and provide the holistic support necessary for recovery.

This is part of a growing, international movement by survivors of the psychiatric system who are questioning the adequacy of a biomedical model to make sense of and respond to madness and distress.

For more information, see:

HVN invites people with lived experience of diagnosis and their supporters to engage in a discussion about the issues and help plan a way forwards.

“People who use services are the true experts on how those services could be developed and delivered; they are the ones that know exactly what they need, what works well and what improvements need to be made. This is not just an academic or professional issue – it’s one that affects our lives.”

Jacqui Dillon, Hearing Voices Network, Chair

To read the position statement, see:


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