The Good News and the Bad News

I’ve been doing some cleaning this week, but before I got to the worst part (scrubbing my toilet), there was a knock at my door.

The good news is that a very nice maintenance dude arrived on Monday to replace my leaky toilet. It no longer makes that irritating, gurgling sound, as if an alien is living inside blowing bubbles. And as of right now, it’s not leaking.

Odd, though, that every time I get up, the back of the toilet bangs against the wall. Well, maybe it sounds like a bang to me because my brain is banging against the inside of my head. (In other news, it smells like one of my neighbors is cooking pork, which is rather unpleasant at this time.)

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This is not my toilet, but it obviously suffered from a similar fate. (RIP, brave throne.) I took these photos on Valentine’s Day weekend, where I noticed someone got a TV to celebrate the holiday:


And a single girl bought herself a pair of shoes:

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And now for the bad news…

I’m used to writing emails that go unanswered — there are plenty of them posted on this blog. On the rare occasions that I am privileged with a response, it usually happens within a day or two. And as of right now, I’ve had no response from my landlord or her corporate bosses.

Sometimes, no news is good news. But usually, no news means I’m not important enough for a response.

(Featured photo taken 6/14/2015.)

Thanks, Dr. Wilks

Maureen Wilks is a Senior Geologist, and Head of Archives and Collections at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources. From 2012 to present she was invited to attend the New Mexico Prescription Drug Misuse and Overdose Prevention and Pain Management Advisory Council as pain patient advocate. In 2014 she became a core member of the Socorro County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, and later, a sponsor of HB 159 for the NM Department of Health to conduct a chronic pain study. Her husband Bob Macleod lived with chronic pain for over 20 years before his death in October 2015. She is writing a book about their experiences “A Pain in the Neck: The impact of prescription drug abuse on the treatment of chronic pain patients in America”.

We thank Dr. Maureen Wilks for sharing her story as a voice for pain patients. Below is her heartfelt story of her husband’s journey with pain management and access to a provider willing to treat him…

Reducing overdose deaths is not quite as simple as reducing access to prescription drugs. If it were then there should be a correlation between overdose deaths within a state and the amount of opioids being prescribed. New Mexico ranks number two in overdose deaths but only 22 when it comes to prescribing (1 being lowest, 50 highest)…  New Mexico ranks 49th to 50th for alcohol related deaths…

What do you see?

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(Photos taken 2/15/2016.)

Here’s what to do if you see a homeless person sleeping rough in the cold

At least 7,581 people are believed to have slept rough in London in 2014/15, a 16 per cent rise on the previous year. And on any given night in 2014, 2,744 people were sleeping rough in England. This is more than double the figure in 2010, before the Coalition government introduced its austerity measures.

Goodbye, Winter


It’s going to be almost 80 degrees later this week, which doesn’t seem fair to Winter at all. says the historical monthly average for February is 53 degrees. Two months from now in April, the historical average is 69 degrees. (No wonder the birds look so freaked out.)



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I just want Winter and the snow to know that they are always welcome in Albuquerque. 🙂

Sin Taxes

In search of cheaper cigarettes, I ended up at Four Winds Travel Center yesterday, where I didn’t have to pay:

“Effective July 1, 2010, the excise tax on cigarettes is $1.66 per pack [$16.60 per carton] if the cigarettes are packaged in lots of 5, 10, or 20, and $2.075 if the cigarettes are packaged in lots of 25.”

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As a liberal, I should feel guilty for not paying the sin tax on cigarettes. But as an informed poor person, I know these taxes aren’t used for their intended purpose. Like cancer research — with as much funding as cancer research gets, you’d think doctors would have come up with a cure by now. And in New Mexico, it’s more likely that cigarette taxes will be used to help support the government while oil is under $30 a barrel.

I found this place next to the gas station:


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It was a windy day:


They don’t look very happy, do they?

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Cool door:


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Selfie of the day:

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Thanks for viewing. 🙂

Sugar therapy

I need me some sugar therapy, but I don’t know what to make. Something soft and easy to chew. Easy to make, too, as I don’t have a lot of kitchen tools (like a mixer) and baking supplies (like cream cheese).

I love my cinnamon bread:

But I was thinking about brownies:

It’s definitely time for some chocolate. Let’s see, I have a little bit of baking chocolate…

Should I bake a cake? With caramel icing? Wait a minute…

Why do I need the cake? 🙂



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Without End


From Google:  The Zia Sun Symbol is featured on the New Mexico flag. The Zia Indians of New Mexico regard the Sun as a sacred symbol. Their symbol, a red circle with groups of rays pointing in four directions, is painted on ceremonial vases, drawn on the ground around campfires, and used to introduce newborns to the Sun.

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To the Zia people and other cultures, four is a significant number. It is embodied in the four directions of the earth, the four seasons of the year, the four times of the day: sunrise, noon, evening and night, and in life’s four divisions of childhood, youth, adulthood and old age. Everything is bound together in a circle of life, without beginning, without end…

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“In a joint memorial, the state acknowledges that the sun symbol belongs to the Pueblo of Zia, that they appropriated the symbol without proper permission and authority,” said Peter Pino, Zia Pueblo administrator…  

“We have been so many times stepped on, pushed around, slapped around … if we’re going to let businesses use it, we want royalties,” Ysidro Pino said. Tribal administrators said there has been no movement on that front so far.

(Photos above taken yesterday.)


Dead Ends

In searching for an apartment today, I wandered down a dead-end road, where I met Hank and Harriet:

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Don’t ever try to sneak up on a horse to take a picture, because they’ll hear you:

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Hank has a white spot on his forehead, so he thinks he’s special.

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Hey, Hank, can we talk?

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I guess not…

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From Urban Dictionary:

Dead-end (verb): The sending of a text that gives the recipient no where to go when texting back and disrupts the natural flow of the conversation. Often a one word answer, or closing comment.
Guy (texting): So howd u like that party the other day?
Girl (texting): It was good.
Guy: Aww man, she just dead-ended me.

That’s okay, I’ll talk to Harriet:

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I’m lookin’ for a place to live, Harriet. Do ya’ll have any room in the barn?

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Hank said that Donald Trump owns this farm, so monthly rent is one million dollars.

Well, I guess I’ll have to keep looking…

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Hank also said, don’t hate me because I’m beautiful. (And live rent-free on a farm.)

“I once thought that I was the only man that persevered to be the friend of the white man, but since they have come and cleaned out our lodges, horses, and everything else, it is hard for me to believe the white man any more.” Black Kettle

Dear Mr. Corporate America

February 14, 2016

Mr. Doug Morehead
CEO and Vice-Chairman
CRHMI Management Group
1600 Dove Street, Suite 450
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Re: Vistas at Seven Bar Ranch Apts., Albuquerque, New Mexico

Dear Mr. Morehead:

I am seeking your assistance regarding a Notice to Vacate, which I received a week ago from your Community Manager, Kara Buchman.

Ms. Buchman and I argued about a renewal increase that she told me was mandated by your company. Even though my long term disability benefits were recently terminated (because I couldn’t afford to see a doctor), and my Social Security Disability benefits did not increase this year, I had no choice but to accept Ms. Buchman’s renewal terms (because of the cost to move). Along with my acceptance of the renewal terms, I reported an old maintenance issue (still outstanding as of this date) and my intention to send a more complete list. I also requested a response to my constant and unanswered questions regarding CUBS and how I’m being charged for certain utilities. More on that saga can be found on my blog, here:

Two days after I made the first payment under the renewal terms — and before the lease was prepared and signed — I received a Notice to Vacate taped to my door. No explanations. No complaints of rules being broken, now or in the past. It has taken me this whole week to get over the shock and prepare this letter.

My first thought after receiving Ms. Buchman’s notice was that I was going to be homeless. I believe homelessness is also a problem in your state, so in case you’re wondering how it happens, now you know. It’s a fear that many of the disabled live with, and one that increases pain and stress levels.

Perhaps two months is what the rental industry calls a reasonable amount of time before beginning eviction proceedings, but I’m not the average renter. I’m disabled. In light of my disabilities (and deeper slide into poverty), I am requesting more time under the Notice to Vacate.

I suppose Ms. Buchman thought that the Notice to Vacate would scare me enough to stop complaining — stop trying to encourage her to do her job. I’m also guessing that Ms. Buchman believes my removal will keep her from having to respond to the CUBS issues. However, there is a dispute over the balance on my CUBS account, one which I intend to fight. As far as I know, the discovery process in a lawsuit is the only way to obtain the information I’ve requested about my CUBS bills. And since I can’t afford an attorney or filing fees, I’ll just look forward to responding to the lawsuit CUBS will undoubtedly file against me.

I am also requesting that the monthly rental amount remain unchanged — if not restored to the previous rate before the renewal contract was broken — until I’m able to move. I promise that I’m doing everything I can to find another home and move as quickly as possible. After all, I don’t want to live where I’m not welcome.

I think I’ve been pretty reasonable in my responses to dangerous activities on this property, like the unleashed dog that attacked me last year. And years ago, when Ms. Buchman put out a newsletter requesting that tenants report outside hallway lights that need replacing, I did so. But to this day, the light I reported has yet to be fixed. Because Ms. Buchman has been understanding about my reduced circumstances up to this point, I’ve let a lot of things slide. Since I told her this would no longer be the case, I believe the Notice to Vacate is retaliatory in nature.

So, I don’t think I’m asking for anything unreasonable — maybe just a little compassion. And speaking of compassion, if you’d like to donate to my moving fund (which will get me out of your hair that much quicker), a nice friend of mine set up a GoFundMe site for this purpose, which you can find here:

I hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day, Mr. Morehead. I appreciate your time and consideration and I anxiously await your response.

Johnna Stahl
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(No phone)

copies to:

Kara Buchman, Community Manager
Vistas at Seven Bar Ranch Apts.
CORE Realty Holdings Management Inc.

Also posted at

Link for blog post inserted in contact form at:

Addition:  Error message found when trying to post link at CRHMI website:  “Not Found. The requested document was not found on this server. Web Server at”

Honeysuckle Haven


I dream of a future where pain patients come together and create their own pain clinic. The one pictured in my mind is called Honeysuckle Haven.

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Since it will be totally self-sufficient, health insurance will not be required for admittance.

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Honeysuckle Haven is not like the Mayo Clinic’s Pain Rehabilitation Center — housed in a building made of concrete and steel, with doctors and tests to monitor your every move — or any other pain programs that currently exist.

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And in my future, the drug war will be over, so the Haven will offer all available treatment options.

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It will be a sprawling commune, nestled in fields of honeysuckle and bluebonnets, with large trees standing guard nearby. (The land will be a gift from the federal government as reparation for its cruel torture of pain patients in the opioid war, and in memory of those who didn’t survive.)

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Each building will offer different treatments, like water therapy and massage. There will be a building for patients who want to fight their pain with vitamins, a farm for those who are currently choosing cannabis, and patches of land for garden therapy.

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There will be a building where all sound is cushioned, and another one where patients celebrate loud music. There will be a building for those who like to pray, and bakery therapy for those who like to eat.

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There will be grief counseling (and comedy therapy) for all.

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Patients will move at their own pace, not dictated by schedules and appointments with professionals.


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I also picture a building where the mastery of pain management is taught. Newly-defined experts will come from all over the world to share experiences and discuss the many different issues surrounding pain and the brain.

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Patients will come and go; some staying for a day or two, and some for the rest of their lives. But everyone will be treated equally at Honeysuckle Haven (where eviction is against the law).

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Thanks for sharing my dream with me, and have a nice weekend. 🙂

Good news for pain patients in Australia

CANBERRA, Australia — Australian lawmakers committed on Wednesday to legalize the growing of marijuana for medical use…

The government introduced a bill to Parliament that would amend the Narcotics Drugs Act 1967 and create a licensing scheme for growing medicinal cannabis. Marijuana is currently illegal throughout Australia, but two states are considering making the drug available for therapeutic uses.

“This government understands that there are some Australians suffering from severe conditions for which cannabis may have applications and we want to enable access to the most effective medical treatments available,” Health Minister Sussan Ley told Parliament.

The bill is guaranteed to become law, with the main opposition party immediately pledging support…

Thanks, Senator Warren

Can pot help with the opioid crisis? This U.S. senator wants to know more

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is urging the CDC to look into marijuana as a possible antidote to painkiller deaths

My comment:

I thank Senator Warren for bringing up this issue. Hopefully, it will save the lives of some pain patients — at least, in the long run. Maybe she can also make a request to Medicare, asking it to cover medical cannabis. Too bad these actions weren’t taken before the CDC and FDA decided to join PFROP and the anti-opioid advocacy crowd, and BEFORE doctors began refusing to treat pain patients, forcing many into cold-turkey detoxes and suicide.

When more people die from suicide than from opioid-related causes, which is the epidemic?

It’s obvious that Senator Warren doesn’t understand what it means to suffer from chronic pain. Patients need equal and affordable access to ALL treatment options, not just the ones that politicians think we should have. Restricting access to one drug, while showing favoritism to another, is not really how medical science is supposed to work. After all, tens of millions of pain patients benefit from taking opioids, yet it’s only thousands who suffer from drug abuse and addiction.

The failed drug war has taught us that when restrictions are placed on one drug, it just results in the increase of more dangerous drugs. (For example, cannabis and Spice. And, of course, opioids and illegal heroin.)

We all know that drugs don’t cause addiction — it’s not that simple. And when you discriminate against one drug, you discriminate against all of them.

Thinking of you, Christine Lucas

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(1/20/2016) Maryland Police Shoot Christine Lucas After Woman Points Airsoft Gun At Troopers In Suicide Plan

A Cecil County Maryland woman, 45-year-old Christine Lucas, was shot to death by Maryland state troopers early this morning after she made a report of an intruder in her home sometime before 2 a.m., according to Fox Baltimore. When the troopers arrived, they found Lucas brandishing what they thought was a real gun, but which turned out to be an Airsoft gun, which resulted in her tragic death.

A suicide note with an “explanation for her actions” was said to be found in the house after a warrant was later obtained by police…  Perhaps exacerbating the situation, Lucas was reported to have stopped taking prescription medication in the preceding weeks, the family was suffering from financial problems, and the home had been without electricity for as long as four months…

Lucas’ 15-year-old son was reported to have been asleep in his room upstairs when his mother’s encounter with the police took place. The boy stated that, earlier in the night, his mother had prepared a bag with his clothes and told him to stay upstairs…


Baltimore, MD – CVS Pharmacy, Inc. (CVS) has agreed to pay $8 million to the United States to resolve allegations that its Maryland pharmacies violated the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) by dispensing controlled substances pursuant to prescriptions that were not issued for a legitimate medical purpose…

According to the settlement agreement, CVS acknowledged that between 2008 and 2012 certain CVS pharmacy stores in Maryland dispensed controlled substances, including oxycodone, fentanyl and hydrocodone, in a manner not fully consistent with their compliance obligations under the CSA and related regulations…  This settlement caps off an investigation that began as part of the DEA’s crackdown on prescription drug abuse in Maryland…

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