friends

Joey Needs a Kidney


Well, this is something new for this blog.

The email letters below are from a real life friend of mine, Lauren. Her husband, Joey, is a doctor who has dedicated his life to serving the needy.

I’ve known Lauren about a year and she’s a great gal. Since I’ve met her I’ve been aware that her dear husband, the love of her life, will be in dire straits (as well all of his impoverished patients) if he is unable to get a kidney transplant. He has been floating down that river of Denial and thinking more folks than he need the help – because he is one of those caregiver types.

When I got this from Lauren in my email I pondered how best to get it out to a vast number of people who might get it out to a vast number of people. So here it is. Maybe there is a young, vital person out there who is willing to give the gift of life to someone who gives the gift of life to others in need – ya think?

July 15, 2012 (so this doesn’t go around the Internet forever) – From Lauren: Hello everyone…I’m writing tonight because my husband is in a medical crisis and is in need of a lifesaving kidney transplant. This is not a spam mail, this is not a joke…THIS IS FOR REAL!

If you or anyone you know might be able to help Joey find a kidney, please contact me as soon as possible.

This is where a private email/phone would be. I’d request you contact info@graham-lawyer.com and I’ll pass information on to Lauren and Joey. In fact, if anyone wants to call, my work number is on the website. If anyone gets hammered with spam or bogus phone calls, let it be me. Back to Lauren’s letter now…

The potential donor has to have an O blood type, either O+ or O-. Feel free to forward this message to others…Joey needs a kidney by end of this year 2012.

Thanks, in advance, for your consideration, help and just getting the word out to as many people as possible. Lauren

Here is Joey’s plea:

Hi. My name is Joey….I know—a guy named Joey…but that is what my parents desired and I went with it. The only problem is I think my kidneys may be rebelling against my name—-why do I think this is you ask?—Well they are shutting down—closing shop and basically leaving me. Oh I guess I could believe all that medical jargon that I was affected by too much contrast dye—but why go there—The bottom line is…….I NEED A KIDNEY….

But who am I and why do I deserve such a magnanimous gift????
Well I help people. People who really need help—the underserved….I was a public Health Scholarship recipient for medical school and spent my payback in the inner city areas of Chicago. Spent 12 years there I loved it so much—my entire career has been taking care of those who really need it but had no access to good health care. And boy, Do I give good care—–as good as in Boston.

So I would like to keep on giving back…..but I need help…..

Not enough??? YOU want to know more??—well—OK—I also do bodybuilding and my wife does it as well—she has now reached the rank of #5 amateur heavyweight in the country—so you know I have to behave or else one good whack—-and she could send me across Boston Harbor…..Seriously—maybe just Cape Cod—Nah—she is too nice to hit me—But we love each other madly and I want to be around with her for many years to come. We met through a matchmaker—–so I figure if a wonderful wife of 9 years, then why not a kidney.

I try to stay happy. My other field was improvisational comedy. Yup..Studied at Second City (Not good enough for First) and I used to have a group called Rice Pudding. Jimmy Carrane was our director.We really congealed and sold the house out constantly. I love being before a live audience and making people laugh—guess that is why I am such a cut up in the operating room.

Now the business stuff—-I drink on occasion, have never smoked or even tried a non-prescribed drug. I eat healthy and exercise daily and have a trainer—-still can Bench Press 300 lbs and have biceps close to the 20”mark—–Also do cardio daily

I am not kidding you when I tell you how much fear I have about this—the operation—the drugs—the risk of infection, cancer, and other nasties.

But to be able to spend more time with Lauren (my wife) and Preston (my cat—sleeps with me with his tush in my armpit and his head on my hand every night. He is my buddy) and to care for the people I love to take care of would be very precious to me. I hope you can help.

So any of my blog followers who want to pass this on, please do so. I’d like to see Joey get his kidney and continued to take care of the poor folks who can’t afford to get high end medical care in this country. We need more people like Joey.

Northeastern ASL Immersion – Day One


I underestimated the comic relief and frustration value of attending ASL immersion at Northeastern. Go figure.

Delightfully,  one of my fav people from ASL meetup is there with me.  Of course, we were like flypaper with each other from there on out.

Initially we were in West Village. In the midst of a thunderstorm cum mini-hurricane we headed out to 400 Messinger Hall.  Elaine had no umbrella. I had a raincoat we used as a tarp. Me being smaller,  a sleeve hung down over my face so I ended up functionally Deaf and Blind. Elaine was high stepping though the huge ponds puddles We were laughing hysterically by the time we got to the other building, hugging each other with one arm to keep the tarp raincoat over us.

When we arrived a teacher told us the elevator was small and suggested we take the stairs. Did I mention it was to the 4th floor? Then came the video-taping (a check in to see where we started from) and a directive to leave since it was a small place. We consulted our schedule, returned to the first building and waited for people to show up for the next event – about an hour away. An hour later we’re under the tarp raincoat, slogging back to Messinger to find out where everyone else was. Found out we were supposed to go to a different building.

Next came activities I had in ASL I –  a race to see how many signs you can think of using the “f” handform, the “x” handform, etc. I learned a couple of words. Back to the original building for lunch.

Surprise! An attack of New England food! Never heard of it? New England is the only area of the nation  I know of where they have elves assigned to extract all flavor from the food before serving it to unsuspecting people from other parts of the country. Today I had tasteless green salad with tasteless oil and vinegar dressing, a tasteless tomato, and tasteless chicken. I was going to throw it in the garbage but my friend took it home for her bird. Poor bird…  Now, I figure these were made by the best of the best of the institutional cooks trained in tasteless hospital food. Not eating their food again. That’s why God made protein bars, right?

Last part of immersion for the day – how to express emotions with your face. Surprise, anger, fear, sadness, etc. Actors guild 101.  And the Pièce de résistance …using decks of cards to learn 1-10, Ace, King, Queen and Jack along with Diamond, Spade, Heart, and Club. Be still my beating heart.   ASL I  taught me to add, subtract, multiply and divide in numeric sign language.

Tomorrow we are going to the nursing home for the Deaf and Deaf Blind in Danvers. I’m assuming this field trip is meant to expose us to native ASL speakers.  I’m hoping the immersion is both worth the money and the week off to be there.

Lies, damned lies, and fact checking


In my life, in addition to being a licensed member of the bar in Massachusetts, I act as a Brehon (fact-finder, mediator, negotiator, judge) in an ecclesiastical “court” setting.

Everyone sees things differently.  I know this.  I use the bowl of flowers analogy (place a large, mixed bouquet on a table and no one sees exactly the same arrangement)  I’m happy to work with that since we all have our own version of reality.  However, when I run into someone who blatantly lies to me with no reason – in fact, introduces the lie into the conversation – and then I find out it is a manipulation of the truth, I find I have little tolerance.

I’m not interested in what the definition of “is” is and I’m not into hair-splitting.  I am not looking for Bill Clintonesque soft shoe maneuvers in my life. There is little that will get my dander up and someone’s ears boxed faster than this sort of behavior.  Don’t offer me lies. I’m just too old fashioned to put up with them.  Don’t tell me anything.  Tell me it is none of my business.  But don’t walk up to me and initiate a bald-faced lie, have me defend you, and then think I’m not going get confrontational about it when the truth outs – as it always well.  Gods know, it is easy enough to deal with me without the use of overt lies since I’m of the mind that people do what they do for whatever motivations they have and they usually feel justified in doing what they do.

I probably should have kept my lips tightly sealed until I cooled off, but I didn’t.  And I can’t say I regret saying, “Don’t ever lie to me like that again.”  At my age I’ve a right to be curmudgeonly if I want to.  I don’t take sides, but I do take umbrage.

So what have I learned?  Never trust anyone completely.  If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it’s a duck. Always fact-check.  And then forgive, while never forgetting.  I’m not hauling this around with me, but I’m keeping the lesson.

2011 – a recap


2011 was a decided downer for a lot of people.  On Facebook I note folks voting it their worst year ever and hoping 2012 is better.

My thoughts on 2011:

At the end of December of 2010 I moved from a shabby little apartment where I was living all alone, recovering from traumatic marriage train-wreck to sharing a friend’s home. Sharing is better. Much, much better. We were designed to live with others. Plus I get a free dog in the mix. And who can go wrong with a dog that will collapse at the end of a half-day of doggie day care and sleep so soundly that you can get a picture you can “photoshop” on photo bucket and turn him into a sleeping reindeer?

In sharing living quarters I gained a roommate with a heart of gold.  We often don’t share much in common in terms of food or things we’d watch on the TV, but we both have basic values which are alike and intrinsic goodness towards others than shines through.

After being laid off since 2010 I gave up looking for work and created my own.  It is a huge leap of faith to attempt to open a business in this economy.  I have a number of people who helped me – an attorney who is very dynamic and taught me the ins and outs of advertising and calculated risk taking, another attorney  has invested a lot of her time in me and a third who is willing to help me get my feet under me.  In fact, I’ve also gained an additional mentor and had yet another person ask me to call and offered to help me. It seems that in some ways, this is my year. I had an almost break-even year in 2011, which is not easy to do in the best of times. In 2012 I hope to actually make money.

During this time, I went back to doing pro bono work. One of my first cases was an unemployment appeals case that was supposed to be in Boston. It ended up being way the hell and gone south of Boston. And while I kvetched to myself about getting up at 4 a.m. to drive there and do free work, when the rubber met the road, I was so committed to my client that I not only went once, I went to the appeal of the appeal.  And we won both times. In fact, we got a four page ruling about how wrong the employer was. At that point I realized, “Lady, you Rock!”

This summer I started taking American Sign Language classes at Deaf Inc. in Allston (Greater Boston) and in 2012 I’ll be taking ASL III.  I’ve attended numerous ASL meetups and am now hosting one.  This is a huge step for a Hard of Hearing attorney who is going through another spate of hearing loss.  It is my goal to be literate in ASL by the end of 2012 and to be able to provide legal services to the Deaf community in the Boston area if/as needed. And I’m gaining friends and social contacts at these meetings.

2011 has been a One Foot In Front Of The Other year.  I am fortunate I CAN start my own business.  Lots of folks cannot.

It was not a sunshine and roses, rainbows and lollypops year.  The younger generation in my family has had its share of problems, which is sad. I hope 2012 is much better for them.  But, it is a year.  A year in which I continue to live and breathe, to grow as a human being, to develop as a member of society.

As one of my friends likes to say, “It is what it is.”

So farewell, 2011.  Welcome 2012.  May your days be bright, may the soft rains fall when needed, and may the winds of time and change be gentle.


Autumnal Pumpkin Cauldron


Remember that picture of the Queensland Blue Pumpkin?  I found out it is a cross between a Hubbard Squash and a Cinderella Pumpkin and very good eating.  So, for yesterday’s Celtic Harvest feast at the Grove, I got up early, carved away the top, cleaned out the seeds and stringy bits and stuffed it with meats and veggies and spicy marinara sauce, then baked it at 350 for four hours in a deep pan with water in it.  Of course, the blue was long gone by the time it was done, but the capped pumpkin was a wonderful cauldron to hold in all the rich goodness stuffed into it.  And it was relatively easy to take in the large, stout baking dish – heavy, and a bit awkward to carry, but better than whacking the lovely pumpkin into pieces and putting it in a huge bowl or something,

So here we are with a look into that lovely cauldron of goodness.  I want to tell you that driving from my place to Manchester, NH was an effort not to park the car and start eating!

And it was almost all consumed by the end of the night.  Only five small plastic containers to go home with the attendees.  Yum!

Its buddy is a “Red Warty Thing” squash and I’m planning on cooking that for Thanksgiving – stuffed with sweetmeats and possibly nuts slivered over the top when it is served.

I think I’m tired now…


I have a friend who biked most of the way through New Hampshire to Massachusetts.  He’s no competition bike rider (aka cyclist) and I have some of the funniest texts from him after reaching the tops of some mountains as in “haven’t thrown up yet.” He’s been bicycling everywhere after a friend (former friend) totaled his car.  In the process of spending months biking, he’s lost tons of weight and generally feels pretty good, except for one knee that’s complaining a bit.  He’s in his mid-40’s and is looking great from all the exercise.  However, I admit, thinking about him bicycling up and down mountains and hills for hundreds of miles leaves me feeling tired.

Was I ever that young?  Yes, once upon a time.  And, ladies, this guy is single.  And cute.  And did I mention smart? And too young for me.  Drats.  ;^)  Ahh, well, he is a dear friend, and I’m not sure who among you searching for a great guy would be good enough for him.  0.o