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First, the short form: Do you have a bed to sleep in? If not, is that voluntary? For one of my dear Kossack friends, LoreleiHI, it isn't. In fact, she badly needs a real bed to sleep in because not having one will steal several years from her life expectancy. Until recently, she's been sleeping on an air mattress, also known as a camp bed, but her roommate's pootie had his way with that the other day, and you know what a determined cat can do to an air mattress. Now she has to sleep on the couch, which is even worse for her health. This fundraiser is because we shouldn't just help her replace the air mattress with another one, one which is just as likely to fall victim to her roommate's cat and which will still shave years from her life; we need to help her get a real bed, the kind she requires for health as well as comfort reasons.

To help her get a real bed, bed linens, pillows, and the other things that go with a bed, use the following Paypal address:

loreleihi at live dot com
If you don't do Paypal, send me a Kosmail and I'll send you her address.

That's the need in a nutshell. For much more, including pics, come with me below the fold.

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Chacounne, equally well known as Heather, a longtime Kossack and dedicated anti-torture activist, is one of my sisters. I have several sisters who are Kossacks; they come in a variety of colors, sizes, and abilities. As many of you know, Aji is one of them. In fact, Chacounne is not only my sister, she's Aji's sister as well. After a number of moves, she's in Ottawa, settled in to a place she can call home, and is even ruled by a pootie, a rescue (of course - she wouldn't do anything else) who came with the name of Gucci and a lot of excess weight.

This is Heather today, with new dentures and a new smile.
Heather needs our help, and she needs it NOW. If we don't get her $879.08 US in time for her to get it to the power company, Enbridge, they'll turn off her heat and hot water on Friday. That's this Friday. Not much time. Aji's diary earlier today raised $650 and I hope this one will raise the rest tonight and help her get the computer she needs (see further on). She's asking if the deadline to pay the power bill can be extended, but you know how power companies are and so do I. That's the most immediate need. Her Paypal address is chacounne [at] gmail [dot] com.

Here's what happened:

As you may remember, last year I moved into a subsidized co-op apartment. Things have been going very well there, and I finally feel like I have a real home, complete with a furry Queen of my kingdom, a pootie whose name is Gucci (she came that way.) One of the challenges with this move was that I had to set up a whole household, for the first time since I moved from Vancouver to Ottawa, so I needed to purchase a couch, a chair, curtains, pots and pans and dishes, lamps, etc. etc. Unfortunately, neither the Province nor the City of Ottawa, paid for any of this. So I used the funds which should have gone for paying my "Enbridge" bill. They are the folks who supply my heat and hot water. I have been working to pay back those funds but it has become too much. I can pay the ongoing charges, but need help with the backlog. They are now, after being very forgiving, demanding payment. The bill is $879.08. Sigh !
But that's not all. Her computer has completely died and she needs to get one on which she can produce and edit video. She's doing a project, to be completed next June: she's gathered 30 torture survivors and is doing YouTube videos of them. In her words:
As such things go, my laptop just died, which has been slowing down my work, because I can only use my library's computer for an hour a day. I am currently working on a large project for next June, bringing together thirty torture survivors and/or their families to do a Youtube a day in commemoration of Torture Awareness Month. To get this done, it is really essential to have lengthy computer access. Basically, it will be a survivor or family member(s) looking into the camera and putting up 3x5" cards one at a time with their message about one method or aspect of torture. No sound. This was an idea that got its genesis at Netroots Nation in one of panels and I'm finally taking it on :) Many of these style youtubes have gone viral, so I'm hoping. The idea of having the cards is that people will be drawn in because they have to read it, not just listen. I hope this helps.
More on the computer need below the fleur du Kos.
Here's how to help: Donations should go to her Paypal address, chacounne [at] gmail [dot] com. If you prefer to send it by mail, Kosmessage me and I'll give you the address, but I don't feel that it's safe to post it in a diary. She adds: "For those in Canada, they can use the paypal email to send a Electronic Funds transfer, which sends the funds directly from their account to mine, without either of us knowing each other's account number, and with only a dollar charge :)"
Chacounne is well-known on the GOS for a number of things, among them her staunch defense of those suffering from injustice, her ready hugs and for always signing her comments with her name and in memory of her late husband. Here's how she signs  many comments:
Standing for justice and accountability,
                               For Dan,
And here's her .sig:
Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

Look familiar? She's all over DKos, handing out hugs to those she thinks might have the slightest possibility of benefiting from some TLC and making wise points in her quiet yet emphatic way. You'll find her in KosAbility; she, like me, is disabled, though in very different ways. You'll find her in any social justice or injustice topic. You'll find her giving kind words everywhere. Come below the fleur du Kos with me for more.

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While I'd seen AnotherMassachusettsLiberal on Daily Kos for a while in the years after I joined the Great Orange Satan, I truly met him online in 2009 when he offered to transfer his Netroots Nation registration over to me for the conference in Pittsburgh, PA that year. A number of Kossacks, at least 20, were working hard to get me to the conference and make it so we could afford for me to go, which took a lot of people contributing in one form or another. TheFatLadySings offered to share her hotel room with me and my dialysis equipment, for example, and exmearden covered most of my food for the time I was there. AML was one of those people; he gave me his registration as a gift.

Back then, he was working as a software engineer, a job that paid him well. Sometime after he transferred his registration for NN09 to me, he lost his job. Since then, he's been working as a solar power installer when he can get it.

It's winter. Almost spring, but where he lives, there have been some pretty bad winter storms. People don't get solar equipment installed in the wintertime, and he's been trying valiantly to make ends meet.

Now he needs help from us. This time, though, there's a twist; he has something for us, too.

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Let there be no doubt in any Kossack's mind that we are a a fractal community, one which is composed of tightly-knit smaller communities including communities of one. A Kossack is comprised of communities of cells, and there are smaller "communities" within each one of those, after all. There are names for the largest community, descriptive words chosen and agreed upon, and then forgotten.

My other name for this larger community is chosen family.

There are times that we Kossacks fight with each other. Sides are taken. Factions are claimed, even within sides. Names are called. The fights heat up, until we have a pie war on our hands. Too many good people leave during and after those. Other good people decide to step away for a while, often without saying anything about it except perhaps in Kosmail.

It happens in the best of families. It may happen more in tightly-knit familes because we are so close to one another.

We have some things in common with many tightly-knit communities and almost all tightly-knit families, though: we love, and we take care of our own.

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Update: We made it! BFSkinner has what he needs and can complete his move. All that remains now is for him to find a roommate who'd like to live in a big house, who is reliable, who would like reduced rent in exchange for helping care for someone who needs slight care i.e. laundry, cooking, etc, for very cheap rent. Thank you ALL. Now what we need to do is get tonyahky's GoFundMe funded for her move.

My beloved sister Aji, who is eloquent as hell, recently posted a diary about another beloved Kossack, BFSkinner, who often posts around this time and his urgent need for help moving into new housing that is medically safe for him. He probably hasn't said too much about this; a lot of people don't when they're in crisis. Aji had a fantastic diary about his needs that we posted this past week. Rather than try and gild the lily, I'm going to copy straight from her diary with her permission and reprise that. To summarize: BFSkinner needs another $1200 to complete his move. He also needs a few strong-bodied Kossacks in the Southfield, MI area who can handle moving his stuff down 4 flights of stairs without an elevator to make it easier. (The latter is a new need and wasn't in the earlier diary. His promised help to move has rescinded that promise.) He's moving from Southfield proper to about 6 miles outside town.

Aji's outstanding and moving diary is below the orange dancers.

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I saw a post on Aji's blog this morning about a mutual friend and fellow Kossack, tonyahky, who needs a relatively small amount of financial help immediately and also to get her moved into her new place, which Aji's diary will make plain why. She's established a GoFundMe, asking for $5000 for the move, and if you can help with that, please do. But the immediate need is much smaller. She has a few bills that can be paid directly to the creditor, and she needs some gas and food. She's already received $100 that will pay for her housing application and the rental payment for her furniture so she's not sleeping on the floor. Her internet gets turned off tomorrow if she doesn't get that paid, so that is urgent; otherwise she can't tend to the crowdsource site she's established for fundraising, that GoFundMe.

Here's where we come in. To find out how to pay something for her, please e-mail Tonya directly at tonyahky [at] yahoo [dot] com. Her full name is Tonya Harris, and she's really ill. She's more ill than I was on dialysis, and that's saying something.

Aji will be posting a diary about the greater need on Sunday morning but I can't mind it and am asking for volunteers to mind it. THIS IS NOT A BLOGATHON. It will be this quickie by me and the one longer diary by Aji. We just want to point you to the crowdsource, get Tonya's truly immediate needs met today or tomorrow, and ask you to share the crowdsource with your friends. The longer diary will explain everything.

Thanks from me, chi miigwech from Aji, and a big sigh of relief from us both for anything you can do.

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Hi there. My name is River, and I've written a few KosAbility diaries before: on diabetes, dialysis, and erectile dysfunction (with my husband Charles CurtisStanley), and I can't remember right now if there were others. Another medical condition I deal with is having lousy balance and lousy knees, and it's only gotten worse since I got my kidney transplant on February 18, 2011. I'm tough and I deal with a lot of different disabilities, and I wanted to share with you a bit about living with the tendency to fall.

KosAbility logoKosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 pm ET/2 pm PT every Sunday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic. Our use of "disability" includes temporary as well as permanent conditions, and small, gnawing problems as well as big, life-threatening ones. Our use of "love someone" extends to beloved members of other species.

Our discussion threads are open threads in the context of this community. Please feel free to comment on the diary topic and ask questions of the diarist, and also to ask general questions about disabilities, share something you've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of your situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered. If you are interested in contributing a diary, contact series coordinator postmodernista.

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A couple of days ago my brother Wings, Aji's husband and an award-winning Native American silver artist who maintains a gallery at Taos Pueblo, his people's home since ancient times, announced a nearly unprecedented 20% off sale on everything in his gallery to celebrate my elder sister Aji's birthday October 20. This includes not only his own work but everything that the gallery is featuring by other Native American artists. These artists' work is of many different kinds, and includes drums, sculptures, paintings, jewelry, carvings, katsinam (kachinas), and more. There's a lot there to discover and I'd like to show you just a bit of it here. If you're looking for something in particular or just want to see what's available, ask here or via the gallery's contact info. The website is here and Wings and Aji will be happy to answer any questions and help you find just the right thing. Wings also does commissioned work, but that's not included in the sale.

In addition to the sale, there are three Secret Santa gifts for which money is being collected, all of them work by Wings. All three are gorgeous necklaces. One's for Ann (winglion) and two are for Sara R. $170 has been collected so far for each person, which means that $180 plus shipping, handling, and insurance (s/h/i) remains for Ann's gift and $505 plus s/h/i for Sara's. Here are the necklaces. Aren't they gorgeous? These are not included in the sale but I wanted to mention them up front because I love Sara and Ann and I know the community loves them just as much. With the winter holidays coming up, I hope we can get these lovely pieces to them in that timeframe.

Ann's necklace:  
 photo DualStrandGreenTurquoiseNecklace_zps5d39e17d.jpg

Sara's necklaces:
Sara's denim lapis one:   photo ThreeStrandDenimLapisNecklace_zps2bd74735.jpg
Sara's branch coral one:   photo MultiStrandCoralNecklace_zps30cfa5e9.jpg

And now, on to the sale!

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My beloved Nimisenh (elder sister) Aji has a birthday coming up on October 20, so in her honor, my brother Wings, her husband, is having a 20% off birthday sale through the 20th! That's 20% off everything in the gallery, including Wings' silver artwork and all the artwork they carry by other Native American artists, which takes many forms. They have many different kinds of drums; katsinam (kachinas); paintings; sculptures; cholla keychains; baby moccasins; miniature medicine wheels for your home, vehicle, cabin, or elsewhere; an absolutely amazing bow and arrow set; jewelry by other artists; and a whole bunch more. I'll highlight just a bit of it here. Much, much more can be found at the gallery's website, and there's more even than that; if you're interested in a specific type of item and don't see what you're looking for, ask here. Every single thing that isn't a special-order piece is 20% off plus shipping, handling, and insurance (abbreviated s/h/i).

I'll start off here with my favorite sculpture by Taos Pueblo master carver Ned Archuleta. Charles and I have a piece by him called "Spirit Wind" on our household altar, anchoring East, and we just gave a magnificent sculpture of the head, neck and mane of a running horse to another member of our family, who absolutely loves it. Ned Archuleta is probably my favorite carver who's not from a Pacific Northwest tradition, and that's saying a lot, and this is my favorite piece by him. If I had the funds, this would be in my living room, that's how much I love it.

Tiwa Messengers by Ned Archuleta
This piece is named "Tiwa Messengers" and shows two of the sacred messengers of the Tiwa people, the people of Taos Pueblo, communicating with a Tiwa man. To me (not speaking for the sculptor) it looks like Bear is grounding him, keeping his feet and part of his awareness on the Earth, while Eagle carries his spirit and its message upward. This sculpture is carved from a single piece of pink alabaster and set on a wood base, but with the greyness of this particular piece of stone, it looks more like marble with a dark red matrix. This is what I call a dramatic sculpture and it will capture eyes from across the room. Normally $525, for this sale it's $420 plus s/h/i; the 20% off makes a huge difference when the initial price point is in this range. Having received two sculptures, I can tell you that due to size, weight, and the reinforcement required when shipping sculptures, extra handling charges will apply, and they will be worth it. Wait until you see how it's packed!

Comparing it to the drum in the background at the right, this is a sizable work. That particular drum, a tall powwow-style drum, was a birthday gift to my husband Charles and it's about 26" tall. The sculpture's base hits a bit more than midway down the height of the drum and its top sticks up several inches above the top of the drum, so this is something that will serve as a focal point in a room. As I said, it will draw eyes.

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In the new draft Community Guidelines, kos declared that IGTNT should remain a debate-free zone, with which I definitely agree, but that that should be the only one. I disagree with the latter guideline; I think there are several other types of diary that should remain debate-free zones, and I think they're fairly self-explanatory in most cases. In no particular order, here they are:

1.  Any diary where someone is mourning the loss of a person or animal companion. I think the reason for this is fairly self-explanatory. Say I posted a diary mourning my dog Bonehead and included in the diary the picture of Bonehead holding a Kerry/Edwards sign in his mouth, which is how we went sign-waving. If someone wanted to debate the choice that year of making John Kerry and John Edwards the nominees, Bonehead's memorial diary wouldn't be the appropriate place to do it.

2.  Pootie diaries. These have long been designated light and fun places and I feel that they should stay that way.

3.  Plant and animal photo diaries.

4.  Community Quilts diaries.

5.  Kos Katalogue diaries. Coming in to say that a seller should not sell their wares and get money some other way is a debate issue and should be disallowed.

6.  Community Fundraiser diaries of any kind, whether for a person or a cause. This also applies to auction diaries for a cause. Going into one of these and saying, for example, that the person for whom funds are being raised should get a job rather than depending on the generosity of Kossacks should be disallowed, and that should also not be the space to debate the recipient's political views on anything. The first has happened, and if the recipient is someone controversial, I can see the second happening.

7.  KosAbility diaries or any other diaries where someone is discussing their own illness or condition or that of someone for whom the diarist is a caregiver

We are a community as well as a debate space, and there should be multiple spaces set aside by designation as community spaces that are debate free.

I will be happy to go into explanations of why I feel this way in comments if anyone asks, and this is NOT a debate-free zone. Indeed, I expect debate on some of these.

Current total raised and pledged, not including food: $3664.46. Almost 3/4 of the amount needed. Only $1335.54 to go!

Update: Tonya's out of the only foods her severely autistic daughter A will eat and has no money to get any now. It's the end of the month, and all too many of us know exactly how that tune goes complete with full orchestration by Leonard Bernstein. Please pitch in whatever you can for food, too. I don't have an exact amount needed for this yet, but I'll post it as soon as I do. We need to raise $100, and it needs to go via Western Union to the Kroger store in Richmond, Kentucky. Thank you.

Our fellow Kossack Tonya (tonyahky), a longtime member of our community, needs our help. She's in a potentially life-threatening situation that will require major abdominal surgery. For the long form about her family situation, please see my beloved sister Aji's diary of Monday; it explains it all, in detail.

Aji's the one who made this issue known, and if she asks me for help, as she did, I'm going to help, no questions asked. I take it for granted that she's checked out the situation, and indeed she had. If you're able to write a diary to continue this fundraiser, please volunteer by KosMailing Aji. We are determined to get her the whole $5000 that she will need. We're currently over halfway there.

Tonya is a now-single mom of four kids. Three of them, the three oldest, are on the autism spectrum. M, her youngest, is free of autism, which runs in Tonya's family. One of them, the next to youngest kid, is a boy who's fascinated by space and space technology, and is already working on that as a hobbyist. He's got Aspergers and is laser-focused on this interest most of the time. One of them, the oldest, is now a proud high school graduate and she's college-bound to a local college. And there's 16-year-old A, her next to oldest, who is far onto the severe side of the autism spectrum. She functions on the level of a three year old although she's 16 and, in her mother's words, is built like a tank. For the details of the stresses and issues Tonya faces daily in caring for her, see Aji's diary.

I want to talk about something else. To get the immense (6"-7") fibroid and her uterus removed, hopefully while saving her ovaries, Tonya's going to have to undergo major abdominal surgery, and since I had major abdominal surgery in a nearby part of my abdomen when I got my kidney transplant, I have some idea what the recovery from it is like. It is that which I want to discuss here, to let you know what Tonya's facing during recovery and what she will and won't be able to do.

Over the jump, read what it's like to recover from major abdominal surgery, and then find out how you can help. If you want to skip the lengthy details and get right to the donation part, you can do so in the paragraph immediately below.

Please note: Tonya's health problems have destroyed her finances; she no longer has a bank account. One Kossack, weck, has stepped up to do the physical collection of funds for her via PayPal. When the donations are complete, weck will turn the funds into a wire transfer and send it to her via Western Union. Kossack Charles CurtisStanley (my husband) has agreed to take care of bundling for anyone who needs to pay by check. You can make a check payable to him - just put a hyphen between Curtis and Stanley - with funds designated for Tonya; he will cash them all and turn them into a USPS money order or Western Union payment sent to Tonya so that she only needs to make one stop to access the funds. Kosmail me for the address and my phone number, should you wish to verify it. You can donate via PayPal here: weckworth [at] earthlink [dot] net.  Even if you don't normally do PayPal, please consider making an exception for this situation; the good you will do will vastly outweigh the bad (and you don't need a PayPal account of your own to send money that way). If you absolutely cannot bring yourself to contribute that way, Kosmail me for my address for sending a check or money order.

PLEASE NOTE: However you choose to donate, please include a notation on the PayPal entry form or an enclosure with the check/money order to the following effect:

This is a charitable donation for the medical care of the family of Tonya Harris.

This is essential; under her state's framework, she can accept charitable donations for medical expenses without it affecting her ability to get the surgery, but she must be able to provide some form of receipt to that effect for each donation.

Please also note: If you send funds by Western Union, you will most likely need to provide your name, address, phone number, and the transaction number before WU will release the funds to her.  We have her phone number if anyone needs it.

Tonya needs our help. She is having surgery to remove a large uterine fibroid and hysterectomy that doctors will then biopsy for cancer. She will need weeks to recover, and during that recovery, she needs a personal assistant for her daughter, who is severely disabled. Our fundraiser is to get the money needed to pay for that personal assistant.

Please help Tonya by donating in one of the following three ways:

1.  PayPal: weckworth [at] earthlink [dot] net.

2.  Personal checks can be written out to Kossack Charles CurtisStanley (Kitsap River's husband and Aji's brother). Kosmail Aji or Kitsap River for the address and Kitsap River's phone number, should you wish to verify it.

3.  Sending money orders via the U.S. Postal Service and Western Union, because many check-cashing outlets apparently won't cash personal checks (in addition to the problem of their outrageous fees). Kossack jpmassar tells Aji that after checking rates, the USPS ones have much lower fees. Kosmail Aji for Tonya's snail-mail address.

Please note: If you send funds by Western Union, you will most likely need to provide your name, address, phone number, and the transaction number before WU will release the funds to her.  We have her phone number if anyone needs it.

However you donate, please include the following notation as she needs a receipt for charitable donations to maintain her ability to get the surgery:

This is a charitable donation for the medical care of the family of Tonya Harris.

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The Kos Katalogue is a wonderful thing. Here are our fellow Kossacks of many and varied artistic and crafty persuasions presenting their works for your eye and your buy, all spread before you in the greatest cornucopia we can bring together as a group.

It's not too early to start holiday shopping, and it's not too early to set aside something special as a birthday gift for someone who has a holiday-time birthday and often gets his or her gifts for the holiday and the birthday combined into one. As someone with a mid-December birthday, I can go through all the ways that this hurts us and pisses us off, but this is not the place for that. This diary is the place for jewelry made by Kossacks.

You're a wonderful person, and so are the people you know. You deserve to celebrate yourself, and one great way to do this is to ornament yourself. This is true whether you are male or female. There are selections herein that aren't just for women. And, of course, there are lots of things for women, too.

Please make sure you hotlist the mothership diary with all Kos Katalogue offerings so you're two short clicks away from delights made by members of our community for each other.

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