☆ January 26, 2015

Oy! I did not mean to invoke politics in my last post. My “Thanks, Obama” was meant in this vein (if you’re not familiar with the meme, it’s very funny and obviously a joke, though my joke was obvious only in my own head). I certainly do not disparage those who’ve finally been able to get health insurance. I do think the ACA should have a different name and there’s a lot more work that needs to be done; health care is still not affordable to many. My heart broke and my blood boiled reading other people’s stories of crazy-expensive care in the comment section.

My first boyfriend was a young Republican (still is) who, during the mandatory high school reading period, read the Wall Street Journal which he carried around in lieu of a book. He wrote me lots of love notes and, beneath his signature, always added “Pat Buchanan in ’92!!!” or something equally horrifying. I was an anarchist hippy (still am); I spent that reading period with Anais Nin and got suspended for smoking pot at school. We were constantly debating – either debating or making out. One debate that I remember: I was using bicycles to make my point, as I was still too young to drive. My thesis statement was that everything should be free. If you needed a bicycle, and there was one sitting there on the sidewalk, it should be accepted that you could take it and ride it to where you needed to go and then leave it for the next person to use. And this extended to everything, all the time. He was like, “if everything were free, nobody would do anything” and I was like, “honor trumps money and cooperation trumps capitalism.” And then we glared at each other and then we made out.

I was not expecting the offers of donations after my last post. Not expecting – but also not surprised because you out there are wonderful to me. But at each mention, the response in my head was NO! No way. Thank you and you’re amazing and so generous and full of kindness and I love hearing your love but no.

When I rode my Vespa across the country, I received help from others nearly every day. People offered help in quick moments – giving directions or high fives – but equally often, they gifted me with major investments of time and trust. People I met on the road – in ice cream shops, coffee shops, gas stations, and bars – invited me into their homes, gave me a bed or a spot on the floor for my sleeping bag, fed me, let me soak in their tubs, offered up their washers and dryers. I never once had an internal debate about accepting their generosity. My response was purely “WOW!” and “THANK YOU.”

But money is weird. There’s a lot of superstition around money. There was an early morning ambulance call a few months ago, a terrible rollover – I’m guessing the driver swerved to avoid a deer and lost control. His Bronco flipped and rolled multiple times. The solo driver was thrown through the windshield and was killed instantly. His belongings were scattered all over the road, tossed from the vehicle during the rolls as every window blasted out. I, too, have a Bronco, and a vehicle like that becomes like a storage locker – it’s really easy to accumulate a lot of random cargo. Since there was nothing we could do as EMTs, we began picking up the dozens of items that had been flung across the road, putting them back into the Bronco through the broken windows. Tools. A hard hat. Numerous wrappers and crumpled receipts. A small cooler. Lots of clothes. A dollar bill. There was a single dollar bill lying on the pavement pretty close to the Bronco. And none of us picked it up. None of us COULD pick it up! A fellow crew member mentioned it as we were driving back to town. “Did you see the dollar bill? I couldn’t touch it.” And then a chorus of “Neither could I!” “Neither could I!” Neither could I. I still don’t know why.

A couple of people suggested, in the comment section of my last post, that if others wanted to help, they should buy things from my shop. My immediate thought, upon reading that, was YES! That I can handle. And right on the tail of that thought came an equally honest but far less comfortable thought: why should I make people jump through hoops because of MY hangups? Giving feels good – and for me to put conditions on that is kind of gross. I’ve given in the past and will give in the future, so why have I removed myself from the other side of the circle? Maybe I need to examine my thinking and my feelings – or at least figure out why they are the way they are.

I still believe honor trumps money and cooperation trumps capitalism. So, by receiving money, am I trading my honor? No. I mostly know the answer is no… but not completely. Is the faltering because I don’t feel I deserve it? Because of some cosmic, internal worthlessness? Because there are others in worse states than I? Are some people going to roll their eyes and think I’m a freeloader? “Oh, man, those debating skills DID get honed at an early age! Look at her convincing herself that it’s a matter of personal growth to take other people’s money!!”

This was difficult analysis. I’ve said those things to myself, and more. There were tears. And yet it kept coming back to one question – can I sit on the circle of cooperation and let it flow without micromanaging the seating arrangement? It’s time to try. I’ll report back with how it feels. I’m scheduled with a surgeon in early February and will report back with the status of my bod just as soon as I know what’s what. Thank you for caring.


40 Responses to “Ouroboros”

  1. Amy in AMA
    January 26th, 2015 @ 9:04 am

    Think of it this way…you’d do it for one of us.

  2. hello haha narf
    January 26th, 2015 @ 9:16 am

    “micromanaging the seating arrangement” is one of the best ways i have ever heard the thought of “allowing others to feel good by helping in the only way they can” conveyed. you are a gift, shreve. thank you for deciding to allow others to shower you with love instead of letting the haters hate.
    praying for your health and sending love…as well as a tiny donation.

  3. LJ
    January 26th, 2015 @ 11:36 am

    So happy you are letting us help. #2 said it just right, “You are a gift, Shreve.”
    Good vibes and hugs.

  4. Kathleen
    January 26th, 2015 @ 12:43 pm

    Wow. What a wonderful analysis. The great thing about this country is that everyone is allowed to be and think different, and voice that. The ACA had me at “pre existing condition” and the inability for denial because of it. Selfishly, I didn’t think much further because of that and the fact that I am blessed with fantastic employer benefits re: medical insurance. I was turned off from looking further at it because of all of the venom pointed at Obama for the less than awesome parts of this law or just for the hatred of the person who signed off on it for the sake of hate. Since my own serious medical condition I have a tendency to run from negativity in any form because I see so much energy spent on it that is so needed elsewhere I get frustrated. I applaud your social experiment and how you approached the “this side vs. the other side” b.s. that circles around the real issue of healthcare in America. It makes me notice the effects of the ACA on others in a real way when the story is offered up with honesty rather than as an agenda. I also think that honor doesn’t necessarily trump money if money is given as an object, much like an extra coat or a spot on someone’s floor for the night. I do think that can and does happen as long as people disassociate money with entitlement. I view accepting any help, be it monetary or materially as my acceptance in the flow of paying it forward duty. Once I’m back up on my feet, I help someone else get back up on theirs. It gets me through the weirdness of the act itself. Love and light for the health stuff, just out of surgery again myself. All is good!

  5. Catherine Deshayes
    January 26th, 2015 @ 1:12 pm

    I rather buy from the shop and get a pretty necklace, my dog gets the antler and we all will love the print.I am conflicted about the donation as you are Shreve, so I will do a commerce transaction instead.

  6. Aleta
    January 26th, 2015 @ 1:25 pm

    I work. I exchange my time and effort for cash. Therefore I have earned that cash; it’s mine. Since it is mine, I do with it as I see fit. That means I buy food, or clothes. Or I take the cat to the vet. The vet charges me money for his time and effort. The cat neither knows or cares, he just knows that he’s feeling better. The money is a vehicle through which the vet and I have helped a fellow creature. Are you less than a cat or dog? No. Therefore, when I donate I am exchanging my time and effort for the knowledge that I have helped a fellow creature.
    Gracefully accepting help, whether it be monetary or in kind, is very hard for honest people to do. Please understand that if someone offers you cash, it might be the only way he or she can express his or her affection or concern for you at the time. :-)

  7. Mary
    January 26th, 2015 @ 1:27 pm

    I’ve heard good things about this site; it may be worth a try.


  8. Vee
    January 26th, 2015 @ 1:44 pm

    I would gladly donate to help Charlie and your Farmily. Not discounting you – but the amount of labour and energy you put into them is worth contributing to. (If that helps ease your conscience).

  9. Patricia Long
    January 26th, 2015 @ 2:24 pm

    Shreve. I am glad you are allowing others to help. I think we must help when we can and receive help when we need it. In essence, your philosophy is my philosophy!

  10. M.
    January 26th, 2015 @ 3:23 pm

    Glad I was able to help out a little. I’m glad you’re asking for help – not just for you but for all the people and creatures who rely on you. :)

  11. Theresa Szpila
    January 26th, 2015 @ 4:33 pm

    Thank you, Shreve, for giving me the chance to help, materially, in the only way I can from so far away. If I lived closer, I could help care for the animals, or do grocery shopping for you, or haul hay, or whatever needed doing. But the miles between un and my own health issues make that impossible. In your case, honor and money both come from the heart, and so do the prayers and well-wishes that come with them.

  12. Fred
    January 26th, 2015 @ 9:00 pm

    Yes, people do care about you, and you have given us much joy in sharing stories and photos about your life and farmily. Despite your success, it appears that you have lived frugally as opposed to embracing the lifestyles portrayed in Cowboys and Indians Magazine. We are glad to lend you a hand.

    I see that as suggested by many, you have set up a means to donate. Have you also considered raising the price of a subscription to The Daily Coyote? I pay only $6.25 per month. I would readily pay two or three times that, and I think many of your subscribers would also do so, at least on a temporary basis, until your deductible and other medical costs are covered. I don’t know what your subscriber base is, but perhaps if everyone paid more, that would help.

    And do you still do autographs? I have both hard and soft bound copies of The Daily Coyote that would look good with your signature. Perhaps if I and others who want an autograph could send you the books with a signature fee of $40-50, that could help with expenses too.

    Hopefully everything will work out okay.

  13. sybil
    January 26th, 2015 @ 9:06 pm

    Oh doll. I feel ya. I am trying to prove I don’t have much income to them. And that my part time employer (CBS) has no interest in providing a letter explaining why they don’t offer me coverage. It seems if you actually DO need help with something – even buying your own coverage, they’re bound and determined to SHAME you for it and make it incredibly difficult. I am deep disgusted. And wish I could offer anything other than: Me too, baby. How do you prove what you make when you have no idea?

  14. sybil
    January 26th, 2015 @ 9:15 pm

    And I got the joke (I spend too much time dangling from strands of web myself) – personally, I feel he tried. And our overblown system did everything possible to fustercluck it.

  15. Jenny C
    January 26th, 2015 @ 9:35 pm

    Ouroboros – freakin’ excellent title. Thx for possessing the wisdom and grace to offer the opportunity to help just a tiny bit. Mere money pales in comparison to the way you’ve enriched our lives by sharing Charlie, the farmily and, of course, yourself with us. Priceless. Fred’s suggestions also good, imo. ‘S’all good.

    So sorry if my earlier comments deemed too political – was attempting to commiserate with your dilemma, as I have experienced same. I’m neither Rep or Dem; positives and negatives inherent in all parties. I’m an Independent, maybe too independent, hehe. Would prefer not to have IRS owning my medical records, plain and simple. Galling and scary to me. We live in a wonderful country, warts and all, and we take the bad with the good until we can find better solutions.

    My love, thoughts and prayers are with you… all will be well.

  16. Meg
    January 27th, 2015 @ 6:18 am


    Sending you so many healthy vibes, I hope everything goes well. I’m so sad that health care costs so much in the States. The Canadian system is so much different, I cannot imagine paying monthly premiums for Health Insurance, that must be so stressful to so many. Once I get paid I will gladly donate towards your health and well-being. Your posts always make me smile and I have been following your original blog since 2009 =). I have multiple necklaces, your book and a signed print and each item is very special to me. It is a little piece of your world in mine. Much love ~


  17. Sheri Nugent
    January 27th, 2015 @ 6:37 am

    Shreve – I love doing my small part to support your enchanted world through buying in the Shop and stocking up on yummy beef when you pass through L.A. You have been extremely generous in sharing your farmily, your heart, your photos, etc. It is YOU that have made many of us feel invested in you and your success. To me you feel like a friend – though we met briefly only once. And I always help my friends! With love sent your way — Sheri

  18. Elaine ~ TX
    January 27th, 2015 @ 7:01 am

    THANK YOU Shreve for your wonderful thoughtful post and for allowing us to donate to you!! I also loved #6 Aleta post about the cat, well said and I totally resonated with your example.
    Like #11 said, if I lived closer I would be happy to give of my time to help cook, run errands, feed the cows, whatever is needed, but in many instances time = money to me. If I don’t have the time or can’t give it due to distance or job, I’m happy to make a contribution to those in need, where there are already people there to help, or a true friend in need. You fill our lives with joy with pictures of Charlie and the farmily and those smiles are worth gold in our hearts, you have become a part of us and in spiritual truth we are ALL ONE and we are here to LOVE, HELP, HEAL and be KIND to one another. So in essences by helping you, we are also helping ourselves. BIG TEXAS LOVE TO YOU!! XOXOXO

  19. Stella
    January 27th, 2015 @ 7:39 am

    About that dollar: I suspect that nobody could touch it because they thought about what that would make them. Most thoughtful grownups know what kind of person they are. A thief knows he’s a thief, so he steals.

    I have always been independent and self-sufficient and habitually refused help. It took a major injury to make me realize that I had to let other people do for me, because they want to. It’s not a contest to see who’s the most generous. Understanding human and animal behavior takes a lot of thought. I’ve been at it for a long time, and you’ve been a good teacher for me. Wishing you all the best.

  20. Patr
    January 27th, 2015 @ 8:30 am

    You are way over thinking this….

    Your blogs give us joy and smiles. When you suffer, we suffer right with you…. When you cry, we cry, when you laugh, we laugh.

    Your writing skills puts us there with you. And while we are not not able to be by your side, we want to be and if donating cash to help you through something is our way of saying “We are here and we care” then let us do that.

    You share so much with us, let us share something (kinds of impersonal) with you.

    Hugs and love forever!!!!

  21. Deb
    January 27th, 2015 @ 12:17 pm

    Honesty and authenticity strikes again! Wow.
    Impressed. Inspired. Goose bumps.
    No more words … not usual for me – this is also a gift.

  22. penny in co
    January 27th, 2015 @ 6:00 pm

    Hey Shreve
    I am way conflicted about this. Everyone is encouraged to do what they are comfortable with. That is what freedom is all about. I work my ass off. I have for 30 years. I, too have medical issues, as does most everyone. Health care in this Country SUCKS and so many are struggling. I bet many of them wish they could ask others to donate to their cause. I am naming charities in my will this week as I re do it (just an update) and have wolf refuges, sustainable land trusts, children’s health charities and some other environmental programs that I care about if, God forbid something happens to my trustee. The timing is fortuitous for me to respond to this, as I have spent so much time soul searching what to do with my life’s work (and money). I am conflicted about donating money to you. I love your life, your perspective, your animals. I wish I were close by. I too would love to help with chores, feeding, anything to do with the farmily and you. But I, like you feel that money is a weird deal…when my health issues and work schedule to make enough…just enough all the time and support my daughter…are all encompassing. I would love to take a trip! Have a vacation but bills and life prohibit that. So I will support you when I can…in purchases and with much admiration and support! Just not cash. :) I hope you appreciate a different perspective. Get better soon :)

  23. Karen
    January 27th, 2015 @ 9:55 pm

    I don’t have a huge amount of disposable income and I live in an expensive city but sometimes, usually during the holiday season, I just hand out twenties to street people who look like they are in need. It is because I want to and I can and so I do—- it gives me comfort, in a way, and also helps me remember that the bank account ebbs and flows. I will send some your way, Shreve, simply because I wanna.

  24. MJ
    January 28th, 2015 @ 5:11 am

    Love you and your websites but I am confused? Donate for what? Your health expenses or like a “pot” for people who can’t pay medical costs? I understand your dealing with a medical condition and my thoughts are with you. I am a Wyomitie with extremely expensive ACA insurance and an expensive pre-existing condition and have procedures that require setting up monthly payment plans, etc. ….I drive hours to a health care facility because of limited options in small towns. I support you in many ways…every undergrad student that works with me receives a “Charlie” book as a thank you, But “Donate”…I am conflicted, perhaps more so that you asked, and apologies as you didn’t ask for my opinion. Perhaps its mere jealousy as you live the life I dream in WY … off the grid (Story, Encampment, oh the places abound), and making an independent living but I can’t because of reality like health expenses. With that said, I need to order some Charlie notecards.

  25. shreve
    January 28th, 2015 @ 5:48 am

    I don’t want anyone to feel conflicted or uncomfortable (though I suppose it is often a matter of course when money is part of the conversation; as I detail in the post, it certainly was for me).

    “I’ll pass.”
    “I’ll participate.”
    Both are valid, both have reasons,
    and we say both of these things a million times a day.

    I hope I”m making a teeny bit of sense, I’m just halfway though my coffee. I LOVE hearing everyone’s thoughts and opinions.

    Fred ~ I have bookplates! I’ll put them in the shop (but not for $50, haaaahaha!!!!)

    Thank you, one and all. Bowing to you.

  26. Amanda
    January 28th, 2015 @ 5:53 am

    Brisbane, Australia have a scheme called city cycle. Bikes are available 24/7 and from a huge number of city locations. The first half hour of the journey is free, and susbscriptions are $2 a day and decrease when you buy a longer subscription.

  27. Patr
    January 28th, 2015 @ 6:08 am

    I want a bookplate!!!!!!!!

  28. Sherri
    January 28th, 2015 @ 10:20 am

    I can only speak for myself, but Daily Coyotee and Honey Rock have been part of my life for many years. You have given so much of yourself in every single post and picture. You are loved and when a love one is hurting it is only natural to want ease that pain.

    Thank you for allowing us to help to take even a little of your burden away.

  29. Karen
    January 28th, 2015 @ 3:35 pm

    PS I was pondering things, as I do on my morning runs, and began to wonder if the group of volunteer EMTs you belong to could somehow group together to purchase better health insurance? As health workers, it seems crazy that you can’t have better medical coverage…

  30. Maggie
    January 28th, 2015 @ 4:53 pm

    I totally get those who have expressed conflict or discomfort with donating money. It’s pretty clear to me that you are not “asking” for money… simply making it possible to give IF someone wants to do that. It was also clear to me that any donation would be for you, to help with medical expenses and I did not feel pressure to donate, but I appreciate having an easy way TO donate because I know what it’s like to go through medical “stuff” and how expensive it is. Thinking of you and seeing you 100% well with this little bump in the road well behind you.

  31. Carla
    January 28th, 2015 @ 10:32 pm

    I would be more likely to donate if you had specified an amount and we could see the amount of money raised. I suggested GoFundMe because of the transparency, but I suppose an open ended ‘private’ donation button is no different than a ‘support this blog’ button and is perfectly okay.

    When you say you have savings, and many of us do not, I guess I expected more openness in this process. Just how much do you need that your savings is unable to cover?

    I am happy, though, that you are receiving some help. I just feel things like this can be tricky and would benefit from open disclosure.

  32. bonnie
    January 28th, 2015 @ 11:22 pm

    great conversation about a complex subject. shreve, i’m glad to see that you have given everyone the option to do their own thing :)
    there seems to be a bit of a misconception about the health care system in canada — whether or not you pay premiums depends on your income, and number of dependants. so lots of folks get free health care, and those with a greater cash flow do pay manageable monthly premiums.

  33. Linda Kalend
    January 29th, 2015 @ 12:30 pm

    If you’re in the Circle, Shreve, you’re IN the Circle! (Your donation site won’t accept my security code. Are you willing to email me your address so I can donate?)

  34. Dawn Jarvis
    January 29th, 2015 @ 3:17 pm

    So happy to help out someone I respect and care about. You put a smile on my face(sometimes tears) every time you post something. I look at this as a Thank you and Get well soon gift. Small in nature to what you give out! Get well soon!!!

  35. Susie B
    January 30th, 2015 @ 7:39 am

    Shreve, thank you for letting us know you could use a little help. It is a free choice, and I chose to send you a donation. You have opened your heart and life to us, and many of us feel we share your farmily. Friends help if and when and where they can. Sending positive, healing thoughts your way.

  36. Jessica
    February 1st, 2015 @ 12:51 pm

    I’d love a bookplate, too! I somehow won one many, many years ago, but it got mixed into some papers my husband was shredding and… :( I’d love the chance to purchase another one to actually put in my book this time! I promise I’ll keep it away from the shredder. :)

  37. Andrea
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 2:19 am

    The American health care system is rather confusing to me. I dont understand why people have to pay a shitload of money for what’s the most important thing in our lives, our health! It should be free or, at least, very cheap. That said, I dont find anything wrong with accepting donations, we’re always so tense when money becomes part of the equation but hey, it’s just paper someone has printed a value on.
    Get better soon, Shreve. And thank you for letting us keep you company trough this blog for such a long, long time.
    All the best, andrea

  38. SteinwaldWolf
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 4:48 pm

    Just finished reading The Art Of Asking by Amanda Palmer, and all you’ve said bring me right back to its pages paralleling the content of this book and her personal philosophies. And all I can think is Well done, you took “the fucking donut”! Hope all goes well.

    PS You should read it if you haven’t I think you’d be the type to really grok it.

  39. Kelly...bayfieldbunch
    February 8th, 2015 @ 8:59 pm

    Bonnie, no premiums in the province of Ontario. Health care totally free.

  40. Trisha
    February 17th, 2015 @ 11:51 am

    You do NOT want to set up a GoFundME account, they take a percentage of the amount as a fee and you do not get the full amount donated to you and they do not tell you that. Shreve I understand the whole insurance issue, I pay for my own health insurance as I am on disability and I still have huge co-pays and massive prescription costs every month that come to over $1000. I wish I could do more than offer my blessings to you for your better health for you and yours.

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