Saturday, February 26, 2011

The little blog viewed 'round the world.

I am honestly surprised (to put it lightly), honored, and humbled to say that this blog, while known to so very few (here in the United States), has readers in 7 countries!
I never had a clue that enough people here in the states, let alone anywhere else in the world, would ever want to take an interest in what someone like me has to say. It feels great, but I'm very much in shock.
A quick note to the international readers: I will not disclose your location to anyone. Even if I were to do that, it wouldn't happen on here. Not only is your viewing this blog extremely important to me, so is my belief that unless you decide to speak of your location on your own, your privacy is just as important. If no one else understands, I'm ok with it. Feel free to spread this blog to as many people as you wish, and be assured that your privacy will remain intact. I thank you more than any words could ever express.
In the meantime, I guess it's no longer a tiny corner of the world. Paul Burton is now international (You have no idea how strange but wonderful it feels to say those words!).
How about that? In less than 30 days and with no sponsorship from anyone, I have over 400 views from an unknown number of readers, in a grand total of 7 countries including the United States of America.
(*Update-less than 24 hours after this was posted, it became 8 countries in total.)
(*Update-March 1...Make that 9 countries. Keep spreading it, people! Love it!)
(*Update-March 1 at 7:00 PM, 10 countries. Unreal...
(*Update-March 2 at 5:00 AM, 11 countries. YES!!!)
(*Update-March 3 at 8:00 AM, 12 countries. Damn...Bring it! Love it!!)
(*Update-March 5 at 7:30 AM, 13 countries!! Come forward, world!!)
(*Update-March 7 at 12:50 PM, 14 countries! Keep on bringin' it!)
(*Update-March 9 at 8:00 AM, 15 countries! Hot damn, let's go!!)
(*Update-March 11 at 3:45 AM, 16 countries!!! I am LOVING THIS!!)
(*Update-March 16 at 8:00 PM, 17 countries! Wow...WOW!!!)
(*Update-March 24 at 11:30 PM, 18 countries. I can't thank all of you enough, seriously.)
(*Update-April 4 at 6:00 PM, 19 countries. Never would I have dreamed it.)
(**Update-April 11 at 4:00 AM, 20 countries. Speechless)
(*Update-April 14 at 9:00 PM, 21 countries. Such a good thing...)
(*Update-April 18 at 7:00 PM, 22 countries. Incredible. Truly unthinkable.)
(*Update-May 5 at 11:00 AM, 23 countries and it keeps on growing.)
(*Update-May 12 at 3:00 PM, 24 countries and this is so incredibly amazing to me! Bless you all!!)
(*Update-May 17 at 1:45 PM, 25 countries.....still so very shocking....)
(*Update-May 18 at 9:30 AM, 26 countries...WOWWW!!!!)

Final update: June 22, 2011
The blog is now being viewed in more than 30 countries. This blog has only received approximately 1400 view hits (at the time of this update), but I will take it. For everyone who has taken an interest and actually wants to hear about my world, which is now smaller than ever, I thank you with my entire heart. This degree of interest from just people in the united states never entered my mind. To know that anyone in any other part of the world gives a damn is incredible. Thank you, everyone!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Family is getting the picture (tick tock)

When it's good, it's great. When it's bad, it's shot to hell and back then stomped for a while, thrown through a plate glass window of judgement, then left on the ground with shards from one end to the other.
For all the years that I had my life together and was happy, healthy and mobile, I visited family and friends as often as possible. I did it because I wanted to and because I love them dearly. Birthdays and holidays would come around and there I would be with a smile, good laughs, gifts and was wished endless happy returns on the way out.
Then, over the course of several years, Jack being sick finally compelled me to stop and think maybe I was putting his own safety at risk by being so willing to take off for family visits and often leaving him here. Sometimes, he simply didn't feel like going. That should've been enough of a sign for me, but I was still in the mindset of trying to please everyone as much as possible, all the way around.
When you suddenly begin slacking off from what becomes the norm, people (especially family) begin to flip out and on come the strange questions which can often range from genuine concern to being rude as hell. The questions did begin as genuine concern, and I did my best to tell them all what was happening. But, since I was always there within a few hours and with lots of fun to be had at the ready, my answers were obviously not accepted.
So, the genuine concern grew, a little at a time, toward being small shots of inuendo and other 'fill in the blank' shortcuts to a thought which should've never happened. By March of last year, everything hit a brick wall. One member didn't like the fact that I couldn't verbalize what all was going on (Jack began telling me to stop using him as an excuse....he was NOT an excuse, he was the damn REASON for not going to visit). That member decided to take my words, manipulate them to fit an agenda, fed them to another, and so on.
By the time I called my own mother, I wasn't listened to and she eventually hung up on me right in the middle of talking. I wasn't babbling on about anything.
I was trying to reason and hope for a little dignity and understanding. But, that's not always possible. They didn't live here and therefore didn't see what all I did, certainly didn't do all that I did, and I had also been accused of stopping everyone from coming up here....and I'll mince no words when I say that's a god damn lie!
But I have a rule: Hang up on me and it will be a VERY long time before we talk again, if ever. The family is incredibly lucky I called them at all, when Jack passed. But, I took that chance several days after his passing and called. While the conversation was a bit on the frigid side, we were both relieved to hear each other's voices after 9 months of complete silence.
I'm glad the relationship has mended, but I'm still left with this question: Why is a death required for others to get through their heads that everyone else's lives are just as serious as theirs? Is it always this difficult to figure out? If so, that's truly sad.
In the meantime, I had a very long conversation with mom this week and the whole truth about everything (which was allowed to be her business) has finally sunk in. How did I get that word to spread to a few others? Simple....I just said, "This needs to stay between us.", which ensured an almost immediate call to other family members and they were quickly filled in. Sorry, mom. Can't play a former player...not when I've been around the block just as much as you and in so many other (and more) ways. But hey- At least now, everyone gets that I wasn't lying to anyone a single time throughout all of your guesses and conclusion jumping, etc.
I don't believe in telling mothers who are still raising children how to raise them. With that in mind, I have this:
Mothers, PLEASE hear your kids out. At least TRY and give them the benefit of a doubt, even if you think they didn't earn it. You never know what all is going through their minds, what all hardships they may be enduring that you have no clue about, and sometime in our lives, this chain of mistrust really needs to be broken.
Granted, I know that trust is earned. I didn't forget that. But, there is a degree of trust which should still be left in place, should YOU be the one who is wrong and the kid is simply too afraid to speak out. I ask (I don't tell, but I ask) of you not to browbeat them unless it's a last resort because when you do that, you push them away and each time you do it, you'll keep pushing them that much further from you and they will go out of their way to trust someone else, instead of coming to you. After a certain point, it will take years for the relationship to heal.
Most of this is preventable. All it takes is being willing to listen; Don't just hear them, but listen. It makes all the difference. Again, I'm not telling anyone how to raise their kids. However, I am giving a stern warning of what can (and possibly will) happen if the path of not learning from the mistakes of my family isn't chosen. It's there for the taking. All you have to do is think it through. Speaking from the hip usually causes nothing but trouble.
Anyway, my family finally gets what has gone on in my life and in this house for so many years. Had any of them bothered to truly listen, they would've known all along. I think this same lesson can be applied to mankind, altogether, but that's just me.
Please....LISTEN. Don't let time get away from you, because it's ticking....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

He has a WHAT?!!?

I just received a call from a nurse at one of Jack's now former physician's office. The nurse had an attitude, and proceeded to tell me that I was neglectful in updating her office on his condition, that "he has an open appointment" (I began shaking as soon as those words came out) and that I had not called since November.
I took a very deep breath and said I would call her back....which wasn't too warmly received.
From there, I went through my cell phone log and found where I had called them in the beginning and middle of January (returning calls just like this one) to let them know what had happened, telling them to update their database as well as the handwritten chart, and that doing this again would be more than I needed to bear.
Upon having exact dates and times, I called the nurse back. After she got on the phone, I told her to give me a second....and I took another very long, deep breath.
This was made crystal clear: Date of death was December 9 at 3:40 AM. Cause of death was complications from Pneumonia (which is code for filthy fucking staph infections), and burial was on December 18. I asked if they wanted me to fax across the receipt for the tombstone, but that offer was denied.
It was also made crystal clear that if I received another call from that office, the next response would be met with a charge of harassement from the sheriff's dept and a mental anguish lawsuit from the first attorney I find in the phone book with any halfway decent rating from the state.
Before I forget: I have also been getting tons of mail from Jack's insurance provider who suddenly wants to question charges from certain dates and times at certain places when, in fact, every nook and cranny of all services were checked and cleared before Jack was moved from one place to another, but I guess that wasn't and still isn't enough.
Make sure this much is known: I don't care where you stand on the health care bill and don't want to hear where you stand on it. But, don't EVER try and tell me there isn't room for improvement in more than plenty of these so-called services....especially when it comes to keeping up with paperwork, updating files and charts, etc. How much extra did it cost THIS time? How much did this insurance company gain in interest for its stockholders by questioning certain charges?
This is bullshit, and other than another death of a friend or loved one, this was the last thing I needed to deal with, today. Now, I get to take another handfull of pills and hope I'll be able to stop from going to that office, then leave in handcuffs. I should be glad I only have one gun. I'm feeling a little too enthusiastic...

The late 80s: A quick and biased review

The space shuttle exploded, Peter Gabriel came out of nowhere and ruled for at least a year (instead of Phil Collins-Imagine that), geeky pastel colors with cheezy prints and gigantic hair were all the rage within fashion....if we choose to call it that, on came the crack epidemic, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" was entirely too funny (great follow-up movie for those who watched "The Breakfast Club" and loved it), "Act Up" was the group of the day speaking out toward injustices by the Reagan Administration for not giving enough of a damn about HIV/AIDS research (They spawned the phrase "Silence equals death"....and it wasn't until the ultimate silence of Rock Hudson that Reagan suddenly broke his), there were residual arguments among induvidual states on whether or not to recognize Martin Luther King Jr's birthday as a holiday, unemployed auto workers were putting bumper stickers on their cars which said, "3 reasons why I'm out of work: Toyota, Honda and Nissan", faux hippie revivals were everywhere and the real hippies couldn't have been more confused, Grateful Dead began ramping up their tour like never before (thanks to the release of "Touch Of Grey", which sparked a new interest in them), The Eagles had a song which came and went like the title ("In A New York Minute"....glad it went), Michael Jackson couldn't lose for winning, most of us watched without blinking as Baby Jessica was pulled out of the well in Texas (my at the time wife a baby), Spike Lee put out two movies that were huge crossover hits ("School Daze" and "Do The Right Thing"), Oprah Winfrey did her thing and people threw her onto the pedestal which created the cult that it now is, most everything from the 70s was considered worthless and useless (which to me is VERY frightening), Nintendo came out with a home video game that pretty much buried Atari, average cable networks began stereo broadcasts, Ecstasy (drug) created its own following which also created its own club scene and was eventually broken down by quality or lack thereof in certain demographics (same as every other drug), Pet Shop Boys were considered cool (If you're offended, you'll get over it...puleeezzz!!!), Whitesnake came out of nowhere and kicked ass, a group previously known only on the west coast came out of nowhere and kicked EVERYBODY'S asses (Guns 'N Roses), people still couldn't get enough of The Cosby Show (yuck), GM made the last standard body editions of 4 of its biggest selling 2-door classics (Cutlass, Regal, Grand Prix and Monte Carlo), home computers began having somewhat of an impact and Basic was a state-of-the-art program for them (Took that class in college....yes, I went to college for a bit), one restaurant had a delivery guarantee of "30 minutes or it's free" (which caused several fatal crashes, several lawsuits and ended up becoming "30 minutes or $3 off", which eventually caused more crashes, lawsuits, and the whole slogan was eventually dropped), my father retired after 30 years with Dept Of Defense (and 2 months later, people were allowed to retire up to a year early but with the same damn benefits), I got married as the last act of defiance to my actual 'orientation', the Berlin Wall came down (as people bought fake pieces of it by the ton) and reruns of SCTV (and Laugh-In) made my day, repeatedly, for several years.
If I missed anything, put it in the comments section below.'re reading the blog. Why not give some input? I welcome it and I'm sure no one else will complain!

Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm not sure what that was

Within the past few hours, I walked down to the basement. I knew there would be some extra meds down there, where I wouldn't have to call for more. Honestly, I don't feel like seeing the shrink. It's nothing personal against him, but I just don't feel like going there.
While rounding up the extra meds, I found several rings and watches, some are mine, some were his, and found the last letter from dad (Approx August 4, 2007). I also found 2 stuffed bears, 1 still in the package.
While carrying all of it toward the stairs, I had to quickly stop and put everything on top of the washing machine. I went into literal hysterics and blacked out. When I came to, I was on the floor but seated and surrounded by dirty laundry with my head against the washer. There is some pain around the right hip socket. I hope that doesn't become worse. I'm still not sure how long I was down there. I've been avoiding clocks, completely.
I don't know if that is supposed to be grief or not, but I'm now numb from the amount of meds which were immediately necessary. 'Writing' about this is now causing the jitters. I think I need to stop.
Eventually, I need to go back to what I said I would be talking about and I will.
Know that each day brings everything unknown and with that, I can only 'promise' to bring so much.
Once again, thank you to everyone who has taken an interest in reading this blog. You all have no idea, none whatsoever, how much it means just to know that anyone gives a shit.
This is not a cry for help nor a cry for attention. I'm really not sure what it is, however.
Just bear with me, day by day. Peace and love to all.  ♥

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Res ipsa loquitur (Staph and YOU)

Translation: The thing speaks for itself.

This is what killed Jack; Staph infections.
Realize here and now that young age, a good health condition, and anything else you could possibly think of will NOT make you an exception. No one is immune. On average (In the United States), staph infections kill 90,000 in hospital patients per year.
Please, for the sake of your families and yourselves, click on the link (below) and read carefully. You wont like what you 'see', but I hope it will help you become more aware of how serious the problem is.

'On my nerves' is on my mind

Some traits that get all over my nerves and then some:

***Pet peave from hell-People who take their bad day and/or bad mood out on others (It's one thing to blog about it. It's a whole different issue to personally go off on another.)

**Another pet peave-People who are in a certain mood and/or are carrying a certain attitude/feeling of the moment, even for the day, and think that everyone else should conform to the same or get condemned for not doing so

People who do either or both of the above, yet call others idiosyncratic or eccentric, even neurotic for doing the exact same thing but during a different time frame

People who know they have a problem, even admit they have a problem, but still allow the problem to grow and do nothing about it (This one I will never understand-They actually made it past step 1, so the rest shouldn't be so least one would think not.)

People who say "I'm only human" (even if it's implied well enough), but treat others as if they should be superhuman

People who say "I wouldn't want to offend anyone", but it's in fact THEY who are offended (Doesn't have to be political)

People with the attitude of 'Don't do as I do, just do as I say.' (Don't we have stereotypical southern cops for this?)

***If I have represented any of the above to anyone recently (who knows me personally), speak up and I'm serious. That way, I can not only apologize but also acknowledge my shortcomings to myself and to you, then begin working to overcome them. I'm not looking to sit here and bitch. I really am looking to better myself as I go. I can't do it for anyone else, but I certainly can do it for myself and hope to continue doing better. It's part of self-maintenance within mental health....even when there is mostly a lack thereof.

Friday, February 18, 2011

This freak is confused.

I wasn't going to post anything today, but this which has suddenly come up...I gotta say that I'm truly confused and then some.
Bear with me because this is bad back day, bad nerve day (aka bad arm day), bad mood day (though I have it under control), and overall feel like garbage.
It appears that several groups have begun to raise money for the two poisoned trees at Toomers Corner (see my previous post, if you're not sure what I'm talking about). Feel free to call me crazy, because you're certainly not the first and as long as I have a breath, you wont be the last....but seriously....for those who are going to contribute to this fund: Have you ALL lost your minds?
We're talking about trees...a part of nature...and something which the alumni money should already be covering quite well. So, where is all this money going to go? Tuitions? A few free season tickets? What??
Furthermore (and I hate to get political about it, but if colleges...especially Alabama and Auburn...are not political, then I'm not sure of one, let alone two that ever would or could be).....About all this money which people (who always claim to be broke) are suddenly coughing up for a couple of trees: Did you donate to a homeless shelter, today? What about all the winter clothes you're going to never wear again because they're 'out of style'? Did you donate even one article of that wardrobe?
How about old pairs of eyeglasses, crutches and other assorted items which could be donated to Remote Area Medical? Was it even considered? Or is the notion of caring for two trees more important than caring for actual human beings?
If I have been given some kind of foresight by my loss, then so be it and I guess that throws me even further away from the 'pack'. But, if I had money to give, the last thing on my mind would be a couple of trees, and I don't care where they are located or how old they are. Nature is far more resilient than us humans and we also don't live anywhere near as long.
Granted, I wish people would treat all trees, on all 'corners', and in all cities and towns the same way. I happen to LOVE nature very much. But to consider it just fine throwing money at two trees, yet calling the helping of others 'Socialism' is 200% absurd.

From the dictionary:


noun \prī-ˈr-ə-tē, -ˈär-\
plural pri·or·i·ties

Definition of PRIORITY

a (1) : the quality or state of being prior (2) : precedence in date or position of publication —used of taxa b (1) : superiority in rank, position, or privilege (2) : legal precedence in exercise of rights over the same subject matter

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sorry and even more sorry

I will put this as nicely as possible, because too many people take postings like this way too personally, regardless of how it's expressed. If this post hurts your feelings, tough shit and you'll get over it.
Yesterday and today brought about some bad, then some worse...and for a change, I'm not talking about myself.
It seems that a form of pond scum named Harvey Updyke was stupid enough to poison 2 trees at Toomers Corner, located around Auburn University. Incase anyone reading this blog lives under a rock, Auburn won the NCAA college football championship, last month.
Having the utter stupidity to do that, he deserves whatever is coming to him and I fully believe that. I also believe that he will probably get much more, considering the subject matter (no, not the
There was a time when I more than enjoyed watching a good game and occasionally, in the future, I might. But, after what I saw today, I will think twice about it because I wont be able to get certain images out of my mind when trying to consider watching a game.
You see, I'm amazed how people who can't wait to throw around slurs such as 'Tree Hugger' (not sarcastically, either) are now suddenly calling themselves one and daring others to not only disagree, but to join them in calling themselves one. That's ridiculous.
Someone also posted the profile page of Mr Updyke earlier, today. I wasn't bothered by that, because it IS Facebook we're talking about and everyone's profile does have the ability, in the left column, under your list of friends, to click on a link that says, "Share profile". So no....that's not what crept up my crack.
When I saw that someone posted the home address and home telephone number of Mr Updyke and I happened to remember that in his profile photo he was holding an infant (which is probably his grandson, but either way it's someone else's child), I came unglued.
Incase anyone who is reading this happened to post that man's address and phone number, while the photo of him and that baby was up, I want you to think for a minute: That is someone's child, a completely innocent child who had nothing to do with any of this, and isn't old enough to even do harm to his/herself and yet, you posted that personal info out of such haste and disregard, you didn't care about the fact that someone who is even crazier than Mr Updyke could easily show up at his home, or at the home where that baby is, and begin shooting. And if that baby dies, will you bother to question whether or not you share some responsibility?
What about if you know someone who posted that personal info? Did you 'flag' it, just to show a tad bit of personal responsibility, yourself?
Hey folks, I'm not a parent. But I sure did put my hands deep into raising a child and I can tell you this much: Even at 30 years old, if someone tried to put a hand on my nephew in front of me, I would probably beat that person out of his mind just because I actually get the parental instinct part of it.
Being a parent isn't required, when it comes to wanting to protect children from the stupid shit that so-called adults do. And for those who posted that personal info: If that baby is hurt in any way, and the information goes public, I hope like hell the ones who posted that will lose many a night's sleep over it.
There comes a time to drop your teen spirit, grow up, and realize what's REALLY important here....and it AINT about a fucking inflatable piece of pigskin. But don't take my word for it. Just listen to some of the potential idiots who are more than capable of hurting a kid in anger and not care until it's too late.
Listen closely. I hope it sticks.
Incase you've seen this before, don't get any ideas. It's the first one I happened to remember and has nothing to do with one team or the other. But, do you still think this video is funny? Imagine it being an Auburn fan who ends up with the blood of an infant on his hands. Tell me: Do you still think it's funny?

Oh yeah: Pills....

Hmm....Let's see....How should I begin THIS one? Oh well, 'off the top of my head' is good of a place as any, I suppose....
So, I decided to go to bed early, last night (second night in a row, which may possibly be a record). I was just tired enough that I felt I could safely try it. Went into the kitchen, made the coffee, set the timer, made sure I let the child out to pee on a few things, let him back in, and off to bed I went.
Within a minute or less of my head hitting the pillow, off I went. For me, of course, falling immediately asleep usually spells trouble. It's very seldom that me going to sleep that easily means an all night success.
Sure enough, I began having freaky dreams (which isn't unusual, but these were). People who had no business still being a part of my life (and it pissed me off) to others being able to put responses on my Facebook status when I knew, even in my sleep, that these people are either not on my list, or aren't on there at all.
I think it's safe to assume that me getting ill about it (while still asleep) caused me to begin rolling back and forth, saying who knows what, or in what dialect of tribal amazon chant. I have a bad habit of getting ill in my sleep. Done it for years.
But, this episode was a little on the 'special' side. Unlike most of these scenarios, I usually wake up with my heart racing, foggy head, and seeing 6 of everything while my head looks like a shredded chore-boy.....and that's usually the extent of it. Oh but nooooo, not this time!
This time, I wake myself up to the sound of my own voice and my child is right beside the bed (he NEVER comes in there), whimpering because he knows something is up and has no idea what. I finally get rid of just enough sleep to figure out that he's giving me the eyes, ears and whimper, then I ask, "What's the matter, buddy?", to which his tail begins smacking around between the dresser and nightstand. I can hear his sniffer going at it.
I didn't even get one foot out of the bed before he's smelling everything with laser-like focus. The child was deeply concerned! I get the other out, get out of bed, and back comes the sniffer....all over my legs, as far up them as he can reach, then he sits down....tail is still going WHOPP!!  WHOPP!! WHOPP!!
Tried not to think anymore about it and hastily concluded that he simply needed to go out again. Kids can be like that, after all. So, I let him out and he just stands there on the porch...staring at me, fur still standing up. I tell him, "Go do your business!". So, off he trots...does his thing, and can't wait to get back in the house where he knows I'll be sitting down in my recliner and he can come up to investigate (as he does, many times a day).
I remembered I forgot to turn the coffee maker on, so that gets taken care of and I sit back down. Up comes his majesty to reopen his investigation. He even wants to smell my hair and I'm thinking...what the hell is up with my child?? He doesn't act like this.
Then, it began: The jitters, the surreal images out of my peripherals, etc. Yep, I know what that means....MY dumb ass forgot to take my meds before going to bed. That's what this whole thing was about.
Stupid pills....I get so tired of taking them, but it is what it is....whatever that is.
Well, I'm sure this was a typical 'freak' of a post. Hope you enjoyed a dose of 'one night at Paul's place'. I doubt I'll be awake too much longer. I need to go back to sleep so I can review the privacy settings on my Facebook account.
See you later....and remember: Take your meds!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pictures of him and me, with side order of PTSD

After leaving yesterday's post, and might I add with a huge glow of a smile, I decided for the first time since Jack passed away to go near a container in the basement which I knew contained a few photos of he and I, perhaps a few others, from various trips long ago.
The find wasn't as much as I'd hoped for, but was certainly pleasant. There were a few from San Francisco, a few from Cannery Row at Monterey, Carmel By The Sea, Pebble Beach, some from Muir Woods, quite a few from Grand Canyon (Is that one holy place or what?), High Sierras, Donner Lake, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, a few from the Smoky Mountains, one or two from Gulf Shores, etc.
I also found a couple of envelopes with photos from what appear to be the late 70s or early 80s: one is from a business trip to London and the other Chicago. Nothing, and I mean nothing, captures quality images the way 35mm film cameras do. The camera I speak of is an Asahi (not a Pentax, but strictly an Asahi) that uses a mercury battery and those haven't been available in the united states for many years.
While I was VERY happy to have found them at all, without having to go through the process as if I were packing, there weren't very many of Jack or I, but there were a couple of my parents and a few with his family mambers, 1 sister of his which is deceased.
I am now at a point where I hate clocks and calendars with every ounce of my being and for obvious reasons. To quote Jim Croce, "But there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do once you find them. I've looked around enough to know that you're the one I want to go through time with."
While I can clearly hear that song in my head as I type this.....If I actually played it, I would horribly break down.
PTSD is something I live with and don't particularly enjoy talking about. I have both types; Acute and delayed. Most will associate PTSD with war vets, and I understand that as well as respect what vets have endured in order to receive the immediate attention regarding this illness.....but make literally no mistake about the fact that people with preexisting mental conditions, such as myself and for a host of reasons, go through bouts of this illness just as hard and sometimes worse than a vet does. A vet usually only recalls a few situations which will cause a 'manic episode', and those episodes can vary from fits of rage to long periods of silence and a facial appearance like a stick man (something a kid in elementary school would draw) to sometimes days of crying, often self-medicating with any number of substances, etc etc.
I have 2 gears; Boiling rage and emotionally cold.....cold enough to where I'm now beginning to understand, all too well, the look I used to see in my father's his pupils used to dilate and become shiny in appearance, and there would be no look on his face. But, his eyes said everything his face didn't.
When I began finding myself in the photos I was looking at (I hope that makes sense), I began the swings of mood from way up high, smiling and saying, "AH, YESSS, THERE I WE ARE AT (fill in the blank)", to suddenly saying nothing and yet holding a photo in my hand for several minutes, not realizing how much time had passed.
By the time I finished with all the photos in the container and places it in a spot where it wouldn't fall over and spill everywhere, I began shaking all over....the same way a person would who is going through a detox. I immediately had to take a double dose of my meds just to get it to remotely subside. The highs and lows of PTSD took me through the emotions, but left me shaking in the end. Unfortunately, that's only part of the realm of what PTSD is capable of doing to someone.
When I first understood that I had it (or should I say "Accepted that I have it") is when my father's Alzheimers had taken its toll enough where he had 4 grand mal seizures, was taken to the emergency room, and was transferred to a nursing home from there. I didn't get down there until a couple of weeks after that incident, but was there for 5 days. During those 5 days I lost 18 pounds, had 2 stressed induced seizures which cracked a few teeth, slept less than 10 hours and ended up dehydrated enough that I should've checked myself into an emergency room, myself. Instead, my PTSD screamed "RUN!! RUN NOW!!", and run back to Knoxville is exactly what I did.
That day, I don't remember the trip back here. I'm actually surprised I made it home, safely. My cell phone was in my pocket and relatively brand new, at the time. Jack saw me and became very afraid for my safety. So, he found where the camera was located on the cell phone, sent me to the bathroom and told me to take a photo of myself. I told him I didn't want the camera showing up in the photo (yeah, I know......), so he figured out how to do it without the camera showing up, then handed it back to me and said to not change the look on my face at all, then take the photo. I did. The photo is terrible, and that's putting it mildly.
My point: What you see, here, is something I don't want to relive, ever again. The PTSD, on a speck of silver lining, probably will not allow that to happen. I just don't have it in me, emotionally, anymore.
If you think anyone has a condition remotely close to this, or if you see someone who looks like this, know that something is VERY wrong and that person needs to get immediate help. If you care about that person at all, FIND A WAY to get help for him/her. It could save a life. You have no idea how close I came to taking my own life. If Jack had not been here, I probably would've. But again, I'm now not suicidal. This was taken in September, '07.
Please, let's stop treating mental illness as society's child and at least try bringing people like me back to the category of everyday folks. I really am tired of the label I've been forced to wear for so many years.
Peace to all.

Monday, February 14, 2011

February 14, 1996: Jack, where is everybody?

This date sticks out in my mind for several reasons, and of course it's Jack and California related.
I haven't gone into the subject of California yet, because there is so much to say and I would like to try keeping it somewhat in line where it not only makes sense, but where you can at least attempt to experience what I did, what we did, along with how it felt at the time....and unfortunately, that pipe dream will never come true 100%. Doesn't hurt to try, however, helping you understand why I loved it and how much I miss it. Back to the date at hand....

February 14, 1996: A Valentines Day that fell during the middle of a work week in the Silicon Valley and I was expecting the same old 'stop-go-stop-stop-3 songs and a commercial on the radio-go-stop-"WOW I need to pee!"-go-stop' kind of commute. Instead, Interstate 680 looked like it would on Saturday mornings and I was dumbfounded. I honestly wondered, for a few seconds, if I had a day in the week screwed up and had only dreamt of sitting with my coffee, watching the news at home before heading out. It seemed absolutely crazy, the number of cars on the interstate (6 lanes, each direction) was so few.
Jack said nothing about it, so that only confused me more. At the time, I hadn't bought my bag phone (for you younger whipper snappers, that's a cell phone which was so big that it used a bag and plugged into the cigarette lighter), so I couldn't call Jack on his and ask, "Umm....What the hell is going on out here?"
So, I began going through a small handful of radio stations I switched between, during the usual morning commute. I was looking to see/hear if Valentines Day in the Silicon Valley had some kind of strange meaning to where most people didn't come into work.
I tell you, my 27 year old Alabama ass was confused and looking for an such as, "Where did everybody go? Don't they realize it's a work day?"
I strolled into work with literally no stop & go. Breezed right onto 1st Street, downtown, as if it were only a few miles away from the house (which was in the East Foothills, about 15 miles away).
The first thing I did when I sat down at my desk was call Jack. He always made it to work before me and I knew he was already there. Sure enough, he was and I was told something along the lines of, "I have no idea what's going on. Never seen anything like it. I wouldn't worry about it. Let them be the ones who get in trouble."....which to me was the most logical thing I'd heard since I left the house.
I'm actually surprised that my boss, Sheila, even showed up. With all that lack of commute and the nutty thoughts going through my head all the way down to "Is it something for Harry Wu? He DOES live in Milpitas, which is the next city over.", it wouldn't have surprised me had she not come in. But, in she came...calmer than usual, shoulders not standing straight up as they normally did, no wholesale sized box of cereal w/bowl & milk in tow, as she normally brought. So, I asked her..."Do you have any idea what's going on today? Why are so many people missing?", to which she responded, "I don't know, Paul. It's just a half day, anyhow. I wouldn't think too much about it."
WOAH! "A half day"? For this? Say what?! So, there really IS something freaky about Valentines Day in the Silicon Valley, or IS it something for Harry Wu?
I asked Sheila why it was a half day and she said she didn't know. Didn't know?? HELP!
Little did I know that, as lunch time came around, Jack was waiting in the parking lot at my workplace. I came out, saw the van and just stood there like a deer in a floodlight....again, dumbfounded.
So I finally put it out there, bluntly, "OK-Whatever it is that I've missed, the joke is over. Tell me what the hell is going on or I'm going home and you can sit here, or you can go wherever you want."
He held up a piece of paper with a confirmation number on it, casino card, Am Ex, debit card, and a Valentine card. With a partial but sincere smile, he asked, "Are you sure you want to go home? The kids are already at the kennel."
Clearing the confusion, at least for me: Jack was only at work for one hour. Beyond that, he went back home and packed everything for both of us, put the kids in the kennel, and made reservations at Harvey's Casino at Lake Tahoe. I was shocked, stunned, happy, almost elated, still a bit confused as to why on a Wednesday, but not dumb enough to complain.
It turns out that during the previous week, there was a word going around that a good bit of businesses were going to close up at noon, and people could either call in sick or show up for the half day. If they didn't show up, they obviously didn't get paid for it. Little did people realize that it started out as nothing more than a rumor (this actually happened, people!), and grew into a REAL no-show event which didn't even make it in the newspaper or on the local news. It just happened, period. I know because I was there.
Jack and I were gone the rest of the week, by the way, scouring the Tahoe Basin, heading down through Carson City and on to Reno, back to Tahoe, all through the boutiques and such, just having a grand old time as if Saturday and Sunday began on a Wednesday.
He had left a voicemail on Sheila's office number to let her know, before she or I ever got to work. She only met him once and liked him well enough that if he told her the sky was green and cottage cheese was going to land on her head, she probably would've just giggled and said, "Yeah, I know. I love that." The relationship between the two of them still makes me laugh. She had a thing for him and he knew it, so they played each other on that. Still cracks me up to this day.
Jack was crafty, thoughtful, simple yet meticulous, could plan miles ahead with limited trouble, knew exactly what he wanted and how to get it, knew where he wanted to go and exactly how to get there, figured out on his own what someone liked and threw enough social grace at it that you didn't complain because you were too shocked that he figured you well as being too happy to partake in the plans he put together so well.
The kicker is that he usually didn't say one word about any of it. He usually just popped the surprise right in your lap, and it was normally a cool enough surprise that you didn't care. You just went with the flow.
So for most widows, regardless of orientation or identity (Yes, even the worthy ones on a different blog), this will probably be a real bummer of a day. But for me, I have memories that will always give me a reason to smile, will always warm my heart, and will keep me convinced that real love still exists somewhere in the world.
I still have a good enough memory of that trip, though it went by quickly. I still remember the smile on Sheila's face the following Monday morning, when I came in to work....that sneaky, "Yes, I knew and YOU didn't!" kind of look that only made the whole thing that much better, in the end.
I have those cards in front of me, and I'm smiling as I type this. Regardless of how any of you may feel about wanting to tell me Happy Valentines Day (or not), don't worry at all.
I know who brought this memory back, and he's in a picture frame between the monitor and the keyboard I'm using right now, only a few inches away.
In that photo, we were at the pinnacle of happy. I will go over the events leading up to that photo in an entirely different post because it deserves one, at the very least...probably more.
I'm good for today. I will smile, I will recall even more after publishing this post, and will jot down those memories in my journal as I have been doing since December 25, 2010. It has been mostly a joy and a pleasure, being able to recall all of this. In the end, I know how much of a gift it is, and will never forget how much of a gift he gave me that day.
Happy Valentines Day, Jack....and to all of you.  ♥

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Girls are like phones

Oh my, stepped right into this one. Leave it to Paul the smartass to set the record straight on just how much girls are like phones. Here is how the original went, according to what I saw:

"Girls are like phones. We love to be held, talked too but if you press the wrong button you'll be disconnected!"

Profound, yes? Simple, yet to the point.....and missing SOOO much that I'm compelled to fill in the blanks. Here is the revised edition (and remember, I was married once):

Girls are like phones. We love to be held, talked too but if you press the wrong button you'll be disconnected.
Some of us need batteries, more than ever, for getting on AND getting off.
We get a big charge if you stick something in the right spot.
We cause numbers to be written on all kinds of hands.
Press 1 'button' with the right finger and we speak something other than english.
Babies are amused by us, then they drool all over us.
On certain days, you can remove our batteries and we will STILL be talking.
Put enough of us in one room and we will talk about our husbands all day! Bon Bon?
Hang us on the wall and we'll have a retro 60s kind of time. You want Pea Green or Peeyellow?
Those of us with a dial will outlive all you young hipsters from our graves because we're collectables! That's right, no time at all, you'll be worth nothing and we'll be worth even more.
Some of us have built in answering machines that recall certain messages FOREVER.
Some of us suddenly lose messages when you need them at the most crucial moment. Oopsie!
Our kids have technology but we have longevity. Guess who wins that one, hands down?
We store information you men will never, EVER, know about and it will be there for years.
Set us down the wrong way and we'll be 'off the hook' until you figure out what you did wrong.
Put us on hold and we will play music you hate with a passion.
We don't mind suds from a bath but really, must you use us while on the toilet?
And finally: If the world shuts off the internet, we will still be here and you will still use us.

This ol' house

It wont be very long before I have to move out of the house I'm currently living in, and have been here since June, 2000. I will miss the place, but lots of damage has occured to it over the years and there is simply too much negative history, unfortunately, for me to want to stay here even if I had a say in it.
This house was the first to be built (early 50s) in an area known at the time as Holston Heights, now known as Holston Hills. At the time, this was an exclusive neighborhood meant for the doctors and lawyers who could afford cars, and could drive to Knoxville on a daily basis. At the time, this neighborhood was outside the city limits and the area is still, from a postal standpoint, known as Burlington. Strangely, no one knows why or how this area got that name. Chances are that someone with the last name Burlington owned a plantation which took up a huge chunk of the land. That would be my immediate guess. The second would be perhaps the name of a high ranking military guy during the Civil War. Beyond that, I got nothing.
The home was finished and purchased in 1952. It is a basement ranch style house. In total, there is 3050 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a 2-car garage, 7/8 acre of land, fenced in back yard and custom built back patio. I would loved to have seen this place when it was new.
There are features in here that I will certainly miss: A couple of closets have lights which automatically turn on when the door is opened, most light switches (even in the basement) have one switch in the middle which turns on the hallway lights, upstairs. There is a full-sized attic fan, the dining room and one of the bedrooms have walls made of one foot tongue-in-groove Ponderosa Pine, and they're gorgeous. Also, the fireplace mantle is not made out of brick, but rather out of stone...HUGE pieces of stone. Beautiful.
Other history, quite important: This home was purchased in August, 1968, by a black couple. He worked at Alcoa Aluminum, and she at TVA. In those days, it didn't matter. They were black and the neighbors didn't like it one bit. I have no idea how many stayed or went because of it. During the 70s and part of the 80s, the basement was used as a hidden battered women's shelter. One of the neighbors told me about it, several years ago. That finally explained why every column in the basement has a 220 volt plug in outlet (heaters), and why there used to be 3 separate phone lines down there as well. I found several photos, after Jack and I bought this place, and no one claimed to know who any of the people in the photos were. After the former lady of the house passed away (her husband died years earlier), someone finally came forward and identified who all is in them and asked me to dispose of the photos because of privacy issues and/or the former battered women were still afraid of someone giving away what my basement was used for.
Since the lady of the house worked for TVA, her electricity bill was free....and I could tell. The first bill which came here, but was meant for her, was almost $480.00 and I almost fainted. I wanted to know why the bill was so high and one of Jack's nephews figured it out; This house also has a device called "Ceil Heat", which consists of 2 sheets of sheetrock and 1 long wire snaked back and forth between them, and every ceiling upstairs has a separate 'thermostat', with a main control switch in the hallway. I thought all of that was turned off, but we discovered that it had been on 86 degrees...............for 32 years! Of course, this was after we had closed on the house, etc. (Hey....even the best appraiser/inspector can't catch it all).
When we moved in here, June 2000, the average temperature in the house was 77 degrees. Upon disconnecting the Ceil Heat and running the central air, day and night for what seemed almost constantly, it took about 3 weeks for the entire house to cool down to where it should've been the entire time. Then, the upstairs began to settle...and did it ever. That took a little over a year, but it finally finished.
Then came a small earthquake which hit around Sevierville in either 2001 or 2002. The aftershock came straight through this neighborhood and rocked our bed like a boat on the water. I actually thought someone backed a truck into the corner of the house, and ran outside to see what was going on. Of course, nothing but nature.
Roll the clock forward about 7-8 years and one day, I caught a whiff of something in the basement....a faint but pungent odor of mildew, which normally means water. It took a while to find the source, but finally it was located in part of the foundation. We called our insurer and attempted to file a claim, before it could get worse. The insurer would not cover it under 'Acts Of God' because we didn't immediately file after the quake happened. Now, the main drainage pipe which leads out of the house is broken and a huge slab of the driveway is sunk about 4 inches lower than the rest, which is now cracked all the way across.
Foundation damage, when not repaired, will only grow into a much bigger problem ranging from drain pipes to gutters, to walls and ceilings, windows, mega etc. Because contractors built these homes to last, I'm probably lucky that the only damage is to the ceilings (cracked all the way across), and several cracks in the sheetrock along the windows....not in every room, but in enough.
Before Jack became so sick and had to be hospitalized for the last time, we were beginning to look at other houses which are now either taken, or I can't afford them. It will be renting for me, and probably for a very long time. Yes, there was a life insurance policy....but I did mention on another post that Jack's ex (Ron) bankrupted him during the 90s. Had it not been for that, who knows the shape I would be in now? But, it wasn't meant to be. I will trudge along as I do, all considered.
Anyway, that's the basic (and interesting) 'skinny' of this ol' house. I'm gonna miss it when I leave, but I know it will be for the better. Somewhere in the future, there has to be something better.
A while back, my scanner software took a crap and there is no generic substitute. I don't own a digital camera, either. So for now, all you get to see is a corner of the hearth. When I get a new scanner, I'll upload some photos and delete this section of the message. For now, the hearth will have to do.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rambling, lyrically

Spreading across, but we hover in silence as I long for harmony's trust
Flying, floating, slowly gliding off into that long mile of Mistral and a fatigued return

Let the sails fool you for a time as this day sends what it will

On a pillow of warmth, you fancied whimsical themes
Superficial they are, but a priceless smile you painted, flawless and noteworthy

This find is within the dream of dreams and no one has it but you

Nautical, luxurious, walls of a safe world surround your life for now
This fantasy is a place of which I've intruded and you're surprised

Adrift but I see you, no fears for I'm only a guest in your world

Scathing the waters for a mile of your time and then you sleep
Drift away; Mind and flesh cooperating in a safe and soft journey

Travel empty and fill it all as you go; A kiss from nature, a blessing in freedom's imagination

Friday, February 11, 2011

Yes, I know you're there

The teachings which lead me to certain instincts were absolutely spot on.
Although there are only 2 comments from all posts, combined, and though this blog has only become a separate domain for less than 18 hours (as I write this), it has been viewed 178 times.
Hey....that's great. But like I said in another post, behavior patterns give themselves away everytime, at least to me.
This is just a small thank you to everyone who is apparently interested in my tiny corner of the world.
I have no doubt that I've written things which turned you off, but at least I try not to be boring.
I know that I have my days when my mind bounces off the walls, and even blogged about that.
So, just realize how thankful I am that anyone gives half a shit, let alone anything beyond, about me at all.
Sincerely, thank you.

Pizza: Good times!

Let's talk about this subject which seems to tie together everything from sports to its fans, family and friends, schools and churches, helps drunk college kids sober up easier than salad and should never, but simply NEVER, be put in a microwave.
Despite what Tom Monaghan (former owner of Dominos Pizza and the Detroit Tigers) said in his book "Pizza Tiger", this magic slice of artery clogging bliss did NOT originate on an english muffin. It originated in Italy and was nothing more than common folks taking every leftover they had, throwing it on peasant bread, and baking it. Nothing more. They used what they had. While I'm quickly dealing with dispelling myths....
I'll take a quick detour: People who don't bother doing the slightest amount of research drive me absolutely nuts with their self-induced ignorance. Take nachos as the best example I can think of, and fajitas right behind it.
Nachos: NOT a popular food in Mexico. Those were created in 1943 at a restaurant in Mexico being put on the spot by a group of military wives who were very hungry, and the restaurant owner wanted to make the women happy (and full). So, he took what tortillas were left and cut them into triangles. He had some cheese and a few peppers. He laid said triangular shaped tortilla slices out, threw the cheese on top of said slices, and tossed it in the oven to melt the cheese, then placed a slice of pepper on top of each one after they were pulled out of the broiler. The women loved them, went back to Fort Duncan raving about them, and the phenomenon grew from there.
Fajitas: Houston, 1973....A restaurant owner had some leftover skirt steak, chopped peppers & onions, a few tortillas, and had an idea for a quick meal. POOF: Off it went to this very day where cast iron skillets are stinking up dining rooms in various yuppy burger joints, coast to coast.
THE END. Detour over.....
Pizza brought several classmates and I to work at one place and while the work environment was rather nasty, life beyond that building was fun as could be. We were young, stupid, strung out on one substance or another, loved it, but on the job we made customers VERY happy. It's a shame that the owner of this certain chain ended up making us employees look like idiots by reducing the size of those pizzas while raising prices at the same time. See, when something like that happens, guess who catches hell for it? The closest person available either in person, or on the phone. Most customers aren't stupid or blind. Some.....well, maybe I should save 'some' for another post. Believe me, delivery drivers see it ALL. Boy, did we ever.
What my group of friends/classmates and I produced back then was not just a product for the masses but a personal box of "We made this as if we were making it for ourselves.", and that's exactly how we trained new people each and every single time. That method was effective, and should be used in every restaurant, no matter what. If it were, product quality would skyrocket and customers probably wouldn't end up sick.
We may have been a bunch of 20 something banshees, but we didn't mess around when it came to literally doing our jobs right. Somehow, we kept in the backs of our minds that if we didn't give the satisfaction that our customers were looking for, they didn't order again and we were out of a job. Besides, it was also a combination of work ethic and competition with a few stores in the next couple of cities. We were more than happy to kick their asses on a weekly/monthly basis and did exactly that. There are a couple of people who read this that are probably wearing a BIG smile, right about now. You know who you are, and you know I'm telling the truth.
My parents almost bought the store where all of us worked, but we never could come to an agreement on anything, collectively. Had it taken, to hell with the could've, should've and would've. That settles no scores from the past. I just wish they had, because I know what kind of product has been coming out of that place for the past....20+ years (though I haven't eaten one bite of it), yet I've been told by enough people who had OUR product and have compared it, repeatedly.
I don't like the current owner, and do I ever have my reasons. In fact, were I to see that owner out somewhere, I would probably pick up the nearest object and beat the shit out of him with it. That's okay, however, because what goes around comes around.....and from what I understand, his sorry ass got put in his place well enough, for now. If I were the type to 'out' someone (Yes, I mean out of the closet), I would go ahead and let all those church members know that his wife is nothing more than an ornament and always has been. There have been more opportunities to do that than I can count. But as I said, what goes around comes around. The right church member will run across his sneaky ass doing someone other than his ornamental wife, and away his frameable life will go.
I learned from working at that place, all those years ago, how to make pizza on my own. To date, I have received not the first complaint from anyone about what I make. Still to this day, I make pizza...even though it's now just me in the house. Why? Hell, why not? If you know where I live and know me, come on up and gain a few pounds for a day or so. It actually surprises me, after what all us friends/classmates endured at that old place, that I'm still passionate about how I make one, and it probably wouldn't bother me to open a restaurant. Lots of competition though, and contrary to cheap phrases, there is not always room at the top.
Fino alla prossima volta! (Until next time!)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ponderings at the walls of spirit and humanity

If only you could see how fragile life is: A life of someone of no relation to you
If only you would see the way people suffer at the hands of others, and what it does to them in the long run
If only you comprehended what it's like to feel so trapped that you see nothing but darkness in daylight
If only you realized how much it infuriates me to see and hear people whine about what they don't have
If only those who whine about what they don't have could see that they have everything most people don't
If only we would take the few spare seconds to change our emotion from "Fuck you" to "Hello"
If only we would learn to reach out to more people in this world commonly known as 'strangers'
If only our hearts could relate to the hearts of others, even if it's just to see just how heavy the hearts of others sometimes are
If only our souls had the ability to heal someone who is suffering and not care about a reward
If only our minds could better learn to think, then think some more, then think a little more beyond that
If only I could show people, without causing undue pain or fear, what all goes through my head in a day
If only I could help others see just how good they've got it
If only I could prove to people who try and say they know how good they've got it that they have no clue
If only this world could stop being so incredibly cold
If only this world could stop using religion as a crutch and think for themselves what's right and/or wrong
If only this world could truly understand that it's not a crime to help others
If only some would recognize that everyone, even the disabled, deserves to be happy
If only some would get through their heads that us humans didn't ask to be born
If only some would see through lenses other than their own
If only the powers that be would realize, once and for all, that mental illness is the new society's child
If only the powers that be would help to turn society's child back into everyday folks
If only the powers that be would grasp that money should not be the final answer to moral issues
If only 'that god' had ever heard or answered one prayer from me, ever, about anything or anyone
If only 'that god' understood why I believe none of it
If only 'that god' could receive a visit from the same spirits I have and be haunted by those same voices
If only........

Fort Sanders, Room 810



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What can I say? It's a bad day and that just pissed me off!

Just for the hell of it, I decided (first time since I began this blog) to trek upon the worthy gay widows and see how their world is doing, these days. As expected, the holiday and January blues are over, so things appear to be getting better in the world of swimming pools, perfectly designed homes almost worthy of a showcase, and asking others what on earth they will do with the 'his' side of the lavatory because looking at it is JUST too much to bear.
Ummm.....may I now projectile some chunks? Because honestly, I'm not far from it.....
Again, and I'll be crystal clear: When it comes to their loss, they have all the sympathy my mind and soul could possibly give them. But, it's just another place where I don't fit in. It doesn't bother me that I don't, especially now, because I've been given the gift of being on the outside of that world looking in.
It's never good to be forced into the world of a widower, regardless of what happens beyond death and that's an absolute fact. But, I would honestly rather laugh at the most sick jokes, drink like a fish (and tell judgemental twits to kiss my entire ass), take my meds with said drink if I feel like it (same comments go towards said judgemental twits), actually be physically & mentally disabled, lose sleep, deal with Narcolepsy, worry about where I will end up living, etc, than to know that I posted a photo of my double lavatory with boo-hoo and ask random readers what to do with one of the sinks!!!!!
If that makes me a bad person, then I guess it's just another day for me because I'm used to it.
I don't feel I'm worthy of a parade because of my orientation (I was born this fucking way!), Wizard Of Oz is NOT my favorite movie, I hate 99% of the show tunes in existence, I don't like being called 'Bitch' or 'Honey' or 'Girl' by another guy of ANY orientation, I dress as I damn well please and not according to some coked out fashionista, I cook what I want, WHEN I want....lots of chili in the summer....what's the penalty for that, according to the 'gay handbook' the way, did you know there actually IS one?
To top all of the preceding off: I took care of Jack for 13 years on my own, never asked for anyone's help (and that includes all 20 hospital visits), while attempting to take care of my damn self and I would gladly challenge anyone, anywhere, at anytime, to have done any better.
Am I just a little pissed off, today? Yeah, you could say that. It just so happens that this is one of those days when my meds aren't doing the job. Such a crime.
Am I jealous of the other widows and their apparent high life? (If I may say this?) DEAR GOD NO!!!!
It's just one of those days, and I get the pleasure of dealing with everyone else's. I do my best not to 'write' or show my ass, when days like this hit. But, I figured it was time to at least pull back the shears and let a little light in on what it's like when I'm not too far away from going off.....and this is a VERY, VERY mild case of it.
In fact, I'm not even going to proof-read this one. I'm going to leave it exactly the way it is....that way, I can come back to it, tomorrow (If my mind is doing any better) and see what the fuck because it's either stop now, or go completely over the edge. I'm still learning my limits.....
Love! Peace! All the other good shit having nothing in common with my day!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February 8, 1992: In from the cold

Two very good things happened on this day, and one of them temporarily restored my faith in human kindness.
I will only use her first name: Desi.
Today is Desi's birthday. But on February 8, 1992, I was in a grocery store rounding up what non-perishables I could afford which could be kept in my car, and would be returning to my parking/sleeping place of 3 months, after the shopping was done.
By nothing but luck, Desi and I ran into each other in the store. We had not seen each other for at least 6 months or longer. She asked how I was doing.
I was tired of lying to everyone and saying, "Everything's good. I'm doing fine. You?"....So, I told her the truth....(To paraphrase, seeing that this was 19 years ago) "Desi, I have been living in my car on Conner Island for about 3 months and I'm not far away from either losing my mind or freezing to death."
I got as far as the part about living in my car when the look on her face turned to pure horror, shame, embarassement, and other things I'm still not sure of to this day.
She immediately took charge of the rest of the conversation, AND my life, from there. It went something like this (again, to paraphrase)-"You will go and get whatever you need, from WHEREVER you need it, and YOU WILL get your ass up to my house! I will NOT take no for an answer, you will pay NO rent, and you WILL get back on your feet! Now, what all do I need to buy while we're here?"
Honestly, I didn't believe a word that came out of her mouth.
After saying all of that, she began crying and hugged my neck. I was so emotionally numb by then, it almost didn't make sense to me. The only thing which did, in fact, was that I suddenly wouldn't have to spend the night in my car and was at least relieved by it. It could've been that I was in complete shock. I'm still not sure.
But, I didn't allow myself to believe any of it until I was actually in the house, until the few hours of partying was over, and I was actually in a bed with a decent blanket, a decent pillow, and a heater vent in the room. I even got to watch television for the first night in months. It may have been news, but I loved it!
Within a month, I was watching news which was not so mundane; Footage of Rodney King incident in Los Angeles. In those days, the big 3 networks (ABC, NBC and CBS) showed at night what the censors wouldn't allow them to show on the evening news. I was quite dismayed at what I was seeing, until it began running on a loop (as 24 hour media outlets do things, these days), even though the network showed the entire unedited incident.
The riots didn't happen until a few months later, so the newness of the beating did wear off. Something like that should not be placed on a loop for people to become desensitized to. Anything like that, in this country, regardless of whose fault it is, should be shown in very small doses. What evolved over the next few months was intense, brutal, and the television was merely a 9 inch portable black and white that was picking up a station by antenna. Enough digression.
Desi and all her female friends took very good care of me, over the next few months. Not only did they make sure I never went without anything (though I was working my ass off at the time), always had a party favor or 2 at the ready when I got home from work, always allowed me to pick out what to eat (except for when they picked up, elsewhere), and ran everyone off if they determined I was tired and needed to go to sleep. It's amazing to me how immature we all were, yet how well we treated each other in those days. If only life could be as simple now as it were, in our early 20s (once I was out of my car, of course).
I moved back in with my parents during the middle of June and stayed until the end of July. I figured it was more than time to at least save up elsewhere. I had more than worn out my welcome, though none of those gals ever complained. Leaving there was emotionally wrecking on all of us, because we all stopped to remember how it all came about in the first place. It was intense, bittersweet, and we still talk about the fond memories of those days.
In the past 5 years, Desi has lost her mother to lung cancer, her husband to liver and kidney failure, and her only sister to kidney failure. She has one son who is now 18 and will graduate high school this year. How time flies, how sad life can be, and how hard it sometimes is to look for, let alone find, a silver lining in a situation like that.
Desi's grandmother, on her father's side, is the last generation of renegades from the Cherokee Indian tribe (during the Trail Of Tears) who escaped to a cave around Paint Rock, Alabama, and formed a new tribe called Echotah. The tribe now goes by Echota Cherokee.
Truly amazing, the stories and histories people's lives and families contain and all that's required is that they tell something about it. If we all did that with each other, maybe the world would be a better place. Maybe, the world wouldn't be so cold. Maybe, people would learn how to be better friends. I know I'm better for that experience. I really wish people could've seen how it all unfolded. I honestly believe, and always will, that even the most mature of adults would've been surprised at how well we treated each other.
I cannot post a photo of Desi or her family, because she and her father are VERY private people. What I will do, instead, is post a photo of the tribe's logo and a link to the site. I hope you will visit the site. It's interesting and almost holy.
Happy Birthday, Desi. I will always love and thank you for what you did, and will always find a way to pay it forward. You taught me well.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The aging and the eyes

Today, I'm not 'feeling it'. Today, I received a photo from mom through my email and all it really did was remind of me how long I have been functioning under a level of stress that I truly cannot put to words.
I compared that photo to one which was taken about a year or so prior, and it looks like I aged about 10 years. I was floored and still am. Unfortunately, I'm now carrying a little more fear than I did before viewing that photo.
In the trenches of becoming a widow, and remembering all too well what happened with my mind when dad's Alzheimers took him down to where he ended up in a nursing home (and still is), it's a wonder I'm still functioning at all. Were it not for my medication.....I'm not going to finish that sentence as originally planned.
As stated on the first post: I'm not suicidal. So, don't even think that. Yes, I'm dealing with a heavy burden while heavy hearted, and I honestly don't know what is going to happen in the next couple of weeks. But again, I will find a way to deal with it because I have no other choice, unless I want to end up homeless and watch an estate end up on the side of the road for everyone to snatch and grab....and that's not gonna happen.
I 'shared' the emailed photo on Facebook and while I'm thankful for the reception it received, I would probably feel worse had I kept it to myself. It's the look in my eyes.
That look is saying, "Mom, do you have any idea what this is doing to me?" It didn't take long for me to recall how I felt at the moment.
My niece was also there (all of 17, at the time), and I was trying very hard to keep my emotions to myself. That was no easy task.
Perhaps the best gift I received from Jack, other than being in my life for 16 years, was learning how to better speak with my eyes. My mouth can often get me in trouble, and most of the time I don't care that it does. I have never met anyone, not in real life, on television, movies, or anywhere else whose eyes spoke the way his did. I'm glad I learned it (though my ability will never touch his), but right now it's seeming like a curse. I wish I could offer an explanation of why that's the case, but my eyes are saying everything my mind can't.....if that makes any sense. If not, don't worry. You're not alone when it comes to barely understanding me.
The eyes are not just the mirror to your soul. They are a purifying view to your heart, often a glimpse into the pit of your stomach, and often the easiest way to tell if you're lying. 'Poker face' all you want, but if someone is any good at reading faces, you wont be able to lie your way out of what your eyes are often screaming and that is that. Even glasses and/or contacts wont cover it up.
I guess it's yet another way of letting us know that regardless of how hard we may try, there is no escaping what is the whole truth.
I'm fairly sure plenty of you can literally feel when someone is looking straight at you or straight through you. I know for a fact when someone is doing it to me. This is not paranoia. This is real. I have been able to sense it for quite a long time and it used to bother me. Not so much now, but still a bit discomforting. Just depends on the mood.
Below is the photo I received. If you can't see what I'm talking about (my eyes), click on it and try looking at it until you do. I promise, it's there. I wish I hadn't seen this one because all I see is pain and stress.
Next post will be better. Just needed to get this off my chest and off my mind, if that's even possible. I hope the rest of the week doesn't go like this. Good day.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Stuporbowl Sunday

I'm not interested in watching professional sports. I have several reasons, most of which are principled.

We Americans have literally built temples around, and legal loopholes for these athletes who makes millions per year. I can think of plenty who deserve to have temples built around them (but probably wouldn't want one), though no one deserves the legal loopholes.
Nurses, teachers, law enforcement, firemen, EMT/EMS, even janitors deserve better than what athletes are paid, and that's without going into the realm of endorsements. The ones I just mentioned are not only wearing themselves out, mentally and physically, but do it 10 times harder (or more) than any athlete I can think of....and that includes janitors. Some risk their lives every minute they're on the clock. Can we say the same for an athlete?

These athletes pull all kinds of stunts which they know are wrong, barely receive a slap on the wrist (when we would be in jail) and suddenly, the general sports fan is in an uproar over a problem THEY designed. Of course, at the time, the general sports fan doesn't consider that. And no, I'm not saying every person who is interested in sports hopes athletes get away with murder, attempted murder, rape, robbery, drug deals which end up with someone getting shot or killed, and the like. I AM saying, however, that those are symptoms of what is a larger problem of people treating athletes as if they're better, as if they should only receive slaps on the wrist for doing what they know is wrong, multi million dollar endorsement contracts (when in fact the product sells itself just fine without them, if the product is any good), and possibly my biggest complaint of all, medical preferential treatment.

When an athlete is injured, SUDDELNLY a CT-Scan or X-Ray or MRI can be had, immediately (I know one hospital in my city who has certain departments especially for athletes because a few of those machines were used on Jack during off-season, so don't try telling me they don't exist when I've seen them with my own two eyes).
Then, if that's not bullshit enough, the results of a CT or MRI can be had within an hour, when we peasants have to wait several days or weeks, and show up at a doctor's office just to get the results of ours.

By the way, does an athlete have to worry about whether or not a surgeon has a good 'track record' (should one be required)? Rhetorical statement in the form of a question. No need to answer.
When an athlete ends up with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), while I do think that's sad, I have to keep in mind that facemasks were placed on helmets in the 1970s so the amount of brutality within contact could and would increase...and did it ever.
The ones who now suffer from and live with the daily problems caused by TBI are lucky to receive a 5 minute segment on Sanjay Gupta's weekend program. These 'lackluster' men are no longer the glamorous, brutal beasts they once were, so toss them aside. Their usage is done. Yes, most of us are responsible for creating this disposable and expendable human environment, and it saddens me as well as angers me. This is NOT who children should aspire to be. You're entitled to a different view, and you know where the comments section is located if I need to be enlightened on anything, or if you simply want to disagree.

Last point: Professional sports are not a sport. Let's call it what it really is; A business.

If you're watching the Superbowl, enjoy it. Hate to rain on your parade, but this post is exactly how I feel about it. I'm not bitter or mean. I'm realistic and I'm telling it like it is, according to my own unworthy freak view and opinion.

"You drank beer, you played golf and you watched football-WE EVOLVED!!" ~ Frank Zappa

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Checking for a pulse....

It appears (and I expected this, predicted this, even said it on the first post) that I'm freaking people out.
On the first post, there were 2 comments. Ever since, it has been dead silent. I don't think it's because people are afraid to speak out. I think it's because people are getting slightly uncomfortable with what I'm saying. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not half bad at deciphering behavior patterns.
If nothing else, I did say that this blog would be anything but boring. I also gave a warning that I have plenty to say.....and believe me, I haven't even scratched the surface yet. In fact, I could probably post on here for a solid year, daily, and just begin to put a decent dent in the surface.
The things I have seen and dealt with, in a mere 42 years, are NOT normal. Some is good, some great, some outstanding, some is/was complete bullshit, and some of it no one should ever witness or be thrust into against their will. But again, I did say that I have a tendency to freak people out. However, this blog is serious, except for a few odds here and there.
Hopefully, one day, this blog will pay off. I'm not looking to profit from my miseries, nor am I looking to gain instant fortune and/or fame. I'm simply wanting the world to know what it's like to walk in my shoes, how it feels to step a toe or two inside my mind, and wonder how I sleep at night these days. I hope one day that the right people will notice it, and decide to run with it. If dumb ass punks like Perez Hilton can do it, surely I can make something from being serious and not pinheaded Hollywood fluff.
Perhaps I have already accomplished that goal, with or without true public publication but I'm uncertain about that. Actually, I'm a bit unconvinced because I have said so little (in my opinion).
Seriously people, I have barely begun to talk. They are serious issues (mostly), but there is SO much more.
If I were a true asshole without one ounce of gentleman in me, I would cut lip 24-7, list the full names of plenty, and take no prisoners in the process. But, that's not who I am. I do, however, feel that certain people and subjects must be addressed because they have either bugged the shit out of me for years, or have enraged me to the point that I'm tired of holding my breath. Those two reasons sound like they're one in the same, but I assure you they are not.
It appears I got slightly off topic, or maybe not. If you were in my mind, maybe you would understand.
Do me a favor: Pass this blog around, but be choosy. If you're going to read the blog, at least sign up and 'follow' it. The blog will NOT be abandoned by me. And if you would, speak up. Rant, rave, critique, insult, it doesn't matter as long as I'm able to 'see' a reaction. I'm not doing this blog just to see who says what, but input is important to me. Chatter away. The comment section is right down there