Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Incase you were wondering....

Even though no one has asked me, personally, I feel it's necessary to say a few words about something on this blog from the past week....
Incase anyone wondered why I posted the video of myself in such terrible shape, but hasn't asked, it's because I felt it was time....after all I have endured over the past 6 1/2 months (especially the past 3 1/2 month) to put a face and a voice to all these words which everyone seems to enjoy, and I can't thank all of you enough for your interest in this blog, as well as letting others know about it. That means more than anything I could ever possibly write on here.
For most of my life, it has been quite easy for me to throw words around in my mind and throw them out on paper, and now on here. If there is one thing I'm able to pull off, it's literary expression. I don't know if it's some kind of gift or if I'm just lucky. Either way, I'm glad to be able to share these expressions with others. As it stands, this is one of the VERY FEW things left in my life which brings peace to my mind and for a short while, manages to set my emotions free. As long as this is the case, I will gladly continue to write somewhere with something and do my best to reach anyone who is interested in what I have to say.
The video was not meant to scare anyone, nor was it a means to receive pity or sympathy, or even to pull someone's heart strings loose. As I said, I simply felt it was time to put a face and a voice to these words. If you were genuinely spooked by it, all I can say is I wish that had not been the case. Apologizing would defeat the purpose of why I posted it. Again, please understand (or at least try) what all I'm dealing with in my daily life and that most people wouldn't dare to venture where I have, publicly. I'm not saying you're all lucky to have my blog in your lives. I'm simply saying that people like me normally hide everything we endure, but I'm not going to do that. Honestly, I don't know how and don't want to be taught how. I respect others who feel that they must remain silent, but that's simply NOT what I'm going to do for the rest of my life.
Thanks again to all of you for taking an interest in my life. You mean the world to me, and there is literally a world of you here. May you all be blessed.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The week in review

Movers came in and packed my stuff so quickly that they left me without a single piece of cookware, utensils, silverware, no shoes except the ones I was wearing, packed ALL of my clothes (and I mean ALL of them), even packing for storage things such as flour, cornmeal and etc. Naturally, I had to make them backtrack on plenty but that didn't stop them from doing a truly awesome job, as well as helping me with several things, including storage space at a huge discount.
After looking at more than 20 homes, close to 15 apartments and wasting around $200 in gas, my mind decided it had had enough and I'm now in a VERY small room with half of a kitchenette and weekly rates. The only saving grace is wi-fi.
On the last day of moving (and after I was settled in my room), my mother called and after a few comforting words, she tells me, "Son, don't be so despondent.".....You know, I have been holding my head high for the past 3 1/2 months and can count on less than one hand the number of times I have actually grieved. I think I more than earned the right to be despondent. As if that wasn't enough to piss me off, she then told me, "Well, you just need to come down here and be petted for a while.".....I'm 42 god damn years old. The LAST thing I need, from ANYBODY, is to be petted. Between these 2 comments, I should have come unglued and unloaded with all 4 barrels. But, I was and still am too physically and emotionally exhausted to care that much.
I had to go to Walmart, twice. If that one isn't understood, let it be known that prior to this week, I had not stepped foot in any Walmart in more than 2 years. Now, I'm not only reminded of why I didn't miss it but reminded of why I would prefer to wait 2 lifetimes before having to go back. I HATE that place with a passion.
I bought a Notebook computer: HP Mini 210-2000, NICE little machine, but only because there is no space in this room for a PC. I really needed that $300, but I gave my word that I would not abandon this blog. I also promised myself that I would keep up with my journal. So, the money was spent and I'll attempt to either absorb it through my account or spend less next month....which will consist of no travelling, eating less (or eating cheap crap), etc.
I posted a video as one of my blog posts and scared my ex wife big time. Folks, if that video freaked you out, all I can say is that's nothing. Honestly, you should've seen and heard me at the time I began thinking about whether or not to do a video and post it. Then again, perhaps I should have done it at that time. I don't know for sure, but history can't be changed.
This one will haunt me for an unknown period of time and if you know me personally, I don't want to hear it: I had to give away my 4-legged child. The room I'm in is one that I can barely afford and they don't allow pets of any kind. The only place similar to this room that DOES allow them was so expensive, I would not have been able to afford more than a couple of weeks there. This decision has hurt me in so many ways, I really don't know of a way bad enough to say what it has done to my mind, my heart, and my emotional state. The video was posted after I gave him to the animal shelter. To top it all off, someone has already taken him and I expected that. Believe me, I tried using every equation possible to keep him and nothing worked out. I couldn't afford to keep him in a kennel while staying here or anywhere else. I also couldn't keep him in my vehicle because that's abuse (and I would not have done that to him), and trying to keep him here would have left me homeless and I already said that I'm not going through that, ever again. So, make 110% sure that I went through every possibility on keeping him before the unexpainably painful decision of giving him up. This one is going to hurt and for a very long time, I'm positive of that.
Yesterday (Thursday), I woke up with my neck feeling like there are 2 pencils inside trying to poke outward and I was gritting my teeth. Between all of that, I had to take extra meds. As the day went forward, I received another call from mom all but trying to demand that I come down there, and she specifically left long pauses on her end of the dialogue, which notoriously puts me on the spot. Beyond that, I slept most of a beautiful day away and then came the evening. I threw my dinner in the trash because I don't want to hear people in a different room fucking while I try to eat. Later on, the rooms on each side of me were full of partiers....screaming, beating, banging, cackling, I began hearing other rooms popping on the walls to try getting these people to quiet down and to no avail. So, someone called the police and the rooms were evacuated. Silence, finally......at approimately 2:45 AM. I did not get to sleep until approximately 3:30 AM and was up at 6:00 AM. The coffee has barely done anything for me and I can hear maintenance outside with leaf blowers. Today is going to suck.
OK...That's all. Isn't that enough?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My mistake and my reward

Based on what has happened over the past several days, weeks, months and years (and I have been thinking about this for a while), a conclusion has come to mind and I'm not too happy about it.
Quite a number of years ago, I made a conscious decision to turn my life around which compelled me to stop lying, cheating and stealing....not that I stole very much to begin with and I didn't. Childish prank stuff, at the most and even that was too much. I was young and stupid. I got over it and moved on.
So, I made those changes in my life and hoped for the best in the years to come. Fate repaid me with the best man I could have ever asked for and we made the best of what life gave us for close enough to 16 years. That, apparently, was my reward for choosing to live.
Now that the reward for choosing to live is over with, I will do my best to be happy with what I had, instead of always longing for what I didn't. I'm alright with that, because of all the good memories that I have mentioned, and even more that I either haven't as of yet, or never will. Time will tell what I decide to tell, in the future.
As for no longer lying, cheating and stealing, I'm still wondering what will happen on those. One thing I noticed a LONG time ago is how people who still do all of those things, apologize for nothing and sleep like a baby don't deserve much of anything from anyone, but still receive plenty.
How is it that the average person who lies, cheats and steals is apparently worthy of receiving a bounty, when some of us who decided to stop all of that receive very little, and sometimes get completely screwed by life, instead? What, exactly, is it about our society that rewards people who do shitty things to others? How is it right that some of us who decide to do the right thing, for the rest of our lives, get a side order of middle finger to go with our entree or being dealt a shitty hand, time after time after time?
Notice I said nothing about whether or not life is fair because I KNOW it's not and believe me, I know all too well the number of ways that it's not. But, life's little playing field could at least be levelled a little better....just a bit, don't you think? Or have I completely lost my mind?
I don't understand the balance to life and the rewards, therein.
(**The following is NOT a political rant, I don't care what you think)-There was a time when people could graduate high school, go straight to the nearest factory and get a GOOD paying job with GOOD benefits, all which could sustain a family, a home, a few cars, yearly vacation, and even put a few kids through college in the process. There was also a time when someone could take the extra time to go through 2 years of college (not 4 or 6, but 2) and then go to the nearest corporation, give their 'song and dance' during an interview, be hired on trust (yet on a probationary period) and trained into a great employee with an outstanding career to boot. Jack was one of them.
Little by little, year by year and decade by decade, our world has been reduced to a place where the super special (whether it's getting several college degrees by whatever means, or by lying, cheating and stealing...sometimes all of the aforementioned) are usually the only ones who get ahead in this world....and it sickens me to no end. No longer does it seem to matter that there are law abiding citizens who simply want a decent job and to be left alone to live a 'normal' life with a home, a couple of cars, a couple of kids (or not), a yearly vacation and a modest retirement. For some of us, who are disabled and no one will hire us, all we want is just a safe place to live.
It appears that these days, if someone doesn't have some kind of very special 'It Factor', then that person can kiss any chance of a decent life with a decent living goodbye. There are some cases when, even if someone DOES have an 'It Factor', that a chance at bat is no longer in the cards and I resent it.
All of my life, I have been told by one person or another, in one form or another, that I supposedly have some kind of 'It Factor'. I used that to my advantage at a relatively young age and was rewarded for it. But, now that I'm ready to use even more of that supposed 'It Factor' as a middle-aged man (Oh, how dare I be so), suddenly no one is impressed. Hey! I'm still here! I'm still using that 'It Factor' which I was told I have got, and am using even more of it, now! And while I don't expect handouts from anyone, where is at least a decent home for me, my 4-legged child and my estate?
I looked at more than 20 homes and received nothing but lies and deception all the way down to places being advertised as 'ready to move in' when plenty of them still had bare, unfinished sub-floor wood (sometimes pressboard) on the floors. Now, I have looked at plenty of apartments (which I hate with a passion) only to be told that the account balance is great, but I apparently don't make enough to fit their guidelines....even though I agreed to pay all 12 months of rent on a 12 month lease BEFORE moving in!
Have I missed something, here? If so, would someone email me and at least tell me the truth about what it is that I have apparently missed?
In just a few more hours, the rest of my belongings which I could longer pack (because the nerve damage has become that much worse, and I completely snapped) will be getting packed by professionals and it's going to cost me, dearly. Within a day or two, if I can't find a place of my own, everything will have to be put in storage units that will cost as much as a monthly rent price, possibly more.
How dare us single and lowly widows not smack the beneficiary lotto wide open upon the loss of our better halfs, because that means we apparently were not responsible with our lives in some way, shape or form along the way through life....or at least that's the way it feels.
Once again, and in yet another way, this freak has gained even more unworthiness and this time, it could mean that I get to either spend time renting a hotel room weekly, or go roaming from one friend's house to another...if I can't find anyone who wants to throw incredibly stupid guidelines aside and take the damn money I have offered to cover every single day of my lease and what the hell is up with that?
This is not the only facet of 'reward' for all I have done to the good (that pesky thing about choosing not to lie, cheat or steal), but certainly the one that is directly in my face at the current time.
On the last day to myself, in this home, I should have been allowed to sit quietly with a set of keys on the coffee table (for a new place to live), possibly a drink in hand, and quietly reflect on all the good that took place in this home. I think I earned the right to have been allowed those very few things without further worry and loss of sleep. Apparently, the world has changed and I made the mistake of not going back to lying, cheating and stealing again. How dare I live an honest life! The NERVE of me!
Me being honest has now cost me security, big time, and I can't live in or eat this blog.
I don't like the direction that this world is headed towards, because it's obvious to me just by looking around that most of those who lie, cheat and steal are the ones who are rewarded the best. While I think that's complete bullshit, I'm not going to go back to those ways just to have comforts in my life. If being honest with myself and others means that I end up with a trailer in the middle of nowhere, then so be it. At least I'll be able to sleep with a clear conscience and know that upon obtaining said trailer in the middle of nowhere, at least I earned it honestly and without screwing others in the process.
I will not apologize for this post because I said from the beginning that I will not lie, and that my posts may sometimes be hard to take. If this means little to you, then I question why you're still reading anything I post. But if it DOES mean something to you, take a good look around and see what's REALLY going on in this world. Instead of asking whether or not it's fair, ask yourself what you can do to make the world a better place for others (aka Paying It Forward). I did it, and I'm still doing it, but I can't do it alone and expect results.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March 16, 2011: It's getting real in here.

This is one of the days in the job of packing that I typically wouldn't discuss. In fact, I haven't discussed it with anyone until now. I didn't realize that there would be anything to discuss until today, when a very clear pattern from the past came back and reminded me that I need to speak up instead of holding it in and allowing it to boil over, which would render me an emotional mess.
As of today, the one clear thing I have discovered is that once I begin packing everything in the dining room, the whole notion of moving is at its peak of being most real...not the most urgent, but indeed the most real.
If there is one thing Jack and I both were always proud of, it's how we decorated the dining room. The dining room was always important to us because it's the one place where we were at an intimate point with company, we were able to comfort them with what we brought from the kitchen, and the company always enjoyed looking at what we placed in the break front, china cabinet and curio cabinet (which is taller than me, and contains 5 glass shelves along with a mirrored shelf on the bottom, plus the entire back is mirrored).
We always placed the most pride in the dining room because that's where he and I seemed to always shine the most. We enjoyed giving happiness to others by way of food ranging from simple to complex, conversation which could involve almost anything, and we all left the table in a good mood. There was never, not one single time, a situation in our dining room that turned bad or ugly. It simply didn't. This was our stronghold and we were damn proud of it.
As the survivor of this relationship, I'm still VERY proud of that accomplishment and always will be. If nothing else in my home is meant to leave a lasting impression, PLEASE let what comes out of that kitchen (wherever I may live) and into the dining room be something that my guests will remember.
The photo, below, is one that I will always cherish. These dear people came to me when I had no idea how much I needed the support. They comforted me more than I can say, and the photo is taken in the dining room. For this dining room, it was 'the last supper' to be had in there. I don't know if it seems important to them, but it means the world to me.
In this photo....I don't know who else can see it (I certainly can)...but I was not far away from going completely out of my skull. They saved me. I wonder if they knew that before I posted this. Anyway....
Behind us is part of the curio cabinet. You can see a few of the Gorham plates and Hummingbird eggs, now packed away for yet another journey I wish I didn't have to make.
No doubt, it's getting real in here....

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Everybody lies

The title is true: Everybody lies. The question is, how potentially harmful (and/or outright harmful, possibly deadly) are the lies we are telling not only to ourselves, but especially others?
Lies don't stop on a personal level. They continue straight into aspects of people's lives where they shouldn't be: The lie I'm currently dealing with, but have dealt with before, is real estate.
The agent who sold Jack and I this house told a huge lie, and it cost the mortgage company a brand new roof. Play with someone who has been around and knows what he's doing, as well as what he's talking about, and the lies will eventually backfire. That lie cost a little more than $18,000.00. I hope the lie was worth it!
For those who live in the United States: The son of this real estate agent shot and killed a kid who was screwing his wife, and his wife was a teacher here in Knoxville. If you recall any history over the past 2 years, you'll know who I'm talking about. Furthermore, don't think for a second that the son owned that shotgun because Jack and I were told about that exact same gun when we were in negotiations over this house. I'll leave it at that.
The most recent example I have dealt with, in the realm of lies, is complete deception. Once again, it involves a real estate company. While it certainly is their job to advertise a home from its best angle, it is NOT their job to get people to drive from as far as 80 miles away (one couple did) only to discover that the entire place still has the original designs and workings in the bathrooms (1960s and UGLY!!), the walls are 1970s wafer thin panelling which is rotten in a few places, and no one could give a guarantee when the carpet layers would come in and do their job, or what color it was, etc.
So, this particular deceptive lie cost people time off of work, time from packing, money for gas (bad timing for that, especially me!), and probably cost them plenty of potential clients in the future. Lie to a customer and that customer is likely to tell 10 people, and so forth. The adage isn't as concrete as it used to be, but still enough to be effective....or should I say affective?
I looked at 2 other places as well, and both were not even close to what was advertised. These people make a crackerbox sound like a palace...and I didn't even have to go inside one of them. The other had pieces of siding that were missing, shades of color that haven't been in vogue since the early 70s and carpet that was even older. The windows had paint on them, etc. Gee...I wonder why they aren't being rented?
Also, it's not hard to figure out when a homeowner (who no longer resides in the home) ran out of money while upgrading the interior. You'd have to be there (or maybe work in the field that I used to) in order for those signs to light up on their own. It's actually sad. But if you're going to rent a home to someone, be honest about what is what.
Honesty is supposedly the best policy, but people are so afraid that if they tell the truth, no one will purchase or rent from them. It's actually a fallacy in logic, but I can't tell people what to do.
So today, I go to look at yet another home. I sincerely hope this will be the one, because time is drawing down. This one does have the space I'm looking for, and the design as a whole is nice enough to enhance as I wish.
Let's hope there are no pitfalls. As long as it matches what's advertised and my application indeed proves that I'm not guilty of identity theft, I should get it. Let's hope so. I did use the virtual tour tool, and I very much like what I see.
Again lets hope for the best, all the while keeping one thing very clear: "Everybody lies"

Monday, March 14, 2011

The last week on Wedgewood Drive: Thanks for the memories!

Here it is....the week of reckoning. Last week at the location of 1000 Wedgewood Drive.
A rental house MUST be obtained within the next 3 days (tops), I MUST finish packing everything I intend to take with me (since I don't trust anyone to pack, thanks to Bekins...that should've been included in the Westbound Part 2 post, really), and I MUST have a group of people hired to move the estate.
Between now and when it happens, I have 3 in-house meals left: Sirloin and chunky vegetable marinara over Angel Hair, Veggie Burritos, and Vegetable Soup which will be accompanied by a small pan of cornbread and I will eat entirely too much of it in one sitting. From there, everything gets washed and dried, then packed up for the move.
I have WAY too much cookware, but at least I'm prepared for just about anything and probably an endless number of people. Why a large number of people? Because they are ALL worth it.
Perhaps the best memory I get to keep by way of this house is when Jack and I made thanksgiving dinner for about 18 people. It was a wonderful experience to have just friends over and not have to deal with such high expectations, which actually made for an even better result on cooking.
We have 2 dining room tables, but only one was set up (obviously...it's an older house with an older design). So, the kids decided to grab our picnic table, take it to the basement, and they all used their laps to level the table while sitting on the floor to eat. It was an awesome sight.
They all said they had never enjoyed themselves so much. To this very moment, those kids (now young adults) have no idea how good it felt to hear those words, or heart warming it was to see all of them doing what they wanted, how they wanted to do it, and loved every minute as well as every bite of it all.
We ROCKED that dinner; Turkey, ham, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, candied carrots with dill (the kids loved it, too!), green beans, fried corn, cranberry sauce, yeast rolls, pecan pie and pumpkin pie. Very little was leftover and that's exactly how we wanted it to go.
That afternoon and evening was one for the memory books, but also one where nobody had a camera. Yet, the entire gathering was on less than a day's notice, so images are left to my memory and lucky for me, I have a great one.
Bad habits, bad grammar, bad fashion statements, but such good conversation was had for the adults and laughter from kids echoing through the rooms of this home completed the blessing at one point in time. For just that one day, I'm thankful beyond words. It was a success and everyone was happy.
Indeed, there are and have been very good people in my life. I'm glad to have met all of them, including the ones who left a bad impression...for they all, in whatever way, shape or form, played a part in my outlook on life, which is mostly good (all considered).
I have been quite blessed with mostly good people who simply enjoyed mine and Jack's company. My only wish is to hope that the good ones will always remember things half as well as I do. If that's the case, then they should be smiling every time those memories come to mind.
It's sad that so many of us lose touch with each other, however. Life has a way of throwing a bit of a cruel curveball at us, forcing the adjust and adapt process, often against our wishes. Most of the time, no offense is ever intended. It just happens. People have to lead their lives the way they're persuaded and hopefully, their decisions lead them to greener pastures for whatever reason.
The best of luck to all who entered our lives and are no longer around. Best of love to all who are now a part of my life and I hope you will stick around. I intend to keep my head up, keep moving along and one day, hopefully have you as guests and you can see what it's like to have an enjoyable time similar to what Jack and I had here, all those years ago. My back is in bad shape, my left arm is getting worse, but I wont let that stop me from entertaining guests. It's one of the things I have always loved to do.
In closing: This week will be strange, so it's possible that my blog posts may be a little murky...kind of like this one, but still completely in step with a typical rambling freak.
Stay with me, folks. I may be moving very soon, but as a figure of speech spells out, "I'm not going anywhere."
Keep me in your thoughts and don't forget to vote for this blog (on the right side, directly across from the top of the blog post). Peace and love to all from Paul.

P.S. If you subscribe by email and are only reading it through there, you're missing out on some cool photos and video clips. Come and visit the site, when you get a chance and leave a note.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Coffee at AM 3: Poor pitiful me

Here we are: 'Spring Forward'...that time of year when people advance their clocks 1 hour for Daylight Savings time. Most lose more than 1 hour of sleep because their internal clock (known as Circadian Rhythm) is already screwed up and some of us have known it for years, perhaps more than half our lives.
Am I happy about it? You could say that this year, I don't have much of a choice. The longer it stays daylight outside, the better of a chance my movers (whoever they may be) will have to get everything moved from point a to point b and not have to start so early in the morning.
I began pulling more things out of the basement and found even more things which were completely cool. Luckily, this time, I wasn't upset by the findings nor did I suffer a blackout from hysterics. Hopefully, that is out of the way for now.
I'm beginning to think that my mind has a device which has probably always been there for self preservation, but becoming a widow has given this device every reason to sharpen its horns. It's something I could say is a blessing from years past; I handle myself well under pressure and fall apart afterwards, but only because I stop and think what all has happened. Writing about it doesn't seem to bother me, which could be a clear indicator that I'm correct about this device. If it's helping me step across what is potentially a black hole (and my friends are certainly more of a help than they realize), I feel that's all the proof I need for it to be real.
Anyway, here it is...now 3:30 AM and I've already had my 3-4 hours sleep. I'm now drinking my coffee in the middle of the night. I tried, for the first time in weeks, to sleep in my own bed and that was a complete waste of time which did nothing but piss me off. It seems that another device, called 'detachment', is currently working against any possibility of me sleeping in bed until after I'm moved. My lower back and neck aren't too happy about this, but they will have to deal with it. If either decide to give me attitude, I'll have to take some pain medications and go on with the program.
As for the 'Poor pitiful me' section of the post title: I don't get down on myself very often, mainly because I know full well how good I have it, in spite of what all has happened. I have a roof, one running car and three others to choose from if the one breaks down, plenty of furniture, more than enough decorations, framed artwork, books, too much audio equipment (though I feel that one can never have enough records, CDs or tapes), tons of cookware, the desire to cook, the knowledge on how to cook, and the sensibility to buy food which can be cooked way ahead of time, portioned correctly for the refrigerator and freezer, etc etc etc. So, when I rarely do try to get down on myself, I half to take into consideration ALL of the gifts that were given to me when I was able to start my life over. In fact, there is one gift I forgot to mention: The ability to trust in the fact that love still exists and I simply have to wait for it, unless it's not in the cards for me. Only time will tell.
As for all these gifts and poor pitiful me, as a whole, I put all of that in my corner and look to a place (at the current time) called Japan. As much as I detest any and all forms of 24 hour news, I have been switching back and forth between those channels, along with a few online sources, eliminating their spin and deducing the rest. The result is me realizing that when it comes to those people and their current perils, the likes which people in the United States couldn't possibly know, I've never had it so good, all considered.
I know where my better half is (still waiting on that tombstone!), and so many of those people don't even know where their own children are. People in the United States take so much for granted. Most people here are so complacent, desensitized to everything unless a problem is immediately in their faces, etc, that they don't seem to learn lessons which present the opportunity to learn, time and again. I don't get why that is, but it shouldn't take more than a couple of tragic situations resulting in death for people to put certain values in their proper place. I'm not talking about morals. That's up to the individual. But the fact remains that you cannot put a pricetag on a human life and once again, here we sit and learn that same lesson over and over again....that is, if we learn.
It seems we learned absolutely nothing from what happened in Haiti, more than a year ago. It's a third world country, corrupt to the core, but that shouldn't stop us as humans from reaching out. Instead, I heard far too many people complaining about how much money had gone there. The main problem with supplies, at least in the beginning, was lack of organization. Take the money, hire some people who understand how to coordinate, and get the ball rolling instead of complaining. But that same natural disaster takes place in Japan, perhaps the most advanced country on earth (not the richest, but certainly the most advanced), and we are sending 10 of our military ships there with aid. What's wrong with this picture, in contrast to Haiti? Didn't Haiti lose at least 300,000 people? I wouldn't call that population control.
I have no doubt that Japan will lose a few thousand of theirs, but we are ALL UP in their business and ready to prop them up at any cost, even though they are still recovering from 2 decades of a bad economy, deflation, and now the possibility of a nuclear meltdown. I suppose comparing Haiti to Japan isn't the best of examples due to the variables involved. But in the end, we are STILL talking about human life.
This post has certainly been a rambling, to say the least. I hope you weren't too disappointed by it, but I will reiterate yet again that I'm going to speak my mind with conviction and candor.
So much to ponder at 4:00 AM (tick tock). Back to coffee, for now.
Peace and love to all from Paul....and Juan Valdez.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March 12, 1995 (Westbound and up Pt 2: The arrival)

Let's get one thing out of the way, since I'm partial and opinionated: Southern California sucks, alright?
Now that we have this one technicality tagged, logged, and booted out of the way, let's continue with the arrival into the bay area (aka silicon valley)....
After travelling up the state for 2 days, we met the 3rd with what started out as a slight handicap...rain. What began as a slight handicap (outside the bay area) slowly got worse as Jack and I continued toward San Jose.
We knew we had to get a hotel for one more night because Bekins (moving company) had not arrived with our belongings. Realize that we took several detours, listed here for your convenience (http://www.ramblingfreak.com/2011/03/march-2-1995-westbound-and-up-part-1.html), but they still hadn't arrived anywhere near on time. I will get to that, don't worry your head.
Cutting a long-winded story a little shorter: We even decided to try going out to Castroville (Home of the Artichoke festival, which was rained out that year and so were most of the crops), turned around and went back on our journey.
Travelled through Gilroy, home of most garlic which you get at your grocery store (look on the produce boxes and/or the jars of minced stuff....chances are, it came from Gilroy), and home of the garlic festival....and we're talking everything from garlic wine to chocolate covered garlic (yes, I went there...the chocolate has better uses).
Eventually, we approached the connection to Interstate 280 and it was major pouring rain before we got there. Continued on until 280 became 680 (changes numbers inside the city limits) and let me tell you....I was all but directly behind Jack's car and could barely see it. The rain was coming down THAT hard. So, I tried to back off from the car and see if I could do better that way, and to no avail.
Out there, at least at the time, there were no stripes in the road which divided the lanes. There were only the light reflective 'bumps' which helped someone stay in their lane, should they become tired. Those were also useless because not only had the sun bleached out the reflective device inside the 'bumps', but the rain was so hard that they couldn't be seen at all...only felt and that was after the fact.
So, we're on a 6 lane interstate (each direction) of traffic that would normally have been going at least 65 mph (more like 80, but....), and we were all doing 30 mph at the most. Still, you could tell the way all cars were slightly jerking around that everyone was spooked out. I was certainly one of them.
About an hour later, we finally arrived at our hotel of choice in Santa Clara. We get to our room and nap for a good while....such a good while that when we woke up, it was already dark and we were hungry...and it was still pouring rain.
We drove to the nearest fast food place, Carls Jr (which is the same as Hardee's, on the east coast, but with a better menu), and immediately came back to the room. Inhaled dinner, and watched the local news to find out that the Russian River had indeed flooded, which had plenty to do with why the downtown area was flooded and most of those streets were blocked off. If you lived inside the city, you had to take an alternate route just to get to the airport and that was a royal pain I'm sure.
The landlord's son came by our room to get the first and last month's rent w/pet deposit, same as a month's rent (total check amount was $3600 and I almost choked when I saw it). This guy was high on himself and his opinions about everything. You think I'm opinionated? Oh boy...you had to be there when he started trashing all people (yes, ALL of them) who were using government assistance of any kind, then made the mistake of going into all the 'handouts' to Native Americans (aka Indians). Did I mention that one of Jack's grandmothers was 2/3 Cherokee? Do you now know how fast the conversation turned ugly and how quickly this guy was told to get out? I'm sure you can put the pieces together well enough. That was nasty! We never saw that guy again.
The following day, Bekins finally decided to show up at our new house and they had a new member of their crew....a prostitute they picked up in Los Angeles. They decided to take their live entertainment 'to go', and that crew sure did look happy, with a slight look of embarassment on their faces.
This chick was a trip; spinning around the house, laying her hands all over everyone, telling everyone how much she loved them, telling Jack and I how good she was at organizing and that we should hire her to help us unpack and decorate, ad nauseum.
Within a few hours, she asked where a bathroom was (as if she hadn't already seen the one in the hallway), so I pointed it out. She was in there for a while, but finally reappeared to mingle, this time with an even BETTER twirl, suddenly speaking spanish to some of the crew members who didn't speak english (and the looks on their faces said more than this chick ever could), etc.
I walked into the bathroom and sure enough, there it was: A used syringe in the toilet. Catch 22: We wanted them all gone so much that we didn't call 911. We simply walked her out to the front of the house and began a conversation about 'better days' (ours had just begun, however), and she opened wide about that. It worked out perfect, because the crew finally got in a groove and unloaded everything at the speed it should've been done in the first place.
The drawback is that this chick now wanted to move in because 'we tugged on her heart strings'. (uhh...yeah, right), but we reminded her where her home was and her face suddenly gave a quick look resembling a light bulb when turned on. The appeasement worked, the crew finished, and they took Twirly Puss with them.
12 days (Include March 2 and go until the 13th), approximately 8 states, several nice detours throughout, an arrival which began badly, but ended up with Jack and I talking sweet nothings to a smacked out hooker in our front yard and suddenly, there was silence....except for the rain.
We walked into the house, looked in every room at all the neatly stacked boxes, walked back to the den, took a seat on one of the couches, took a look at each other and our eyes said it all: "We have finally arrived and we're finally starting over....as soon as we get some sleep in our own bed."
In the video clip is a good example of what we saw on a daily basis. The featured mall in this clip was less than 3 miles from our house (Mom dragged us through there in record timing, especially when she saw the word "Macy's" on the building), and the area featured in the clip was between 5-7 miles away, but in the same foothills. I dealt with that real estate company, frequently, when I was still a courier for Fidelity National Title, which I eventually worked for in the TSG department (compiling title search packages).
It's truly a beautiful place, if you ever get to go. I loved it and would give just about anything if I could move back. This clip certainly took me back to better days and a better time. In a way, watching this clip really hurt my heart. I guess you could say I'm an exception to the old saying, "You can't take the hometown out of the boy.", because my real home is still there. The sights, sounds, even the smells are still that tactile with me and I have no reason to explain why. It simply exists and I have no reason to lie about it.
Here, you can be who you are and not deal with petty judgements, and people believe in live and let live (completely). I never lived so close to neighbors, yet had so much privacy, and times were simply better.
In this country, we will probably never see times as good as the 90s again, and it saddens me. Also, I was never my complete self again after leaving here.
Take a good look at the area that welcomed me with open arms and would gladly have me (or anyone else) back, if only I could afford it....and I'm not talking about a gated community. I'm just talking about the area, in general. How I miss it......No one will ever know or understand how much this place still means to me. No matter where I may go, my heart is still here and will probably always be.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March 11, 1991: The Worst Monday Ever

**Before this blog begins: I have now placed a widget to the right of the blog where you can vote on this one being in the top spot. I hope you will. So far, this seems to be the only work I'll be able to get for myself. I hope you all will click the button as a means of support, and thank you for any consideration in this.

On the Friday leading up to March 11, 1991, my at the time wife came in from being out most of the evening with a friend. They had been frequenting a nightclub for a while, and that night was no exception. I figured if it made her happy and I could trust her, so be it. Yes, we did trust each other that much and yes, we were VERY young at the time.
Back to the point: She came into our bedroom and stood there for a few minutes, then woke me up. The time was about 4:30 AM. I was rather confused, but more worried about why she was crying. So, I got myself woke up as much as possible (all considered from the night before), and sat up in bed to find out what was wrong.
Without missing a beat in time, she proceeded to tell me that it was time we divorced because things between us were not moving along the way she felt they needed to, that she had already filed the papers, and all I had to do was go in at 11:00 AM, Monday morning, review what was drawn up, and sign if I agreed. She also said that she would be moving out as soon as she got a few hours rest, to which I gave no reply.
My heart all but sank, I felt sick to my stomach, and I eventually went into somewhat of a state of shock. I do my best to remember (to myself) what happened, but it's still a struggle because I only go here once a year.
What I do remember is driving around through most of that weekend. I remember several people offered a couch, a bed, etc, but it was assumed I had done something wrong and had been thrown out of the house. Even if I had been thrown out, I doubt that I could've slept or would've slept. There was no helping me, at that point. I simply couldn't be mentally reached, that well.
On that following Monday....March 11, I also had 3 college exams to take (In those days, the Jr college I attended still went by quarters, rather than semesters). By the time I walked into those rooms, my mind was 100% blank. I couldn't think, let alone concentrate. I was shaky, upset, angry, anxiety-ridden, and way too many incomplete thoughts were racing around.
I signed my name to 2 of the 3 test papers and turned them in. On the 3rd (which was literature class), I quickly threw together a poem of why I didn't fill out the test. That poem was garbage, but I did it anyway. When I was walking down the hallway, I heard this professor begin to read my poem aloud to the class. All that did was make things worse, so I began walking faster.
2 cities down and off to the attorney's office I went, beyond that. Surprisingly enough, my soon to be ex wife had been more than fair to me on what were my belongings as well as hers. I changed nothing. But, the attorney asked me to stick around for a few minutes and speak to the judge off the record, to which I said no. I didn't give a reason why and when asked, I calmly said, "It's no offense to that judge, but I just failed 3 college exams and have been up literally all weekend. I have heard enough from everyone." In came the rest of the paperwork and I signed it all. I was polite, 'thankful', then left.
From there, I went to the one place to see the one person I had always been told would be there for me and would understand me when everyone else didn't and wouldn't....my mother. Keep in mind that she knew nothing about what had happened and at the time was still notorious for knee-jerk reactions. After what seemed like an eternity of an explanation to what all happened over that previous weekend and what I had done prior to coming there, I was immediately met with a face looking directly at mine with the following words: "This is nothing more than the actions of 2 pissed off children and don't ask for mine or your father's help, since you alienated us from everything important in your LITTLE life."
It took a few seconds for those words to slice me to the bone as they did, and to an extent still do (probably always will). But once they did, I slowly got up from the patio chair and began walking to my car. I didn't say one word, including "Goodbye". I felt everything that needed to be said had been said, and obviously then some. I drove away without the usual 'barking rubber', or anything else. I was completely devastated and defeated.
The rest of the day is mostly a blurr, and so are the first few days after that. I know I worked, but couldn't tell you what I really did. I'm convinced that the owner and other employees basically allowed me to wander around the building (without causing trouble) just to be safe in one place. Looking back, I'm positive that they were worried I would commit suicide and they were probably right.
The next few months following that were me trying, alone, to make sure all my bills were paid...only to see every one of them fall behind. Part of me didn't care, and the rest of me began numbing the trouble away with drugs and as much as I could get my hands on, as often as possible. Between the excessive drug use, excessive gas money, eating out, seemingly endless parties at my house (up went the electric and water bills), etc, I had run up quite a tab and then some. Eventually, the plug was pulled on my phone, the cable was turned off, the electric meter was pulled, and I was given an eviction notice from my landlord at the end of October.
The preceeding paragraph is how I ended up living in my car on Conner Island. I was 22, full of bills, full of pills, full of ills, and only thought I had actually dealt with defeat. Then came the winter months when I was working an average of 90 hours a week to build myself back up, pay off all the bills (which didn't happen), and finally ran into Desi on February 8, 1992 (That blog post is here, incase you haven't read it.  http://www.ramblingfreak.com/2011/02/february-8-1992.html).
In the future, when you think you're having a shitty Monday, think about March 11, 1991 and ask yourself if yours is truly worse. If so, you have my deepest sympathy ahead of time and before anyone else will give it to you. As long as my memory is valid, this date will not be in my mind on good terms. In fact, I'm not sure I will ever come to terms with what all happened because of what all happened afterward. I don't let it affect my life now, but for the first couple of years after, I literally mourned on that day.
As long as I'm able to clearly remember (as good as possible) the words that came from the mouths of my now ex wife, my mother, and a few other people...as well as the shock I felt and the gnawing in the pit of my stomach, I'll never forget it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Courage in solitude is not easy.

I don't know if this post will cause some readers a little discomfort or not, but I'm unable to tend to the feelings of others all the time (or even most of the time).
It's good that I live in a country where I can express my feelings and/or opinions and they are what they are. If someone decides to take them to task, I can respect that. But as always, step into these shoes:
Courage of conviction is what it takes when everything from income bracket to how I don't relate well to others within my 'orientation', to thoughts on spirituality, even my mental and physical shortcomings all seem to fall within a sub-minority pocket.
Most people like me will not only keep to themselves about it all, but will make up things to subsidize what they consider an incomplete life. I don't look at it that way. I understand how someone COULD see it in that light, but I crossed those barriers a long time ago and they will not get in my way, again.
I'm not sure why I decided to tackle this subject, but at least I'm being honest about it.
I know what it feels like to feel tortured on the inside and come to terms with everything, albeit bitterly. I guess that's why I can relate to the lyrics in the song/video I posted. I can even relate to the looks on his face, the body language....I could actually take it further. But, that would be futile.
I think this says enough. I didn't have a paper route, but I had (and still have) everything else.
This is a sign of much courage after years of mystery and privacy. Realize that there is much sarcasm in the lyrics, but those words were earned.
I get it. All I ask is at least try and understand where people like 'us' are coming from, because I/'we' do the same with all of you, daily, and you're still a part of me/'us'. Thanks for listening.
Peace and love to all from Paul.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Eating on the cheap: For Helen and Ellen

This should have been much easier, and should have taken place much sooner. But, better late than never.
Between the fridge freezer in the upstairs kitchen, and what was in the basement freezer and the deep freeze, I haven't bought hardly any groceries (except absolute essentials) for over 2 months.
In the deep freeze, alone, there was a turkey, a whole chicken, about 8 pounds of cut up chicken, 2 beef roasts, 4 pork roasts, pork chops, a bag of tuna steaks, a bag of salmon steaks, an unknown number of freezer bags full of roasted green chilies (I still have plenty), no telling how many bags of cranberries (still have plenty of those), several containers of homeade apple butter, several containers of frozen vegetables, pizza crusts, pie crusts, etc...the list could still go on for a while.
Either way....It's good to shop when you know the grocery stores will have plenty of good meats in the 'Use or freeze' section and at a good price. Catch them at the right time and stock up. Worried about freezer burn? Here's the solution: Wrap each item in the following....plastic wrap, newspaper or butcher paper, aluminum foil, then label it. If you don't have labels, put each one in a ziplock freezer bag (which can be reused) and an ink pen or sharpie can be used to write on them. I have done it for years, and it works well.
Despite the hardships I will soon be facing, I know very well just how lucky I am to have had this much stuff lying around in the freezers waiting to be used. There are children going hungry as I type this and as you read this. I'm not sure what happened to us as a people, but we simply don't care about others the way we used to and it saddens me.
With what all I had available and what all I made with it, I could've easily opened a 'soup kitchen' of sorts, received a tax I.D. number, and moved ahead with it. But, luckily, that's already being taken care of in the city where I reside.
The main 'soup kitchen' in this city (Knoxville, Tennessee) is called "The Love Kitchen". The owners/operators are twin sisters, Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner. Both are 82 years old. Both have recently been hospitalized for Pneumonia, and one is now back in the hospital. I wont get myself started on Staph Infections again, but let's acknowledge how real the problem is. Done. Now, moving forward...
These 2 sisters began this operation in 1984, and when not fighting off pneumonia and staph infections, are working that kitchen just about every single day. It takes a loving heart to reach out to the hungry as these ladies have done for almost 30 years.
I don't like Oprah Winfrey, but I do think that it was a good thing for them to be featured on her program, as well as a recent one, Secret Millionare. When you reach out to people with your heart and soul, you'll be noticed and fate will thank you for it. This doesn't require any type of political association, nor does it require having a bleeding heart. It only requires having a heart that cares about the welfare of others.
It's easy enough for me to conclude that these sisters had it extremely rough during the great depression, so they know how it feels to wake up hungry as well as go to bed with that same gnawing at the stomach. These ladies deserve all the support they can get, but I hope all who read this will consider the same in your own cities. Whether or not you see them, there are people in your area who are going hungry. The United States is the richest country on earth, despite the current political climate, and child hunger here is inexcuseable. It should not be allowed or tolerated. It's true that charity begins at home. As soon as charity is secured at home, please reach out to others when you can. I'm barely able to do so, but me chosing to eat on the cheap for so long has allowed me to give at least a little to a set of 82 year old twins who have been going out of their way to fight hunger where it resides. If I can do it, so can you. Please, consider it. That hungry one could be you, or your child, or relatives which you care about, but would never tell of their troubles. But if you knew, would you try and stop it? Think about that, and please visit the website at the link provided, below. These ladies have never asked for attention, but they certainly deserve recognition.
Imagine how well these ladies manage to cook on the cheap. Eating on the cheap is not such a bad thing, when you consider how far it can be spread and who all it ultimately helps.
Their spiritual beliefs are their business, alone. I don't really care, as long as they (as well as so many others) continue to show the world how much can be done with so little, and with huge hearts.


Insomnia is work in progress

Here I am, again. It's 2:45 AM, I know I should be in bed at least trying to sleep. My eyes are actually begging me to go there, but my mind is going 400 miles an hour.
When my mind decides to do that, I have learned to take advantage of what good thoughts and ideas come through. For years, I ignored them or allowed time to consume them, forgetting them within a few hours. I have done it....probably longer than I want to admit. As for Insomnia, I know how far back that one goes...
I can remember, at 6 years old, slowly creeping out of bed. Dad snored like crazy and mom's snore sounded like a bumble bee in the distance. I learned to move while they were snoring and stop when they weren't. By doing that, I made it into the living room without trouble. Then, the trouble began from there.
I remember turning on the tv and no matter how low I tried to keep the volume, I did want to be able to hear it. Nonetheless, eventually the sound of "MARY HARTMAN!!!  MARY HARTMAN!!!" would bounce off the living room walls, and immediately wake mom up. Within a split second, she would say (and I can still hear it), "Sam turn that filthy mess off and get in the bed. I will NOT have that on in this house!"
Of course, by then, I was already back in bed. It's not like I wanted her to actually get out of bed to tell me how she really felt. I think the point was clearly made from where she was.
By the time I was able to have a tv in my room, I remember turning all the lights out and waiting....with headphones from the stereo blasting, until enough time had passed when I knew mom and dad were asleep. From there, I would turn on the tv, which already had an earplug plugged into it, and I would put the pillow at the foot of the bed, then begin watching anything that was on. It was comfort, I suppose. Because truthfully, I couldn't sleep.
As time went on and I moved into my own place and began working at one place or the other, the Insomnia didn't happen as often. When you party on a nightly basis, those substances will usually promote sleep (albeit not a full and bodily satisfying rest).
The new of doing that wore off, and some of the substances began to backfire, causing me to either not be able to sleep, or I only slept for a few hours and was up again. My eyes felt like someone poored glue into them, but my mind was ready to go.
Bring the calendar only a few years beyond Jack's medical hell and sleeping only a few hours a night became the norm. No matter what time I finally went to sleep, I was still up between 5:30 and 6:00 AM. No alarm clock needed. It just happened.
Even when I visited family and friends, that habit followed me and it drove my family and friends half nuts. But, I couldn't help it then and I certainly can't help it now.
Some of us are simply tortured in that way. We sleep good for several days, then we're up and unable to sleep more than a couple of hours for what seems like a week.
Since Jack passed, I can count on one hand, exactly, the number of times I have actually slept in my own bed rather than passing out in the recliner....and don't get me wrong....I'm not talking about passing out drunk or high on anything. Yes, I use a few things when I get writers block. But, I'm not in my 20s, anymore. I have to draw the line on how much of a fool I can be, right?
Narcolepsy is also a hurdle in the road of trying to sleep anywhere close to what would be normal (normal has no place in my life).
It is said that about 80% of adults in the United States don't get the 7-8 hours of sleep that they should, and I believe it. We're either worked half to death or we're worried half to death, or we're like me....a little of both, be it from years ago or half then and half now, with a little more in the future and we know it.
So yes, here I am. My eyes are at the point of needing duct tape or toothpicks to keep them open. At the same time, even as I type this, there are (honestly) about 4 things going through my mind as I type. Sometimes, I wonder how that's even possible....but I don't wonder about it for very long because I have been like this for most of my life, I'm pretty much used to it.
I may as well embrace this because it causes my mind the ability to toss around fresh ideas without booze or meds, and I know to take advantage of these times. If I didn't, you wouldn't be reading most of what's here.
All hail Insomnia!

Monday, March 7, 2011

My crazy friends: You are the best!

I will be busy this week, just by myself, and will also have a visitor or two. Therefore, I wanted to post this incase I don't get to do so exactly on time.

March 9 will be 3 months ago that Jack passed away. I still can't believe it has been one month ago, let alone 3. But, it's important that I say this because I don't want this opportunity to pass me by.

Very soon, my life will be taking an unknown turn. I'm unsure what I will do, yet. What I'm sure of is that I want to give a quick note of thanks to all of my crazy, loyal, supportive and loving friends, no matter how far we go back, no matter how we met, or how we got to where we are now:

My family is what it is, I love them, and that's all stapled into one neat little package as it should be. But you, my friends, are EVERYTHING to me.

All of you, in your own way, played every part of my continued healing process. You either came to visit after Jack passed away, or sent condolences publicly and privately, a few of you sent cards, and helped me to somehow stop from completely losing my mind. When I needed you the most, all of you were there.

For someone who has no clue how to grieve, I have to admit that simply typing this post has put me in tears. I'm more than glad to have given as much of my inner-self as possible, day by day, to each of you. I'm proud to be a part of your lives, and I can only hope you are just as proud to be a part of mine.

All of you mean that much to me and the time to say it to the world is long overdue. For my tardiness, I truly am sorry. This needed to be said much earlier.

Fate will hopefully give all of you something good for coming to me with your comforts when everything my world stood for came to a close and I was expected to immediately open a new chapter. Your crazy selves, retaining your authenticity, including your caustic humor, checking on me through email, phone calls, etc.....I cannot possibly give justice to any words how much your support has propelled me across what could have been the end of my days. I cannot possibly stress that point enough.

Every single one of you plays an important role and makes an impact in my daily life, regardless of how much or how little. Your support has helped me continue to see what beauty and good remains in life.

You have helped me see that I not only needed to stay in this world, but to get up and get going even stronger. Yes, my crazy friends: YOU helped to make my continued life AND this blog possible. Without ALL of you being a part of me, none of this would exist and know that I, once again, will not waste my time with lies. Accept that what I'm saying is true, because it is.

Thank you a million times over, yet that is still not enough. I SINCERELY love all of you, and can never possibly repay the good which you have given to me. Bless the gift within the presence of you, and may all of you be enriched with continued happiness in your lives. You will never understand your importance to me!

Peace and love to all from Paul.  ♥

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Syntax in conventional wisdom

Just a demonstration of how nuts we all can be, if we choose not to think for ourselves:

"Good things come to those who wait."  Direct contradiction to "There is no better time than the present."

"Can't never could."  Direct contradiction to "Know your limitations".

"If it aint broke, don't fix it."  If something can be made better or done better, stop being so lazy!

"True friends are hard to find."  Not if you're a real friend and an authentic person from the beginning. Being a real friend goes a long way and being authentic pays off, in the long run.

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going."  It's more like 'When the going gets tough, the fakes begin to stick out like a sore thumb and we get the royal displeasure of having to weed them out, just to keep trudging along without all their extra baggage.' But, it could just be my life's experiences.

"If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand."  I have seen it done, I have lived in one that did for years, and I know plenty of others who have.

"You are what you eat."  (If you know American slang, this one's easy)....That means I'm a vegetable, a fruit, a nut (I accept that one!), a chicken, a pig, a legume, a fish, sometimes a cow, and on rare occasions I'm a bread. Thanks so much and I love you, too.

"Silence is golden."  Sometimes, silence is all we have, but it's not golden. Most of the time, silence is deafening and cruel. Unfortunately, that is often the only way to make a point and again, it's not golden.

"What he don't know wont hurt him."  When he finds out what you didn't want him to know, it will hurt you worse than it does him.

"You can't move forward if you're always looking back."  You wont get where you're going until taking a good look at where all you've been.

Search engines : Great entertainment

I found out, years ago, about the vulnerability within most search engines and the results can be quite funny and entertaining.
All that's really required is to first click on a link that says "Images", then type in random words not separated by quotation marks, commas, or other punctuations. From there, the results that a search engine will retrieve are quite often hysterical.
The vulnerability is found in most search engines on most sites ranging from Google to YouTube, even recipe locators and online encyclopedias. But, I typically stick with Google or Bing or YouTube. They tend to yield the funniest results. Here are some good examples while typing out this blog post:

I typed in "Twist Marty", and here is one of the photos.....

If the look on Marty's face doesn't cause immediate laughter, something is WRONG with you!

A bold act! I typed in "Nerd Odor" and got gold. Would anyone like a spritz of this stuff? Come on....you know you want it....

I think this one might be Platinum. Typed in "Car Shit" and this gem came to me, freely. Rejoice!...

Just when you think Platinum is the top, something comes along and knocks it down to the level of cubic zirconia. There is no name for this gem. I can't wait to hear what it will be called.
I typed in "Dingleberry Soup" and you guessed it....I was rewarded....was I ever....HAHA!!!!

Having fun, yet? Try it! You have no idea what all will pop up in the results of your search, and you will never know until you go there. It's fun, it's entertaining, some will cause you to ask yourself, "What the....fuck??", and others will give you the laugh you needed to make it through an otherwise shitty day.
Life is good, thanks to nerds who aren't typically able to think on a common everyday human level. Take advantage of that. You'll be glad you did.
Peace and laughter to all from Paul!

(This is one of the results of "Search Engine Overload". Love it!)

Friday, March 4, 2011

What are Demographics?

demographics noun

Definition of DEMOGRAPHICS

1 plural : the statistical characteristics of human populations (as age or income) used especially to identify markets
2 : a market or segment of the population
Let's try it another way. What are Demographics?
Sometimes, it's the difference between good and evil....
Sometimes, it's the difference between right and wrong....

Sometimes, it's about who finds what to be funny....

Sometimes, there are exceptions to what is normal (scary exceptions, I might add)....

Other times, it's people recognizing and celebrating differences together...

Finally, it's people needing to realize that no matter where you are, you're still HERE...


A little more progress!

It appears that the little blog viewed 'round the world has become even more noticed. I love it!
Upon researching one of the viewing sources, the site from a link, provided below, has (for whatever reason) chosen me as the most recommendable blog.
The site connected with this link sells a service which is connected with webmasters and building/designing websites. I'll take it, as long as it's not mostly porn related.
If this means what I think it does, the blog will continue to grow at a rate much faster than I originally anticipated and that's fine with me!
To the site connected with this link: Thank you, sirs and madams! Please continue to keep me on top and keep 'em plugging in! Welcome one and all!


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Miss Lola, I'll miss you!

There is a neighbor, directly across the street from me, whom I have known well enough during my almost 12 years in this house that I'm getting ready to move out of. I call her Miss Lola, out of respect.
She and her husband felt safe enough (as black people) to move to this neighborhood after the couple who used to own my house before me. Her husband was a doctor, and she worked at McGhee-Tyson Airport. In fact, the first several years that Jack and I lived here, she was still working. Her husband passed away during the early 90s (cause of death is unknown to me). She drove a green 1970 Buick LeSabre, in 100% mint condition. Every afternoon, when she pulled in her driveway, I would watch like a child as she would walk to her carport, grab her special cloth and bug remover, then walk back to the car and begin her daily routine of cleaning the entire front end of it off, all the way down to the bumper and below it. I could only wish to be that industrious.
Miss Lola's house and yard are both spotless, to this day. Her favorite thing in the world is gardening. I remember watching her come back outside, after working all day at the airport, now donning a gardening jacket and hat, with a hoe and bucket or gardening tools in hands, then going at it in that rather wide strip along her driveway and in front of her porch and she wouldn't stop until it was so dark, she couldn't see outside anymore.
This lady was passionate about basically everything she did, and it showed.
The past month or so has seen this house with a couple of vehicles in the yard, and occasional beating and banging on the inside. I know what that means, and I have a feeling you readers do as well.
Time has provided all the kindness to her freedom in life that it's going to allow, I suppose. I just saw her outside with that same jacket and hat on, but she was just standing there. She almost seemed to be in another place in her mind, and I don't blame her. I'm beginning to see the outline of her shoulders, and it hurts me to no end seeing her like that. I know how much she wants to take all her tools out and take care of the few weeds before it rains again, this weekend. But it's more than clear that she's unable to do it.
Miss Lola's situation is not unique. In fact, it's becoming all too common around me. But, seeing her in this condition tears me up because here's a lady who really gave a damn about the earth she stepped on, as well as the earth around her. She tended it, worked it, took good care of it, and the earth she partook in always rewarded her for it. Now, those days are gone and she's still standing there, in the same spot, just looking down.
My heart breaks for this lady. I will miss her so much when I'm gone, but the sad part is that she's already living part time somewhere else. I have only seen smoke coming from the chimney a couple of days a week, anymore. That's the time when she's at home. I wonder where home is for her, these days? I have been afraid to ask, because I don't want to break down in front of her. Also, I don't want to interrupt the people who are obviously updating the interior of her home.
Miss Lola, I know you'll never read this....but this post is for you. Bless you, and may you somehow find happiness in the rest of your days, hopefully surrounded by family and friends. I'll miss you, sweet lady!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March 2, 1995: Westbound and up (Part 1)

This was the day when I was finally able to begin living the proof that my life could start over. In the back of my mind, prior to March 2, I decided to wait until the moving truck was mostly full, and when Jack and I were officially on the road, heading toward Memphis to connect with interstate 40, and head to San Jose.
The previous day, Ron (Jack's ex) tried several stunts to force us to postpone leaving on the 2nd, all the way down to causing a scene at the courthouse in front of everyone.
He knew he wouldn't be going with us and his feelings were hurt. Still, he showed up at the courthouse a few minutes after I did. He post-dated the back of his title, and the clerk wouldn't accept it, even with his explanation. So, he wadded the title up, walked towards me and said, "Paul, this is for you.", and threw the title at me. It bounced off my forehead.
You can't possibly imagine what it took for me to continue standing in place. On any other day, I would've beat him stupid and he knew exactly what he was doing. That was one day of being tested which still surprises me, and I still can't believe how I just stood there, composed and only a few words came out....something along the lines of, "You'll have to come home sooner or later, you piece of shit bastard!" (which only added that much more fuel to the showdown in San Jose when he was allowed to pack one box and then leave)
In the meantime, the courthouse clerk came out from behind the counter and picked up the title. I told her it was Jack's name on the front (which it was), and that I needed to call him. Luckily, she remembered us skating when we were kids and agreed to let me call him and let her tell him what happened, and what needed to be done from there.
Even that didn't stop us from leaving. At approximately 2:10 PM on March 2, we left Union Grove and headed toward Memphis to get a room, then drive down to Tunica for a few hours before heading west the following morning.
Being in Memphis was temporarily good enough for me. I was out of Alabama and that's all I wanted.
Something to consider is how often you use the word 'never'. It's relevant. Here's how and why:
When the earthquake hit the San Fran bay area in 1989, I specifically said, "I'll NEVER live out there" (in front of several people). When a few former friends originally from Michigan had gotten under my skin, I specifically said, "I'll NEVER live up there" (again, in front of several people). Less than 10 years after making both statements, I ended up living in both places one right after the other. Strange how that works, but it made a believer out of me! Back to the subject....
We breezed through Arkansas, Oklahoma was COLD, etc, and then we eventually took a detour to see one of Jack's sisters who still lives in Albuquerque (except I stayed away....still don't understand why we came to that agreement), then went to Las Vegas (I'm definitely more of a Reno/Lake Tahoe kind of guy), through Hoover Dam, on to Grand Canyon, and back on interstate 40 to finish the easy part of the trip.
I think I will save the rest of this blog for the date when we actually arrived. That one shouldn't be missed.
I'm not sure about anyone else, but there always seems to be a lot going on in my life during the month of March and this year is indeed no exception at all. I'm moving again, but not like I was and certainly not with the best company I ever had. Yet, just like February 14, the GOOD memories are heart warming enough to keep me from being upset and they are once again brought to me by the man in the picture frame, only a few inches away from my fingers as I type this.
How I miss him, but how glad I am to have such incredibly good mental pictures of those days. Some may easily say I'm living off past glories and that's fine if they do. But apparently, they have no idea how much that past has everything to do with the fact that I have any kind of future.
I'm thankful, grateful, and at peace enough to speak the whole truth to the world without feeling a sting from it. The happiness is more than I could ever ask for, or expect.
And, I still know the way......

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mondays R Us

Today's events thus far, in order of events:

Barely sleep
Have coffee and try not to crash from it, about 45 minutes later
Forgot to take meds on time, throwing everything off balance
Missed a call from mom, and a call from Americans with Disabilities Act office (not good)
Low blood sodium while trying to fix breakfast
Eat as quickly as possible with extra salt on everything (yuck)
My 4-legged child being a complete pest because he's not eating yet
Begin taking all figurines down from all rooms in the house and organizing them on dining room table
Do the same with Sareid items (candy dish, tray, decorative urn) but found boxes for those
Found all boxes for Gorham plates and set them aside
Had 2 partial seizures in the process of bringing in boxes for Gorham plates
Try and continue but blood pressure gets whacky
Sit down and feel the affects of nerve damage in left arm getting worse (worse than I thought)
Check blood pressure and pulse rate (let's just say I've seen much worse readings & numbers)
Take more meds to get rid of the feeling of snakes swimming around in my head
Come in the computer room and begin telling the truth as I promised you all that I would

Here is a link to what the seizures are about. I hate the word 'simple' being there. When you're having one (or two), they sure as hell don't feel simple. These don't happen often. But when they do, they just about ruin everything for the day. After posting this, I'm laying down. Peace and love to all from Paul.


Dear worthy widow: Use that pool....

OK....Before going here: I promised myself that I wouldn't do this. But honestly, I'm allowed to break my own rules...after all, I'M the one who made those rules, in the first place.
I decided, for the first time since I blogged about it before, to trot over to the land of the worthy widows and see if all the lenses are still as rosey. As expected, no. Well gee; I wonder why, when the biggest concern from the last time was 1 of 2 sinks on the double lavatory in the bathroom. I don't think that counts as grief, but then again, I'm an unworthy freak so what do I know?
Here's what I know: This one person I speak of has been dealing with 1 step forward and about 3-5 steps back for 18 months. While this person still has all my heartfelt sympathy in the world, all I can say about this latest one is "Dude, come...ON!!" 18 months and you're still stuck here?? Really?
Yes, this sux. Yes, it gets incredibly lonely and yes, it's painful trying to put on a smile, even for ourselves and sometimes for no more than a minute at a time. BUT, he gets to work (no one will hire me in public and all the stay at home mommies who don't need the money get the computer jobs, it is the south), he has signed up for all kinds of support groups (I now know why my mother didn't do it. Thank you, mom! Not going there has worked for me, too!), he doesn't have to move anytime soon, but he also did one thing which I think is quite shitty:
He resorted to his ethnicity as a young child and used that to try relating to what he's going through, now. Sorry, but that's comparing apples to broccoli. Time to get real, or at least figure out how full of bullshit that comparison is and remove it when true reality sets in.
It's impossible for me to grieve for anyone other than myself and I'm certainly no expert on it. March 9 will only be 3 months of having supposedly grieved. I also didn't forget what happened about a week ago to me, in my basement (and I'm still not sure I have fully recovered from that one, mentally). What I DO know is that this world is not going to grow any warmer. It will be the other way around, because the majority of people in this world don't give a shit about this guy, or me, or what we're dealing with at home. Therefore, it's up to us as individuals (Not a support group) to at least try getting ourselves on track as well as possible.
This next part, however, does concern me a bit and keep in mind, I don't even know this guy:
(I'm now doing what I told myself I wouldn't do) He says, "One of the things I really long for is friendships, relationships, with other men."
First of all, (insert name), you have to BE a friend in order to HAVE friends and I'm talking REAL ones. Second, why only men as friends? Why is it such a bad thing to have female friends? If I didn't have female friends, I would probably go nuts and not be able to place myself in check anywhere near as much (but that's just me). As for relationships.....I would say that the simple thing to try, if it's that necessary, is simple dating and nothing else. If it becomes a situation of friends with benefits, so be it. Just think things through a little better. Hell....you're almost making ME feel sorry for you, (insert name), and my situation is 15 months newer than yours!
I say go! Do! See! Eat! Drink! Screw! Smoke! Whatever the hell! Just do it, already!
If Jack knew I was doing nothing for myself but becoming stagnant with each passing day, he would find a way to smack me on the nose with a rolled up newspaper....and in my opinion, I would deserve it.
I should know better than to even think of trying to micromanage anyone else's life and/or situations, whatsoever. But, there comes a time when you MUST use the misadventures of someone else in order to take a good look into your own world, truly examine it without going crazy, and determine that for the rest of your life it's not about survival of the fittest. Instead, it's about who is willing to accept change and adapt, accordingly.
For whatever reason, this is the hand we were dealt. For the life of us, we MUST be willing to grow and accept certain things. Without that willingness, we can forget moving forward.
If I'm wrong, PLEASE somebody tell me and I'm begging everyone to consider it. Again, I'm only appx 3 months into my own little 'private hell', so I certainly could be wrong about everything I've written. But, writing and thinking (and my 4-legged child providing good lovins and even greater laughs) has been a very big help to me. It seems that I allowed this supposed (I use this word reluctantly) 'gift' of writing to sit dormant for too long. But, I now see that I'm living out a scenario of 'Better late than never'. With that, I'll figure out a way to make it in this world and believe me when I say that it can be an incredibly lonely one. However, this journey begins with us somehow finding a friend within ourselves and going from there. Happiness, love, passion, conviction, even a few pointers on life here and there should first come from within.
I have kept so many things bottled up inside of me for so many years, I'm lucky I haven't already died one hell of a lonely and miserable man (and a few of you who know me very well were probably wondering how that didn't happen YEARS ago).
Live and learn, grow and prosper, develop and expose. This is my picture and I'm displaying it the best way I know how. For the time being, that's the best I can do and I strongly doubt anyone can ask for, let alone expect anything more from me.....yet they receive more every day (Not as much since a week ago when I flipped out in the basement, and I realize this). As a dear friend put it a while back, I'm generous to a fault. Yes, that's true and it's all I've ever known.
I'm doing my damndest. I will continue to give life my best shot without overdoing it (which could easily happen). I'm more than thankful for the friends I have. And, I will let my friends know that if something is on the verge of going very wrong, I WILL reach out to someone until the problem is as corrected as possible.
I'm here. I'm alive. I have only 2 choices which I said on blog number 1: swim or sink. I will not sink.