Monday, May 31, 2004

Poor, poor, pitiful me…….

I am stuck. It is raining. I want to go on my walk but I am being a pussy and don’t want to get wet. It is a light rain but a chilly and uncomfortable seventy one degrees. Hopefully the clouds will break this afternoon and the sun will flood the land and I can get back into my routine.

I spent a long time this morning writing down my past from my early days to college. It helped me to put my feelings and memories down in writing. College was a dark, dark time for me and something that I try to forget but I managed to write it down.

It was during that time that my illness first got to going strong and no one could figure out what was wrong. We tried countless doctors and therapists but nothing helped until I was a grown man and found Dr. Rheddi and she prescribed zyprexa and then Risperdal. It’s a shame I spent all those years in turmoil for nothing when I could have been taking a medicine that has changed my life for the better. Thus goes life though. That’s just the way the ball bounces sometimes.

I worked out in the yard for a long time yesterday afternoon. I pulled weeds and vines out of the azaleas as I listened to sports talk on my radio and then I trimmed them up and got them looking better. I got that mess looking a little more orderly. I am going to do a little bit everyday until I get this yard in tip top shape. Just my way of saying thanks to my father for all he has done lately for me.

I asked him yesterday what are the chances of me getting that house and he was very optimistic. He said he would rather me be putting my money into the equity of a house instead of throwing it away via rent. He wanted me to have a home in case something happened to him. He has got the lawyer working on getting power of attorney over me so he can handle these matters. That scares me but I have grown to trust him lately and realize he wants what is best for me. I gave in and said I would sign the papers when the time came.

He said it would most likely be towards the end of summer before things were finalized and I could move in. I am so excited about this. My own home that is mine with my name on the deed that I can work on and make grow. A nice yard that I can landscape and mold into something that will be a joy for me (I love yard work). Plenty of back yard for a large garden next year where I can grow and can till my hearts content.

Well, I will close and get back to other things. Have a great day and I hope your holiday is not washed out like mine.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

A new addition to the Piggly Wiggly groupies…….

I went for my morning walk and I feel better. It was just good to get out of the house. I am soaking wet from the humidity and heat though. It is so oppressive here that past few days and it just gets more humid. We have a good chance of storms today and much better one for tomorrow.

I take a circular route in the morning that brings me by the wiggling pig on my way home. As usual, there was the regular group of fellas sitting out front talking and shooting the bull.

I have figured these guys out. They are panhandlers and do it small town southern style. They get to know you and are real polite and eventually hit you up for something. I do not know if it is because of the southern small town culture or not but they are not like panhandlers in larger cities who are much more aggressive. They take the time to find out things about you and then act as if they have known you for years. Eventually, they ask for something out of friendship such as something to eat or five bucks. It’s an interesting way to go about it.

Another guy, who I will name Stinky, has been trying to befriend me lately and I know the game now. George taught me well. I call him stinky because I do not think this guy has discovered deodorant. He reeks of underarm/body odor and it is almost overpowering. None of these guys are homeless and many have cars by the way.

Stinky saw me walking briskly by and started walking over to me.

“Hey man, hey man, hold up!” Stinky asked.

“Can’t stop, I am on a mission.” I replied.

I was tempted to walk into the grocery store and buy the man a stick of deodorant but decided that would be rude and may be taken wrongly. :^)

“Hey man, it will only take a moment.” Stinky said again.

“No thanks, I am not interested.” I replied again and kept walking.

Damn, these dudes are persistent and aggravating. I will not fall for that bullshit again though. I thought of this song as I walked down the sidewalk from the store.

You can keep on knockin, but you can’t come in.

I sang it to myself as I smiled and turned the corner. Once bitten, twice shy.

Vivid Mind Pictures…….

I am having problems today. I knew something was up when I felt the newscasters on the weather channel were watching ME today instead of the other way around. I am having hallucinations. I’ve been doing so well lately and have felt as normal as I get.

The past hour or so after breakfast, I kept thinking that I saw something out of the corner of my eye. My peripheral vision was picking up movement but I am alone in my apartment. I am so used to this happened that it no longer freaks me out like it did when I was in college. Well crap, I was thinking to myself, not again.

I sometimes get the notion that I am cured after going several weeks with no negative symptoms and then my illness rears its ugly head. I do not know what has triggered today’s round but you never know. Sometimes it just happens.

I have a conundrum. I have some extra Risperdal and Zyprexa to take when this happens. I know if I take the Zyprexa I will sleep all day and all night. I hate that crap. I do not want to sleep my day away especially when it just got started. I think I will just take an extra Risperdal and increase my dose for today and see if that helps.

I am going to try and make my morning walk. Maybe I just need something to preoccupy my mind and to get out of this dark, gloomy apartment this morning. I am going to head out now.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Sticking with this……

I am still going to go to the meetings but will avoid that certain group. We have different groups during the week with different members. That was the tri-city group and I will just catch a ride to Lagrange Ga. to a meeting up there.

I was having a bad night last night and was not feeling well and this contributed to my rash actions as well. I am going to stick with this and try again tonight.

I just got finished with breakfast and am going to head for my morning walk. I feel so tired today and do not want to do it but I have lost 7 pounds so far and need to keep walking. My goal is to be slim and trim and in shape by the end of the summer. I have got to get my hiking legs back.

Take care and thanks for reading.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Walking out……

I walked out of the AA meeting tonight. I got angry and said his is a bunch of bullshit. The discussion was a closed group that meant the chairperson had control of the topic. They started ranting about a singular purpose. They didn’t want addicts or people with problems other than alcohol to talk or share their experiences. They wanted to keep the subject to Alcohol only.

I got fumed over this in that we are supposed to help people. To give our time to help those who have an addiction. My philosophy was that we should welcome all groups of people and let them share. Are not most addictions the same and why are their 330 groups based off of the original model of Alcoholics Anonymous? The so called 12 step program that is so daunted in addiction circles.

I mean, come on! Don’t be so arrogant. A drunk is no different from a crack addict. They both eventually destroy your life if you are addicted and the processes are the same. Drink alcohol or smoke crack. Both ruin your life if they are used in excess or for some at all.

I didn’t speak my mind but just got up and left. I should have but the majority of the group was in the singular purpose mode of mind. I said to hell with that. I will just give my money back to my mother if things get too hard. That will curb my drinking as she is like a Nazi accountant when it comes to my expenses. She keeps up with every dollar I spend with zeal. She even asks for receipts when I get some money from her to check what I spend.

I do not have to do that but if I get to drinking hardcore again I will. I will turn over some of my freedom to have a better life. I will not have it dictated to me though. I will not have a group of people who are close minded dictating my actions.

They should be willing and able to open their arms to all types of addiction. There are no cocaine anonymous or narcotics anonymous meetings in Lanett. AA is all those people have. This just made me angry but I will put down my gavel and desist.

Uneventful day…..

I have had an uneventful day. I have nothing much to write about but the status quo. I guess I have a kind of writer’s block today. I went for my morning walk after breakfast and spent much of the day reading the book

I walked down to the wiggling pig this afternoon to buy some wheat bread and bologna to make some sandwiches for lunch and toast for breakfast. Cap with tag guy actually spoke to me today instead of his usual head nod. In all these months I have never heard his voice.

He said, “Whazzup?”

I replied, “Not much man, not much, just taking a walk.”

I never fails that when I go to the Piggly wiggly I get in the most convoluted check out line. It’s either a little, old black lady who pulls her money out of her bra and takes fifteen minutes to count it out or some dude with his paycheck and they have to call the manager over to approve it. That is just my luck these days.

The little old black lady with what looks like a hundred one dollar bills in a roll was my venue for today. She took her sweet time carefully counting out those one dollar bills for a twenty something purchase. I guess I should learn some patience but darn it, I want my bologna sandwiches and I want them now! lol

I have my AA meeting tonight and will leave around 6:20 to get there before the meeting starts at 7 PM. I just grabbed a shower, put on my exercise shorts and shirt and am ready to rock and roll.

Signing off for today,

Grumpy

A Weather Rant…..

Man, I am tired of the Weather Channel. It has gotten too commercialized. I am now going to just walk outside for my weather! :^) For the record, I am weather obsessed. I visit the online radars everyday, several times a day looking for storms.

I can remember when I was a child our weather channel consisted of channel six which was the constant showing of the local radar screen with temperatures scrolling across the bottom. I and my father would sit there for what seemed like hours watching that little line sweep around the radar screen. We would wait in anticipation for that little green blip that might be rain on a hot, dry Alabama July day.

I can remember in the eighties when the weather channel first got going and they had UGLY meteorologists. Just average looking Joes that came on did the weather, and then you got your local forecast.

Now, the weather channel has model looking weather casters, lots and lots of commercials, catchy jingles, and *gasp* those damn storm stories shows. Every time I want to catch the weather storm stories is on. Seems to never fail for me to catch this show and not get the weather forecast I want

Well, I will quit whining. I just needed to rant this morning. LOL, yes, my life is boring.

/end of rant

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Good Ole’ George……

Beware of silver tongued devils with empty pockets. (Or so they say)

I knew this was coming. I could see it. There was more to George than he let on. George was just a little too friendly for his own good.

As I was walking back from the AA meeting hall, I stopped by the piggly wiggly to pick up some corn meal. I wanted cornbread with my roast last night. As I stepped out of the store, in front of the Fred’s dollar store sat George’s beat up, old, dodge diplomat.

I thought to myself, the car is empty but running. Maybe I can sneak by without having to go through a long conversation. As I walked by the dollar store and then finally past, I thought I had made it. Nope, I was not so lucky. George came running out of the store hollering, “Hey man, hold up! Hold up!”

I thought to myself, “Well, shit! Here we go again.”

“Hey man, let me talk to ya fo a minute!” said George.

“What’s up? George?” I replied.

“You know mes and yous are like brothers!” replied George.

His breath reeked of alcohol and cigars. I finally broke down and said it.

“George, a few weeks ago, I didn’t even know you. You have me mixed up with someone else.”

“Nah man, mes and yous is brothas!” George exclaimed.

George went on this long tirade about knowing my ex-wife for years (we were only married for two and meet shortly before that.) He said he had talked to her and that we should get back together. He said she said it was her mother and the stress of her that broke us up. I knew my ex-wife would have not talked to George. If you knew her then you would know too.

Finally, it hit. The moment I knew that was coming. His voice get real low and quiet and he leaned forward to me.

“Brotha, can you spare a poor black man five dollars? I am out of cigars and need some more.” He asked pulling the mangled, chewed on cigar out his mouth and thrusting it forward for me to see.

“Nope, I replied. I have seven bucks to my name and that has to hold for the rest of the week.” I answered.

“Come on, man, help a brotha out!” George decreed.

“George, I knew this was coming. I don’t have the money and I need to head home.” I responded.

His demeanor changed then and turned all happy and out going again.

“Allright brotha, I will catch you later. You takes care.” Said George.

Whew, I made it through it and headed home. I am tired of that shit though. This is going to happen every damn time unless I get ugly. I hate getting ugly but I am not about to avoid going to the only store I can get my groceries at. George, be damned!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The future home owner……

I got a chance to really look over my possible future home. I forgot my camera and was pissed. I wanted to share pictures.

It was really nice and quaint. My Dad’s best friend had put in new central heating and air, a new bathroom and was repainting the walls and stippling the ceilings. It is two bedrooms with a den, bathroom and kitchen. It is a small home but would be perfect for a single male such as me.

It has this awesome screened in porch that has an overhead fan and light. All the vistas have bamboo shades you could pull down to block a low sun. I could picture myself sitting on this porch, drinking a cold diet coke, smoking my pipe, and reading a good book.

I am very excited but trying not to get my hopes up. A special set of circumstances has to take place for me to be a new home owner. Charlie has to sell his current home at the market price he is asking and is going to sell this home to me and my father concurrently after renovations are complete. I keep my fingers crossed.

AA went okay last night. I feel awkward telling my fears and screws ups in front of a group of people. I did talk but with a shaky, broken voice and it embarrassed me. I felt I said too much when I told them I had a mental illness and now I am regretting it. Those people will now think I am crazy and will not take me seriously. Mental illness carries such a stigma with it.

For supper I am cooking a cheap $5 dollar chuck roast that I boiled for hours this morning to get it tender. Just a moment ago I added some potatoes, carrots, and onions and will fix a pan of cornbread to eat with it. I will have lots left over so my freezer is filling up with extra food. This is the frugal way to do it though. I will prepackage meal size portions and freeze them so all I have to do is thaw them out and warm them in the microwave.

I am going to head for my afternoon walk. No AA tonight as they do not have a meeting due to the common occurrence of Wednesday night church services around here. I am going to walk there and back though and stay on my routine. Good afternoon and good bye. Have a great night!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Abject Poverty…….

As I was walking yesterday to attend my AA meeting, I have many routes to take to get there. The one in the most direct line takes me through a very run down part of town. This path is filled with abandoned and rundown homes. Many are dilapidated, abandoned old homes with “no trespassing” signs on the front doors and with their roofs caving in. The few nice looking homes have high fences and gates with heavy padlocks on them. Their fronts are adorned with signs proclaiming things such as neighborhood watch and crime stoppers. The side walks and abandoned yards are filled with broken and discarded beer and liquor bottles.

I have rarely been through this part of town in my life. It was always the colored part of the small southern town I live in. I could see poverty everywhere I looked. Apathetic people who where sitting on their porches with 40 once beers in their hands. All these people were looking forlorn and sad. They looked bored and without direction.

It hit me really hard how very much the plight of black people in the south is still very apparent. They are still trying so hard to pull themselves up from poverty yet many still remain. These unfortunate many that have fallen through the cracks of society and have been forgotten.

I was feeling sad and lonely and sorry for myself yesterday. Seeing this made me feel lucky. I have fallen through the cracks of society once but had the good fortune to be pulled back to the other side. I have hope; something most of those people couldn’t afford. I am very rich indeed.

I will try today to be thankful for what I have. Good food, sobriety, the ability to walk free in clean and tidy neighborhoods. I have a wonderful, warm, soft bed that I can sleep in and enjoy at night. I have a roof over my head that doesn’t leak or fall down upon me bit by bit. These things make me rich beyond compare to the vast majority of downtrodden people who have walked a similar path before me. I am a lucky man. Lucky indeed.

Pieces of a puzzle…..

This is how I feel lately. It’s as if I am an incomplete puzzle and I am slowly putting in the pieces of my life. A more complete picture starts to grow. It’s like when you are a kid and you hold that puzzle box in your hand. You see what it looks like on the outside but inside the box there is this jumbled mess. I am slowly putting my pieces in order. Day by day, Piece by piece, my puzzle is starting to look like a picture. I just want my picture to be that beautiful lighthouse on that New England shore and not some obscure, abstract painting or a dollar store picture of flowers in a vase.

I had another dentist’s appointment today. I wish you all could see the before and after snapshots of my teeth. It’s amazing the progress my humble mouth has made in few short months. The total bill today? $497 bucks. Yikes!!! I will be paying for my teeth for years I do believe. Folks, take care of your teeth.

I went for a long walk this morning and listened to the radio. I was soaking wet with sweat from my fast walking when I returned home. It is very hot and humid here right now. I then fixed some lunch. I fixed enough spaghetti to feed a small army. I will eat it again for supper and then freeze the rest for a future meal. It tasted very good and I have a really easy recipe.

I have been lucky with my schizophrenia lately. No hallucinations or visions. I only see slight ghosting and it is very uncommon. No catatonia or fixating on certain subjects. I have been able to read whole books lately and my concentration has been good. I hope this has something to do with how hard I am trying to be healthy. My Risperdal Consta has made a big difference in my life.

My mother turned to me today and said, “You are a different person lately!”

“How am I different Mom? I cannot see it.” I replied.

“You are just more outgoing and friendly. You call, come over, and talk to us. You do not shut yourself up in your apartment.” She responded.

This made me feel proud and it helps to hear it from a loved one. It helps to hear that my hard work is not going unnoticed. Thanks mom, I love ya!

Well, let me run. I need to get ready for my meeting tonight. I am going to take my camera with me on my walks from now on and will share pictures. See you all later.

Walking Etiquette…..

As I was walking this morning around 6:45, I started to catch up with this elderly gentleman. I was walking on the sidewalk out spring road and was moving at a considerable pace. He was walking much slower and taking his time enjoying the cool morning.

Here where I live it is considered rude to pass someone who is walking slower than you. This applies to supermarket aisles and sidewalks alike. I debated on whether or not to pass the guy and just say good morning. Etiquette overruled so I turned down a side street and took my chance walking through the housing projects. Luckily, no one was stirring this early in the morning.

When I was a kid, it was a test of manhood to ride your bike through the housing projects. You would peddle as fast as you could go trying not to get hit by flung rocks and debris. The black kids would all run out and start doing this. They didn’t like the white kids to ride through their “hood”. I chuckled out loud to myself this morning as this walk brought back memories. Kids can be crazy sometimes and you would do crazy things to impress the other kids in the neighborhood.

I spent the rest of the morning decorating my apartment. I wanted it to look cozy and livable not like a bachelor pad as it did before. I put nick nacks on the shelves. Put out nicer placemats and two little salt and pepper shakers. I went upstairs and got a big box of my grandmother’s framed pictures of our family and put them around. I also cleaned all my computer junk off some bookshelves and put books in them. I also vacuumed and cleaned the carpets.

Well, I need to hit the shower and get ready for PT. I will post more later when I get back. I had more to say but I am out of time.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Healthy Mind, Healthy Body……

This has been my mantra for awhile now. I have strong beliefs that if can get my body healthy then that will help the health of my mind. I have worked hard today. I am back on my diet. I walked for almost 12 miles. I took my vitamins and fish oil this morning. I am determined to be a healthy man. I long for this so badly.

My father chuckled and said that if I lost some weight and built up some muscle and got my life straightened out that it would be the best thing I could do to get back at my ex-wife. This would drive her crazy with jealousy. I laughed back and said, “You are probably right!” This is not my goal though. I have to do this for myself and if that is a side effect, then so be it.

I had physical therapy this morning and am still sore from it. I just almost could not take it today and almost got up and walked out. An hour long event of sheer torture. Yes, I am being dramatic but it hurts.

I didn’t get to my AA meeting. I walked the several miles there to see that they had put some masking tape over the Monday time slot on the bulletin board. No meeting tonight. I have got to get these times straight. That’s a long walk for nothing but I guess the exercise was good for me.

I feel guilty for something. My mother’s mom lives very, very near to the meeting house and I didn’t visit her. I dread going to see her. If it were my Dad’s mom, I probably would have visited and stayed for hours. I felt so guilty for doing this. I just don’t know if she would like a visit from me. I second guess myself.

Well, I will close. I am watching Colonial House on PBS and find it very interesting. I have it running in a separate window overlaying this program I type with. I will now get back into the storyline. Good night and may this posting find you well.

Strange Dreams…….

I have a heightened dream state when I am on my medications. It is hard to describe. I bet if you could watch me as I sleep my eyes would be fluttering wildly under my eyelids. It is a very intense state of REM stage sleep. I do not do this when I am off my medications. Somehow they are affecting my brain chemistry which they are designed to do.

I had intense dreams all night long last night. I would have an intense one and wake up suddenly, go use the bathroom, drink a glass of cool aid, smoke a cigarette, and then go back to sleep and the process would start all over. I did this several times during the night last night. Every time I would go back to bed the process would start back over again.

I can wake up with the emotions from my dreams feeling intense. They seem so real and yet so unbelievable at the same time. Much of them are struggles I have to overcome.

One dream was about me being back in college and just hanging out on the quad. A male walks up and insults one of my lady friends. The lady friend was my neighbor who lived in the apartment above me when I lived in Montevallo. I stood up to confront him and he backed down. I later find that my 72 chevy chevelle that I so much loved then had then has been ravaged and beaten up. I then woke up.

Another dream was where my father was having a huge family reunion. I was lying in the bed watching TV and then hear a commotion outside. There are a large number of guests arriving. I struggle to find some clothes to wear but all my clothes are absent. Guests start pilling in and I am stuck with only my t-shirt and undies on. I struggle and struggle to find some clothes but it seems they have all but disappeared. I awake in a panic, breathing hard and am relieved that I am home in my own bed and it is still dark outside.

I will not bore you with the others but they were as intense and emotion filled as these. I just find this weird and I still feel the effects of last night as I write this.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

11 games of dominoes…..

Yes we played from 3:30 to 7:30. I had a good time and didn’t want to come home. I was enjoying the company of Paige, Alaine, and Alaine’s mom. I cooking some popcorn and had some diet sodas for a break.

Alaine showed me all her cross stitch work. She literally had all the walls in the house adorned with items she has crafted. They were beautiful to see and she certainly is prolific.

I went to my AA meeting that I thought was at 8:00 pm. At least that is what it stated online. I should have asked Phillip and confirmed the times. It was at 7:00 PM and I just caught the tail end of it. I felt as if I wanted to cry as I was sitting in there. I want so very much to stay sober and improve my life. I did get to hear the guest speaker wrap up his story and then I put a dollar in the basket and we closed with the lord’s prayer.

The religious aspects of AA are the things that bother me. I guess I am agnostic at heart and sometimes the talk of higher powers and all the religious connotations can put me off but I am going to stay with this.

It is a long 30 minute walk but I made it home. I feel really empty and lonely tonight. I have hopes that maybe Alaine will call back and want to come over. I will just keep my fingers crossed. Well, I will close and say good night.

Staying sober…..

I have enjoyed reading James’s stories and his getting recovery from alcoholism. It is good to see the program of AA actually working for someone.

Now that I am in full control of my financial responsibilities, I have been struggling so hard with wanting to drink. I want to drink out of boredom and to make myself feel better. I know deep in my heart that it will not make me feel better but worse.

I have had a few slips lately that I have not written about. I didn’t want to show weakness and that I may be falling into my old trap of alcoholism. If I started to drink again than I would ruin everything I have worked so hard for lately. My family and friends would slowly disappear. I would loose my home and all the things I hold dear to me.

I just made a phone call with a shaky voice to and acquaintance that I knew of whom helps organize the local AA meetings. We talked for a long time and I told him what I have been going through. He urged me to come to a meeting tonight and start back in the program. I am scared to death but I agreed to go.

It is a long walk to the meeting house and takes about an hour to get there. I am going to go though and I will just listen to my radio to make the long walk easier. I do not want to fall back into the schedule of constant drinking like when I was homeless. I am going to do what it takes to keep my life on course.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Being brave……

I have nothing to lose. I see that now. Alaine brought me home after playing dominoes and some computer games. I asked her to stop by spectrum for me to grab a coke and some cigars.

A man was standing outside and walked up to her car. He was asking for money. I walked out and stepped aside.

“What do you want?” I asked.

“I want a few bucks to buy some beer”. He replied.

“Fuck off and leave us alone.” I exclaimed. I was in no mood for bullshit.

He told me he was going to kick my ass. I said, “Go for it big man, see what you can do!”

He started to grab my shoulder and I grabbed his arm. He saw that I was stronger.

“Don’t fuck with me you son of a bitch!” I replied.

“I am in no mood to fuck with some stupid bastard.” I followed up.

He backed off and told me he was sorry. I told him it was okay but don’t give me any more trouble.

I could have kicked that dumb son of a bitches’ ass but I didn’t want to look like an asshole to Alaine. Hurt arm or not, I am a formidable opponent.

I sat back down in the car and apologized. I felt it embarrassed her. I worried about it. I just wanted to take care of her and see that she was safe.

Slam, bang, BOOM!!!!!

We just had one hell of a thunderstorm. I was taking a nap and awoke to the sound of all hell breaking loose. I ran upstairs and unplugged the TV and other things then came downstairs and unplugged my two auxiliary computers (these just run seti@home). My main computer is on a nice belkins surge protector so I didn’t unplug it and crossed my fingers.

I love a good storm and the sound and smell of rain. I love to hear the patter of the rain as it falls and collects off the roof. One bad thing though, the awning that should be above my door is lying on the side of the house. It needs to be put up but I do not have the arm strength to do it. Water creeps in under the door soaking the carpet and that means when I go have a smoke when it is raining my socks get wet. Damn, I hate that. It peeves me and I worry the carpet will rot as well. I have told my father about it and he is going to get a carpenter to build an awning over the door. This would be nice for me and my wasp friends as well.

I had several calls on my answering machine. My darling ex-wife has graduated and I am proud. She has a video of it that she is going to bring it by since I could not attend in person (lack of mobility). There was also a web cast but she never emailed a link and I could not view it. I looked online and could not find it. Darn her but she is technologically limited. Bless her soul.

Alaine called twice. One call was about a trip to Wal-Mart for something and another call about getting together to play dominoes and watching tonight’s britcoms on the television. I think I will call back and go play with them. I need to get out and I feel lonely. She says Paige is there so I will bring a few CDs she may like and can install on her computer. I look forward to playing dominoes and watching “Are you being served?”, “Keeping up appearances.”, and “As time goes by” with friends. I will see you all in just a bit. Good evening and good bye.

The Piggly Wiggly Groupies…….

I am a frequent visitor to Piggly Wiggly. It is only around two miles from my home and I like to walk down and grab a newspaper, a pint of milk, and sit on the bench and smoke my pipe and/or cigarettes as I read and people watch.

For those of you who don’t know what Piggly Wiggly is, it is a chain of grocery stores primarily located in the southern USA. It was America's first true self-service grocery store and was founded in Memphis, Tennessee in 1916.

There is always this group of black men who hang out down there every day. It never fails that if I walk down I will see this group. One fellow, a young black man, always wears his baseball cap(the cap still has the store tag dangling from it) pulled low over his eyes and dons sunglasses. He is ALWAYS leaned up against the building next to the coke machine. I think he does this all day and doesn’t work as he is always down there. I always say hello and he raises his head in acknowledgement like African American males tend to do to a “brotha” or someone they know. That is the extent of our interaction.

Another African American fellow named George has latched onto me for some reason. I think he has me confused with someone else. He is in his sixties and for some reason treats as if I was a long time friend. As if we go way back. He tells me to drop him a line and wants to know where I live. He has a car and is clean cut and always asks me if he can take me home. I always decline and say, “Nah, I live just back behind here and enjoy the walk.”

This morning, I walked down to grab a paper and chocolate milk. George was sitting in his car in front of the store talking to another young lady. George drives this very beat up late to middle eighties dodge diplomat. He called me over and we had a strange conversation. I will now try to repeat it here in the best of my ability.

“Hey man, come ova here for a sec.” George asked.

“Hey George, what’s up?” I replied as I walked over.

“I want a banana and a beer. Will grab me one on the way out?” George asked.

“Um, okay. You sure? A banana and a beer?” I asked kind of confused. That is surely a weird breakfast.

“Yo man, a banana is only 20 cents and a natural ice is less than a dollar. Do you think you can swing it for me?” George replied.

I thought what the hell. I will get the man a banana and a beer so I walked in, grabbed the local valley times news, a pint of milk, one banana, and one natural light beer and purchased it. I walked back outside and handed it to George and he proceeded to peel the banana and crack open the beer.

George went on to start this long conversation on about being a cab driver for 40 years and knowing everyone in the Valley. I tried my best to escape but every time I made my move to walk away he would say, “Hold on a sec. Don’t go just yet.”

I finally broke free and started for my walk home. No sitting on the bench in front of the store today. I would just sit on the porch at home. This whole thing just strikes me as weird. How does the guy know me and who is he confusing me with? I don’t know and the mystery still remains.

Friday, May 21, 2004

I want to go home……

I want to go back to my house. That place I lived in for years. I want to see my cat and dog. I want to go to sleep with my wife beside my side. I want to wrap up in the bed I called mine for years and just drift asleep. I want to hear her snore and snort during the night.

I am having a bad night. I have thought long and hard how to change her mind. I do not want to be alone. I want to share my life with someone special.

I will go to AA. I will start rehabilitation. I will work hard. I want my family back. I am so torn and confused tonight.

I just want someone in my life who loves me. I want to wake up on those mornings and make love. I want to cook and take care of her. I want to keep the house clean. I struggle with this so. It is not fair. I didn’t ask to be sick. I want to be normal. I wanted to be a good husband. To pay the bills and make the hard decisions with wisdom. Those decisions a husband and good man must make.

I am having a pity party tonight. I know my ex-wife can be a bitch but I love her so much. I miss her. I want her in my life.

We talk everyday but I want to make things right. I want to be a good man and take care of her. I feel so inadequate. I want to someday be wealthy and take care of all her needs. I want to buy her a nice car and pay off the mortgage. I want so much and yet I sit here without. I can only see about my basic needs such as food and healthcare.

One day, I will be rich. I am going to be this wealthy man that pays off all her debts and sees that she is seen about. Her home will be paid for. Our home. My house I miss so much. She will be a made woman. I swear by this. It is my goal.

Strength training and storm stories…..

I am in the process of working harder every day with heavier pack weights in my hiking. I have a goal to get my hiking legs back and in shape. I don’t know if you have ever seen a picture of a hardcore long distance hiker but their legs look ungainly and huge especially the calf and thigh muscles. This is how I need to be to hike the ungodly elevations on the Appalachian Trail. For some reason the trail planners didn’t understand the concept of switchbacks. It is all up and downs.

I just went for a long hike out spring road and am now soaking wet. A good thunderstorm caught me by surprise. I could hear the thunder off in the distance for a good while. I started to walk faster and faster and was dripping wet from the sweat and the humidity. Soon I felt the first cold winds from the storm front and knew I was screwed. What started as a slight downpour soon turned into a deluge. The lightening popped around me and made me cringe.

I quickly took my pack off and put on the rain cover and my poncho. I took off my tennis shoes, socks and pulled out a pair of teva sandals I had in my pack. They were the only pair of tennis shoes I had and I did not want them soaking wet. It is much easier to dry out a pair of tevas.

An hour before, I was so hot and soaking from the humidity and my exertions and now I was freezing cold from being wet and the temperature had dropped at least 20 degrees. It had dropped from the nineties to the seventies in a matter of minutes.

Well, I finally made it home and am wet and smell like sweat and rain. I am soon going to head to the bathroom and take a nice, long, hot shower. Lather up the hair with shampoo and scrub all those other parts.

I love this kind of stuff. Am I odd? Most people would hate being caught in a rainstorm like that but for me it is food for the soul. I feel so real and accomplished. I feel as if I just weathered a tough moment and made it through unscarred. I love that feeling of adrenaline. Maybe I am just an extreme sports junkie.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

My buddy…..

My hamburgers were great last night. I fired up my little hibachi grill and cooked them until they are medium well. I love the smoky aroma and taste you get from cooking them on the grill over charcoal. There is no comparison to cooking them on the stove. I had enough to freeze for another meal so that will be easy to thaw them out and reheat them later. I also cooked some home cut French fries. What would be called steak fries in the freezer department of the grocery store. They are much better to me than the fries you get frozen and much cheaper as well.

Alaine called last night. We talked for a long time. I wanted her to come over but she had an order of chocolate chip cookies she had to bake for a customer. She soon starts to work full time in July so I will see less and less of her. She calls me her buddy and makes me feel warm and good inside. It is nice having a buddy and someone you can share your experiences with in real time. I have grown very fond of her lately and cherish the time we get to spend together.

Alaine got her job through Rehabilitation Services in Opelika Alabama. I am tempted to go sign up and see what they can do for me even though my parents are greatly opposed to me working at the moment. I need to work and want to work. I get tired of trying to find things to fill up my time during the day between appointments.

As a long time Star Trek fan, I watched Enterprise last night. I used to think it was a poorly written show and didn’t fit in the timeline of the Star Trek universe but it has gotten much better lately. I can actually sit through a whole show and watch it as before I would quickly turn off the TV. I recorded it digitally and that way I could zip through the commercials. I detest commercials and find anyway I can to control the amount of media pouring into my head. It’s just this personal thing I have.

Well, let me get some breakfast started. I am going to fix some cheese toast and some grits this morning. I was tempted to fix some home made biscuits but decided not to mess up the kitchen. Home made biscuits are a job to fix and the flour gets everywhere. It’s just nice have a pantry and refrigerator full of food. I will go partake in it now.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Another ride with Mrs. Martha….

Riding with my mother is always an adventure. I try my hardest to be her second set of eyes and look out for oncoming traffic. She sleeps much of her time away and I worry about it. I know it is because of the sedating effects of her Zyprexa. This can make me deeply skeptical of the so called “wonder drugs” for schizophrenia. I do not want to wake up past age fifty and sleep or lay in the bed for whole days at a time like she does. I try to encourage her to get out and come over but she dreads everything. Absolutely everything. Everything is a chore and she looks on things with such a dreaded outlook. It’s as if everything is this terrible duty that must be overcome.

I was completely out of groceries and on my last pack of cigarettes. I was dying for something other to drink than plain water. I wanted soda. I wanted hamburgers for supper. I had to call and ask for a ride. The following was my call…..

“Hey mom!” I exclaimed.

“Hey there! What are you up to?” She replied in a broken voice. She sounded as if she was awoken from a deep sleep.

“I hate to bother you but I am hungry and completely out of groceries and cigarettes. Can you give me a ride?” I replied. “I promise I will not take long.”

“Do you need to go now?” she returned in a tone of voice that seemed put out.

“Yeah, I can only walk and carry so many groceries at a time from Piggly Wiggly and need to do some hard core shopping. I am also out of cigarettes and need to stop by Spectrum.” I responded

“I will pick you up in just a second.” She replied sounding tired and dreadful.

I saw her walk out of the house and get in my late grandmother’s car. My father must be out in her Honda. I sat for awhile puffing away on a cigarette as she took her time driving the short distance from her house to mine. She pulled up with her hair amiss and with her house coat and slippers on. I felt so bad that I had to do this. I was hungry though and needed lots of staples like cornmeal, cooking oil, and milk. Heavy things that would be impractical to walk the several miles with to get them home.

Well, we made it there and back with no excitement. She drove as if she was a zombie and I had to watch out for her. I just feel so guilty having to rely on my mother like this and me being a grown man. I hope soon I will be able to drive again and I will never have to make those uncomfortable calls even though I rarely call and ask for something.

The odd couple…….

Well I got good news today via the phone and in the mail. My ex-wife is finally graduating from college. It has been a long road and I have lots of time and money invested in the venture as well. Many nights I spent proof reading or retyping some of her papers for her. I also did my fair share of PowerPoint presentations over the past few years.

French class has given her hell lately and she was worried if she failed the final that her grade would be low enough to keep her from graduating. She called me earlier and told me she had a final grade of a C and would graduate on time. I warned her to take an easier foreign language like Spanish but she was enamored with the idea of speaking French. Can she speak French? Well, let’s just say she can say hello and have a good day but don’t expect her to become our next French diplomat anytime soon. :^)

I feel proud for her and I am happy. I felt I have done my part to keep her in her house, car, and in school and now my duty is done. I no longer financially help support her. My money will now go into rebuilding my life and my health. I hope to soon get my car fixed and back on the road and that is of my first most goals for next month and beyond. Getting that dang thing dragged to a garage and getting a new wheel bearing put in since I cannot find the damn tool anywhere online or off to get the axel nut off.

After that, I am following my dream to take a few weeks this summer and drive the 3 or 4 hours to Springer Mountain Georgia and spend a few weeks on the trail. I want to get a feeling for it and what it will take to hike all the way from Georgia to Maine in one summer. I going to drop my convertible top down and ride off into the sunset with a big grin on my face. Ah, freedom of mobility at last!

Hike your own hike…

This is a common saying on the Appalachian Trail. Certain purists feel that you should hike the trail a certain way that they think is the right way. I disagree. I feel you should hike your own hike and let your travels take you where they will. Hike your own hike and not someone else’s.

If you are tired then you should rest. If you are in a town to resupply then stay an extra night and resupply your spirits as well. Enjoy a hearty cooked meal and kick up your feet. It’s not the destination but the journey that should be most important.

There is a site called trail journals were people write about their experiences hiking the Appalachian Trail. It is interesting to read about someone’s journey even though you cannot share in the hike in person. Some journals are so so but you can find some real gems amid them as well. I have lost hours reading some of these journals and felt as if I hiking along side the authors.

That link follows this paragraph. If you are interested in hiking and the AT then check it out. It is well worth your time.

Feeling apprehensive……

I get this feeling sometimes. I have this feeling of melancholy and sadness. As if I lost someone very dear to me and I am grieving. I cannot adequately describe it. It is this all encompassing loneliness and sensitivity to the things around me.

I could no longer sleep so I am up very early. It is now 6:30 AM and I am wide awake. I feel as if the rest of the world is still fast asleep and I am all alone. Here I sit all alone writing in this journal.

I do have things to do today. I have physical therapy at 2:30 pm and I dread it. I just don’t think it should hurt like it does. It is so painful. I am going to grab George’s arm and over extend it and see if he likes it today. I bet he would cry out and curse as well.

Let me close and go get some breakfast started. My stomach is rumbling in protest and wants to be filled. I think I will just make some oatmeal and have some toast this morning. I do not feel like cooking at all. I want to sleep and cannot. It’s a bad feeling. I want to cover my head and wrap up and hide myself from the world.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

A journeys end…..

I had a great hike. It was a beautiful day despite some oppressive humidity. I love the smell of the woods and the cool water of a creek on a warm day. It is grounding and puts you at ease.

I walked along the creek for many miles following its meandering path. It’s not a huge creek but you could see minnows and crayfish from time to time. You could see were during big rains it had overflowed its banks. It was a surreal setting.

I sat on a large rock near the stream and ate my lunch. The turkey sandwiches were tasty and the tomato soup was still hot. I just drank it like a drink out of the thermos. My milk was warm but tasted good and refreshing. I sat for a long time afterwards just listening to the sounds of the forest and feeling the cool breeze under the shade of the trees. I wish I could capture that moment and bottle it. I would make a million in today’s stressed out world.

I spent a long time looking for arrowheads but didn’t find any. I was looking in washed out gulleys where stones and rocks would collect after a rain storm. Finding arrowheads is a hit and miss affair. I often find them out of sheer luck and not by looking. No luck today. I sometimes think I am luckier if I do not actively look for them and just happen upon them. It is testament to the many thousand of years that those indigenous people lived here in Alabama long before us white folks arrived. Especially since there are so many still laying around to be found.

I am now going to go lie down and take a long nap in the late evening and then get up and fix a late supper. I am tired and my arm is sore from my travels today. I am just going to be lazy tonight and not really cook. I am going to warm up some vegetable soup in the microwave and make a quick pan of hot cornbread. Good afternoon and good bye.

An expedition…..

I am off for an expedition today. I am going on a long hike into the middle of no where and practice my compass skills and hunt for arrow heads. I have no appointments today so the day is mine and I intend to enjoy it.

There is a large stretch of old growth hardwoods up the road and I am going to go exploring and see what I can find. There is a large creek and creek bed and I intend to follow it for a long distance. Where there were creeks in Alabama there were Native Americans and I hope to find something interesting.

I have my lunch packed and my day pack filled with essentials such as water and emergency supplies. I also threw in a few energy bars for a mid afternoon snack and some trail mix. As always, I am bringing along my little am/fm/TV/weather band radio. Well, off I go while the morning is still nice and cool.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Give and take, finding a balance………

This is a continuance of my post from yesterday. I am still on that line of thinking. As I was taking a shower earlier, it came to me that I have learned a few things lately. I have to unlearn certain things and learn others and it can be painful and hard. It can leave you feeling full of turmoil inside and not knowing what step to take next.

Most people seem to take social situations with aplomb. My father has this innate ability to befriend and talk to almost anyone. My brother and sister share this trait as well. Somehow I missed out on getting this gene or ability. I have always felt awkward in social situations even in my earliest days. I was always a loner and could adequately fill my time as a child and young adult. As I grew older, I turned to alcohol to fill the void that should have been filled with friends and family.

I am learning the art of give and take lately. Before, I always took and didn’t ever give. It never dawned on me what was happening. I just didn’t see it. I was oblivious to it. I had this certain set of survival skills and used them. It was all I knew how to cope with.

Now, I am learning that a family and friendships are deeply dynamic relationships. There is this balance of give and take that must be carefully considered. A friend who always takes and never gives is a short lived friend indeed. A family member who wants attention in times of need but never relents and gives his attention when other family members need it soon fades as an important member of the family. They are seen as selfish and aloof. Always wanting something and never giving in return. This lesson was one of the hardest lessons I have learned in recent months.

When I am tired and hungry and a friend or family member stops by, I have to take the time to be there for them. I have to put my immediate needs aside and be there for them. They in turn, if they are a true friend, will do the same for me somewhere down the line. It’s this delicate balance of give and take that so miffed me for years. It took a hard lesson in hard luck for me to realize this. To most people this would seem elementary but to someone like me with social anxiety and a mental illness it is like learning to walk all over again. Taking one baby step at a time and learning to stand on both feet.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Seeking answers to success…….

I have been thinking much lately on how to be successful in life. I am not talking being the best business man or having a successful profession. I am talking about how to just live life with meaning and substance.

I think of my father often when I think of a successful man. I sometimes compare myself to him and find some of my faults. I have learned a few things lately that are becoming clear to me and I hope to emulate them.

One thing I have learned that persistence and perseverance is key to success. I have seen my father have a hundred setbacks and pitfalls yet he always picks himself up and goes forward working ever harder to correct those mistakes. It’s always easy to err but so hard to fix those errors. We are all human and make mistakes but some of us tend to make more than others and thus have to work even harder.

I also think of my illness and whether or not I sometimes use it as a crutch. I think to myself that I am screwed and have no hope. That I can work so hard and in the end failing because of my illness. This is a trap and I see it now. I can always use schizophrenia as an excuse or I can actively fight to overcome it. I can seek newer and better medicines. I can actively study and research the latest research reports and drug studies and stay apprised of any new developments. I can actively question my doctor and keep her on her toes.

I am slowly learning as I go and I am growing as a person. I have great hopes for the future now. A few months ago my future consisted of staying warm and getting something to eat. That’s one of the traps of being homeless. You are so caught up in your current situation and needs that you cannot think of the future much. I see this now and I was lucky to have a family willing to give me a second chance. Many homeless people may not have this or just not have the gumption to call and ask for help. It is humbling and humiliating to call a loved one and ask for charity and admit your situation. I still don’t understand how I got the courage to call my mother. That constant, hand numbing cold can make you do some tough things to seek relief.

This post will evolve as I think more on this. Just some thoughts I wanted to share. I will explore this line of thinking in future writings down the road.

Resting away my ails…….

I have been doing well lately. I have just rested and slept a lot. The soreness has started to subside. I still cannot move my arm much and this worries me.

Alaine came last night to keep me company and she brought along her friend Paige. I and Paige hit it off in that she loved my gaming set up and loves to game. She sat for a long time playing Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark and loved the 5.1 surround sound. It is cool to have a woman friend that is my age and is “into” something I enjoy. I would have never thought I would have found a 32 year old woman who loved computer gaming.

We ended up playing several heated games of Mexican train dominoes and then called it a night. It’s nice having friends to share your life with. It has been many years since I had close friends like this. I was always a loner and spend the majority of my time alone. I still struggle with this and tend to push them away and want to be alone but I try my hardest to overcome this.

Well, today will be another day of rest. I restart physical therapy in the morning and do not look forward to it. This stuff hurts and I think my physical therapist, George, is sadistic and loves to hear me curse and cry out from the pain as he stretches my arm.

I also have hopes for some rain and thunderstorms today. We do have a 40 percent chance so I will just have to wait and see.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

One sore arm……

I feel better today. I am just really, really sore. I am sorry my writing lately has been boring. Other than medical appointments, my life has been just that. I guess that is a good thing. I have nothing exciting to report. Just living life.

Alaine came by last night and she taught me how to play Mexican train dominoes. We had a good time and it was really fun to learn a new game. We both got really competitive and were cursing at each other jokingly before the evening was over.

She also brought me a treat last night that was much appreciated. She had grilled some ribeyes and brought one with a baked potato. Steak is one of my favorite meals and I haven’t had one in probably a year and it was great. She cooked it just like I love them, medium well. It was delicious.

This catheter in my arm is ungainly and driving me crazy. It’s like that old ball and chain you have to lug around with you everywhere. I was tempted to cut the line and take it off this morning but do not want to start hurting since it is pain medicine. That, and I do no want the wound to start draining out of the tube as well.

I awoke this morning to wet sheets and a soaked t-shirt this morning from the drainage. I know this is gross so I will not go into detail. So that means I have to wash my sheets and comforter today, oh joy, that will be fun. *sarcasm*

Let me go get breakfast started and get me ole belly full. I am starving and am going to pig out and fix lots of eggs, sausage, and toast. I can almost smell the aromas cooking now. Till later…….

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Terrorists in my backyard…….

As I sit here at the computer and write, you can see directly outside if the blinds are raised. This room is basically one big window. I see lots of interesting things as I sit here. Most notably, deer grazing in my back yard right in the city limits as if they belonged here. This happens often and they can scare the hell out of you at night too by bounding off in the woods if you step outside. I live very close to the country and it is only a few miles out spring road until you are surrounded by forests and cow pastures.

One of the things I notice the most is the huge amount of house cats that hunt and ramble about walking through the yard. They are efficient hunters. I have seen lots of animals fall prey to their stalking.

You see the cat crouch. Then it slowly slinks forward in this crouching stance and then it pounces with such speed and ferocity. Most times they come up empty but some times they hit and I see it a lot. A large of amount of local fauna is falling prey to your average house cat here. Birds and squirrels seem to be the target of choice. Both are in abundance.

I sometimes wonder about the impact of the local house cat on the bird and squirrel population here. I bet it is no small amount. I wonder if certain species are failing prey more often than others. It would be an interesting research study to do. Well, I guess I am just rambling on and need to close. I just thought this was interesting as I see it everyday.

Awesome news…..

If you have read this blog from the beginning then you know of the land in Waverly my family owns. It has a lot of acreage and a large pond on it. The drain pipe on the pond broke and the majority of the water ran out. My father took out a loan and is having it dredged and the spring cleared out. He is completely landscaping the land in and around the pond.

This was a complete surprise to me and he wanted it that way. He took me over this morning to look at it and it looks amazing. The pond will be its original deepness and we are going to restock it with bream and bass. Also, the spring was cleared out and a catch box built to divert and collect the flow of water. It is a steady 10 gallons per hour and this is good news. We used to think it dried up in the hot, dry months of the summer but the inspector says it has a steady year round flow as long as it is kept clean.

He is also going to build a cabin over there and they were digging the septic pit this morning for the septic tank. I am going to be able to camp in the country with all the comforts of home. It will have a screened in porch, electricity, and running water right on the pond. We are going to use it mainly for tailgating parties in the fall before Auburn football games as my father rarely misses a home scheduled game and this land is only ten or so miles from Auburn.

My surgery is tomorrow and I am nervous. I am scared but want it over with at the same time. I do hope things go well and I hope they knock me out. I do not want to be awake during the procedure. I also hope I do not have a lengthy stay in the hospital. Now, that would be too boring and monotonous and I could not smoke and that would be good for my physical health but terrible for my mental health! LOL

Well, I need to run and get some lunch started. Lunch is just going to be a simple chicken sandwich and some chips. I am going to make a big crock pot of vegetable soup for supper as well. Throw in a hot pan of fresh buttermilk cornbread and you have a meal fit for a king. Mmmmm, mmmmm. Can’t wait.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Home Sweet Home……

I finally made it home late yesterday afternoon. I was exhausted from my trip and went to bed early and didn’t write. Alaine came over for awhile and as soon as she left I was in the bed. I slept from 9 PM until 8 AM this morning.

I had a good trip. We all got there for both graduation ceremonies. My sister took the Hippocratic Oath and is now an official medical doctor. We are all proud of her and her endeavors. I know it makes my father proud to see both of his children excel to such high levels.

I will write more later as the day progresses. I am going to fix me a big breakfast and get some spaghetti sauce started on the stove for lunch and supper. I am getting back into my routine. I am going to eat and then sit out on the porch, smoke my pipe, and drink lots of coffee as I peruse the morning paper. Ah, such bliss. I need this.

I may have the option coming up soon to buy my own home and will talk about it later. My father is going to co-sign with me. It will be a 30 year mortgage with the payments being around $300 dollars. I am very excited but this is just tentative but I am so hopeful. We are going to set it up were all my bills are automatically deducted from my disability check. That way, if I ever have a bad spell with my illness, I will still have a home and my utilities taken care of.

Oh well, let me get started cooking. I look forward to a quiet, lazy day filled with afternoon thunderstorms, a good book, and my solitude. See you all later.

Friday, May 7, 2004

Playing Cards……

Most of you that stop by this blog know I can be opinionated. I have a strong belief that sometimes you must say what is on your mind for your own health and the good of others as well. I try to be tactful and not be mean. I don’t want to run people off from reading my website but sometimes I just have to get something off my mind and throw it out into the world.

Mr. Barbieux at the homelessguy.net recently wrote a diatribe on a certain guy in college in NYC who was living in the library saying he was never homeless and is using the term “homeless” for his personal gain. He is playing the “homeless” card just like people of color play the “race” card. It’s as simple as that.

I did some reading up on this guy last night and learned much. He is a damn hard working college kid just trying to get his education. He works three jobs and goes to school full time. He is a true entrepreneur. He was living in the library because he didn’t have enough student loans to cover a dorm. He now has free accommodations from the University because of his situation. He didn’t ask for your money though. Many people wanted to give and he directed them to www.homeless.com to find out where they could donate to a charity. He is just a hard working kid that was just trying to get a college degree and his situation was so quirky it just caught on with the press.

I could just as easily play the “homeless” card on Mr. Barbieux. He rarely sleeps in the streets. He gets a warm bed and roof over his head most nights. He has been staying in a cheap hotel lately so technically right now he is not homeless. He gets three meals a day and you can obviously tell it. He is not going hungry any time soon. He even plays the system so well that you would not know he was homeless if you walked up on him on the streets. He would look well kept and his appearance would be in place.

I could as easily say he had it well off compared to the conditions I endured when I was homeless. I would get jealous of the meals he got to eat everyday and having a warm bed. I had to hump it to make ends met. I slept for the majority of five months in a tent and sleeping bag for the coldest part of the winter. I would have to cook my own meals on a fire and didn’t have someone handing them to me on a platter. I had pay for and shower at the truck stop because I didn’t dare do it here at the house for fear of arrest or retaliation.

I just needed to vent on this matter. Mr. Barbieux would most likely now try to play the “Mommy and Daddy” card on me because it took support from my parents to get me out of the woods. I do want to say this on that. I had to make tons of sacrifices and be humble and put aside my ego for that to work. I had to curb my drinking to an almost non-existent level. I had to start being responsible and play my part in the family. I also had to give in a take a medication that when I am sick I fear more than anything in the world. I was not easy and I and my parent’s relationship are vastly different now. A few months ago they would not even speak to me and now I talk to them everyday and we hug, laugh, and converse.
Well, I will get off my soapbox. I have to head to Mobile and will be back in a few days. Take care and good bye.

Thursday, May 6, 2004

Things in life can happen so fast……..

I had my dentist’s appointment today. I had the dreaded tooth pull. They extracted a broken tooth in preparation for my bridge that will go in after the gum heals. It hurt and I grabbed the seat as I winced in pain. Now, my whole mouth is numb and I can’t even feel my nose. It feels weird.

Before my appointment, I was standing outside having my “calm your nerves” cigarette. Two little old ladies can out of the office and ambled down the walk. One took a misstep and fell flat on her face. It happened faster than I could react. I ran over and asked her if I needed to call the paramedics. She said yes. She had broken her glasses and her nose and blood was going everywhere.

I ran back inside to ask for help and Dr. Jason and Dr. Shirley came running out with a wheelchair. We were afraid that she had broken her hip. We managed to get her up in the chair and get the bleeding to stop. She had a horrible scrape on her forehead and her nose was now turning blue. It turned out she was ninety two years old.

Both doctors wheeled her over to Dr. Meka’s office so he could do an x-ray and see if anything was broken. I do hope she was okay but may never find out.

It is weird in how fast it happened. One moment I was standing there smoking a cigarette and the next I was jolted into a crisis situation and had to act. Life goes that way sometimes and you never know what it can bring. Always watch where you step or you may fall.

Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Blood Moon Rising……….

Tonight is such a beautiful night. It is warm with a slight breeze. The air outside has this sense of calmness and of contentment. A full blood moon is rising on the horizon and will pass over during the night and be on the other horizon in the morning. She will be a bright white by then. The air is filled with the sounds of night time insects and from my neighbor’s neglected pool the tree frogs are calling.

I had all the windows open but had to close them. My monitor was becoming moth central until I turned on all the lights in the room and closed the windows and drew the blinds. I am still guiltily flicking moths to their doom as I write this.

Alaine came over for a long time after she got finished with choir practice. We sat and talked for over an hour. She told me of her day filled with trials and tribulations. She also brought me half a pound cake she had baked this morning. I love a good pound cake and broke my diet tonight. I smeared butter on a slice and browned it in the toaster oven upstairs and it was heavenly. I still have its taste in my mouth as I write this. I washed it down with an ice cold glass of milk and it was so delicious.

She is a great cook and takes orders from people at her church to bake things. Tomorrow she has an order of cheese straws that her customer requested to be extra spicy so she said she will double the amount of cayenne pepper. I love cheese straws and I hope she brings a few my way. I also love spicy foods and will relish the extra zip she is adding. We really need to get in the kitchen together as we both love to cook and explore new recipes. I look forward to sharing those moments with her and maybe we will soon.

My report from the doctor came back fine. I have elevated levels of blood sugar and he thinks my metabolism is off so we are going to start with a daily regimen of glucophage. He hopes this will regulate my blood sugar and the weight will fall off. I have tried so hard lately to diet and have lost a fleetingly small amount of pounds.

My mother takes Zyprexa for her schizophrenia and she has started to take glucophage lately and lost lots of weight on top of her dieting. I have hopes that this will work as well for me too.

Well, I am up way past my bedtime. My eyes are droopy and I am having a hard time staying awake. I doubt I will lie in the bed and read by candlelight tonight. I am so sleepy and think I will just turn on my fan to medium and drift away. Good night world and goodnight blood moon. The next time I see you the next morning you will be bright white.

Fear Mongering........

I rarely watch TV and I especially do not watch the network news. I get tired of the constant fear mongering I see. I turned on the television for a short bit today to see what is on PBS and did some channel surfing. I just reminded myself why I am so selective in what sources I get my news from and what I watch. If it is really important then I will hear about it through word of mouth. I saw such things like terrorists are after us and a strike is eminent as the elections approach. Too little iron in an infant’s diet can cause teenagers to be slow learners. (they love to quote and site obscure medical reports especially when it deals with children.) A shooting in some neighborhood in Atlanta takes the life of an 8 year old child due to the lack of gun safety. The list could go on and on about what I saw. I turned off the television in disgust and asked myself, "Why?", "Why do I still turn it on from time to time to watch such utter garbage?" I tend to like to digitally record a show I want to watch such as Nova and Frontline that way I can weed out the chaff so to speak.

I will leave you all with a little quote that stuck out in my mind as I was thinking of this post. It sums up my feelings today on this subject.

"Litany of Fear" in F. Herbert’s "Dune".

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Hunting for Christmas trees……..

This was always my favorite time of the year for me as a child. I would be almost giddy with excitement. I loved the holiday from school and getting great toys on Christmas day.

During the school break, I would always go spend a week with my grandmother in Waverly Alabama. Waverly was like stepping back in time and was not affected much by the modern world. My grandmother still used well water when I was a child and she also kept chickens for the eggs and the fried chicken for Sunday lunch. My great aunt could take a chicken, clean it, and fry it in under an hour and this always amazed me. I learned real quickly to not give the chickens pet names but I spent many an hour chasing them and hunting for “yard eggs”.

A cherished ritual that I always enjoyed was the annual hunt for a Christmas tree the week before Christmas day. We would crank up the old 1968 ford truck, grab a band saw, and head for the woods to a favorite location. The old ford truck had “three on a tree” for those of you old enough to remember when vehicles still had shifters like this.

I would always drive even though I was only around ten years old at the time. My grandmother and her two sisters would even get me to drive them all the way to Camp hill Alabama to get their hair done but that is another story for another time.

An artificial Christmas tree was a malicious affront to the holiday to my Grandmother and she would never contemplate the idea of buying one from one of those Christmas tree farms. We would head out into the country and find the perfect Cedar tree and cut it down and bring it home and put it in the front living room. As me and my grandmother looked for hours for that perfect tree, her two sisters would be gathering broom sedge to make homemade brooms. This ritual lasted for many years when I was a child and all the way up until I was in college.

I miss those days and would give everything I owed to have them back. I still, to this day, want to someday retire in Waverly and pass those good times down to my kids and grandkids and carry on the tradition. Who knows, if dreams do come true, then I just may be able to someday.

Yawn, zzzzfffttt, yawn again.......

My camping trip went well but with one distraction. It was the first time I have been able to camp in awhile due to things that have come up. I feel centered and grounded and am glad to be home.

The only problem was that I didn't sleep well last night. I kept hearing the far off barking of many dogs and thought they were getting closer. One stray dog by itself is no threat but when you get a group of them together that becomes another matter. A pack takes on a much more aggressive mentally and I didn’t have my gun with me. I finally went to sleep and slept well and was not awakened again for the night.

It was very chilly this morning and I am glad I slept with my clothes and shoes in my bag. They were warm and ready to go. I think my thermometer read 56 degrees this morning.

I fixed a supper last night that was simple. I had hotdogs and some potato chips. I grilled the wieners over the fire and they got charred and crispy on the outside. There is no better way to cook and eat hotdogs for me at least. I fixed breakfast when I arrived home this morning. Just some cheese eggs and toast.

I have an appointment at 2:30 PM to get my haircut then I have to go to Dr. Kamath’s office and get the verdict from my blood work afterwards. I do hope he doesn’t mention the dreaded word diabetes. I don’t feel ill other than a slight head cold. I do know I took zyprexa for years and it is said to cause diabetes and severe weight gain. Risperdal, so far, does not carry this warning and usually only cause’s weight gain and causes some men to produce milk from their mammary glands. You can see why it is sometimes hard to get someone who is mentally ill to take these medications.

Well, I will sign off until later.

Saturday, May 1, 2004

Life is complicated…..

I still haven’t left for my camping trip. Alaine called me and told me her Aunt Mabel was killed in a car wreck. She always thought of her as her grandmother as her parent’s had her very late in life. She asked to come over and I told her to get over here as soon as possible.

I was at a loss for words. My medication can sometimes blunt my emotions. I felt for her though and I held her. I am such a big guy and she is so small. I felt as if I was holding this delicate flower in my arms and I didn’t want to crush it. I held her for a long time and she lead me to the bed. We laid there for what seemed like an eternity holding each other. I held her long and hard and she seemed to get better. She cried and I just did my best to be there. I just caressed her hair and kissed her on the forehead many times. I didn’t know what else to do.

Life turns and trials can go so unexpected. Life sucks sometimes. I hate these things and life is just not fair. We all struggle with things and to make our lives better and sometimes despite our best efforts it all goes wrong. I am such a cynical person now. I want back my innocence. That innocence I was afforded in my youth.

I do not feel right going camping now. I feel it would be selfish under such conditions. I will just stay here and be available for her to call if she needs to talk. I will just deal with my boredom tonight. I will just cook my chicken in the stove. I am going to sit by the phone for a bit and make sure she got home okay.

Wooo Hoooo….going camping…..

I am headed out just a bit to go camping tonight. I am tired of playing my game and I am going to walk down to the wiggling pig and buy some provisions and head out. I am also going to try my hand at some catch and release fishing this afternoon if the rain continues to hold off.

I have an extremely busy week ahead and I want to enjoy my weekend. I am going to fix some fire roasted corn and some chicken on a stick tonight. I am going to marinate the chicken in some herbs, salt, and pepper with some vegetable oil to coat. I will pack it all in some zip lock bags and just have to pull it out to cook it tonight. I took some oak branches and whittled off the bark for a good bit and that will be my cooking spit. I will just have to continuously rotate it next to the fire but I will keep the chicken pieces small so they cook through.

I have a busy week next week. I have many appointments. I have the dentist for my bridge that is going in. I have to get my veterinary sized shot Wednesday. I also have several other appointments with various doctors. I do believe I am the most poked and prodded man in Alabama these days. Thank god for insurance or I would be broke and in dire straights. I also am getting on my job search in earnest and put my name out there. I am debating on this in that I may need to wait until after the surgery on my shoulder.

There is a 60 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms this afternoon with it increasing to 100 percent tonight so I am being adventurous. Nothing is cooler, for me at least, than riding out a strong thunderstorm in my tent looking out the mesh door. It is scary but exciting at the same time. I hope we get a good one and not a wimpy attempt at a storm. The bigger the better and I will tie down my tent accordingly. Especially if we get some high winds but I will be somewhat sheltered in my clearing amid the pine trees.

Well, off to the wiggling pig I go. I am excited and ready to hike those miles to my currently favored spot. Have a great weekend and I will check in when I get back tomorrow.

Good Morning, Vietnam!!!!

It is wet and rainy outside so I am stuck inside for most of the day. Saturday is my online gaming day. I have been playing Battlefield Vietnam all morning and will do so this afternoon. I am getting quite good at it and am usually in the top 10 players on a server of more than thirty and sometimes fifty players.

I have a brutal strategy that works really well. I play the heavy assault role with an M60 machine gun and grenade launcher for the American side. I have memorized the firing arc of the grenade launcher and am devastating with it. It really pisses off other players when I get them with a grenade before they know what hits them. The reload time is long though so you have to be careful and quickly switch to your colt sidearm or M60 machine gun if there are other hostiles nearby. If you don’t then you are sitting back at the spawn screen after getting killed.

I got accused of cheating today and this always amuses me. I think it is funny. I hit one guy with a grenade from a great distance and he bitched vehemently, “You fucking fag, you are a cheater.” He then asked the server admin to kick me but I don’t think he knew how. When guys do this, I picture some angst ridden teenager sitting behind a monitor, drinking a Jolt cola and slamming his mouse down on the table in anger. I fired back, “Shut up you little pussy and play the game.” I know I sound immature but Saturday is my day for just that. He helps me let out my frustrations in an online virtual world playing with players from all over the country that enjoy the same thing. I love when I am on a good team and we play as a team. Each of us supporting each other by playing our respective roles. Well, back into another game I go. I think I will fight for the Vietnamese this time around just for a change.