Friday, September 30, 2005

Afternoon Magic

Every Friday, as you may now know, Ella cooks a grand meal. I sit around all morning waiting for one ‘o’ clock to roll around. That is when she usually leaves and I know she has finished cooking. I can hear her Chevy Suburban crank up and drive off from over at my house. I then walk over with my key to open my parent’s back door.

Today, mom was asleep as usual. She said she had stayed up all night reading a book. I just quickly said hello to be polite and then walked to the kitchen to fix my plate. Today, Ella had cooked barbequed spareribs, macaroni and cheese casserole, lima beans, fried okra, and corn bread. The spareribs had a tart and zesty barbeque sauce and were fork tender. I ate my fill and went back to mom’s bedroom to say goodbye and tell her what Ella had cooked. What wonderful country cookin’!

Also, Ella’s cornbread is unique and I like it. It is almost like cake it so light, fluffy, and with a hint of sugar. My mom always prepared cornbread by heating a heavy iron skillet until the oil poured inside it was almost smoking it was so hot. She would then pour in the batter and it would sizzle and start to fry. It made for a tart, buttermilk flavored cornbread that was very crispy on the outside. I still prefer my mother’s cornbread, but Ella’s is quite a fine substitute as well. I save it for last; almost like a dessert when I eat those Friday feasts.

I spoke to soon this morning about last year’s fawns being gone. Just a moment ago, as I was writing this, movement in my back yard caught my eye. I leaned over to look out the window and five deer were browsing the grass. Mother doe, last years fawns (almost grown now), and those two little wobbly spotted fawns from this year. It was good to see the family intact and still thriving. Hunting season is just around the corner and I hope they survive it. I would rather see them in the back of my yard than on someone’s wall as a trophy or in their cooking pot.

Thoughts on Work

I have worked many jobs during my lifetime. One of the hardest jobs was where I drove a forklift and pulled cases of towels all night in a warehouse to be thrown on a conveyor belt to be shipped to retail locations. It was hard work and I was paid according to the amount of cases I pulled. Many of the cases would be forty or fifty pounds. I would do this night after night for five days a week for a paycheck on Friday. This arrangement was certainly advantageous for my employer as the pursuit of an ever larger paycheck spurred me to pull as many cases of towels as I could.

The money was good, but there was a drawback. Most mornings, I was so physically tired from working vigorously all night that all I wanted to do was have a few beers, watch television, and then go to bed. I did this day in and day out and lived for the weekend where I could have leisurely pursuits and happiness. I quickly realized that there was more to life than this.

This brings me to the thoughts on who set an eight hour day as a standard day of work? I would have been happy to work four hours a day of that strenuous job and to get paid less. I would still have had enough to live reasonably comfortable on those reduced work hours. I would have probably been more productive in a physical sense and certainly a happier worker. I would have had time for my much enjoyed reading, writing, and thinking; that idle time where my mind is free to roam and think new thoughts.

I guess I am lucky in a certain sense in that I was born with a flaw in my genetic code and within my brain chemistry; a condition called schizophrenia. Society has deemed me ineligible for work and has given me a monthly stipend to support myself. It is meager compensation though. Due to what my family and societal pressure has taught me, I often feel guilt and remorse over not being a productive member of a working establishment. That puritanical pressure is a heavy load to bear sometimes. Believe me, I tried for years, but my disease got progressively worse under the pressures of employment. I am only able to work part time now.

Growing up, my father expounded upon the virtues of a work ethic. His father was a successful banker and he was a successful businessman as well. Work hard; support your family; buy a home; build equity; were all mantras I heard growing up. Unfortunately, some of us in society are incapable of doing those things due to a disability or mental handicap. We are forever relegated to the fringes of society.

What makes it even harder, is that physically, I am a strapping, young looking lad that seems capable of great exertion. Most people see this outer shell and think, “Why doesn’t he work harder?” “Why can’t he support a family?” It is an aggravating conundrum to experience. Most of my family would rather skirt the issue and to ignore my illness exists. It is much easier for them to shun me than to face the reality that in the genetic Russian roulette of life, I got the bullet. What father would want to admit that his 33 year old son is barely capable of taking care of himself without living a life of homelessness and squalor? I don’t even want to mention the amount of pressure having two extremely successful siblings has put upon me.

Morning Rounds

I started my morning walk. As I walked down the road from my driveway, I saw my elderly neighbor pulling weeds in his flower beds. He is out there every morning working like the stalwart laborer he is. The funny thing is that he never seems to make any progress. Later, when I walked back by on my way home there seemed to be as many weeds as before. I wonder if he just likes getting out of the house and doing busy work. When I was married, I often would work in the yard to escape my constantly talking and hen pecking wife. She wouldn’t have bent over to pull a weed or work in the yard if her life had depended upon it. Like a silver cross to a vampire, she would have hissed and slammed the door shut.

I walked on through the poor, impoverished neighborhood to the west of mine. Some of these homes look so run down it is amazing that people still live in them. A dog came rushing out of the bushes in front of one house upon his tether and leash. He barked furiously until he reached the end of his line and was yanked back a little bit. He eyed me suspiciously watching my every move; such a protective little beast. Everywhere around me the porch lights were still on from the previous night.

I finally made it down by the shopping center and rounded the corner. None of the groupies were to be seen. It was still too early in the morning for them to make their appearance. I walked into the grocery store to buy a Gatorade. That surly clerk, Virginia, was the only one who had a line open. “Damn,” I muttered under my breath.

“You out for your walk?” She asked on one of the rare occasions she would make an attempt to be nice.

“Yeah, I am making my rounds this morning,” I replied.

“You don’t look like you need to lose any weight,” She said.

“Thanks,” I said. “I walk for the peace of mind it gives me.”

“I wish I had the time to walk, but I have to work all the time,” She said kind of condescendingly.

I bid her good day and started to walk the remaining half a mile to the house.

Morning Magic

I awoke this morning and was freezing cold. I had left my air conditioner on full blast and a cold front blew through overnight. I started to wrap back up into my warm covers and pull my comforter over me. “Oh, hell,” I mumbled to myself looking at my bedside alarm clock. “Let’s get out of bed.”

I stumbled into the kitchen still feeling drowsy from sleep and got my percolator of coffee going. Within moments, I could hear it burbling and percolating away. That aroma that is emitted has to be on the most wonderful smells ever discovered. I poured a mug and that hot, rich liquid hit the spot as I walked outside to have my morning pipe.

As I was standing there, a most tranquil and beautiful sight emerged from the woods in front of me. It was the doe that has been frequenting my back year for years now. With her were two little spotted fawns. “Ah,” I said softly. “Now I know why I haven’t seen you in weeks.” The two fawns looked so delicate and fragile. Last years two fawns were nowhere to be seen. I wonder if in the past few weeks they have finally left momma’s side and struck out on their own. Such is life and life goes on.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ramble, Ramble, Ramble

It has been an unusual week for me. I have found myself intensely reading several journals for hours upon hours everyday in deep thought. I will literally get out of the bad, start reading, and read until time for work. I have even got out of the habit of watching my nightly soap operas from the United Kingdom that I download. On Eastenders, a few minor characters struck out for Spain for a holiday and that storyline just didn’t appeal to me at all. On Coronation Street, Shelly finally tossed aside the wretched man, Charlie Stubbs, on their wedding day. With such a climax, I lost the will to watch any longer as the soap opera would settle back into mediocrity at that point. I haven’t watched television for over a week and haven’t missed it one bit.

My experiments in controlled drinking didn’t go as planned the first of this week. I ended up getting sloshed. It causes me to do stupid shit and act erratic as far as this blog goes. I have realized that I do not enjoy being drunk at all and I used to love it. What I enjoy is a mild, gentle intoxication and a “high gravity” brew like Steel Reserve will get you drunk in just a few cans. Yesterday, I tried a very mild “light” beer and found that if I drank only one can per hour I could enjoy a beer without getting drunk. I do so enjoy a beer and a gentle “buzz” while I read. Maybe I am playing with fire though. It just seems I gotta live life dangerously sometimes.

I went to eat at McDonalds tonight with my mother on our usual Thursday night out. For some reason she wanted to eat there. It was the first time I’ve had fast food in ages and it reminded me why. I hate the stuff. The restaurant was nasty. They were out of everything including those little packets of ketchup for the fries. What kind of burger place runs out of ketchup? I asked the lady at the counter if she would ask one of the cooks if they could put some ketchup in a small cup or container for us that they use for the burgers. She looked at me as if I just asked her what the secret of life was. I also hate how at McDonalds they cook the beef patties for what seems like hours ahead of time and keep them in those little warmer trays. I told mom we should have gone to Sarah Jay’s (a local family owned burger joint) and got a good burger with good service and at just a few dollars more. She agreed. We did have a good, long talk though. I enjoy those times with her and look forward to our weekly night out.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Winsome Sights and Sounds

Dawn seemed like it would never come this morning. The days are certainly growing shorter with the threat of winter on the way. My fire had died down to embers when I awoke at four in the morning inside my tent. I threw some more twigs and logs on and got it roaring again. I lit my little camp stove and got a pot of coffee boiling. I poured a cup and sat next to the fire as it crackled and popped. It was chilly so I put on my fleece jacket.

The sky was partially overcast but I could still see thousands of stars and a crescent moon as it rose higher on the horizon. What a beautiful early morning view. Far off in the woods around me a lone whip-o-will called. The lonesome call of that little nocturnal bird always brings upon me an intense wave of nostalgia.

The stars dimmed and the first light of dawn appeared. Birds started to call in anticipation of another day. I relit my camp stove and reached into my cooler and pulled out some bacon and eggs. It is hard to describe, but food just tastes better to me when I am camping. Such usual fair as fried bacon and eggs tasted especially wonderful this morning.

I finally packed up all my gear into the car and drove down that dirt road. It was still sufficiently dark enough that I had to turn on my headlights. I came to the millpond and pulled up the side road. I got out of the car and sat next to the dam as the water roared over it. One solitary window within the millhouse was alit with a light. I was unaware that people still lived there. That house is ancient and dilapidated. After sitting for a long while listening to the water roar, I got back in the car and headed for home. The sun was just rising as I pulled up into my driveway.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

An Interesting Side Note to Today’s Entries

I just got back from Uncle Bob’s house. He lives just two blocks away from me. His deceased wife Aunt Jessie was EXTREMELY frugal and wouldn’t let him spend money. Well, lately, he has been spending money left and right now that she has passed away. Hey, I guess if you are 84 years old and very wealthy you better enjoy it while you can.

Last week, he had one of those expensive home security systems put in. If you have been reading you know I just had to hook up and extremely nice Sony television and DVD player. This week he bought a VERY large drop in freezer from Sears. Guess where the crazy old fart put it…

When they delivered it yesterday he had them put it right in the middle of his den next to his TV and piano across from his couch. Now that is what I call home decorating. As my mom always says, ”That crazy Bob is uncouth and country.” Charlie will get a big kick out of that as he is an avid antique collector and home decorator. Aunt Jessie must be rolling in her grave about now.

The Morning After

Luckily, I don’t have a hangover. I rarely got them during my heavy drinking days as well. I will just chalk up yesterday as an anomaly. I can report that I do not feel guilty at all about my indulgence in the bubbly brew. I needed to let it all hang out yesterday. My anxiety and apathy I was experience was overwhelming. I was at the boiling point.

Today, I am spending a quiet day drinking coffee and reading The Panther’s Tale. The Panther’s Tale is a journal of an elderly homeless man named Albert Vanderburg who resides in Honolulu. I don’t know why I’ve never read this journal. I think it has to do with how it is organized. The entries have a sequential number and not a date. It was confusing and hard to read.

So far I have read two years worth of entries and it is fascinating. He is quite an avid reader and writer and I enjoy his commentary on the many books he reads. He is also very candid about his life and his tales dealing with explicit homosexuality made me uncomfortable a few times (I am not a homophobe, but they still made me uncomfortable). He is also honest about the drug use that occurs on the strests and amoung some of the homeless. This definitely ain’t “The Homeless Guy” which was a sugar coated homeless blog to elicit donations and sympathy from it’s readers.

Coffee, pipe, and interesting reading. That makes for a nice Sunday afternoon. When I discover a journal like this I can almost get lost in another world or reality and will read for hours upon hours. I get intangled in the author’s life.

I saw George and gang today on my morning walk. I see them all the time and really should write about it more. It certainly would make for a much more interesting journal than it is in it’s current form. It’s just that the Piggly Wiggly Groupies can be like a broken record when it comes to their daily activities. I ussually only write about them if something notable happens. Maybe, I should endeavor to write some of those mundane happenings and add some more spice for my spare readership. What may be mundane and routine to me might be interesting to you, the reader. We shall see.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Journey into the Abyss

I crossed the line. I couldn’t stand it any longer. I got in my car and drove down to Fat Albert’s convenience store. The place was flooded with throngs of people buying lottery tickets. I walked back to get an RC cola which was my intention for driving there. To my right were the refrigerated cases that held all the beer. Almost on impulse, I walked over and started surveying the offerings in the beer case.

“Andrew! How is your father doing?” Someone said behind me and it startled me.

I turned around to look. It was Sammy, the son of the lady who was our housecleaner and cook when I was child. His mother was named Florene and I dearly loved her. Sammy is known for trying to borrow money from my father. I guess he figured it would be bad form to do so to me.

“He’s been sick this week and hasn’t worked,” I replied.

“You tell him I am thinking about him,” Sammy said and then left.

I turned back towards the beer case and saw something that caught my eye. My favorite beer when I was homeless. It was Steel Reserve. A “high gravity” brew with 8.1% alcohol per can. My willpower totally collapsed and I reached in and pulled out the case of malt liquor. I walked up to the cashier, paid, and then drove the short drive home.

I drank one beer and then another. The feeling of the alcohol coursing through my bloodstream was euphoric. My terrible anxiety from all week abated and my worries went away. It has been so long since I have been inebriated and it felt damn good.

I still have many more beers to go that are left. Who knows how many I will drink. I just feel good right now and that is not something I have felt all week. Damn the consequences. My only plans today were to sit in front of this computer alone and read. Now I have my old friend John Barleycorn to keep me company.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Down that Storm Path I go

I have been obsessing about beer for weeks. My inhibitions finally broke down and my indescribable urge to imbibe overcame me. I drove down and bought the cheapest most “high gravity” brew (8.1 percent alcohol) I could find, Steel Reserve malt liqueur. I drove home, sat in this chair, and cracked opened a can. I immediately swallowed it down and the effects of the alcohol soon coursed through my blood stream. Oh, it felt so good. I could start to feel my anxiety abate. That feeling of euphoria overcame me. I had finally given in to my addictive personally. I could no longer fight it.

After a few beers, I sat in my chair and sobbed softly. I’ve done so well to abstain for the longest time. Life has just been hell this week and I wanted to feel good. I wanted to forget my problems. Hopefully, I will be able to control this to some extent. I will try, but I have missed the bubbly brew to much that it has been an all encompassing thought.

I just want to be honest on the blog. You will get to read all my trials and tribulations. Now, I have almost finished another beer and must go crack open another. I want to get completely inebriated before I go to bed. Tomorrow morning I will awake hating myself, but for the time I just want to feel good. I want cast all my cares to the wind.

The Fallible Man

When I have hard weeks such as this, I am overcome with apathy. I dread everything. Even a shower and shave becomes an ordeal to overcome and accomplish. I mainly want to just stay in the bed and rest, but then I get restless doing that as well and crawl back out of it.

This morning I awoke at my usual time of 7 AM and stumbled into the kitchen. I opened the refrigerator door and just stood there for a few moments trying to decide between a glass of milk and a glass of orange juice. I didn’t feel like doing anything such as cooking but managed to toast some raisin bread and spread that with peanut butter. The warm bread made the peanut butter warm and gooey. It tasted delicious with that glass of cold milk.

I then dragged myself into the shower, turned on the hot water, and sat upon the toilet procrastinating crawling in as the whole bathroom became filled with steam. I finally shed my clothes and stood under the hot water bathing myself and then shaving. I dried off, blow dried my hair, and put on some clean clothes. I then sat down in my lazy boy lounge chair and read a book until 9 AM. It was time for my next dreaded task; getting my bi-weekly injection.

I drove down to the doctor’s office and it was uncharacteristically deserted. I was the only one there and they had that damned television playing at a loud volume. That silly Maury Povich show was on showcasing dysfunctional thirty year old women dating teenagers. When the receptionist wasn’t paying attention, I snuck over and turned down the volume to a more comfortable level. I would have turned the damn thing off, but it would have drawn too much attention from the staff.

Finally, they called me back for my shot. It took Andrea, the nurse, just a matter of minutes to administer it and it was mostly a pain free experience. I thanked her for her skill and bid her a good weekend. I then drove home. Now, what to do with the rest of the day is the big question. I have to work a few hours this afternoon, but other than that have hours upon hours to fill. I think I shall just go sit and read and see where that leads me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Winter is Around the Corner

I sit with a feeling of sadness tonight as I write this. The signs of another approaching winter are all too clear. It is now getting dark at 8 PM instead of 9 PM. The days are growing shorter. I can see the last vestiges of the sun as I look out my window at what used to be an early hour filled with the orange skies of sunset.

Also, that specific call of a certain species of cricket sings beyond my open windows. It makes me reflect upon a time, long ago, during my first stint of college. I was sitting out on my back porch playing my guitar when I first noticed those cricket calls in the fall; an omen for those dank, cold winter months ahead.

Soon, my open windows will be shut for what will seem like an eternity as winter passes. Those cold nights with a brisk wind blowing will greet me. I will shudder when I think back upon those lazy summer days full of warmth and skies filled with puffy cumulus clouds. I will wrap up in my warm comforters upon my bed to be greeted by silence. No crickets; no katydids; just the sound of that cold wind whistling in the slats of my windows. I shall turn off my bedside lamp and go to sleep with that lonesome and wistful feeling that winter brings upon me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Moon Shine

I had turned off all my lights in preparation for bed. I walked back into my den for one last pipe. It was illuminated by the ethereal light of the moon shining through my closed Venetian blinds. It was a moment in time and distinctly caught my attention. I stood there noticing the dark shadows juxtaposed amongst the bright light. I opened my blinds slightly to let the light come flooding in. I looked out to see a full moon greeting me.

Oh, how I longed for a full moon during my homeless days. That light during those cold, dark nights was comforting. It made me feel not so alone. I had a companion who traveled the vastness of space above me.

This moment tonight made me reflect on those cold, early mornings where the frost covered the ground. The only light to illuminate my way was the moon and a thousand stars. I remember looking up into the sky as my breath in the cold air obscured my view. Moon shine; you still bring me comfort.

No Games Today

The phone calls started this afternoon. I guess my little talk with Uncle Bob during our last encounter didn’t register or something. We did the little phone tag game twice. I then answered the phone on the third barrage of rings and diffused the situation. I haven’t felt well lately and didn’t feel like playing any stupid games today.

“Andrew, I got a new TV and DVD player and I need you to come hook them up,” Bob said on the other end in his usual country twang voice.

“Let me put on a shirt and I will be right over,” I replied.

I drove the two blocks to his house and pulled up out front. The goats in his back yard were making a terrible amount of racket as I walked to the front door. I rang the door bell and he shuffled to open it in his 84 year old gait.

“Come on in! Come on in!” Bob said excitedly as he opened the door.

Bob was genuinely glad to see me.

We walked into the den and I got busy hooking up his new television to the DVD player. Uncle Bob had driven down to Best Buy to purchase these items. They had sold him those ridiculously expensive gold-plated connection cables and many cables he did not need. I started to tell him that he had wasted his money, but knew it would have been more trouble that it was worth. Those sales persons are on commission and took advantage of an elderly customer who was clueless about such things.

It took me almost an hour to explain to Uncle Bob how to use the remote controls to get a DVD to play. He kept asking me to show him how to do it one more time.

“Now, what in high hell does that button do again?” Bob would ask looking confused.

“Bob, you need to set the television to video-1 to play a DVD,” I would reply.

“Well, goddamn, ain’t there an easier way to watch the damn things?” Bob would ask.

A few times, I had to stifle a smile. I doubt he will ever be able to watch a DVD without me coming over and starting it for him.

“Just sit down awhile and talk to me,” Bob said. “I feel like the walls of this here house are closing in on me since Jessie (his wife) died.”

We sat and talked for a long time. Uncle Bob is one of those people you have a one-way conversation with. Basically, I just sat and listened to him ramble on. He was lonely.

Bob is also the most gaseous senior citizen you have ever met. He let quite a few rip during our conversation and his customary “Excuse me” would be his reply. When I was child, Bob would have thrilled my soul. Unfortunately, he didn’t marry Aunt Jessie until later in life so I missed out a flatulent Uncle Bob in my youth. My mother calls him country and uncouth.

I had left a pot of spaghetti sauce cooking on the stove and finally had to bid Uncle Bob farewell. I did have to walk out into the back yard to look at the goats before I left due to Uncle Bob’s insistence. I then drove home and got my spaghetti noodles boiling for supper. Just another day in the life of Andrew.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Anxious Days and Sleepless Nights

I hate to use the blog to whine. I will just say that I am dealing with a lot of anxiety at the moment and don’t feel well. I didn’t get to sleep until 4 am this morning due to anxiety. This too shall pass as it always does. I keep hearing what sounds like a car door shutting outside in the driveway and it makes me literally jump in my chair or in the bed. I go look out the window and the drive way is empty. The last thing I want right now is social contact and visitors. It is a disconcerting feeling and just part of my illness. Now, would be a good time for me to head out on an extended hiking or camping trip to clear my mind, but the responsibilities of conventional life beckon and call.

To balance this post, here are some positive things going on:

1) I managed to find lots of good books on Native Americans in the Southeast Saturday at the library. I have been spending much of my time reading. This subject fascinates me.

2) I have been working on a little novella of sorts about life in the south during the great depression. It is in the outline and planning stage and will be posted on my Possum in the Pot blog. It is drawing from many of the stories I heard my Grandmother and her sisters tell me about life growing up in the Great Depression. They were very poor materially, but the richest people I have ever known when it comes to the less tangible wealth of happiness and harmony.

3) They started work again on my new/old house. This has been a long and drawn out affair, but the tentative deadline for me moving in is before Christmas. My funds are limited and I have been partially relying upon the labor and charity of my father and Charlie to complete this project. I will try to get some pictures up for those of you that are interested in seeing it.

4) I found a box full of unassembled model railroad kits (mainly boxcars) a few days ago in storage under the basement. I thought my ex-wife had kept them, but apparently she had boxed them up and didn’t label the box. I pulled out all my supplies and have been spending quiet evenings assembling the kits and then painting and weathering them with my airbrush. It feels good to be active in my preferred hobby again.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Crossroads

The past few days I have been standing at a crossroad metaphorically. To my left, the horizon down the road is filled with vicious black storm clouds and flashes of lightning. To my right, the horizon is filled with beautiful clouds and sunny blue skies.

I know the road to take. My rational mind is fully aware of the consequences of walking down that dark road filled with rain, lightning, and danger. The addictive part of my personality is not so rational though.

I don’t know if it is because football season has started or if it is just a phase, but I have been obsessing over having a few beers lately. I can’t have just a “few” beers though. I drink one or two and the number soon grows to eighteen or twenty. I will find myself passed out in the bed having pissed all over myself most likely.

They don’t sell alcohol here on Sundays (Bible belt) so I would have to drive an hour to another town that has a college to buy it. I actually got in the car and sat for a few moments contemplating starting the journey. I then drove down to the Piggly Wiggly and spent the rest of my cash on groceries so I wouldn’t be tempted for the rest of the day. At least I have plenty of good food to eat now. I bought lots of comfort foods that bring me solace.

It is times like these I must reflect on my homeless days. I must admit the sad fact that I was a mentally ill, homeless alcoholic. I would go for days without eating as alcohol took precedence. I would sit out in the freezing cold drinking one tepid beer after another. I would pass out in my sleeping bag to awake in the middle of night feeling cold, scared, hung over, and terrible. I don’t want to re-live that nightmare. I don’t want to walk down that dark road filled with pain and anguish.

Just by writing this, I started to walk down that sunny path filled with bright blue skies and a promising future.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Wind through My Windows

A soft wind is blowing through my windows occasionally, making my Venetian blinds flutter and “sing”. The neighbor’s kids are out in their backyard jumping on their trampoline. Their squeals of joy and playful banter are music to my ears. The sky is overcast and the air is cool. My pipe is still warm from indulging in that pleasant hobby. Song birds chirp and sing as they call out to their brethren. A mug of hot tea adorns the desktop by my computer. All of this makes for a pleasant and peaceful Saturday afternoon. I feel as if I am in a concert hall listening to and experiencing the finest of performances. I now must adjourn to act two of this performance of life.

I am about to set out on a trip of camping tonight. The allure of the countryside and the woods is calling me. I can’t wait to pitch my tent, build a fire, and watch the sunset on the horizon. I long for the mournful night time calls of whip-o-wills. I yearn for the smells of the forest and a country sky filled with millions of stars not spoiled by the light pollution of a city.

Now, I must follow my bliss. Good afternoon or night, and may these same joys find you on the road of life.

Friday, September 16, 2005

A New View on Life

Within an hour, I go to pick up my new contacts. I even got the day off for this momentous occasion. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this pair will fit properly. I am tired of not being able to see well. Hopefully, soon, I will get a new view on life. The only down side is that I will see clearly enough to write that check to pay for it.

Not much has happened today. I do want to say I appreciated all the comments on yesterday’s post. I kind of hesitantly clicked on my comments this morning not knowing what I would find. Everything written was supportive and made me feel better.

No Soup for You!’s comment hit the nail on the head. I did feel violated by what happened the other night. I struggled with addiction for years. For a split second there I even entertained the thought of smoking marijuana and it scared the hell out of me. I have an affinity for mood altering substances and have to abstain completely and not be around them. One wrong choice when confronted with a situation such as the other night could have very well changed the course of my future life. It was kind of a macabre dance with the devil that night. I don’t want to be in the ballroom let alone dancing.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Funks

I got caught in a compromising and distressful situation last night and it left me depressed all day, today. I almost didn’t write. It took the wind out of my sails. I have been figuratively kicking my self in the ass all day for being stupid. I should know better. I consider myself pretty “street-wise” and “street-smart”. Last night, I dropped the ball.

Chad had called and left a message on my answering machine that he had a computer monitor he wanted to sell for $25 dollars. (This should have been my first and final warning to stay away.) He said he had “acquired” it from an older lady he did a job for. He said he was out of money and wouldn’t get his food stamps until next Monday and was hungry. I drove over to look at it. I thought I would be helping him out by buying it.

“What’s up J-Man!” He said enthusiastically as he opened his door. “You are a hard man to get in touch with.”

He has left multiple messages on my answering machine all week. I have ignored them until the one about the monitor. We went back to his bedroom to look at the monitor. The thing must have been over ten years old and was useless to me.

“Chad, that thing isn’t worth a dollar,” I replied.

“It ain’t no big thang, man,” He said as we walked back to his den. “Come on, have a seat, and let’s talk about old times.”

I sat down in a chair as his little dog, Scrap, jumped up into my lap. We talked about high school and the time we used to be roommates in the early nineties. We kept getting interrupted by strange people knocking at the door. Chad would sheepishly go outside, shut the door for a few minutes, and then walk back in. This happened multiple times during our conversation.

“What’s going on, man?” I asked.

“What do you mean?” Chad replied.

“What’s the deal with all these people coming around for a few moments?” I asked.

I already knew the answer.

“Look, I didn’t want to tell you, but I need the money,” Chad said. “I am selling xanax (a sedative) for a dollar a pill. You want some?”

My spidey sense had been tingling for some time and this put me on full alert. Chad then pulled out a blunt (a cigar with the tobacco taken out and replaced with marijuana) and lit it up, toke a few puffs, and then handed it towards me.

“No thanks, man,” I said. “I don’t smoke weed.”

“You don’t think you could get some (xanax) from your father’s pharmacy, do you?” Chad asked. “I will cut you some of the profits.”

By this time, I was in panic mode. I don’t like being around crazy shit like this. Chad started to talk some pretty wild stuff as he got stoned. I finally just leapt up out of the chair, burst out the door, and drove home. I was so glad when I pulled up into my driveway and got out of that situation. I was finally safe and at home. I haven’t been that uncomfortable in a long time.

The sad thing is that Chad used to be such a prude. When we lived together, he would get mad at me when I brought home a six pack of beer. He didn’t smoke, drink, or do anything that was considered a vice. He also used to be so well spoken and smart, and know he talks and acts like dumb, redneck, white trash. My, do people change. That will be the last time I have any dealings with the guy for sure.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Little Dog, Big Wind

My ex-wife was extremely prudish about things. Our little Boston terrier had a flatulence problem and it embarrassed her. We tried different dog foods to no avail. One night, I and my ex-wife were laying in the bed reading. Otis, our dog, had snuggled under the covers between us. His little problem reared its ugly head. He let loose one of the most nasty and odorous “gifts” he had ever bestowed upon us.

“Jesus, Rachel!” I cried laughing. “You need to go check your drawers. That was nasty.”

“Grumpy,” She said as she blushed and hit me with the book she was reading. “That is not funny. You know that was not me.”

“I don’t think that little dog could have done that,” I replied. “That took a much larger person and it was not me.”

“Well, if I would have done that then I would have blown a hole in my panties,” Rachel said.

We both burst out laughing. I laughed so hard it hurt. Rachel was crying by the time our outburst had started to die down. Otis poked his head out from under the covers looking to see what had caused so much commotion.

“I love it when you can lighten up and laugh,” I said.

Rachel leaned over and kissed me on the lips.

“Don’t you ever blame that dog’s little outbursts on me again,” She said as she smiled and looked at me sternly at the same time.

I rolled over and pulled the covers around me. I went to sleep with a smile on my face. Who knew what fun could come out of little packages such as Otis. I miss that little windy dog.

Journal Entries from another Life

I started my first blog on December 7th, 2003. At the time, I was homeless and living in a tent on some land my family owned way out in the country. I didn’t get a home until later that February after a desperate call for help to my mother. She moved me into where I live now that same night I called. I will never forget her turning on the furnace and feeling that warm air flowing from the vents. It felt like heaven.

Those few months before I got a home I kept a journal everyday and would write my experiences so I could later transcribe them into blogger when I could get access to my computer. Many of those journal entries were just ideas and never published. Nothing really happened today and I don’t feel like writing much so I decided to share one of my entries that captured what my experience was like. I have done some editing to make it more coherent and readable as I transcribed it.


Cold Comfort

This morning was brutally cold. It was well below freezing when I woke up still wrapped in my sleeping bag. I looked at my thermometer on my backpack and it read 27 degrees. I could see my breath when I poked my head out of my bag. No way in hell was I getting out of my warm sleeping bag for that. I got a book and my flashlight and pulled my head into my sleeping bag and read. I was waiting for the sun to get higher in the sky and to warm the air up some. I had read several chapters when hunger overcame my urge to stay warm. I was also very thirsty.

I have learned to sleep with my clothes on or in the sleeping bag with me. That way they are warm when I get dressed. This is especially important with my shoes. The hardest part of this cold is keeping my feet warm and already warm shoes and socks make a world of difference.

I crawled out of my tent to check on the fire I had prepared the night before. It was covered in a thick frost. I had forgotten to put something over it the night before. I can normally get a fire started with just kindling, wood shavings, and pine straw. This morning I cheated. I tore many pages of paper out of my notebook and crumbled them up. I pushed them under the frost covered wood. After several tries and an almost depleted notebook, I finally got a fire going. I took off my gloves and warmed my hands.

After warming up some, I pulled out and lit my camp stove. I made a pot of coffee and boiled some water for ramen noodles. I am so fucking tired of eating ramen noodles though. The thought of another cup of those things makes my stomach churn. The hot coffee is awesome though on a cold morning. It really warms you up from the inside-out.

I need to head into Waverly today and check my PO Box for mail. I also badly need a shower. I haven’t showered in four days. I will probably ride over to the truck stop and buy a shower, but that is a long, cold ride on my motorcycle. I kept hoping that the weather would warm some thus why I have put off bathing for so long. My hair is so greasy it is driving my crazy. God, I am such a fuckup to be in this mess!

Short Update

Not feeling well at all today so I don’t have much to say. I couldn’t sleep at all last night. Every time I was about to drift off I would hear what sounded like a car door shutting loudly outside in my driveway. I would have to get up to go look out my window, but no one was there. It was disconcerting to say the least.

They only thing I want to do is to crawl back into the bed. I took something for my nerves a few minutes ago and it should hit me pretty soon. Luckily, I only had to work a few hours this morning and am off for the afternoon. Back to the bed I go.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Random Thoughts for Tuesday

Drunken Phone Calls

Sometime, during the night, my once friend Chad left a drunken message on my answering machine. Luckily, I never woke up or heard the phone ring. It was one of those calls you make after drinking a case of beer or a fifth of liquor. It was almost humorous and I chuckled a few times, especially when he told me how much he loved me. It was one of the most long winded and rambling messages that has ever graced my answering machine. I saved it for future entertainment. I am sure he will wake up sometime today and not remember calling me. He was that drunk. If I was a heartless bastard, I would encode it as an mp3 and upload it for everyone to hear.

Diet Cokes

I am addicted to diet cokes. Part of my working arrangement with my father is that I get to take home a few items of merchandise if I need them without paying as part of my pay. Lately, I have been getting a case of diet cokes every week. I can drink 24 diet cokes in about 5 or 6 days. I am wondering what it may be doing to my teeth. I would never drink the damn things if I had to pay for them with cash, but I am paying for them with my labor and time; funny how the mind works sometimes. To me they seem “free”.

Political Blogs

I have tried really hard to get interested in and knowledgeable about politics. I have tried to read some of the more popular political blogs, but every time my interest wanes in a few minutes to sometimes mere seconds. I see the same shit posted over and over and over. If you are left leaning, you bitch about the right. If you are right leaning, you bitch about the left. A lot of it is really petty stuff and just seems to divide people further and cloud the real issues we face. I hardly ever see those real issues talked about or discussed. Pick your side; pick the political headline of the day; write the same shit everyone else writes about it; hit publish; repeat tomorrow.

Homeless Blogs

My once favored avenue of reading was the many homeless blogs that I had found. Almost all of them are dead now and not being updated. A friend told me on the phone yesterday that “The Homeless Guy” has been appointed to some taskforce to help homeless people. I feel sorry for those homeless folks as they ain’t gonna get any help from that guy. Homeless people don’t need “taskforces” which are just political bullshit. Homeless people need to band together and help themselves such as what Dignity Village is doing.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Memoirs of a Lonesome Man

She was sound asleep. I had been reading a book and I rolled over in the bed to check on her. She looked so peaceful. I brushed the hair out of her face and kissed her on the cheek. All was well in the world.

Otis, our Boston terrier, jumped up upon the pine trunk at the foot of our bed making a clamorous noise. He had been outside to relieve himself. You could hear the flap of the dog door as he came back in.

“Shhhhh,” I said as I grabbed him with my arms. “Momma is asleep.”

He snuggled up close to me and scurried under the covers. Rachel stirred.

“What are you two up to?” She asked sleepily as she rolled over slightly.

“Hey, doll,” I said as looked down upon her. “Your two men are fixing to head to bed.”

“Good, you know I have to work early tomorrow,” Rachel said as she rolled back over.

I kissed her again on the cheek and said good night. I reached over and turned off our bedside lamp. I pulled Otis close to me and pulled the covers over us. I laid there in the dark as the ceiling fan went round and round. I felt a hand reach across the bed and fumble for mine. I grasped it tightly and squeezed it.

“I love you,” Rachel said as she grasped my hand.

“I love you too, sweetheart,” I replied. “You go to sleep.”

I often wonder if things could have been different. I wonder if our marriage could have worked. That fumbling hand in the darkness still strikes a strong chord within me. I would love nothing more than to wrap a beautiful woman in my arms now and to go to bed. Times past; times lost; such is life.

Preemptive Strike

The phone calls started at 7 AM. The phone would ring three times and then the caller would hang up. They would never leave a message. It was good ole’ Uncle Bob. This had occurred around 4 or 5 times and then I made a preemptive strike. I turned off the ringer and reveled in the peace and quiet.

“If you know who it is then why don’t you just pick up the phone?” You must be thinking.

I am a stubborn son of a bitch when it comes to Uncle Bob. He drives me literally crazy. He only calls if he needs me to do something for him and it is usually trivial shit. I also value my privacy and I have the right to not answer the phone if I do not want to. I don’t care if it is Jesus on the other end trying to sell salvation. If you want me, then leave a fucking message and I will get back in touch with you if it is important.

As predicted, Bob soon drove over. He always does this when he can’t get me to answer the phone. I heard the car door shut and then he tried to open my door. It was locked. He walked around the house and started yelling into my open windows. Bob’s redneck, country twang accented voice rang out into my apartment and sent shivers down my spine.

“Andrew?” Bob hollered. “YOU IN THERE?”

“ANDREW, I KNOW YOUR’E IN THERE. I NEED YOU TO DO SOMETHING,” Bob hollered again.

I acted like I had been asleep.

“What do you want Bob?” I asked through the window.

“Listen, can I come in for a moment?” He asked. “I have been trying to call you all morning.”

I walked to the door and opened it. He stepped inside. I was livid.

“Bob, I know you are an elderly man and I should respect my elders, but the damn phone calls have got to stop, okay?” I said.

My anger had overridden any of my inhibitions.

“Why don’t you just pick up the phone?” Bob asked angrily in reply.

“Bob, listen closely, I have an answering machine!” I exclaimed. “I screen my calls! If it is important I will call you back!”

“I need you to install these here minutes on my cell phone.” Bob replied handing me one of those god awfully expensive pre-pay phone cards from Tracphone.

All of this over a stupid cell phone; I installed the minutes and then handed him back the phone. Bob handed me the little package the card came on.

“Call that there number and see about getting me those double minutes,” Bob said.

“Nope,” I said. “I don’t do phone calls.”

Bob had finally crossed the line. I hate talking on the phone.

“Well, I guess I can go get Linda (his maid) to do it,” Bob said not too pleased with my answer.

“Bob, you have a nice day,” I replied as I ushered him to the door.

He got in his car and left.

Do they sell such a thing as a repellant for obtrusive, aggravating, and un-thoughtful relatives? If so, I want to buy some stock in the company and become a shareholder.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A Grand Meal and a Beautiful Day

I awoke this morning around 5 AM. After drinking a pot of coffee, I put on my hiking clothes and went for a long walk in the predawn dark. Everything was so quiet and all the houses were still unlit. It seemed as if the whole world was still asleep and I was the only awakened soul; this lonely man walking the byways of a slumbering town.

I walked the streets around my neighborhood that were illuminated by the soft glow of streetlights. It was so serene and calming. Times like these are my moments to organize my thoughts and to soothe my soul. Soon, the vibrant stars in the sky dimmed and disappeared. Dawn began to make its appearance as the pitch black sky turned a pale blue. I walked up my driveway to a beautiful view of the rising sun in the east as I concluded my hike.

I came in and fixed breakfast. It was nothing elaborate; just some oatmeal with a liberal dab of grape jelly to sweeten it. I then made up my bed, took a shower, and got in front of this computer to check my daily reads I spent several hours just perusing different websites that engender my interest.

The Phone rang harshly and broke the silence. It was my father.

“I am cooking lunch so don’t eat anything,” He said. “Come on over as soon as you want to.”

“Let me change clothes and I will be right over,” I replied.

I walked over and sat on my parent’s couch reading the latest National Geographic. The smells coming from the kitchen made me salivate and my stomach growled with hunger.

“Time to eat!” Dad called from the kitchen. “Go get your mother out of the bed.”

Dad had fixed a wonderful lunch of roast beef with potatoes, onions, and carrots. The side dishes were a hearty broccoli and rice casserole, English peas, pear salad, and cornbread. We all ate until we were stuffed. I ate two plates full of food myself.

Afterwards, I and my dad sat on the back porch as I smoked my pipe. My pipe smoking habit intrigues him. He often calls me “professor” when he sees me smoking it. It is a good hearted jibe.

“I am so proud of you lately,” He said.

“Why?” I asked after I exhaled another draw of smoke from my pipe.

“You just seem to be doing so well,” He said. “Everyone down at the store and many of my customers have complimented on you the past few weeks. You just seem so healthy and have done a damn fine job lately

“Thanks, I really appreciate that a lot,” I replied. “Hearing it makes a world of difference.”

“Well, I am going to go put my pajamas back on and take a long nap,” Dad said.

“Dad, that sounds like a wonderful idea,” I replied.

“Was my lunch good?” He asked as he stood up to go back inside.

“Dad, you would have made your mother proud,” I replied. “It was delicious.”

I walked on home and took a short nap as well. I then spent the rest of the afternoon tinkering with my blog template and trying to learn some more HTML and CSS coding. In all, it has been a good day.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Realist Begins a Quiet Weekend

I sometimes get this revolutionary/activist bent. I see so much wrong and so much injustice in the way things are currently going, but I finally settle back down and the realist in me comes front and center. There is nothing I can really do in my current situation to make much change other than to explore new ideas and to write about it. I don’t think our current system of corporatist government is going to change in my lifetime or anytime soon. It is far too entrenched and far too powerful.

In these times though I am like a sponge soaking up ideas and knowledge. I have pretty much spent my spare time the past few days searching for essays/articles and reading constantly. When I exhaust one author’s works, I move on to another. This morning, I passed the time reading Noam Chomsky’s writings and pondering over his ideas. I even found that he has a blog and some entries have over 700 hundred comments! Could you imagine trying to keep up with that? I find it hard just keeping up with the sparse few comments I do receive on this meager blog.

Anyways, much of the day today will be spent reading, drinking coffee, and smoking. I have to work two hours, but then will be off until Monday. The only other things I have planned are recording the Auburn Football game and editing out the commercials via my computer. I will then burn it to a DVD so I can watch it on my television and don’t have to sit in front of this computer monitor. I will also have to complete my daily walk. (I like to call it my daily hike as that sounds more adventurous.)

Right, let me get a shower and get ready for work. Deliveries await me. Also, I want to go by the farmer’s market and see if something fancies me for supper tonight, although I have enough vegetable soup left over to feed me for days. I think I shall just freeze it. Good day.

Friday, September 9, 2005

The Devil’s Haircut

I had to get my haircut yesterday and it was not a pleasant experience. If you have read any amount of time you may know of my peculiar feelings about personal boundaries. I don’t like strangers getting so close to me and it causes me a great deal of anxiety. Haircuts mean that a stranger has his/her hands in my hair and upon my scalp. I also abhor the small talk you must endure and participate in while getting through these experiences. I guess I must come across as so anti=social. I just can’t help it.

I have been putting it off for weeks and finally had to get a haircut for work. My hair was growing untamable and wild and harder to blow dry with the passing of every day. I called mom and asked her to get me an appointment with her hairdresser. She sighed with relief when I had finally given in as she has wanted me to get my haircut for weeks.

“You will feel better after you get your haircut,” She said. “It will only take a few minutes and it will be over.”

“I know it seems like a simple thing for you,” I replied. “But this will make me so anxious all day that I will be miserable.”

“Let me go down with you,” She said. “Afterwards, we will go get something to eat.”

“Okay,” I replied and hung up the phone.

Mom drove over and we then drove the short drive down to the hair salon in the same shopping center as the Piggly Wiggly. The hairdresser, Rhonda, motioned for me to come and sit in her chair, and she would then get busy cutting my hair. I walked towards the chair with tunnel vision. My palms were sweaty and my forehead was moist from nervous anxiety. I sat down in the chair and closed my eyes as she began the work of taming my wild locks. Within moments, I opened my eyes and it was all over. I looked like a new man in the mirror. I pulled out my wallet and paid Rhonda, and then walked out, relieved to have that over with.

Mom and I then went down to Captain D’s and ate supper. We both quietly sat there as we ate our fish platters.

“I know you are glad to have that over with,” She said as she smiled and broke the silence.

“Yeah,” I replied. “I feel as if a great burden has been lifted off my shoulders.

We finished our meal and made our way back up through the Valley to home. I thanked mom for dinner and for the support. I then went inside and sat in my lounge chair and let out a huge sigh of relief. Another momentous hurdle had been jumped.

Country Cookin’

Lately, I have been in the habit of riding my bike down to the farmer’s market. The difference with the flavor and freshness of their vegetables versus the big chains is unmistakable and the price is usually better as well. You haven’t really tasted a tomato until you’ve had one from local fields and just off the vine. Those things make some of the best tomato sandwiches and soup.

Everyday, I like to pick out one or two fresh vegetables and make a meal out of it. This brings me great satisfaction. Yesterday, I cooked some rutabagas and a squash casserole. Rutabagas, if you are not familiar with them, are a root vegetable much like a turnip. When cooked they take on this rich, orange hue like cooked pumpkin. Here in the south we cook them with some salt pork (my grandmother called it fatback) until they get nice and tender and then we mash them. I love to eat them with some homemade vinegary hot-pepper sauce.

This morning, I rode down and bought some beautiful vegetables for vegetable beef soup and some peaches to make a cobbler. (A cobbler is a southern treat that is akin to a pie. It customarily has a latticed pastry crust that is light and flaky.) I picked out some beautiful tomatoes, onions, corn, okra, green beans, and potatoes. I brought them all home and carefully cut them up into bite-size pieces and placed them in my crock pot. I then put in some cubed stew beef that I had defrosted in the refrigerator over night. I topped all of this with water and salt and pepper to taste. I will let this slow cook around 6 to 8 hours until the vegetables and beef are tender and cooked through.

The smells of that soup cooking will drive me crazy all day. I am sure there will be many moments where I go take off the glass top, take a big whiff, and survey how well dinner is coming along. It should be ready when I get off from work. Pull the peach cobbler out of the oven, cook a pan of cornbread, pour a glass of sweet tea, and dinner is served. Bon Appetit!

Thursday, September 8, 2005

A Sea of Banality

I wasn’t going to update my blog today, but here is another post. Like a moth drawn to a candle flame, I am back for another day. I had written one post today about my experiences with getting a haircut yesterday. It was called “The Devil’s Haircut”. I didn’t publish it. I censored myself. It sits on my computer’s desktop in a Word file languishing probably never to be edited or read again. Why did I censor myself and what was so bad about the post?

It made me feel dirty and I started to ask myself why. It was the truth. It is exactly what happened yesterday and yet I couldn’t publish it, but I got great satisfaction out of writing it. I felt relieved to get my ideas down on “paper” and to release them. I just couldn’t share it. The thought of publishing it was mortifying.

The post dealt with my mental illness and the phobia I have of going out and doing something as seemingly simple as getting a haircut. I felt I would be ostracized for sharing it. “How can a 33 year old man not just go down to the Barber and get a haircut without it becoming a major crisis?” I thought people would think. It made me feel as if I was acting like a frightened child.

This brought me to thinking about why I would want to hide my illness and my feelings. I am fallible and like most others want to fit in and appear “normal”. I have often learned the hard way in life that to stand out or to reveal too much can be a dangerous thing when dealing with unpredictable others. I have been burned before by my previous blog as family members made an attempt to censor me because they thought I revealed too much. This left a big distaste in my mouth for what I do everyday in updating this blog. Maybe that has a lot to do with my uneasiness with writing and sharing it publicly. Still, it made me think about how much control we give others in our day to day lives and how our behavior can easily be modified by the thoughts and actions of others. This brought me to, “Are we truly free?”

I don’t feel free most of the time. I feel caged and corralled by what others think and expect of me. I want to break free and toss my cares into the wind, but like others, I have been carefully conditioned to think and act a certain way. Everywhere I turn I see this happening; in my relations with my family; in my writings; in what I see touted in our media. It seems that everyone has an opinion on how I should act and live my life and, frighteningly, most of those opinions are the same or very close. I just feel it stifles creativity and originality. That is why I find modern society and popular media so boring and restrictive. Everyone is trying to fit in and be alike.

I crave individualism, creativity, openness, and distinctiveness. I yearn for unconventional ideas and inspiring and non-mainstream thoughts. I guess I will just keep looking, but have found very few in my daily life and on the internet. I feel as if I am caught adrift among a sea of banality; a cast-away amidst throngs of clones who think and act alike.

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Our Homegrown Third World

I guess I live life from a unique perspective. I have known great wealth and have also experienced destitute poverty. My family is very wealthy, but by most standards I would be considered poor by my income.

I grew up in your typical upper middle class family. I and my siblings had opportunities that most children never get in a lifetime. My brother and sister both went on to become successful physicians of internal medicine. I tuned out to be this simple man who likes to read and write, and who works quietly in his father’s business in a modest position.

When I was in college the first time, my father bought me a brand new car, a nice apartment, paid my tuition, and gave me two credit cards; one for gas and one for expenses. I lived the charmed life, but there was a dark cloud on the horizon called schizophrenia.

My disease hit with full force in my early twenties, just as the best opportunities were being afforded me. It filled me with fear, apathy, and complacency. Life became a nightmare of delusions and paranoia. I could no longer go to college and I struggled for years with keeping a job

I finally ended up a broken and beaten man just out of a failed marriage and homeless; scorned by my once loving family. My disease had robbed me of everything in my life I had held so dear. All my opportunities had long since gone and had disappeared; pulled out of the grasps of my hands by this devastating disease that I had inherited, but didn’t ask for.

I had thought that my life was over. I spent six months out in the woods in the cold drinking tepid beer everyday and smoking copious amounts of cigarettes. These were my last comforts; my last tenuous holds on sanity. It was a slow crash and took about ten years, but I had finally hit bottom. I lived in the kind of poverty and destitution that you would think would only occur in Third World Nations. Not America, the land of the brave and the free; a nation where millions of poor people flooded in through Ellis Island as immigrants at the turn of the century lured by opportunity and new lives.

Normally, I stay away from main stream media, but I have been reading and catching glimpses of something amazing happening through other blogs. There seems to be this momentum going in the main stream press where the poverty and the “Third Worlds” of our great nation is being talked about and exposed. Katrina was just the catalyst.

I read the proceeding article and have read many others like it lately. Will this catalyst that caused so much damage and destruction bring about some good and change in our modern world? I do hope so. So many people could and can be helped if this momentum I am noticing continues to spread and grow.