Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Aromas on the Air and Catchers in the Rye…

As I hiked down the sidewalk by the four lane highway adjacent to the old abandoned cotton mill at noon today, the aroma of smoked barbeque was wafting upon the cool, fall air. My stomach grumbled at that tempting smell. I have noticed on my hikes these days a little mobile roadside barbeque stand and it stays quite busy. It certainly smells wonderful as you walk by. I pulled out and surveyed the contents of my wallet trying to decide if a cold Gatorade and an energy bar from the convenience store or a smoked barbeque chicken plate would be a better purchase. I splurged and decided upon the chicken. I walked on over to try my luck and buy a box lunch. All these people buying couldn’t be wrong and they weren’t. It was delicious and well worth the money spent.

Inside the $6.50 barbeque plate was a half of a smoked chicken with two slices of loaf bread, a heaping serving of creamy slaw, a miniscule bag of potato chips, and a small mound of dill pickle slices. I sat in the little park adorned with almost forgotten monuments to men long dead across from the old abandoned cotton mill and ate my plate. The sky was a beautiful pastel blue adorned by wispy cirrus clouds flowing across the fall sky like spilt milk. Four pigeons darted around at my feet cooing softly awaiting a few scraps of bread from me which I threw and they greedily tussled over and consumed.

By the time I had eaten all of that chicken and the plate, I was feeling quite laden and full. It was a long two mile hike home as I had grown terribly sleepy. It was tempting to just take off my Kelty pack, lie down in the grass beside the sidewalk, and take a nap. I am sure I would have been mistaken for dead by passing motorists though and not the sleeping beauty (sarcasm) I was.

As I passed over the creek that runs by Dollar General and the title pawn place, I saw Droopy walking towards me in the distance. I rarely see much of the gang these days. At first, it was good to see him until he opened his mouth that is.

“Man, you ain’t be havin’ five bucks I could borrow to get something to eat?” He asked bypassing all pleasantries in his staccato and stuttering voice.

One thing about the gang is they are all always perpetually broke and need to borrow your money. I am known as an easy mark within this circle of friends. I sighed as I reached into my wallet and handed him three dollars in compromise.

“That will get you two chili burgers or two chili dogs down the road at Sarah Jay’s and a coke,” I replied.

Droopy smiled, thanked me, and patted me on the shoulder.

“Did you hear George is getting out of jail?” He then asked. “He wrote Pookie and told her.”

“Yeah, he wrote me as well. I think I am going to have to be the one that has to go pick him up in Lafayette at the county jail,” I replied. “He is supposed to call me back or write the details.”

“It sure will be good to have that son of a bitch back in town again,” Droopy told me as he grinned furiously.

I agreed with Droopy and politely said good bye to make my way on home. My comfy lazy boy recliner and a nap were calling me earnestly. To my surprise, an animal control police officer’s vehicle was sitting in my driveway and the officer was knocking upon my side door as I walked up my driveway. I hollered out to greet him as he turned to look my way. He walked over to shake my hand.

“Do you have a little wire haired terrier mix?” He asked.

“Yes sir,” I replied. “Her name is Maggie.”

“We’ve had several complaints about it running free though the neighborhood by the old lady down the street with all the cats,” He told me.

Damn busybody old hag,” I thought to myself angrily. She is a sour puss of an old lady and is always bitching and calling the city and police about her neighbors for various reasons. Her cats roam the neighborhood freely devastating the local fauna daily like little assassins. There is no city ordinance against cats roaming free.

“I will make sure she stays in the fence from now on,” I told him.

“I hated to bother you with something so trivial, but when someone calls in a complaint we have to act on it,” He replied.

“I know,” I replied. “I understand. Thank you for being so nice about it and just giving me a warning and not a ticket.”

We do have a leash law, but it is rarely enforced being a small town. It stemmed from a local elderly lady getting killed by a pit-bull as she walked through her neighborhood a couple of years ago here. Mrs. Pilkington was her name.

The officer shook my hand once again, got in his patrol car, and drove off. I was going to take a nap, but now I am pissed off mad and sleep has left me. Damn old busybody! Maggie is going to go stir crazy in that fence all day and I hate to keep her locked up inside as well only going out for bathroom breaks.

Finding Equilibrium…

I know I never talk about my mental illness. Like I wrote in my profile to the right, I try not to let it define me. I’ve read a lot of blogs and online journals by people with schizophrenia and mental illness and they got to where they depressed me and I quit reading them all. It is one thing to deal with mental illness on a daily basis and quite another to have to read about it constantly as well. I just have enough symptoms of my own without constantly reading about others trials with these diseases of the brain and a lot of it was incessant whining. And it is a disease no less debilitating than lets say cancer. It robs you of your life, yet you live on an empty, broken shell if you can’t find medications that help. And some never do; forever caged in the tormenting prisons that are their minds living the rest of their lives homeless and destitute or in care homes and institutions shunned by their families. Death is not a viable respite unless you take such matters into your own hands unlike those with more “chronic” life ending diseases that can be seen on blood tests, CAT scans, MRIs, and X-Rays.

I still struggle daily, but just don’t share it. I have learned that when people hear or read you have schizophrenia then that automatically conjures images of killers and violent individuals in their minds. You are immediately distrusted and treated as suspect. I think we all have seen the episodes of Law and Order or CSI were the killer is a delusional schizophrenic who takes the life of a loved one because his voices were telling him to do so. Schizophrenics are such convenient plot devices for crime dramas as it makes a compelling story and interesting court room battle as the defendant tries to plea insanity along with the moral and ethical questions that arise. I would argue that most schizophrenics are more apt to hurt themselves than others. This disease will predisposition you for self destruction and/or suicide. There are always exceptions to the rule though, but the same goes for mentally healthy society as well. There are far more mentally capable killers and crime committers than there ever will be mentally ill of the same ilk.

I hope for some of you that have read me for a long time will see that schizophrenics can be kind, caring, and loving people with the proper treatment. I have fears, wants, desires, and lusts just like you. I also have a vibrant soul and mind yearning to express themselves. I love and care about a great deal of people in my online and offline life and want only what is best for them. I would never want to harm those that I care about deeply.

One of my most persistent symptoms lately is paranoia of ridicule in public. I am scared of strangers and unfamiliar people. I feel they are watching me intently and laughing at me behind my back and to my face. Often on these daily hikes lately, I leave the house and cross the Georgia state line just yards down from my home. Soon, I am in downtown West Point, Georgia; a bustling old southern downtown with many walking pedestrians, cars whizzing by, and century old storefronts. As I walk through town to reach the tracks beyond, I have to fight the thoughts that all these many eyes are prying and watching me. A simple smile and hello as a stranger passes on the sidewalk can mean to me that they are mocking me and laughing at me. It is so pervasive it can be all encompassing to me at that moment. It is a battle to push those thoughts out of my mind and to rationalize “normal” thinking about such matters. Without the help of my medications, I would not be able to grasp that last step in these encounters.

Monday, October 30, 2006

9 Miles Distance…

I made nine miles today! Woohoo! I have found I can make about three miles per hour with my gait. I hiked for a little over three hours at a pretty steady pace. My legs were about to give out though by the time I got home. It is going to be tough getting up to twenty miles a day for the trail this summer. It is going to take a lot of diligence, daily hiking, and willpower; all things I can be notorious for lacking sometimes.

It was just a wonderfully gorgeous day today. It felt like spring. I hiked in only a t-shirt and some khaki shorts. The butterflies were back out and locusts were calling their shrill calls in the tall grass around me. The flora and fauna seemed to be reinvigorated by the warm temperatures; a last respite before the cold days of winter set in.

I once again made my way down to the rails. The tracks were unnervingly quiet all morning with nary a train. I stood apprehensively in front of that grand steel truss bridge spanning the even grander Chattahoochee River. It must have been half a mile across to the other side. The signal in the far distance was shimmering green in the warm air rising from the tracks heated by the sun. I looked at the bridge’s builder’s plate and it read, “Built by Baldwin and Sons, 1928.” It certainly looks to be about that old.

I took the first step and picked up pace. I kept an open ear listening for the far off wail of a train horn hoping I wouldn’t hear one. My adrenaline peaked about the time I got to the half way point. That was the point of no return. I nervously turned around to look far down the tracks to view the other signal. It was green too. I sighed with relief. I had to fight vertigo as you could see the swirling, green waters of the river a hundred feet below me through the ties in the track. I had to step carefully. I finally made it to the other side and sat down upon a concrete abutment to smoke a celebratory cigarette and to have a drink. I know. I know. The irony of someone hiking miles everyday and still smoking doesn’t escape me. I am hopelessly addicted and seem to have no shortness of breath as of yet.

______________________________


Grad007 had asked in a comment how long it will take me to hike the Appalachian Trail. The trail is just over 2100 miles long running from the mountains of North Georgia to the mountains of Maine. I am hoping at 20 miles a day it will take me around four months with breaks for rest and town visits. Don’t think I will not occasionally get a hotel room and get online from time to time. They also sell little devices with a small keyboard were I can email my tales via a cellular connection and I will look into buying one and joining a monthly plan. That way you all can keep up with me as I hike and someone can post to the blog for me.

Abbagirl asked yesterday what I think about while I walk for so many hours. I have a bad habit of listening to the little Sony radio I own. I am addicted to AM talk radio. I also like to take in the sights and sounds as I hike as I keep the radio volume very low to listen for trains. I do think about deeper subjects as well. It truly is a grand time to organize one’s thoughts and feelings as she surmised.

Concerns…

I am growing concerned about Carolyn. She called in sick all weekend and has stayed in the bed for most of it. I called her this morning trying to get her out of her funks.

“Why don’t you come over here and let me cook us a good breakfast this morning,” I told her.

“Don’t call me so early in the morning. I am going back to sleep,” She replied tersely as she almost hung up the phone.

“Well, it is just not like you to do this,” I said. “You are one of the hardest workers I know.”

“I think I really am sick,” She said. “I just don’t feel well.”

“Do you think you are depressed?” I asked.

She has had a lot of crap going on between her and her ex-husband lately and I thought that might be it.

“No, I am just deathly tired all the time. I think it is just menopause,” She replied.

“Well, I am here for you if you need me,” I said. “I wish you would go see Dr. Kamath.”

“Maybe I will get an appointment for this afternoon,” She replied. “I will talk to you later. I am going back to bed.”

We both hung up the phone.

I am growing very concerned about her. I don’t know the symptoms of menopause or whether is causes depression or not. She is 45 after all and it is about that time of life for a woman. I just wish there was something I could do to help her. I feel so useless about this whole affair. My life is never simple.

______________________________


On a more positive note, I slept through the whole night for once and feel so damn good and rested this morning. The National Weather Service is predicting a high of 79 degrees today. I am going to spend most of the day hiking and exploring this little small southern town I live in. I will, in no doubt, gravitate back down to the rails today. I want to hike across the old steel truss bridge that crosses the Chattahoochee once the air warms up. Let’s just hope no trains come roaring down the tracks while I am on that bridge. I will check the signals before crossing so don’t worry. Good day.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Another Letter from George...

It seems George (Sherman) will be getting out of jail soon. The rumors were true floating around down at the shopping center.

I didn’t check my mail yesterday. A moment ago, I walked outside to be greeted by a crisp and cool fall afternoon as I made my way to the mailbox down the driveway. There was a single, solitary letter in it addressed to me from George. In it, he talked mostly about mundane things about how the vegetable soup they served the other day didn’t have salt in it and that his "Mexican" cellmate has a flatulence problem and can’t carry on a conversation in English worth a fuck (his words). I chuckled out loud as I read that last part. That would just be George’s luck.

George also asked me if I had seen Big S, Ferret, Pookie, or any others of the gang. He then closed his letter by writing that he would most likely get early release next week. He said the first thing he was going to do is to buy a case of beer and a box of cigars and party until he drops. I guess some things will never change.

I wrote him back a letter and just printed it out and sealed it in an envelope. I will put it in the mail in the morning. This is what I wrote:

Dear George,

No, I haven’t seen much of our friends lately. You had a knack for keeping the group together. Ferret is out of that group home for homeless men and living with his mother again in town. I and you both know that will not end up in a positive conclusion. Big S finally got a cease and desist order from the police to stop panhandling at the Piggly Wiggly down at the shopping center due to complaints. He has moved across the river to Givorn’s grocery store these days to do his begging. I still see Dan occasionally and he still feeds his seagulls almost every morning. Cap w/ Tag Guy still hangs out down at the Pig everyday. He no longer sells crack and gets disability. How in the hell he got disability I will never know as he looks fit as a fiddle and nothing seems to be wrong with him. I saw Droopy walking through town the day before yesterday as I walked the railroad tracks next to the depot in West Point.

You gave me a big chuckle about your cellmate. Do you need me to mail you some Beano for him to help with that problem? That just would be your luck to have to live with such a bad companion.

That is excellent news that you may be released soon. Write me back to let me know if I or when I need to come up to Lafayette and pick you up. I will go by and tell your mother in the next day or so if you haven’t already written her. I try to stop by once a week and check on her to see how she is doing still.

I do want to ask you to not drink and drive when you get out. If you must get drunk, then come over here with me or just stay at home. I do hope you have learned your lesson. I have missed our friendship very much and do not want you to go back to jail. You know AA is always an option, but I will not preach. I can’t say I have been perfect on the abstinence front and often long for twelve or more beers these days as well.

Well, I must get some supper started. Call me at ***-**** if you have forgotten my number to let me know the details of your release. I am surprised you haven’t been calling me from jail so I assume you forgot or lost my number.

Your good friend,

Andrew

Star Shadows…

I awoke this morning at 2:24 AM exactly and sat wide awake on the edge of my bed. My shirt and my sheets were just soaking wet. I have had the worst night sweats lately. Maggie was lying at my feet and sleepily looked up at me like, “kid, we have got to get you some sleep aids.” I rubbed her on her belly as she submissively rolled over and walked into my kitchen to start some coffee as she followed me. Coast to Coast AM was softly playing on my bedside alarm clock and I could still hear it in the kitchen and den. That old familiar Art Bell was hosting tonight from the Philippines.

I got my old fashioned coffee percolator percolating and soon the rich aroma of those ground, roasted beans filled my home. That smell brings back so many fond memories of country mornings eating breakfast on my grandmother’s farm before we were to set out to tend to immense gardens filled with tall stalks of sweet corn, watermelons, and vines of tomatoes spread out down in the fields below her house.

What to do?” I thought as I then sat at my computer with my fresh mug of coffee and a cigarette to check my email and then my blog comments.

I immediately thought again of Laurent and the advice he gave many mornings ago. I will just hike until I am tired. I decided to let Maggie accompany me with it being so early in the morning and there being no traffic. I can’t say I didn’t have second thoughts about her stubby little legs being able to keep up with me for such a long walk. I donned my forty pound gear laden Kelty backpack, opened the back door to step out, and Maggie went bounding out upon my driveway only to abruptly turn around to look and see if I was going to follow. She knows that backpack means that it is travel time.

“Come on girl,” I told her. “Let’s go take a walk out into God’s country.”

I headed out spring road this time. It was a briskly cold night. I walked for many miles until the glow of the street lights finally faded behind me and the neighborhood homes vanished into forestland and pastures beyond the city limits. My eyes became acclimated to the dark night with only a brilliantly starry and clear sky casting soft, muted shadows in front of me upon the almost pitch black road. I walked and walked as Maggie ran and barked, protecting me from the unseen, dangerous denizens of the night that only she could see and hear.

Several hours passed until we came to the point were the asphalt ends and the road turns to dirt. A lone, small African American Methodist church stands out there with an eerily lit graveyard by its side. I shuddered as I walked past thinking of all those long dead people lying decades dormant in their coffins feet under the ground. I had to concentrate to get it out of my mind that I would one day lie in that same predicament as well; such morbid and macabre thoughts.

I finally got tired of walking and Maggie was as well. Her jubilant running and barking had devolved into a slow gait right by my side. She was determined to keep up with me though. I stopped and sat down on the edge of the dirt road in the dew covered grass as Maggie sat close to me in the cold night air; her ears and eyes alertly primed to look for danger and anything amiss. I pulled off my backpack to get out my platypus water bottle. I took a long drink and then took off my gloves to put some in my cupped hands for Maggie to drink and she lapped it up greedily. That water was freezing cold and my hands quickly grew numb. I dried them upon my pants and re-donned my gloves.

Far off down in the woods, the pensive call of a lone male whip-o-will echoed out into the night. That bird’s call always reminds me of my nights spent living in a tent in the woods when I was homeless. I would lay in my sleeping bag, lonesome, listening to that haunting and wistful sound sometimes crying myself to sleep lamenting my dire situation. Those forlorn thoughts can come rushing back to me so vividly upon being reawakened by certain sights, smells, and sounds such as these.

I and Maggie finally started our walk back home as the first pink and orange light of sunrise was on the horizon. The sun finally rose just above the distant tree tops and the heavy dew on the grass in the pastures surrounding me twinkled like little sparkling jewels in its early morning light. Black and white Holsteins were already busily grazing their morning fodder of bright green fall grass in the expansive pastures spread out around us.

Finally, I trudged up the seemingly endless street to home with Maggie following far behind as a heavy fog had started to roll in off of the Chattahoochee. I turned around and called her to catch up. We both walked inside my warm home and now I am going to collapse in my comfortable lazy boy recliner and go back to sleep while the drone of the television softly plays most likely tuned to the Weather Channel. Maggie is already lying on her side sound asleep at my feet once again. She is tuckered out. It does seem that this exercise and these wonderful walks are reinvigorating my spirit and soul and doing far more good for my mental health than any medication for mental illness has done in years. I feel I have a purpose in my life once again; to walk and experience the wonders of the world around me.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Quarter no more…

I had an enjoyable hike today. I only made four miles though. My legs felt like rubber. I am tired today for some reason.

I once again walked the rails despite it being trespassing on railroad property. Thankfully, I didn’t encounter any Bulls (railroad police). The rails were really busy around noon. Train after train passed. It can be quite harrowing when you are only three feet from a roaring, million ton freight with a steep drop off being your only recourse to get off from near the tracks. A few times, I had to stumble down an embankment to let the trains fly by to keep me unscathed. It is fun to live dangerously sometimes though.

I once again walked behind the abandoned cotton mill. Far down the tracks, I saw the signal change from green to yellow to red signifying a train was on the way. I walked over to the tracks and placed a spare quarter upon one of the rails. I then went and sat upon the old loading dock behind the mill to await the train while I pulled out a cherry hinted cigarillo and lit it up. Smoking that cigarillo brought back fond memories of Sherman. I miss that guy. He was the biggest screw up drunk there ever was, but he was also a very good and dear friend. The rumor down at the shopping center is he will be getting out of jail soon on early release for good behavior. I have my doubts though as he would have written me about it most likely.

The train finally rumbled by as the ground shook underneath my feet from its great weight. It was an intermodal container train; a high priority freight traveling at a high rate of speed. These trains have precedence over all others as this is the railroad’s big money maker these days. I watched as the last car passed and the end of the train device (EOT) flashed off into the distance and disappeared around the corner far down the tracks. I walked over to pick up my now sliver thin piece of metal that was once a quarter dollar. It was still very warm to the touch from the friction of the wheels and the compression from the weight of the train. I always loved doing that as a child. I guess I am still a kid at heart to be 34. I put it in my backpack as a souvenir of today’s journey and hiked on home with renewed vigor.

Good Morning Sunshine…

I awoke this morning in Carolyn’s bed after finally falling back asleep. I rolled over to find her still resting soundly and snoring softly. I never sleep well over at her house like I do at home. I quietly crawled out of bed and made my way to the kitchen still in my t-shirt, underwear, and tube socks. I stood at her fridge and looked inside after opening the door.

Girl, you need do to some serious shopping,” I thought to myself looking at the meager offerings that greeted me from within the fridge's stark white and almost empty confines.

Carolyn has an automatic coffee maker and she had prepared it the night before. It wasn’t set to go off for another hour. I pushed the button to manually start it and soon the coffee was ready. I poured a cup and stood at her backdoor looking out upon her backyard while one of her cats purred and weaved in and out from between my legs rubbing up against them.

“Hey sweetheart,” I said bending over to pet her.

She purred ever so more loudly experiencing what can only be cat nirvana.

It was freezing cold in Carolyn’s house this morning. I tend to be cold natured and she gets pissed off when I turn up the heat real high because of the costs. I had to fight the urge to fiddle with the thermostat. I quietly walked back to the bedroom and pulled on some sweat pants and a pull-over fleece shirt. She stirred.

“Hey hon, you up?” She said as she rolled over to look at me with her head sticking out from under the covers. Her hair was all amiss. I smiled, tickled at the view.

“Yeah, you know me. I can’t sleep well these days,” I replied. “I was going to start breakfast, but you don’t have much to eat in the fridge. Your eggs are out of date and the bacon looks a little funky.”

“Go get us some sausage biscuits at McDonald’s and I will get up and get a shower,” She replied. “Get ten dollars out of my purse on the table in the den.”

I got in my car and made my way down to the wondrous establishment of fine cuisine that is our local Mickey D’s. They are staffed with the finest examples of exemplary personages.

“Can I take your order?” The attendant replied sounding bored through the speaker as I pulled up to order at the drive thru.

“Yeah, I want two sausage biscuits and two large OJs,” I replied.

“Two sausage biscuits and two large coffees?” She then repeated.

“No coffees. Two large ORANGE JUICES please,” I replied trying to be patient.

I hate fast food, but was hungry beyond reproach this morning. She finally repeated my order and got it right giving me the total. By this time, a large line of cars had formed behind me. I should know better in that it is always faster to just park, walk inside, and order. I was being sleepily lazy. I finally got our food and headed back to Carolyn’s house.

“Did you get any packets of mustard?” Carolyn asked me as I stepped through the door upon returning.

She had a towel wrapped around her head after washing her hair and taking a shower.

“I know you well enough to know you like mustard on your sausage biscuits,” I replied.

We both curled up closely on the couch as we ate our sausage biscuits and drank our orange juice. Carolyn had washed her hair with some kind of apple scented shampoo that actually smelled more appetizing than the breakfast I was eating. Sponge Bob Square Pants was also showing on Nickelodeon upon the TV. I don’t watch it much, but it is my favorite cartoon and I find it hilarious. I laughed heartily at Sponge Bob’s and Patrick’s antics.

“I am going to get you a Sponge Bob t-shirt for Christmas,” Carolyn told me.

“That would be so awesome,” I replied. “I will wear it with pride.”

We sat there for the longest time curled up watching stupid cartoons after eating and enjoying each other’s company. It was a fine start to a wonderful Saturday morning. Now, I am off for my daily hike. Today’s goal is at least six miles, but my legs and feet sure are sore this morning and balking from these previous day’s exertions. Hopefully, I can get these old dogs to perform this morning. Good day.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Program Interrupted…

Subsequent Minor Edit - 5:04 AM - Saturday: I did a minor edit to substitute some of my crass language with less offensive language more suitable for younger audiences or sensitive ears. I apologize for my potty mouth. I really have been trying to cut out some of my cursing as it is low class and it worries me. You say things in the heat of the moment that you would never normally say. A commenter had noted that it made me seem uneducated and they are right. I don't want to come across as some crass Alabama redneck country bumpkin type of person.

I am once again up at the crack of dawn. I think I shall go back to bed and try to sleep again. I really wish I was home right now in my own bed. I can never sleep well over at Carolyn's house. She is sleeping like a baby. I want to go take a long, long walk.


____________________________


It is Friday night. The phone rings. I am in the middle of the only TV show I watch these days other than Little House on the Prairie: Battlestar Galactica on the SciFi channel.

“Crap,” I mutter at a pivotal point in the show on about the third ring. The machine will pick up on the fourth. I rush to the phone. I watch television on my computer and the phone is across my den.

“I need you right now,” A soft, demure female voice says on the other end when I answer and say hello.

“Hold on,” I say. “I need to turn the sound down.”

As I say that, a large cylinder of ash on the tip of my lit cigarette falls to the carpeted floor.

"Dammit!” I exclaim loudly. “Son of a biscuit eater!"

"That is what I get for smoking inside,” I then mutter.

I quickly bend over to make sure there weren’t any still burning embers. I rub the ashes into the carpet until they almost disappear. I rush over to turn down my surround system and then quickly back to the phone after putting out my cigarette in the ash tray.

“What happened? Why did you cuss so loudly?” Carolyn asks.

“Oh nothing,” I reply. “It’s not important. Are you okay?”

“I just need you tonight. Will you come over and stay with me?”

I sigh softly where she can’t hear. I was so into my program. It is the only damn show I like to really watch regularly these days.

“I will be over in a few.”

“Bring some clothes so you can spend the night,” She tells me. “And bring one of your extra large white cotton t-shirts for me to sleep in.”

“Leave the garage light on and let me put Maggie in the fence and I will see you soon.”

“I love you,” She says.

“I love you too,” I say as we hang up the phone.

Oh well, by the time I got back to my computer the show was almost over. I will talk to you all again in the morning or I may blog from over there. I have been in a writing mood today. I have to go with the flow when this happens.

For Summer…

I am always worried these kinds of writings are just boring, mundane crap between Carolyn and Me. I thought I would write this for Summer though as she wanted a “Carolyn and Me” encounter last night and one happened just a moment ago.

___________________________


As is my habit when returning home from going to the store for cigarettes, I just checked my answering machine for messages. There was last night’s message from Abbagirl that made me smile once again. I played it back twice. I love how she told me if I wanted to actually “shoot the shit” to pick up the phone. I enjoy her bluntness and candor. Then there was a message from Carolyn…

Friday, 11:06 AM, you have one new message,” The answering machine bellowed in its artificial synthesized voice that sounded like a bad Stephen Hawking impersonation.

“Hey, you up yet?” Carolyn asked me sleepily as I could hear her yawn on the other end as the message played. “Where in the hell are you this time of morning? You always get up at ungodly hours. Call me back.”

I picked up the phone and called her back. The phone rang and rang and I was growing worried Carolyn wouldn’t answer. She finally picked up the phone. She had fallen back asleep.

“Is something wrong?” I asked. “You should be at work.”

“I called in sick!” She said with glee like a giddy school child getting to stay home from school because of a snow day. “I told them to take that job and shove it! Well, not really, but I did my good hacking cough and flu routine. I needed a day off. I am worn out. They are working the shit out of me.”

I laughed.

“Stick it to the man, girl,” I replied. “Show ‘em who’s boss. I just don't want you to lose your job though.”

“So, what are you going to do now?” I then asked Carolyn.

“I am going to sit around for the rest of the day in my pajamas and watch really bad TV that you would hate,” She replied. “You want to join me?”

“No thanks,” I replied. “You know I don’t care much for the boob tube.”

“I’ll make it worth your while,” She replied enticingly.

“Well, I promised myself I would get in twelve more miles today,” I replied. “On the trail this summer, I will have to hike rain, snow, or shine.”

“Waffle House? Noonish? Ham and Cheese Omelet? Hash browns: smothered, covered and chunked?” She asked.

There was a silence as I mulled over the very enticing offer. She was trying to get to me by going through my stomach.

“My treat?” Carolyn finally replied to put the proverbial icing on the cake.

“I will pick you up around 12:30,” I replied.

“You men are so predictable,” She said as she laughed and we hung up our respective phones.

It seems I have a lunch date and it will be nice. We have seen very little of each other these past few weeks. No, I am not going to let her pay. I think I can afford a few ham and cheese omelets and hash browns. It is not like the Waffle House is avant-garde cuisine pushing the envelope of culinary and dining excellence and emptying wallets.

A Walk in the Rain…

I have often thought of Laurent’s advice to me the other day these early mornings. If I can’t sleep, I get out of the house and exercise. I am still only sleeping about five hours a night, but it is a much more fitfull and unbroken sleep. I donned my poncho, polypropylene rain pants, wool socks, water resistant hiking boots, grabbed an umbrella, and set out for an early morning walk before sunrise. The abrupt patter of the rain drops upon my umbrella were so comforting and sleep inducing this morning. Thoughts of my warm and inviting bed played tantalizingly in my thoughts as I traveled.

As I walked through my quaint little neighborhood in the predawn hours, the harsh metal halide glow of the street lights lit my way creating circular oasis’ of light upon the streets ahead of me. Many of the neighborhood dogs barked at this seemingly early morning intruder; a time when only the stray alley cats and the occasional creature of the night would be stirring. A few early morning risers would ride by in their cars and look at me oddly. I would have to carefully step aside off the road to avoid the spray of water from their tires.

“What is he doing walking in this cold downpour?” I know they must have thought. “Is he vagrant? Is he homeless? What a strange fellow.”

I am no stranger to such thoughts and stares lately. I thought as I walked how much we live in a car centric culture these days. It is actually odd to see people walking through this small town; mainly only poor minority people who can’t afford a vehicle. Driver’s in their cars comfortably isolated from the world around them busily scurry from home to work to shops as I walk these lonesome streets. Isolated from the wonders of the sights and sounds this small southern town offers.

One fascinating thing I have noticed in my walks these past few days is how much of the world and the environment you miss when riding in a car. You begin to notice things you’ve never before seen when walking. Life passes by you much more slowly and you take things in much more deeply. I have lived here all my adult life and I have discovered more interesting things lately about this quaint southern town in the past few days than I have discovered in all the cumulative years of my short life span. Little wonders like the 1915 monument to a local business entrepreneur from the turn of the century in the town center. The many disused park benches scattered throughout town that make comfortable little perches to sit and watch life unfold while you have a smoke and a quick drink of liquid sustenance. The beautiful hundreds-of-year-old oaks still propagating town unscathed by the harsh cut of a chainsaw and the tree removal service's trimming blades. All this makes for interesting little vignettes to explore and enjoy. Things I have never noticed closely before as the views of the town flashed by in a whir from the windows of the solitude of a car.

To My Good and Faithful Friend, Pipe Tobacco…

How could I be remiss in forgetting about you? I sometimes take it for granted that you have always been here for me. On those lonely, distraught, and cold homeless nights I snuck over to my late grandmother’s house and would stealthily open the door with my key to escape the cold and get on the computer, I would anxiously await a comment of encouragement from you. You have been with me from the very beginning and you will always be a dear and close friend to me. I guess I sometimes take it for granted that you know how much you mean to me. You have brought immeasurable joy to me over the years through your writings and comments and I am not being patronizing by writing the above paragraph. It is heartfelt and earnest in its intent. I am sorry if I take you for granted some days. Take care, dear sir, and thank you, as always, for being a part of my life.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Afternoon Meanderings…

I spent all afternoon hiking the rails. A few switchmen were cutting some pulpwood cars at the rail tracks in the now mostly quiet rail yard in downtown West Point, Georgia.

“Where are ya‘ll headed?” I hollered out over the mechanical clamoring of the idling GP50 Dash 2 locomotive as I walked briskly nearby.

The rails always kindle a fondness and camaraderie within me.

“Up LaGrange way to drop these cars off at the pulpwood yard then back to Atlanta,” One switchman replied.

The other switchman was drinking a bottle of Sam’s Club water as he jingled some keys and climbed upon the hulking locomotive. I wished them well and continued on with my walk. I wish I had a digital camera these days to capture some of these experiences in pictures for the blog. I am lamenting the fact that I sold it on E-Bay.

I came back upon the railroad bridge crossing Hardley creek several miles down the line which is a rather good sized stream of water that actually flows in a conduit under the old, abandoned cotton/textile mill that gave it it’s locomotion for the cotton looms that once busily chattered nosily within. The mill looks like some old urban disaster that is slowly crumbling back into the ground; a discarded relic from the turn of the century when steam locomotive power was still king and the same mechanical beasts once dropped boxcars laden with big, heavy bales of cotton to be processed into cloth and other textiles. Broken windows abounded and the only signs of life were a few pigeons fluttering in and around through the gaping holes in those grand, ancient entries of light that probably once shined upon my grandfather as he toiled as a supervisor years ago in this same cotton mill.

I crawled down the embankment by the bridge to the water’s edge. Underneath were clear signs of an old hobo encampment. Tattered blankets, damp cardboard, and discarded, empty bottles of cheap wine littered the jumbled disarray of the area near the creek. An old fire pit still smelled of wet ashes from a long extinguished fire. I sat down on a concrete abutment and lit up a cigarette as I opened a bottle of Gatorade and took a long draught. All was right in my world at that moment.

I then hiked on through the pecan grove across from the tracks back into the woods were Ferret used to camp. There was no sign of Ferret except for the many fading from the sun beer cans he left during his term of homelessness and a long discarded and tattered carcass that was once a cheap Wal-Mart tent. I thought back fondly on the days I and Ferret used to sit and talk as he drunkenly cooked many a meal over an open fire. He is homed now; back living with his lush of a mother. I don’t know what is worse: homelessness or an abusive alcoholic parent. I am leaning toward the former. At least he is warm these days…

As I finally made it back up the street to my home, the rain started to softly fall and steadily increased. I smiled and looked up into the sky as I stopped walking and held out my tongue like some goofy kid to catch a few sweet raindrops upon it. Maggie was wiggling wildly at my backdoor with some road carcass of a dead squirrel in her mouth.

Just great,” I thought. “Roadkill for dinner.

“How nice of you Maggie to think of me so kindly,” I said as I got the quite damaged squirrel from her mouth and scooted her inside.

It has been a busy day.

A Long, Rambling Remiss

Latibug,

Thanks so much for your offer of a donation, but I would rather not take money from my blogging friends online. I have often strongly disagreed with Kevin Barbieux aka “The Homeless Guy,” being a formerly homeless person, for imposing on his readers in such a way and he never gives anything back to homeless people or his readers in return. He also shows no accountability for what he spends all that money on (He once got a donation of $1000 dollars in one day from Mr. Cheng, a blogger. A thousand dollars will get you off the streets if you so desire it and he is still homeless). I feel he gives homeless people a bad name by using the religion and good will of his readers for his own gain in the name of speaking for homeless people.

I hope my family members will support me in this endeavor. There is still a long winter ahead with lots of planning, training and preparation to do yet. I did manage to make six miles this morning. I need to get up to about 15 miles a day to reach Maine before the first snowfall. I do so much appreciate your offer of generosity. If I do decide to take donations, I would like a third party to handle it for me and just buy trail/camping food with it as that will be my biggest expense this summer and for the rest to go to a charity benefiting mental illness. That way I can be held accountable for what the money is being spent on and it is not buying me bottles of Southern Comfort and luxuries such as expensive digital cameras like “The Homeless Guy” aka Kevin Barbieux recently bought with a donation to film homeless people (lotta good that is going to do those poor homeless folks like Cotton). That guy is a shill who is using the oldest trick in the book, sympathy for the homeless by Christians, to dupe his 500 readers a day.

Oh God, I got off on another one of my "The Homeless Guy" rants...but I digress. I just feel I have a duty as a formerly homeless person for six months to expose that guy and what he is doing.

Thank you Sue, I knew from the moment I read your blog and what you are doing through adopting those wonderful children that you are a special person. Tell your husband to make it home soon and Godspeed. February, isn’t it? When he gets back in Canada? It was so good to finally see what you look like. I enjoyed putting a face to the name.

Abbagirl,

You know I love ya to death and adore you as well. I don’t see Carolyn much these days as all she does is work, watch television, and then go to sleep and start the process again the next morning. I said all along this working for the evil empire (Wal-Mart) was going to be a bad deal for us. I miss her dearly and hope for some “quality” time together soon. Unfortunately, she is not an “outdoors kind of girl” so shows no interest in my camping and hiking endeavors. Call me some time and let’s just shoot the shit as George (Sherman) always used to tell me over a few Milwaukee’s Best Ice Beer. Hey, I am in therapy! *laughs out loud* Maybe, I can handle a few phone calls. At least, from such a dear friend as you.

Sorry for this long remiss. I haven’t written much this week and felt like sharing with some of my online friends. Thank you all so much for reading and being a part of my life these days. It has been a long, dark, and black first of the week and I am just overjoyed to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel for a change. I have had a wonderful day so far.

Regaining Focus…

Yesterday, I just walked…and walked…and walked even more. I kind of felt like Forrest Gump if you remember when one day he just stepped outside and started running. It was damned cold and overcast and just a downright dreary day, but I enjoyed being out of doors despite the weather. I donned my little radio, slung my backpack filled with water and cigarettes over my shoulder, and headed down to the old train depot (now a railroad museum) and started walking the tracks. I must have walked for miles when I realized I was behind the old, abandoned cotton mill in the middle of nowhere on the outskirts of town standing upon a bridge skirting Hardley creek. I turned around and headed home. I ignored the many “no trespassing” signs scattered at intervals upon the railroad tracks.

I have decided I am going to get my hiking legs back in shape and do some long distance hiking and camping this winter. I have to find some purpose for my life again and regain focus. I felt the exercise would do me good. I still want to hike all 2000 miles of the Appalachian Trail this coming summer. It is a dream of mine and I must follow my dreams once again. I have wanted to do it for years. I want to garner some sponsors and donate what I don’t use on the trail living frugally to The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.

When I got home from walking, I spent some time with my mother as she watched her daily soap operas such as The Guiding Light. They bored the shit out of me, but I was lonely and wanted some company. Mom gets lonely as well and wanted me to stay with her. I sat in the chair and marveled at my mother’s cats lying upon the floor in front of their gas heater. Dad calls it kitty crack cocaine as it knocks them out.

Last night, I bought groceries and managed to do some of my most thrifty and satisfying shopping yet. Dumpster Diving Dan paid me back the $200 dollars from paying his past due, delinquent gas bill. I got lots of healthy and nourishing food for only $56 dollars; lots of fruit, natural sugar-free cereals, and fresh veggies. The only thing I splurged on was some ground beef to make spaghetti. Beef is so expensive. I was proud of myself. This means I will have to become diligent with cooking once again. I had fallen into a lapse of eating unhealthy prepared and canned foods. My mantra was once “better mental health through better eating” and I need to make it my battle cry once again.

Today, I go down to Opelika, Alabama to talk to my therapist. I am paying this lady $75 dollars an hour to vent my spleen. I am still not sure if it is helping, but I promised my brother I would give it a good try. He, as a physician, feels it is important for my mental health to have someone to talk to who is not biased like my father. Someone, I can be honest with. Then, I and mom are going by Jim Bob’s chicken fingers to eat Vidalia onion rings and get a chicken finger plate with fries, slaw, and Texas toast. If the rain holds off, I will come home and once again try to get in quite a few miles before dark fall. The National Weather Service is predicting a soaker though so I have my doubts I will get in my multi mile hike today. So far, the rain is holding off. Here's to a good and productive day my friends.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sleep, overtake me...

I so wish I could just sleep normally. Thanks for allowing me to vent. It is 4 in the morning with nothing to do, but listen to the radio and smoke cigarettes. I have been up since three AM. I wish I could just go crawl into the bed and sleep for days. I can only sleep around five hours and I am wide awake and it is a broken sleep at that. I sure could use a good dream about now. No nightmares please.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Summer’s Bounty…

I have a very large possibly hundred year old pecan tree in my backyard. It is a joy to sit at the window and watch the squirrels quarrel and chase each other over the morsels that are pecans. We had a bumper crop this fall. The pecan tree becomes the central nexus of the local squirrel community this time of year. It is a fitting bounty before the lean months of winter draw in around us.

I just saw my father’s maid and cook out in their backyard looking for pecans as well. She just recently had gastric bypass surgery and has lost 300 pounds. Can you imagine weighing 500 lbs and then losing 300? Dad told me this morning on the phone that she is going to be gone for a few weeks. Her arms and legs have become extremely flabby from the loss of weight and they are going to have to surgically tighten up her skin. Her sister, Juanita, is going to fill in while she is gone.

The phone has been ringing off the hook this morning. I think I am sending out drunken vibes to my family members. They know something is amiss. Everybody is calling me to see how I am and to just check in.

“What do you want Juanita to cook on Friday?” Mom asked.

“Can she cook fried salmon?” I asked.

“Hold on a second,” Mom said as she asked Helen if her sister could cook good fried Salmon.

“Helen says she cooks some of the best fried salmon croquettes you will ever eat,” Mom said as she returned to the phone.

Mom has gotten where she calls me to get up the weekly menu as we eat together every Friday evening.

“Let’s have fried salmon croquettes, macaroni and cheese, turnip greens, and corn bread,” I replied. “Oh, and have her make some pear salad with sharp cheddar.”

“That sounds good,” Mom said. “I will give Juanita some money so she can go shop and cook that.”

“Are you okay?” Mom then asked. “You sound funny.”

“I am fine mom. I will talk to you later,” I replied as I quickly got off the phone.

I know I sounded drunk as a cooter. I need to slow down. I have drunk 2/3rd’s of this bottle of Southern Comfort. Man, it feels awesome. I think I am going to become a career drunk and ruin my liver. It beats sitting around with nothing to do all day. Drunken bliss passes the time so quickly and I sleep well for a change.

The Possum Encounter…

I meant to write this last night. Yesterday, I cooked a pot of chicken and dumplings. One of my favorite southern treats. My garbage disposal in the sink decided to quit so I walked to the edge of my yard to dump out what was left in the pan after eating. That was something my grandmother always did and I thought of her as I did it. She always said it was good to help the animals in the colder winter months.

It was around midnight and Maggie was driving me crazy about going outside. I thought, “To hell with it,” as I was going to be up all night anyway. If she could brave the cold then she had the run of the yard. I let her out and she started a shit storm of barking. It was driving me crazy. I got out my flashlight and walked to the edge of the yard to find that Maggie had corned a possum. The possum had been eating what was left of my chicken and dumplings. I didn’t know possum’s could growl but growl he or she did. They are quite diminutive little creatures though. I expected something bigger and more menacing.

I finally scooped Maggie up and brought her back inside after several thwarted attempts at capturing her. She sat on the window sill of my den window beyond this computer growling for another hour. I guess Mr. or Mrs. Possum ate his or her fill and then ambled off into the night to never return. This encounter is just one of the joys in living so near the country and the city limits. I often see deer walking through my backyard and the occasional raccoon. The possum was a first though.

Seagulls Take Flight…

I rode across the Chattahoochee this morning to help Dumpster Diving Dan feed the seagulls. Dan had a hacking cough and I was worried about him. He said he hasn’t started to use his heat yet for lack of money. It got damn cold last night. I told him I would pay this month’s gas bill if he would just run the damn heat. Surely, he gets some kind of veteran’s pension. He fought in Vietnam. I don’t understand his cheapness with money. I have run my heat constantly these past few days.

Where Dan feeds his seagulls is next door to Big John’s package store. I bought a fifth of Southern Comfort and am going to spend an enjoyable afternoon imbibing in the distilled spirits. I have just felt horrible lately and want to feel better. To hell with abstinence is what I thought as I walked up to the counter, purchased a bottle, and slid it into my backpack. A good drink always makes me feel better when I get like this. I know I am just self-medicating so spare me any lectures. I plan on being drunk by noon.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Starry Night

I took a long ride out into the country tonight. I parked on a dirt road and got out to look at the stars. A beautiful night sky greeted me. A cold and brisk wind was blowing though causing me to shiver as I stood out in the cool night air. Our faux summer is over it seems. We have a freeze warning out for tomorrow night. It should be our first frost of the winter season.

I feel much better this evening after sleeping all afternoon. This means I will be up all night though; a long night of listening to the radio it seems is ahead of me.

Feeling Bad…

I am not feeling well at all today. I constantly pace back and forth upon the floor of my den. I can’t sit still. Something is not right with my medications. I am wild as a buck. I did walk over to my parent’s house and mom gave me three Zanax to take. Hopefully, it will calm me down.

Hush Now...

Beautiful Music...

Pam Tillis - Beautiful Night


Tantalizing Textures…

I haven’t seen Carolyn much lately. She came over tonight to eat. I fixed us baked pork chops and baked some potatoes. I was preparing the salad when we began to talk about serious things.

“I love you so much,” She told me as I put the celery in the salad.

“Come here,” I replied as I wrapped my arms around her with wet hands as I held them up in the air.

“You work all the time. I never get to see you anymore,” I told her as I stood at the stove.

“Well, I still miss you,” She replied.

We sat and ate our meal at my kitchen table. I took my last bite of pork chop as she asked me the magic question.

“Make love to me,” She asked.

We gravitated towards the bed and fell into it kissing each other. It was a magical time. I do love her so much. I remember running my hands up and down her naked back; such a tantalizing feeling.

Now, it is well after midnight. She is asleep in my bed. I am trying to get that darned dog in my house and still be quiet. The rain is softly falling. All is right in the world. There is still love making left and the night is still young.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Me and Mom…

I ate supper with mom last night. Helen, their new maid and cook, cooked a chicken pie along with fruit salad and yeast rolls. It was delicious.

“I am still staying up during the day,” Mom told me beaming with pride as she took a bite of the pie.

“Good for you,” I replied as mom’s cat, Muffin, weaved in and out of between my legs as I sat at the dining room table.

“You still walking every morning?” I then asked as I took a bite of the pie myself.

“Every morning,” Mom said. “But it kills my back. I walk from Batson-Cook’s to Langley’s car lot. Sometimes I feel I will never make it back to my car.”

We both finished eating and sat in the den talking after washing our dishes and placing them in the dishwasher.

“Let’s go for a car ride out spring road,” Mom said.

“Okay,” I replied. “But I am driving.”

Mom laughed.

“You sure you don’t want to live dangerously by me driving?” Mom asked.

“I’m sure,” I replied facetiously.

We both got in my mother’s car and drove way out into the country as mom talked and I listened. She gets so lonely. My father works all the time. I turned around where the road turns from asphalt to dirt and drove us on home.

“Don’t leave,” My mother said as I walked out the back door.

“Mom, I need to head on home,” I replied. “I have things to do.”

I looked over my shoulder as I crossed their backyard to see mom watching out the kitchen window. A certain sadness befell me. I wish there was more I could do for her. It must get so tiring being cooped up in that old, lonely mansion of theirs while my father works 14 hours a day. I guess commerce stops for no one.

Tickle my Funnay Bone...

Taco Town!!!!




Chad Vader - Day Shift Manager (episode 1)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Memoirs of a Lonesome Man

What I wrote on this date last year...

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.

Guard Dawg…

When I get to feeling down is always a good time to pitch ye olde tent in the backyard and camp out for the night. I left Maggie to run in the backyard as I climbed into my tent around 9 PM yesterday evening. I was soon fast asleep and sleeping like a baby. I always sleep better out of doors and in my warm sleeping bag upon the ground. I have found it actually helps my back. I cheated and took my pillows outside though.

4 AM rolled around and I was suddenly awakened to Maggie tearing across the yard barking furiously. I lit my candle lantern and poked my head out of my tent to find overcast skies lit a muted orange from the lights of the city and it was drizzling softly. The wind was also briskly blowing after a cold front rolled through during the night. I smiled at my good fortune. What a good morning to awaken to. I lit a cigarette and sat quietly listening to the soft patter of rain drops upon my tent at it’s door. I donned my little Sony radio headphones and listened to the last hour of Coast to Coast AM with a morning of spooky ghost stories from people calling in. What a wonderful way to start the day. I feel like a new man this morning and am rearing to go. I think I shall find some adventure to get tangled into today. It is time to escape the bonds of this house for a change.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Glad I don't live in Omaha...

See a Smoker in a Non-Smoking Area? Call 911
By Kate Monaghan
CNSNews.com Correspondent
October 19, 2006

(CNSNews.com) - If you catch someone smoking in a non-smoking area in Omaha, Neb., call the police. The Omaha Police Department (OPD) is encouraging city residents to call 911 in the wake of the citywide ban (emphasis mine) on smoking that went into effect on Oct. 2.

Teresa Negron, sergeant in charge of public information of the OPD, explained that the department encourages observers of infractions to pick up the phone to report the infraction -- just like they would for any other crime they observe being committed.

"Citizens or business owners that observe a violation to the smoking ban are urged to call 911 and report the violation," Negron told Cybercast News Service. "[It's like] any other crime that happens in any city -- if somebody sees a crime happen, they can call 911 and report it."

Read the whole article here...

Faux summer…

It is HOT! I had to turn on my air conditioner today. According to my wireless weather station the temperature is 86 degrees Fahrenheit outside today and eighty degrees in my home. The National Weather Service has severe storms predicted for us today, but so far the radar doesn’t look too impressive. I was hoping for a little more weather-wise fireworks this afternoon. I love a good thunderstorm and a rainy afternoon.

I am still not feeling well. I kind of panicked today and thought I had diabetes once again. I am kind of like my mother and can be a little obsessive compulsive and a worry wart. I drove down to my father’s pharmacy and got one of his technicians to check my blood glucose level. It was 91. My father said that was normal so I don’t have diabetes. At least, I hope I don’t. Dad said it was just my mental illness and gave me two 25 mg Librium to take. I took both and felt much better within fifteen minutes. It calmed me down. I guess he was right that I am just having panic attacks. It was all in my head.

It is hard to describe my symptoms these days. My head feels buzzy and I feel so tired and fatigued. I also have trouble sleeping and am constantly thirsty. I drank sixteen diet Cokes yesterday trying to quench my thirst. I have only drank two today. I definitely went overboard on the diet Coke thing yesterday. I just felt bad and needed some comfort.

“That is why you always drank,” Dad told me this afternoon. “When you get to feeling like this, a few drinks will calm you down and subdue you.”

“I know,” I replied. “I could really use a drink right now. I just want to feel better. I hate this damn mental illness. I hate being an alcoholic.”

Dad gave me a hug, walked me to the door, and I drove on home from his pharmacy.

Tonight, I and Mom start back our usual Thursday night dinner outings. We are going to Chuck’s barbeque. I plan on getting a chipped barbeque pork plate and spice it up with plenty of Tabasco sauce. I absolutely love Chuck’s barbeque. The stuff is absolutely delicious. They also have a wonderful Brunswick stew that comes with the plate. Hopefully, I will feel even better after getting a good, hearty, and nourishing meal in my belly. Good day.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

News from Sherman and a Ferret sighting…

I received yet another letter in the mail from George (Sherman.) I guess since the blog is password protected I can now reveal his real name. He was telling me how he misses his cigars. They don’t let you smoke in jail any longer. I went by to check on his mother tonight to see if she needed any groceries at his request. She told me she was fine, but may need me to take her next week. George’s cousin Monte has been taking her around for her various errands in George’s absence.

The scuttlebutt down at the shopping center is that Ferret is back in town. I saw Dumpster Diving Dan this morning and he said he had seen him hanging around the shopping center again. Dan also said he looked like a new man and had gained a lot of weight. Hopefully, he won’t start back drinking like he did before entering that group home for indigent and addicted men. I am unsure if he is still homeless or not. With winter coming on, I hope he has a warm home to go to every night. I just hope he isn’t back with that lush of a mother of his. She was a worse alcoholic than Ferret.

I haven’t done much today but just go shopping for groceries. Kroger had a sale on 10 2-liters for .99 cents each so I stocked up on diet Coke. I then swung by my new house to look at the new roof they have erected upon my utility/laundry room. It really looks good and I get more excited with every day that passes about being able to move in. Just think. A home of my own, all paid for, and it will always be mine. I will never be homeless again.

Morning Musings…

A large swath of rain is set to move in any hour now. It is warm outside due to a southerly flow off the Gulf of Mexico. The crickets are earnestly chirping their last furtive calls before sunrise. I see two deer walk across my backyard in the glow of my porch light. Their eyes glowing like eerie beacons in the night as they look my way. I drink my coffee and draw in pulls of smoke from my pipe. Another day dawns.

The Morning After…

It is 4:00 AM in the morning and I am wide awake as usual. The first thing I did when getting up was to take my medications. I neglected them yesterday. That always happens when I drink. It is a vicious cycle. I just haven’t been feeling well lately mentally and I was hoping a good drink would make me feel better. I only felt worse. I always have to learn things the hard way. That is the nature of my life. I just had a very stressful weekend socially and faltered.

So far there haven’t been any repercussions thankfully other than my mother being disappointed in me. Carolyn didn’t come over last night as she was tired and went to bed early. If my father knew, then he would no doubt be over here last night raising hell with me. I really shouldn’t use this blog as a confessional as all it does is upset my good friends. I should have just kept what I wrote last night to myself. You do things when drinking that you wouldn’t normally do.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Wanton Abandonment…

I am not feeling well tonight. I went down to my father’s drugstore to get some coca-colas this morning. He was not there. I told one of his technicians what I was doing and she said okay as I got a paper bag and filled it with cokes. I then stole a bottle of mouthwash and spent all day drinking it. The whole drinking thing feeds upon itself as all I can think of is obtaining more. I want to get completely blitzed, but must not. I called my mother and handed her my wallet containing over $200 dollars in cash. I begged her not to tell my father what had happened, but knowing her, she will anyway. At least, I don’t have money now and can’t drink anymore. It will force me to sober up. I am just waiting for the next shoe to drop as my father comes home and my mother tells him what I have done. I just can’t take confrontation tonight at all. I just wanted to feel better and look what I have done. I have completely fucked things up.

That Darned Dog…

I was being really sweet and nice to Maggie tonight. She got one of her favorite treats: a tin of sardines in soybean oil. I then let her outside to do her business before we retired to bed. Did she return the favor? Oh, hell no!

I am ready for bed and she refuses to come in. Every time I would get close enough to pick her up and bring her in, she would go tearing across the backyard barking her fool little head off. I know the neighbors must be thinking, “I am gonna kill that dog when I see it in the morning.” It is almost 1:30 AM in the morning and Maggie is still going strong.

So, here I sit in the wee hours of the morning waiting on a little stubborn headed dog to get her fill of barking at who knows what. She better play nice and decide it’s time for bed or she might not get her treat tomorrow evening. Oh, the joys of being a “parent” to a furry little four legged friend. Is this how parents feel waiting on their son or daughter to come home from a late night out after the prom or a date?

_________________________


Mom also called me this evening.

“I am going to get you some Gatorade tomorrow so you don’t get dehydrated again,” She said. “I will get it when I buy your Chef Boyardee at Givorn’s.”

Yes, mom is still buying me the weekly bags of canned spaghetti, ravioli, and beefaroni which I don’t eat and occasionally give to Dumpster Diving Dan who gleefully accepts them. It gives him a day off from dumpster diving.

“Mom, you don’t have to do that,” I replied. “I can go buy some if I need it.”

“I am worried you will procrastinate and not buy any,” She said.

“Okay mom,” I replied as I smiled at her tenacity and caring.

Knowing my mother she will buy four gallons of the stuff like she will buy me ten cans of Chef Boyardee a week. Bless her soul. She can’t do anything in moderation. She used to would buy hundreds of dollars worth of groceries in my childhood and go overboard. It embarrassed my brother when she would pull up to the checkout line with four or five of everything and two buggies full; one my brother had to push around. Dad would always freak out at the end of the month balancing her check book for her when he saw what she had spent at the grocery store that month. Some habits just die hard I guess. Love ya mom quirks and all.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Feeling Loads Better…

I feel so much better tonight. It is amazing what a few Zanax, some orange juice, a pint of Gatorade, two slices of cinnamon raisin toast, and some sleep can do. That was such a terrible feeling and I am so glad to be feeling better. I wouldn’t wish mental illness upon anyone and those of you with normal brains thank your lucky stars. It can hit me at a moment’s notice like that so I never know when it will happen.

I told Carolyn what happened tonight and she was very supportive. One time, when we were dating before, she dropped me like a hot rock when I told her of my mental illness. I guess she now feels that for the most part I can control it, but I still have off days from time to time. I think she doesn’t feel threatened by it any longer.

She came over and cooked supper tonight. We had polish dogs with sauer kraut and French fries. She was kind of giving me a hard time about me never coming to her house much though. We always end up at mine. What can I say? I am a homebody. I promised her I would start going over there more. She has a beautiful house. I can understand her feelings. I once dated a girl, Leslie, in high school and we dated for a year and she only came over to meet my parents once. It was very selfish and I do not want to be like that.

Carolyn has now left for home. She told me to sign in to Google chat and we would chat for awhile.

“Just call me on the phone,” I replied before she left.

“I like using that computer you built for me,” She said as she smiled. “I want to be technologically savvy. I also like the way you write. You express yourself better through words.”

I smiled back. I can understand wanting to use a new computer and internet access after you have never had one. She has really enjoyed having that new computer and it makes me proud that I built it and got her set up on the internet. Now, if I can just get her to blog. I would love to be nosey and read her journal. He he!

Illness Overcomes Me…

I had a terrible afternoon with my mental illness. I was having some severe panic attacks. My heart would race, my head would swim and I couldn’t concentrate, and I felt a tightness in my chest and butterflies in my stomach. It was the most horrible and disconcerting experience. I was also seeing hallucinations in my peripheral vision and was extremely paranoid. I finally broke down and called my parent’s house as I thought I needed to go to the hospital. My brother answered and told me to walk over so he could check me out.

Alex checked many things included my blood sugar, heart rate, skin tone, blood pressure, etc. He came to the conclusion that I was just dehydrated and that will exacerbate my symptoms. My brother-in-law drove down to get me a big bottle of Gatorade and I mean BIG! My sister, who is also a doctor, stayed right by me and held my hand. She kept checking my pulse rate as well which was racing. Then my brother gave me four Zanax to take and it knocked me out. I walked back home, crawled into my bed and fell soundly asleep. I woke up feeling normal again. Thank god for doctors in the family!

Rain is on the Way...

It seems my name is rare...

Got this from Annabel at Story of my Life.


HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are:
2
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Deliciously Odd Commercial: MILK!!!

I thought this was an interesting old commercial for milk. I personally love the stuff. Found this via Nashville is Talking.

Socially Awkward Today…

Much is going on today and I am choosing not to participate for my health’s sake. My sister-in-law is throwing this big tailgate party for my brother and all his local friends. My father has called me several times urged me to go to the party and then the Auburn vs. Florida game (that is why my cousin and her friends are in town. They are rampant Gator fans.)

“Go to the party for your brother,” My father told me a moment ago.

“Dad, that is like asking a cancer patient in the last stages of cancer to just get up and be healed. You know how nervous those extremely social situations make me. I would rather have a quiet Saturday in and watch the game on TV,” I told him forcefully.

“I just wish you could be normal and enjoy being around other people,” He replied.

“I do enjoy being around certain people,” I replied. “They have to be people I feel comfortable around, care about, and who are not superficial and judgmental.”

My father was not happy with me at all when I hung up the phone. I wish he could get that I am just not a social animal like he is in the same sense. I do not enjoy grand social gatherings or parties. They make me a nervous wreck and exacerbate my mental illness. I especially abhor the small talk aspects of it all. I never know what to say or how to keep a conversation going.

Carolyn then called me from work on her cell phone.

“Rescue me!” I exclaimed. “Rescue me from this mess.”

“Go over to my house and hang out all day on the computer,” She replied. “Just use your key and feed my cats while you are at it.”

“Thank you,” I told her. “I hadn’t thought of that. I will see you when you get off.”

“We will order a pizza from Papa John’s when I get off,” She said. “And then we will watch your British comedies on PBS. NO FOOTBALL THOUGH!!! I can’t take that shit after working all day.”

I laughed.

“Okay Hun, I promise. No football,” I replied. “I will see you around seven and will order the pizzas online. Call me when you are about to head home.”

We hung up the phone. I am headed for a quiet day of reading online over at Carolyn’s house. At least, her cats will keep me company and I don’t have to make small talk with them! lol

Friday, October 13, 2006

Sorry for the Boring Fluff. I just don’t have much to say or write about today…

Not much has happened today, but I felt like chronicling it. It has been a pretty mundane day. I took my car this morning to get its oil changed and the tires rotated and balanced. I and my mother then went grocery shopping for lunch for two.

“I would love some toasted deli shaved turkey and smoked Swiss sandwiches on wheat for lunch,” She told me on the phone. “Will you go with me and then make them?”

“I will pick you up in a minute,” I replied hungry as well.

We went shopping at Kroger and brought the sandwich fixings home. I toasted the sandwiches and served them with some kosher dill pickle spears and potato chips.

“This is like eating at a real New York deli,” Mom said satisfied as we ate.

“Well, I am glad you like them,” I told her.

I then left mom to take a nap and drove down to the pharmacy to pick up this week’s medications in their blister/bubble pack my father’s technicians prepare for me. I am terrible at taking all the countless pills I must ingest and we have been putting the medications in those bubble packs like he prepares for his nursing home accounts. It is much easier for me to keep up with what I have and have not taken.

I then came home and took a nap myself. *still yawning from that*

This afternoon my father called me to bring Maggie down into their backyard so my niece could play with her. Maggie was ecstatic about the whole affair and enjoyed herself more than anyone else. She and my niece ran and played for a good hour till they were both tuckered out. I sat in the grass and smoked my pipe intently. My father kept calling me “Professor” and it tickled me to death.

Well, let me get Carolyn and I some supper started. I am going to have a full house tonight and it should be interesting. Carolyn is going to have to make due with those Tyson formed heat and serve chicken patty sandwiches tonight and some French fries. I don’t feel much like cooking. I have been trying to get her up a meal though now that she is working so hard everyday. She already doesn’t like her new job. She is working twice as hard for just a few hundred extra dollars a month it seems. I knew deep in heart this would happen. Good thing Fat Albert’s will take her back in a heartbeat if she so desires. Good night.

Sleepless in Lanett…

I am so tired of not being able to sleep. The conundrum lies with that atypical antipsychotic medications usually cause extreme drowsiness around the clock. One time my ex-wife thought I was full of shit and that I used that as an excuse to sleep all the time when I was taking Zyprexa (which is incredibly sedating). I talked her into taking just one small dosage pill and she slept for the rest of the day on into the night and never once gave me a hard time again about sleeping a lot.

Risperdal seems to have the opposite affect with me. I used to could sleep until lunch time everyday when I was a teenager and in college. Now I am lucky to sleep past four AM. I also grew accustomed to Carolyn’s nocturnal habits seeing she worked the night shift. She is back to working days and I am still stuck in night shift mode.

These early morning hours can be so terribly boring with little to do but read and smoke. I have been trying to play computer games, but they just don’t keep my interest for very long. I grow bored with them quickly and they seem like work. I guess I am finally growing up as far as they are concerned.

I have a cousin that I don't know well at all and some of her friends coming to stay with me this weekend in the bedrooms upstairs. I haven’t seen her in years and am nervous about the whole social aspect of her visit. Will I have to entertain? Will I have to cook and get up meals?

My father and Charlie stayed over until midnight last night changing sheets, vacuuming, and cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen in preparation for their visit. I rarely even go up there so never use that part of the house. God, I really do dread this. I wanted a nice and quiet weekend at home after last weekend’s whirlwind drive and vacation to Florida. My life is never simple it seems.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Check yer speilling...

Pouring Your Heart Out…

I poured my heart out to the therapist today for an hour. I know she thought, “Well, this one is not going to be hard to get things out of.” She kept asking me about my failed marriage.

“What did you think of being married?” She asked.

“If I were religious, I would think I was in a lower level of hell,” I replied.

She couldn’t help but smile. We then mainly talked about my social anxieties and phobias. She wants me to join a local chapter of NAMI and get involved. I know I come across as quite social online and with my interactions with the gang, but it belies the truth. If it weren’t for Carolyn, I would probably sit at home alone most days and never get out.

Me and mom the went and ate “Jesus fingers” at Jim Bob’s chicken fingers afterwards. My family irreverently calls it that in that the eatery is owned by this hyper religious couple and bible verses are plastered upon everything in the restaurant. They have awesome food though and it is cheap as well.

Well, I am really tired this afternoon and restless. I am also anxious to find out about Carolyn’s first day at work down at Wal-Mart. I know she will be tired. I am fixing us some supper consisting of vegetable beef soup and cornbread. She should be heading over anytime now. I have missed her today.

Homeless Truths...

The kind of homelessness you don't see on "The Homeless Guy." He wants your money not your sympathy.

Burgers, Beer, and Cigarettes…

Well, it seems “The Homeless Guy” is once again pushing his “gift bags” for the homeless idea. Anybody who has ever been homeless realizes that is full of shit. A grumpy old gruffy homeless guy doesn’t want some patronizing paper bag with candy and a pair of nail clippers. Fuck that shit. That is for the Christian do-gooders to make themselves feel like they have done something good for a change. I have a good feeling this is leading up to Christmas begging season for the guy. A Christmas begging wish list will soon follow. He will most likely start up a whole new blog devoted to it.

When I was homeless, I would love nothing more than beer, cigarettes, and burgers. You would have made my life much simpler to give me a twelve pack of beer, a pack of Marlboro’s, and a bag of cheeseburgers. Fuck cutting my toenails or sucking on gummy bears. At the time, I didn’t even give a shit about brushing my hair let alone clipping my nails and candy doesn’t give you a buzz.

The sad thing is a bunch of busy bodies will read his blog and go make the damn things and pass them out to bewildered homeless people making themselves feel good in the process. That guy is such a tool and such a shyster. I still have a hard time believing he is homeless from the way he talks and writes.

The Night Shift…

I and Carolyn are still in night shift mode.

“Are you ready to go to work tomorrow?” I asked her as we lay in the bed.

“I would rather stay home and laze about the house with you,” She replied propped up upon her elbow.

“I really don’t want you to go to work at Wal-Mart,” I told her.

“I know,” She replied. “But I need the money and benefits though.”

She snuggled up close to me and we held each other for the longest time. It was a special moment.

“You really are lucky you don’t have to work you know,” She finally said.

“I know,” I said as I got lost in the moment. “I know.”

I then got out of the bed, put on some clothes and my tennis shoes, and walked outside to smoke. I try not to smoke inside when Carolyn is over. Maggie went tearing out my backdoor. I stood on the mat beyond my backdoor looking at a myriad thousand stars spread out upon the sky. I breathed in the cool and damp night air. All seemed right with the world at that moment. Carolyn came walking to the backdoor in my bathrobe drinking a mug of steaming, hot coffee.

“Honey, come back inside,” She said. “Aren’t you cold?”

“Look at that,” I said pointing to the stars. “That’s what life is all about.”

“I know,” Carolyn said blithely dismissing my romantic notions of the late night sky. “Come back in before you get sick. You need to put some more clothes on.”

I smiled as I turned around, corralling Maggie, and getting her back inside. Carolyn fixed me a mug of coffee and we sat in my den quietly enjoying each other’s company in the early morning hours. Much was communicated without a word being said.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

East meets West...



I just love this music and the eastern influence upon the west.

The Shanghai Restoration Project - Miss Shanghai




The Shanghai Restoration project and Di Johnston - Jade Buddha Temple




Go check out Mike Mineo's Obscure Sound where I found these tunes. It is a great indie music blog. Yes, I uploaded these to my own server so as not to piss Mike off again. lol You can hover over the links to check.

More AM Talk Radio Musings...

Rush Limbaugh reminds me of a cat covering up shit today over the Foley/congressional page fiasco. He is being the king of ad hominem attack this afternoon.

Dammit…

I just drove down to the library and Rachel is at work. I saw her electric blue Volkswagen Beetle Turbo sitting in the parking lot as I drove by. No library for me today. I just can’t deal with Rachel’s questions and small talk today (or her evil eye).

Mom just called me as soon as I got home. She wants to ride with me tomorrow as I go to see my therapist. She wants to go eat Jim Bob’s chicken fingers afterwards (Jesus fingers. I will explain tomorrow.).

“It is so good to see you want to get out and about,” I told her. “I have missed our Thursday night dinner outings.”

“I am trying to turn over a new leaf,” She replied. “I have been sleeping at night again and staying up during the day. Your father’s maid drives me crazy though with her busy cleaning and cooking in the mornings.”

“What do you do with your days, mom?” I asked.

“I have been trying to watch my soap operas, but have a hard time staying focused upon them. I also read a lot of books these days,” She replied. “I try to walk a mile every morning as well, but my leg kills me. I have been going to soft tissue therapy.”

“Well, I will see you tomorrow, say around lunch time?” I asked.

“We will go in my car,” She replied. “And save you that gas to Auburn.”

“Thanks mom,” I said. “I love you.”

“I love you too, son,” She replied and we hung up the phone.

It is so cool seeing my mom try to perk up some. Previously, she spent most of her life lying in the bed, literally! It would drive me crazy to just lie in the bed like that all day and for most of the night.

It is a beautiful day here. The calm before the storm I might add as a strong storm front is predicted to roll through in the next few days. It will be our first real taste of fall weather. The temperature is currently hovering around 81 degrees Fahrenheit. I think I will go lay an old quilt upon the green grass in my backyard and enjoy an afternoon of smoking my tobacco pipe and reading. I am currently enthralled with The Grapevine, a magazine published by Alcoholics Anonymous. I love their stories of recovery. They are so inspiring. Good day.

Talk Radio this Morning...

Blah blah blah...North Korea...blah blah blah...Nukes...blah blah blah...run for your lives! lol I guess I should be glad I live near Glen More trailer park. Not only does it drive down property values, it also drives away terrorists and nuclear option weilding countries.

Boring Blog of the Day...

God, I gots to really do something about my writing. I was just reading this week's entries and this has degraded into a boring "day in your life" type blog. Where is Dumpster Diving Dan, Ferret, Big S, and Sherman when I need them? They always inspired me to write creatively. This shit is booooring. I gotta start going back down to the shopping center again and hope the gang has re-formed sans Sherman. I heard recently that Ferret is back in town.

Getting Ready to Paint…

I and Charlie farted around at my new house for a long time last night so I was gone for most of the evening. I had painted that house a long time ago, but Charlie decided the walls needed insulating and poked holes in them to blow in insulation between the studs. Now they need painting again after the sheet rock was patched. We looked at some paint swatches and I decided on this nice khaki/tan color for the interior walls. White is just too stark for me and that is what Charlie wanted to paint them so he bitched and moaned at my choice. He will probably continue to bitch and moan for weeks to come. That is his nature, but I am the one going to have to live in the house. I don’t want blindingly stark white walls.

Then Dad came by to look at my utility/laundry room when he got off of work. He was very pleased with the progress. I really owe my father a lot. I know I have bitched about him in the past and we do not get along very well, but he loves me. How many fathers would spend $33,000 paying off your mortgage for you? Having a house completely paid for makes the odds of me ever becoming homeless again almost nil. I will have a place to live that I own for the rest of my life unless I decide to move which I seriously doubt as I hate change.

I have absolutely nothing planned for today and am bored which is odd for me. I usually can always entertain myself. I think I am going down to the library to sit and read for hours exploring the shelves of books if my ex-wife is off today. I just couldn’t stand to have a run in with Rachel. She would be so surprised to see me though with the amount of weight I have lost this summer. From her pictures on her journal she has lost quite a bit of weight as well. I am happy for her. I just hate she dyed her hair jet black. It looks terrible and horrible.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Welcome Home...

Yay! Maggie is home finally. The total bill for the kennel was only $34 dollars. I was shocked. I am still wondering if the receptionist made a mistake.

I have never heard Maggie be so vocal before. She is certainly glad to be home. I might just bark back out of joy.

I also drove over to feed Carolyn's cats. It seems Carolyn is a permanent fixture at my home these days. Bless her soul. She has felt like shit and needed someone to take care of her. She is still asleep in my bed. I hope I don't catch that crap. I keep wanting to wash my sheets and comforters. Isn't that terrible of me? Carolyn is knocking on death's door and all I want to do is laundry. It must be my nerves.