Thursday, November 30, 2006

Laundry List…

1) I got my shot and within an hour felt completely better and more of a sound mind. When I get to feeling like I have the first of the week, I tend to self medicate with alcohol. Mom drove me down to the doctor’s office and she is a very scary driver. Mom always has a million other things on her mind other than is what on the road.

2) Then I and mom ate breakfast at McDonalds. I find their food so sub par, but was hungry and ate two southern style chicken biscuits and drank an OJ. It always amazes me at the vast lines going through the drive through. Don’t these people realize they would save twenty minutes of waiting by just walking inside and ordering?

3) I and mom then went up to Kroger. Helen, their cook and maid, needed some French style green beans to accompany the ham she was cooking for supper. My mother wrote a check for $1.36 which made me blush. My mother will write a check for fifty cents and it embarrasses me.

4) I arrived home to find my back door wide open. The wind had blown it open and luckily Maggie was asleep in my recliner. I never lock my door and need to get into the habit after what happened today. I guess I just invited all the local thieves to come hang out by writing that.

5) Mom then came and got my car to go get a spare key made. My mother is obsessive compulsive about keys and it has worried the shit out of her that I only have one car key. She wants to keep the other in her purse. I offered to pay, but she wouldn’t let me. Mom arrives back at my house and couldn’t get the key out of the ignition (she had left my Honda in gear). She gets out of my car and it goes rolling down my driveway almost out into the street. I had to run and catch it. My mother is just a little mechanically challenged.

6) I then went on a short daily hike and was just soaking wet from sweat. It is a very warm day today before the cold front arrives. I did stop by the shopping center and bought a one pound bag of sugar for my daily cups of hot tea. Cap w/ Tag Guy and Dexter were out in front shooting the shit as George likes to say. Dexter had on an old and tattered AC/DC Back in Black t-shirt and it made me smile. You don’t think of a black man being an AC/DC fan. I guess I shouldn’t generalize like that.

A Quiet Morning in Bed...

Carolyn came over this morning and just held me.

“I hate it when you are not feeling well. I feel so helpless and there seems there is nothing I can do,” She told me.

“Just be here for me,” I replied. “I just need a friend.”

We lay in my bed just listening to each other breath for the longest time.

“I get my injection in the morning,” I told her. “I think my medicine has run out. Mom is taking me. I don’t think I can drive right now.”

“Call me when you get home. I will be at work,” She said. “I just want to know you are okay.”

“I will,” I replied.

One of the hardest aspects of mental illness is not what YOU go through, but what it puts those you love through.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A call from a good friend….

A good friend called me this evening and urged me to post. I am okay. I just haven’t had much to say and haven’t been feeling well. To my friend that called me, thank you. I know I sounded kind of loopy during our conversation, but your call made my day.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Appalachian Trail could be 'canary in coal mine'

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia (AP) -- The Appalachian Trail gives hikers a nearly 2,200-mile trek through mountains, meadows and forests stretching from Georgia to Maine.

But to scientists and land managers, it's also a living laboratory that could provide warnings of looming environmental problems while there's still time to fix them.

A diverse group of organizations has launched a project to begin long-term monitoring of the trail's environmental health, with plans to tap into an army of volunteer "citizen scientists" and their professional counterparts.

Together, they will collect information about the health of plants, air and water quality, and animal migration patterns to build an early warning system for the 120 million people along the Eastern Seaboard.

"It's somewhat like the canary in the coal mine in the sense of using it as a barometer for environmental and human health conditions," says Gregory Miller, president of the Maryland-based American Hiking Society.


Read the whole story here from CNN news.

A Tale of Dexter…

I ended up missing George’s little cookout yesterday afternoon. I got consumed with doing something on this computer and never called him back. George showed up over at my house just about dark fall with several grilled hamburgers wrapped in aluminum foil. They were delicious.

George did manage to get quite a group of the gang together though. There was Droopy, Big S, Ferret, Cap w/ Tag Guy, and a new member of the gang I am simply calling Dexter these days. George regaled me in a tale of Dexter last night as we sat in my den while I ate a supper of hamburgers and potato chips.

“That son of bitch be done got arrested last week for stealing pork chops,” George said of Dexter.

“Where?” I asked. “Shop lifting down at the shopping center?”

“No, that crazy motherfucker broke into his neighbor’s house and stole the damn things off the stove just after his neighbor had done been finished frying them!”

“God!” I exclaimed. “Doesn’t Dexter get food stamps?”

“He be sayin’ tonight that them pork chops got to smelling so good he just couldn’t resist,” George replied laughing.

I laughed back. “That must have been one powerful hunger.”

Something’s not quite right with Dexter. I hesitate to say he is mentally retarded, but he is definitely slow and child like. He does have this air of charming innocence about him. I have been seeing him often these days walking through town to check the dumpsters behind the various stores for riches only a poor man would hold dear. He is slowly becoming a regular of the gang. I need to add him to the cast of characters.

Fantastic Weather Ahead!

Fantastic weather for the last week of November!
How about those low seventies (mid twenties Celsius) for the rest of this week?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

And the Beautiful Weather Just Keeps Coming…

I had another wonderful hike today. The weather was just perfect for shorts and a t-shirt. I once again hiked down to the rails. I stopped by the old depot which is now a museum and admired the bright, maroon red caboose from the now defunct Chattahoochee Valley Railroad. Railroads quit using cabooses back in the late eighties and early nineties so this was a definite relic from the past.

I then walked over by Ferret’s old camping site, through the woods, and to the river. I sat watching that cold, green water swirl as I drank my Gatorade and ate some Kroger brand trail mix I had in my backpack. I felt solidly grounded and oh so content. It was a very pleasant experience. I longed for a fishing pole and an old coffee can full of night crawlers.

As I walked on up through the shopping center after leaving the river, I saw Ferret making his way down by the dollar store. He saw me and walked over to talk.

“George is looking for you,” He replied. “He was just through here; something about a cookout tonight. I am going as well.”

“Dammit, did he get his car fixed?” I asked Ferret.

“Yeah, that crazy bastard was driving.”

“I give it two more weeks and he will be back in jail,” I replied. “He is already violating his parole.”

Ferret laughed in agreement knowing I was probably right.

“So, how are things working out with you and Monte?” I then asked.

“He snores like a freight train and I can hear him clear on the other end of the house,” Ferret said. “Other than that, things have been fine.”

“Good to hear,” I said as I patted him upon the shoulder. “Hang in there. Things will just keep getting better.”

I told Ferret goodbye and walked on home to find a message from George on my answering machine. It went as follows:

Hey, you crazy white ass cracka. I wanted to know if you wanted to go out to the lake to grill out this evening. We will be gettin’ the guys and be cookin’ some burgers. Mommas already made up the patties and made a condiment plate for us. I just need you to get the charcoal. Be callin’ me back.


I tried to call George back, but he had his cell phone turned off for some reason. Hopefully, I will get in touch with him before it gets too late. I wouldn’t mind some grilled hamburgers for supper.

On a side note, I bought Maggie some rawhide bones and it is Christmas come to town for a little dog today. If I knew she would have liked the little two for $3 dollar bones like she has, I would have been buying them all along. She is now sleeping on the floor at my feet curled up around her cherished gift. It is an endearing sight to see.

That Dreaded Question all Women ask…

And let the relationship rodeo begin! I got the dreaded, “Am I getting fat?” question from Carolyn this morning. We were just lying in the bed talking, and she turns all rhetorical on me.

“Honey, I think you look just fine,” I replied.

“All men say that even when they are not being honest,” She remarked as she got up to get dressed in a huff.

“Then why ask?” I returned as I pulled the covers over my head as some sort of shield from a woman’s scorn. “Seriously, though, you are not fat at all,” was my timid and muffled reply from under the covers.

“It is just that my jeans feel kind of tight these days.”

“Water weight gain,” I replied. “It happens every month.”

“When did you get to be such an authority on that time of the month?”

“I was married for two years, remember?” I retorted.

Carolyn and I both burst out laughing at my last statement.

“You were married to a right monster,” Carolyn said as she playfully jumped back into the bed half dressed with me.

“I know!” I exclaimed. “I am still carrying emotional scars. If Rachel asked me if she was fat, I headed out to the back deck to nervously smoke cigarettes with the dog not far behind me. I knew such a question had far more implications and the shit was about to hit the proverbial emotional fan. You always say no, no matter what, unless you are emotionally retarded or a na├»ve newlywed or want a divorce.”

“Seriously, though, do you think I have gained a little weight?”

“You look like you have lost a little weight these days,” I replied treading dangerous waters carefully.

“Oh, you little ass kisser,” She said as we burst out laughing again and ended up kissing each other in a warm embrace.

“I love you. You know that?”

“I love you, too,” I replied. “Next time, ask me something simple like how my day was yesterday or how is the weather? Don’t ask me if you are fat.”

We ended up laying there for the longest time in each other’s arms until Carolyn was almost late for work. She finished dressing and rushed out the door to start another day of slave labor at slave wages. I don’t know how she does it. I do so enjoy our little repartees such as this morning though. I hated to see her leave.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Not Measuring in Absolutes…

I hiked around an hour on my walk today. I have decided I will just walk until I get tired and not measure it in absolutes of 3, 6, or 9 miles like I normally do. I don’t want to turn this pleasurable task into something I dread. I usually just enjoy the art of hiking and taking in my surroundings. As a commenter had said “It’s the journey and not the destination.” As far as the Appalachian Trail goes, come what may this summer.

It was a gorgeous day today with highs in the seventies (twenties Celsius). I made my way down to the tracks to find them bereft of trains today. I guess engineers and bulls get the holidays off as well. The pulpwood yard was bustling with activity though. Many a log had already been loaded awaiting transport throughout the South to different paper mills. The guys that operate these gigantic lifting machines all know me by sight now and heartily wave as I pass upon the tracks. As I walked, I listened to the Rush Limbaugh Show and got a great number of laughs from the silly rhetoric he was spouting.

“I can’t believe people actually believe this shit,” I said to myself as I walked and smiled. It certainly was entertaining, but not in the way Mr. Limbaugh had envisioned no doubt.

I then made my way on through the shopping center by the Korean restaurant and the grocery store. Someone had dropped a dollar bill in the parking lot and I bent over to pick it up and put it in my pocket; one of the few times in my life I have found money in a public space like that. I guess the gods were smiling down upon me today. Cap w/ Tag Guy was standing out next to the grocery store leaning against the wall with a big grin on his face. He motioned for me to walk over so he could shake my hand.

“You had a good Thanksgiving?” I asked as I walked over.

He nodded his head briskly yes and grinned ever wider without saying a word. I then walked on home to find a message from Mom that supper was ready.

Helen went all out tonight and cooked a Thanksgiving feast. She fried a small turkey, made a pan of dressing, giblet gravy, some sweet corn casserole, potato salad, and a sweet potato pie. It was delicious and I made sure to thank her several times. She always beams with pride when you brag on her cooking.

Well, let me go settle down for the night and do what I normally do online. The sun is setting, the day is almost done, and what a much better day it has been; the bleak and dark past few days have almost been relegated to memory and seem like distant horrors best forgotten. Good day.

Alien Family Dinners...


Kudos goes out to The Far Side website for this.

Now, this is Interesting…

My family can be known for being aloof sometimes. What happened yesterday takes the cake though. This was the story my father just told as I and him drove down to Fat Albert’s to buy a few things.

Dad had pulled into a gas station to get some gas in Columbus, Georgia. Along for the ride was my 89 year old great aunt and my mother was sitting in the back of Dad’s Honda.

“You sure you don’t have to go to the bathroom?” Dad said he had asked Mom.

“No,” My mother replied blithely drinking her diet Coke.

It is well known within the family that when you go on an extended road trip with my mother, you urge her to use the bathroom at all possible locations of stopping.

Dad went on to start filling his car up with gasoline. He paid at the pump, got back in the car, and briskly drove off down highway 280.

They were halfway to Albany, Georgia when my great aunt nonchalantly said, “Johnny, Martha is not in the car.”

Dad turned around to look in the backseat and said, “Oh, shit! She must have gotten out to use that bathroom after all.”

They drove all the way back up to the gas station to find mom sitting inside eating an egg and cheese biscuit while drinking a diet Coke.

“I wondered what happened to you all,” Mom said as she smiled unaware that she had gotten left.

Only in my interesting and aloof family…

A Helping Hand is a Good Hand…

I called my psychiatrist’s emergency contact number. Within minutes, she had called me back.

“Doc, I need some help,” I said. “I have had the worst paranoia and am not sleeping these days.”

“How long has this been going on?” She asked in her heavy East Indian accent.

“Almost three days now,” I replied.

“You should have called me as soon as it started to happen!” She told me excitedly with almost a berating tone to her voice.

“I know,” I replied. “I just didn’t want to ruin your holidays with work.”

“Is your father at home?” She asked tersely. She is such a matter-of-fact lady.

“Yes ma’am,” I replied.

“I am calling him now and we will get you something that will let you rest,” She said. “Always call my emergency number if you have problems like this.”

“Thank you Doc,” I replied as I began to hang up the phone. “Thank you so much.”

Breakfast with Carol…

Carolyn came over this morning. I had promised her on the day after Thanksgiving I would fix my now famous within the family and circle of friends ham and cheese omelets with bacon and toast. We sat in my kitchen eating as the new dawn sun rose through the windows in my east facing den.

“I wish you would talk to me when you get like you have these past few days,” She told me. “You always shut yourself inside and don’t come out.”

“It is just my way of coping with hell,” I replied. “Besides, you wouldn’t want to be around me when I get like that. I can be mean and hateful.”

“There is not a mean bone in your body,” Carolyn said as she reached across the table to hold my hand.

“Tell that to Kevin Barbieux,” I said. “I was mean as hell to him the other day.”

“Oh, that guy is such a jerk anyway and gets what he asks for,” She replied. “I wouldn’t worry about that at all. He’s the one that needs to be on some serious medications.”

I felt so much better after my talk and breakfast with Carolyn this morning. Her voice is so soothing and her presence is so grounding. When I was married, what happened yesterday as far as my paranoia was concerned would have been a World War III of a fight. Rachel could never separate my illness from my true personality.

Today, I am going to try and get in touch with my doctor. We need some kind of plan of action for me when I get like that. I really need to just be sedated until I can sleep it off. Despite my medications, time seems to be the best cure for what ails me. A few hours of sleep like this morning makes me feel loads better.

________________________________________


To Austere:

I always just thought you didn’t like my blog or my writings when I saw you commenting on my friend’s blogs. It is strange how we can project out our emotions and feelings upon someone else like that. I am glad to have you commenting and reading and admire you very much for what you do.

Cheryl:

Thank you so much for the well wishes. Your comments mean a great deal to me and thanks for taking the time to write them. It is always a joy to wake up in the morning to check the blog and find a few words of support.

Andrew

For Summer: My House in Review…

Summer had wanted me to describe my new house since I will not be getting my camera until Christmas. I actually had some “before” photos on my computer somewhere, but now can’t find them to post them.

It is an older house that has been completely remodeled, rewired, and with new plumbing. It is a small house with only two bedrooms, one den, one bathroom, and a small kitchen. It will be perfect for little ole me though. I also have a large and spacious basement with room for my car in the garage which will be awesome as my Honda has got to last me for at least another decade.

My bathroom has been completely redone with new tile and fixtures. A rectangular skylight window has been added to the bathroom making it seem much brighter and bigger. We kept the old cabinets in the kitchen and will just repaint them. I do have all new appliances in my kitchen though which will be so nice. I have never had a dishwasher before and am looking forward to that time saving step as I cook a lot. My den is a pretty decent size considering the small size of the house. I will be able to add my upright Kimball piano, entertainment center, my sleep away couch, and my two lazy boy recliners so I will have plenty of room for company if they come to stay.

Some recent work done has been to add a laundry room off the back of my kitchen to house my washer and dryer. Last week, I had a completely new roof put on. All that is really left to do is a final coat of paint and to put down some linoleum in the kitchen and to carpet my bedrooms, hall, and den.

I also have a very spacious yard and hope to build a fence for Maggie. Until then, Maggie will have to be a house dog as she doesn’t have much common sense when running free and will chase the neighbors as they walk by protecting me and our home.

All of this was done on a less than $35,000 budget so things have been tight these past few years. I will be so nice to actually own my own home and I will never have to worry about homelessness again.

A Long Day Ends…

I was wracked with paranoia all day yesterday afternoon. It is the strangest feeling where your head buzzes and you can’t concentrate. The slightest noise or movement will cause you to jump. I came so close to pulling down the blog as that was a major source of my paranoia. I just feel I reveal and share too much for my own good most days. It is a by product of my mental illness. I also got in an email tussle with The Homeless Guy and that didn’t help my mind as well. That guy is dangerous when you back him into a corner like a caged animal. I am actually scared of him and it takes a lot for me to get scared. At the time, I wasn’t feeling well mentally and wasn’t adequately able to defend myself and make concise arguments which left me feeling naked. If I know what is good for me, I should give that guy a wide berth from now on. I wonder if it takes being homeless or formerly homeless to realize just how full of shit that guy really is.

Yesterday evening, I just walked once again. I made my way through my neighborhood under the stark glow of the street lamps thinking. My mind had finally calmed down enough to give me some peace. When I get like I did yesterday, I actually have a hard time remembering what I did and what happened. I kept thinking Ferret had come over last night wanting some things. I walked by Monte’s house and Ferret was thoroughly confused by my line of questioning about his visit yesterday. To me, it was vividly real. It never happened. It can get bad when your reality and the rest of world’s reality doesn’t jibe.

I am once again up in the wee hours of the morning and can’t sleep. I think I only slept around three hours. I really need to get to the doctor to see about getting prescribed a sleep aid. I just hate to add another pill to the cocktail I currently take. My Risperdal Consta (anti-psychotic) costs over $1000 a month alone. I wish I could crawl into my soft bed and sleep for days.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Selecting a Thanksgiving Turkey...

A Thanksgiving Gift…

I walked and walked and walked last night. I just needed to get out of the house and think. It was another brutally cold night, but I braved it. I arrived home feeling refreshed with freezing cold hands and a frozen face.

Yesterday evening, George’s mom had asked me to come and eat with them. It was nice getting a southern style home cooked meal. Mrs. Jones cooked fried chicken, a pan of her most awesome macaroni and cheese, turnip greens with ham hocks, mashed potatoes, and homemade biscuits. I ate until I was stuffed. She is such a wonderful cook.

George kept sneaking outside to take a drink and I asked him what he was doing. He hides a bottle of bourbon in the bushes so his mother will not find it. Mrs. Jones won’t let him drink in her house.

“Just don’t get so drunk you ruin our meal,” I told him. “Your mother went to a lot of trouble fixing this meal tonight.”

“I ain’t gonna get too drunk,” George replied incredulously. “I never get too drunk.”

“Sure,” I replied thinking of the other day he passed out in the woods at Ferret’s campsite and I had to drive him home.

Thanksgiving today will be spent alone. My mother, father, and great aunt drove down to Thomasville, Georgia to a cousin’s home for a Thanksgiving meal. I elected to stay home despite being invited. My idea of Thanksgiving is not some mad rush across a state to go eat. I would rather spend it alone than do such things. Good day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Growing disappointment…..

My disappointment is growing with my psychology class and instructor. I spent most of the evening studying and I realized all I was doing was memorizing the correct answer without understanding the concepts or why. It makes it pointless to read the book or even crack it open because we are given the actual exam as a study guide. Why go to all that trouble when my other classes are keeping me so busy? It’s important to my major that’s why. I made myself read chapter two and made an effort to understand the concepts. I will just have to look at this class as if it were an online course offering. It is up to me to learn and understand the material and not have an instructor guide me. We still haven’t taken any relevant notes in class and we are starting the third week! Okay, thanks for letting me bitch a little. It feels good to vent my frustrations for a short, few moments.

My first class is at 12 PM tomorrow and my next class isn’t until 7:30 PM. I don’t have to work tomorrow so I am going to use all that idle time to study or at least try. I am going to stay at school and work in the spacious student lounge. I’ve got my backpack all packed and ready to go for in the morning. Now it is time to grab a shower, get a quick bite to eat, and head for bed and read some more. It will be a brutally cold night tonight for the south and the warm comforters of my plush bed await me. I am ready surround myself with them.

Hike No More…

I broke down in great sobbing cries this morning in front of that grand old abandoned cotton mill. I could walk no longer. My legs were aching and my mind was bereft.

“Why can’t I stick with one thing and do it right in my whole life,” I declared as I sat upon the old loading dock as I threw a small granite rock upon the train tracks. The rock pinged upon the metal rail and bounced off loudly.

I am at an impasse as far as my hiking goes. I can be so lazy sometimes. My nine mile days have dwindled down to six and then to three.

I sat and ate my packed lunch of turkey and Swiss on rye sandwiches as I drank long drinks of lemonade. I wiped the tears from my eyes as I steadied myself to walk on home.

“One of these days, you are actually going to see something through to completion,” I said as I talked to myself walking with a renewed zeal.

I arrived at my home with very sore legs and a downtrodden heart. One of these days, I am going to get it right and hike the Appalachian Trail. Until then, we always have tomorrow. Tomorrow is the bane of my life.

A Feline Vignette…

I and Carolyn were talking early this morning about owning cats. She finds it hard to believe that I once had a total of three cats at one time. She is a big cat person.

“What happened to your cats?” She asked me.

“I found them all good homes when I moved down here to take that research job at the University,” I replied.

“Didn’t that break your heart to give them away?” She asked me concerned.

“No, I was tired of cleaning those goddamned litter boxes,” I replied. “All they did was shit and eat and lick their asses. At least, Maggie has enough sense to let me know when she needs to go out.”

“Watch your language!” Carolyn told me as she laughed. “You can have such a potty mouth sometimes, but litter boxes are a pretty bad deal though.”

“I will never own another cat,” I replied.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What I and the gang want for Christmas…

Someone who reads The Homeless Guy just emailed me and asked me what I or any of the gang wanted for Christmas as they were going to send Kevin some money too. They didn’t want me to feel left out being a regular, but rarely commenting reader and admirer of my blog. This was my reply:

Thank you for the email and for reading. I really don’t lack in anything material wise these days. Most homeless people just want a dry and warm roof over their heads and a friend who cares. These are things that are hard to buy for someone and it takes a special person to give such things. You certainly can’t buy a friend unless you have millions to give away and they will desert you once the money has long dried up so they really weren’t your friend in the first place. A true friend asks for little in return and gives much more than just some negative posts of woe on a sparsely read blog that is littered with religious references and pleas for money and material things.

I don’t condone giving to the so called “The Homeless Guy.” I and a quite large number of homeless and formerly homeless bloggers and writers all think this guy is a sham and is full of shit. The only one that speaks favorably of this guy is Morgan Brown, who has also been intermittently homeless for most of his adult life and whose life has been very similar to Kevin’s. I would hope you would donate cash or food to the very churches and rescue missions that help feed him and give him a warm place to sleep every night. These places have supported him going on for decades now. That way you can help a great many homeless people and not just one cyber panhandler with a penchant for telling a sob story on the internet that tugs upon your heart strings. He just happens to write well enough and his blog is quirky enough to garner a few hundred readers a day. I abhor his cyber panhandling though and that is exactly what it is without mincing words. He reminds me of the late Warren Zevon’s song Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me minus the love references.


Someone else emailed me a few months ago asking what they could do for a homeless acquaintance. I told them to just meet their basic needs such as warmth and food at a reserved distance. That is all you really need when your life has become so debased as homelessness affords you. Any homeless person asking for digital cameras or computers is nigh full of it. The last thing on your mind when you are cold and hungry is browsing the internet and writing about it unless you are a very rare and stalwartly verbose individual.

Let me get off my soapbox. I would urge you to donate to the Nashville Rescue Mission to help Kevin or donate some of your time over the holidays helping serve the very morale boosting holiday meals that they will no doubt serve. As for I and the gang, your thoughts and cares are enough this holiday season. I appreciated the email and hope this little diatribe didn’t offend anyone. A couple of comments from time to time on the blog would be nice as well. I think we all need a little affirmation about writing as bloggers some days. I am fortunate to have some really awesome people joining in to read most of the time and dropping some comments that make my day.

Contagious Laughing...

This baby's laugh is so contagious. I found this thoroughly endearing to view. I hope it makes you smile or laugh too!



Hat tip goes out to Brittney at Nashville is Talking for finding this.


New Home Update…

It seems everyone is getting a new home these days around here. We got Ferret comfortably moved into Monte’s house so he is no longer homeless. I then drove him down to Wal-Mart to buy some sheets, pillows, and a warm comforter for his single bed in his new room. He seemed very pleased with his new accommodations. “Just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas,” I thought as I helped him put the sheets on his new, soft, and warm bed. I was just tickled pink to see him so upbeat and happy. His mood has been absolutely dour these past few weeks. Sitting out in winter’s cold living in a tent will certainly put a damper on your mood if you are not a camping fanatic like me.

I then drove over to my new house to check on the new roof the workers were putting on. They had finished the work and I now have a brand new roof upon my new humble abode. They are also almost finished with my laundry/utility/smoking room as well with only the stairs and the backdoor to add. I so wish I had my camera early so I could take some pictures and put them up to share. Things are looking great and I am on track to be moved in around the New Year. If you have been reading my journaling for a long time (years), then you know this has been one helluva long, drawn out process. I thought getting a new home would never come to fruition due to a lack of funds and various setbacks.

Christmas is going to be very nice this year because of this gift from my father. My mortgage is paid off. I have lots of nice furniture that was once my grandmother’s. I will even have a brand new dishwasher, stove, fridge and also a used set of a washer and dryer my brother and his wife are giving me. It is hard to believe that three Christmases ago my home was a tent in the woods over in Waverly, Alabama and my family was barely even talking to me and actively shunning me. I can’t wait to move in and will often just drive the short distance over there to walk around inside and outside to admire my new house. It will certainly get you into the Christmas spirit.

Cold Outside, but the Hearth is Warm…

It is just another brutally cold morning dawning. I stood outside smoking my pipe in the predawn dark as I shivered. We actually had a few flurries of snow blow through overnight which was the first snow I have seen in years although insignificant. It was nice to see the old white stuff on the radar so soon before Christmas and the holidays. I hummed Bing Crosby’s I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas as I smoked quickly and then shot back inside shying away from the cold.

Carolyn slept over last night and had to be in to work at 5 A.M. this morning.

“Glad it’s you and not me,” I told her after her shower while she was getting dressed as I mulled around the kitchen getting some breakfast ready.

“I would never get up this time of the morning like you always do if I didn’t have to work,” She replied from my bedroom as I stood over my stove. “Why do you get up so early?”

“I can’t sleep,” I replied. “I am always up at 3 A.M. these days.”

“I think I know something that will keep you in the bed,” She said as she smiled seductively.

“Yeah, but that’s not sleep and doesn’t count!” I replied as I laughed heartily.

It is good for me and Carolyn to be back on jovial and kidding terms. We love to tease each other and flirt.

Carolyn wanted pancakes and sausage for breakfast. I just happened to have some mix in my kitchen cabinet, but my pancakes turned out kind of flat and didn’t rise like they should. I am just not a pancake type of person for breakfast. Give me ham and cheese omelets any day.

Just before Carolyn left for work, I showed her a website called Trek Passions (where you can find and date other like minded scifi and Star Trek fans) that I had found on Wil Wheaton’s blog.

“Just think!” I told her excitedly. “We could run off and have a Klingon themed wedding like a bunch of real Star Trek nerds!”

“Only in your wildest dreams,” Carolyn replied as she smiled amused. “If me and you ever get married, we are going to have a nice and quiet service up at the court house in front of a judge. I’ve had my fill of grand wedding spectacles.”

We kissed each other goodbye as Carolyn headed home to feed her cats and then head on into work. It is good to get things back to normal around here as far as she is concerned.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Meddling Blog Template Owners Unite!

Okay, I think this template will do the trick. I just wasted an hour of my life reading tutorials on Photoshop about how to balance colors on different images within the program. Thus you get the above header graphic that more closely resembles these new blog colors chosen. I know I drive bloggers like Pipe Tobacco mad with my constant changing of the look of this blog. He has kept the same design for years with just subtle changes to his colors upon his template. I just can’t leave well enough alone and love to experiment with new designs and looks. I know I must be odd in that I rarely see other blog authors change their templates, but I love fiddling around with my design and can pass hours in a moment's notice doing so. I hope that some of these html and computer skills will lead to some kind of rewarding employment some day. God knows, I spend enough time fiddling with this kind of crap.

If you have read for a long time, then you know I have a phobia about talking on the phone. In all of my illustrious *cough* blogging career, I have only talked to a handful of blog readers namely Di, Crystal (The formerly and once famous homeless girl in Boston), and Abbagirl. I did get a message from Kristen the other day, but was not at home at the time.

Tonight, I got on the ball earlier about finding Ferret some type of living arrangements. George has been boasting for weeks that his “philanthropic” cousin was willing to put Ferret up in a spare room for $75 bucks a week. I finally called George and got Monte’s number and reluctantly called. I hate talking on the damn phone though. Especially with someone I don’t feel comfortable with or don’t know very well.

Sure enough, Monte had heard George speak of Ferret and Monte needs extra cash these days. He said Ferret could rent out the backroom in his home for only $50 dollars a week. That includes access to a kitchen and a laundry room. I told Monte that I think I knew of a tenant and would get back to him tomorrow. Hopefully, Ferret will agree to this and we can get him out of this persistent cold. He has been awfully apathetic about finding a home these days though. I think it is just depression from experiencing the condition that was thrust upon him yet once again after all his advances in turning his life around. Keep your fingers crossed for a good outcome tomorrow.

3 Miles Down…

I only managed to hike three miles today until something started to burn and hurt in my hip. I limped on home to rest after taking a short break to catch my wind and to have a smoke in the small park in front of the cotton mill. Hopefully, it was just some weird aberration and will be fine in the morning. My hiking today has ended though.

The trains were really roaring through downtown this morning. I had to keep an open ear out for what was coming down the tracks; several times having to step to the side to let one pass. I kept worrying that one of the engineers was going to call the bulls (railroad police) and have me arrested for trespassing. Luckily, I got some apathetic engineers or even lazier bulls.

One of my greatest fears is having to pass a stranger on the sidewalk. I dread this occurrence. I am always unsure of how to act or react. I passed one woman and smiled gently nodding hello. She didn’t even acknowledge me and walked on with her sack lunch in her hand. This really got my paranoia to going and it took a few hundred yards of distance in between us for me to relax; just another day in the life of anti-social, schizophrenic, crazy nut.

Movie Clip Test...

The is a test shoot from a Canon A640 digital camera I found online; the same model I ordered from New Egg. I just had to throw up a test video to see how this You Tube thing worked. :-) I thought the quality of the video was pretty good considering it is not a camcorder and only 30 frames per second.

Tears Fall…

Between Carolyn last night and Ferret this morning, I think everyone close to me and in my life is crying and upset these days. From moody homeless men to jealous girlfriends, I just can’t seem to win.

Ferret was crying when I walked through the woods to the clearing where he has pitched his tent early this morning. He quickly wiped his face and tried to hide it, but it was obvious he had been crying. It didn’t help that it was a brutally cold morning with a very heavy frost upon the land; miserable conditions to be sitting out in the woods with only a fire and sleeping bag to keep warm.

“You okay?” I asked not quite sure how to react. I had never seen Ferret really get upset before.

“Yeah, I just got something in my eye,” Ferret replied wiping his face.

I stood next to Ferret’s roaring fire to warm my hands.

“Why don’t you come on home with me and get warm,” I said.

“No,” Ferret replied. “I told you I would never impose on you when I got homeless again this time and I mean it.”

“Well, let’s at least walk over to Sarah Jay’s to sit in the warmth and drink some hot coffee.”

“I would rather just be alone right now,” Ferret told me. “Just leave me alone.”

I pulled on my backpack and left Ferret to be by himself. I had had enough of the cold only being out in it an hour or so and couldn’t imagine having to sleep out in it last night. Now, I am going to worry all day that this will be Ferret’s breaking point and he will turn to the bottle once again. I know that feeling of despair that comes from homelessness and that feeling after drinking a few beers and all your problems begin to melt away. All I can do is hope he doesn’t succumb and to be there for a friend if he asks.

Phones until the After Hours…

I and Carolyn ended up talking on the phone until late last night and early in the morning. She is off of work today and needed someone to talk to. We live just miles apart and yet we still ended up talking on the phone when we could have talked face to face. I thought that was odd. She said she was cold and didn’t want to get out of her house. We both lay in our warm beds as we conversed on the phone.

I realize now that I have been lax in my duties as far as this relationship goes. I just can’t take a lot of crap in my personal life due to my illness and refuse to do so. I let her know on no uncertain terms that I would rather be alone than put up with jealously, strife, and conflict. After much crying and tugging of the heart strings, we decided to give it another go.

I cannot wait until sunrise and another day starts. I hope to make nine miles on my daily hike. Hopefully, I will get entangled in something interesting to write about during my travels.

Well, the English in me has a pot of hot tea boiling away on the stove. Let me go add my tea bag and then pour a mug after a twenty minute wait. That shrill whistle of my teapot is echoing throughout my home calling for attention.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

And She Laughs…

I’ve been struggling with a great deal of paranoia today. All during my hike today, I thought passers by were laughing at me and pointing at me from their cars and trucks. As I hiked through the convenience store parking lot on my way home, I heard a lady loudly laughing and I just knew she was laughing at me. I had to fight the urge to holler out and tell her to shut up. When you see crazy people out upon the streets lashing out or talking loudly to themselves then these are the internal paranoia’s and conversations that are going on inside their minds. I have to actively fight the urge to say something to strangers when I walk by as I think they are laughing at me and mocking me.

I am feeling kind of stir crazy as well tonight. These short winter days really get me down and I find myself sitting in my den with every light on in the house trying to fight back the depressing darkness of a long winter’s night. I can’t wait until tomorrow arrives again and I get to head out for my daily hike down the rails in the bright daylight. Despite my paranoia today, my hike was a pleasurable experience; at least, when I was on the rails well away from other people and their prying eyes.

When Life Falls into your Lap….

I have found that when I don’t have anything to write about, I get out of the house and go find something. Life has a way of just falling into your lap when you least expect it and go out in search for it.

I hiked my usual 6 miles this afternoon. I tend to be a creature of habit and will walk the same path everyday. I think I have memorized every stone, plant, and landmark along the path that I hike.

As I was crossing the parking lot to the shopping center headed for home, a very rough looking lady made a beeline straight towards me. I have seen her around often and George and the gang all avoid her. The rumor is that she has a bad methamphetamine habit. Panhandlers tend to all have the same modus operandi. They hit you up hard and fast to catch you off guard. I have watched Big S enough times to know this pattern well.

“Excuse me sir, but you haven’t got a cigarette and four dollars I could borrow?” She asked me walking ever closer and aggressively.

I offered her a cigarette, but it wasn’t menthol so she didn’t want it. I also told her I didn’t have any money on me and I wasn’t lying. I had left my wallet at home. They never believe you though.

“I see you walking all the time,” She said. “Do you not have a car?”

“I have a car,” I replied. “I just walk for fun.”

“You mean you walk that far everyday just for the hell of it? Are you crazy or something?”

I laughed and said, “Yes, I do it just for the hell of it.”

“You must live nearby,” She said as she started to follow me.

I didn’t want this lady to know where I live. If George and the gang think you are bad news then you are indeed bad shit waiting to happen.

“I still have two more miles to walk,” I replied.

It was obvious she wasn’t interested in walking that distance. She slowly lagged behind me as I passed the corner next to the shopping center where George and the gang often hang out and she didn’t follow any longer. I breathed a sigh of relief that I had managed to ditch her. I had shudder inducing visions of her and her meth-head friends ransacking my house and carrying the spoils to the pawn shop.

A Night less Sleep…

I walked down to the river this morning to help Dumpster Diving Dan feed his seagulls. We had a light turn out this morning as far as the gulls go which worried Dan.

“You look like crap,” Dan said remarking on my unkempt and unshaven appearance.

“Ah, I didn’t sleep at all last night. Not one wink,” I replied. “I haven’t even had a shower yet this morning.”

I told Dan about George and his presumably broken car. I and Dan both had the biggest laugh at George’s expense.

“All it is, is the wire going from the starter solenoid to the starter has come undone,” I told Dan.

“Well, he doesn’t need to be driving anyway,” Dan replied as we laughed some more. “That man is going to kill himself or someone else one of these days.”

I left Dan to head over by the tracks near downtown to check on Ferret. I got about halfway there and then turned around and headed for home. The cold was just too much to bear this morning and I am terribly cold natured. Ferret is on his own today. Maybe I will see him later this afternoon after the day has warmed up some.

A Car Down…

As of midnight tonight, George had yet to figure out what was wrong with his car much to my amusement. I now know what to do the next time he is drinking and I don’t want him to drive.

“You sure you don’t know what’s wrong with my car?” He asked when he called me this evening.

“I have no idea what’s wrong with your car,” I replied as I once again lied trying to choke back a laugh of amusement.

George did finally walk to Pookie’s house like the rest of us. The urge to drink and play poker overcame his inhibitions about being seen walking through town. Hell, George doesn’t even have a driver’s license these days. He needs to be walking.

I and Carolyn somewhat made up this evening. She came over and spent some time with me and actually acted like a civil human being for a change and not some jealous monster. I am so jaded and cynical about the whole affair these days though. I could care less if we stay together or just break up. Once bitten, twice shy as they say. I have seriously toyed with the idea of us just taking a break and we all know what that means.

I once again couldn’t sleep tonight. I hiked from midnight to 3 A.M hoping it would lull me to sleep. No joy. I am still wide awake. It was a brutally cold night by the way. It seems winter has arrived in earnest. I had bundled up in some pretty warm clothes and still got cold despite my vigorous pace of walking.

Well, let me get to working on rebuilding my blog archives and then, hopefully, that will put me to sleep. I long for the bed and wish I could just melt into my warm covers and sleep for days.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Thou Drinking Fool…

George was in rare form today. It seems he is catching up on the time he missed drinking while in jail. Carolyn just absolutely hates George and thinks he is a bad influence upon me. As if I am some malleable soul and mind to be meddled with. I worry far more about George’s mother than he during these little spats of nonconformity. She is getting old and can’t keep up with George and his drinking habits. Her senior years should be filled with less strife; certainly not those of an alcoholic, overacting grown son.

“My car won’t crank,” George told me on the phone.

“Good,” I said. “You probably don’t need to be driving anyway.”

“Can you at least come over and take a look at it?” George pleaded.

I realized that fixing George’s car was akin to putting a loaded gun into the hand of a suicidal man. I went anyway. I don’t mean to brag, but I have a knack for diagnosing and repairing vehicles. I went to school for quite a while to be a mechanic.

I arrived to find George standing out in his yard smoking a cigar with the hood of his car open wide. I pulled out my very heavy toolbox and walked over.

“What is it doing?” I asked.

“It just won’t fucking crank,” George said tersely. “Hell, you are the mechanic.”

I looked under George’s hood and immediately recognized the problem. The large wire running to his starter motor had become disconnected. I chuckled to myself quietly out of ear shot of George.

“I can’t fix it,” I said as I lied as I wiped my somewhat greasy hands upon my blue jeans.

I didn’t want George driving as he was already drunk.

“Fucking motherfucker,” George said. “I have a poker game at Pookie’s house tonight and have to be there.”

“Pookie lives less than three miles away,” I replied. “You can walk there in less than an hour.”

“Walking is for poor people and crazy white survivalist motherfuckers like yourself,” George said.

I laughed. I got a big kick out of what George had said. George is about as poor as they come these days.

“I’ll see ya,” I said as I grabbed my tool box and walked back to my car.

“What I am supposed to do about tonight?” George asked loudly.

“Walk!” I replied loudly as I smiled and shut my car door to drive home.

Busy Week…

Firstly, it has been a busy week and I am still in the throes of insomnia. For instance, it is 2:30 A.M. in the morning and I am still wide awake. There is nothing to do at 2:30 A.M., but write and watch reruns of CSI: Miami.

Thursday evening, I and mom went out to eat. I drove us over to the Waffle House near the interstate and we both got Ham and Cheese Omelet platters. There is nothing more comforting than breakfast for supper for me some days. We ate a delicious meal. I paid, left a tip, and drove us on home. I do so much enjoy the time spent with my mother. We can talk about anything.

George called me yesterday evening and asked me if he did anything stupid while he was drunk. He couldn’t remember anything. That must be such a rough, disconcerting, and terrible feeling. I had a long and vainglorious drinking career, but rarely had a night I didn’t remember or spent passed out.

“No, you drank so hard and fast you passed out drunk as shit,” I told him.

“You sure I didn’t do anything stupid?” He asked. “I woke up this afternoon and all my money is gone out of my wallet.”

“You bought a whole fifth of expensive bourbon at a non-state liquor store,” I replied. “That ate up almost twenty dollars. You didn’t have much more in there.”

“Fuck man!” George exclaimed. “I’ve got to quit drinking.”

I have heard George say that a thousand times. Somehow, I doubt one blackout will urge him into quitting. He will be the first at the bar come tomorrow.

Carolyn came over last night and we are still at an impasse as far as our relationship goes. She asked me to sever all ties with George and the gang and to spend less time upon the computer. I laughed as she asked it not helping the situation. It sounded so incredulous and ridiculous. At least, we didn’t get into a big argument. I was too glib to care last night. I am tired of bullshit and, quite frankly, don’t give a fuck any longer. I am not about to have someone else dictate to me how I spend my time. Hell, she works all the time. What am I to do? Sit around this house and wait on her? Gah! I just need to shut up about this whole relationship thing.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Writing into a Black Hole…

I know how Pam feels these days as I get very few comments with lots reading…

"First, a bit of a lament: I don't know why no one is commenting anymore. I know my recent poems are good, and they certainly are relevant to this site. But I feel as if once again I'm writing into a black hole, a void, dropping my poems down a deep hole and hoping upon hope that somebody somewhere below is catching them, reading them and "getting" them, perhaps even appreciating them. I know you guys are stopping by to read this blog, because the counter keeps going up. But why does no one bother to say a word or two, acknowledge that fact? Don't you know how much it would mean to me? Don't you know how much it means to any writer? We are only human after all, and our egos are sensitive and easily crushed. We do not know that anyone cares when silence reigns; we need to be told that people are listening! So keep that in mind when you rush to read and leave without saying a word. Remember that I'm putting on the page little pieces of myself every day, depleting my soul, and getting nothing back. As a writer I understand that that is the bargain, the essential contract I make with the world. But since there is in a blog an easy built-in mechanism for reader feedback, it seems only fair to ask that some be given, at least from time to time..."

Pam Wagner’s WagBlog on schizophrenia.com


I endeavored to comment upon her blog after reading this. I am the world’s worst blog commenter. You have to really have touched my heart and soul for me to take the time to comment upon your blog. I have to feel comfortable with you. I must feel you are a true friend due to the paranoia of my illness. I have also found that comments are too glibly given often without forethought.

Pam, I am out here and about and I read you everyday. I will try to comment more often. Keep writing those wonderful poems and sharing the life of a woman with schizophrenia. You have touched my soul immeasurably.

Ferret and George…

I paid a yard service today to come and pick up all my many leaves from this week’s storm. George got angry with me when I told him about it.

“Why didn’t you come and get me?” He asked. “I would have cleaned up your yard for some money.”

Somehow, I just didn’t see George raking leaves all day in what took the yard service to do in an hour with an industrial sized mower.

“Where are you headed?” George asked me as I stepped inside to put on my Kelty pack and then headed out the door.

“I am going on my daily hike and am going to stop by to see Ferret if he is at his camp,” I replied. “I have something to give him.”

“I am coming with you,” George replied.

“I doubt you can walk that far,” I said dubiously.

I and George walked over the river next to Big John’s package store. George rushed inside to buy a bottle of bourbon. I sat outside on the sidewalk smoking a cigarette. George came walking back out to walk around the side of the building to take a couple of stiff drinks.

“Don’t you ever get tired of drinking so much?” I asked him as I stepped around the corner as well. “You have got to feel like shit all the time.”

George had a deer in the headlights look upon his face as I confronted him.

“I can’t help it,” George said as he laughed nervously. “I am a drunk.”

“Well, at least you are honest about it,” I muttered to myself as I then headed towards Ferret’s camp at a brisk pace. George followed right behind me almost giving out several times.

We found Ferret sitting next to a roaring fire smoking a cigarette. It was a raw, cold, and blustery day. Ferret shook my hand and then looked at George warily.

“You brought the drunk,” Ferret said and it pissed George off.

“Yes, I brought the drunk,” I replied looking at George sternly trying to dissuade him from drinking around Ferret.

George sat to the side drinking his bourbon and smoking a cigar as Ferret threw another couple of logs on the fire.

“I’ve got you something,” I told Ferret as I pulled off my backpack and opened its top.

“What is it?” He asked excitedly.

I pulled out a Nintendo Game Boy Advance with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past cartridge and handed it to him.

“I thought some video games would help pass the time,” I replied. “The batteries in it are still fresh.”

Ferret shook my hand vigorously and turned on the little video game machine to the clang of the Nintendo logo sounding.

“I bet I can beat this game in a matter of hours,” Ferret told me.

“Hell, it took me weeks to beat it playing off and on. I hope it gives you more time than just a matter of hours.”

I and Ferret were sitting by his fire as he played the game when we heard a loud thumping and rustling noise. I looked over to find George had passed out on his side from drinking a whole bottle of bourbon in a matter of an hour.

“Motherfucker,” I said as I walked over to George to try and shake him awake.

Ferret shook his head in disgust.

“I used to be like him,” He said. “Now, I can’t stand being around drunks.”

“Watch him while I go get my car,” I replied.

I walked the thirty minutes home and drove back down to the pulpwood yard and helped George to my car. He was totally shit faced after drinking a fifth of bourbon. I got him in the passenger’s side and buckled him up and drove him on home to his mother’s house. She was none too thrilled when I helped him walk inside. George will probably sleep for the rest of the day.

Blah!

I am feeling so blah this morning. My first inclination when I got out of the bed around 4 A.M. was to go get my wallet and count my cash. I sat in my den with a twenty dollar bill in hand mulling over the idea of getting a case of very strong beer and drinking the whole day away after visiting Fat Albert’s. Tears rolled down my cheeks as this internal battle of the wills waged. I finally put the money back in my wallet and cued up some comforting music (Saving Private Ryan soundtrack) and decided to write. Thus you get this post. I am hoping that writing about it will diffuse the situation somewhat.

Carolyn came over last night and flat out told me she was jealous of me and George and my computers (very reminiscent of my ex-wife Rachel). She said I care about them more and that the only thing I talk about these days is some of me and George’s antics in the past. She finally drove home and I was glad she was gone. I didn’t need any drama last night nor was I pandering to it. I find such relationships so beneficial yet so aggravating at the same time. It is hard for me to reconcile the costs versus gains ratio sometimes when it comes to intimate relationships with a female. I went to bed last night completely devoid of emotion on the Carolyn front. Her recent jealously and tirades have completely turned me off of the whole affair. My life is complicated enough without adding to the complications. I can do without sex and have done so for long periods of time before. My medications also completely blunt my sexual and emotional desires and needs. It is just another day in the life of a schizophrenic zombie. Grrrr!

Rumsfeld gets Cute at the Podium...




Top 10 George W. Bush Moments


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Scientology - A Question of Faith

Did A Mother's Faith Contribute To Her Murder?

(CBS) Why would a 28-year-old man, described as sweet, kind and gentle, take a knife to his mother one morning in 2003 and stab her over 70 times?

Jeremy Perkins, who had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, came to believe that his mother, Elli, was evil and out to get him. Experts say the brutal murder might never have occurred, had he received proper treatment to control his psychotic delusions. But Jeremy’s parents were devout Scientologists and their religion strongly opposes psychiatric treatment.

Did Elli Perkins' faith contribute to her death? 48 Hours correspondent Peter Van Sant explores the issue.

"I tried to slit my wrists...but I wouldn't die, so I decided to do my mom instead," Jeremy Perkins told police after the murder.

Jeremy’s chilling words describe his actions on March 13, 2003, while he was in an active psychotic state.

The Perkins family cared deeply for their son and sought treatment within the principles of their faith. A lawyer for Jeremy's father told 48 Hours that Jeremy was seen by both physicians and mental health practitioners, including a psychiatrist. But court records unsealed by 48 Hours indicate that Jeremy’s treatment was limited to mostly vitamins and other holistic healing methods. The family filled prescriptions for an anti-anxiety drug and a sleeping aid. Medical experts and a doctor who treated Jeremy after the murder dismiss these methods as ineffective for an individual with paranoid schizophrenia.

Today the Church of Scientology claims more than 10 million members worldwide. Its religious opposition to psychiatry is well-known. In June of 2005, the issue was brought to national attention when actor Tom Cruise took a very public stance on NBC’s "Today" show. "I know that psychiatry is a pseudo-science," he told Matt Lauer. "You don’t know the history of psychiatry. I do."

Van Sant examines the roots of Scientology’s opposition to psychiatry and the tragic death of a caring mother who desperately wanted to help her beloved son.


http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/10/25/48hours/main2124568.shtml

Watch the full 48 Hours segment of video here.


After the Storm…

I know it looked odd me unloading bundles of firewood next to the pulpwood yard adjacent to the train tracks this morning and carrying it back into the thicket of woods nearby. I got quite a few stares from the pulpwood workers in that yard this morning as they loaded train cars full of pine logs.

Ferret had a rough day yesterday. It sucks to be homeless when the weather rages outside like it did for most of the day. It rained over two inches and we had several tornado warnings; the glaring blare of the warning sirens rang several times yesterday throughout the afternoon. Fortunately, Ferret’s tent weathered the storm without any leaks. He had staked it down properly and dug a shallow trench around the perimeter like I told him to do.

“What did you do all day yesterday?” I asked him as I greeted him this morning.

“I just laid in my sleeping bag and slept all day as it poured down rain,” Ferret replied.

Ferret was glad to get all that wood this morning and gave me a twenty dollar bill and told me to keep the change. He had no way of transporting the wood back to his campsite and I do have a car so I didn’t mind doing it.

Someone had emailed me yesterday; someone who I didn’t have any idea who they were. They asked me if I was getting a little too attached to a homeless man and was being a little obsessive with my help. I disagree. I am only doing what I would have wanted a friend to do for me when I was homeless as well. The only people that hang out with homeless people tend to be other homeless people and miscreants like George and the gang. I cast aside that stereotype. I consider myself one of the brethren being a formerly homeless man. I will leave it up to Ferret to decide when I am helping too much. He will have no qualms about telling me so as he can be very forward and blunt.

Leonid Storm?

Another of Nature's majestic sight shows might occur this weekend; especially for Western Europe and the Eastern half of the United States after dusk around midnight.

I can remember as a child my father taking me and my brother out into the country on a dark and cold winter’s night with a telescope I got for Christmas one year. We would explore the bright, glaring surface of the moon and view M42 in Orion; the only Nebula visible to the naked eye on a dark night and easily found. My father was always good in urging us to explore and get interested in science and space exploration. My Christmas presents were often such things as telescopes, microscopes, entomology collection and preservation kits, and chemistry sets.

According to Space.com:

A rather narrow but dense ribbon of dust was shed by comet Temple-Tuttle when it passed the Sun in 1932. When the Earth interacted with that dusty trail back in 1969, it produced a brief bevy of some 200 to 300 meteors in less than hour.

In 2006, Earth will be nearly twice as far away from the comet as opposed to 1969, but expectations are that as many as 100 to 150 Leonids may streak across the sky in only an hour’s time as we interact with that decades-old ribbon of debris again.

The expected time of peak activity is 11:45 p.m. EST on the night of Nov. 18.

For those living in eastern North America, the constellation of Leo will be rising in the eastern sky. Unfortunately, those living across the central and western parts of the United States and Canada will be out of luck, since Leo will not yet have risen and the expected peak of the display will be over when Leo finally comes above the horizon.

Skywatchers in Western Europe will have ringside seats: The peak is due early on Sunday morning, Nov. 19 at 4:45 GMT. Leo will be high in the southeast sky, just before sunrise affording the very best Leonid views.


I can’t wait to pack some snacks and a hot thermos of coffee and drive way out spring road until it turns to dirt well away from the bright glare of city lights Saturday night. I will plant my lawn chair out in the pasture, kick back, light up a few smokes, and enjoy the sight show. If you live on the East Coast, be sure to poke your head out about midnight for a few minutes and gaze up into the night sky for a possible treat. Don’t forget to make a wish while you’re at it if you see a few Leonids.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

An Awesome Night Unfolds…

An awesome night is unfolding in Casa de Andrew. The gloomy weather is befitting my brooding mood tonight and that makes me funkaliciously happy. Just a moment ago, I broke out into this goofiest grin thinking of the visit from George I had this evening. Anybody in the room with me would have thought I was crazy. Hey… I am! What’s your excuse?

George was in rare form tonight and being his usual silly self. I was being my usual serious self and it became George’s mission in life to make me laugh and to prod me out of this house to go get into some trouble. Our strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personas made for an interesting conversation this evening.

George was trying to talk me into driving around the back dirt roads in the country and drink lots of beer with him. George hates to drink alone. I was always the exact opposite. I reveled in my solitude while drinking. I am sure our little back road journey of drunkenness would have entailed lots of stupid, silly talk and blaring gospel music from George’s car speakers.

“Come on and let’s go get fucked up!” George whined, pleading with me. “Me and you used to drink together all the time!”

“George, I have shitty luck,” I replied seriously. “If I were to go with you, I assure you we would get pulled over by the police. If there is a pile of dog shit in the yard, I will step in it without fail.”

“That’s why we be riding them back country roads,” George said. “They be no police on them.”

“Why don’t you go get Ferret?” I asked. “On second thought, don’t go get Ferret. You would be a bad influence on him and he might just get drunk.”

“I will only let you drink a six pack,” George replied, pleading some more. “Surely, yo ass ain’t gonna get drunk off a six pack of beer. You used to could drink an eighteen pack and still walk straight.”

I laughed remembering some of the many times me and George sat out in my backyard in the summertime drinking beer until our conversations had devolved into stupid silliness and not making a bit of sense. We would get so drunk about all we could do is just laugh and cackle at each other’s antics.

“Let me drive us around while you drink after we run your car back to your momma’s house,” I told him.

“You gonna drink as well?” George asked.

“No,” I replied adamantly, trying not to crack a smile.

“Well, I ain’t going unless yo ass is gonna get drunk too.”

“Fine,” I replied. "Don't go."

“I am headed to Pookie’s house and will drink over there,” George said trying to make me jealous.

“Fine,” I said again. “Just don’t drive home drunk.”

There was a long silence as George waited on me to change my mind.

“Oh, fucking come on,” George finally said. “You are a fucking stick in the mud these days. You used to could party with the best of them.”

It was oh so tempting to just escape into one night’s drunken bliss and silliness with George, but I abstained. I was proud of myself. I didn’t turn to the dark side of Dark Lord Palpatine aka George.

George finally gave up on trying to goad me into wanton drunken driving and left. I was kind of hoping he would just go buy a case of beer and come back over here and get drunk. It has been awhile since I have been around George when he is in fine drunken form; months to be exact. Oh well, maybe I won’t get any calls in the night from George wanting me to come bail him out of jail again. Hopefully, the allure of Pookie will keep him housebound for the night. I just chuckled out loud as I wrote that last sentence.

Driving through Clouds of Mist…

It was a long drive down the interstate in deplorable weather conditions. The big rigs with which I once made my living threw up big sprays and mists of water where you could barely see the road if you got behind them.

“This is dangerous,” My mother said.

“Yeah, I know. I can’t see shit,” I replied checking to make sure the windshield wipers were on their highest speed.

Mom decided to tag along as she wanted to go by the bookstore and then go get something to eat. She was very quiet today and I think she was just glad to get out of the house. I tried my best to make small talk on the drive down to Opelika.

“I feel comfortable with you where I don’t with dad,” I told her.

“I wish your brother and sister felt the same,” Mom replied.

“Ah, don’t worry about them,” I said. “They are silly.”

It only took fifteen minutes to see my psychiatrist. She is usually a very reserved woman of Indian descent. She was very chipper today and abnormally sociable and talkative.

“So, how are you?” She asked as we sat down in her office with a big smile upon her face.

I crossed my legs and made myself comfortable as I clasped my hands in front of my chest.

“I am feeling pretty good these days,” I replied.

“No drinking beer?”

“No, I haven’t had a drink in quite a while.”

“That is why you are doing so well,” My doctor replied gleefully. “Your medications can’t work well when you drink alcohol. Drinking will depress you and exacerbate your symptoms.”

God, I didn’t need another lecture from her on the drinking front. I just sat politely as I smiled and listened thinking, “Come on. Let’s move on. I have heard this lecture a thousand times.”

My psychiatrist was concerned that I will be spending Christmas alone this year away from my family. She had asked me what I was going to do for the holidays. My parents and sister are flying out to San Diego to spend Christmas with my brother and his family. I couldn’t afford a ticket.

“I think Carolyn and I will spend Christmas and the New Year together,” I finally said to assuage her worries.

“So, is this the woman you are seeing?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“It is good you have someone so special to spend Christmas with,” She remarked as she made notes upon my charts.

I didn’t mention our hellacious fight last night on the phone.

My psychiatrist continued my current dosages of medicine and we shook hands good bye. I and Mom drove on up to eat and then swung by the bookstore. I bought a Railroad Model Craftsman and a Trains magazine. Mom bought a few paperback books to read. It was then a long and quiet ride back up the interstate in a blinding rain to home.

Stormy Nights both Inside and Out…

I and Carolyn had a fierce argument last night over the phone. I hate arguing, especially over the stupid phone where you can’t see each other’s body language. The argument was over something trivial and stupid as well. She just wouldn’t let it go. I realize in a relationship you sometimes have to be the proverbial punching bag. It still hurts though and I feel emotionally spent and wasted this morning. I am also still seething at Carolyn for making such a big deal out of trivial bullshit.

I also had a call from my father last night berating me for spending too much money on groceries lately. We still have our joint checking account and he can see what I spend as my statements come to their house. He was just worried about the money as my new house has just eaten me up financially lately. I have only $300 dollars left in my checking account after once having $5000 saved up as an emergency fund.

“Son, if we are going to finish this house, you have got to cut back on your spending,” He told me.

I sighed. I already live on a shoestring budget as it is and can’t imagine cutting back even more. One of my great pleasures in life is enjoying good food and good, home cooked meals.

As you can see, last night was not a good night.

It is pouring down rain and thundering and lightning as I write this. Soon, I have to make the 45 minute drive to go see my psychiatrist and get my prescriptions refilled. I do not relish that long drive in this driving rain down the interstate to Opelika. I would rather stay in my warm and dry home and laze about the house all day enjoying the sounds of the weather.

I also have to go by Kroger and pick up four cords of firewood for 2 for $8 dollars. I saw them on sale last night when I was buying groceries and Ferret needs good, dry, and long burning wood. I am sure he will pay me back. I am not about to get out in this driving rain to go ask him though. It will just have to be a surprise tomorrow once this storm passes.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A New Day Dawns for Ferret…

Ferret weathered last night out-of-doors with aplomb. I walked down to Sarah Jay’s and bought us two breakfast platters in to-go boxes and took one to Ferret. He was glad to get a hot meal.

It was a beautiful morning at dawn. The horizon shown a glorious hue of orange as I walked through the woods to Ferret’s campsite. I had to wait for a very long freight train to clamor by before crossing the tracks. The engineer waved at me heartily as those big engines roared past. I waved back vigorously and smiled. I love trains.

I found Ferret huddled up in his heavy coat smoking cigarettes next to a small fire as I walked up. I shook his hand and told him good morning handing him the breakfast platter.

“You are awesome, dude,” He replied about the breakfast. “I am starving.”

“The breakfast only cost three dollars so it didn’t break the bank,” I said. “Don’t worry about paying me back.”

I sat down next to Ferret upon the ground and we began to eat our breakfasts.

“How did that fleece liner work last night?” I then asked him.

“I stayed toasty warm all night and actually got some sleep,” He replied with his mouth full of food. “My head kept getting cold though. I need a wool cap to sleep in.”

“It actually got a lot colder last night than the National Weather Service had predicted,” I said. “My wireless weather station showed a temperature of 36 degrees when I left the house to walk down here.”

“Goddamned cold,” Ferret said. “Why does my life always have to be fucked up? I quit drinking and thought things would get better. I stayed in that home for homeless men and listened to all that Jesus and God bullshit that was supposed to change my life. It just left me confused and feeling guilty. I just can’t catch a break. I get so tired of my life always being so fucked up.”

“Drinking will only make things worse,” I replied trying to dissuade him from going back down that path.

“I know,” Ferret said. “But that shit makes you feel good for a few and makes you forget your problems.”

“And you wake up feeling like shit the next morning and the problems are even worse,” I replied.

Ferret’s fire had begun to die down. I and him both set out on our separate ways through the woods to look for more fallen limbs and sticks to burn after finishing our breakfasts. There wasn’t much wood to be found. I did find an armful and Ferret did as well. We met back at his camp and threw our piles down next to his now almost dead fire. It was just smoldering and smoking coals at this point in time.

“Well, I will see ya man. I am off for my daily hike,” I said.

“See ya bro and don’t walk too far,” Ferret replied.

I hit the tracks and walked all the way up to Kroger and then back to home for a total of 6 more miles today. It took two hours to walk that distance. Well, let me go get some laundry started. I am down to my last two pairs of clean underwear. Oh, how I hate to do laundry and lug all those bags of clothes upstairs. I guess I should just be grateful and quit bitching. My life is a walk in the park compared to Ferret’s these days.

Test Photo Blog Post...

These are actual images taken from the same model of digital camera I ordered. I just wanted to do a test post to see what the images would look like after being uploaded to blogger. Click on an individual image to enlarge and see the stunning quality of this camera. I am so excited I cannot wait till Christmas!!!



As you can see, the photos are going to look great and I think will add some depth and content to the blog. Now, if I can just wait for another month till I get to open my presents. It is going to be a long November and first of December.

Restless Nights and Rambling Ideas…

It is 12:30 A.M. according to the clock resting upon my entertainment center. I have yet to set it back from the time change. Time is such a relative thing.

I just took a long drive out into the countryside while listening to WWL 870 AM radio out of New Orleans. I stopped at the end of spring road and was greeted by a crisp and cool fall night; a myriad thousand stars shone upon the sky with nary a cloud to obscure them. Far off, the distant hoot of an owl could be heard. It was such a lonesome sound. It is times like these I so much enjoy. Nothing stirs my soul more than experiencing the wonders of Nature and the world we live upon.

I have been reflecting upon my life a lot lately and thought long and hard on the drive home after turning off the radio. Things have been going pretty well. I am content with my life and that is a good feeling. I have a warm home and plenty to eat and drink. All my basic needs are met and that is all that really matters. I am also no longer in that disastrous marriage that kept me so miserable for years. Bless Rachel’s dear soul, but she was a horrible wife and not a very good friend or companion. That whole ordeal seems like some bad dream or nightmare these days as if it were all in my mind. Carolyn makes Rachel pale in comparison as far as a woman and a friend goes.

My social life has been vibrant these days as well. I have Carolyn for my emotional and sexual needs and desires. I have George back and the gang is slowly regrouping due to his presence once again. I do so much enjoy our interactions and the unorthodox lives of the gang. If we can just keep George out of jail, it will make for interesting social interactions for me and an interesting blog as well. I know that sounds so selfish. That is not the real reason I want him to stay out of jail. I want him free because he is a friend and deserves the best. Friends want what is best for each other.

My heart goes out to Ferret tonight. I did manage to take him my fleece sleeping bag liner yesterday afternoon. The temps are supposed to only get down to forty degrees tonight so he should stay warm enough. I know what he is going through via first hand experience. I have been homeless and spent many a cold winter night out in the woods in a tent. I can remember lying in my sleeping bag on subfreezing nights longing for the warmth of the sun to arrive in the morning. One of the biggest lessons homelessness taught me was to live for the day. You never know what will happen tomorrow. Yes, it is wise to plan ahead sometimes, but you really truly only have the day or only an hour on hand before you.

I don’t have much planned for tomorrow. As usual, my schedule is free so I can do whatever I want to on a whim. I will make my daily hike. I will cook breakfast, lunch, and supper. I may even head down to see how Ferret fared overnight in the morning. I guess I kind of live a charmed life not having to work, but I do have to pay a dear price for it. That is the price of an unwell mind that is as fickle as the wind. One day’s glory and good can be tomorrow’s tormented madness. C’est la vie as the French say; such is life.

I am extremely excited about having a digital camera again and an extremely nice one to boot. I won’t be able to use it until Christmas day so you all will have to wait until then for pictures of my daily hikes and other discoveries along the way. I have so many ideas of things I want to photograph and share. I hope to be a right shutterbug in a month or so. From the reviews I have read of the camera I ordered, it is a gem of a photo taker. It can also record movies.

Well, I have rambled enough and must amble towards the bed. I doubt I will sleep though. I will lie with only Maggie and my thoughts to keep me company for many hours ahead most likely. Stop by in the morning and I will write an update on Ferret for ya’ll to read if he is at his camp when I walk down there. Hopefully, he will be in better spirits tomorrow. And what would a day be without George? Maybe George will make himself known tomorrow as well. I do hope so. Good night and sweet dreams.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Blog Updates…

As you can see, I have been busy adding things and updating the look and layout of the blog. I also just spent about ten minutes writing a completely revised Cast of Characters to the right for new readers of the blog. I just added that link to the sidebar.

On a different note, I completely forgot about Veteran’s Day Saturday and am now kicking myself in the ass because of it. I had planned on taking Dumpster Diving Dan out for a burger and some banana splits up at Sonic if he would go. It completely slipped my mind. I guess he knows how much what he did for our country means to me and I think most everyone. I can’t imagine going off to war being as young as he was having your whole world turned upside down. Maybe Dan will revel us with a story about Vietnam soon. I will try to coax one out of him. He rarely likes to talk about it.

Down and Out…

I only hiked four miles today. I just wasn’t in the mood for walking. I go through phases and right now I am addicted to computer hardware and upgrading my computers. Today, I added another 1 GB of memory bringing the total RAM in my computer to 2 GB. That should last me until Windows Vista is released sometime around the New Year.

I did walk through the woods to find Ferret at his campsite early this morning. Ferret has the perfect homeless camping spot. His campsite is nestled between the train tracks and the Chattahoochee River back in a secluded part of an old overgrown pecan tree grove.

I was pleased to find Ferret hasn’t started back drinking yet. He was in a dour mood though.

“Those fucking trains kept me up all last night and I about froze my ass off,” Ferret said. “This Wal-Mart sleeping bag sucks. I can’t believe I am homeless again.”

“I will bring you a fleece bag insert this afternoon,” I told him. “That will increase that cheap bag’s temperature rating by about twenty degrees.”

“I will appreciate it,” Ferret replied.

“Have you had any breakfast?” I then asked him.

“I had a couple of honey buns and a Coca-Cola,” Ferret replied.

“Let’s walk across the tracks to Sarah Jay’s and get us some cups of coffee,” I told him.

Ferret agreed it would be a welcomed respite on this still chilly cold morning. We sat and drank coffee until we had worn out our welcome. Ferret told me all about living in that group home for indigent, alcoholic, and homeless men down in Columbus. I was sure to leave a very good tip to compensate for the long time we talked as we held up a table in the busy restaurant.

Stuck in Computer Hell…

It is 3 A.M. in the morning. I have been stuck in computer hell all last night and early this morning. I had an old PCI TV tuner card from 2001 and grew determined I was going to get it to work in my fast gaming computer for which I have turned into my main blogging and writing computer these days. After hours later and two reinstalls of Windows XP, I finally got it working and stable. I can now watch and record television on both my computers. It was a headache though. I had to try numerous PCI slots to get the tuner to work right and without lockups. I have also drunk enough cokes and smoked enough cigarettes to put a man with a lesser constitution into an early grave.

Carolyn came by last night and got thoroughly outdone with me for my obsession with getting my computers back in action and not spending time with her.

“I drive all the way other here to find you obsessed with those damned computers,” She told me standing above me as I lay on the floor reinserting my sound card and TV tuner card and tightening them up with a screwdriver.

“I told you I was busy when you called,” I replied matter-of-factly intent upon my task at hand.

“I know. I was just missing you,” She said. “I just have to work all the time and we never get to see each other.”

“Honey, I am sorry. I just want to get this fixed tonight. It is driving me crazy,” I replied. “I hate it when my computers are down. I promise I will make it up to you soon.”

Carolyn kissed me good night and drove on home to go to bed. She has another early morning today at work. I also had a short phone call from George last night. He was telling me more about Ferret.

“That dumb mother fucker spent fifty dollars on a tent yesterday,” George told me.

George would have died if I had revealed that I spent over $200 for my nice Kelty expedition tent.

“What do you expect? That is going to be his home,” I replied. “Hell, in all, I spent $35,000 on my house and counting.”

“You didn’t pay shit,” George said. “Yo crazy ass father paid all that.”

“Don’t think I probably won’t pay for it in one way or another though,” I said bluntly. “He will hold it over me and expect me to do his bidding.”

“I’d kiss his white ass if he bought me a house,” George said as he laughed. “I still have to live with momma and she keeps nagging me about getting a real job.”

I laughed back and told George he was right and finally got off the phone. George could have talked for hours more. I had to get back to computer hell. It seems everyone was conspiring against me last night and my obsession.

In other news, I order my Christmas gifts tomorrow. I decided on an even nicer Canon digital camera; a ten mega-pixel model with a 4 GB memory card. I am also ordering a new dual layer DVD burner so I can record the football bowl games on my computer, burn them to DVD, and watch them over and over on my Sony television and DVD player.

Well, let me close this long winded post and go curl up in the bed. I have the Walton’s set to record on my computer in the morning so I can sleep in. I am addicted to that show for some strange reason. It reminds me of life on my grandmother’s farm.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Cold is a Cruel Mistress…

It was such a warm and glorious day Friday. Mother Nature decided to take it away from us yesterday evening with cold, gusty, and blustery winds and a bone chilling cold upon the air. The weather in the South can be so fickle. It tried to spit rain for most of the day and the gloomy pall of a grey overcast sky hung heavy upon my shoulders. This time of the year always depresses me and gives me the funks.

I slept for eight hours yesterday and six hours tonight no doubt in part to the gloomy weather. I guess I am catching up on my recent sleep deficit as well. I could actually go back to bed again, but want to sleep well tonight. I am also obsessed with rebuilding my blog archives and giving every post organizing labels so that has spurred me awake as well at 6:30 AM with a task in mind.

George is desperately and busily trying to rebuild his taxi cab service clientele with a revoked license. I saw him and several of the gang as I had walked down to the shopping center to buy a pack of cheese on wheat crackers and chocolate milk late yesterday afternoon. George motioned for me to come and sit in his car.

“Brotha, you ain’t got twenty dollars I could borrow for gas?” He asked.

“Drive us down to Fat Albert’s and I will fill it up,” I replied.

We drove the few short blocks to Albert’s and I swiped my Visa debit card through the gas pump reader and we filled up George’s car. The total was $37 dollars.

“I will pay you back tomorrow,” George said and I can trust him to do so.

“I saw Ferret today,” George then said as we drove back up to the shopping center.

“How did he look?” I asked inquisitively.

“He’s gained a lot of weight and had on new clothes and shoes,” George replied. “But it didn’t last long.”

“Why?” I asked.

“He’s moved back out of his mother’s house and the rumor is he is back to living in his tent by the river,” George replied.

“I knew that shit with him and his mother wouldn’t work,” I said. “Was he drinking?”

“He wasn’t when I saw him, but he will be soon,” George replied.

“Man, maybe we can get him back into that group home for homeless men,” I said. “Does he have an income this time?”

“Yeah, he be getting disability,” George replied.

“Well, that will make his life much more simple,” I said.

“He said yesterday that if it wasn’t for you, he would have never gotten that disability,” George said.

“Hell, all I did was print him out the forms and showed him what to write and coached him through it and then mailed it,” I replied with an air of modesty.

“Well, he wants to see you and thank you,” George said.

I have missed Ferret very much, but hated to hear such bad news. I knew deep in my heart that the living arrangement with his mother wouldn’t work out though. Maybe I will make a quick jaunt down into the woods to Ferret’s old homeless stomping grounds and see how he is doing and if he needs anything. I do take solace in that he has a stable income now and I hope he has the sense to keep up with all the paperwork social security will no doubt send him on a regular basis.

Well, let me get some breakfast started and then call Carolyn to get her up and ready for work. She has had a bad habit of sleeping through her alarm clock lately. We’ve had a few mornings where she has been late to work lately. Good day.