Monday, December 31, 2007

Noodles and Sauce

"Is supper ready?" Rosa asked, calling awhile ago. "I am getting a ride over now."

I smiled warmly, saying yes and then hung up the phone. I had just walked to the grocery store and brought home a backpack of succulent food. On the stove, I stir fried some cubed chicken breast, celery, red bale pepper, and broccoli. I boiled some fettuccini with a dash of salt and a dollop of olive oil. Into this mixture went some generous gratings of fresh parmigiano-reggiano along with fresh cream. We were having my homemade version of chicken fettuccini alfredo. It smelled wonderful.

I used to cook like this all the time. Having Rosa encourages me to do this. It gives me a reason to go to all this trouble. I had to borrow the money for groceries from her, though, this morning. I vowed to pay her back.

"God, I am going to gain twenty pounds eating this," Rosa said as we sat at my kitchen table. I patted my belly and smiled. Even Maggie got in on the action getting a little plate of noodles, sauce, and chicken. She was a happy dog. I know she grows tired of her kibbles.

Rosa has settled into watching TV. She is spending the night. I wish I could join her, but I just can't concentrate on the damn boob tube. The same goes for books as well. It is odd that I can read blogs. Writing comes so easy to me for which I am thankful.

It has been a good day. A damn good day amidst many trying days before. Maybe the funks are lifting. Maybe my medications are working. I feel so alive, vibrant, genteel. I want to solve the world's problems and howl at the moon. I want to end suffering. I want to make homelessness obsolete and end hunger. I want to invite over all the lonely alcoholics and schizophrenics and give them a safe and welcoming place to be. I feel like I could take on the world!!!!! I don't want this day to end!!!!

On Schizophrenia and Journaling...












video

A Break in the Storm...

What you see is my discarded Christmas tree. I had to capitalize on this break in the schizophrenia storm to get things done -- one of those rare moments I feel active. Sadly, I packed up all my ornaments and the lights and put them away for another year. I so enjoyed my first tree in years and am sad to see it go. The smell and the glow of the lights all served to bolster the spirits of this soul.

The Bane of my Existence...

These three beers sit hidden in my laundry cabinet so as for my father not to find them. I can't drink them, but I keep them. I can't bring myself to pour them out. I keep telling myself they may come in handy in an emergency. I couldn't buy any more. These damn things are the bane of my existence. I have thought of symbolically pouring them out at midnight tonight to start the New Year.

Awakenings

I realized this morning that I have been mired in the negative symptoms of schizophrenia for weeks. It was as if some great, dark, and looming fog of funk has lifted. I'm noticing me doing little things like taking out the trash and cleaning my microwave. I shaved this morning and it wasn't an effort. These little things mean so much to me. It just hammers home how I shouldn't play with my medications or take them so lightly. I was really playing with fire there for a few weeks with not taking them.

Hope can be so fleeting for a person suffering from mental illness. It always seems you take three steps forward and two steps back. I can honestly say I have hope today and it feels good -- so good in fact that I want to walk for hours, clean my house, and do my laundry. I want to call Rosa and tell her all about it. Things unthinkable a week ago. I also want to eat healthily and will brush my teeth after not having done so for weeks. I wish I could feel like this all the time.

The Weather Breaks...

The weather has seemed dreary for weeks. I just stepped outside and was overjoyed at the sight of the sun. My humble home in the sunlight.

Looking down the street at a pristine blue, sunny sky. The sky was just gorgeous.

Looking down towards Joyce's house. My neighbors have taken down their decorations. I am sad to see them go.


The Tomcat Awakes

Rosa and I lay in the bed until late last night, talking.  I was trying to explain to her some of what I deal with being schizophrenic.

"I used to think my neighbors had put cameras in my ceilings," I told her. "I remember tearing holes in the ceiling trying to find them.  It cost my father a fortune to have it repaired."

"Were you in college?" Rosa asked.

"Yeah," I replied. "Those were my darkest times."

"At least you have your father bringing your medications now," Rosa told me.

"He does it for him and not for me," I replied. "Medicated, I am easier to deal with.  He has purely selfish motives."

"Your family is fucked up," Rosa said.

"I know," was my forlorn reply.

Rosa soon fell asleep and I lay in the bed for the longest time thinking -- thinking of my life as a schizophrenic and how much better it is these days.  The paranoia is gone.  The intrusive thoughts and urgings have faded away.  I still struggle with obsessive compulsiveness, but it is no where near as bad as before.  I attribute much of this to do with the cessation of my drinking, but realize the medications play a big part as well. 

I awoke this morning very early and couldn't sleep.  I pulled on my blue jeans and sweatshirt and snuck out Rosa's door.  I felt like some rangy tomcat in the night having mated and looking for other opportunities.  I was so worried about Maggie and headed home to make sure she was okay.  I arrived home to an excited dog and a glorious homecoming.  There is nothing like man's best friend.  I am heading back to bed.   

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Walk Across J-ville

Grand plans are forming within my feeble mind.  Plans to walk for mental health.  Went for a long walk in the rain today carrying my umbrella, and I realized how much walking means to me.  I passed numerous houses where safely within were ensconced their occupants.  People living other lives.  Other desires.  Other fears.  Other wants.  Other needs.  It made me feel so small and inconsequential.  As if my own problems didn't matter so much in the grand scheme of things. 

Stopped by Rosa's house and talked for a minute.  I had something on my mind that needed saying.  I wanted to pour my heart out to her.  It was aching.

"I love you," I told her standing at the front door as the rain dripped off the rim of my cap. "I don't want to be alone and I need you."

"I love you, too!" She replied. "Stay with me tonight."

"I will see you after I get finished with my walk and making sure Maggie has food and water."

"What brought this on?" Rosa then asked as I started to walk away. "You were so against us getting back together."

"I just love you," I replied.   "I realized today after last night and this morning how much you mean to me."

And I do.  I love her more than anything.  She has been wanting us to get back together and the time is nigh.  I will sleep well tonight in the arms of someone who loves me.  Life is no fun being alone all the time.

Maggie Being Frisky...




Room for Two

I ended up spending the night at Rosa's last night.  It was a spur of the moment thing.  Nothing happened.  I slept on the couch and slept damn well.  I just couldn't bear to be alone last night.  This morning Rosa fixed breakfast and we sat in her kitchen talking.

"What do you do to give yourself a pep talk?" she asked, worried about me.

"I tell myself I should be glad I'm not in prison," I replied, shoveling food in my mouth.  "I think of Prison Pete and what he has to go through.  It makes me feel better.  I try to think of the worst case scenario that could be my life."

We sat eating our eggs and cheese toast.  It felt wonderful to be with someone who cares.  I've missed Rosa and our candid conversations.  My family can be so harsh with me these days.  As if they no longer care.  I really think my family has given up on me. 

"What do you do?" I then asked Rosa.

"Beating my crack addiction was the biggest gift I could ever have," she said. "I think of what my life was like before that and it makes me feel better. Turning tricks for money.  Sleeping with strange men in seedy hotel rooms.  It all seems like a nightmare I have woke up from."

I shuddered at the thought.  I have such an addictive personality that I could never beat crack.  I tried it once, but it just didn't do anything for me.  I am so glad it didn't.  I so admire Rosa for what she has gone through and overcome. 

I left Rosa's house and walked home early this morning.  Storms had come through overnight and the world looked new, and was wet and sparkling from the rain.  I continued to think of Prison Pete as I walked home.  Just imagine being in prison for 15 years.  Think of having to start over once you get out.  Finding a job, a home, or a car.   I am way ahead of the ball game.  I have all those things except for the car and a job.

Also, when I get to feeling down I read The Homeless Guy's blog.  It reminds me of what I have and how lucky I am.  Although I fantasize about living homeless in Nashville, I realize that life is fraught with danger and inconvenience.  

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I Wanna New Drug...

"I wanna get fucked up," Ferret told me grinning furiously a moment ago down at the shopping center. "I wanna get blitzed out of my mind.  I don't want to remember tomorrow."

It has been a warm day.  Quite a few of the gang were down at the shopping center after lunch.  Ferret. Dexter. Big S. Cap w/Tag Guy. Rosa.  The after Christmas sales had brought in a lot of foot traffic. 

"I want a drug that makes me happy and doesn't destroy my life," was what I told Ferret. "It would be my soma."

Ferret jumped up and pulled on his cap.

"I'm headed for the liquor store.  You coming?"

"No," I replied. "I can't"

I watched as Ferret briskly walked off.  It was a long walk across the river to Big John's package store.  Not one that I relished, having walked that path many times.  My mind raced as I thought of bottles of booze and that inebriated feeling they impart.  God, I wanted to get drunk.  

"You look deep in thought," Rosa said, walking up and then sitting down next to me.

"Ferret left to go get drunk and I wanna get fucked up too," I said.

"Drinking makes you mean," Rosa said. "And you can be mean sober, too!"

"I just get frustrated at not being able to feel good," was my reply.  "I just want to feel normal.  To feel good.  To feel okay."

"Just don't start smoking crack!" Rosa then exclaimed as she laughed. "It almost took over my life!"

"Do you think there is hope for me?" I asked with a grimace on my face. "Do you think I will ever be happy?" 

Rosa got quiet and sat there twirling her hair in between her fingers as she thought.  She then put her arm around my shoulders, pulling me close. 

"I think you are going to be just fine," she said with a smile.  "You do better everyday."

Rosa saying that meant the world to me.  I know we've had our differences lately, but I needed a friend.  Someone to talk to.   It is little moments like this that keep me sober.  The little joys that make life all the more worth living. 

A Train Kind of Morning...

It has been a quiet day.  Most of my morning was spent down at the train tracks and rail yard getting lost in taking pictures of trains and doing what I so love.  I so needed to get out of the house and that helped.  Don't think the thought didn't cross my mind to jump aboard a slow freight and set out on a journey, though!

Nearby was Ferret's old homeless campsite and I walked into the woods to look.  Faded beer cans still littered the ground and what was left of Ferret's tent sadly lay deflated and covered with leaves.  I have often thought of going camping down here, but the cold keeps me chased inside.  I used to be such a stalwart camper despite the elements.  I've gotten soft these days.  

Came home and read for hours about recovery.  I am bulimic, alcoholic, and schizophrenic.  There doesn't seem to be much hope for me alone and without rehab.  I can't afford rehab though and my parents have washed their hands of my diseases.  I feel hope though that I can recover.  I already do better than I have in years and wish my family realized this.  I still can't believe I've gone so long without a drink and I have some beer in the fridge.  Three cans of ice beer that would be equivalent to drinking a six pack of regular beer.  Yet, I don't drink it.  And I was about as heavy as a drinker as you can get.  Miracles happen every day I make it till bedtime sober.

One of the biggest helps with me dealing with my bulimia (which I never write about) is to eat small meals.  That stuffed feeling of eating too much makes me want to purge.  I eat my microwave meals in stages, digest some, and then eat some more.

The drinking? Oh well, I could write a book about that.  I am scared shitless these days to drink as I fear I will get those anxiety attacks.  The anxiety attacks were so bad that it scared the ever lovin' beJesus out of me.  I have never felt so physically scared and miserable in all my life than when gripped in the throes of one of those attacks.  

Friday, December 28, 2007

Ferret was Right!

Ferret was drunk today.  What is about the holidays that brings on the worst in us mentally ill people?  I can honestly say, though, that my anxiety attacks have cured me of my urge to drink. 

"Just be glad you are not sleeping in a garage," Ferret told me after I told him my tale of woe about my car getting stolen.

"You're right," I said. "I am truly lucky."

"Not too many dads are going to be buyin' their son a house," Ferret replied, slurring his words. "I wish I had a house.  I sleep in a damp garage."

Big storms were predicated to roll in this afternoon.  I had even heard reports of tornado warnings.

"Why don't you walk on home?" I asked Ferret as he cracked open another "tall boy" beer.  "The weather is supposed to get bad."

"Nah," Ferret said, drinking. "I don't want to have to sit with nothing to do at home.  I would rather be down here."

I left Ferret to drink his beer as I walked on home. When I arrived home and looked at the radar online, I had made it home in the nick of time.  The heavens were about to open up.  I can only imagine Ferret under the awning at the shopping center trying to stay dry and not get struck by lightning. 

Burned Bridges

I turned out I was two days past due on my shot for my schizophrenia.  I have a terrible time keeping up with it.  My father is to take me down there this morning.  I am waiting on him to arrive.  

I am trying so hard to be positive this morning.  I am alive.  I am healthy except for some anxiety.  I have a warm house and my Maggie.  Mom is buying me groceries today.  It is so easy to get mired in the negatives though.

Dad was really harsh with me last night when he came over.  He was sure to tell me of everything I have ever done wrong and even brought up my homelessness and my failed marriage.  I felt so bad and just wanted a loved one to be there for me.  I kept holding his hand, squeezing it tightly, and telling him I loved him.  He didn't stop, though.  He ran me into the ground. 

I don't know what I am going to do about my car.  I was hoping I would have heard something by now, but I haven't.  I think it is long gone.  I guess I better get used to walking as my father told me last night, smirking.

I plan on hanging out at the shopping center this morning.  Maybe I can get up something creative and more pleasant to write.  Thank you to those of you that are sticking around.  I promise you things will get better once I get my shot and I am more mentally stable.  Thank you for sticking by me through this hard time.  I don't know what I would do without my blog and it's readers.  

Waiting for God or Just Something

I am sitting here waiting on my father.  I am to go get my injection for my schizophrenia.  It is two days past due.

My father was very cruel to me last night berating me on numerous levels.  I felt humiliated.

"I am not going to any more hospitals and you are not going to drag my life down with yours," he told me last night.  "The reason your car was stolen is that you are a stupid idiot who left your keys in your car.  It was careless and stupid and stupid things happen to stupid people.  That's why you don't have a damn thing."

I grabbed his arm and pleaded with him to be kind to me.  "I love you so much," I kept saying. "Don't do this to me.  I have tried so hard lately to turn my life around."

Dad made it clear that I was "on my own" from now on and I had to start learning to fend for myself.  He is no longer bailing me out of adverse situations. 

"Get ready to start walking," he said as he smirked.  "You're not getting another car from me!"

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Call in the Dark

"Mom, I am not doing well," I said after she picked up the phone. "Should I call the paramedics?"

"What's wrong?"

"I feel mentally strange.  My mind feels busy and I can't concentrate on anything.  I can't lie down.  I can only write and use the computer," I replied.

"I am sorry to hear that."

"Talk to Dad about me staying with y'all tonight.  Please? Let me sleep in Mary Emily's bedroom.  I will go to sleep around nine and I promise to be quiet.  I just want to be with my family.  I am scared and lonely. I don't feel well at all."

"I will talk to him," she said. "You want me to bring you some Benadryl?"

"Please and I forgot to get last night's dosage," I replied. "Tell dad to give you that as well."

You are not going to drive this time of night, I could hear my father scold my mother over the phone. You will have a wreck.

"Your father will be there soon," my mother said. 

I hung up the phone.  I don't have high hopes of my father appearing anytime soon.  I have cried the proverbial wolf too many times in my mentally ill states for them to think of this as nothing more than just some melodrama I am dreaming up.  I need help and don't know how to get it.  Maybe I do need to call the paramedics, but I don't feel as crazy as I can sometimes be.  I am in that strange twilight zone not knowing what to do.  I fear I will act too normal for the paramedics and I am afraid of the costs.  I also can't bear to be without my cigarillos right now and a hospital visit would preclude them.  

Apologies

I apologize for my recent use of this blog as an emotional outlet.  I realize my writing the past few days has proved uncomfortable at best.   My car getting stolen sent my fragile mental health and state into a tailspin.  I hope those of you that are still around can forgive me.  I am feeling much better this afternoon.  I have been submitting articles to Associated Content and feel like I am doing something positive with myself.  Maybe I can work at home and earn money writing.  I've got a lot of articles in mind to share in the next few weeks and I hope you will read and support my efforts via Associated Content.  I will post a link to any articles on the blog when they are published.  It may take up to two weeks.  

There are no dead ends...

Life goes on as it normally does.  You pick yourself up and dust off your knees.  I've just tried to do some of the small things that make life more livable such as eat some Swedish meatballs and pasta.  Drink a diet coke and smoke my fortieth cigarillo for the day. Putting on a clean shirt that didn't reek of body odor. Making my bed.  Petting Maggie and making sure she had clean water and food.   

A moment ago I sat at this computer and thought, "I want to blow my brains out!"  I was that despondent.  I shuddered at the thought, but realized that if I had a gun within easy reach, I probably would have pulled the trigger.  Why?  I felt life was at a dead end and I didn't want to suffer any more.  My family could stuff me in a box and bury me, finally rid of what I think is a perpetual problem for them.  I have suffered so deeply for years with just the basic, fundamental things regarding life. I have suffered in the institution of life in general.  I have also struggled with this damn mental illness and my lack of basic life skills for decades. 

It was then I felt better, though.  I realized I would have lost everything.  Things didn't seem to matter so much anymore.  I couldn't go live homeless in Nashville as I have dreamed of for years now.  I would never know if that life was any better.  Maggie would be relegated to another home, away from the carefree life she now lives.  I couldn't have that next cigarillo I so enjoy.  I couldn't go camping in God's country this spring when the Whip-o-wills returned. 

I realized too that our culture and basic society is mentally ill.  These crazy notions of success that I so feel the need to emulate are of themselves crazy as well.  Life is not some competition our capitalistic society aspires to.  All these crazy social rules humanity belabors itself with, I can cast aside and often do on this blog.  I don't need to be the next doctor of internal medicine to live a good life. I don't need to be next social hit of the party.  I am kind, empathetic, compassionate, heartfelt -- all things that are much more important than some car in the driveway or some accomplishment at some business producing widgets.  I would give the shirt off my back to someone in need.  Something my father or my family would never do.  I realized then I had a choice to either go crazy trying to emulate modern life and what is considered success, or I could go my own path and mentally choose what I consider to be success.  It was so freeing.   And maybe today hasn't been all for naught.  Maybe there is hope for me yet.   

I feel better now and am just going to rest for the rest of the day.  No more blogging from me today.  I promise.  I have already been teetering on the edge of sanity today and have written too much.  It is time to rest -- to rest this weary mind and soul.     

Pinnacles of Perfection and Imperfection

I can grow so jealous of my father.  He seems the pinnacle of perfection.  He's wealthy.  He's fiercely independent.  He's mentally competent.  He has a nice home and plenty of cars.  He has a successful business.  He is an accomplished diplomat and community figure.  He has two children that are doctors of internal medicine. He has a vivid and outgoing social life.   He takes care of all my mother's needs. He makes it all look so easy.  I am jealous of that and the aplomb with which he seems to live his life.

Fundamentally, something was always amiss with me.  I could never think of the future or of consequences.  I was aloof in social situations.  I bumbled through life like a bull in a china shop.  I could never think of a job as a way to support myself.  I always worked because it was socially acceptable.  It was expected of me.  I could never see it as an end to a means.   My family didn't help by always bailing me out of adverse situations.  I never learned how to handle life on it's own merits.  This has left me an adult child.  It is left me unsure of how to live or why -- the most fundamental of life's reasons.   

Now, the little things are escaping me.  For example, I awoke at 8:00 AM.  The first thing I did was drink a diet coke and smoke a cigarillo.  I didn't think of bathing or eating.  I have yet to eat and just don't feel hungry.   My mind feels busy with all these thoughts I want to write and blog about.  I have written over five blog posts this morning and didn't publish them.  I feel like a man obsessed.   I reached out this morning, though, sending numerous emails to Easter Seals.  "Help me!" I pleaded.  Someone please help me.  I feel out of control and like I am losing my mind.  I need some structure to my days and a reason for living.  There has to be something more than a blog and the Internet.   

More Forward Progress

I contacted Easter Seals/Achievement Center this morning via email.  It was about job rehabilitation and a day program for adults.  I hope to get involved with both.  Hopefully, they will have transportation to the day program in Opelika.  I see the bus sitting outside my old neighbor's house most mornings.   I am keeping my fingers crossed though.  These programs are hard to get enrolled in and are funded by charity and charitable giving.  As with anything, their resources are finite.  I am praying very hard that they will help me and I can get involved.  I am trying not to get excited so as not to be let down, but my highest hopes are on this program.  

I like where someone suggested a group living home.  I really need some kind of rehabilitation like that to help me with my days, but the funding for such a thing would be prohibitive.  I do not like to admit it, but I realize I am truly mentally disabled these days.   The "normal" day to day aspects of life have been escaping me.  I need some kind of rehabilitation to teach me how to live healthily and successfully once again.   My parents never taught me these all important aspects of life and most people take them for granted.  My parents have kind of left me to fend for myself for the most part only coming to buy me groceries or to bring my medications leaving the more difficult aspects up to me such as preparing meals and such.  What may seem simple to you is a major hurdle for me such as eating normally, bathing, social relationships, job skills, etc. lately. These skills only seem to get lost and more muddled the farther I try to go with them on my own these days.  I need rehabilitation badly.  I just need some help and there has to be help out there for people like me.

I am really lamenting the fact that I have grown so disabled.  I used to be so strong and outgoing.  I worked every day for years, but came home to drink myself into a stupor every night.  Maybe the drinking was a bandaid that aided in me keeping it mentally together -- my medication for what ailed me.  I no longer have that bandaid though, nor can I return to it due to my anxiety attacks brought on by it.  There has just got to be some kind of solution for my problem or program to help me.  I feel like I am floundering as it is. I have never been a very religious person, but I am praying earnestly this morning for help.         

_________________________________________________

Please Welcome Back Pipe Tobacco...

I have reconciled and apologized to my friend Pipe Tobacco.  Please be kind to him and dismiss my paranoid ramblings about him I wrote a few weeks ago.  He has been a long time friend and only wants what is best for me and my efforts.  I encourage him to comment again and hope you will be accommodating as well.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Why do you always want to be homeless?

That is a question I got asked in an email tonight.  I wanted to write, "I don't know."  But I do know why when I think about it.  I already suffer from a low sense of self esteem and lack of confidence.  Homelessness is the bottom rung of the ladder.  I would have no further to fall.  No more disappointment in myself and disappointment of me from my family.  I could take some twisted sense of comfort out of there not being able for this angel to fall any farther. 

Maybe I am misguided, but there seems to be much more interest and help for the homeless both positive and negative. than for just some homed, mentally ill guy in small town Alabama.  I could apply for programs not having an income.  My medications would be subsidized.  Religious people would then take an interest in my welfare and salvation.   They would also feed me and give me a cot for the night.  

Structure also plays a big role in it as well.  I am a big follower and not a leader.  Being a homeless person, the Rescue Mission would structure my day.  I would have to arrive in the afternoon to get a bed.  I would be fed, take a shower, and have a sermon to attend.  Then I would be given a mat to sleep on.  I would be awoken in the morning to eat breakfast and sent on my way.  At home, I rarely eat structured meals these days.  Some days I do not eat at all.  The mission would provide much needed structure and guidance in this avenue of daily life most people take for granted.  A aspect of life that I have a hard time grasping.  Also, my sleeping habits would be regimented and structured.  These days I just get up when I wake up with no rhyme nor reason. 

Lastly, I wouldn't be alone.   I would be in a major city filled with people on the streets.  I would blog at the library and coffee shops always around others.  I would be forced to intermingle with my homeless peers at the Mission every night.  My lonely nights would not be filled with the short visit by my father only to give me my medications and then leave.   My only bed companion a dog, which I love, but is no substitute for a human companion.  My normal isolation would turn into the other extreme of having my life laid bare for inspection.

I also suffer from the delusion that homelessness was the only thing I have ever "done right."  I was very active as a homeless person.  I was outgoing in the sense I needed to be for my survival.  Everything was raw and real.   If I didn't eat before bedding down in my tent, then I would grow cold during the long winter nights.  If I didn't gather wood in the evening, then I would not have a fire for my breakfast and to warm my hands in the morning.   If I didn't take a shower at the truck stop then I couldn't buy beer because I would have been ostracized for my lack of cleanliness.   Homelessness was very harsh, but it spurred me into living and into action.   It forced me to do the things that most homed people take for granted.   I feel like I have no reason to get up other than to write this blog or hang out down at the shopping center. 

Now, can you somewhat understand my thinking?  Why, when times get tough, I want to run to the hills, homeless?  I felt so alive and real then.  My survival was paramount and tangible.  Now, my family takes care of everything from my food to my appointments.  I am just left to live in this house idly passing my days.   I hope I don't offend anyone by writing this.  My hope was only to delve into the introspection of why I think this way sometimes.   

Phone Calls from the Cherished

I got a phone call from a cherished friend within moments of posting the post about me rashly leaving and living homeless.  They had gone through something similar with a stolen car and it encouraged me to think more clearly.   I just feel so violated and bereft.  Emotionally spent.  My mental illness only complicates matters as I have these dark and negative voices telling me that it is my fault and it is what I deserve.  

Things I am doing to take care of myself...

  • I put a microwave meal in the microwave to cook and it should be ready soon.  I haven't eaten all day. 
  • I am drinking diet cokes today instead of regular.  
  • I am trying my best to think of the positives in my life and not the negative.
  • I realized that maybe I can get a ride to Vocational Rehabilitation.  Where I used to live, a neighbor up the street drove a bus for that agency.    

Usually, when something calamitous happens it is because of some stupid shit I did.  Someone stealing my car was not my fault. 

Rash Ramblings

I feel terrible.  I had so many plans upcoming that involved my now stolen car.  Vocational Rehabilitation was on the top of the list.  It is a lengthy drive every day now that I know where to go to in Opelika, Alabama.  Things like my car being stolen make me want to give up.  To live homeless.  Nothing to take then. I know my parent's are not going to help me get around.  They all think I will drink and drive in their cars.   

I went to bed depressed a moment ago, but couldn't sleep.  I kept thinking I was going to get up two hundred dollars and buy a bus ticket to Nashville so as to live homeless.   To live on the streets and then I wouldn't be so lonely, always being around people in the Rescue Mission and about town.  I feel so defeated.  I feel violated.   I feel abused.  I feel rash and that is not a good thing. 

Dreams of putting a sign on my lawn and saying everything is for sale crossed my mind.  A house sale of sorts.  Surely, I can get up two hundred dollars then.  I grow so tired of this life and it's complications that I don't know where to turn.  It is always something.  It seems like the cards are always stacked against me. 

The insurance company called me and said I didn't have comprehensive coverage.  I only had partial coverage and they wouldn't cover me for the car getting stolen.  No rental car.  No nothing.  That didn't help my frame of mind any.   I don't know what to do.  I live in a little small town in the South without any public transportation.   I now have no way of getting around without walking.  I will never be able to get a job without a car here.   

Forget all my previous plans.  I am going to now pour myself into getting to Nashville in the next few weeks.  I am going to get lost in the "system."  Hopefully, the anxiety attacks, my biggest worry, will hold off until I get settled.  I can't imagine them without have a bed to lie down in.  I started to have one a moment ago as my father berated me on the phone for my car getting stolen.  I had to lie down to feel better -- to stave off the attack.

The blog is going to fall silent I think.  I am going to pour all my efforts into raising the money to get the hell out of Dodge.  I've written about all there is to write and will only obsess over being homeless from now on.  I am sure some of you don't want to read that!  I will continue writing when I get settled in Nashville in my new "home."  It will be a new chapter in my life and I will chronicle the tales of the voluntary homeless.   Something I have only seen written about sparingly.  Good day!  

PS -- I will be putting my blogging computer and camera up for sale in the next day or so.  I will let you all, my blog readers, have first dibs on these items.  Both are spectacular items for the price I will be selling them for.       

Thinking Forward

It is day one of my new life and I am not going to let the setback of my car being stolen get me down.   Today, I got my father to drive me to the convenience store and...   I bought diet Cokes!!!!!   That is a big hurdle for me to overcome when losing weight.   I drank so many sodas every day.   And now I am going to drink diet sodas and hopefully some of the weight I have gained will start coming off.  I have to start making myself look attractive to other people so I will not be alone all the time. 

What a mess!

I didn't notice it this morning.  My car could have been there.  So it could have been stolen at lunch time with me sitting in the house.  This house is so quiet and insulated well.   There has been a string of houses broken into in my neighborhood lately.  I've been good about locking my house.   I had a bad habit of leaving my keys in my car so now my car is gone and so is my wallet with my ID and my last five dollars! 

The police came and took a report and were super nice, and I called my insurance agency and they are supposed to call me back in two hours.  I don't think I will see the car again.  That's just me being glum, though.  Thank God my father insisted that I keep the expensive full coverage insurance on my car when I had been mumbling about dropping full and adding only liability.   It is not like I drive a lot though.  I can go weeks without driving at times.  That will make it easier on me.  This sucks though to have this happen on Christmas.  Just my luck!

My Car was Stolen

My car was stolen last night.  I just now noticed it going out to the trash.  I will keep you all informed on what happened to it.  The police are on their way. 

Business as Usual

Christmas has passed and it was so nice this morning to have the gang back at their old shenanigans.  Big S was sitting out front of the grocery store, smoking the last of the cigarillos I gave him the other day.  Ferret was arguing and picking at Dexter about an old transgression Dexter committed years ago that he is notorious for.

"Is it true you got arrested for stealing pork chops out of someone's frying pan by breaking into their kitchen?" Ferret asked Dexter, jovially laughing.

"Aw shucks, man," Dexter replied. "That happened years ago."

"Didn't you burn your hands getting them out?" Ferret asked, looking astonished.

"They were cooling on the counter," Dexter replied now looking embarrassed.

"Leave him alone," I told Ferret, trying to get him to quit.

Dexter is mentally retarded.  My mother taught him in school years and years ago.  He spends his days walking around town and hanging out at various locations.  Wherever something seems to be happening.  He is hanging out at the shopping center much of the time these days.

"That must have been one hell of a hunger!" Ferret exclaimed, laughing louder.

I wished Ferret would just drop it.  Ferret has a few skeletons in his closet as well.  Ferret was homeless for months because he was too drunk all the time to be able to pay rent.  All his money went to booze.

"You don't have a lot of room to talk," I said to Ferret, scoldingly, with an air of warning in my voice.

Ferret dropped his line of questioning.  

"What did you get for Christmas?" I asked Dexter.

"My mother got me some cologne," he said. "And some new sweatshirts."

"Sounds nice," I replied.  And Dexter did look more together with one of his new shirts on.  Usually he can look really frumpy and disheveled as if he just crawled out of bed.

It was good seeing some of the gang this morning.  Yesterday was so lonely and I was so glad to see such a gathering of my unorthodox friends today.  The day is turning out much brighter than yesterday.  Now, I have to get a shower and go over to my parents to see my brother, his wife, and my niece.  I am so nervous, but need to do this.  Good day!    

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Not-So Rendezvous with A.A.

I showered, shaved, and put on my dress slacks with my favorite button-up long sleeve flannel shirt.  I was all gussied up for an A.A. meeting.  I noticed how cold and dreary it was outside as I walked to my car.  It was a short five minute drive to the A.A. meeting hall.   The hall was dark with the only soul being a haggard, older looking man standing out by the front door.

"You waiting on an A.A. meeting?" I asked him as I stepped up to the front of the darkened hall.

"Yeah," he said, lighting up a cigarette. 

"Andrew," I said, holding out my hand. 

He shook it and told me he was court ordered to attend.

"Do they have meetings on Christmas?" he then asked me.

"It doesn't look like it," I replied. "They usually have a meeting here at night, but no one has showed to open up and turn on the heat."

I talked to the fellow for quite awhile as we smoked.  Alcoholics always seem to have tales of woe.  He was estranged from his wife due to his drinking and was staying with his elderly parents this Christmas.  He was court ordered to go to A.A. after getting several DUI charges.  

"Night," I finally said, having had enough of the cold. "Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas," he replied once I found out if he needed a ride home.  He did not.

I drove home feeling better for just having tried to attend.  The butterflies in my stomach subsided and I felt eerily calm after an anxious day. 

Come on Christmas, Pass!

I realize this may come across as rather negative, but I thought it was actually positive.  Instead of blaming everyone else for my bust of a Christmas, I realized I needed to change me and myself.   I have so many dreams and aspirations to be a "normal" person these days -- to not always live under the shadow of schizophrenia and the social aloofness it imparts.   I hope you read this and realize I was just brainstorming and thinking aloud.  I was just lonely and the cure for that was to write about it and share.  I wish I had as many real people coming over as I do have visitors stopping by this blog.  I share it, warts and all, though.  

Andrew

______________________________________________

This has been the longest day of my life. Christmas was a bust.  I never heard from any of my family.  I didn't get one present.  I tried to call Dad once on his cell phone but he wasn't answering.  They also have their phone off the hook at home because Dad will get a lot of pharmacy related calls if they don't.  It has been a lonely day planted in front of this computer with Maggie periodically checking on me.  

I reached out a lot today, though, online.  I sent numerous emails wishing everyone a Merry Christmas starting last night.  I commented on countless blogs letting people I know that I cared and enjoyed their writing. I spent time writing an article on mental illness and the harshness of the season for publication.  I hope to start writing for Associated Content.  

I realize I must create my own family for next Christmas.  I must get back to work to be appealing to a mate.  I need to lose about 20 pounds, start dressing nicely, and learn to wear nice shoes.  I need to shower everyday and stay clean shaven.   I need to be independent and strong to take care of a loved one or mate who needs me.  Mostly, of all, I need to stay clean and sober and start back going to AA.  AA is more than just staying sober, it is a complete change in lifestyles and thinking.  I realize I am missing that part of it today as I have fantasized numerous times of going to buy a couple bottles of Thunderbird wine or mouthwash despite the untold consequences.  I wanted to drown my sorrow in that old crutch, Alcohol.  

Some things I plan to do after Christmas...

  • Contact Vocational Rehabilitation to get started with rehabilitating myself for a job.  This will be arduous I surmise and hard to enroll.  The state never makes it easy with numerous hoops to jump through.  I will no doubt have to play phone tag and with my phone phobias this should prove interesting. 
  • Get up every morning and make my bed, take a shower, and SHAVE!!!! Fuck, that is so hard for me to do with no reason to do it. 
  • Get acclimated to nice clothes again as in dress slacks and button up shirts.  I have plenty of nice clothes to wear, but I mainly wear cotton t-shirts and an old pair of athletic shorts with elastic in the waistband.
  • Take my medications religiously.  I have my father to thank for this.  He is over like clockwork every night to give them to me.  
  • Talk to my doctor for something for the negative symptoms of my schizophrenia.  I think this has a lot to do with my apathy and lack of drive to do anything.
  • Look into volunteering in the meantime before I start rehabilitation.
  • Start drinking diet sodas instead of regular colas.  I drink about 24 colas a day and that keeps the weight on me.  I can be so damned compulsive and it's unhealthy.
  • Cut down my smoking to a pack a day instead of two.
  • Get in a habit again of going to Alcoholics Anonymous religiously.  I never give it time to make close friends and acquaintances like I once had in the program.  I need to make it part of my life.
  • Get back to walking many miles everyday.  I need to make this a labor of love as it once was and I think the exercise will do me good.

I have added a new blog tag called Starting a New Life. With these I will chronicle on this blog this new change in me.   I have got to make myself more appealing to other human beings where they will want to invite me over for Christmas or at least come and see me sometimes.  It is very sad when your own flesh and blood makes no effort to see a brother or son other than having to.  I want to change that and I realize it is up to me.  I must make myself likable and more appealing to others.   I realize I must create my own family of friends and loved ones or else I am going to die alone.  I don't want to be lonely another Christmas!     

Homeless in Long Beach

It is that most wonderful time of year for homeless people. There is something about the Thanksgiving holiday and approaching Christmas celebration that brings out the goodness in people. Perhaps seeing a tattered homeless person causes them to feel grateful for the things they have and the giving spirit of Christianity takes a hold of their hearts. Churches, that regularly prepare and serve food for the homeless and hungry, have an overabundance of volunteers at this time of the year. It seems that everyone wants to do something special to help brighten up a homeless person's life during the Thanksgiving to Christmas holiday season. Homeless people truly appreciate the generosity of spirit, but also chuckle about the lack of help come January and February.

Read more at Homeless in Long Beach.  A wonderful blog authored by a wonderful writer. Mary was homeless and is now homed by a special program called Safe Haven.  She writes for extra income through Associated Content

Merry Christmas from Maggie!

Maggie was feeling especially frisky a moment ago so I captured a video. She had just had the last of the treats from her Christmas basket. This is as close to having children as I will ever come. The pure unbridled joy!

video

A Sober Christmas...


It all seems so odd to me.  To be sober on Christmas.  Holidays were always the best excuse to imbibe.  There have been many Christmases that I was too wasted on Xanax or booze to even remember.  Christmas before last, I snuck in to my father's bathroom and took maybe ten or more Xanax. Probably even more than that.   I don't even remember walking home.  I was zonked. 

I would think it felt so good though.  The only time I felt normal was to be plastered out of my gourd.   Life has changed drastically since last year.  I can no longer drink.  I have found the number one cause of my anxiety attacks is to be the withdrawal from drinking the next day.  They are absolutely horrible.  I can honestly say today that I don't want to drink.  I have five dollars to my name and that would buy two big bottles of Equate mouthwash.  Enough to get totally blasted.  I vaguely remember drinking mouthwash last Christmas as well and popping pain pills I took out of my mother's medicine cabinet.  She never missed them.  All I remember from last Christmas was my father's best friend coming over to scold me for going into my parent's house when they were in San Diego.  I doubt I even wrote about it on this blog.  I was always having to hide my addictions, and not very successfully mind you. 

I have big plans to go to an AA meeting for Christmas tonight.  As they always say in AA, "Us drunks have to stick together or else we will die alone."   I have hopes many of my old AA friends will be there with opened arms, welcoming me back into the fold.   I can think of no better way to end a Christmas than at AA and sober.  I've got to start working my program.  A New Year is a good time to start.  Merry Christmas everyone.  

About Google Reader...

Do you use Google Reader?

Yes
12 (13%)
No
29 (31%)
What is Google Reader?
51 (55%)


Votes so far: 92
Days left to vote: 5


A lot of people didn't seem to know about Google Reader. Thanks for participating in the poll. Google reader is a tool to check wether all the blogs you read have updated on one simple web page. I find it easier to visit each blog individually though so I can comment. There is just something so natural and organic about visiting each blog in a slow, browsing fashion to read. I use Google reader mainly to just keep tabs on less frequently updated blogs -- blogs I don't visit often.

Winter Tap, Tap, Tapping at my Window

I woke up around 5 AM and rubbed my eyes.  Maggie was sitting on the edge of the bed looking at the window intently.  There was a large tapping and rapping noise hitting my storm windows outside.   "Hell Yeah!" I shouted, scaring Maggie, as I pulled on my dilapidated tennis shoes and ran outside in the cold in only my boxer shorts and a t-shirt.  It was sleeting!   Any frozen precipitation was enough to get me excited and it was really coming down.  Alas, it didn't last long, but I can say we sort of had a white Christmas for a moment there.  I walked back inside with the biggest, goofiest grin on my face.  

Last night, my father came to bring my medications.  He was so tired after having worked till two and then preparing the big Christmas meal. He was really distant as if he was mad at me, more content to watch the TV than to speak to me. He had also forgotten my presents and my dinner plate.   I didn't complain.  I was just overjoyed to see him on Christmas starved of attention.  I had grown terribly lonely last night around midnight when he came. 

"Thank you for bringing my medications," I told told him joyfully. "I am really looking forward to taking them tonight."

"What brought this on?" he asked, astonished. 

"Oh nothing," I said not wanting to tell him I haven't been taking them.  I have felt better with them though.  "I just need them tonight.  Holidays are stressful for us mentally interesting folks."

I read on Crazy Meds about the side effects of my medications and they weren't all that bad.  This gave me a renewed urge to take them thinking they are doing more good than harm.

Dad left and a sadness washed over me.  I had high hopes that my brother would come, or at least my mother.  I was mainly left to fend for myself last night.  Dad wouldn't have come if it wasn't for my medications.  Oh well.  It could be worse.  I could have been homeless like the winter of 2003.  Now, that was a bleak Christmas.  I got a lot of gifts from my family for my ex-wife and we were separated.  I never knew what happened to all those many expensive gifts including a nice Kitchen Aid mixer.  I certainly couldn't carry them with me on my motorcycle. It is a Christmas best forgotten for the most part, but remembered enough so as not to repeat it.  Those were trying times.

Merry Christmas everyone.  I am going to have a quiet day of reading and relaxing.  I may even try to watch TV.  Try being the most stressed word.  I wish I could watch the old boob tube, but I just can't concentrate on it.  Thank you for all the wonderful emails I had waiting on me in the morning! 

Sincerely,

Andrew  

Little Joys for Christmas

  • Maggie is safe, healthy, and sound.
  • I have plenty of cigarillos this Christmas.  Last Christmas, my parents were in San Diego and I ran out of money having to go into my parent's house to scrape up change to buy cigarettes.   My father was livid at me for doing that.
  • I have plenty of good, nutritious food.
  • I have a warm, comforting home.
  • It is raining and thundering softly outside my windows.
  • I have enough money left this morning to go buy me a pack of Benadryl which will be a Godsend.      

Monday, December 24, 2007

Staying Home

"Dad," I said weakly over the phone a moment ago. "I can't make it tonight."

My father was busy in the kitchen preparing our Christmas Eve dinner.  A large gathering of family friends had arrived.  I could hear them happily bantering in the background over the phone.  

"What's wrong?  You haven't been drinking, have you?"

"No.  I just have that twinge in my stomach meaning an anxiety attack is about to occur.  I am so nervous. I feel terrible."

"You stay home and rest," he replied.

"You sure?" I asked.

"We just want you to have a Merry Christmas," was his reply. "I will be over later with your medications, presents and a dinner plate."

"Thank you! And I love you!" I closed, feeling a wave of relief washing over me. 

To think, my brother and family flew all the way from San Diego to be with my family, and I can't even drive across town.  I know my family thinks I am so crazy.  I really wish I wasn't so limited by my mental illness.  It is a fight I have to keep fighting.  I am determined to have a normal life someday!

So, it is going to be just me and Maggie this Christmas.  I will fill my time reading blogs and reading about everyone else's Christmas.  I am sort of relieved.  I have been a terribly anxious mess thinking about it all day, nervously blogging off and on like a madman.  I think this is for the best.  I hope you all have a blessed and Merry Christmas, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.  The friendships this blog has garnered will be ones I will hold dear for many years to come I hope.  Happy Holidays and give a present with love!

Chance of White Christmas 1%

Looks pretty grim for us on the white Christmas front.  There is a glimmer of hope, though, to see a few flakes fly tomorrow.  Head over to the ABC 33/40 weather blog to find out more about it.  Any little bit of information like this makes me giddy with glee!  Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!

I am so Excited and Just Had to Share My Elation!!!!

I was doing some searching online today about vocational rehabilitation.  I found that a local town has an office I can visit to join up.  I am so excited!!!!!!  I so want to go back to work, but I need help in doing it.  Yes, they have rehabilitation classes and educational opportunities for those seeking to rejoin the ranks of the employed. 

From their website...

Vocational Rehabilitation Service ( VRS ), the largest division with the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, helps Alabamians with disabilities achieve independence through employment. VRS provides specialized employment- and education-related services and training to assist teens and adults with disabilities in becoming employed. In addition, VRS works with middle schools, high schools, junior colleges and universities statewide to assist students with disabilities in receiving appropriate educational opportunities.

Now, if I can only get up the courage to drive the thirty minutes to do this, and hopefully, they will be taking new applicants after the new year.   I haven't been this excited in years!  I am so ready to be making strides with my life and having the routine of classes and work rehabilitation will do me well.  Finally, something to look forward to!  I need a reason to get out of bed in the mornings!

Merry Christmas Gang!

I just drove down to the shopping center.  Big S, Dexter, and Ferret were sitting out front much to my relief.  I was worried no one would be around due to the holidays.  The grocery store and adjacent stores were hopping with activity and last minute shopping. 

"Merry Christmas," I said, passing out packs of cigarillos, Reese's peanut butter cups, and Coca-colas.

"I thought you would never think of me," Big S said with a hearty grin.

"It is going to be a crack head Christmas!" Ferret quipped as he laughed crazily, opening up his peanut butter cups. 

I laughed along and wished I could do more for my unorthodox friends this Christmas.  I could have cooked a big meal at my home, but I am barely surviving the festivities myself.  These souls have nowhere else to go.

"Crack head Christmas?" I asked, intrigued.

"My landlord's wife is cooking Christmas dinner and I have been invited," Ferret replied.  "That's if they can lay off the crack for long enough."

I began to appreciate my mostly calm family, and to be glad I wasn't faced with the dysfunction of Ferret's Christmas as a tenant.

The day before Christmas is traditionally one of the biggest panhandling days of the year.  Everyone is in the Christmas spirit and loose with their spare change.  Alas, the management of the stores down at the shopping center has really clamped down on this activity.  Big S was lamenting the fact that he could be rolling in money by day's end.

"It ain't hurtin' no one," Big S told me, talking about it.

"The say it hurts business," was my reply.

"They just want all the money," Big S said, looking perturbed.  

I smiled warmly and left it at that.  I wished everyone a Merry Christmas and then headed home feeling shaky.  I still feel weak from that terrible anxiety attack last night.  I almost felt as if I had run a marathon the day before. I think I did make Christmas a little brighter for my friends though.  There is no worse feeling than being out of smokes for a smoker on a holiday.  Merry Christmas, indeed!

Plans for the Day

This is mainly for me more than my readership.  I will more likely do it if I write about it publicly and so will commit. 

  • Take a shower and shave (a major hurdle to overcome for the day's events).
  • Pass out smokes down at the shopping center along with some candy and drinks. 
  • Clean my house some to get ready for my brother's visit.  He has never seen my new house and the first thing he asked when arriving home was if I was going to be there tonight at our big get together.
  • Put on my best clothes and loafers.
  • Gather myself enough to arrive at 6:30 PM to eat at my parents with a large crowd of people.  This will be a major undertaking for me.   I have already called my father and told him not to be alarmed when I have to retire early or go lay on my mother's bed to make it through it. 

To Spread some Christmas Cheer...

Don't things always seem better after a good night's sleep?  I slept broken, but well.  I appreciate all the comments of support.  You all do so mean the world to me.   Sometimes, I forget who is reading and how much some of you care.  I live in my own little sheltered world and it can escape me.  I feel so isolated many days despite the Internet and this blog.  

I had one of the worst anxiety attacks I have ever experienced yesterday.  It lasted for hours and hours, and I was just miserable.  It wouldn't subside until after my father left, completing our medication ritual (which caused untold more anxiety).  I collapsed in the bed just exhausted.  I realized I need to live a healthier life.  I went all day yesterday without eating, drinking only numerous Coca-Colas, and smoking like a fiend.  It is amazing, to me, that some days I am still alive with as unhealthily as I live.  That has got to change and it is going to be one of my New Year's resolutions.  To live healthy and happily.  These anxiety attacks have got to stop!  I can't bear them any more. 

I have big plans for the day.  I am going to shower and shave (a major accomplishment for me).  I am also going to get down to the shopping center to spread some Christmas cheer by passing out packs of cigarettes.  All the gang smokes, but they are constantly out of them and bumming cigarettes from me.  Today will be different.  A day of largesse.  I hope to sit around for hours, getting up something to write about as we enjoy our cigarillos. 

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas.  I will be thinking of you all on this special day coming up.  My hopes are that your days are filled with family, good food, and practical gifts you will enjoy.  It is going to be a special day.  I can just feel it.  Good day, dear friends.    

PS -- I took my medications last night.  Maybe that does have something to do with it.  I was always a hardheaded fool. 

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Ramblings

It has been a long year and much has happened.  I have settled into a quiet life in my own home with my dog and my computer.  I am finding myself more isolated these days despite my jaunts down to the shopping center.  I go down there mainly out of boredom and loneliness.   You can always count on something "going on" down there. 

I was thinking this morning about my state of mind and my appearance.  I look, for all intents and purposes, like a homeless person.  I wear frumpy clothes and rarely shave these days.  My tennis shoes are falling apart and I won't wear my new ones bought in the fall.  I was wondering if it was depression, but I don't think so.  Depression causes me to sleep and I haven't been spending an inordinate time in bed.  This just feels comfortable to me, and I realized I no longer care what other people think.  It affects my relationships though.  My status on the social ladder rungs of life is pretty low.  I have keenly noticed how different I am treated when I am out with my father.  He dresses well and looks wealthy.  Yes, Sir! No, Sir!  I am treated with contempt as I look poor, and I am poor monetarily.  

I have big dreams these days that I don't share on the blog.  Dreams of wandering the countryside, riding the rails, and seeing where my fancy takes me.  I would be leaving behind a lot, and I would somehow have to train Maggie to stay with me and not run off like some hellion set free after a school day.  Still, I dream.  I dream of leaving behind my overbearing family and becoming a true vagabond.  This home has kept me tied down and too comfortable for far too long.  Wanderlust is in my blood. 

I thought of living in my car for awhile like the Hobopoet did for a spell.  Just for kicks and fun.  I lived in my car for a short while last year and it was interesting.  I have always been drawn to alternate forms of living one's life.  I have also thought of pitching my tent behind the cotton mill and living for a spell.  What has kept me from doing all that is that I tend to want to drink when faced with such situations.  Your days are filled with idle hours and the drinking makes the time fly.  Drinking, I have found, also causes those terrible panic and anxiety attacks to return.  I can't live with those as they are absolutely horrible and frightening.  That alone almost keeps me sober these days. 

Mentally,  I think I am doing pretty well.  I have my moments.  Just today, I was thinking of quitting blogging.  I felt like I was getting nothing out of it with only negative comments from people I think don't really care.  I am just some dog and pony show for other's entertainment.  I have seen so many people come and go over the short life of this blog, and it makes me wonder what I am doing wrong.  If I am even worthy of being someone's friend or not.  Little communities sprout up around blogs and mine doesn't seem to have much of one, unlike the many, lessor read blogs I read.  I always had a hard time making friendships and keeping them.  I wonder why I even try anymore.  All my relationships are superficial.  A few people that have read my blog have reached out to me over the phone these past few years.  I won't answer on a regular basis though due to my phone phobias and they soon grow tired of calling to only get my answering machine. 

The new year is coming up.  I have plans.  Big plans.   I still want to volunteer somewhere to help build up a work ethic and resume.  I have good intentions every morning I get up, but falter.  Getting dressed in uncomfortably nice clothes, being socially acceptable, and driving to ask wears me  down and brings out my anxieties.  I used to be such an outgoing soul, not afraid to work or try new things.  I realize I am scared.  Scared of other people and life's situations.  It is safer to sit at home or to visit with my unorthodox friends down at the shopping center.  My only lifeline to others is the Internet and that is superficial at best as well.  I don't know what the new year will bring, but I have high hopes.  I am so lucky in so many ways, but so mired in my own comfortable existence that change is terrifying.  Maybe it is time for change -- for this blog and for my life as well. 

Is it Time for my Treats Yet?

Maggie's been my inseparable companion this morning.  She will go into the den to check on her treat basket and come back in my computer room to beg with those doe eyes.  I broke down a moment ago and gave her some Pupperoni snack treats.  They didn't last long until she was wanting more. 


Melancholy Blues

I was feeling kind of blue this morning stuck in the house so I left really early to go for my morning walk.  I stopped by the shopping center to find no one out there.  I sat for the longest time smoking and reading a magazine.  Alone and lonely.  Soon, Big S showed up with a gift. 

"Don't say I didn't get you anything," he said, pulling a package of White Owl cigars out of his backpack. 

"Thanks," I replied and immediately opened the pack to smoke one. 

"Big storm this morning," he said as he sat beside me.

"We got lots of wind and rain," was my reply.  "It is supposed to get colder as the day progresses."

"Your Rosa was worried about you after you left yesterday," Big S told me.

"It is just strange," I replied. "I was never good at breaking up.  I don't know what to say to her.  It all feels so strained."

Big S chuckled and lit up a cigar of his own.  We sat for the longest time not saying much as we watched the first early shoppers hit the grocery store. 

I am feeling really nervous about our big family Christmas get together.  I am so self conscious lately and feel I look weird.  I asked Big S if I looked weird and he said I looked the same as always.  His words weren't much comfort.

Today, my brother, his wife, and his daughter fly in from San Diego.  It will be the first time I have seen him in over a year.  I am so nervous about the homecoming.  I wish I didn't have these damned social anxieties.  If I could pull it off, I would be some lone hermit living in the woods with nary a soul around or a friend.  Christmas always was hard on people like me. 

For Some, A Treacherous Winter Wonderland...

I was so relieved when I woke up this morning and found a post from Annabel.  She traveled through some pretty snowy, icy, and nasty weather to get to Albuquerque, New Mexico.  From her writings, it sounded like an interesting journey filled with close calls and icy roads.  I am just glad her and her son, Josh, are safe and sound, and can now enjoy their Christmas with relatives.

Mom came last night to give me my medications.  Dad was busily preparing our Christmas Eve meal so he sent her instead.  I casually slipped all those pills in my pocket once again.  I hated to lie when mom asked me if I took them.  It all feels so juvenile, but I do feel better.  The side effects of all those medications were just so unbearable.  This is the only way all parties involved stay happy. 

I spent the last of my hundred dollars last night for Maggie's Christmas.  I bought her a cute little basket of dog treats and toys on sale at a local store. I sat it on my entertainment center so Maggie couldn't get to it just yet.  She sat and watched it until time to go to bed.  It is a pungent and smokey smelling little collection of dog treats.   I smiled many times when I would walk into the den and Maggie would "walk" on her hind feet trying to get to those treats.  She's pretty smart and knows a good thing when she sees it.

The predicted storms are almost here. The rain and thunder is a county away.  I wish I could sleep, but I would be missing all the fun.  I so love a rainy night. I am sitting here listening to rebroadcasts of Coast to Coast AM while I drink a Coke and smoke a aromatic cigarillo.  All is right in my little world and it is shaping up to be a wonderful Christmas -- one of the best ones in recent memory.

My computer seems to be fixed.  It has been running for days without a hiccup.  That 20 dollar part seems to have done the trick.  I was fearing having to buy another computer and didn't know how I would come up with that kind of money.  Even if I built the computer myself to save a thousand dollars.  Mom was kind and offered to pay $500 dollars of the cost.  Luckily,  I didn't have to take her up on that offer.  I really love this computer when it works.  It is perfect as an Internet browsing and blogging machine.  It is becoming too aged to play computer games though.  Not like I play them anymore anyway.   

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Funny!


A Day's Adventure

Most of the day was spent with my backpack slung upon my back exploring the rail yard and all its equipment. They are polishing the railheads and adding a few new tracks to the yard.  This activity gets me excited.  Years ago, they almost abandoned this yard, and now they are expanding it. 

After I left the rail yard after being down there all morning, I walked up to the shopping center to get a cup of coffee and to warm my hands.  The usual gang was hanging out along with Rosa.  I hadn't seen Rosa in quite awhile.   My hands started to shake as I walked up to where her, Big S, and Ferret were sitting.

"Hey, how are you?" Rosa asked me.

"Cold," I replied, rubbing my arms and shoulders vigorously.

I reached into my backpack to take a few Benadryl hoping this would calm my nerves.   It only made me feel more jittery. 

"I tried to call you last night," Rosa said.

"I have my phone unplugged," was my reply.  Those old social anxiety mired phone phobias have been acting up lately.  My phone rarely rings, but when it does, it causes a panic within me. 

"What do you do down at the railroad tracks for hours?" Big S piped up, interrupting my and Rosa's exchange.  I welcomed the intrusion, not knowing what to say to Rosa.

"I take photos and just walk around looking at trains."

"It is kind of odd, isn't it?" Ferret added.

"No more odd than you three hanging out at this shopping center all day," I replied defensively.

Everyone laughed and agreed. 

"Will you answer when I call tonight?" Rosa then asked.

"Maybe," I replied very vaguely. 

I had enough of feeling uncomfortable and got in my car that was parked in the parking lot to drive home.   The last thing I wanted to do today was see Rosa, but that was just my luck.  I have the most terrible luck some days.  

Friday, December 21, 2007

Long, Lost Day

Felt as if I was having an out-of-the-body experience today. I felt like a third person watching my life unfold. My concentration is totally lost, thus my lack of updates lately.

"What have you been smoking?" Ferret asked me this afternoon as I was wasting time at the shopping center.

"Nothing," I replied defensively. "I am stone cold sober."

"You are acting as if you are high on pot."

Ferret studied my eyes for the tale tales signs of them being bloodshot. My eyes were as white as the clouds in the sky.

"Something's different about you," he said.

"I quit taking five of my medications," I replied. "It is going to take some time to come down from them. Four to six weeks I read online."

"You know what happens to me when I don't take my meds," Ferret said, looking concerned.

"You usually end up sleeping in a tent down by the river," was my reply. And I was right. Ferret always ends up homeless and his drinking gets exponentially worse.

Ferret and I talked a long time about the side effects of our medications.

"I am tired of feeling flat and lifeless," I said. "I want to feel all my emotions, good and bad."

"Let's just hope the bad doesn't outweigh the good," Ferret replied snarkily.

I am also noticing strange things happening with my body. My sense of smell and taste have improved ten fold. Almost to the point of being overbearing. I can sleep twelve hours a day. I've become a much more emotional creature. My laughing has never been so jovial and felt so good, and my despair has never felt so dark and deep. The pendulum that is my emotive life is swinging long and hard these days.

15 Tons of Fun

I love, love, love spending time down at the rail yard. I watched today as a big railroad crane unloaded an old and battered Seaboard Coast Line boxcar at the museum. I grew so excited and it was like a delicate ballet moving that rusty old boxcar to its resting place on the museum grounds.

"Are y'all going to restore it?" I asked one of the onlookers from the museum.

"Yes," he replied. "We are going to paint it an old CHV paint scheme."

"Cotton for the Looms of West Point?"

"Yes," he replied.

"Ah, that is my favorite paint scheme for the fallen flag Chattahoochee Valley."

Excited about all things railroad, I walked home to see how my photographs turned out and to get online to see what information I could find on the Internet. The great thing about the Internet is, it is like a library in your home. I found some really good photographs online.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Friend or Foe, Ferret?

I enjoy hanging out with Ferret despite his drinking ways. You would think a stodgy old recovering alcoholic like me would shy away from his fellow drunks, but as I said in a previous post: beggars can't be choosers. I certainly don't have many friends crawling out of the woodwork. I can count on Ferret liking me for just who I am, warts and all. I consider him a friend.

We walked down to the grand Chattahoochee early this morning scouting out campsites for a camping adventure I have planned. Ferret was giving me tips on where to pitch my tent. He lived on the river in a tent for half of a year, homeless.

"You don't want to pitch your tent too close to the water," Ferret told me as we walked through the woods behind the rail yard.

"Why?" I asked, amused.

"When they generate electricity up at the dam, the water will rise and I am always afraid it would overflow the banks. It stinks to high heaven as well."

We finally came upon a spot where Moore's creek intersects the Chattahoochee. I decided this would be my place to camp out tonight.

"It is gonna rain tonight," Ferret said, looking up at a gray and overcast sky. "I can feel it in my bones."

"I want it to rain," I said, sitting down on a log to light up a cigarillo. I handed one to Ferret as well, and he sat down beside me.

"What do you want for Christmas?" Ferret asked me as we sat there.

"To get drunk without consequences," I told him. "I am mourning not being able to drink. It is as if I have lost a long time friend."

Ferret laughed and slapped me on my knee.

"I am getting curtains," I finally said.

Ferret burst out laughing again.

"That sounds like something a woman would get!"

"I must've been a woman in a past life," I replied, poking a stick into the soggy ground as I smiled. It didn't embarrass me. I laughed along as well.

When I left Ferret, he was heading across the river to Subway for lunch. I was invited, but declined. I can eat homemade sandwiches for a week on what it costs to eat at Subway once. Money management was never Ferret's strong suite.

From The Weather Guy Blog...



Snow For Christmas?
Well, once again, the computer models are teasing us about the possibility of snow again. What makes this one so interesting is that it's teasing us for Snow on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We are waiting for the next set to be released and it might give us a clearer picture.

Like I said in a post a day or so ago, don't get too excited about the possibilities just yet. We're a bit too far away from Monday and Tuesday to rule it in. That being said, I'm EXCITED!!!! :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Doctor Who?

Had a doctor's appointment this morning. I couldn't bring it upon myself to ask for lowered dosages of my medications. I just wanted to get in and out of there quickly. My doctor was really chatty this morning and it was confusing me. I had a hard time concentrating on what he was saying. My concentration has been shot to hell lately, but is improving. His main point was for me to continue my daily hikes and to start drinking diet sodas instead of regular. He is worried about the Risperdal causing diabetes. There are some class action lawsuits being argued in court over this issue lately.

I had some blood tests taken a few weeks ago. I got the results back, and everything is fine other than my cholesterol levels. It wasn't terrible, but bad enough to warrant taking medication. Oh Joy! More pills!

The weather models continue to titillate me. Snow is back in the forecast for Christmas Eve and Christmas day for far north Alabama and Tennessee. So, my online time has been spent today reading forecasts, weather related forums and visiting weather blogs. All the weather writers and winter weather fans are as excited as I am. It is contagious.

Made it to the shopping center for awhile this afternoon. Big S was doing his usual thing, talking and chatting with Ferret. Ferret kept pestering me to buy him a pack of cigarettes.

"Have you seen what cigarettes cost these days?" I asked him not willing to play along.

"Four bucks," Ferret replied.

"You have got to start smoking those dollar-a-pack little cigars I smoke," was what I told him.

"Those damn things are harsh!" Ferret exclaimed when I pulled a pack of little cigars out of my backpack to give to him. He declined and I wanted to decree that beggars can't be choosers. I chuckled thinking about it on the way home at Ferret saying those cigars are harsh. This was coming from a man who drinks bottles of mouthwash to get drunk.

It Starts with a Cough, and Erupts into Mayhem...

Every Wednesday morning the trash men come. Maggie can hear them for miles away in the predawn dark. Long before I can hear them. It starts with a bark that sounds like a muted cough as she lays on the bed.

"Dammit, Maggie," I muttered this morning as I pulled my spare pillow over my head.

Soon, the coughing bark erupts into full blown mayhem as Maggie runs outside to protect her kingdom from the invading trash men. By this time, all the neighborhood dogs have joined in. Pure canine pandemonium.

When I was a child, we had a dog named Candy. Candy was the same way and would sit outside my brother's window and start this same routine. My brother would run outside in his pajamas and holler at her to shut up. It would make me smile as I would roll over and go back to bed. Now, my past has come back to haunt me. The trash men cometh and the dog barketh. No sleeping in today. I am wide awake now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Candle Light Dawg

Whaddup, dawg? Just chillin' with my homeys.


Blissful Evening

For the longest time, I couldn't concentrate to read more than my usual short and concise blog posts. I couldn't even watch television. Tonight, I just spent hours being able to read my Model Railroader magazines. It is a sure sign all those medications I have been taking are starting to wear off. My concentration and sense of contentment is returning.

Tomorrow, I go to see my doctor and will insist he simplify my medications even further. No one listens to me though. I will say I am feeling better, and they think I am just crazy and can't think for myself. They will think I am lying just to keep from taking all those pills.

Another thing that has returned is my libido. I find myself longingly looking at women in lustful ways today. I used to could care less and it was something I no longer did for the longest time. I feel like a kid in a playground all over again. I was even tempted to try a dating website for Mentally Ill people tonight.

Photoshop 101

Turning a boring photo into something exciting is easy to do!


White Christmas Denied

"No snow, Christmas," I told Ferret this morning, feeling depressed and melancholy. "They once again changed the GFS output models."

Ferret raised an eyebrow and said, "Thank goodness. Who wants snow anyway?"

I carefully watched Ferret as he drank a strong cup of coffee with a liberal dollop of liquor near me. I could smell that sweet and acrid smell of alcohol and coffee wafting my way. I so wanted to join him.

"What's been going on in AA?" Ferret asked me, smoking a cigarette, as he jolted me out of my alcoholic induced trance.

"I no longer go to AA," I replied. "I haven't been in forever."

"The whole AA thing is just strange," Ferret said, taking another drag from his cigarette. "Those AA people are brainwashed."

My first inclination was to defend my AA friends, but I just sat there quietly watching people coming to and from the grocery store. It was going to be another listless morning at the shopping center.

Later this morning, the temperature was hovering around 37 degrees. Clouds began to roll in and I got excited.

"Maybe this cloud cover will keep the temperatures cold," I muttered aloud as I briskly walked home.

I keep hoping the weather guessers will get the forecast wrong, and snow will come our way. It will take some miracle from God for that to happen though. I live entirely too close to the moderating effects of the Gulf of Mexico for that to happen.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Don't be a Grinch...

It has become a big joke within my family that I want curtains for Christmas.

"Surely, you can think of something more like you to ask for Christmas," my mother said tonight.

"I could use some new lampshades," was my reply.

My mother sighed softy and smiled at the same time at my alternate choice of gifts. Dad came over later to bring my medications. I had to guess what time he was coming over to be sure to eat a big meal so I could get rid of all those damned pills he forces upon me. It has been a week off of them, and I feel like a new man. I feel my long lost creativity, emotions, and sexuality returning in full force.

"Don't you want some clothes?" Dad asked me, feverishly channel surfing as he normally does every night.

"I could take some comfortable t-shirts," I replied.

"Me and your mother are just worried you are not going to have a good Christmas with just those curtains."

It was intriguing to me that everyone, including my brother and sister, are worried about my choice of gifts this year.

"You always liked electronic gadgets and video games," Dad told me.

"Well, I have my camera and my computer is now fixed," I replied. "I don't really lack for anything electronically these days. I can't play video games anymore. They are too much like work -- full of repetition."

The only thing I really, absolutely need doing is to have my car serviced and the oil changed. Dad agreed he would help me get that done before Christmas. I, personally, am tickled pink about getting new curtains from Country Curtains this year. You know you are grown up when you would rather have curtains than an XBOX 360.