Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Keeping Up Appearances...

It's a novel thing me keeping myself up.  For a year, I would go without shaving for a week.  Sometimes it would be days before I showered.  I wouldn't buy deodorant for sometimes months.  I would wear the same clothes for days.  Soap was like kryptonite. It exasperated my father.

"Take some pride in yourself, goddamnit!" he would say to me. "Shave and get yourself cleaned up!  We didn't raise you to live like this!"

It was my mental illness.  I felt too terrible to do anything of the sort.  It was the most maligning form of apathy - an apathy that put a big wedge in between my father and our relationship.  He's keen on keeping up appearances.  You never see him without crisp, clean dress shirts.  He always has a dash of cologne on.  I have never, ever seen him with facial hair.

Now?  I got some new soap today and couldn't wait to try it.  I spent $6 dollars of scarce money on something I used to would never use.  It was so nice to get in the shower with a bar of Irish Spring (with a moisture beads gimmick) and wash myself clean.  I take a shower everyday now religiously.  Sometimes two.  I am taking pride again now that I am feeling better.  

The hardest part about mental illness is it so effects our behavior as it relates to conventional society.  The norms and rules of society can escape us or we no longer care.  That's why you see so many homeless mentally ill people.  You can see cancer on an MRI or X-ray.  You can't take a test that shows you have schizophrenia.  There is no certain course of recovery except to trust in a doctor to carefully try different medications till you find something that works. 

Mass Communications...

Just saw a black man ride by the house on a bicycle.  It's not an uncommon occurrence, but he was talking on a cell phone while he peddled.  I laughed.  It struck me as funny.  Is that the same as talking on a cell phone and driving at the same time?  I wonder what his insurance rates are.  

George Does a Good Deed...

Picture this!  George and I were coming back from Wal-Mart. George was talking excitedly while he drove like he normally does.  We were just passing Aaron's Rent-A-Center when George spotted this elderly black lady with heavy looking bags walking on the side of highway 29.

"We're going to give her a ride if she will take it," George said.

She wasn't your average looking hitch hiker.  George pulled over in front of her and she came hurrying up to the car.

"Where ya goin'?" George asked.

"Shawmut," the lady said. "To my daughter's house."

"Get in!" George said smiling and we took off.

The lady just talked and talked as we rode the short distance up the highway to Shawmut.  She directed us to her daughter's house and handed George five dollars for his efforts.

"That's all I can afford," she told George standing by the car.

"Black people take care of their own," George told her and we left.

I was proud of George.  George might have problems, but he has a good heart.  A very good heart.  He must get it from his mother because what George has said of his father wasn't very flattering.

Morning Sun on a Sleeping Pup...


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Cold Wind is Blowing...


This is what it will soon look like out my front door. I took this last winter and have to say I am excited about Fall, Winter, and the chance for snow. I can't wait for the holidays as well.

Taken last winter.

Taken this afternoon.




A Terrible Case of the Barkies...

It started late last night.  It was midnight when Maggie began her muted cough bark routine. I was half asleep.  Maggie was laying by my side. *cough bark* By three in the morning, it was all out madness.  Maggie was in the back of yard barking as if legions of cats were invading our yard.

"Daddy's here!!!" I exclaimed out the back door. 

Maggie stopped barking and came roaring inside through the dog door at a frantic pace to look for dad.  I quickly closed the lock on the dog door once she had passed.   I then went and turned on every outside light including the one on the screened in porch. 

"What's wrong girl?" I asked her as we lay back down.

She wagged her tail briefly and started barking loudly again.  Something had really got her going last night.  Well, it is 10:15 AM this morning and she is still barking.  I let her back out at nine.  I am hoping she will tucker out soon and come inside.  At least, I can only barely hear the barking from the back of the house in my computer room.

*****

Blessed be the Nurse with a Big Needle...

This morning was my every two week injection for my schizophrenia.  This is the big one.  The head honcho.  The one thing that keeps me from losing my sometimes tenuous grasp with sanity.  I've been getting it for ten years now. 

"I've gotten hooked on the Twilight series," my nurse told me as she prepared the injection. "I usually don't like mainstream books other women like.  I was reading it while waiting on you to arrive."

She had the most astonished look on her face.  I smiled.  I told her I wanted to read them as well.  Mom has them and has read them.  Maybe, I can start back reading now that I am off the Lithium.  My mind is so focused and clear these days.    

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's in the Details, Darling...

Mom brought me and Maggie another big bag of hamburgers tonight.  Maggie was beside herself for her burgers by the time mom left (We're still having issues with her eating her Purina One). I've learned to carefully take out the pickles, scrape off the onions, or Maggie will make a mess eating around them. 

Mom is still worried about my car and quizzed me on the vagaries of accidents and auto insurance.

"You didn't wash your car before you took it by the insurance office did you?" mom asked.

"Did you take pictures?" mom also asked.

"How long do you think it will take the insurance company to give you a response?" rang another.  "You can't drive around with your CR-V looking like that."

"Did you fill out and take that form from the police station with you as well?" was the final question before I stepped in.

"Can I answer your questions?" I replied, interrupting, while I smiled and laughed.

"Well, I just want to make sure you get your car fixed," mom said as serious as ever. "It's such a nice car."

It's in the details, darling.  Mom is always crossing her t's and dotting her i's.  No wonder teaching elementary school all those years drove her crazy.   Kids can be so unpredictable.   Their pegs just wouldn't fit into mom's square and circle holes that are her universe.  

Sitting on the Dock By the Bay...

Well, it's the next best thing for me and Maggie.  Shot this with the camera timer and a tripod.


A Reawakening...

Life's gone by fast these past few weeks since I've quit taking Lithium.  So many things are changing and I feel like a new man.  I realized now what such a poison that medication was to my body.  For four years, I took it forcibly doled out by my father.  I can distinctly remember when it was prescribed.

"He's acting moody," my father told my psychiatrist as my father sat in a chair next to me.

"Let's try Lithium," my psychiatrist said with a gleeful tone and a smile on his face. "It is the gold standard of psychiatry."

Most of my medications were prescribed in this way.  I realized now what little control I have of my own mental health, but things are changing.  I am more assertive and proactive - wary of my father's actions.  I don't want to live the rest of my life in some medication induced fog or hell.  And I have lived in a literal hell for several years now with those devastating attacks.  I could barely go out of the house - sometimes for weeks.  

This morning, I sat and listened to a whole music CD in one sitting.  No TV on.  Just me and my I-pod.  It was Joni Mitchell's Wild Things Run Fast from 1982.  I haven't been able to do that in years.  I took such pleasure from the synthesizers and the electric bass - bringing smiles to my face and the good, good kind of butterflies in my stomach.  I could so incredibly enjoy such things again.  

Do you ever just sit for an hour and just think?  Yesterday, I sat on the couch with my feet up on it.  Maggie was laying on the cushion on the back.  I just sat and thought of new blog posts to write.  Memories came flooding back.  I would smile and get excited.  I haven't smiled much in years, either.  I could have never even fathomed this when I was on Lithium. 

I talked to dad last night about my concerns surrounding the Lithium.  He was very, very defensive, but he did listen.  He said I could ask the doctor about taking a new mood stabilizer.  "You have to take something for your moods, though," he told me sternly.  "I don't want you on any manic highs like your mother has been on lately."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My New Haircut by Charlie...


Put Four Letters Together and You Can Offend Somebody...

I will never forget the first time I said God's name in vain.  I was in second grade and was using the bathroom.  I accidentally peed on my pants and uttered goddamnit.  I froze in fear.  I thought God was going to strike me down that very moment.  The rest of the day I worried and fretted.  What bad omen would appear?  That's a terrible thing for a child to have to go through. 

Growing up, my father and Charlie always cussed like sailors.  I can distinctly remember my father on a ladder as he painted a ceiling in our house.  Charlie was painting some door trim right under him. 

"Goddamnit!" Charlie exclaimed to dad. "You just got paint all over my shirt."

"Daddy?" I said innocently as I stood in the doorway. "Charlie's going to go to hell."

I can remember it as if it happened yesterday.

"No he's not," dad replied, consoling me. "Grown people can cuss. Don't you worry about that."

I can remember thinking of the years I would have to wait before I could use certain words without spending eternity in damnation.  I still cringe today when I write God's name in vain on my blog or utter it in anger or exasperation.    

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Only From the Mind of my Mother...

"Do I need to call the Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Game about that deer?" mom asked me a moment ago on the phone. 

"No," I said, kindly laughing. "Mom, you can ask the most questions."

She's already called me two times about the accident this afternoon asking me about stuff I need to do to get the car fixed.

"Why do you laugh?" mom asked.

"They would just be amused that some concerned lady in Lanett, Alabama called to tell them someone hit a deer with a car thinking they keep up with that kind of thing," I replied.

"Oh, okay," mom said, still serious, and she hung up.

The Weather Gods Have Failed Us!

Dad just called me asked me if I was still okay.  Him and mom are on pins and needles worried I will have an attack about the accident.  "I am at peace about it.  I'm fine," I told him.  He also told me he is tired of all the rain and wished it would quit.  It is pouring now as I write this.  I have never heard him say such a thing in my 37 years on this here God's Earth.  He loves the rain.  That shows you how much we've had lately. 

She's a Little Dog that Thinks She's Big...

Maggie's been busy this afternoon.  We've had tons of pedestrians and she has barked until she's almost hoarse.  She will see someone walk by the house on the watch tower that is the back of the couch and will scramble to get out the dog door to go bark.  She doesn't bark at the Asian family, though.  I think it's the child in the stroller that makes her hold back.  She thinks she's a big dog and dutiful royal protector of me, the house, and the car. That Christmas night my car got stolen she was barking up a storm and I was too sleepy to get up.  Boy, did I learn my lesson.

Maggie may be small, but she's not a lap dog.  I would say she's middlin' in size.  It always kills me when she will jump up into George's and mom's laps when they come over.  She's definitely a lap full.   These are the only two people she will do that to.  She would never jump up into my, Charlie's, or dad's laps.  George will say as he puts Maggie on the floor, "Why does this damn dog like me so much?  I've never even petted her."  I always die laughing.  He also gets so aggravated cause it always makes him spill his beer (beer's precious, you know) and I have to run and get a paper towel out of the kitchen.    

It Can Rain on Saturdays...

Well, Lord be, I hit a deer this morning in my Honda.  The damage is not that bad, but it scared the literal shit outta me when I hit it.  It all happened so fast.  I had to check my underwear when I got back to dads.  I hit it next to the old AM radio station near downtown and it knocked the deer 20 feet into the air.  Into a field nearby.   My car is still perfectly drivable, but it looks ugly.  And there is deer hair everywhere all over my car.  I hit the deer so hard that the contents of it's stomach came flying out and flew all over my windshield.  Thank God for well built Hondas.   I drove by the police station and got an SR-14 form to fill out for my insurance company.  Let's hope they cover it and don't give me a hassle like they normally do.  I hope you all are doing well today and enjoying your weekends. I'm fine.  No anxiety or panic attacks yet.  Thank goodness.

Let's think of the deer, too.  It was just a fawn or close to it. R.I.P.  My car can be fixed.  A life was lost. (I wrote this and then I strangely and amusingly thought, "You know? We eat dead animals everyday.  At least, most of us doI ate dead animal for breakfast in the form of bacon this morningMmmmm venison!")

Friday, September 25, 2009

Notes at the End of the Day...

I was sitting here after I wrote my last post and thought, "You know what? I am taking those goddamned cokes back and tell mom what I did!"

And I did. I could see from just my own blog post what I was doing.  It was like a light bulb went on. That's when I added that italicized note to the post.  

"You shouldn't have just asked me for the cokes," mom told me as I stood at the back door. "I would have given them to you if you needed them so badly."

She was so kind to me and it was nothing of what I expected. I expected her to be snarling mad. I feel so much better! I feel as if the load of Atlas has been lifted off my shoulders! I will get six more in the morning, be content, and be sensible and honest and right. I know right from wrong. Dad tells me that all the time when I get off addiction wise. My old ways of addictive behavior have got to go!!!!

*****

Dad called me on the phone to talk awhile this afternoon which is incredibly odd for him.  I usually have to be the one to call him.   He was mainly concerned about how I was doing and if I was taking my medications. Surely, I didn't tell him of the Lithium, but I have been diligently taking my Coureg, Risperdal, and Luvox every morning when I get up.  

*****

It seems mom is getting off mentally for a few days. She does this from time to time. It makes her want to spend money, and it makes dad hyper sensitive about our mental health. He said mom went furniture shopping the other day and he couldn't believe it. "She seems to be on some kind of manic high," he told me.  He liked the furniture though.  He said my mother has good, but expensive taste.  

*****

Helen cooked meatloaf with a tomato sauce glaze, boiled cabbage, black-eyed peas, creamed potatoes, cole slaw, and cornbread tonight. She brought me by my plate on her way home so mom wouldn't have to drive over here.  The plate felt like it was three pounds it had so much food on it.

"Thank you!" I told her excitedly out at her GMC Yukon through her open door. "I love you."

She smiled and said, "I love you too, baby! Now, go and eat your supper while it's hot."

*****

I called dad back a moment ago and asked him what his grandmother fed her many hunting and yard dogs all those years ago. This Maggie and people food issue I am so struggling with is so pressing on my mind. They didn't have many stores in their rural area in the South and they certainly didn't have commercial dog food. Canned or otherwise.

"She would cook a big pan of cornbread every night in a big wood burning stove and I would always want a piece of the dog's cornbread when I was a kid," dad told me laughing. "Isn't that just like a kid?  To want what you can't have?  They didn't get electricity or an inside bathroom until I was older. Daddy used to hate taking a dookie out in the outhouse. His brothers would rock the outhouse back and forth violently and laugh hysterically while he tried to take a shit.  It would make him so mad!"

I laughed. Boy, did I laugh. That sounds like something I would do to my brother Alex when we were kids.

Clandestine Operations...

This is how an alcoholic thinks and acts. Just trade Diet Cokes for beer. This is why I feel so guilty.

I did something today I feel terrible about. I shouldn't have done it, but I was just desperate for six more Diet Cokes. I spent my last dime last night filling up my car with gas. I am only supposed to have six Diet Cokes per day as my parents say I am OCD about them. The day started with me driving over this morning to get my six cokes. Mom already had them in a plastic bag and ready at the back door. She was expecting me to come. Well, I knew Helen was cooking over there today and it was around two. I knew she would just about be pulling the meatloaf out of the oven and she was. I drove over knowing mom would be asleep and Helen would have the back door open. Easy access. I snuck down the steps to the basement and got six more Diet Cokes and drove home. I feel really, really badly right now. Like I just smoked crack or something. George is going to love to berate me tomorrow for feeling this way when I tell him about it. "You're goddamned thirty seven years old!" I can hear him exclaim now.

Nibbles and Kibbles...

I heard Maggie crunching on her kibbles this morning in the laundry room.  "Good!" I thought.  She eats it grudgingly though.  She finished eating, walked back into the den with me, and collapsed on the floor with a sigh and a sad look.  "This is just terrible," she seemed to be implying.  Well, terrible me went and got a honey bun and ate it for breakfast with a glass of milk as Maggie sat and watched intently with those doe eyes.  It was then that I felt terrible.  She was putting such a guilt trip on me. "You can't have this girl," I told her. "You are going to get diabetes."  A moment passed.  I tore off a big piece of honey bun and gave it to her.  "Here! You win!" I said as I sighed in defeat.  I am such a softie when it comes to that dog.  She is my best friend you know.  George is a close second.  I can't keep doing this.  Tough love as they say.  My father has a patent on it. 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Got Gas! Got Travel!

I actually went and bought gas tonight.  I know you are all shocked and surprised.  I know mom is.  My trip odometer read 78 miles and that was after I reset it when the needle hit empty.  It was just sheer laziness and had nothing to do with my anxiety or mental illness.

I called mom when I got home and told her.  "You're not pulling my leg are you?" she asked. "Andrew, you can't keep doing that.  You are going to get in a mess."  I laughed and told her I was like my uncles and loved to live dangerously.  She didn't think it was funny at all.  My family is so proud! LOL!

Flooding Eminent...

If you've watched The Weather Channel lately then you know of the flooding in Atlanta and outlying areas. Their gross sensationalism of the whole ordeal greatly alarmed me and disgusted me.  Well, water travels downhill and the Chattahoochee is now flooding West Point, GA. which is our sister city.  The water is already up to the steps of the fire station and 911 center downtown.   Flood stage for the Chattahoochee is 17 feet and the river is at 19.6 feet as of this afternoon.   The water is not expected to recede until Sunday night.  Lanett AL., my hometown, sits on a high bluff above West Point so we are safe.  Let's hope the National Weather Service is grossly exaggerating the expected flood levels like they normally do.  It's the ones they don't predict that are always the worst. 

Ghetto Land and Grocery Day...

Maggie and I went for our walk very early today.  We normally walk down by the elementary school and then up by the old cotton mill which is two miles.  I was daring today and took a deviation from our normal route and walked through the neighborhood next to mine.  The disparity between that neighborhood and mine is stark and alarming, and it happens so abrupt. I call it Ghetto Land. 

The biggest thing I noticed was the trash everywhere.  There were hundreds of broken beer bottles lining the curb all as we walked.  Maggie had to watch where she stepped and it worried me her foot would get cut.  Beer cans and convenience store bags littered the yards.  Big Rottweilers and Pitbulls on chains barked menacingly from front yards every few houses causing Maggie to jump back in alarm.  It was an entirely bad idea and I am not usually afraid of such things due to my storied history and past.  My aloofness can make me brave sometimes.

I stopped at the end of the neighborhood at the point the road transects with the housing projects.  I stood and thought deeply for a moment and headed into a nicer neighborhood down the street.  As kids, we would quickly take a short cut through the housing projects on our bikes.  The black kids would run out and try to pelt us white kids with rocks in anger as we shouldn't be there.  Luckily, they all had bad aim most of the time.   We would peddle furiously and then break out in uproarious laughter as we emerged on the other side unscathed.  It was fun and like running the gauntlet.  That memory came flooding back as I stood there on the threshold of what we would call then as enemy territory.

*****

Today was grocery day and much needed it was.   I was out of everything and I was looking forward to my coveted box of unfrosted strawberry Poptarts.  Grocery day actually starts on Wednesday when Mom will call me and ask me what I need.  It takes about six frantic calls for mom to finally be content that I've told her everything.  Dad was laying in the bed yesterday when the calls where going on and heard mom in her bedroom.  He said last night that he was listening in and thought, "That must be driving Andrew crazy!  He's going to have a panic attack!" I laughed.  It doesn't bother me.  It actually makes me smile.

Mom started buying my groceries when I had an exceptionally bad bout with my mental illness.  I could barely go out of the house without a panic attack.  Mom thankfully took over the reigns from dad and began this routine.  Mom actually likes doing it much to my surprise despite her propensity to lay in the bed and dread everything.  Mom just adores doctor appointments, errands, and such things.  She also loves to write checks on my checking account and buy me stuff.  It is kind of like shopping for mentally ill people.  And the tradition continues despite me feeling much better these days.  Thank goodness.    

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mom and Cars Makes for an Interesting Life...

Mom stopped by this afternoon.  She pulled up and blew her horn.  I walked out to see the most worried looking face on the other side of that Honda's driver's side window.

"You're daddy's gonna kill me," she told me rolling down the window. "I think I busted a tire."

I walked around the car expecting a flat of gargantuan proportions.  Mom has been known to have relationships with curbs from time to time.  The tire was just low so I walked inside and put a little soapy water in a Solo cup.  I walked back out and poured it all over the tire.   I could see from the bubbles forming that is was just a nail and not anything serious.  No new tire needed.

"Take it to West Point Tire," I told her. "Tell them you have a nail and they will fix it for only $10"

"Really?" mom said as she smiled and sat back down in her car. "That's all it's going to cost?"

"Yeap," I said as I grinned and waved her off.

She was worried my father was going to get irate if she busted another tire.  It happens often. I love my mom.  I really do.  She is just full of personality, and also car mishaps.  I won't tell you how many times she's shut the garage door on her trunk.

Hey Maggie Lou!

Me and Maggie have a new ritual!  Maggie will come running and jump on the couch with me.  She will snuggle up to me and raise her rump.  The whole time I am a saying in baby talk, "How's my Maggie Lou!  Hey Maggie Lou!  I love you Maggie Lou!"  I say it over and over.  Maggie wants me to scratch her back and I put some lovin' on her, and she is just in ecstasy while I do it.  It is so endearing to me and makes me feel good.  Everybody needs a good dog sometimes.

This morning I puffed up my chest for courage, put on my good clothes, and headed to George's for breakfast.  I was kind of feeling like a fool after the other day.  Well, Mrs. Florene welcomed me in with open arms.  She is such a sweetheart. 

This morning we had little fried ham steaks.  Kind of like ham cutlets.   We also had her homemade biscuits and fried eggs.  I am not much one for fried eggs, but her's were awesome.  She didn't cook them too over easy.   We ate the ham in our biscuits and it was wonderful.  She also made a little extra Red Eye gravy to put on the extra biscuits we didn't eat with our ham.

Afterwards, me and George stood outside smoking and shooting the shit as George likes to say.  He was complaining of the local kids stealing his liquor bottles out of the bush by Mrs. Jones' front door.

"Those little bastards are stealing my Wild Turkey," George said with a frown.

You see?  Mrs. Florene doesn't allow George to smoke or drink inside.  He hides a bottle in a bush so he can sneak out and take a drink.  I think it is sad and hilarious at the same time.  I really wonder if kids are actually stealing George's liquor or he is just drinking it all and not remembering. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

All is Well in the World...

Smelled my first burning leaves outside on the very first day of fall.  How incredible is that?  That smell always makes me think of pumpkins, Halloween, and little kids dressed in Darth Vader costumes.

Anatomy of a Lithium Abstainer...

It has been a week off Lithium salt so far.  Slowly, the anxiety attacks have decreased and when I do have them, they are not nearly as severe.  My sex drive is back for the first time in years.  The strange metallic taste in my mouth is gone.  And food tastes incredibly, 100 times better.  I can also relax which is a VERY novel thing for me.  The only time I can relax is when I take my Klonopin. 

Dad made a concession to me last night about my medications.  It shocked me that he would do such a thing.  I am to take some of my medications in the morning so I get the full effect during the day.   He hasn't hardly shown any kind of trust in me in years.  Especially, trust in allowing me to take my medications on my own schedule.

This also has a dual benefits.  At night, I was throwing up the Lithium along with my anti-depressant and a 6 mg Risperdal.  This allows me to continue to take those beneficial medications without throwing them up. 

And There was Mom...

Every Monday evening mom brings me and Maggie a sack of hamburgers.  This comes after her afternoon spent with the ladies of the local Catholic Church.   Despite her busy day of permanents, gossiping church ladies, and a visit to the Mexican restaurant, she can still ask me a hundred questions - inquisitive soul she is.

"Are you still driving on fumes?" she asked last night about my car.

"I haven't had a chance to get any gas," I told her stretching the truth.  "I've gone 68 miles on empty.  That shows you how conservative those gas gauges are."

This drives mom crazy!  Mom won't let her car get below a half tank of gas.  Dad has an account for the drug store with a local gas station.  It is one of the last stations in town with full service.  Mom will often pull in and let them fill up her car as she sits and stares out the windshield.  

"You're gonna run out of gas and you'll be in trouble," she said. "You are going to be walking everywhere soon."

Mom handed me twenty dollars and told me to go then and fill it up.  My hamburgers were getting cold and Maggie was squealing for her's.  I said I would, sat down to eat my hamburgers after mom left, and forgot to go get gas.  The story of my life.  

LOL!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Chris Rock in da House...

Someone wrote me a moment ago and said George stole that line about black people and "niggas" from a Chris Rock comedy skit on HBO.  I looked for it, but couldn't find it and I am a whiz at finding things on the web.  Apparently, "niggers" and "nigga" are taboo words on the Internet and that is why.  If you look and find it, tell me and I will post it on the blog and we can all watch it.

Found it!  There is extreme profanity in this video so watch at your own risk!  Chris Rock has one of the foulest mouths I can remember.  Anyone remember his "tossed salad" skit?

Extremely Crass Language!

Inhibitions...

Someone asked me how I met George.  George was attracted to the 12 pack of Milwaukee's Best Ice Beer I was buying everyday.  Each morning I would walk down to the Piggly Wiggly to buy my beer and George would be pulled into the fire lane in front.

"Give a brother a beer!" he would say to me.

I would give him a couple and then walk on home to start my drinking session.

Time went by and George soon started to talk to me like he knew me.   He even claimed to know my ex-wife.  "I am going to call her and let her know how you are doing," he would tell me.  I thought he was just some crazy black man with a drinking problem.  Well, George has a drinking problem, but he is not crazy.  He had me mixed up with someone else.  Soon, our friendship grew as I began to hang out with the black men that sat down at the shopping center drinking, gossiping, and panhandling.  At the time I was writing about it, my blog was seeing a 1000 readers a day.  It has settled comfortably into obscurity these days and I mainly get around 100 readers a day.

This morning Mrs. Jones called me at seven and said breakfast would be ready when George got home in about 30 minutes.  I was up and dressed, but I declined.  I felt I was wearing out my welcome.  George showed up about eight and was wondering if I was having problems with my mental illness.

"It's not like you to not come and eat with us," he said.

"I don't want to be a burden on your mother," I replied in my own overly sensitive way. "She's not getting any younger."

"Shit!" George said exasperated. "Momma loves you.  She wants to make her boys feel good - to eat good food that makes them happy.  You would be doing her a favor and not only you."

George left after getting Maggie out of his lap.  I sat and ate my cold breakfast feeling weird.  Maybe George is right.  Maybe it is okay to have friends like that - that don't think you are imposing on them.  It is a novel thing to me.  I haven't had a lot of friends over the years.  Well, at least not the types you want to bring home to mother.  My dad always said of my mother's family that they were glad to see you and even more glad when you were gone.  Maybe I have to break free from the social shackles that have bound me for so long and that are so prevalent in my own family.   

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Georgeisms...

I told George over the phone earlier about my bout with racism today.

"Aw shit," George replied. "See? There is a difference between black people and niggas.  Niggas will steal yo shit in a heartbeat.  I would be suspicious too!  That son of a bitch would be a nigga if he didn't have a car or had a stolen one.  Niggas love to talk on cellphones, too.  Always scheming and shit.  Trying to steal yo valuables."

I laughed.  I shouldn't have, but it struck me as funny.  George can be so candid with me sometimes.  It can surprise me.  And he can get away with saying stuff like that being a black man.   I feel better, but it still worried me. 

Blessings Come in Honda's...

Mom came over a moment ago.  She was in her pajamas which I got on to her about.  I am always afraid she will have an accident and not be dressed.  How this got by my father I do not know, but she escaped their house dressed in her nightgown and bedroom slippers.

Mom was bringing me my daily allotment of Diet Cokes.  All six of them! (sneer!) Bless her heart as I was jonesing for some caffeine.

Now, my mother can ask you a hundred questions in ten minutes.

"Why do you have your model railroading magazines on the piano?" was one question.

"It's my shrine," I replied proudly. "They're the latest ones and I know what I have to read next."

"Your daddy and Charlie would say that's tacky," mom furthered.

Great!  Way to make me feel good about my favorite hobby, Mom!

Mom's left.  The next treat for the day will be dad with my medications.  I will get to take my anti-anxiety meds and relax for a few hours until they fade.    


A Brighter Day will Come...

It continues to rain buckets here with rain predicted through next week.  You know me.  I love the weather, but this is growing old.  Don't worry.  I asked for it - praying to the weather gods for adverse and inclement weather.  They responded with a continuing deluge, flash flood warnings, and dreary, dark skies.    

A petite Asian family walks by my house everyday.  Today, they had their black umbrellas and the little daughter looked so cute.  Strangely, the mother kept pacing back and forth in front of my house as she talked very animatedly on her cell phone.  I felt badly.  If it would have been a black man, I would have been suspicious.  At least, I can see my own failings and can do something about them.   

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Classic Good Drama...

I hope it makes you smile!

Ever Vigilant Against Cats and Pedestrians...




Love Puts on a New Face...

I read the blog of this single Jewish lady in New York City.  She is one of the most gorgeous women I have ever seen.   I swoon when she posts a picture of herself like today.

But...

She has the most God awful personality and beliefs.  How can something be so beautiful in appearance be so ugly in personality and demeanor?  She writes of rabid conservatism and is constantly denigrating Muslims.  I want to swoop her up and reprogram her personality.  

Mrs. Florene...

Mrs. Florene finally cooked something I didn't like today.  It was a breakfast casserole with tator tots in it.  I hate tator tots.  I ate one serving and said I was full. 

"Come on baby.  Eat some more," she kept saying.

I felt terrible.

Maggie... 

Maggie's back to normal somewhat.  She slept on the couch last night which was somewhat odd for her.  This morning she is scratching her ear and then smelling her foot.  I thought, "What's that all about?"  I hope she not getting another ear infection.  My dog has great manners (sarcasm).

No Wal-Mart Tonight...

All my house lights were on at four in the morning.  I was up listening to Joni Mitchell on the computer.  I couldn't sleep.  I looked up out the window and saw George pulling up.  He just happened by and saw the lights on.  He figured I was up. 

"Why do you have your hazard lights flashing on your car?" I asked George standing at the door as he walked up.

"Oh shit!" George exclaimed and he ran out to turn them off.

That was like a police magnet and George had certainly been drinking.  He wasn't drunk.  Just tipsy.

"That kind of stupid shit is going to get you in jail again," I said admonishing him. 

George sat in my lazy boy and went on and on about Pookie and her imminent release from jail.  He was telling me of the lascivious letters she had been writing to him.  He was putting me to sleep and I was yawning with ever increasing regularity.  Nothing bores me more than George foaming at the mouth about that scandalous woman.

George finally got the hint that I was fading fast.  He left inviting me to breakfast in the morning which I certainly will not miss.  I can almost taste those biscuits and bacon now.  I am heading to bed to get a few more hours of sleep before daybreak.  The sun is due in an hour and a half.       

Friday, September 18, 2009

To Dog Hell and Back...

The sky turned dark as night and you could hear thunder on the horizon as I carried Maggie out to my car as I held her leash.  Was it an omen? She thought we were going for a walk at first until I picked her up.  I was cranking up my car when mom pulled up.  Maggie was cowering in the floorboard.  She knew immediately where we were going. 

"I am going with you," mom said. "You need some help."

"Thank you," I sighed with relief.

We didn't have to wait long in the lobby.  Dr. Thomas welcomed us back to an examination room.  Dr. Thomas is the quintessential Southern gentleman.  He talks with one of the heaviest Southern drawls you have ever heard.  Think Lewis Grizzard.

I sat Maggie on the examination table and mom held her.  The vet tech. pulled out a plastic rod that looked like a giant sewing needle. She was taking a feces sample to check for parasites.  Well, Maggie peed all over the table and mom's arm.  It was the third time I have ever seen her use the bathroom.  She is so secretive about it.

We're home now.  Maggie is sulking and laying on the bed.  She's exhausted mentally. I am just glad that is over and only comes once a year.      

Women's Beauty Products...

Okay, I watch a lot of ShopNBC.  Don't ask me why as I am unsure how I fell into this habit as well. These shopping networks are geared towards women except for the men's wristwatch shows which I love.  

Are all women's beauty products a gimmick?  They feature tons of them on ShopNBC.  Today was Elizabeth Grant skincare.  She has this secret ingredient called "tirrucellum" that comes from the ocean around Britain and is supposed to make the years fade away. (GIMMICK!)  She also has lots of products with real gold in them to make you radiant. (GIMMICK!) Yesterday, they had on this Hollywood beauty guru and he was selling this stuff called "Dust."  It comes out of the can as a dust and turns into a cream/conditioner when you rub it in your hair. (GIMMICK!)  And the prices are exorbitant!!!  My favorite part is the before and after photos.  In the before photos, the women look dour and sad.  In the after photos, they are smiling brilliantly and look radiant.  Can you say photoshop?

Well, that is enough of my little beauty product rant.  Women, what do you think?

Momma's Here!!!!


video

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Lady Lounging...

She's Portly, but She's Mine...

I did something reckless last night.  Usually, I am pretty conservative with my money.  Mom gave me 30 dollars yesterday and I went wild.  I ordered an extra large pizza, double pepperoni, thin crust, with extra pepperocinis and ranch dipping sauce. I ordered it online at papajohns.com and they delivered in 30 minutes.  I paid a dear price though later in the night.  I ate the whole pizza and was miserable later with heartburn and indigestion. 

Maggie and I went for our 2 mile jaunt early this morning.  I was up at eight.  I really need to get a video of Maggie as I show her the leash.  She goes bananas.  It is an ordeal trying to get her harness on as she is wiggling so much. 

The veterinarian called me yesterday to tell me it is time for Maggie's yearly checkup.  He is going to admonish me for the amount of weight Maggie has gained.  At least lately I've tried to be more conscious of the table food I give her.  She is back to eating her kibbles.   

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Giant Case of TP...

George surprised and shocked me this morning when he told me his hourly wage at Wal-Mart Distribution.

"I am paying all momma's bills these days," he told me.

And he should! Florene Jones has been his saving grace for years.  She has kept George up for most of his adult life.    

Mom looked so nice today.  She really looked ten years younger.

"I got my hair done," she said with a smile. "But your daddy asked what that is going to cost if I get my hair done three times a week."

"Bah humbug!" I though of dad doing that.

Mom is my commissary.  She keeps me well stocked with staple items.  In a sack today were 12 diet cokes, a can of shaving cream since I have been shaving with soap.  In the backseat of mom's car was the biggest case of toilet paper I have ever seen.  It won't fit in the closet of my bathroom so it is sitting on the floor of my computer room.  Mom never did do anything half-assed. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kneading That Dough...

Mom's been over here all day.  She's having a very hard time and doesn't want to be alone.  I am very happy to have her as I get lonely here all day with just me and Maggie.  Maggie sleeps all the time these days.  

Last night went over like a lead balloon.  I don't want to say much as not to sully this blog post with all that junk.  I am to take my Lithium and I am to learn to like it!

Mrs. Jones showed me how she makes her Southern buttermilk biscuits this morning.  I watched as she carefully and thoroughly cut in the shortening into the flour.  She them poured in the buttermilk from a measuring cup and kneaded it very sparingly before she cut the biscuits.  Let me tell you they were heavenly.

"Knead it too much and your biscuits will be tough," she told me. 

Yesterday's experiment with the Lithium dosage unleashed the hounds so to speak as far as my anxiety attacks go.  I am hoping for some peace as my Lithium levels continue to drop.  I will have to take more tonight and dad stays 15 minutes to make sure they are down good.  I am throwing those suckers up as soon as he leaves. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Watching the World Go By...


Stirring the Witches Cauldron...

Well, I have finally figured out what was causing the anxiety attacks all these years.  Dad absentmindedly left a blister pack of my medications a few nights ago.  Curious me couldn't leave well enough alone and I have been experimenting with my medications all week.  I took 3 lithium.  My normal dosage.  And had a classic anxiety attack.  I thought I was going to have to go to the emergency room.  It's gonna get ugly, ugly tonight when I tell dad I am not taking the Lithium anymore.  He will be unwaveringly stoic and unbending about it.  So shall I. 

Let the Heavens open and pour forth...

Those of you that have read me a long time know my affection for keeping up with the weather.   I just wanted you to know it is raining here and hard.   The day just gets better.  

The Calvary Arrives...

I was pretty pitiful this morning.  Maggie was sulking as well.  I was down to my last two cigarettes and one diet coke.  I had plenty of orange drink, but somehow that just didn't hold the same appeal of a caffeinated coke.  I was in the kitchen eating some cheese toast as Maggie just went crazy in the den.  She seemed to be implying that, "Momma's here!  Momma's here!"  It was the earliest I've seen my mother up in years.

"I thought you needed some TLC this morning," mom said walking up the front steps of my house. "I had to get my teeth cleaned this morning."

In a sack were six diet cokes, a carton of Doral Lights, and some nail clippers. 

"I went to Wal-Mart to get you the nail clippers," mom said. "You need to clip your nails."

I smiled.  My mother never was one to dance around a delicate issue.  

"Thank you," I told her. "You turned around what was going to be a tough day."

"Well, I love you," mom replied.

Mom didn't stay long.  After playing with Maggie, she headed home to crawl back in the bed.  She really, really made my morning today.  It is hard to believe we were in a tussle a few days ago.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mental Wellness Medications...

A moment ago I was sitting in my parent's den.  My father was talking very animatedly to my brother about the football game last night.  The whole room began to spin.  I had gotten too excited and have to be careful about that.  Dad hung up the phone and said, "What's wrong?  You look white as a ghost!"  I had just taken my medications and was on a fifteen minute timer for when my father was satisfied my medications had begun to dissolve in my stomach. 

"I am not feeling very well," I told my father. "I got too excited about taking my medications and talking to my brother."

"We've all got to slow down," dad said. "Your mother included."

"You can drive home now," my father finally said standing up and walking me to the backdoor. 

"Good thing we took my mental illness medications," I said standing in the threshold. 

"Let's call them mental wellness medications," dad said with a smile to add a positive connotation.   

I looked at him and just grinned and said, "I like that. We need to put a positive spin on all of mental illness.  Your life is not over when you get schizophrenia."

All this was on the cusp of reuniting with a lost friend on the Internet and how I could delicately write to them that I have schizophrenia.  They are asking a lot of question about my "illness" that I've been very vague about.   Mental wellness indeed. 

More Sleeping In...


A Gourmet Gift...

I gave Mrs. Jones her coffee this morning.   She was very, very appreciative and it made me feel good.  I have grown to love her like a grandmother and she means the world to me. 

George was kind of quiet this morning.  He was running low on money and Sunday arrived before he could buy some whiskey.  It's the Bible belt and they don't sell alcohol on Sundays around here.  I am sure Mrs. Jones was elated in that her son's drinking embarrasses her. 

I have a long day today.  I am feeling kind of strange this morning mentally and am biding my time till mom and dad wake up and I can get my medications. 

I am berating myself for putting up that video of me yesterday.  It was silly and I look silly.  I have noticed that many blog writers carefully guard their looks on their blogs.   Many people I have read for years and have no idea of what they look like. 

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Diet Coke Fiasco Ends...


video

Sleeping In...

I couldn't make up my bed like I usually do.  I had a bed bug and pillow hog.  It will probably be around lunch before Maggie decides to stir.  It is fun to poke her while she sleeps though.  She'll make this jerking motion like a reflex. 


Here's Some Eggs. Eat Up!

I was asking George this morning what would be a good gift to get his mom.  Something she usually couldn't afford.  She's done so much for me and I wanted to do something for her. 

"Get her some of that gourmet coffee," George said. "She drinks coffee all day and loves the stuff.  She won't buy the expensive coffee though."

I had ten dollars squirreled away and hoped that would be enough.  I shied away from borrowing money from George.

I was over at George's house at 7:30 this morning.  About the time he gets home from work.  Mrs. Jones had cooked breakfast like she does for George every morning.  I wasn't shy about filling my plate full of scrambled eggs and hashbrowns.  It was a good start to the day.

*****

The Great Diet Coke Fiasco...

Mom wouldn't take my calls last night.  They have caller I.D. and she could see it was me.  My mom is like her mother and will hold a grudge for months.  I wanted to nip this in the bud.  I left a message.  I groveled. 

"I love you," I told her. "I was wrong and shouldn't have said those things to you.  You are the only person who understands me and it is going to drive me crazy that you are not talking to me."

That was it.  Short and sweet.  I told Dad to tell her I love her, too.  Dad was really taking all this in; this fight between me and mom.

"How is your mind?" Dad then asked me. "Is the extra Risperidone helping?"

"My mind was going a hundred miles an hour last night this time," I told him. "Things are quiet and calm tonight."

That was a good cue for dad to give me a hug and say goodnight.  Maggie and I were soon in the bed as well and we both slept fitfully.  

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Journey to Medicine Land...

I had an early appointment with my psychiatrist today.  When I made the appointment, I was this gibbering mess of a human being.  I was much better and more composed today. I almost canceled. 

My doctor upped the dosage of my primary anti-psychotic three more milligrams.  I am already at a very high dosage and there are concerns I am growing resistant to my medications.  I noticed my doctor dotted his i's and crossed his t's by making me sign a legal waver about my medications.  That if I developed tardive dyskenesia, a neurological disorder, I couldn't sue him for what he's worth.  

I swung by my father's pharmacy on the way home.  He was surprised I went to the doctor alone.  He was pleased that my doctor upped my anti-psychotic though.  I have taken the medication and feel almost high and giddy.  Who needs crack?

Don't worry.  This post gets interesting.


Mom told me a moment ago that I had already drank enough diet coke for the week.  She was asserting her authority and boy did it backfire. 

"To hell you're going to tell me when I can drink a coke or not, " I told her. "I am 37 years old and not some school kid."

There are 10 cases of diet cokes in mom and dad's garage.  These are for me.  I opened the garage door and stuck two cases in my Honda.

"And while you are at it," I told my mother. "You can kiss my ass."

"You can't have those cokes," mom said one last time walking out of the garage.

I drove home and now feel terrible.  Keep the peace?  Or drink the now guilt inducing cokes?  It has been one of those days.  Just a bunch of crazy people trying to have relationships that are dysfunctional at best.  

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dog Tired...

Maggie just sent up the cue that its time to go to bed.  I was in the den watching a diamond themed show on ShopNBC when Maggie walked in and collapsed on the floor in front of me.  It has been a hard day of barking at kitties and keeping an eye on pedestrians. 

Speaking of kitties. Maggie's learned a new trick.  I get on the couch and tell Maggie to "get the kitty" and she will go ape shit bananas trying the find the cat in the yard as she growls and barks ferociously. I can't do it too often for fear she will learn that I am crying wolf.   

Mom is in one of her "I can't be alone" phases.  She was over at lunch asking me a hundred questions.  "Why are you browning the ground beef in the microwave?" "Why are you hoarding these plastic bags?" "Why does the moon revolve around the Earth?"  You get the gist.  I did cook my tacos at lunch today and they were delicious.

"How many weight watchers points are these tacos?" I asked mom.

"I don't know and I don't care," mom replied as she put on some cheese and an extra dollop of sour cream. 

That elicited the biggest grin out of me.  My grandmother, dad's mom, was like that.  She liked to make people feel good about eating and to cook like it will always bring them back.   

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Good Days, They're Here...

This morning started with me running over my grandmother's recipe for pimento cheese sandwiches to George's mom.  Mrs. Jones was busy in the kitchen watching the stove as some biscuits baked. She gave me a piece of sublime bacon to eat and I headed back home.

Dad picked me up at ten.  Amazingly, it is becoming hard to find a Hardee's around here in the South.  They have the best breakfast biscuits.  We found one in Columbus and gorged ourselves on steak biscuits and diet cokes.

Good news!  I am discharged from physical therapy.  Not feeling well lately turning getting to physical therapy a thrice of the week ordeal.  That, and I hated the damned exercise bicycle they wanted me to ride every morning.

I am home now just enjoying a peaceful mind.  You really appreciate the good days.  I now know how a crack addict felt when getting high on crack.  Life mentally well is addicting. 

Through all I've been through these past few weeks, Maggie still gets her daily walk.  She was strutting her stuff this afternoon as we paraded through the neighborhood.   There were also the mandatory stops at the fences of various dogs in the neighborhood.  Your standard sniffing each other through the fence type stuff went on.       

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Serenity...

Today was the first day in weeks that I experienced mental peace.  My mind wasn't at war with itself.  I had a wonderful day of smoking which I only enjoy mentally stable.  I had a few treasured cokes as well.

Tomorrow I look forward to seeing my neurosurgeon in Columbus, Ga.  Dad and plan on getting us some steak biscuits in the morning and for that I am excited.  Let's hope this sudden turn in me mentally is not an aberration.  

Monday, September 7, 2009

Ready to Write...

I've decided blogging has meant so much to me to try and continue.  This blog will be mainly a daily log of my symptoms with the characters in my life's various comings and goings.

Today was almost unbearable until later in the day.  I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin.  I drove around in my car and that seemed to distract me some.  Charlie came around six with my medications.  I can usually feel 100X better in an hour.  It is almost intoxicating and makes me feel like being creative.

The doldrums have a certain noticeable affect on me when my mental illness acts up.  Keeping up appearances takes on a distance third in my life's lists of priorities.  I forced myself to shower and then shave.  It does make you feel better.

My non fair weather friend stopped by tonight.  I am candid with George as far as my mental illness goes.  He will ask me if I need some space many days.  He brought me a Captain D's 3 piece fish plate for supper. I hadn't eaten all day and it was much appreciated.  

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Traveler...

There are days you don't want to wake up.  Restless nights.  Nightmare hours of panic and dread.  I haven't even been online much in two weeks except for 15 minutes to check on Cheryl, Professor, and Annabel.   I am caught in the throes of one the worst spells I can ever remember with my mental illness. 

Until this malaise lets up some, I going to be light as far as the travels of me on the web go.  Nothing interests me online anymore.  There was a certain "craft" to blogging.  Facebook and other popular web apps drive a socially phobic person like me crazy.  Twitter was blogging for ADHD people. 

Well, I've probably overspoken, outspoken, and just generally botched up this blog post.  I am going to bed where kinder nightmares await.