Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dinner at 6

Rain, this morning. So the unicorn meat eating cats are much more interested in the canned unicorn I opened for them, earlier, rather than the hunt. I think it is the very choice that they have, to go or not, that they crave when their window is closed...I have woken so late, right after dawn, that the dog, Max, is also awake.

In the crazyness of the suburbs, where I now live, there can be no barking before 7 in the morning, and none after 10 at night. I am truly from 'the country' and find the restrictions and rules here very bizarre. In the country, dogs bark randomly at night, whenever you let them out, and it's a good thing, too. I wanted Eddie to bark at anyone who happened to be out in the middle of nowhere, cruising the woods. It meant that they were up to no good. I wanted them to know I had a dog capable of holding them off until the police arrived. Eddie was a big dog, with a big bark, which I was glad of.

Here, in the city, dogs don't have to pee at night, apparently. And one doesn't want dogs to bark at men who sneak around at night.

Also, it's the grass mowing thingy. Everyone, and I mean everyone who is anyone, mows the lawn on Friday, or at the latest, other days will do. It doesn't do to have your lawn a different length than one's neighbors, for some reason. All the lawns must look uniform. This is a big difference from the country, where my neighbors were glad to have me mow at anytime I felt like it. Including 3 AM. Just as long as the lawn was groomed somewhat, suited my neighbors in the country.

Every house in this neighborhood has a tool shed. They look like miniature barns. It's quite uniform, and quite odd looking, to my country eyes.

There are things that one does, and one doesn't do. No one's front curtains are open. No one is permitted to see into one's living room from the outside. It suggests a lot of closet drinkers, hiding in their living rooms during the day, drinking it up. Or performing human sacrifice in the living room. In the country, most windows and doors are thrown wide open; it is impossible to "peep" without being seen, the houses are so far apart. If one chooses to drink, one simply goes to the woods, or on the back deck, which can't be seen from the other houses or anywhere else for that matter. I would know.

In the country, cats can roam all day, everyday without comment from one's neighbors about them pooping in the gardens. Of course, with my luck, at the Old House I did have one nasty family live across the road who did complain about the cats. But it seemed unreasonable, with deer, possums, racoons, and bear also shitting in their flowers. They were kooks, and everyone knew it. They would feel right at home, where I now live.

Uniformity was simply not a goal in the country. After all, that's why one moves to the country, so everyone else will mind their own damn business. One may be as odd and different as one pleases, without comment or censure. The guy next door to the Old House had horses in his back yard. No one thought that was odd. He didn't have to mow his grass. Some people in the country kept goats for that purpose, or for fun.

No one here would dream of putting some lovely horses in the yard, much less a goat pen. Or chickens. Or keeping rabbits. Or installing a pond in the backyard. I mean, I have one, but it's disguised as a pool, and it must have a fence surrounding it, to keep stray children out. And to look uniform.

I don't wander about in my pajamas, or the old house-cleaning clothes in the city/burbs. Eccentricity is discouraged here. In the country, I could wander around in whatever I felt like, or not. It was the choice, you see? Now, the nasty neighbor's husband wandered around quite potted and naked at times, but that was his right, until he stepped out where a group of children could see him. Nothing like that would happen here. He would be arrested the moment he stepped out of the bathroom without a stitch of clothes on...

And, at 9:30 AM, every Sunday here, the cars go to church and return a while later. While we in the country, wandered about the woods and fields everyday, with no cars to transport us to a different, better world.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sometimes, Dawn Breaks

One piece of cherry pie and some coffee later and here I am. Of course, the dog, Max snores heavily, while the cats leap in and out of their window. Dawn might be soon, I think.

A small vignette: I keep a picture from the 1930's, of my grandmother on a horse, in El Paso, TX, on the farm. It sits in a small white frame, with my mother's bottle of Eau de cologne, Chanel No. 5, next to it. It was her favorite perfume, and some of my best memories surface, when I uncork this bottle and the vaguely vanilla scent wafts across the room. The golden clock that chimes, sits next to the picture, and my cat keepsake, a statue of a cat that I got in Cairo, Egypt. It's the small things in life that hold me together sometimes...

In her later years, my Mother's favorite scent was lavender, and I grew it for her, to put in the oak chest of drawers that my niece now has. Lavender powder, and lotion, soap: she loved it all. She was a very cuddly woman, and it was nice to hug her and smell the garden.

When I was young, she taught me how to apply lipstick, always bright red. She had white skin, and black, black hair, and the red matched her pearly teeth. Between bouts of lifelong, severe depression, she taught me that ladies wore slips under every dress, as they did a bra, and a girdle. Underwear was ironed by the help, or oneself, if one was between maids at the time.

Her dresses were hand made for her, and she had some lovely ones. She cut one down for me, for a prom dress, in later, and more unhappy years. It was baby blue Shantung Alice Blue gown. During the unhappy years, she washed dishes and did laundry, and raised two children, almost on her own; my father was largely absent in spirit, and sometimes in body, too. And she worked as a registered nurse. She had shock treatments for depression, when it was the very cutting edge of treatment. There was nothing she wouldn't do to make the depression go away.

And, as blue as I get sometimes, no matter how hard the winter, I know I don't fight the same, horrible depression that she did. Neither does my brother. We are profoundly grateful for this. But in the better years, in Gloucester, where I grew up, and later, in the Old House, she had maids. Ladies maids who doubled as cleaning women. It sounds snobbish, I know. But she was raised, like Scarlett O'Hara's mother, to run a farm, and a large, prosperous one at that, and knew the value of a good servant. I wouldn't know what to do with a servant if you hit me upside the head with one, but she did.

She had dozens of gloves, some of which I still have. In those days, ladies, and everyone else, too, wore gloves and hats whenever and wherever they were. She grew up in a time and place when she could drive a tractor, but men drove cars, and she never learned to drive one really well. She knew how to milk a cow, and to make flower arrangements. Her taste was exquisite. She drank a malt duck every year, almost, at Christmas. Just one. My Father had that covered, and it was the grief of her life that he was an alcoholic. But he was also a very refined, elegant sort of man, just the sort for her.

But the dawn comes. It's a quiet morning, and I don't know what makes me think of my Mother today. I dream more of her, than I did my Father, after he died, and I don't know why. I was like Dad, and perhaps he gave me his admiration for her feminine ways and iron will.

Physically, I resemble her a great deal, and I am sure I have some of her personality, without all the niceties. I don't care if I have on jewelry, or scent or makeup, most of the time. As long as I can keep clean, I am happy. I do scent my clothes and sheets with lavender and verbena, though. And my hair is always killer...

The birds sound outside, as the sky lightens. It is my favorite day, grass mowing day. There is nothing like being on a smallish tractor for most of the day, smelling the grass cut, and basking in the sunshine. I continue to face a challenge, a person who is a tornado in my life, another alcoholic, with whom I am cutting ties.

She loved yellow roses, because my Father was from El Paso, and the song, "The Yellow Rose of Texas." She loved sunset rather than dawn, and the day started when my Father got home from work at 5:30. Her room was tidy, and scented, but not overbearingly so. She smelled of her own particular fragrance as I long to hug her again!

Instead, I have her bottle of lavender beside my bed, and a box of tissues, and a keepsake box. My dog snores heartily. She would have sooner had a raccoon in her boudoir. Although she did appreciate the presence of a cat, in her room. I can see each leaf on it's tree now, it has gotten so light...

Friday, June 28, 2013


 Believe it or not, I don't know what it looks like outside yet. I am sure a unicorn meat eating cat will have me open the door before the blog post is finished, so just hang on.

I had an experience yesterday that got me thinking this morning. Always a dangerous habit, but useful for today's post. How do humans greet a profound experience? With silence. Our communication and tool-making skills are a hallmark of our species...although we have not gotten very far with communication with other species that we know can chimps, dolphins, whales, etc.

I witnessed a moving moment between two people yesterday, just by chance, and the crowd observing it met it with silence. No clapping, no cheering, no noises that we make to convey approval, simply silence.

My thoughts then roamed to funerals, and death. Is the silence surrounding death an echo? Do we fall silent at profoundly moving events to acknowledge the silence that echoes back to us from the grave? Is this where the impulse to fall silent comes from? Is it the impulse that tells us that somehow, words fail us? Communication goes on. Silence is a communication of sorts, an affirmation of what existed before words...if that time did exist.

As far as I know, every creature on Earth communicates, at least, with it's own kind. Koko, the gorilla, communicated with her human handlers for decades, by sign. Is this how we communicated before words? By pictures, sign language, body language? We cannot know what existed before words.

But it's very depressing for a writer to realize that some human experiences, and animal experiences, too, surpass our craft. I have sat in a room with a dying Mother, and experienced the profound presence of Death. I can translate that silence, and did, in poems, and now, in this post, but, in that very moving time, found no words come to mind, none that I had read, that touched that deep chord that was sounded.

Of course, there is music as well, to communicate. When my Father died, I ran downstairs and put on Mozart's Requiem. I did feel an answer to the silence we had sent with his body, to be cremated.

It is not as if the silence is devoid of feeling, or shows a lack of something. Silence is not a blank, not an empty canvas. The silence attendant on death, or a profound experience, is full, we say pregnant, with too many words and emotions to be expressed coherently. Perhaps, that is my answer. Silence is pregnant with all the words English is not equipped to handle, with all it's subtle variations. As the language of Eskimos has 50 terms for snow, English has it's many words for various kinds of fear and love, depending on the circumstances: just look in any thesaurus to find them.

But are they enough? Will we ever invent the words that come in place of silence? Will we overcome the barrier that the deepdeepdeep past has imposed on us?

We are told that Silence is Golden. But I think of silence as a black cat, named Fudge, that I had the privilege to know for 23 years. I didn't even know cats could live that long. He was my own especial cat, Fudge was. My father tried to give him away one time. I got a panicked call from the recipient about midnight, telling me that Fudge had escaped his trailer, and the dogs were outside.

I promptly drove over the the guy's trailer, and opened my door, and was instantly greeted with "Meow?" Fudge had run to the sound of my car, and greeted me when I got out.

As he got older, he often took more comfort with my Mother, who was bed-bound for the most part. He love to sleep with his body under the covers, and his little black head resting on her pillow. The week that my Mother died, Fudge slept on her bed for several days, then woke and walked about the house crying. He died that day.

Oh, how I miss his stately presence! We nicknamed him, "The Dude" to honor his demeanor. In my mind's eye, I see him perched on the rail of the deck of the Old House, with the shadow of the November trees set behind him.

Which is why I have such a profound feeling about this new acquaintance, Loverboy. Fudge had a smaller, cuter up-turned nose, but Loverboy has all the makings of A Dude. His love for humans, his demeanor, the soul-moving eyes...he has them all. He was feral, which is hard to believe, none of his behaviors suggest his past life on the streets of this small city. He is love, itself, and I have included a picture and blurb about him.

I suppose what touches me about him, also, is the silence of animals, who are not silent at all. We simply do not have the skill to properly and completely interpret what they are telling us. We can guess, but who knows what complexities lie behind the sounds they make to us, and to each other? We have little enough skill in communicating with each other, much less, with animals.

There is a small, red barn in my line of sight every morning, a toolshed sort of place, really. It reminds me of the horses I used to ride, and the deeply moving experience that was. The trees are dark now, behind it, the leaves float in a random breeze. In the foreground are gladiolas, and the green grass that leads from my slate walkway. This is the smallish yard that the dog, the asshole, runs in, when he needs to pee, and to feel his freedom.

A set of cat's ears appear in the glass part of the door I look through. The cats jump in and out of the apartment by this door, and it's movable window, every morning but the coldest. The year and it's seasons seem to be moving more quickly than in previous this aging? Or simply a measure of my acceptance?

The woods are to my right, as I look, with the field beyond. The birds have long been feeding in the field, and sing in the trees. A small part of sadness pervades my world today. I miss my Fudge, and the Old House. But I am glad he goes on, caught in the field that he loved. He had 23 glorious years at the Old House, with it's fields, woods and mountain. A forever part of my heart resides there with him, and roams.

But enough of nostalgia...the weather is still cool for this time of year, and this region, as we have come to know it. The heat does not yet, push in like a heavy, moist monster. The morning is still clear and fine. Clover dots the grass with small poufs of clouds, and my container garden gladdens the slate patio.

And the challenge from yesterday? The one I can't write about? The challenge was met and answered by me, in the best, most serene way I could manage.  Oh, there is a lot of anguish that accompanies my actions, but it will pass, as more, newer challenges emerge from my decision. I wish I could tell you what I have done, and may at some later date. But at this moment in time, this year in my life, the decision impacts real, not fictitious people.

You may have guessed that this blog is not fiction, just fictionalized. I always seek to be truthful for you, hoping to help others. But I have actually been threatened with a lawsuit before, and so, the truth must be hidden in this case.

But what I bring to you here is not hidden. All that I am, and only me and the cats, are described here with total honesty. As every artist does, I cast aside caution, like throwing landlines from a vessel, to sail with you to previously unexplored waters.

I wish I could describe how I feel this morning with you, in words that do not fail. But, at the end, all words fail, and I am left with memories, and the new dawn, and the fields of the mind.

And as my heart roams to the end and back, let the memory of a black cat fill your heart with joy.
Here he is: Loverboy

Look! I told you! Minkins insists on going out, and now the gray dawn comes.

My name is Loverboy, and I want to live with my own person...
Loverboy really IS a loverboy, but he is also FIV+, which means he has to be indoor only, and the only cat in the house, unless the other cat(s) are FIV+, as well. It doesn't mean he is sick, only he tests positive for: Common name: Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), Feline acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (FAIDS)
Scientific name: Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)  for more information. Loverboy is about 2 years old, neutered, and up to date on vaccines. He is in love with love...let him show you his. 

Meet and greet with Loverboy can be arranged through me, just drop me a note. He is local to the Roanoke, Virginia, USA, area. He is the most deliciously laid back cat you will ever meet, and he has yet to meet the human he doesn't like. Extremely affectionate! And ready for a life that only love can weave...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Dog, the Asshole

And he is: Maxwell, the asshole. He thinks he is dominant, but that's my own fault. It's just that, in the morning, when he trusts me enough to turn his tummy up for rubs, it's hard to remember he is an asshole. He chases the cats sometimes, in a spirit of joie de vivre, and he barks at everyone. He has other faults I will not name, I am not into dog shaming here. His lack of manners is my own fault. So, back to obedience training.

In other news, I face a challenge today that I cannot write about.

Pancake plays with her new friend, Bob, and I visited them both yesterday. She still recognizes me, and I hope she never forgets me.

How about a pic for old time's sake, Alice?

Kinda grainy, but you get the idea? I dreamed I had another litter last night, and about my Mom. I have so many dreams about her. I think of the New Adventurers with a tinge of nostalgia now that sends shivers down my spine. Yesterday, at the Pound in Roanoke, a mother named Hope, and her litter of kittens was put to sleep, put down more like it. I wish I could have saved them, but 20 more would have popped up in her place, their places...please spay/neuter your pets...

No more sad things right now. I missed my dose of Happy Pill yesterday, haven't picked it up from the pharmacy, and I can tell.

But I do love this morning: it is overcast, and very verdant and green, lush. We had our own mini hurricane yesterday, in this small corner of the world, and everything is still very wet. The path is wet, and it is for sure that my dog, the asshole, will not go out to pee this morning. He is very sensitive about water. He used to be a free-roaming country dog, and now plays that card to the hilt. Sometimes I have to carry him to his line, to pee.

Eddie Spirit dog, my service animal, is simply a distant dream. But I did have the amazing good fortune to have spent a special part of my life with him. This dog, Maxwell, is less obedient, but happier. I suppose that's why I let him get away with behavior Eddie Spirit dog wouldn't have dreamed of doing.

I love the fields when they are watery. I have muck boots, and nothing slows me down. Spider webs are outlined by the water, and every blade of grass runs with it. The trees on the edge of the field hum with the raw taste of the rain. I rejoice for them. Every leaf is delineated with silver, and bark turns darker. Small rivers run down every tree, their courses dictated by the manner of bark...

The daylilies are blooming now, in all this world of water, and the orange stars on their tall stems peek from every shaded bank where they are allowed to grow. And they do grow here...for some reason, the grass mowers for the state of Virginia, sometimes convicts, avoid cutting the flowers if they can. Patches of chicory, with it's purple blooms, clover and wild rose, stand by the side of the highway. Of course, the daylilies fall under this grace of growth. They are wild and tame, cherished and prolific. They float above the river banks like the mist floats over the fields this morning.

Onto my challenge...

Another pic of Max: 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ship Shaped

I didn't realize I had skipped a day, because I woke at 1 AM on Tuesday morning and wrote the blog. I was going to finish it later, but never got back to it. Sorry about that.

With so much going on in the news, about the loss of rights for minorities and women, it is tempting to devolve around those issues, but I can't. This blog is a comfort zone for me. The outside world doesn't exist, only the fact of myself, and my diagnoses, and the differences between the two. I am not my mental illnesses, or my alcoholism; another facet exists. I have disorders and alcoholism. But they do not comprise my being. They are simply somethings that I must treat and learn to work with to survive, and live happily.

I am firmly convinced that my higher Power, HP, wants me to live doing what I can to help the world, and the other living creatures that inhabit it. It wants me to share the joy of being, to make the way easier, and to have my own way made easier in return.

I have gone through my borderline personality disorder therapy book, and realized I have skipped a lot of the homework. Somehow, in my efforts to Be, I have lost some initiative to Participate. It's a logical decision on my Mind's part...participation entails vulnerability, to some extent. I don't know if it is a quest to limit vulnerability, but it necessarily cuts down on participation and interaction.

Humans hurt me. Interacting causes all kinds of emotions that I may not feel equipped to handle. After all, it's not as if I swim in a world of emotionally healthy people. While my quest for emotional sobriety, and stability occupies me, it does not occupy others. I have no control over others and their actions. Therefore, it creates a resentment on my part to have to deal with people who may/may not be working on their character and point of view as much as I do. Especially when I feel cheated of a 'fair' reaction. Or when I am misunderstood, deliberately or not.

But, my very nature as a human, social creatures that we are, demands that I do participate. Today, I ask HP for the willingness to participate with others, with all their demands, and illnesses, and joys and gifts. I cannot afford resentment for where/when I am. I don't want to drink!

I want to be healthy and well, and live within loving, caring relationships. I would like to increase the joy of living for those around me. I would like to live joyfully as well. Which shouldn't (judgement call) depend on the material world, but for me, does.

That is: I like my cozy place, and my cozy animals. I like the introverted world I live in. I am happiest on a ship, everything tidied and stored away, with nothing sticking out into the aisles. I love the battened hatches, and everything roped to the deck, ready for storms.

As the author Larry Niven once pointed out though, the universe is not designed for my joy, or happiness. The universe is geared for my destruction, the universe runs down.  Perhaps that is why humans have a spiritual life, which is geared toward the eternal.

And all this results from a Facebook post by a friend, that a loved one has gone insane after a death. Just as I did, after losing my Dad. Of course, there were the other components: the sexual assault, the divorce, all in the same year. Throughout my experiences living as an insane person, I never felt without the presence of a living higher Power.  However, I have no doubt, that insanity holds death for me. I cannot 'do' it again.

So I take my medications, and don't drink, first of all. I hold a psychiatrist and a therapist as close as I am allowed. I hold my friends even closer. I remember a time without hope. I remember days and nights, weeks and months, with nothing to look forward to, and no hope that it would ever change.

It remains the most profound experience of my life, living without hope. I would not revisit that place for anything, neither love nor money. There is nothing more dreadful, and many people on the planet today live without hope.

I do not have the capabilities to tell you how much I cannot walk that path again. JK Rowling, of the Harry Potter series, said once that she based the characters of the Dementors, on her experience with depression. As if there would never be anything happy again.

And so often, when I am overcome by negativity, or hopelessness, I distract myself with the material. I soothe my unquiet soul with the tidiness of the world around me. As you can imagine, I frequently must limit my view to my very physical surroundings. I must limit my world view to my animals, my pets, a healthy relationship as any. Animals can have emotional problems, but my animals do not at this time. I try to keep them happy and healthy, and they do the same for me.

I try to keep my person clean, which is an effort, and I dress carefully everyday, although it may not seems like it. My hair is wild and crazy and curly, but every strand is arranged. I wear jewelry to look complete, not for any show of vanity, but the ship must be rigged with every rope it has. Nothing is superfluous. Sails tied the wrong way mean death in a storm, and I hope never to meet another as unprepared as I was, so long ago.

I have a routine, which I keep when I am healthy, as if my life depends on it, and it does. Everything should be ship-shape in case of disaster. I take my medication carefully, everyday; I ponder the unknown, but not unknowing, in my meditations every morning; I turn to this blog to begin communication with the day. I reflect on the shining rails of my ship, the brasses polished, and the ropes worn clean with the sea.

I rigorously scrub my conscience clean every night.  Did I cause harm that day? Did I do what I could to right it, if I did? Are my relationships in balance? I ask for willingness to understand, rather than to be understood, to listen, rather than to be listened to, to help, rather than to be helped.

I ask for willingness to help myself, to be firm on my own behalf. If I don't look after me, who will? There exist in my life, people who will look after me, if I do not: but it cannot be expected of them. My existence, after all, depends on my care.

 I do deprive myself of sleep time, fantastically important to someone with mental illnesses, to have some 'alone' time, some privacy. But I do keep some sort of a schedule about it. And I share it with you.

How can anyone's talent be enough to convey all I try to tell you? Shakespeare had it. But I am not he. So I write this blog and my poetry, in what I often feel is a fruitless effort to share what I think most important: take care of yourself. Don't drink or drug, take your meds, and for heaven's sake, eat something and get some sleep...

Monday, June 24, 2013

I Was Just About To

get sucked into Netflix and realized, I hadn't blogged this morning, which takes precedence. Cigarettes, coffee, and finding the dog come first, but...

I woke to no dog in the bed. Maxwell doesn't do that very often, and it usually signals a change in bowel habits. But not this morning. Maybe I was kicking rather hard, or talking in my sleep. Either way, I found him asleep on the couch. He is now in his usual position, butt resting against my leg, snoring softly, ears up. The cats got canned unicorn last night, but hunt this morning all the same. When the kitten was here, they got canned elk meat all the time. They miss her for that reason.

This is Minkins, the cat no one ever sees, eating his dried antelope. He is in the 'cat room.' Or, as visitors know it, my library/dining room.

I have picked up another follower, and would love to hear from some of my Russian friends...

Some mornings I wonder why anyone reads, and then I know...look! Someone crazier than me awake at this hour, some other coffee drinking, nature loving, cat/dog fanatic...

Mary, the Mother goddess, comes to swim today. It will be a lovely day for it. I may join them, instead of just looking on from the rocking chair. How many times has a mother goddess swam for you?

I do have a busy week, but today looks, hopefully, like a day to swim. Cross your fingers and toes on that one. I did do some binge eating last night, an orange and cranberry cake, but I have settled back into my routine of AA meetings, talks with my sponsor, medications, and doing homework for therapy group. I love my routine.

I need to wander outside for a moment. There is no sign of the super moon, as the skies are cloudy. The air is warm and still, this morning, and a lone bird sings. Minkins, the cat no one sees, has wandered in for some light refreshment and hovers over the keyboard and the useful fingers playing with it. Max snores deeply under his blanket.

In my mind, I walk toward the gold and green field behind the Old House. Sometimes, in my dreams, someone gives the Old House back to me. I still feel the relief of homecoming when I wake. Practically, I could not have kept the house. It was simply too big for one person. But my fields, and my decks! The early morning sunshine and air! I long to be there again, and know I can't.

More birds sing as dawn approaches. I know I should sleep, but feel I cannot. The pull of the field still calls me. Maybe I'll dream...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Of Smoke and Bugs

It is the earliest of mornings in the Blue Ridge. There is a super moon tonight, but I think the Harvest Moon is larger. The unicorn meat eating cats are ecstatic that I have gotten up so early and opened their window.

I am cat sitting for a dear friend, and she has a conundrum. That's a problem, to you and me. She has rescued and neutered a cat, lovely and black, who is FIV positive. That's cat AIDS. There is nothing wrong with him, but he needs a home with no other cats, or with cats who also have FIV+ status. He doesn't have health issues, indeed vets seem to believe that a nutritional disorder may be at the root of an FIV diagnoses.

I am reaching out to you. He has an amazing personality, and his name reflects it...Loverboy. I spent an hour lying on a cool bed, in a house by the water, yesterday. It was the most relaxing experience I have had in a long time, and it was due to supercool Loverboy.

In other news: I am trying to eliminate the smell of cigarette smoke from my apartment. It truly is a lovely refuge, and deserves a lovely scent to occupy it. I have cranberry scent spray, and honeysuckle, and ginger, but it is all overwhelmed by the smell of cigarettes.

I am an earnest writer, and love my coffee and cigarettes, but I didn't smoke, at one time in my life, and I remember the gut-wrenching, ashtray-licking, smell that comes from smoking. It's a damp, dank scent that it absolutely hideous to those who don't smoke. That includes the unicorn meat eating cats. Max, the dog doesn't particularly care, he is that devoted. But it does smell like I have been conducting human sacrifice every day. All day.

I can't smell it. I have a small nose, with sinus problems, and a father who smoked 3 packs a day for decades. My sense of smell has long been blunted. But I can imagine it...I didn't smoke inside at the Old House, but the out-of-doors was so very lovely, I didn't mind. The outdoors here is almost as lovely here, but my large garden is missing. Voila!

And laziness. But enough about my character defects.

Anyway, my angst is coming from my inability, thus far, to avoid smoking in bed...don't try that at home, Ladies and Gentlemen...let a professional do it. I Should (judgement call) get up, take my laptop and coffee and go outside to smoke. I have fire engine red rocking chairs to sit in, surrounded by what small garden I have created here. The temperature is unbelievably pleasant, and the supermoon is out. Yet, I sit in my comfy bed, listening to the dog snore, and watching him twitch, and drink coffee and smoke.

After all, I work to make my bedroom a refuge, and a cozy room, and I feel I have succeeded. I hate to leave this cocoon. But to make it truly cozy, I must.

In other, other news: There are critters out there: opposums, raccoons, deer, and bugs. I realize bugs are necessary to the circle of life, and the environment, but why do they have to be so ugly? And stinkbugs do just that...reek.

Why can't they all look like butterflies? Or Luna moths? Just one of the inconsistencies of life that can drive me crazy.  Why do they all have so many legs? And they, for the most part, are colored ugly, as well. Their eyes are big, and some of them bite, and/or suck blood. How disgusting is that?

Bugs are attracted to the light of my laptop screen, and hit me unexpectedly in the back of the neck, or crawl on my, no. Lightning bugs are pretty, but only shine at dusk and early twilight.

But last night, I discovered that the Shasta daisies shine silver in the moonlight. The night sounds are beautiful, as well. There will be a slow, steady drone later on, of cicadas. But for now, the birdsong pervades the woods. It is quiet and still.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

There Is Only This Moment

It looks like my readership is up in Russia, which is thrilling. I have long been a Russophile, from the time I got a Christmas book with Russian fables in it, that had belonged to my mother.

About my post yesterday: a lot of angst leaking, I must say. I viewed the advice that I got with judgement. It's something we try to avoid doing in DBT. Sometimes I forget my sponsor is not superwoman. Nor are the other women in our AA group. And I got loving support from many of them.

As well as from many of you, particularly Exponential, a fellow writer and Renaissance woman.

Pancake update: She visited last night, after 10 days with her new mom, and was thrilled to eat off of my plate again, which her new mom objects to...

Remember when she was this small?

As for my drinking relapse: I drank because alkies like to drink. Period. Somehow the option that I can drink in a crisis to feel better, in the short term at least, has to be replaced by the tools of my Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).

Some of these tools are from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and some are from Buddhism. A few of them:
Mindfulness: paying attention to each moment and what it brings. Slowing life down, as if each moment was to be the last.

Self-soothing: Using the five senses one at a time to create a pleasant memory. The scent of lavender, the sight of a mountain, the touch of cotton, etc.

Half-smile: Smiling this way at someone causing distress, and walking away from the confrontation. I like to picture my opponent with their hair on fire to achieve this. Works every time.

I could go on...and if you would like more information on these techniques, you may contact me at: I can direct you to a source of info.

My mind is a bit more in balance this morning. The dog snores and twitches beside me, he especially loved seeing Pancake last night. His cuddling is incredibly soothing in the mornings, especially at this hour. Ah, he's awake now, and wants tummy rubs.

I am a work in progress, and sometimes regress, as well. Nothing is static, all changes, every minute of every day. Even emotions change, the eternal ones, like fear and love. Did you know that hatred is simply fear that has acquired power? We feel fear, it makes us feel vulnerable, we don't like that: voila! Hatred. Fear with it's mask of power. It does serve a purpose. It is an old survival technique, designed to let us be aggressive, and defend ourselves.

But today is Saturn's Day. It's a day for a walk in the golden fields surrounding the Old House. They turn gold in winter, and it seems odd to think about that on this first day of Summer. But there is no lovelier sight to my mind than those fields. Our house sits on a hill, and overlooks a large meadow surrounded by woods below. The forest looms beyond, until it meets the mountains the color of my lavender. Turkey roam there in fall, and deer leave trails, as they pick their way into the hidden meadow. I can see each blade of yellow grasses, and the 'umbrella' plants under the trees. This wood has no underbrush, except for the wineberries at the edge. They are a sweet purple berry found wild in these woods. They taste of blackberry, but with a lighter touch.

The apartment I live in now sits lower than the surrounding fields, and the bordering woods. There is underbrush, tall, golden, wild yarrow. No wineberry grows is too tame for any but the blackberry. And that is sparse enough that they are quickly eaten by greedy birds, before I can get to them. There is a large path, that is mowed by the city, leading up to a soccer field. The horizon is not limitless here. We sit at the base of a hill, on top of which is a church, with it's manicured lawn and predictable trees. There is no wildness that my heart loves. The grass turns to straw in the winter.

But there are trees, speaking with the wind, and birds...the path is mysterious, until it ends. As all paths are. It is not a busy pathway, claimed mostly by dog walkers, and is shaded. It is a broad path, some 20 yards wide. It reminds me of the walking paths around the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., or the paths through historical Williamsburg...a colonial path, perhaps. Large enough to feel unconfined by walking it.

When the dog, Max, escapes, he goes to this path and runs it's long length over and over, like some miniature racehorse.

It is the longest day of the year for us in the Northern Hemisphere. It is warm, and getting warmer unto hot, now. Sometimes, in the early morning, or the late evening, I do not miss spring, or fall. The sun sets behind the pool, and casts a golden glow over it, while the moon and the stars hang heavy. Truthfully, I regret that I do not like midsummer, with it's hot, wet nights when no breeze stirs. It's made bearable only by the pool, by the water under the hot, heavy stars. But it is new Summer, and I am not prejudiced against it.
The flowers are new and happy. The leaves of violets still shade the slate walkway from my door, and the zinnia has come out. Everything is fresh from the cool of Spring. There truly is only this moment.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Notes on a Day

I know. I can't believe I am back, blogging at this hour. It seems almost normal, to use a phrase. I spent time in a yellow room yesterday, with a dog named Doc Watson. Don't ask.

The remains of the silly wabbit have gone back to the woods from whence he came. Just thought you would like to know.

It's now a week without hot water, although men work earnestly on it, and they have replaced every part except the tank...thank god for a neighbor, who is a dear friend. And has hot water.

It's especially quiet this morning, and a therapy day to boot. We will not run out of subject matter.

My week of isolation has resulted in some rocky relationships at this point. It makes me long for the sturdiness of my borderline group, where everything changes, except the fact of our diagnoses and  that is understood. I have been in AA for 20 years, and have had some long term sobriety. Now I am on the receiving end of some, not a lot, of the attitude of "get with the program." And, "what's wrong with you? You just aren't trying hard enough." That is my resentment speaking, I know.

In group therapy, where most are dually diagnosed, with borderline personality disorder and an addiction, as well as many other mental health issues, I hear, "Did you cut, too? No? Oh good! Did you tell the therapist yet? I was worried about you. We missed you last week." The fight everyday is to not cut, not relapse, do the homework, while understanding that shit happens, and that's why we are in group: to learn to cope. Just get up and start again.

 I have also found this attitude in NA, Narcotics Anonymous, where the relapse rate is higher: the important part is to look at why you stumbled, and at all costs, to get back up and start again. The AA attitude I am running into is more of a "What a fuck up you are. Why do you bother? You must not want this very much." I suppose the difference is that AA assumes that if you work hard enough, you can have what you want. That if you want enough, you can have what you want.

Cutting is not longer an option for me, and I need to move acting on my addiction into that category, my therapist points out. Why one and not the other? I don't know.

It's also hard to hear that my relationship with my Higher Power is also the cause of my drinking. That is, if I am spiritually fit, everyday, this shit wouldn't happen. I have a great relationship with my fireball in the forest. It was there when no one, except a life long friend in Pennsylvania, was there for me. The feeling that It was there, never deserted me. Instead, I felt, "Why me?" and "What response do you want, HP?"

And everything I have written so far is called, Processing, in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Processing is removing oneself from the emotions of an event(s) and thinking logically about it. "Thinking it through." It's not wallowing in something that happened, but looking at it, with an idea of understanding, how and why we, as humans, react. CBT teaches us to process, DBT teaches us to learn why we react, and how to change the reaction, with practice, over time. CBT teaches us to leave the football field, and watch the game from the newscasters' box. DBT teaches us how to get back into the game, and change it.

Everything I have written is also a lot of emotion that is a result of relapsing and judging myself. Saying to yourself, "Ok, you fucked up. Now what?" is different than "Thou Shalt Not Fuck Up."

There is a lot of resentment on my part, toward my nay-sayers in AA, but a lot of understanding from those who have relapsed themselves...and even some from those who haven't. The loveliest thing I heard from my 'relapse meeting' was, "God has a plan for you. I know you worry and feel bad about going in and out over the years. But God has a plan."

I will not "I Should" on myself today. Because what follows "I Should..." is always a judgement, Ladies and Gentlemen. Always.

There is a zinnia that blooms now in my garden. It's left over from last year's scattering of the flowerheads. And there is the new zinnia, quite small still, that is a result of this year's sowing. It is a bright fuchsia, astounding pink, and it blooms furiously, tall and proud. It is something left to me from this hard winter, this long winter. The pink that it casts, makes the grass seem greener, and the clover seems whiter, than any other flower in my garden.

The impatiens are straggling a bit, but the begonia, with their blooms of cherry red, and their dark green leaves, flourish. The hydrangea comes in blue, with a tinge of pink. And the bright orange dahlia, and yellow daisies, bloom together in their container. For the first time, I have bought a strawberry plant, and small, tasty strawberries grow. No doubt, that is what attracted the poor rabbit.

Lilac time has come and gone, but the lavender remind us of purple, and the marvelous way it scents the air. I keep a glass container of it, from my mother's belongings, in a heart shaped container, on my bedside table. The time is fast approaching when the growing lavender should be harvested, but the bees seem small and stunted this year, and I have pity on them. I will leave the lavender as long as I can, unharvested: foodstuffs for the bees and white butterflies that come. Today is Freya's Day, Friday, and I am in love with my garden in containers, and the plants that grow vigorously by the side of the pool. The only flower left from my garden at the Old House, the tall, white, Shasta daisies, live against the side of the red brick gathering sunlight, with the tomatoes.

I have heirloom tomatoes this year, and can't wait to taste them.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thor's Day

Thank you for your patience, I am much better now. That's the whole thing about having a mental health diagnosis: if you don't like your mood, just wait 5 minutes...I am back out of the insanity of the disease of alcoholism. Although, to touch a fine point it still has a hold of me. After all, I am still an alcoholic. The disease is still rampant, but I am not intaking it. I still have all my character defects, and a crazy mentality, but I settle back into routine.

And routine is the name of the game when it comes to someone with my disorders. Maybe you find it is so for you. Maybe not, but I feel you will understand.

Life breaks in right now. Ratty, one of the unicorn meat eating cats, has gotten desperate the herds have moved north, and has caught a bunny this morning. Usually, they like to play with their food, and I have a chance to catch and release. But not this morning. So the cats are happily disassembling the bunny to eat. It's happy for me that they haven't tried to bring it/him/her inside.

My friend, Exponential, called last night to make sure I was healthy, or not, for that matter. I appreciate her thoughtfulness, in this day of email and tweeting. I love to call people simply to hear the human voice, I feel less isolated that way. And I feel it is a simple enough process that not enough people are willing to indulge in, in this day. For most people, it is easier just to Tweet a status and walk away. Which abjures a responsibility in a relationship.

But bitching about an age of sound-bytes, ties me to all of history. Every writer craves communication. With Man, with Nature, with a God. It's not only writers, of course, that seek this, but I use that illustration because I am one, and it's something I know about. The whole process of Art is communication, and it's a good thing, too.

I harvested my lavender for a thoughtful friend, yesterday...even gardening is communication. The walk in the forest that I take, seeking my HP, my god, if you will, runs even into the field surrounding the forest. It flows like the stream, that runs in the middle of it. And it flowers with the blackberry vines, that seek the sun.

Today, on Thor's Day, there are dark skies, and the possibility to hear Thor's Hammer, in the thunder. Of course, Freya's Day, which is tomorrow is my favorite. She is the Norse goddess of orchards, tended plants and trees. Although I do love the wildness of a day with Thor riding the sky, the wind and the rain, I also love the tended garden...the flowering trees, and the herbs.

So enjoy this day of Thor, in whatever small corner of the world you live in. And I hope I will see you here tomorrow. I have missed you.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Touch the Leaves

My friend, Exponential, urges me to write, so here we are again.

Fortunately, I am in a mood to write, and if I was not, I would write anyway. You see, gentle reader, today is not a bark day, not a day to stand on the roots and feel the pulse of the tree. Today is a drinking day, which is a super bad idea for someone like me. How? Why? I no longer know. Suffice it to say, someone brought a wine cooler to a pool party I hosted, and 5 days later, here I am.

I have done my meditations, what little they are, and my earnest prayer to be released today. I accept that HP has a better way to live than I do.

Today is for a place in the forest with an oak. Today is a place for green leaves and moss, not the day I would like, filled to the brim with vodka. My medications have had no chance to work lately, and thusly, I am blue. I am filled with hatred of myself, and overwhelming fears. It's going to take some time to stabilize myself again, and, like a planet seeks to right itself by throwing off stellar rings, I write this morning, as a way to normalize my day.

It fills me with horror that anyone else feels this way, but Exponential assures me they do. Exponential thinks of my readers today, the ones with my diagnoses, and tells me I need to write for the ones who can't name their disorders as 'anonymously' as I can. 

So let's face this dawn together, you and I. And count the minutes until we can call our sponsors.  So touch the rough bark with me, and feel the cool of the leaves. Hear the breeze blow from the water as it splashes down it's path.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Blue Room

I am despondent. I'm depressed. I'm blue. Yesterday a friend picked me up and took me to a magical place, with running water no less, and I couldn't wait to get away. "Look up" she said and the dizzying silence was filled with leaves, and the sound of a waterfall. But I retreated to her purple room, a bedroom in her house she naps in, and we talked.

Which I would choose of all the rooms I have been in: a purple room. With purple flowers on the wall, and a cool blanket chilling the heat wave going over me. A lazy day, with talk and animals, and leaves.

There are water days and leaf days, and sometimes the two come together. But I couldn't wait to get away. Back to my safe apartment, to the grey carpet and white walls, and pink and teal furniture. I needed the potted pothos on the stool, and the dark wood gleaming at me.

I needed the lavender and the impatiens, struggling in this season of derechos and heat. I needed the unicorn meat eating cats. I needed the memory of friends around me, the scent of lemon, the sound of water. I need my dog, snoring on the bed next to me. A trusting soul, that never trusted another. The day I decided to keep him? He had snuggled up under my arm and I felt him relax, completely and totally. I needed the dirty dishes in my sink and Pancake running around with my candy wrappers.

Write. A dear friend told me, write. It's so hard to write through these times, loved ones. But I am meeting you here today, in this room, to tell you I love you.

Let's talk.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


So nice of my computer to publish NOTHING before it shut me down for a Windows update. I really hope this is not how my day is shaping up.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Twisted Little Day

I am proud to have socialized this cat.

This is Pancake, yesterday. I know, I promised to write again about noon, but was sleeping. Something about the past week caught up with me yesterday, and my body collapsed in a minor way. One nap, a good deal of crying and a visit to Angels of Assisi to formalize the adoption later, and I can say I have had a good night's rest.

I can visit her whenever I like, and she will be visiting me with her new mother, after they bond. Today, I am so very lucky to have had all the kittens adopted, and my heart is very, very full.

Now, onto the stuff. I talked to someone else on Abilify, and she is eating day and night. Especially night. See? It only takes one other person to confirm that it isn't just me, it is the medication, to make me feel normal again. I thought that nighttime eating was an hormonal response, or emotional eating, or whatever that makes me, me. But no, it's the medication. Thank HP.

Now, I can take my little anti-Evil pills, and go about my twisted little day, safe and secure in the knowledge that it's not me: it's the medication. What every person with mental illnesses wants to hear: it's not You. It's the medication. THIS, Ladies and Gentlemen, is why we don't take medication.

Enough of that. I will take my meds today, and eat and take a shower. It's that sterling of a day, now that my baby is safe in her new home. The dog, Max, is taking it very well, I must say. I said her name to him yesterday, and he alerted toward her crate, now silent and empty for the first time since March.

It's a day for the unicorn meat eating cats. The window has been open for them to roam for about 2 hours now. They have been leaping in and out with practiced ease, and I have no fear that Pancake will somehow imitate them and be lost. She is now safe, as an indoor cat can be. I do miss the small, hurtling bodies* throwing themselves around the apartment, but it's now Happy Hour for the adults that are left...

I gain weight steadily, due to the Abilify. I adjust my eating habits and up my exercise, and still the weight problem looms. I need to find a formula for it...the Mediterranean diet, high fiber, whatever will work.  Believe me, if it were economically sound for me to eat nothing but fruit, I would do so. And I ponder on going Vegetarian.

The grass grows faster than I do. It has become coolish for this time of year, and meteorologists are calling for another derecho, in our area, and around Cleveland, OH. A derecho is the odd, weird storm that hit us last year about this time. We lost power for 3 days, and the temperatures were sweltering. But what a sky! And such a storm! Sky the color of a blood orange, with shooting stars that leaped out of the electrical transformers, as they blew, one by one, in a chain. The marvelous wind, my favorite element, swept first one way, and then another, strong gusts bent the trees.  The heat after the storm, melted faces, and made tears run from our foreheads...

I wonder if it's too early to call and see how Pancake is doing? 

*James Herriot

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bit and Pieces

I'm in a bit of a hurry today: it's Pancake's last day, as a full time resident here. She has been a nuclear bomb's worth of energy since she woke. After today, she will have someone to play with, as Bob, so-called demon spawn, is very ready for a new room mate. Bob and Princess will be her new companions. You can be sure pictures will follow.

Bob and Princess live a very small way across a very small town, and I will see Pancake often. I am still sad, but happy that she will finally have another being to play with that doesn't outweigh her by 42 lbs. 

After a small flood in the apartment yesterday, and a leaky hose on the now swimmable pool, the excitement for today is making a cake, and Pancake's adoption ceremony.

O dear. I promise to write about noon today. Catch you later.


Monday, June 10, 2013


The weekend is over, almost before it has started. But there are memories left, of grass and water, frogs and cats, rain and blue skies.

Today, although I am up at 2 AM, I am not 'suffering' from my MI's (mental illnesses.) Although that's a subtle point to make. I am not in active pain today. I had bad dreams, but who doesn't? Today, I have shelter, food, animals in my life. I have a support network, and a best friend who really is the "best". I have a shrink I adore, a therapist who laughs a lot, a group that I love. I take my medications today, at the urging of practically everyone in my life, and I can laugh about that.

This is a rare moment in time for everything passes. "This, too, shall pass" means the good as well as the bad. It illustrates an intransigence that can drive someone with borderline personality disorder over the edge. I am not close to the edge today.  I would have to take a long ride in a 1968 Aston Martin, to get there. I don't have one...

Tuesday is Pancake's 'launch' date, going to a new home. She will be a frequent visitor, so I will keep you updated with pictures. Right now, she is an adorable pile of arabian carpet-colored fur, stretched helplessly in sleep.  Last night, she fell asleep in my lap, with both front paws stretched above her head. I have done a good job with my fosters, socializing them into trust with humans. I hope their parents live up to that trust.

This is my post: I don't like to think that I am acceptable only on medication. But time and again, I have demonstrated that it makes life so much easier on those around me, and myself, most importantly. I don't want to go out of this life as lonely as my mother did. She withdrew the last 15 years, as only deafness and mental illness can impel one to do so. My heart twists when I think of her.

I have lost jobs, due to lack of medication. That's the tough one to face. After I was assaulted at the workplace by a coworker, and ground into the dust by Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc., their CEO and lawyers, I suffered consequences, that cannot be addressed. Jobs cannot be unlost, time cannot be unspent, things cannot be unsaid, nor actions untaken. I feel my anger is justified. Which is always a dangerous thing, friends. Always. It corrupts as surely as power, this justification. It is produced in quantity by humans in general. How else could atrocity exist? It must feel justified. And justified anger produces resentment, which will only get me drunk.

These are mists that cling around my ankles in the darkness morning when I wake. Add some sexual assaults, and a penchant for cold, calculating bastards when it comes to personal relationships, and voila! A hodgepodge of diagnosis and addictions, with a dose of me thrown in there.

To take my medications, uses a ladder to climb out of the morass.  It takes years of therapy that can be grueling, agonizing, and lonely. It takes losing friends and gaining enemies. It brings me here, today, this morning. It brings me a lovely kitten, and 3 adorable, unicorn meat eating cats. It brings me a dog, not to replace my Eddie, my service animal, but to succeed him.

My HP has brought me to this apartment, with some turmoil, but also with good memories, that shine like the polished mahogany of the pink chair. There are candles, here, and bright white walls, and lovely works of art, given by friends. There is the garden, my garden, with zinnia and lavender, and impatiens, dahlias and daisies. And, beyond the maple tree, there is the field, bordered by forest. In that forest is the HP, Healing Power, that follows and guides me.

It is a real, physical presence that supplies real love to the wounds on my mind. It supplies grace: that elusive quality that makes life, literally, worth living. Grace gives me strength, where there is none. It gives courage, that I thought long vanished. It builds the field, and the forest. It helps me communicate and connect.

And it gives me this: I am not my mental illnesses, or my animals, or the sky, or the god, but part of the whole. Some portion of all of this is simply me.


Saturday, June 8, 2013


Pancake is now spayed and no different than I can tell. Of course, I neuter or spay all of my animals, and yours too, if I catch them. Just kidding. Maybe.

I have joined an online dating site for fun and amusement, at the urging of a friend.  I tried eHarmony one time, and it lined me up with a guy in Wisconsin that thought the world was at an end, and traded assault rifles for his rent. Does that sound like me after 150 question 'test'?

Now, my "Cup of Coffee" ad is answered by guys with names like Timberwolf, who likes 'muddin'. Seriously? What does "No Nascar fans" mean to you? Extra points for this man, if you are a 'natural' redhead. He will never find out.

I thought I wrote my profile and was specific about being a city dweller, with an education, and a penchant for throwing parties...I know that I marked myself, as the 'Artsy' type. I lean to the liberal side, to say the least, and consider myself as a decent writer and poet.

I do not kill animals for fun or profit. I do not like "'huntin', fishin', drinkin'" beer with the boys' fun activities. I do not ride Harley Davidson motorcycles, or any vehicle that carries the risk of having my arms pulled out of my sockets, or losing a leg to. I will not respond to an ad where the only picture is a chest. No kidding. Unless Alan Rickman is answering my ad, I don't care what the guy does for a living, but make it more interesting than, '3 Guesses.'

I am not traveling to Paw Paw, West Virginia to meet you. My hobbies are not 'snuggling, cuddling, kissing.' The beach or the mountains: make up your mind. The first date will not be a candlelit dinner at my house, believe me.

The first date will be a cup of coffee. I will not be wearing camouflage, or lace. I will have on sensible shoes, for running purposes, if necessary. If he can't find Mill Mountain Coffee & Tea, 'he' is not for me. This is a small town. Odds are, I can find out who is married and who is not.

One guy refused to meet me Downtown because of the "police presence" there. After further questions, he had gotten a DUI in Downtown, "I only had just had 2 beers" and it was a "plot" to trick people into going to jail after they drank and started driving. This guy actually refused to meet anywhere but Lynchburg, where apparently, he wasn't 'wanted.' One man wanted to meet at a hotel, on the outskirts of Roanoke, on his way to Northern Virginia. Just for coffee. Another invited me to be his relief, from a "disastrous 20 year marriage that is exploding." I still can't believe that one.

One guy wanted to 'chat' dirty at 3 AM. One guy told me he 'cleaned up nice.' I will not answer ads where the picture shows the guy with a cat, or his children, unless they are old enough to sign a photo release form. If he drinks, and doesn't have any pets at all, he can keep moving. I don't care if he has tattoos, but don't want to see all of them on the first date.

I don't hang out at Jersey Lily's, on Orange Ave. I don't know or care when Bike Week is. If he is so unknowing, (read: clueless) as to his own personality that he cannot describe his interests, I will feel no 'spark'. And if he is a 'hopeless romantic', i.e. doesn't fart on the first date, I will find out soon enough.

I expect a grown man to wear adult clothes. I'm not picky: he doesn't have to own Valentino...but I don't want to know who the favorite NASCAR driver of the year is, when first meeting him. And don't call me, "Buttercup."

I don't answer ads where the profile picture is of a man who has just stepped out of the shower and is still in the bathroom. I don't answer ads where humor is offered in place of needed information. "LOL" is not a good response to the question, "What is your favorite animal rights organization?"

I think my main problem is: I am not really serious in any of this. I think if HP would like me to have male companionship, HP will provide it. And for every 'country' man, I think someone is out there just waiting to be that 'little girl.'

Friday, June 7, 2013

A Million Toys

in the world, and Pancake has to play with the computer.

And yes, I cheated by using an older picture, but you got it, right?

So I give her a dog toy, and the dog is jealous and takes it back, so I throw a candy wrapper...her spay date is today, so I will drop her off this morning for the big snip...she goes to her new parent next Tuesday.

I don't know what is going on. I have been having happy dreams, lately, and wake up in a good mood. It's absolutely refreshing. The reappearance of the pool seems to have something to do with it. And I have to say, that the Abilify is kicking in. It's a helluva choice: shorter, happier life, or longer, more miserable, paranoid one? Of course, there is not much sex in the happier life...psychotropic meds do that. But what the hell?

It seems, as with everything else, that in Nature, there are some trade-offs. So if I am happy and the apartment is a mess, and I get bigger than I was, so the hell what? There are worse things, dear Friends. Much worse.

I promised my brother, Marc, that I will watch the first two seasons of Game of Thrones, a show which has become his absolute passion. But I simply want to curl up on a couch and watch them all in one day. With my memory problems, it's the only way to go.

Speaking of: apparently a lot of bipolars have memory problems. I thought at first it was just the medications, but I have seen too many posts on Facebook pages to write it off to the meds. Sometimes, I cannot hold a simple conversation without forgetting how it started, or where it is going.

I know. For those of you out there who have bipolar, this may not be a news flash, but the agonizing tone of the questions on the mental health pages, reflect the importance that memory takes in our lives. Whereas, on the Abilify, I simply don't care with that what you will.

I have just thrown a stick to the kitten, and the strength of the purrs indicate it will keep her occupied until I am ready to crate her. She positively levitates with the volume sometimes.  I can follow her progress from one room to the next by it. And, she's a carrier. You know, one of those cats who picks things up in their mouths, and carries them. She can carry a dog toy farther than any cat I have known except for Texas, my Dad's cat, who would carry a crumpled, empty cigarette pack, and fetch it, too.

If my post seems more random today, that's the influence of the weather. For a multitude of years, the weather has determined our comings and goings, and to think it is not as important today is silly.

Someone wrote me that today, this weather seems like fall. I think she is right, and I am enjoying that quality. The light is not at all the same, but the cooler temperatures, and the almost misty mornings, with the heavy dew, is delightful. But the air does not have that sweetness, it takes on in fall. Nor does the light go lemony with nostalgia that is sweeter than any air I know, except for the Isle of Skye.

And, does everyone realize that we are approaching the last season of Burn Notice?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Clear a Path

I think I sprained my ankle in my sleep. I will keep you updated.

Again with the wake up at 1:30 AM. In Rome, in those old days, this would not be unusual. Pre-dawn was the time a well-disposed writer could give to his art, and the rest of the day was spent in service, to his friends, his community, his world. I don't have to compose by candle light, or rushlight. I have no slaves to rustle up to attend me: my secretary, my wash-slave. But I love to view the scene in my mind's eye, eked out, of course, by too many reruns of "I, Claudius". The open nature of a villa, hopefully with the ocean nearby, the breezes coming in through the eternally open windows. The scents of a well planted garden, in the dark. A horse ride away was Rome.

Of course, odds are, I would have been born a slave...still, it's a nice thought, don't you think? I am not alone in romanticizing the past, so I don't feel guilty about doing so. Roman writers complained about the dissolute youths of the wealthy roaming the streets at night. And don't forget the horse that was elected Senator. Echoes of Eric Cantor.

Back to today, and it's almost 3 AM. Pancake roams the streets of the apartment, as reckless as any privileged youth. Her teeth and claws are her knives. She stops to eat and drink and poop, and that's it. Apparently, a grown cat that hisses and spits at her, is inviting her to play. Only the dog is her faithful companion, and he is jealous of his toys. He will search the apartment for days, after she is gone.
Changes in my support network happen, beyond my control. I have no control over anyone's actions but my own, and I try to remember that. My faithful anchor, my Dark Star, has not moved though, in all these years. I can chart a course from her position in the night sky.

The dog has now sat on his toy to hide it.

An old friend told me once, that everyone, absolutely everyone, has the night that comes and one stays awake and thinks over the past, and maybe, what could have been. Friends and family who are gone are remembered, and old orchards walked, that are now just grassy meadows.

On that note, J.R.R. Tolkien made a distinction between those beings who love the tended orchard, and those who love the wilds. Between those who love the hills and valley, or those who love the plains, and those who love the oceans and rivers.

Just for today, I am one for the tended orchard, full of the sour, tart cherries of the Old House. But I am cast out into the wilds of the forest. It is a comfort that my animals wait there, at the forest's heart. Sometimes I run into the Healing Power that lives there, too. I stand here, once again, at the edge of the field. I look into the forest, and remember the stream that passes through it. The rocks and the ferns wait, as transient and patient as any. The small, rare flower rests at the edge of the darker shade under the leaves. The knowledge that the grapevine seat hangs near the water, pulls at me. The old, old oak stands by the old fence that lets into nowhere now. The gate at the foot of the oak, is pushed forever open and welcome, by the brambles behind it.

At the top of the rocky trail, up the mountain, there sunlight floods the rocks, and a crown of young trees flourish. When I stand there, on the next mountain I can see the fern path under the pines that leads to the blackberry meadow below, where the deer rest. Somewhere, in that jumble, a large lone satellite dish points at the sky, rests beside the old VW, that mark a later home than the fence and gate. They mark the 'old' edge of the forest bordering the road, that the trees now possess again. I am grateful for their gangly reminder...wire fences live there, and it is well to remember them when riding on horseback.

Beyond? Stretches our National Forest, and mountain laurel.  Paths have been cleared, the blue, rock moss stands out in the light.  The path is two horses wide. It's funny that the deer marked, first mountain paths are clearer and more numerous. But the trees have not been cleared from the edge. The leaves brush my neck constantly...

Sometimes, I grow tired of wondering what wakes me at these hours. I can smell the horses, and the lights from the barn beckon into the darkness.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I Want Whiskers

Damn these early mornings. Truthfully, it's not such a bad price to pay, for being here. An occasional night up, watching the cats and Max sleep. The pond now resembles the pool that it is, more than not. The water is blue, and chlorinated to the Nth degree. The poor frogs have disappeared, although I hear them, at dusk. Of course, they do disappear. They turn the color of the pool, which is an odd blue, with grey, fake pebbles. To see a frog that color disturbs the mind.

It is a great time to muse about life. But it's too early in the morning to start sentences with, "You know, so much is wrong in the world today..." and then finish with 'we are all going to hell' or 'but sunshine is just around the corner'. One point, Congress needs to give in before the American people do. THEY work for US. Stop the Sequester. Now.

A friend brightened my yesterday, with a bouquet of chocolate 'flowers.' This is the new mother of Pancake. I am always glad she visits, as she is good company, and she forms a relationship with Pancake. I now feel comfortable enough to turn my darling over to her new mother. It will happen soon, I promise.

I promise.

No, actually, no kidding, I do promise. The unicorn meat eating cats, especially Ratty, are so bothered by her small, zipping form, as she races around the apartment. I would like to have fostered an older cat, but it is time to give my cats a needed rest from territorial issues. Perhaps later on in the summer.

More later. I promise.


Yeah, I do go on about how that time of the morning is great, if I can't sleep. I have a dim view of that time, now that I have had some more sleep, and I deserve every minute.  I can see for one thing. Nothing like drinking coffee in the dark to try to make your day brighter, huh? The morning scents are cheerful, coffee, candle, cat poo. The ground is full of dew. Pancake hangs from the curtains, and all's right with the world.

It's uncertain mornings like this that make me second-guess myself about the blog, sometimes. No one knows the true identity of Mrs. Klonipin Chronicles, but my name is written all over my blog. Same for other writers in our field, mental 'illness.' There is a reason for that. When I meet people, they say one of two things: "I would never have guessed," OR "Oh, yeah" in that frightened, uncertain tone, as they back slowly away.

I am just a person, with some recognizable features of several disorders and a disease. There are too many of me to count, on this ever exploding planet. I am creative and passionate and hurt easily. I am vulnerable with a lot of personal courage. I wear a human face, although I would sport cat features, if it was allowed. The ignorant, judge, and sometimes, sadly, the educated do, too.

Oh my. How I do go on. The day is lovely, and I have a new haircut to flaunt. Life is not hard. If my disorders bother some, they don't bother others. What my life is today: eat, take my meds, take a shower, do chores, talk about my sobriety to my HP and my sponsor. Talk to my friends, eat, nap, love, clean. Meanwhile, the cat poo stinks. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ordinarily Every Day

I would be waking to a clean apartment, but the floor is strewn with trash from the kitten playing, and goings-on. A large piece of cellophane crackles underfoot if I get off on the wrong side of the bed. On the right side of the bed, lie the remnants of the cardboard tube, that was a kitten toy. The dog, Max, loves the kitten toys, and methodically destroys them, all in good fun.

I picked up the kitten's collation of candy wrappers the other day. I don't know where she gets them. Someone around here is eating Mounds and Milky Ways, and then throws the wrappers on the floor for Pancake to play with. She learns to be grown up cat, by sleeping in the right spots, eating from the right spots, and pooping in the right spots. Using her own litterbox has been a last resort for quite a while.

I only have the one kitten, Pancake, now, of course. She is a mighty whirlwind in a sea of barley, as this Scot says.

My life is everyday, today. I am profoundly grateful for that, too. I will take a shower, my meds, eat some breakfast, and then clean. I haul the kitchen trashcan from room to room, and rake the floor. Subtleties, like vacuuming, are out of reach. The walls are clean, thank goodness, and the ceiling, for the most part.

This year, once again, I will start on my paint project, which has turned into the eternal project. I might pick a color for one wall of the living room. Teal, I think.

The pool cleaning is already begun, as you know. I participate in it with some interest in being able to swim this year, which is a good change. My motivation to clean the pool hangs around my ankles when I know I am not going to swim.

And, in a semi-annual rite, I will get my hair cut today. Pictures will be posted on Fbook later. Unless it's very bad.

Pancake plays cute, by sleeping. The dog sleeps and dremas as well. I feel some baklawa calling me...

Monday, June 3, 2013

Rain Song

You really should visit your local Lebanese Festival when you can. I have managed to eat four pieces of baklawa, in my sleep. I don't sleep-eat often, but when I do, it's on a spectacular scale. The last time I pulled an 'all nighter' was the time I ate a pound of fudge, overnight. And let's not forget the pound of fudge I consumed while nursing a hamstring injury in Scotland.

I think it's now time for a cuteness picture.

Don't worry, I still have Pancake for most of this week, but I thought this picture spoke volumes.

I woke profoundly depressed yesterday, but thanks to some motivation left over from the Jurassic, I left the house anyway. I scored the baklawa, and something at the silent auction, and became very Lebanese during an afternoon of dance and music. It's nice to be accepted as part of a community for anyone.

I have spoken to my sponsor, as I do every morning, for my 12 Step Program. I meditated in a bit of a hurry, but I can go back to that. I am grateful.

It is cloudy, with rain today, as was yesterday. The Pond, thanks to the addition of some truly powerful chemicals, is turning back into the pool. Last year, I couldn't have cared less about swimming, but the year before, my first year with a pool, I remember how wonderful it was to be able to swim at twilight, and at night. A swim under the stars is not an event to be missed in this life. There is something about a slow swim, in the reflection of the stars, and the toss of the head, to see the star fields above, that defies description.

I suppose something about it is a mystery. To feel that darkness is a welcome thing, and not something to run from. The flowers and veggies are soaked from last night's rain, but the ground is still firm. The scent of a summer late in coming, rises from the moss under the trees. The impatiens grow well, but the Mexican plants, the dahlia and the daisy, remain small, although they bloom lustily enough.

The forest is full of leaves that drip this morning, and the forest floor absorbs my footsteps. The bird song is subdued, in deference to the sound of the rain. Here, the rain is almost silent; it makes no noise on the trunks of the trees, but sounds fall from the leaves. I suppose that the green makes a sound, and it travels as a vibration against the cheek. The ferns are quietly happy. The path is a bit muddy, but well cleared; no tall grass to wade through. Here and there, a startled bird suddenly flies from one tree to the next. The deer herds are moving slowly, to accommodate the fawns...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday 2 June 2013

This is the week Pancake will go to her new home. And, I had drinking dreams last night. As far as I know, alcoholics in recovery all have drinking dreams. Simply, we drink in our dreams.  They are frightening, in the fact that alcohol has so much power in our thoughts, and they are so very real seeming. 

I am sorry I was gone for almost a week. Sometimes life intrudes, and I must attend to it.

Yesterday was attention to the Pond day. Although I love the frogs, I don't love algae. It's hard for me to believe that I grew up swimming in ponds, and the ocean, rather than pools. There is something to be said for sharks and water snakes.

A friend and I visited the Lebanese festival at St. Elias Catholic church on Friday, and plan on going back today. Besides the most marvelous food, and music, there is a silent auction, and A & M Market is there with Mediterranean goods for sale. Dancers perform throughout the day, and there are activities and a bouncy castle for the kids.

That's all the news for today, folks. I know you have things to do and I need to get back in the groove of writing.