Monday, September 30, 2013

A Tree Turns

The bear visited us again last night, twice. I let the angry cats out very late every morning. And poor Max doesn't go out unless he is on the end of a leash. Even then, when I take him out, he seems to search for the bear, as he sniffs the garbage and pulls me toward the woods.

Silverlock suckles the blanket, when she grows tired of play. She eats enough; I think it's the equivalent of sucking her thumb. And who can blame her? Only 4 weeks old, and without a mother, except for Max and I.

The air is cool and still and wet with dew. I venture to let Max out on his line, and trust he will have the sense to let me know if he sees the bear. I can see him from the window, anyway. The kitten loves the laptop: it's warm, and it purrs. She burrows under it to suckle.

It was a lovely, lazy weekend. There is a poetry reading tonight, at the Jackson Park Library, off of Ninth Street, in Roanoke. We need rain, but we hardly notice, the days go by in such a bucolic haze. They are complete with fluffy clouds and the bluest of skies.

Here and there, on the mountains, a tree turns colors. The marigolds are gone, but the dahlias have come back, in the coolness of autumn. The hydrangea are as blue as the sky, and the impatiens underneath have spilled over their borders unto the slate of the walk.

The red water pump handle and the red pitchfork tell a tale of what is to come.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Angry Cats

I know you wonder why I don't post more pictures of the kitten, Silverlock. She is just so very mobile. I tried to make a video of her this morning, and of course, she kept her back to me the entire time. Apparently, Roanoke is having a rash of bears this season. Besides the bear in our neighborhood, there is one more that roams in Roanoke, and looks for a free meal. I can think of no reason for this sudden interest in the suburbs except that the berry crop was poor this year, from so much rain.

The angry, unicorn meat eating cats are out there in the dark, with the soon as I open the window, the kitten comes out of her crate, and off they go. They visit, of course, for nourishment, when they are fatigued with the hunt.

I have been more tired since coming off of the abilify. I don't know if that is the cause, or it's just a natural cycle. I have been asleep during my normal blog hours, 3 to 5 am, and then I am too tired to blog when I wake. I fell asleep with the kitten on the bed last night, and she was very pissed when I put her in her crate, for the night.

And now I need more sleep. I wish you a good weekend.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Bear

Trying to write while there is a kitten loose, is next to impossible. Perhaps you have had that experience, as well. So back in her crate she goes.

I saw a bear last night, returning home. My headlights picked out his?her? form against the backdrop of a garage door. I don't know how it made it from wherever it came from, I just wish the city would catch it and release it into the National Forest, so I can tie my dog back out. To me, there is no sadder sight than this bear, forced into a neighborhood, for food. Although it does make me feel as if I live in Sitka, Alaska, and I wait for a glimpse of a moose ambling down the road.

It is dark, and quiet outside. I figure that the cats run fast enough, so I have let them out for the morning. They are snack sized for the bear, but not honey flavored, so...

The crickets make a lovely sound this morning, and I hear the soft, crisp crunch that comes from the adult cat food bowl. I don't know what will happen today, but I know I am planning to go to an AA meeting tonight, come hell or high water. I have yet to start the trileptal, which is the new bipolar med I will be trying. Anything to help my shrink sleep at night.

The side effects listed, include loss of appetite but possible weight gain, which is interesting, to say the least. It may also interfere with my prozac, which is an antidepressant, and any contraceptives I may be using. If I have to have side effects, I wish that it were my choice. I mean, we can design a baby to specs, why not medication?

I hope today goes much like yesterday. It was a quiet, foggy day with my dog, the unicorn meat eaters, and the kitten. No bear involved. No feuding friends. Just pleasant company when I tired of absorbing the quiet.

And I have to say, as an introvert, that it was the most pleasant of days that I have had in a while, now. AA tells me that I cannot force my will on everyday, nor should I try. But when I am rewarded by a day like yesterday, I feel extra special to my higher power.

It's how I feel in the morning: just you and me and the dog, while the cats jump in and out of the window. Tranquil, and mysterious in the quality of dark. Only the sound of the crickets interrupts the circle of stars and clouds.

Today will be a little more gold than yesterday, a few more blades of grass will turn, and I will bring in some goldenrod from the field in front of the wood. I will let the blend of sun and clouds caress my face, and I will revel in the breeze. I will look for the red dogwood, and its berries, and compare them to the pines. The lavender blooms a bit more, and will look well against the goldenrod.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Just Wednesday

Today, Silverlock is active as soon as I wake. I do not want to set a bad precedent for her...waking at 3 am, just for the next caregiver who may not wake at 3. However, her cries to join me when I wake are pitiful, and no one can resist them.

It was a lovely fall day again, yesterday. I take joy in writing that sentence, too. The leaves have not even started turning, yet. And yet, it is so obviously autumn. It's the refreshing brisk feel to the wind, and the golden grass among the green. The temper of the field slowly changes to gold, and sky blue. The goldenrod is the color of fall, and the dogwoods are red, now, ahead of the other trees. It brings me happiness just to look at the sky and to smell the wind.

I always feel like a child before the changes of season. I had enough of the happinesses of childhood, that I remember each season, with its own celebration, with joy. The new Mary Janes and white gloves for Easter, the bicycle for summer, and the school days in fall. I was fortunate to have them all. But I must say spring and fall are my favorites.

Some turmoil in my life was the topic of the AA meeting last night, and I feel strengthened today. My prayer and meditation this morning was good, and the coffee is excellent. The water is even better. It is a shame, that a wandering bear is in our small part of town. I cannot tie Maxwell out, in the dark, too late at night, or too early in the morning. He must get his time of freedom in the daytime, and I keep a close eye on him, then, too.

But for now, I do not want to cut or drink.  I am not having drinking dreams, and it has been 2 days since I have had a nightmare. The days are broad, and full of sunshine, and the nights are cool and full of stars, and the waning moon. There is an excitement in the air, at this time of year, that I associate with school. And, believe me, going back to college as an older student, was a resurgence of joy. That has been 13 years ago, now, but I still feel the thrill of it. I look for new adventures in the fall and, if they are not forthcoming, I am sorely disappointed.

But, as I grow older, I learn to accept that everyday is a new adventure, with its own excitement. Sometimes, too much so. But this early in the morning, with the window open to the air, there is enough serenity to go around.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I had forgotten how fun it is for kittens to run across the laptop keyboard and bat at the scrolling pictures on the screen. I had forgotten that kittens, in their dance, know all the keys to really screw the laptop up, so that it is frozen, until only God and Toshiba know how to use it.

Until this morning.

The poetry reading went well, last night. It will be on YouTube sooner or later, and I will post the link. Afterwords, safely at home, I dissolved a bit into tears; sometimes pressure leaks out everywhere. And I have some stresses in life, as we all do, that I don't handle very well, sometimes...see the definition of borderline personality disorder, and then throw that out and chalk it all up to being human.

I miss my borderline therapy group, more than I can say. I didn't realize that, after this one year, how hard it will be to go without it. I miss my herd. I miss the quirks of others diagnosed like me, that seem to be perfectly normal, in that room, in its time.

It's that time of the morning, when dawn is a dream, and bears roam the woods. It is dark and the grass is wet. The unicorn meat eating cats all run away now, when I open the window, to escape the star that has fallen among us. Silverlock is a 'busy, little beaver' and pivots from point to point, like a pinball.

I did some binge eating last night, to excess, out of sheer strain and wake today with an aching tummy. I resolve again, not to do that tonight...I have no earthly desire to drink or cut. But some leftover, forgotten scar compels me to eat in my sleep. I am told this is common, but I have only done it for the last 3 years. Sometime when my Mother was sick, I started staying up at night, and eating bad things, and drinking coffee.

I have managed to interject some healthy components into this habit, but it does remain unwise to sleep as I do, and caffeine-ate as I do. I will say that yesterday was pretty peaceful, emotionally and mentally, until last night. I see my shrink today, and hope he will not put me back on a medication that causes me to gain weight, anymore. I think it's a hint to humans: all the best drugs come with some life-altering side effects. The anti-depressants dampen the sex drive, the anti-psychotics cause one to overeat.

I have forgotten how lovely Fall is, until I heard its poetry, last night. This is a time of changes and new adventures for more than the kitten in my care. It's a time for me, and those around me, to grow. It is a time to expand, and leave my tiny apartment for the change in weather. It's a time for the mountains to leap out of the earth, and change color, and wave. Time for Tinker Creek to get dark, with the oyster shells that turn black in the winter.

It's the time of year when the orange tabby grows fat, and sleeps later, on the bedspread with the summer roses.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall Is an Orange Tabby

There is little to report today, except it is a lovely morning under the stars...and one has come to live with me for a while.
Her name is Silverlock and she is 4 weeks old. She is full of herself, which is the definition of kitten-ness. She thinks she owns the dog, and doesn't consider him a nuisance. Yet. Max, himself, is in love with the state of kittenhood. They are just his size, and he loves everyone I have with all of his heart, poor fellow. He doesn't understand fostering means to love them enough to give them up.

So, his heart is broken several times a year, and yet, he gives all of his love and attention, devotion, to each small life that visits. He is a very deep dog.

I hope that today will be ordinary; I have plans for it to be. And what an ordinary day, to start under the stars!

Tonight, I read at Liminal, which is an artists' space, downtown. I am always nervous for a reading, so I will breath deeply for most of the day, and trying to collect myself. I will read from the blog post titled, "Busy School Teachers."

And how fortunate I am, to have such an ordinary day, with the stars, and a kitten, and some poetry? If that is the sum of my life, then I will accept it gladly. My disorders and disease rapidly fade with the coming of the sun. It's not that the moon isn't extraordinary, or that the forest isn't more than beautiful and mysterious under it. It's not that the field isn't more, with a new kitten roaming in it.

It is simply that, despite the medications and all the terrors and faults I carry with me, I have a new kitten, and the stars recede to let this sunlight in. It's the lemon sun, this sun in autumn. It has all the quality of light, and some of sadness with it. Now is the time of year to begin to count the days, the cat days of fall, with it's creeping leaves, and sweetness of air.

Fall is, indeed, an orange tabby, full and vibrant, with the edginess of being. He stays inside on days of frost, and ventures out with the sun. He is lying-in-the-sun cat. He is a brightspot against the green, and gold, and blue of the rocks. He leans against the brown trunks of trees, made browner still against his coat. He is mountain laurel, marigold, hydrangea cat. And now, he saunters forth, in this frosty, gray dawn to greet this day, of all days.

He is unafraid, and means to live all of his nine lives to the fullest. There are never too many days to soak in the sun, and toast his coat to marmalade, to peach preserves. There is always less time to hunt under the moon. There is always this grace: to stand against the auburn boards of the deck, in that particular spot of sunlight he calls his own, around the blue water. He stands against the night of winter and brings the sunlight in with him from his travels.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


This is Silverlock

And the wee beastie she has come to live with, called Max.

The unicorn meat eating cats are mostly inside this morning. The bear has opened the trashcan and gotten to the old strawberries I put in it.

Silverlock has come to live with us for a short time, until she has gotten used to dogs, other cats, and people, who generally turn her upside down to make sure that she, is indeed, a she. If you like her name, you should read the novel by John Myers Myers, Silverlock. It's a fascinating read, a bard's journey in the Commonwealth of Letters, and it features many historical legends, myths, and stories. That said, it is a good book, and was re-printed in the '60's, so you have a good chance of finding it at your local bookstore, library, or whatever.

A call to my shrink yesterday, confirmed the horrible feelings that I was having, as a symptom of the withdrawal of abilify. I came off of the abilify incorrectly. Instead of lowering the dosage day by day, I just quit cold turkey, which is a big no-no. So the shrink had to call another prescription in to cover the precipitous lack of abilify. And the whole point is, that I know my psychiatrist told me to titre (withdraw slowly) off of the abilify, I just didn't remember that he told me that.

Anyway, Silverlock has very blue eyes but is not deaf in any way. That is a recessive gene as well, but doesn't affect her. Of course, the unicorn meat eating cats are pissed off at me. The do not like competition for their delicate diet in any way. What if the Schwann's truck is late one day? What will we do then? I suspect their answer is: eat Mummy. Or the dog.

And the bear scares off any live unicorns headed this way, back from their summer pasturage.

So, all in all, this dawn is vastly more lovely than yesterday's. As each dawn is.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Dancing My Way

I can tell a definite change this morning, as the abilify retreats. I can feel more emotions, and some disquiet. I will stabilize myself with music, therapy, communication, and the love of friends. I take courage in my hands and turn to face my life.

The moon is full tonight, and some Valerie June plays on the stereo. Max can't go out and stay out on his line; there is a bear in the neighborhood. There is also a kitten in the apartment, solid white with blue eyes...4 weeks old. And I look for a name. You will get a picture soon.

Of course, the unicorn meat eating cats are perturbed. Max whines and longs to play with her littleness, but she has an innate fear of him. She hisses and bats the smallest paw in his direction, and he lowers himself to the ground and whines.

Let's be honest, friends. I am full of fear this morning. I miss the constant serenity the abilify gave me. I miss the happiness, and the confidence. I miss the absolute assuredness that the abilify gave me. One time, long ago, I visited the Pyramids in Giza. As I left them, I danced down the slope to the shade at the bottom. That was my life. Now, I have an injured ankle and a bruised soul that keep me from dancing.

I suppose I should be grateful I am not a psychopath, or a sociopath. I have friends who love me, and well-wishers by the score. But, oh, sometimes this borderline personality disorder hurts.

I breathe deep, and hold onto me.

7 am. Better now that I am close to dawn. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Continuance and Some Beef Stew

I can tell from yesterday's post, that the lack of Abilify is affecting me. And we head into winter, swiftly now. The night is cooler than the apartment when I open the window. The zinnia bronzes slightly and furiously sends out more flowers.

I bought some tomatoes on the market yesterday, which cannot be trusted. It's been too wet of a summer to think these pretty things have come from this area. They are too clean to think they have come out of a local garden. But their scent is right for tomatoes and they taste only slightly watery.

I am up extra early this morning as I have run out of a medication that helps me sleep, trazadone. But I look forward to this crisp day with all the enthusiasm I can muster. The grass is more yellow than it has been, but crisper in the morning sun. The emerald color is gone, and the tomato plants, as well. I wait for the maple's leaves to turn. The unicorn meat eating cats vie for my attention along with the cat statues on the dresser.

You and I both know that I can write about the beauty of fall for pages, but the abilify withdrawal effect has me concerned. How seamlessly life was for a time! How serene and uncomplicated! Now, I look at winter, and the sum of my fears, and how endless it seems.

I cannot have a repeat of last winter, whatever I do. I can't shut the world out for days on end, and survive. I can't go back to that kind of insanity. So I must make plans now. I have a routine in place that needs some attention. Back on omega 3's. More sunshine, even in the cold. Vigilant about my therapy and group. Time blocked off for friends and loved ones. More faithful about attendance at AA meetings...

The revisit of the Old House has burned my brain. I will rebuild and cultivate the wood and the field, so that it matches my memories. I need to erase the picture in my head of the house as it stands now, and replace it with my memories freshened. For some reason, the past couple of days, it has been easy to envision my Mother, as she truly was, well and not grieving. 3 years after her death and I can hear her voice clearly now. I can feel her love and her soft arms around me.

I can also pick out the parts of my personality that I don't like, that were shaped by her. My need for approval, and my codependency. My need to do for others without thoughts of taking care of myself. An overwhelming inability to just Let Go and Let God. The creep of the spastic thoughts of micromanagement that come with OCD. And, despite my love for her, my passing regrets about being raised by a mentally ill mother.

It's the time of year to make 'her' beef stew. The days where the welcome warmth from the stew heats the stomach. The days where it can be frozen, in anticipation of a busy evening. The days of the wind, and the eyes in the wood, and the last flowering of lavender.

Today is therapy day, and it comes at the right time. I do not want to drink, neither do I think of cutting. And this coming Monday is my reading at Liminal: An Alternative Artspace. I will post the Youtube link, when I have it. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wake to This Place

Today seems to be well worth waking to. I love the fall, if you couldn't tell by now, my darlings. The unicorn meat eating cats are happier than usual. The window of opportunity is open, and the mice are fat from the harvest. The field becomes more gold, day by day, and the wood trembles, its breath moves the ground beneath its roots.

I have visited the forest and the power that resides there many times over the weekend. My life changes with the seasons, indeed, with my mental health diagnoses, with each moment that passes. I think of bipolar, ptsd and borderline disorders as nature based. To me, they respond to what happens in my life, and the chemicals of my body. But more, they also respond to what happens in the natural sneezing is triggered at the season of pollen and moulting.

So my breath moves the ground beneath my roots. I do not fall away from what centers my life, but the center itself changes to reflect the outside world. My core values do not change, but what I value in my life is changing. And, despite what our ancestral memories tell us, change is good.

So I wake today, with a new tree in the forest, a new person in my life. A new friendship is carefully being planted. What kind will I plant? A sturdy but colorfilled maple? Or the improbably and lovely tree called a 'Harry Lauder Walking Stick'?

I know you think I am crazy, and I am, technically. The start of a new friendship is always troubled by my diagnoses; how do you tell someone you are 'mentally ill'? Thank all that is, that I have only to point to my blog as evidence of my insanity...

And how to tell someone, "It's ok. It's not me, it's my head," when so often my head drags my body and my mouth along with it? But I have found a new friend that accepts me as I am, without sharing all of my diagnoses as well. It's so easy to share friendships with someone who has the same diagnoses that I do, or who is in the same groups that I am. It's quite extraordinary when I form a friendship outside of those boundaries...

So I wake to this morning, under the stars, with a cool night behind me. I am fortunate that I have several friendships outside of my diagnoses, to share life with. And I don't mean to minimize the friendships that have a common center as its basis. Sticking to any kind of program, or group, builds a common bond with humanity that is the core of life as a herd animal, a social being. Humans need their own pack to run with, or they die. One of the most unfortunate and killing effects of mental 'illness' is its ability to rob us of our commonality. It isolates us.

And now, I don't have time to tell you how fresh the air feels, or how lovely the stars look. I don't have time to tell you how so very good the coffee tastes, this far from South America, where it is grown. I lack time to tell you of the friendships that stand, like the cat statues, that stare back at me in wonder, in this place I share with you, my darlings. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Wind from the Stars

It is chilly in this small valley, but the stars explode over the zinnia. The air is clear and the cats are eager to hunt. So I open their window...

I feel the withdrawal from the Abilify, not in so many words, but in a fragile air of uncertainty that passes me like a lost ghost. I increase my dose of Omega 3 fatty acids to stem any oncoming tide of insecurity. It's not as if I foresee any happening, at least I hope not...I just would like to be ready for any onset of the depression that visited me last winter.

But for now, the sun is the lemon color that I love, the color of fall, the color of stones on fire. Outside my door, the zinnia reach taller and taller, in an attempt to reach the shifting light. The geranium and the scarlet begonia are the same as they have been, constants in this world of change. The grass under the trees is gold here, and the deep emerald of summer is muted. What I call 'grasshopper' grass grows now, with the seeded stems that stand above the grass.

I would like to share with you the wonder at the stars that I felt this morning, while I was taking Max out. After a summer of clouds, to see the stars so clearly, is a herald of the winter sky. Have you ever camped out under the stars in the winter? Set up a lounge chair, left from the summer supply, with a sleeping bag, and some coffee. Curl up, under the wind from the stars, whispering to each other, and watching the Huntsman chase other stars across the sky.

Max and the unicorn meat eating cats are ready for a Sunday morning. Which is, as everything else in the suburbs, a ritual. Mow the lawn on Friday or Saturday, and then the coffee and newspaper on Sunday. Sometimes a visit to your favorite place of worship, and sometimes not.

The coffee is very good this morning, and I am lucky to have blueberries and strawberries to chase it, later. The water is not as cool as the outside air, but it quenches the thirst, after a swallow of coffee. I do not feel sad at the end of summer, just a gratitude for another year, and another morning like this one.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Did I Tell You?

This is an ordinary post for an ordinary day. Chaos rules my everyday life, but I am using all the power of my AA program and dbt (dialectical behavioral therapy) to calm the waves. A vodka martini doesn't even sound or feel tempting now, although I did specify, didn't I? My three meditations in the morning are:  1) My life is chaos and I have no control over events. 2) Came to believe that some higher power can bring order to the chaos; can help me make sense of it and pull serenity from it. 3) Decided that seeking for spiritual answers and being of maximum service to others, can bring about No. 2).

In other news, the cats were stuck inside all day yesterday and they ate, and pooped, and howled, apparently. I know they howled because the paint was peeling on the walls surrounding the door. Max, as always, was a good boy, and an asshole. I am sure he chased the cats a bit, just for fun, in a playful way, but he missed me so that he didn't eat his food.

This morning, however, is peaceful. My water and my coffee, a special blend, tastes very good. I am lucky to have them, and a safe place to stay. The cats visit me now and again, as they rest from the play outside. A new weather pattern has come through, and this morning, the temperatures are already at the day time high: low 70F.

There are flowers beside me, and around the apartment, gifts from a friend. I have strawberry yogurt and strawberries for breakfast. It's only a matter of time before Max begs to go out. Until then, I listen to NPR (National Public Radio) and pull myself together for the day.

My lack of Abilify has not brought out any paranoia, or racing thoughts of abandonment. I am profoundly grateful. I like the therapist standing in for my regular; I had a session with her, yesterday. Going over my past did not seem as painful as I had thought it would be.

I have things to do, today, which makes me happy. I have a real date with a real guy, instead of a date with Alan Rickman in a movie. I know, I thought I could sneak that one past you, but I bet you noticed...

My binging slows as the Abilify leaves my body. My friends love me and I have 4 of the world's best animals. The star quilt is on the bed. Did I tell you the coffee tastes good this morning? 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Red Sky Morning

On September 11, 2001, I spent the day at work. Our Exec told us that poor people's problems did not take a day off, and neither would we evacuate from Downtown, like everyone else had. I didn't mind, but my Mother was home alone, by herself and afraid.

After about 11 a.m., the phones stopped ringing, as the news spread and America watched her TV's. I went to an AA meeting that night, and raised the flag on our flagpole, at the Old House. At 3 a.m., I was woken by a phone call from an Arab country; a friend stationed overseas called to reassure me she was well. I had gotten off an internet message to her during the day, and called her husband.

So the wind is lonely to me, today, and the stars hang with subtlety. Rains wet the fields, and it is hard to tell where the dew falls...

Dawn comes, it lights a pool in NYC, and strikes a field in Pennsylvania, and the sides of the Pentagon.

 Dawn comes, and lights the maple tree out back. Will it be a red sky, or pale blue and grey? 

We have decided to continue group therapy after our therapist became unavailable. The members of the group want to continue to grow through this tough time. I am so proud.

Dawn comes, and the cat statues on my dresser stare back at me placidly, or sleep in their poses. The woman on horseback looks across the bottle of Chanel No. 5. The fragrance of that perfume is filled with memories of my childhood and my Mother. It's a good scent for the day. My Mother wore Chanel No. 5 until my Father died. After his passage, she wore the perfume of memories and of stored, hidden things, Lavender.

I would grow it and sprinkle it in her dresser drawers, and place it in glass dishes by her bedside. We gave it away as gifts, and keepsakes. She would scent greeting cards with a sprig or two, and I always dried bunches of it from the harvest, for pleasure. I still keep a heart shaped glass bottle of it on my side table, to remember her by.

The cats come in with wet feet. It's a red sky morning.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Belong to Me

The night is lovely, with its silences and its stars. The cats are quiet this morning, under the stars, and the maple tree. The garden drops toward the ground, seeking completion in seeds sent out.

Some personal drama in my life, a misunderstanding, and a struggle for relationships to renew themselves and change. My emotion mind swings back and forth, from black to white to black again. I try to stop the pendulum in grey. I center myself. I do not want to drink or cut.

My emotions seem stopped in time, in some place where I felt tranquil. The Presence has my life; the power in the forest rules over me. My future is certain/uncertain, and I ask that I be given the strength to deal with my challenges.

I suppose that this challenge is the reason I was raped, maybe. To be strong and be able to take care of myself, and face my burdens and gifts. Now that I can stand on my own two feet, maybe the task is to sharpen my skills at relationship building. At least I hope that's what this is about. I don't look to anyone else to solve my problem. I am willing to face it alone. I have a network, and the forest and field; I have a program.

Today, I will work toward my own good, to do what is necessary for myself and the small unicorn meat eating lives entrusted to me. You know that I love where I live; the small apartment with the white walls, and grey carpet, tidy as a ship's cabin. I love how my things fit here, and the neighbors, and the greenway out back. The old picture of a young woman on horseback whispers to me, "You are strong." Today, I will have to think, which is not my strong point.

Today, I am in love with a friend.

And if all this seems complicated, then life generally is: I am powerless over it, and it is unmanageable. My mind is less a whirlwind of confusion than my writing is, this morning. I apologize for that. I don't mean to be cryptic, but circumstances demand it.

Max sleeps while his head rests on the golden blanket, the color of his fur. It is plush and velvet, like he is. I look at my own things about me, and know that I only belong to myself.

Monday, September 9, 2013


It's chilly outside right now, and the coffee brews as I wait impatiently. The dog snores at my feet. Of course, the unicorn meat eating cats are in and out. I had a lovely weekend with some friends, and the lack of Abilify does not seem to be bad, as yet. No attacks of paranoia, no racing thoughts...

I have especially missed you this weekend. Max looked for you beside the field, and the woods made that sound, that sigh they make before the leaves change. The grass was stirred by the wind, with the sunlight. The butterflies on the zinnia dance crazily off toward the field, and we circled it, looking for the lines of the fall to come. The goldenrod is out, with it's golden, autumn color. The birds swirl endlessly and look for berries, and worms, and a way out of the winter.

The eternal hours of fall sound on the wind, the rocks. The leaves gather in the corners, like mice, and scatter before the cats' paws. Max changes his colors from a summer pup to a fall dog, nose to the wind, hiding under the unchanged maple tree. The breeze stirs his excitement, and it comes out as a Red Tick bark. He doesn't have the corgi bark, or the terrier bark, but the bark of the Red Tick hound. It comes out as his summer fur does, in doses.

The grass is silvered this morning, as are the cobwebs...

The coffee is done. I am glad you are awake.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Civil Disobedience

My new pumpkin spice air freshener smells like pumpkin spice coffee, if you like flavored coffees. It's not too bad, actually. But in my bedroom, several rooms away, it smells like dog farts. I am not sure that it is not dog farts, but then Max would have a lot of gas tonight. Either way, what a glorious way to start your day, huh?

We are being dragged slowly to the cliff of war. And in more news, food stamps and subsidized housing are about to take big budget cuts. Now THAT'S how to decimate your population! After all, poison gas can kill anyone, but it takes the genius of Congressional budget cuts to kill the young, the poor, and the elderly. Slow death at that, starving. Working hard, at fast food restaurants, until they drop. I suppose a war is something Congress needed to come up with, to distract us from the fact that we need civil disobedience in our own country. Revolution, even.

I am about to drive further into Roanoke, to participate in the Mission of Mercy Dental Clinic. Today, they start giving away tickets at 10 a.m. I will be in Roanoke, at the designated spot at 2 a.m. to wait for a chance at the clinic. I don't know what I will find when I get there, but hope the local restaurants are prepared for the mass of people looking for bathrooms for the next 10 hours.

The clinic is a mobile unit with dentists and other professionals, that travel around Virginia once a year. I don't know if it is a nationwide effort or not. People of low income, read: people with no dental care, may participate in this two day event that will hit Roanoke, next weekend. This weekend is the ticket give away, which determines who gets in to participate. 

I was told 1,000 tickets are to be given out, and 700, and also 100. I do not know which figure to believe. So I am up now, mentally preparing myself for this ordeal. At least, I have a friend to wait with. If I could take my laptop, my friend, you could go with me, and I would write my blogs all morning long! But we will be waiting in the middle of a parking lot, with no electrical outlets or wifi.

My friend, Exponential, turned 38 the other day. I did not know she was so young, and still had the 40's in front of her. She has the cynicism of someone much older. And I mistook her attitude for her real age...

I am too full of adrenaline to write any of my loved descriptive passages, today. I am too full of hope and despair! Wish me luck! If I can manage it, I will write later and let you know how it went.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Marigold Pumpkins

What is it about fudge I crave? is the most rhetorical question I have ever written. Of course, I love fudge. Fudge happens to love me. It's the first day without my anti-evil pill, Abilify, and I do not crave fudge this morning. Now, that said, if a pound pried my mouth open and jumped in, would I fight it? You can answer that question.

Each day is lovelier than the last, as the temperatures fall. Big sky clouds drift with the winds of the earth and then stay for a while. The morning is crisp under the stars, and the trees fill with sap. The moss is less verdant, more golden, and the weeds I did not pull last week have put out the fall flower, goldenrod. Every other blade of grass is yellow hay. The maple is still green, but the pond is black. Frogs no longer sing there. I am pulled back by the cool of the morning...

Inside, the coffee scent is everywhere, and the cat statues stare at me: black wood, purple painted wood with pink and blue suns, orange with black spots, and zebra striped painted stone. The old picture of a young woman on horseback gazes out on the intervening years between us, and my Mother's bottle of Chanel No. 5.

The coffee is Tanzania Peaberry, and it is especially good this morning. I write down a recipe for caramel brown sugar cake. I make cakes for Christmas, and this seems an excellent accompaniment for the season to come.  The dahlias bloom again, but the daisies have gone, withered. The marigolds are leggy, but spill over the pot like small pumpkins. The begonia is, as it started the season, with small red pinkish flowers, and scarlet tipped leaves.

I am afraid of the change in medication, but stand with a skin filled with flowers against the winter sun. But let's not rush past fall, just yet. The sun's light at this time of year reminds me of a fall long ago, now. A fall where the cool air hung outside and the honey cakes, and scents of the coffees, spilled out from the kitchen of a coffee house. It had tall, tall windows which were filled with the lemony light of fall. A black dog rested by my feet, eager to rest.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hey Ho

So it's off the Abilify I go. There is nothing like being able to find the perfect medication and suddenly your head swells. With shooting pains, no less. And a weight gain of 25 lbs in 6 months. My shrink recommended no replacement, so I am faced with a less-calm fall. It's really been lovely, hasn't it?

It is lovely and cool crisp outside, and I stretch under the stars when I take Max out. The unicorn meat eating cats are on an even more restricted diet for skin and stomach: fairy meat. Sure, I hate to grind them up for the cats consumption, they are very cute. But I have to do what I have to do. Georgia's fur falls out in little, teeny tuffs, and Minkins throws up everywhere. Of course, I will still refer to them as the unicorn meat eating cats...why break tradition now?

Due to unforeseen circumstances, my therapy group will not meet for a month. I feel lost already. It's just lucky that we all talk by phone together, anyway.

I go off the Abilify just as my social calender picks up. I do not want to become paranoid again. Or drink or cut. I am so sad at the change. I feel tranquil right now, and would like to stay that way. But, I am also much busier this fall than last. Perhaps that will make a difference.

I feel lonely for you and wait patiently on Facebook for you to wake.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Until the Rains Come

I don't know why I awake at this early hour. Oh, wait. I wrote that one already. It is a lovely cool outside, and the stars are out. I can't see the moon, but maybe it's out there, somewhere. The dog has been out and the unicorn meat eating cats are out. Max is intensely asleep.

The zinnia are acquiring their fall look, and the leaves on the trees sigh together. I harvest zinnia seed pods everyday, hoping for next year with a garden. I love the cooler air as it comes, and the lemony light of fall.

The neurologist said that it's the anti-evil pill that causes my headaches, and  head swelling. It's not good, boys and girls. I love the abilify, but not for its tendency to put on the 30 lbs I have gained. Nor for the swelling so close to my brain. I love it for its tranquilizing properties, and the lack of paranoia and fear it instills. It gives me confidence in the love from my friends: I FEEL the love.Whatever, my shrink will have to find something else that works perfectly and takes the weight off at the same time. I am not super-sizing me. I will not go back to the uneasiness that drove my friends off the cliff.

Other than that, a season comes that I love: fall. The grass slowly turns golden in the field, and the leaves change in the wood. The wind blows a lonelier sound, and the sun does not beat down, but caresses. I love Halloween and Christmas. Christmas has turned lonely for me since my Mom died, but Halloween! How can anyone not love Halloween? I dress like a cat or a witch and hand out candy, and presto! I am headmaster at Hogwarts. I want my own wand to choose me.

The turkeys run about in the wood, at the Old House, at this time of year. The deer move hurriedly through the forest, and search for the next bite to take them through until spring. The impatiens have gotten leggy, although they blossom as well as ever. The hydrangea blooms now with its dark blue heads. The soft green leaves seem out of place in this season. They are a spring color. Rotted tomatoes sit on the ground, lost in the weeds.

Some years are made for tomatoes and some are not. I anticipate the maple will be a wonder this year, and I will stand in the wind and watch the leaves float away. I will let my hair grow longer. Finally, the frost will fall, and my garden will bloom furiously, putting out seeds, before the advent of winter. I will walk on the college campus that I love, wrapped head to foot in the scarf that Dark Star brought me from Cairo one year. Long ago.

We still have several months around the fire pit outside, before it becomes too cold to stand. Fall is the perfect time for fires...the mosquitoes are gone, and only the lovely dragonflies remain. The water skaters pass with the summer, and the fireflies. The fall colors take the forest, orange, gold, lemon, purple, and darkest green, and red.

The sound of the stream changes, as the leaves fall into the greening rocks. They are submerged to be next year's sand on the bottom, and the oyster shells turn black. The water sounds larger, and more quiet. It falls to a murmur, until the rains come.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Confusion Drift

I took an entire day off from writing yesterday, and I feel bereft, as if a cat had gone missing. I had to leave a celebration last night, to keep away from the beer that flowed pretty freely. One guy was there with his two kids, just knee-walking drunk, and I just can't watch someone do that. And I speak as the Adult Child of an Alcoholic...

Life is relatively good. I took my anti-evil pills last night, rather than when I am supposed to. I ate fudge every time I woke last night, but I slept well. I was not tempted to drink, the disgust of it just overwhelmed me. The cuts on my arm are almost healed, but the scars look like a ladder that runs up toward my wrist.

The dog sleeps this morning, and the zinnia slowly die, one by one. The lawn needs to be mowed, one of life's pleasures for me, but I have been too busy for even that.

It's the water that tastes good this morning. I am past the coffee hunger. I feel discombobulated, and unorganized. My blog posts set the day for me, and missing one now, is tantamount to confusion for that day. Or perhaps it's the stress of my dreams. Or the fudge. I finally became sick of eating about 4 am. The question finally came to me, "Why am I doing this to myself?" As if it is a form of self-mutilation. Now all that's left is to try to bind the wounds...

There is a deer in the yard this morning, and I am surprised that Max doesn't bark and lunge for it, when I take him outside. The deer seems immune to the presence of the dog and I. It has become a suburban deer. No deer I know would stand still like that, with no warning flick of the tail, out at the Old House.

Minkins paws are wet, when he comes in.

This morning, I go back to the neurologist for a re-examination. He will be disappointed that I haven't been taking the pills he gave me. I don't want more pills, but less...

It is warm and muggy outside, and I feel relief at the dry, cool air inside. Three months from now, I will not feel the same way, but whatever. I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

Syria looms in the distance, some almost, forgotten dream.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Labor Day

It's always dead on a blog on Sundays, and double that if it's a holiday. So most likely, I write today simply to hear myself think, but here it goes.

It's a great holiday, too, Labor Day. It celebrates those of us who labor, and we might work the holiday, or we might not, as contrary as that seems. It was supposed to be an extra day off, but then fast food was invented, and all bets were off. After all, laborers had to have a place to eat on their day off, didn't they?

So Labor Day acquires less meaning over time, and more an excuse not to wear white shoes. Did you know Labor Day also marks the social end of summer, and we aren't supposed to wear white shoes after that day? That's a hold over from the Victorian era, when tennis shoes hadn't hit it big. Actually, they didn't exist. Not made of canvas, that is.

It was simply a day, after the harvest was in, that workers used to eat a lot. Now we have Thanksgiving for that. That's because now we have canned food. No sane Pilgrim would have held off eating the harvest until November. The fruits and vegetables of summer wouldn't have been fresh anymore. "Gather ye rosebuds/while ye may"* really meant something in the days before shipping from California and Mexico came into fashion and you couldn't get whatever it was, year round.

 So, as always, there are those who labor with their hands, and those who live off that labor. It's really a celebration of Farmer Day, as I see it. Or Weaver and Seamstress Day. It's a celebration of those who fulfill our basic necessities, food on the table and the clothes on our backs. But it has come to mean those who don't have some kind of retirement package, or golden parachute, don't you think?

*Robert Herrick