Thursday, October 16, 2014

Scarlet Dogwoods

Max and I visit a dogwood everyday on his walks. The leaves are scarlet now, and the berries gone, picked by busy birds. It's friend, the maple tree, still discards the prettiest leaves. Max and I always bring some home, to look at, until they curl.

It is truly Fall now, with it's varieties of sun and cold, hot and windy. I run the heat and the air conditioning sometimes on the same day: typical Southerner. I cook pinto beans today, with red beans, to make chili. With hamburger and some fried cornbread, it will be perfect. I am a stereotype...

I haven't been a faithful writer lately. I thought that I needed the inspiration of lots of Nature to write what I want to write about. I do need it. I just needed to look harder to see it. I do miss the broad fields of the Old House in Botetourt. I miss the forest, and the turkey and deer migrations across the land. I miss the freedom for my cats, and my dog.

I don't miss the long drive into the City. And, as I delight in people watching, there are other bonuses to living in Town.

Momma Ruby and Baby Minkins are settled into their home for the winter: a lovely barn with lots of sawdust and sunshine and love, too. I visit them every week, to let them know I still love them...I think my fostering days are over. I love too much to let them go.

But don't let that stop you...

Thursday, September 25, 2014


I love Americanos, which is espresso mixed with hot water. My brother and I had americanos all the way across Scotland, years ago, because the regular coffee tasted like something dredged from a canal. You cannot travel in Scotland in early Spring, without something warm to drink available at all times. So now, when I have an americano, I think of Scotland.

Of course, the weather puts me in mind of it, as well. The weather in this small valley would match the heat of Summer in Scotland: nevertheless, it is time for americanos. The Fall equinox has gone by, and Rosh Hashanah has started, the Jewish New Year, and 'time of Awe'.

Of course, to me, it's Halloween season. I love Halloween: the mystery, the costumes, the colors, and the entire world seems to live in Harry Potter's Hogwartz for a day. I love dressing up to scare the trick-or-treaters, and to be delighted, in return.

I watch the orange streak in my favorite maple spread, and the dark skies roll with clouds. Some blue shows between the clouds, but the sun cannot be seen.

But it is there.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Leaves of Orange

Some nights are not so good. But there is always orange to wake up to, this time of year. The orange glitter pumpkin that is my fall decoration, and the orange chrysanthemums that bloom on the deck. And this morning, there is an orange streak in one of my favorite maple trees.

It was so quiet in the apartment last night. No fans blew, no air-conditioner was on. And Max, the dog, and the two unicorn meat eating cats slept with me. There is no finer source of warmth, than that of a loving being.

Speaking of: Ruby and Minkins are still looking for someone's lap to warm. I am afraid they are not being socialized enough, and I let them out of their room in the morning, to explore, and be introduced to a dog and some other cats.

I faced yesterday with a bit more courage than I can muster today, especially after nightmares, but the clouds will pass, as the sunshine will, as well. And the feeling of new beginnings is on us with the start of Fall.

Take some time and look for orange today.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sweater Weather

And it is, in the morning, too. I think today will be the last morning I drink iced coffee. Max, the dog, keeps my spot warm on the couch, and I do the same for him. It's a lovely morning for a kitty or two on the lap, especially if they are warmed by eating unicorn meat.

The dogwoods are turning purple, and have sprouted red berries. A neighbor has cut down the gigantic boxwood that was growing onto the sidewalk, freeing Max and I from having to walk around it. Uncut grasses wave wheaty heads. The grass is still green, but it's only a matter of time.

The Greek Festival is this weekend in this small valley, and I am a devotee of their food, so I am going.

The fan in the window brings early morning sounds in with the air. Someone, somewhere is using an air hammer. I miss bird song, in this apartment. I have a contingent that roosts above my front door, scattering nest material every morning, but they don't sing much. They love the red impatiens that I planted in the spring, and it has been nipped down to the ground by the birds. However, they do not like begonias or vinca, so they are safe.

I spent some time yesterday with a Crape Myrtle. I loved touching it's bark. I had 5 Crape Myrtles at the Old House; it was a favorite tree of my Dad's. There is always something so good about a tree.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Let Sleeping Cats Lie

This morning, again, is beautiful, as the temperatures plunge into the Fall range. All of the animals cuddle against my legs, or on top of the fleeces that I scatter about for their rest. Max, the crazy dog, lies on the floor, or alternately, on the couch, when the cats get down.

The clouds seem to be here forever. Today, I will put out the pumpkin that is my Halloween decoration. It's covered in glitter, and it's the most cheerful ornament I have, bar none. I doubt that I will get little children tapping at my door for Halloween, although I could be wrong. I will get a bag of candy bars a bit closer to the day, just in case.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Coffee Morning

I remind myself this morning, not to pet the ghosts of long gone kitties in my head, but to love on the ones that surround me. There is nothing to compare to a cool, fall morning, with coffee and a warm, gray cat on the lap.

Now to the pictures: Ruby is a good momma, and loving companion.

 Her son, Minkins, is very shy and skittish. But loving and adventurous!

No, that's Ruby again. Let's try again.

 They are up for foster or a Furever Home.

Either one would trade purrs for a home for the winter...
This weekend was the first time I put on "winter" shoes. And today was the first time I have put on a "winter" shirt to walk Max, the dog. The air is cooler and more breathable. The summer grasses have put out their seedlings, and look like stalks of wheat, on the street corners.

The field has turned slightly purple, and the ground suddenly has hillocks where the grass bunches and lies. One last, lone rhododendron has blooms. Clouds line the sky. Some days they are dark, or like today, just lowering. Blue peeps through, and some gold.

The coffee is especially fine this morning. I have yogurt, and blueberries, and walnuts waiting. The dog, Max, lies now, a small figure warming the sofa, after breakfast. When my hands get cold, I sip my coffee...

Liminal, the 'art conversation' resumes today at 5:30, at the Community School on West Campbell Ave. I will read some of my blog posts. Please join us. The event will be available on Youtube, on the Community High School site, hopefully.

The man I love, who loves me, is ill. Sometimes, I can think of nothing else. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Smile Forever

I am busy nurturing myself...I have let myself go since I was attacked in January. But it's a new day, and I have a new therapist. Love her!

I have 2 tiny fosters, Momma and baby, Ruby and Minkins, to adopt out for Smiles Forever Animal Rescue...Pictures to follow.

Ruby is about 2, but small. Solid black with a white star on her chest. Minkins is a delightful, darling of a kitten, although he is a bit shy. He is a tabby. Both are very playful.

I know, I know. In this sluggish economy, cats are dying by the millions as they go unadopted. And Ruby and Minkins are the most unadoptable colors: black and a tabby.

Won't you help me place them?

Monday, August 25, 2014

It's a Wonderful World...Ooooahhh

When I can stay up and read my favorite Jane Austen...You?

The man I love, who loves me, has cancer again. Today is all I have.

The lights have gone out partially on the Christmas tree. So, once again, my tree is half-lit. I will have to wait another month before buying some. The Christmas lights should be on sale at Lowe's by then...

After a torrential rain on Saturday, the air is lovely and cool. It has become a pleasure again to walk Max, the dog. I have, once again, found the path through the field, into the forest. I lost the entrance because of the heat. Which is no small thing, if one is going through menopause...

There are new flowers on the path, some brightly colored, and some pale as water. The crickets sound their late Summer song. It is time for the leaf change. The trees ahead listen to the water, and the earth and the crickets. Max barks a cool, sharp sound. Fall is the sound of eternity.

I can't wait to see the leaves change, and to put the fan in the window, to draw in cool air. The grass is wet this morning, and Max does not like it on his belly.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


After some horrible moments this year, I feel I am entering a time of stability. It's about time, too, as far as I am concerned. I have searched for a good therapist for a while now, and I think I deserve one. I also deserve to be on the other side of this menopause thing...but I am going to have to go with Nature on that one...

I am recontacting people after a period of mania, which is always interesting. The true, die-hard, Alise fans are still there, but some others are not. That works for me.

What doesn't work for me is this period of knuckle dragging after being manic for several months. I have dishes to wash, people to see, a life to enjoy, and cat boxes to empty. But here I am, writing my blog and enjoying some Harry Potter.

Don't get me wrong: I do empty the cat boxes. It's just such a chore now. It does help that I am not drinking.

I have also been withdrawing emotionally from the most important people in my life. It's time to re-open that can and see how much whoop ass emerges.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I was devastated by the news, last night, that Robin Williams had taken his own life. I have been where he went: as countless millions with bipolar disorder have. His joie de vivre and gentle nature belied what was happening in his heart...the world is a sadder place.

But what a joyful thing that he lived! What a valiant life!

Did you know, that when Christopher Reeve was paralyzed by his horse riding injury, that Robin Williams, who had gone to acting school with Reeve, paid for his medical care? What kindness, what love for his fellow does that show?

Deep pain does not always bring misery. It can also teach sympathy, compassion, mercy, and love. It can also make us vulnerable to the demons in our heads.

Today, I am proud to be bipolar, with substance abuse problems...because of Robin. His life is a call to action to the rest of us.

I will contemplate his life and gifts today.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bipolar Babe

I have a new psychologist. This is the best news since I found out the deli will slice bread for you. Particularly now, since I am coming out of mania. I will call her Long Island, after her home. I know, eventually I will have to come up with a better nom de plume, but Long Island will do for now. She is a trauma specialist, and I know I have had enough to fund her, and possibly some future generations.

 I have sunk more money into my own treatment than most countries' gross national product. But since the loss of Ted P., my counselor of many years, I have felt adrift, psychologically speaking. She also wants me to abandon the "Borderline" label, since she feels it's something many trauma victims are libel to be labeled...if I can figure out how to do that on my blog's banner, some changes will be coming.

But, this morning, I feel more hopeful about my MI's (mental illnesses), than I have in a long time, even if I forgot to pick up my meds this morning. So hang on, Folks.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Old Lamps for New

Is about how I feel this morning, after losing a therapist. But I meet a new one next week, so wish me luck!

The temperatures are lovely this week, in the 70'sF range. The clouds sail across a silver sky, even in the day time. I have been gathering cat fur off of the floor, enough to make a small cat by itself. Who knew cats could shed more than a dog?

Max, the dog, leaps out of bed each morning, and barrels toward the door. Sometimes, he lets me drink some coffee before he insists on going out. Sometimes, not. He's not selfish. Just has to pee. The unicorn meat eating cats linger around the outside door, peeping out for their first year with no access to the outdoors. It puzzles them, that they cannot go out. But they have made no fuss about it...the apartment has plenty of room for their territories.

I make plans with my brother, to go kayaking next week. He is looking for a job, and my niece is not in school. I want to be dumped in the water, before the snow sets in. My father was born and raised in the desert Southwest. As a consequence, we spent most of our childhood on the water. Canoes were a favorite of Dad's.

Anyway, my brother is a carpenter, minor electrician, and amazing photographer...let me know if you know of anything...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Back To Normal?

As all of my faithful readers know, I go to therapy and counseling sessions for Borderline Personality Disorder. A definition is below, from Wikipedia.

The reason I write today is that my therapist, Vinnie D., has been fired by the National Counseling Group for not having the 'technical' degree of LPC, or "Licensed Professional Counselor." In other words, Vinnie does not have a Master's. Instead, he has over 700 Clinical hours in Borderline Therapy. He has successfully treated hundreds of sexually abused and molested women and men in his career.

It's a shame that the Roanoke Valley has lost, for now, the major talent and dedication that it takes to make a BPD counselor. Once again, the Mental Health system in Virginia has taken a step backward...

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Rock, Paper, Scissors

As you can tell, if you are a regular reader, I am in full blown mania. The energy and creativity are wonderful, but no sleep in 3 days is never good.

But I am going to leave the infighting in AA out of it. The innocent don't deserve it, and I don't want to give AA a bad name for those of you who need help. Almost all of the people I have met in AA are great: don't get me wrong. But there are predators, and sickos in meetings, just as there are in the real, live world. Be careful out there, my Beloveds. Stay Safe. The Universe loves You.

Back to the ever-evolving world of mania: Max has gotten his walk, although it's too hot for it. I love having Hispanic neighbors...they make the Summer a round of light and bright colors...even in their gardens.

My neighbors has her deck decorated in lime green chairs, with wood tables, and tall, green, indoor trees. She doesn't like the 'hot' colors outside, leaving that for her kitchen. The breeze always blows through her kitchen, and friends and neighbors stop by for some cool tea or fruit juice.

My nordic tastes run to fire-engine-red, rocking chairs, blood-colored impatiens, and white begonias. But, I am learning. Her patio looks that much cooler than mine.

And, for those of you in close contact with me everyday: Forgive me, please.

It is the downside of invisible disabilities, that we need a strong support network to survive. I don't know how I have lucked out, but mine is unusually educated: I am drawn to teachers as friends. But, it can be incredibly brutal on them.

So, I second-guess myself, and don't call for support until I have exhausted all other possibilities. My support network is human, too. Each one of them can only help me so much. I have to let the professionals take the brunt of the damage.

And the professionals can't do it all, with mental health funding in it's present state. I am sure Rep. Deeds had much more help in mind, when he proposed his bill, following the death of his son. But the only change I can see, is that it is now easier to confine someone who has invisible disabilities. Freeing up beds in institutions is a step in the right direction, but education would do more.

I would like to see less stigma, and more practical help for those who need help.

But this is Today. I only have it. And You.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Cool Days

Max loves his morning walks now, the air is misty and cool. No hot sun shines on the back of my neck, no sweat trickles down my head. No waves of steam come off of the ground, to hit Max in the belly.  The grass breathes, today.

Sometimes I can barely collect my thoughts, even around the man I love, who loves me. And sometimes, just sometimes, time in the garden is not enough...

Isolation is bad for me, so I go out on this loveliest of days to do what I can.

I have placed a statue of the head of Buddha in the garden...I don't know why, but it seems very whimsical to me. I would prefer a statue of St. Francis, but none was available at the yard sale I visited. So Buddha will have to do.

The unicorn meat eating cats crawl all over me when I come home. They are happy to write their own blog, under assumed names of course. Life with me, is a trial.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Back to the Forest

It's cool and peaceful this morning, an oasis in this hottest of years. The old, polished wood of my living room chairs gleams at me, and the Christmas tree lights are a spot of color in the day.

Big news looms on the headlines...Russia and Gaza dominate. But this is a blog for the little things.

I pick up trash as I walk my dog. I have always done that. First, with Eddie Spirit Dog, my service animal along the banks of Tinker Creek, and now with Max the Clown, on the streets of Roanoke. After the walks, always, I like to look behind me, along the path we have walked, to enjoy it's pristine newness.

When I take Max to the park, sometimes he gets to meet other dogs, and I get to walk the field that I love. The Field and the Forest are still with me.

And, as I look around the field this morning, I am struck by the colors of Summer: green and gold. Ahead, in the forest, beautiful pines and maples wait...Here, in the City, there are also Crepe Myrtles. The pink ones are showy, and the red ones, dark. But I love the white ones, and the curling of the bark, along their slender limbs...

Time to clean.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Stick With Love

What does a person do when they are bullied? I am walking away...I am not bullying back, or talking about you behind your back. You just don't exist anymore.

If you read my blog to get and disseminate information about me, so that you can run your mouth elsewhere...stop reading.

If you read my blog to make my life harder...stop.

If you take advantage of the mentally ill, cause that's just your schtick...don't. And don't expect me to help you. Or fall for that crap. Or keep my mouth closed.

I don't know how many times, as a person with known MI's, (Mental Illnesses) I have had my mouth hang open at the atrocious things that the mentally ill are subject to: bullying, harassment, scorn. I had a sponsor in a 12 Step group invite my rapist to "hear my story" so I could "put the past behind me now." He heckled me through my talk. I have had a friend's ex steal my grandmother's engagement ring. The last minister at my church gave a detailed account of all my mental illnesses to the congregation, betraying my confidence, because I wanted to bring my service dog to worship services. I was assaulted on a job, and then been fired, to cover it up. That last one could have actually happened to anyone.

I don't feel singled out: the headlines today proclaimed that the mentally ill are frequently beaten at Riker's Island: New York City's repository for the unwanted. It's a phenomenon that has been building steam since Reagan stopped funding for mental health institutions.

And, like Henry VIII shutting down the monasteries to grab some cash and a hot babe (Anne Boleyn), there is no place for the weary to rest.

That is why I write this blog in a voice for those who, increasingly, have no voice...those with invisible disabilities...

I don't like Haters, and will not be in their company.

And if you think this all applies to you, try to get a life...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Over the Moon

It was beautiful to walk Max the dog, last night. The moon was full and soft clouds scudded softly over her, without obscuring her face.

I am cooking today, for a friend who lost his house and step-daughter, and all of his pets, two weeks ago, in a house fire. Microwaved food in a hotel room is no way to eat. We all do what we can.

As for me, today is lovely. The cloud cover keeps the temperature bearable. This weekend is the Big Burger Cookoff in Downtown Roanoke.

The cats say, "Hi."

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Color My World

It's a big transition for me this week, and things are looking up.

The loss of my cat, Minkins, and a terrible house fire just 2 weeks ago had me wobbling in my orbit a bit. But with the right people in my life, I am making a comeback. I am grateful for new people, and a new coloring book in my life.

Don't laugh about the coloring's a dialectical behavioral therapy trick: Color yourself into living at just that single moment. Let your world reduce itself to a quiet, cool room and a bag of crayons, or coloring pencils and some simple pictures to color. Life is so much simpler that way.

And I am avid to simplify right now.

The man I love is recovering from cancer. Every moment with him is lovely.

It's been a difficult year on the whole. I was assaulted by muggers in January, and was just starting to deal with that. But with my losses recently, I am forced to take care of myself aggressively, now. It helps to have friends to lean on.

I love you all.

Friday, July 4, 2014

4th of July

I am not sure what to share today. I have plans for the holiday, to keep me out of mischief. And I am overly contemplative today, not a good thing. Time to shake it up and get out and enjoy the sunshine.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Remember the Flower

It was an horrible PTSD day yesterday...too scared to leave the house of the man I love, except to walk Max. I kept having visions of the house burning...and the animals and woman inside.

The woman who died: I'll call her Rose. She was an excellent horsewoman, and had a gift with all animals. I would foster kittens, and run them upstairs so Rose could play with them, and watch them launch themselves like rockets around her bedroom. She had a gift with horses and cats, in particular, and she loved them without reservation. Her life was tinged with tragedy: her father was a Vietnam vet with PTSD, and died young. Rose always wore his dog tags around her neck, and they were placed in the pink roses and yellow carnations that adorned her coffin.

She is free and resting now, walking barefoot in some distant meadow with her favorite horses, and the cats and dog she lost. She is reunited with her Father and Mother. What a party that must have been!!!

I will visit the small graves in the backyard on Thursday, and plant something on their graves for her...
Later, when the house is rebuilt, I promised Rose I would plant a tulip tree in the backyard for her.

I was just starting to deal with being assaulted by muggers in January, when Minkins died, and then the house burned. I long to see Rose and Jazzy June, and Gracie and Tippy again. I would like to take Rose out to her pool, and sit and chat about animals and their pure love, and the strange ways of the human heart.

Now, there is a small spot of earth in the town of Vinton that belongs to Rose's body, and a lovely garden to visit in her memory.

So, here I am, this morning, trying not to drink and to practice 'radical acceptance'. That is: to simply accept what is. My mind has a hard time with that one. Because of the trauma in my life, it is so much easier to just not think about what has happened to me, and on the casual cruelty that exists in the world. My mind simply does not want to contemplate that the world is so bad.

I know that sounds simplistic and naive, but I was raised that way. Both sides of Mom and Dad's families were farmers. There is stark necessity on a family farm, but death is the way of the world.

Hell, now I'm depressing you, too.

But I walked Max this morning, and the sun rose and the breezes are lovely. There are small flowers in the grasses, much smaller than clover, that no one notices, but they are there.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Whirlwind Days

The house I used to live in, where the bear visited me, has burned to the ground. I have been at a loss for words for two days now. A neighbor called me before the fire trucks came, but it was out by the time I got there. Only wisps of smoke rose from the wreck.

I had just been there the day before, to help an old house mate, and love on the animals for a while. Another house mate died, as well as all the animals. Two people made it out alive.

I cannot describe the horror I felt, looking at the poor, burned house. No more than I can tell you how I feel this morning, having coffee, listening to National Public Radio, and thinking of the animals, waiting for someone to come and get them, alone and afraid. I cannot bear the thoughts.

I will not write about the dead woman. She was mentally incompetent, and was a great animal lover. But she is not part of the blog, or my life.

But the other house mate, and the animals, are.

There was Jasmine: I called her "Jazzy June". She was an 18 year old, excitable, Mini Doberman Pinscher. She was love on a stick, and her small, stubby tail would wiggle her back end, when she saw me.

Grace, or "Gracie" was an grumpy dilute torti, who, despite the handicap of having to live in a cat's body, knew she was a goddess. She would come running for food, or love, at any time of the day or night. And she was a great escape artist, shooting out of an open door, like a cannonball shot out of a cannon.

Together, they would cover my lap when I went to visit. Gracie, the little fat dumpling, was bigger than Jasmine, and she always won the lap spot. But Jazz would settle in beside me, or jump up on me when Gracie had had enough love.

They were found in the living room, huddled on the couch together. I can't think of it!

It has been a whirlwind, and I cannot sleep.

Monday, June 23, 2014


I am having dark moments, sometimes.

The man I love is having cancer removed from his arm, today. He has had quite a few of these operations, so that every dawn is important.

I am trying to have coffee with a cat determined to head butt me. At least, Max the dog is quiet.

There is a conglomeration going on in my life that is crowding my head. Some of it is real: AA is full of sick people trying to get well. Some of it is not: I am trying to get well. Apparently trying is not good enough...

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Books for sale: a lovely couple of my acquaintance has made the request of a baby book inscribed with a note from the giver, in lieu of cards at their baby shower...

By now, I should be used to people "unfriending me" on Facebook, but the sadness comes every time...

I still have my Christmas tree up, by the way. The man I love wants to get more seasonal decorations, and so I will make my way to a 'dollar store' today, and hit the kids' bookstore on the way back. Max has been up for about 2 hours now. I am manic, and can't sleep. I am still processing the physical assault back in January. And also, life is catching up with me.

But, as a friend has said, I am not planning on having a bad day today. It will be hot and windy, but with water and storms to keep it cooler. The grass and the ground need the water: the ground has gotten crispy to the touch. 

I miss the sound of Dark Star's voice: she is on vacation, with her husband, in Australia. I want to talk to her about Minkins, and how his fur was soft, and his head was regal, safe in the knowledge of my love for him.

I wish someone were up, so I could talk to them...

Thursday, June 19, 2014


I woke this morning, surrounded by a lack of fur. Max, the dog, slept in Minkins spot, beside my head. The other, unicorn meat eating cats are glued to me. Last evening, about twilight, we buried Minkins in a cool and shady spot under the clover. I picked a spot thick with clover, that the bunnies love running over, when they silflay* in the evening. Some mint grows nearby, and we could smell it and the old, blasted pine tree while we dug.

Now, Minkins is a star-cat, and ghost-cat. He can travel wherever he wants now. Oh, stay by me, Star-Cat!

My comfort last night was a diet Orange Crush and a Milky Way bar. You know, the king sized version. I cried so hard my eyes swelled shut, like they do, and made it hurt to cry.

I don't cry easily: just my upbringing. And I couldn't cry when my service animal, Eddie, passed. But I have come a long way since then, and I let myself cry until I fell asleep.

It's a relief to cry. It's a blessing and a gift. Use it when you have to.

I have been going through a transition recently. I have another diagnosis that I have learned to accept. I was assaulted in January, and experienced a mental shutdown after that. The memories of the assault are coming back to me slowly.

And, just as slowly, I return to my AA meetings, and my BPD group. It's good to be back among other women, who understand. Some women don't understand. They won't get treatment. Some of them have caused me no end of grief.

But I want to be well, and healthy and whole. I am taking Geodon now, after a brief interlude with Latuda. I will let you know how it works. But today, I am ok. I have a meeting today, and a dog to walk and some cats to love. 

A cardinal lives in the tree that shades Minkins place.

*Silflay: author Richard Adams. From Watership Down. To feed in the evening, while the dew falls.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


He was a small handful when I first got him. His mother died shortly after giving birth, and he had to be fed with a hand dropper.

He was Eddie's favorite cat of all time. Eddie was my service animal, a black lab. And when the kittens opened their eyes, they imprinted on Eddie. Minkins and his sister, Echo, whom I lost 2 years ago, were an enormous comfort to me. 

He liked filling my mouth with his fur, bumping his head against my face, when I tried to sleep. He would cuddle in my arms, or hide behind the pillow to nap. He had a favorite chair, and that's the last place I saw him sleeping. I tousled his head and pulled gently on his ears. 

He is a Spirit Cat now, and I will bury him with some of Eddie's ashes in a shady corner of the yard of the man I love.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Is it really hot fun? Yes, of course. The all-day, hot days are upon us. It's not so bad in the morning, but by afternoon, the humidity makes it seem like Max and I are swimming through the heat. His new, favorite place to sleep is the hallway, where his fat, Corgi body is hit by the air currents from several fans.

The unicorn meat eating cats have their own fan, in the sun room. It gets hot in there, but they love it all the same. Max and I prefer it cooler.

Several friends are on vacation right now, so here's a shout out to Australia; the Land of Oz.

The summer tomatoes aren't in yet, but I am determined to make macaroni salad, out of the vine-ripened tomatoes sold at the local grocery store. I have a cucumber, and some celery for it, and I like a touch of garlic with mine. Lots of veggies, and a minimum of mayo, make it perfect.

That, eaten while watching a Harry Potter movie, is the best way to spend a summer's day...

Thursday, June 12, 2014


I am so glad to be writing again, that I cannot express myself properly. I missed you!!!

It is cool and rainy today, and my windows are open to the sounds of traffic and the rain together. The unicorn meat eating cats sniff below the window, at the air being sucked inside by the fan. They can smell Summer...

Max is adjusting to his seizure medicine, and I am adjusting to mine. The nightmares are going away.

This morning Max and I ran into 2 squirrels who seemed to be on a first name basis: they were chasing each other around the church parking lot. After spotting Max, one ran for it, and one tried to run up the side of the church, but fell. He landed softly on some bushes and took off. The other squirrel ran in the opposite direction. I only hope that they can reconnect after the fright they have had. I worry about things like that.

I am reconnecting with the summers of my youth. We did not grow up with central air conditioning, and I have an apartment with no central air. The stickiness of a summer evening is not exactly a fond memory, but at least I have a window unit and some fans. Which is more than some folks have. I have donated electric fans to the LOA (League for Older Americans) before, and I suggest it is something easy to do for the elderly. Box fans are on sale right now at Family Dollar for $17, and it is sometimes the gift of life to others. For those of you so inclined, local animal shelters can often use fans, as well.

I will be trying to pick up my blog again, and if you feel so inclined, please join me here tomorrow.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Not Your Average Monday

This valley is becoming hot again. My Hispanic neighbors have put a lovely set of green furniture on their porch; it is an oasis to the eye. The unicorn meat eating cats pester me to go outside. So I spread catnip in the kitchen, so they forget why they are heading for the door.

One hot cup of coffee in the morning will do me now. After that, I drink it iced. My apartment kitchen isn't cooled, so I do not cook much now. But, it is the time of year for salads, and yogurt and fruit.

I was walking Max in the Huff Lane Park, when I spotted an Army helmet and novel about war propped up against a tree. Who was it for? I don't know. But the silent memorials like that, always touch my heart.

I am happy with my "ready made family". The man who loves me has a 17 year old son who just graduated high school. He is headed for the local community college in the fall, and then a major university after that. So we went to the graduation ceremony Friday. The man I love cried during the ceremony, and I got to kiss the tears from his face. There is young hope in the world, after all.

This man I love is Army Strong, but as tender-hearted as a child. I still pinch myself when he tells me he loves me. Even my brother approves.

Enjoy this day, while you can. Do something for someone else, today. And for yourself.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tears Falling

The city is settling into summer. Clover is on every lawn, and the night sounds of music, flung from car windows rattles the walls of my apartment. Max and I walk slower, during the day, now. There is no icy wind to push us. The cats stretch on the kitchen floor tile, and deeply inhale of the world outside the door.

I suppose birds love basil. My basil plant has been raided overnight, leaving some of its body, stem and leaf, on the deck. There are blood red impatiens and white begonias out there, too. But they are untouched.

Maya Angelou has gone where all good poets go, straight to the side of God, to whisper in his ear.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Local Colors

It is becoming hot again, after a lovely week of cool mountain air. Max pants on his morning walk, and the unicorn meat eating cats are lethargic. My apartment stays cool until about 3 in the afternoon, and then heats up.

I burn sandalwood incense in the kitchen, just because I love the scent. Nothing is on tv, but I do morning reading from BBC and CNN. Not that I think that CNN is dispensing news, but I like to catch up on the latest trends...

I have borrowed the film: 12 Years A Slave.  I can't find anyone to watch it with me, despite the rave reviews. So I will watch it alone. And despite only being on Season 2 so far, I can keep up with Game of Thrones in its 4th season on HBO. A minimum of characters have survived the Red Wedding, so that I can keep up. Thank God Jeoffrey is dead!

The man I love is suffering the same side effect of Lamictal that I did: horrible loss of memory. What is the point of striving to have a good life if you can't remember it?

The last poetry reading of the year at Liminal is over, and the Local Colors festival was fantastic, although I didn't see anyone I knew, except Pearl Fu, who is retiring this year. Local Colors is Roanoke's celebration of residents who are immigrants to this country, or descended from immigrants. Pearl, who is a local realtor, has been involved in some way, with this festival, since 1995. On this, her last year, she wore traditional Chinese dress, and was pulled in a gold 'rickshaw' to the stage.

Of course, there were too many delicacies from too many countries to try, so I settled for chicken tikki marsala, the national dish of India, and one of my all-time favorite foods. But it meant that I had to pass on baklava, Bavarian creme cake, baba ganoush, dim sum, corn dogs, and a host of foods, too many to count, which gave the festival a delicious air.

A friend donated a "new" sofa to me, and the animals and I enjoy it very much. Believe it or not, it's a Ralph Lauren sofa, beige with red flowers. Unfortunately, it's stuffed with geese down. Which means the cushions will never collapse as the 'fill' deteriorates, but it did cause excruciating pain to some geese. I try not to think about it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


There are storms coming, the Weather Channel says. We have strange clouds overhead in the afternoons. Max, the dog, pants and lies on the cool, wood floor of the apartment. The cats fight over me in the mornings. They long to shed their fur under my hand. The water bowls are filled daily with the fresh, clean water that cats and dogs love. Me, too, for that matter.

I never give an animal water that I wouldn't want to drink, myself.

Everything is good in my world: I love and am loved; my companion animals are happy; the weather, though hot, is much more fun than in the Winter. The small Summer flowers continue to bloom, and now leaves twirl in the breeze overhead.

Grass is always cool to the foot.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


One by one, my friends are released from's Summer. Some will continue to teach in shortened Summer semesters, but some will not.

It's gotten hot too quickly for this valley in the mountains. The very early morning is quite cool, though. And of course, it is always cool under the trees.

It's time to eat collations of cucumbers and tomatoes and pasta and mayonnaise. It's time for coleslaw and potato salad and cold ham or hot burgers. Time for feta in my spinach salad, with strawberries and walnuts. It's time to gather by the river to eat.

When I was a teenager, and we had no air conditioner, Mom and Dad would pile my brother and I into our old car and head for a spot on Riverland Road. There was a place to park there, and we would all jump into the Roanoke River after a long, Summer's day, until the river washed the memory of the day's sweat from us.

My Grandfather, Papa, was the first relative to have "central air." It was not a small accomplishment for early '70's Raleigh, North Carolina. And I relished it. He always had central air after that house. I think something in the memory of working in the fields in rural Raleigh, and his World War II service in Persia, made sleeping in cool air the ultimate experience for him.

And I am old enough to remember when the old A & P grocery store in my hometown had the doors flung open to the breeze. You had to go to the drugstore next door, to step into air conditioning. And in the old, old cigar and candy store, the sap would run down the walls in the summer...

Monday, May 12, 2014


A friend sent me the Seals & Crofts song this morning, "Hummingbird", which fits the day. Here is the link:

The lilac and azalea have gone, but the iris and peony are blooming. I got Mother's Day presents from the cats and Max, some oven mitts and towels with, what else, puppies and kitties on them. I also got a potted plant, a vinca with pink hang on the deck.

I spend my days now, wandering the fields near the house of the man I love, who loves me. I let Max go where he pleases, which usually means near a tree: he wants a squirrel of his own. This suits me: I love trees. I feel a spark when I step on a tree root that seems to connect me to the ground, up into the sky. I become the tree.

I prefer to be a Crepe Myrtle, but squirrels don't consider them to be a tree. Their skin suits me, for some reason. But their blooms curl just as my hair does, and the dark green leaf speaks to something elemental in me.

The grass is cool and wet in the morning, and the grasses blow where it isn't mowed. Every leaf twirls on its own, and the shade is cool.

"O Hummingbird, Mankind was waiting
for you to come flying along.
Heavenly songbird we were so wrong.
We harmed you, Oh Hummingbird.
Lift us up to a heaven of holiness
Oh, source of our being. "

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


It's getting hot here, and Max loves air conditioning. My old apartment doesn't have one; I haven't lived without central air since 1976. So a friend is giving me a 'window unit' so I can cool my bedroom and living room.

The man who loves me got heat stroke yesterday, giving out fliers at the polls, for the Roanoke City elections. He is better today...

The lilacs are leaving, but the iris have just begun. You know me, I have to have a garden to play in, and the apartment has no yard. So I have adopted the yard of the man I love, to play in. He isn't sure about my plans, but loves my passion for it. His yard is shaded by a large pine tree, with evergreens and pink azaleas and purple and white violets.

Of course, I will have plants in pots for the apartment: geraniums, zinnia and some tomato plants. 

The unicorn meat eating cats are angry at not being able to go outside. Georgia has taken to biting to show her displeasure.

Summer is here.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Rain Magic

The sky is dark today, but I love rain, so I will not complain. Max is adjusting to his new medication for seizures: phenobarbital. It makes him goofy and drooly. The cats don't notice a thing; he is a dog, after all.

All over the neighborhood that I walk, people race to cut the first grass of the year. I love to mow grass. It's the scent of the fresh cut that I love. To mow in the soft light of a late summer evening is an experience like no other in this world. And then there are fireflies. How can anyone think we live without magic?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Too Soon

The smallest flowers bloom first, and now, the iris and tulips and lilac. Surely there is no more wonderful scent than that of lilacs. The other night, I took Max out by moon light. The dandelions turn white under the moon, and are as large as daisies.

I love to walk in the moon light, but haven't for a few years. When I am homesick for winter, I walk in the light of the moon, and the shadows I love, appear. The sound of the water at night time, and the mysterious noises of animals slur softly together to create an ocean of sound, that is punctuated by crickets. The leaves rustle over head, and the moon drifts behind clouds and then back out.

I don't feel any different being 50 years of age. My body tells me a different story, but my 'spirit' seems 16. But yesterday, I got my first 'senior' cola. A large, young, timid cashier at Wendy's shyly gave me a diet Coke for $.25. I love getting older.

My head is full with my disorders, but at least I have the temerity to face my computer today.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Too Long

Since I wrote. But, as happy as I am this Spring, my disorders intrude...

The lilacs are blooming, and the man I love is allergic. But Max and I stop for a sniff every morning, on our walk. It is warm, sometimes too warm, during the day, but sweet and soft and glowing in the evening. The new neighbors pull chairs out on our communal porch and spend the evening in soft, Spanish talk, and the scent of the new lilacs drifts toward the busy city street.

The unicorn meat eating cats hang out by the back door, longing for a screen door, at least. Or they hunch down and smell the breezes that make their way under the door. My skin feels free after a winter snuggled in by cotton cuddle duds and silk undershirts.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day 2014

Max, the dog, tells me I have woken too early this morning. It's a rainy, Spring morning. The unicorn meat eating cats run rampant through the apartment, and rearrange rugs, and sometimes, furniture.

I have a doctor appointment this morning, is what has woken me up. I wake to small, white flowers that grow between the cracks in the pavement, and bunches of violets by the road. There is a lilac tree in the courtyard of a church nearby. Max and I make sure we sniff it as we go by, every day. Max personally inspects the dogwood trees that bloom so rarely and delicately in these mountains, pink and white.

I have been having "hot flashes" for over a month, now. They overcome me at the grocery store, or while biting into a chocolate chip cookie, or while taking a shower, throwing a party, making a meal. When I have them, I picture our ancestors huddled around the fire, at wintertime. The older women must comprise the circle in the corner, away from the heat. Maybe hot flashes are a survival technique. Carrying one's heat source with one would be really convenient in a colder climate.

I treated myself for my birthday and bought some beautiful, but inexpensive, water glasses that the cats can fit their heads into. I have a lovely set of crystal, but alas, the cats cannot drink from them. It's a requirement for water glasses in this house that the cats must be able to drink from my's always better drinking Mom's water, right?

And, as always, it is a beautiful time of year to celebrate Earth day.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Another Monday

I love April. Trees and flowers spring up, and the sky is wild and moving. Max, the dog, is now on medication for his seizures.
He is neither happy nor unhappy about it...but it does make him rather 'dopey'. But it is Spring, and he has discovered bunnies in the yard of the man I love. Max and I counted 8 young rabbits yesterday. He makes this high pitched squeal when he sees them, and small barks come out of his mouth.

I have often wondered what breed he is. But one thing I know for sure, that he has some terrier, or hunting breed in him, beagle, basset hound, something. He was born to hunt. Not a terribly good match for a house full of cats, but we make it work.

I have enjoyed my birthday month. It is the prettiest month of the year, for one thing. And I was born then. I miss my Mother very much.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Rain on a Monday?

Perhaps some of you remember my foster, Autumn. Renamed Pancake, she is up for foster or adoption, along with 2 siblings-by-house: Bob and Princess.
She is one year old now, and even more beautiful. Bob and Princess pics will be posted tomorrow afternoon. They are all one year old, and their lovely Mother has to go to a nursing home. In her 50's, she has had a stroke, and cannot take her babies with her.

I had some nightmares about cats last night, a sure sign of stress for me. And, this week, I turn 50 years of age.

I don't look for trouble on my birthday, but I know enough about life to know that trouble appears when one least expects it. I sometimes tend to impose expectations on 'special' days, like my 50th birthday, of a faultless, spring day...complete with no worries, no troubles, no works for others...a fantasy. When life intrudes, I get stressed.

Last week, I called a friend to see if she was "mad at me." Most of the time, my friends aren't. It's just my paranoia. Of course, she was in the middle of a basement remake, so she was slightly annoyed at my persistence...

So, this week, my stressors are: a new foster or home for 3 lovely cats, the customary financial woes, new windshield wipers, sausage balls, and clearing of the front room. And it's Monday, and very, very rainy.

Last night, I went back on my mood stabilizer again. I'm crazy, not stupid.

See my post tomorrow for more pics of lovely cats...

Friday, April 4, 2014

50 Years Free

I have only known her for 34 of Her years, but surely She was just a good a friend before that. My Friend is 50 today, and I am so very happy She has reached this age.

She is an Aries, like me. She is tall, graceful, and full of 'spit and vinegar', as my Mother used to say. In this world, I call her Darkstar. She is kind and caring. She is especially good to her friends with invisible disabilities.

She is a cat lover, and somewhat resembles those cats she loves, in that Her claws tend to be sharp, and She is always well-groomed. Also, her ears are rather pointy. I think of Her as a tortie.

It was a good time to be born, 50 years ago. Spring is perfect.

She is:
                   not afraid
                   to tell the world
                   what it can do.
Or not.

She is:

She is Free.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rolling in Grass

Well, I cannot believe it has been an entire week, but I am recovering slowly from my cold. It is complicated by allergies. It is now Spring. I wake cold in the morning, and burn up during the day.

I woke up late this morning, very late. I thought that Max, the dog, was going to tunnel a hole in my face to be walked.

Despite the allergies, I long to roll in the grass, as I did as a child. The daffodils bloom, and the trees turn pink and white. The forsythia speculate and explode with yellow. We all wait for that 'last' snow storm, now that it is 80F.

The struggle to keep the unicorn meat eating cats inside, has begun. They have never spent any appreciable time indoors; I do not know how they will react. But there is no place outside this apartment that is safe for them. I have 3 large boxes that the man I love gave me, when I moved. I think of creating a cat wonderland of them. I wonder if latex paint will stick to cardboard?

The front room is slowly coming into shape as I begin to tackle the boxes that still crowd the room. Right now, it is a cat hang-out.

I am surrounded by the cats and dog at this moment. We all dream of the grass.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Cold

It's as cold as metal in this small valley. I also, have a cold, just the common kind. It's a drippy, miserable kind of existence, morbid with tissues and bottles of tonic. Small trashcans follow me around the apartment, begging to be filled with the tissues, used. My left eyelid is droopy, and water runs from both my eyes at any provocation.

My goal for this day is to make it to the local grocery store for greek yogurt and bread and dogfood. But at least, I am writing. I drink large glasses of water, and take my allergy medicine as if it were a new religion. Every once in a while, a storm of sneezing takes hold of me. I feel particularly stupid, but my head is full.

The cats snuggle around me, and hang upside down from the ceiling to get my attention. But I know I can be replaced with a 'stacked' feeder, and the electric blanket. And a dripping faucet.

Walking the dog, Max, is torture.

Monday, March 24, 2014


I feel particularly grumpy today. If you couldn't count, you would be grumpy, too.

It is beautifully cold and spring-like here, in this small valley, this morning. The man I love, who loves me, is recovering from a hernia operation. And I think deep and disturbing thoughts this morning. It's a good thing, that the first thing to do in the day, is walk Max, the dog.

I have left off my regular routine while tending the man I love, for the past several weeks. Some days I feel the need to write, other days pass by in a whirl.

The Christmas tree is still up, and can be viewed at my 50th birthday party.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Only the Best

It's still warm in this valley, but that should change soon. Big winds are coming; it's a typical March. It will be nice to have just a rain day...just one day when it doesn't snow or ice. It is overcast today, and I wake to empty cat bowls. It doesn't matter how much I put in their bowls, and they are free-feeders, it has disappeared by the next day. It does work out; they get 'fresh' food, everyday. They like it 'fresh'. Georgia eats it out of the bag. It's a bit like someone secretly snacking on chocolate. There is a crinkle, as she uses her paws to push down on the edge of the 20 lb. bag of food, and then, small lip-smacking, crunching sounds.

Before and after, she is like a will-o-the-wisp. Silent as the grave. Just, all of a sudden, these crinkly, crunchy sounds, out of the dark of the pantry, where the food is stored. Max doesn't eat his food like that, out of the bag. But, I have found that now and again, he will sneak their food like that. He has to be very pissed at me to do that.

Small buds form on the trees we visit on our morning walk. Fire hydrant, and flag poles aside, Max must pee on every tree we pass; he seeks them out. He likes digging in the dirt as much as I do. The weather makes me think about the container garden I want, this year. At least several tomato plants, and some flowers, zinnia springs to mind. What do you have in your garden?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

There Are Places Where the Cat Hair Congregates

You know it's true. I have wood floors, which I love, by the way; and there are places where the cat hair likes to go, to die. It has something to do with the forced-air furnace, and the large wind patterns established when it cuts on. Every corner in the hallway, which is also the warmest spot in the house, stays filled with blond cat hair, in small balls. They drift with the wind, mimicking tumbleweeds. Then, there is a collection of drifting cat hair balls along the wall in the living room.

I notice these things, when it comes time to vacuum them up.

There is nothing louder than a vacuum trundling along a wood floor. Unless it's a 40 lb. dog barking its head off at a vacuum trundling along a wood floor. Max loves to bark, like a bundle of fury, at the vacuum, but only when it's running. Now, Max is part hound, part corgi. He def got the hound voice, and a good set of lungs to go with it. Usually, I just pull out the broom. He doesn't bark at it.

I have been thinking, a lot, about my inspiration and motivation to write. I write because I am a writer; I have been as long as I can remember. I remember learning to read, and the overwhelming urge to read everything. I remember thinking, "This is heaven." I can recall the struggle, and thinking that I would never succeed in learning how to read. I know I asked my Dad, "So, I just have to memorize every word that is?" And Dad telling me that it was something like that.

The Christmas tree still shines all day, and all night. I thought I would get tired of it, but I haven't yet. But this year, I decorated it with all my favorite ornaments, the cat figures carved from wood, the jingle bells designed to attract a cat's attention, one or two of the oyster shell ornaments that Mom made, long ago. So, it's a tree full of lovely memories.

It is Spring, in this small corner of the world. My tattoo, a large dog paw print on my arm, has hives. I imagine it was the ink used. It happens every year, when I start sneezing. The other arm breaks out too, but not like the tattoo does.

I am waking early every day again. It's not really my chemicals doing it, but a desire to hear the voice of the man who loves me, before he goes to work. Anyway, I adore this time of day.

I had a lovely friend from high school come to lunch with me. Her name is Penny, and she brought me a hostess gift of Girl Scout cookies. I love them. Penny was sweet in school, and she remains so, to this day. She has a personality that reminds me that, after all, not everything in the world is dreariness and despair. I think she would strike you that way, as well. And she's a cat person. Who can beat that?

Back to writing. I have insisted in post after post, that the forest and the field are in your heart and mind, the same as they exist in some corner of this world, and perhaps others. I suppose I have been pining for a physical forest, but I know, good and well, where my forest is, both here and in that other world.

For a while, after I moved, I couldn't go back to that forest. I felt dislocated, and separate. But now, I can stand in the field, and follow the path to the forest. Soon, buds will form and open, and Tinker Creek will turn green. The ducks and the cranes will come back, and it will be time to walk on Hollins University campus again. The grass will take on a lovely, loamy scent, and cold wind will blow above the creek. The sumac will turn from violent, bloody red, to the innocuous green. The ground will spring underfoot, and the brown, dead leaves will blow away. Silver green mists will soon hover over the fields of corn that are planted in this corner of the world.

The lilacs will bloom on the Hollins campus, and I will go by Tina Rolen's last office, on my stroll. She was the head of the career development center at Hollins for a long time, and died of cancer several years ago. I remember that Eddie was alive. That poor woman suffered at my hands long enough. I have lovely memories of her.

The dogwoods will bloom in the Chapel garden, and the sand path will be neatly swept between its rock borders. The weeping willows will trail pale green buds from their crowns to the ground, in a sweeping bow.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Still Cold

This is a cold start to Spring, but a start, nonetheless. My day rather collapsed, yesterday. I ended up not going anywhere. Today is different. I feel better, despite poor sleep, and I am more mobile.

I have hung the spring time wreath on the wall. It's a basket of lilacs, and I love them, even more than the Fall wreath.

I find that I socialize more, and feel more comfortable 'in my own skin' if I get out early in the day, for a noon 12 Step program meeting.

I don't have much to say today, as well. Lack of sleep will do that. But, like the daffodils, I begin to stir, and look for warmth, and more sunshine...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ordinary Day

Still chilly out today. If I am not awake when I strap Max, the dog, into his harness, I certainly am after a vigorous walk around the block. Today is group therapy day. It's a lot like rehashing your life and all the terrible things that have happened, combined with a class about how to deal with it. It drains. The only reason I go back is the other women, some of whom are now dear friends. It's not the journey, it's the people you take it with...

Ratty has determined that the best time to love on me, is when the laptop opens. He lies under my right arm, almost 'standing' on his head, to take advantage of this time when I am, for all practical purposes, immobile. It's not so bad once I get used to it...I have to blow off the keyboard every once in a while, and scratch his head. But other than that...

My new medication, Risperdal, is certainly helping me to sleep well. As I have said in previous blog posts, I am very happy right now, but I know there is another side to that coin.

There is a blue band of sky behind the trees in the distance, and sun on the mountains. There is a promise of warmth from the robins' song. There are few winters anymore in this small valley, that are so cold that the robins leave. I don't know where they went during the Arctic blasts we have been hosting, but they are back, and twitter and chirp in the branches of the forsythia. I have no garden this year, but plan a container garden. Of course there will be a geranium or two, and I will have to find a window planter for some zinnia...

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Cold Marble

It is snowy in this small valley. I took Max out at 3 a.m. because it was warm then. It is snowing now, and supposed to get much colder. The unicorn meat eating cats have decided that it is a nap day. Their taste, as always, is exquisite. I will have to get some window seats for them. Or window-height stools.

I have 2 quilts and an afghan piled on a chair against the wall. At my time of life, I keep the apartment cool, quite cool, and cover up. I love this time of year. Something is blooming, my allergies are kicking up, and the snow falls to fertilize the ground. The trees are grateful, and their branches hang like clouds about their faces.

The dog, Max, sleeps under the star quilt, my favorite, that covers my legs as well. He never sleeps well with the light in his eyes. The man who loves me, does not like the cold, nor do a few of my guests. But most of my friends are, of course, women of my own age. They love the cool as much as I do. It's refreshing in a way that springtime is.

I will have to adjust, in time, to the heat that will come. I haven't lived without air conditioning since 1976. It is not going to be pretty. I see a window unit, in my future, at least to sleep in.

I will never forget the first night in the Old House. We had worked a 12 hour day, moving. I came home to see which bedroom was picked for me. My brother and I hadn't worked that out between us, so I had left it to my parents to decide. They gave me the large room downstairs, and had set my childhood bed up. It was a cream-colored, painted wood, with intricate scrollwork decked out in gold paint. My Mother had turned the air on, very cool. I settled into the bed with a sigh that let out all the pent up energy that had accumulated since birth.

I had never slept in air conditioning before. I remember very clearly now, the sense of heat that left me. I felt as if I could conquer the world. Such, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the place of technology in our lives. Think of how many wars would be avoided if the world could sleep in air conditioning. Mars would be colonized by now. Warp drive would be a reality. Paradise is air conditioned.

I fell asleep that night, with the same feeling that I had when I had a fever, and Mom laid a cold bath cloth on my forehead. I awoke the next morning, young.

But for now, it snows past the window in front of the Christmas tree. Max sleeps.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Early Morning

I wake this morning to full blown mania. One cup of coffee and I try not to clean the kitchen floor with a toothbrush (it's been known to happen.) I am not thrilled with this development. It's so bad, I went ahead and took my night time medication. It's a new mood stabilizer that my shrink put me on, yesterday.

Later on this morning, I will start back up on my anti-depressant. Depression lurks behind mania, grinning with its skeleton eyes. Far from feeling creative this morning, I feel rattled, and my feet are cold. I drink lots of water, and think about yogurt.

I would like to attend a women's breakfast this morning, but will have to wait and see what this pill does. It's rispardone, for those who care.

My niece turned 15 yesterday. She doesn't make me feel old, she makes me feel young.

Yesterday was too cold, but very spring-like. And a neighbor left a frownie-face note on the car of the man who loves me. They are unhappy he parks in front of their building, because I have no parking. No yard for Max, and no parking for the man who loves me. The only demerits this apartment has.

Last night, about 2 o'clock, the man I love and I woke to a 7-11 parking lot full of people. Where had they come from? Where were they going? We are not to know. Just one of the small mysteries of life encompassed by life in the City.

The sky is still dark, at this hour, although that will change Saturday night/Sunday morning, as the time changes. The main drag out front is quiet, and car-less. Early morning construction crews and people hurrying to work will fill 7-11 in just moments.

Max is asleep. I shake with energy.

Friday, February 28, 2014

I Turn 50 This Year

I have a friend who is coming to visit the new apartment (and me) today. I am already manic, but am trying, through dint of effort to calm myself down. Cleaning the apartment has helped, and I have to take a shower in a bit; cleaning oneself is always the strongest social move. And I live with cats, so I should know.

The walk with Max this morning was bursting with white sunlight, and cold. I am fairly frantic to be back on my medication. Mania is always fun, most of the time, but I know, as day follows night, that depression will follow. I enjoy depression as much as an axe to the head, so I have to think ahead.

I don't know what has taken hold of me. I want to be free of this poor body that malfunctions. I want the body chemistry I had at 6 years of age. I don't know what I want. I just know that I am tired of pills and potions, poking and prodding. I am tired of doctors and their theories about what will work, when they have no personal experience of the consequences of their prescriptions. I am tired of the side effects that accompany every medication.

Almost 50 years of age, I am not tired of living. I think I get smarter, and more beautiful every year. I dress better than I did when I was 20, and I am much kinder. I have more friends and I count their value higher. I know what mode of living works for me. I know what I will tolerate, and what I will not. I value discovery more, as I get older.

Life is more interesting and less settled than it has ever been. I find I like that.

I remember my Grandfather on my Mother's side. We called him Papa. I remember him at the age of 55, when he retired, and how ancient he seemed to me then. I remember high school as if it were yesterday, and parts of my childhood, too. As much as I bitch and moan to my therapist, not all of life was bad.

Life is richer, today. I am less afraid to talk to strangers, or to go where I know no one. At 30, I thought I had life figured out. Now I know that I know nothing, and I like that. There is more to discover. I like yogurt more, and chocolate less. I like tea more, and coffee less. I want an adventure every day, and everyday is an adventure.

So don't be afraid of growing older. (And the sex is definitely better.)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Groups of Me

I have group today for Borderline Personality disorder. It will be the first time this year I have gone; it was one of the weekly events I let go when I moved. It will be good to go back.

It is cold today, with a wind that is typical in Spring for this small valley. My allergies tell me that something is in bloom, somewhere. Warm one day, and cold the next, I can smell Spring in the air. This time last year, I could walk outside without too much trouble. This year, as cold as it has seemed, makes almost every outing a battle. It is supposedly, the fourth warmest January on record. It has not seemed that way to me, here.

I am keeping my Christmas tree up. I like the ornaments and the memories they carry, and I like the soft glow of the lights at night time. It is not much different than having a fake plant in the living room, other than it is very much more lovely than any 'fake' plant. I always go in for having live plants around the house, by the way. I love plants inside. They make a room alive in a way that no other decorations can. But I have a jar of fake yellow flowers on top of the refrigerator, as I believe no other room requires a jar of flowers than a kitchen, year round.

They look like wind flowers, yellow and blowy, poised to ruffle in the breeze. They look as if I picked them from the roadside, on some long ago highway. They look like a memory of a great-Aunt's table in Raleigh.

Of course, I will take down the Christmas wreath and put up the wreath with lilac blossoms in it, that I always put up in Spring, as my Mother did. I will put up the things under the tree, the blanket, and the basket of colorful Christmas balls that my sister-in-law gave me.

The man I love made a house for the unicorn meat eating cats last night, from a Dell computer box. They leaped in and out of it, when it was just a box in the kitchen. But now that it has been modified for them, by sealing the top and bottom and cutting holes in either side, they wouldn't touch it with the proverbial 10 foot spoon. I can see that I will have to resort to catnip to entice them to enter. And maybe, a cushion or two.

The cars are busy below the windows, and the tree stands in the distance, brown against the stormy sky. Angry gray clouds move against a blue and white sky. I feel the need to plant a tree or two, and to walk where tulip trees bloom. I know Tinker Creek runs black now, where the moss will make it green, later. Max, the dog, deserves to be walked properly, along the banks of Tinker Creek, where I walked Eddie for so long.

I tolerate coffee and cold much less now than any other time in my life. It's the caffeine, and the delicious coffee oil, and my breathing that causes the trouble, to be exact. But I will hold onto my coffee as long as I can. The smoking may have to be stopped this summer.

Time to get some housework done before my group. And, out of that vat of spaghetti I made yesterday, I gave 5 batches away. And that's the fun of making spaghetti sauce yourself...

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Rebirth of Swing

Today is gloriously sunny but with that Spring nip in the air. The wind is up, and the windows, and the electric wires outside sing with it. All of the animals sleep this morning, as if hibernating. The coffee was good, but I drink less and less of it. I blame it on my changing chemistry, in this year of turning 50.

Today is spaghetti day; I make my own sauce, and it is an event. It will cook on the stove all day, and tonight, I will make angel hair pasta for it. I have lettuce for salad, and garlic bread will be good, as always.

I read at Liminal:An Alternative Artspace tonight. It's a rather dark poem I will read, according to the man I love. But it's one of my favorites...

The man I love bought me a large child's bear last night, for company when he isn't here. The animals accepted the creature into the bed, his permanent home. I might call him Albert. I am still using the electric blanket at night assures me of the company of all the animals while I sleep. It can be very comforting.

My moods are on the upturn. It has been 3 weeks since I stopped taking the mood stabilizer I was on. The side effect of constant heartburn pushed me into it. I have not been this drug free in 20 years. We will see what we will see. I realize it could be a part of insanity to not want to take my meds anymore. It is typical for those who are bipolar. It's all well and good to think, "Well, I feel good now, maybe I don't need my medications anymore." And then sometime or other, eventually, the bottom will rush up to meet me, and I won't be able to get to my shrink fast enough.

But I live in extraordinary circumstances now. I have never had an apartment of my own. And Spring is right around the bend. I am in menopause. I want to see how my disorders will act. Mental disabilities are said to become lighter as we age. I feel that this year, as I turn 50, I need to see my disorders to be able to treat them properly. Up to this point, my treatment is the same as it was when I was 32.

It's time to change.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Newest Day

And yesterday was lovely. I struggle without some medications, but press on in the fight against my alcoholism by going to 2 or more meetings a day. It feels freeing, and the social aspects are good for me. I am busy all day, and enjoy both leaving home and coming back.

The sky is gray today, and leaden, but the trees in the distance are exclamations of the change in season to come. One year, to combat depression, I walked every single day. For me that year, Spring started in February. The days grew longer slowly during that month, and the winter was soft and warm that year.

The winter is colder this year, and my darkness is deeper, but I wake to the sun with excitement in this early Spring weather. I awake at my leisure, and go to sleep when I am tired. I eat well now, and enjoy the food. I am happy to see people, and happy to see my loving animals. I have a man I love, who loves me.

So don't give up, in this mid-Winter of the spirit. The days lengthen, and the windows pop open, and the breezes flow, and whisper in the trees in the distance.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Here Comes the Sun...

It is supposed to hit 63F today, and I simply wait for this miracle to happen. The unicorn meat eating cats circle the door to the outside; I will have trouble this Spring. They cannot go out at the apartment where I am now. I simply hope that some windows cracked open, and the window ledges satisfy them.

I still feel awkward blogging after the hiatus. I have come off of my anti-depressant on the advice of my shrink. I feel good today, and I am happy to take one less medication. I no longer feel psychotic, anxious, depressed, lonely, or withdrawn. To climb out of that pit is a joyful thing, and the world seems new. The dog is happier, too. He gets more walks and more attention.

Depression is not so bad for the cats; they simply circle me and lie down, but Max suffers when I go through a spell. For a while, the darkness outside was a tangible circle, circumscribing my life. I could not go out into it. The traffic next door, or that of my neighbors, was terrifying. Danger and men swirled through my dreams. But that storm has passed and I find myself looking forward to each day at a 12 Step meeting. I no longer take naps, I don't want to waste the day. Not that naps are a waste...I highly recommend them. It's just that I have taken my share of them for a while, and have little time during the day to focus on resting.

So now, I have my coffee while the dog sleeps next to me, and a cat climbs down my shoulder for some love...thinking of you.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Three crows called to Max and I, on our morning walk. I have missed you all.

I don't really know what to tell you. I won't try to write a synopsis of my disease induced illnesses. Suffice it to say, I was confined for a while in my own mind, to the point that I couldn't even take care of Max. I have missed the trees, and the field. I have missed the company of my own kind, and that of my babies. I have missed writing, as you can tell.

I made it through with the help of my 12 Step program, the love of my friends, and the loving kindness of the man who loves me, and whom I love.

The sun shines today, and I am hopeful of an early Spring.

I suppose that I have not been writing as well, because I feel a bit lost in this unfamiliar landscape of the city. The line of traffic, and the comings and goings at the store next door are endlessly fascinating, but not something I am used to finding inspiration from.

But what am I talking about? Simply that, after all the upheaval of the past couple of months, at least one unicorn meat eating cat still manages to weasel their way onto or under or beside the laptop whenever it is open. They love the tall, broad windows of the old house that I live in. They too, are spellbound by the traffic...the birds as they rest on the electric wires outside. They chitter, they chomp, they race room to room for the sunniest spots.

They love the electric blanket, and pine when I turn it off every morning. They settle under the Christmas tree, still up, and gaze at the lights.

I have a long way to go, but at least I got this post written. I am excited about the future, and the future of this blog. I love you all. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014


I write at night time, tonight. I watch the navy blue sky, and the lights of the cars as they stroll down our clean American streets. I see their red tail lights move away from me. I hear a boy shove another boy, in the parking lot of the 7-11 store, next door. The taller one, the bully, smokes. I can see that he is too young to smoke. Sometimes voices come through the walls, from across the street. They are always the voices of men.

I take comfort from my dog, Max, today. It has been a lonely day, as I get used to the new apartment. I am used to entertaining myself. I am exceptional at being alone. But I do get lonely. Especially, like today, when I am melancholy.

I feel too much, now that I am off of my mood stabilizer. Numb, or topsy turvey? Why can't I make up my mind?

My dog snores, and the sound is very comforting.

Friday, January 24, 2014


My stats are going down, which means not as many people these days read my posts as they used to. I can't blame you, I have been negligent about writing them. It was a packed full Christmas season, complete with a geographical move. We won't even talk about the stress of having to move animals.

So, something seems to instill in me some kind of winter lethargy when it comes time to write. My fingers aren't particularly cold; the rest of me is, but not the hands. No, my brain and spirit seems to have taken to hibernation. I live in the mountains, and it does usually get cold here in the winter time. Well, it used to, before global warming. But I have spent some winters outside all day, or in a cold barn, and you do get used to it.

No, my creative juices seem to have frozen, like sap in a tree. I have been away from the fields and the earth, too. I think that has a great deal to do with it. I do love the new life in the city. Don't get me wrong. But I miss inspiration...

I do get more sunlight, now. And the unicorn meat eating cats are happy.

But it is the time for somnolence, in a cold land.  In the very, very old days, there would have been large farm animals in the next room to keep me warm. I am stuck with very small, albeit, furry bodies. Lap warmers. Hugging a horse is much warmer. But, at least I am not into gerbils or hamsters. Or year round fleas.

I have a cat tucked under my arm to keep that side warm, and sometimes Max, the dog, wants to snuggle on the other side. Perhaps it's the personal chaos that disconcerts me: unpacked boxes surround me. I did unpack one kitchen box yesterday, and I was as pleased as all get out. It's not that I am a perfectionist when it comes to my surroundings. But sloppiness gets to me. It un-enervates me.

But there have been worse personal winters, and I will not freeze or go hungry, as others will. I have my babies, and a man I love. I have a new apartment to decorate. Like the trees in the distance, I wait for Spring.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Are Your Feet Cold, Too?

After a morning on the laptop, I have decided to write. I experiment with differing sleep and wake up times since moving. It is a beautiful day here, and I am determined to write some poetry today, but it is very, very cold. My electric blanket, although new, is dying. I will write the company today.

I have also made two important phone calls this morning. Two dogs in Appomattox County, Virginia are living outside with no food, water or shelter in this horrendous cold. I called the county and the local TV station. I don't know if it will do any good. But, besides the fact that the TV station made me feel like an idiot on the phone, I could not do less.

Meanwhile, my feet are icy cold. I put on thick socks, cover with a quilt, stack a cat or two on them, and settle on the couch with the dog. I watch Star Trek, with Chris Pine; and Game of Thrones to keep warm, but it is affecting my punctuation, as you can see.

After a short walk this morning, Max, the dog, got wet, canned food for breakfast, a rare treat. So did the cats. It makes me feel better. I feel worse because I am coming off the mood stabilizer, and better because I started taking my sleep/anxiety/anti-depressant, again. But overall, I feel good. Except for my feet. Sometimes, after a twelve to seventeen hour day at work, the man I love will come to see me and rub my feet. Only then are they warm. I scratch his back, as he rubs my feet, so that the whole deal is not so lopsided. Such are the comforts of love.

I seem to be subsisting on bread, yogurt, and eggs. At least, that is what I run out of the most. I remember a story by Pearl Buck, I forget the name, now. A conventional 50's housewife leaves all she has or knows, abandoning husband and children, to move out West, and live in an adobe hut alone. She wakes and sleeps as she pleases, eats when and what she likes, and spends her days walking in the New Mexico wind and sunlight. When she is comfortable that she knows who she is, she returns to her family.

I feel as this woman must have felt. I have spent very little time in my life, simply pleasing me. So, beyond my duty to my animals, my monthly bills, and my duty to my own body, I spend each day as I please, to find what I really like.

I am not sure that I know how the experiment is going, but I find I read a lot, for the first time in a very long while. Stay warm.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Have to Get a Post In Today

Or I will go to bed unfulfilled. Can't do that, especially in January. It's not enough that all motivation is sagging around my ankles, or that my energy level wouldn't light a 25 watt bulb, or that the dog still has to pee come rain or shine. But today it snows. Not a pretty, white, fun snow, but a snow "shower" that doesn't accumulate, but simply falls and turns to water.

Later on, it will turn to ice. Not enough to stay in, and feel insanely comfortable watching TV and eating popcorn. Just enough to be invisible, and cause some accidents.

I have contemplated drinking all week. My mind has roamed from vodka to bourbon, and back again. I have pulled out my bag of tools to stop from going to the liquor store: thinking about how I would feel the next day, thinking about how those that love me would feel, thinking about possibly ending up in jail for something stupid, or breaking my neck falling down the stairs, or tipping into the bathtub while peeing. I have done all these things. What holds me together today is the anticipation of an AA meeting tonight, a talk with a sponsor this morning, and the realization that I do not want to drink. And that, sometimes in this world, I can have what I want.

I even bought the movie, "Flight" which is a Denzel Washington work that I recommend.

I have plans for me. And I don't want to mess it up.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Happy A.A. Milne's birthday to you all!!! I love Winnie the Pooh, and as a child, I picked my character as Piglet. What character were you?

It's late, and I haven't had breakfast yet, or medications. I have consumed almost an entire pot of coffee...good coffee, Tanzania Peaberry. I bought 2 movies last night, "Flight" with Denzel Washington, and "Skyfall" the latest James Bond thriller. I love Daniel Craig.

Right now, my stomach is on fire from the mood stabilizer that I take at night time. It's the big reason I will not take them anymore. But, eventually, some crisis will occur and I will be forced to try another. Add to that, the problem that I am, at an inevitable pace, becoming geriatric. I don't know if you know, but most medications, such as psychiatric medications, are developed for people of a certain age range. There are NO psych meds developed specifically for older people. Something to think about.

The cats have been insane all night, but I have turned the temperature up now, and they sleep. it is a beautiful day, but very cold. The sunlight is all that I can ask for, and the cats are amused at the birds outside their windows hardy enough not to have flown south.

The Christmas tree is still lit. I have seen one other tree, in Roanoke, that is also still lit at night, and I feel a warm kinship with the owner, although I have never met them. I have some Christmas gifts that don't fit quite right, and I may venture out into the sun, today, to exchange them. I don't know. Maybe the cold will convince me otherwise. After all, what can beat a day under the quilt with a dog's warmth, watching James Bond?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Late Lunch on Friday

Ok. I did feel better on Tuesday, but have not had the energy/motivation to write. I haven't worried about motivation before, I don't need it to write. I don't need to 'feel the creative muse rumbling in my soul.' It's a bunch of bullshit. You just get up and write. I suppose I can use the excuse that I have been thinking in the morning. I have sucked down coffee, smoked and read the news.

Every once in a while, I have to rearrange a cat off of the keyboard. Or take the dog for a walk. I occasionally eat something, some yogurt or fruit. I have not been able to nap. Actually, scratching this or that cat or dog takes up most of the time. And before I know it, it is the afternoon, and too late to write.

I have cooked for a friend who is, now, in the hospital with pneumonia. I have gone to therapy, AA meetings, doctor appointments, and a dive called Richee Freeze, which is a great burger place on Williamson Road. I have emptied litter boxes, and blown fine fur off the keyboard. A man who loves me, gave me a TV, and now, I can watch some local channels, of which, PBS is the most important. I have received friends, and gone out to lunch and had tea.

I go to sleep when I please and wake when the dog has to pee. I am titering off of my mood stabilizer: my stomach is a mess on this new one. I text a man I love a good deal, and some others, too. Sometimes I talk on the phone, and sometimes, I don't answer.

I look out of the windows a lot. I watch the city and the sky. The trees in the distance talk to me. Sometimes, if the music is loud enough, the cars talk, too. Motorbikes, or scooters send Max, the dog, into a frenzy. One trespassed on his yard one time, and he has never forgotten the insult to his kind, to this day. They are all relatives of the original beast, sent to test him.

He goes with me, now, more than he used to. I don't like to leave him alone, in this new place. Although he grows used to the idea that I will return. The cats rocket from one room to the next, spilling food and rearranging rugs and furniture. When I leave, I turn the radio on for them. They like National Public Radio; a nice mix of talk, news and classical and jazz music.

My couch is a lump of dog and quilt and pillows, with the addition of a cat at any one time. My bed is a lump of pajamas, electric blanket, quilt, sheets, wool blanket, and pillows. It becomes harder and harder to 'make it' in the morning. The wrinkles and the cats seem immoveable.

The Christmas tree is still up, and lit most nights. I love the glow and the ornaments. There are spare quilts for guests in the living room. Just in case.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Still Not a Monday

It is rainy and cold today, but it is a Tuesday, and I have therapy today for the first time in some weeks. It has not been an energetic, productive, or enlightening morning so far, but I hold out hope. I still have dreams about the Old House, my Mom and Dad, and moving. They are what I consider to be nightmares. Not the screaming-meemy kind of bad dreams, but deeply disturbing all the same.

We are altogether as a family again, and in the Old House, and being forced to move. Nothing is done, nothing packed, and the move is imminent. There is nowhere to go to and all our things must be left behind. But they are, I tell myself over and over, only dreams. The worst is over.

I used to love adventure, and each day was an adventure. At work or play, I loved to greet the day, after we moved to the Old House. My windows looked out over a 100 acre farm, and trees and green. I was free.

Today, I am free in another way. I am brought face to face with my fear of "the world" every morning. But, for the first time in my life, no duty, no one else's life takes precedence over my own. The only schedule I must keep is my own.

And the dog's bladder, of course. It is something my mind cannot grasp. That I may spend the day as I please. And, every once in a while, responsibility calls me. I have a duty to myself, after all.

And so few women around the globe have that privilege, that it is foreign to me.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Coffee Sunday

It is the coffee time of day. It is brightly sunny, although cool, and coming home to coffee after walking the dog, is the best time of day. I plan to shop for a tv today. My old one doesn't pick up digital signals, and there is no place to plug a "converter" in. I can't afford cable or dish, and so, a new tv, albeit a small one, is the answer for me. At least then, I will get the 13 local channels.

And if that's not enough trivia for one day, I don't know what is.

I don't feel like drinking today, nor cutting. I feel well and whole. It's a miracle for that to happen in the middle of winter. I place it squarely on the fact that I have a great deal of indirect sunlight from many biggish windows, now. I suspect that Max's daily walks have something to do with it, as well. I eat better than I used to, less fast food and chocolate.

The cats know it is a Sunday morning: they are asleep. Ratty prefers the pink, velvet chair. It has always been his favorite, although his bright orange fur clashes a bit. He looks more picturesque on the dining room chairs, which have seats covered in rust colored corduroy. But he pays no mind. There are better things in this world to think about for him, than where he looks best. And he's right.

Max waited until late to wake me for his walk, and I am appreciative. He did want to go out about 3 a.m., but things are different now, and so he climbed back into bed.

I find, in my alone state, that I like something going on in the background now. Sometimes it's NPR, National Public Radio, sometimes it is a DVD that I load into my TV. Usually, it's Harry Potter. I like the music, and the scenery, and don't have to pay too much attention to the plot. It is simply companionable.

I wish I could find something deeper to talk to you about. But, right now, I am simply recovering from a busy, frenetic season. Some walks in the cold and Spring loom in the future.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

When I Close My Eyes, I Can't Sleep

When my eyes are open, I am nothing but sleepy. But sometimes, that is the nature of a very rainy day. It has gotten warmer here, in this small valley, much warmer than the Arctic breeze that blew through early this week. It is also much more tropical; heavy rains rule.

The dog woke me early this morning, to go outside. He avoided the question altogether yesterday, by not drinking water. He hates rain, and being wet. Nevertheless, I took him out, once for a long walk, and once for a pit stop.

The apartment is quiet this morning. The cats and dog sleep heavily, savoring the idle time, blankets, and the electric heater. I picked yesterday to be idle: I have made plans today to go out in this gusty weather. Plans that I am glad to have made. It will cheer me to be social. And it's not that I feel particularly unhappy today. But I am of an English frame of mind that some fresh air, no matter how cold or wet, is invigorating for the body and soul.

It has been so dark here the last 2 days that I have lighted the Christmas tree even during the afternoon. It is a cheerful sort of color in the day and reminds me of a drink of citrus tea. Even though I am in the heart of this small city, I have a large tree in the distance that I watch for news of the day. It is much taller than any building around it, and stands in a park surrounding an elementary school. It is roundish in its leaflessness, it grows quite beautifully. Smaller trees flank it; they are less round and full, perhaps younger. But they look to be a different sort of tree in the shape of their branches. The bark of all three is black from this distance. They simply receive the rain and know, more than I can, that a greening will be soon.

The cats curl on either side of me, as the young trees flank the older. Max, the dog, likes curling at the other end of the couch, under a quilt. Unlike me, they simply fall asleep when the urge catches them. I am much more concerned about the state of my hair to lie down after a hot shower.

I have felt somewhat lonely and set apart today; I am not sure why. But the colonial woodwork and dimensions of the room, coupled with the familiar furniture, comforts me. Ratty's bright orange fur cuddled against my leg keeps me grounded.

Meanwhile Sharon is dead and some rivers in W.Virginia vomit toxic waste, making the waters untouchable. I look to the tree in the distance for its guidance, but it only drips rain.