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.

Friday, January 10, 2014


I think that I have been overwhelmed by some circumstances in my life; moving is not the least of them. Part of me sits back and watches my daily activities with astonishment: I contact the post office, move furniture around, wash dishes and clothes. All the while, I feel a bit numb. I have nightmares about moving away from the Old House in Botetourt. Dreams in which my parents and brother figure predominately. Most of them center around the thought that we have to move, but nothing is done, nothing packed, no motion made toward the inevitable.

It was the same at Christmas. Christmas Eve was a plethora of baking and wrapping; so much so that my hands felt numb, and I went to bed at 7:30, absolutely exhausted. Christmas Day was a bit better for me, on the whole; the holy nature of the day lifts my spirits, if nothing else does. And "they" have changed my antidepressants. I wait everyday, sometimes I look out of the windows for hours, for the new pill to work.

I walk the dog now, as I have no lawn at this apartment. Even on the coldest of days, it must be done. No mood or delusion of fancy of the mind can change that. I cannot totally curl up and ignore the world. And there have been events I feel particularly awake for: the visit of Dark Star and Schrodinger, a back rub from my partner in love, little snippets of each day that I feel capable of handling.

I don't feel like cutting. I dutifully take my meds and bathe almost everyday now. I walk the dog. I have mercy on the cats and clean the litterbox, fill the water bowl, top off the food bowl.

It's not so much depression as a certain feeling that I am waking, after 4 years asleep.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Dark Side of the Moon Cold

It's cold in Roanoke, today. I heard that Atlanta is colder than Moscow this morning, and I believe it. I did manage to walk the dog, but am holding off on taking a shower. Living in an older building, the gas furnace can't quite keep up with the windows out of square.

I did buy an electric blanket last night, in a fit of desperation. Although overpriced, it was well worth it, the cats informed me this morning. It is a beautiful day, but the temperature is not above 10F yet, with a wind advisory all day today. The hardest part about walking Max was the prickly sensation of my nose hairs freezing solid.

Meanwhile, the cats have taken up the occupation of staring out of the windows on a regular basis. It's something they have not been able to do for 3 years now. And Max? In his spare time, he cuddles under a blanket.

My partner in love went to work this morning at 3 a.m. It must have been stunningly cold, but he did live, I don't know how. And me? I don't feel like drinking, but do feel the need for an AA meeting today. It's a restlessness of spirit that tells me so. A feeling that not all is quite right in the world. A wobble in the orbit, as Douglas Adams said.

I sleep quite late nowadays, and I am happy to do so. Keep warm, dear heart.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Calm from Canada

The massive storm that has moved down from Canada has hit us. Today is icy rain, and the temperature is supposed to be -1F in the morning. But the wind does not blow and Max, of course, had to have his walk this morning. Now, his small, heated body keeps my legs warm and toasty.

I am still fascinated by the endless succession of visitors to the 7-11 next door, and the line of traffic that surges down the main street in front of it. It is a peaceful neighborhood, on the whole, and I have begun to pick up trash on my daily walks with Max. I remember vividly the anti-litter campaign that came out in the early '70's, featuring a weeping Native American in full regalia. I still believe in not littering. I know the problems that landfills have, and New York pays Virginia so much per ton, to take its trash, but a small step is a step in the right direction, is my belief.

One year, while seriously depressed, I walked Eddie everyday beside Tinker Creek, on the Hollins University campus. I began picking up trash as I went; it disturbed my heart to see it lying about. People began to notice my efforts, and today, the campus is markedly trash free.

I remember reading the story of Mary McLeod Bethune, when I was a girl. Her name may not be familiar to you, but it is a fascinating read. She was a noted African-American educator back "in the day." Anyway, she once said that no one is so lazy that they should walk by a scrap of trash, and not pick it up. That responsibility rests on us all.

I don't know where this is leading, but they are my thoughts as I walk Max in the morning: sunlight, ice, and Mary McLeod Bethune.

I hope you have some equally enlightening thoughts coming your way, on this winter morning.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Wind Day

It's almost horrifying that, not only can I hear the wind whistle the lines that carry electricity, outside my windows, but that my windows seem to be whistling back at them. I think it's time to head to the local hardware store, and see what kind of duct tape is available.

I am used to living in basements. The wind doesn't whistle in a basement. The ground in this area will only get so cold. The heating bill can only go up so much. But I have chosen, for differing reasons, an apartment with a lot of windows in an old building where nothing is quite square. I wanted lots of sunlight, and I get it, along with lovely views of the sky. But I also get the wind.

It tells me stories of Canada, as it moves through. My apartment faces north-northwest. I can look toward my beloved old House, as I sip my coffee in the morning, and watch storms approach. But my Christmas tree is still lighted, and it warms the whole apartment. It is simply too cold and frigid to do without it.

Max, the young dog, has taken to sleeping under a blanket, night and day. He has no downy undercoat, as Eddie did. The cats are expert at finding the warmest spots, of course.

When I took Max walking this morning, the wind was simply startling in its ferocity. My saving grace was the barn coat and Egyptian wind scarf that I wear. It's time to eat, and take my meds. Stay warm today.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January 2, 2014

Somehow, I am feeling better this morning. Yesterday was a trip down anxiety lane, with stops at hopelessness, inactivity, and distraction. I think it's time to look at a supplement to Prozac, my long-time antidepressant.

So, today, I come to you a day late for celebration, but much more fit for it than yesterday. In the world of mental illnesses, that's sometimes how we roll. I was rescued last night by a couple of friends, who picked me up for some Christmas light viewing. Yes, it is late for it, but some fresh air and a trip to Waffle House has never done anyone harm, and I appreciate the effort.

Max, the dog, has gotten good about not asking to go out until he knows that I am ready to put blue jeans on. He was mercurial at the old apartment; sometimes his fancy to check his yard out peaked at 2 a.m. But not anymore. He is patient, as only someone with a good, young bladder can be.

I am getting used to wood floors, and marvel at how much cat and dog hair must sink into a carpet during a day. It makes me shudder, and resolve to live my life on wood or concrete.

It is late for a morning, but the sun isn't up yet. The tailpipes of the cars at 7-11 steam in the early day, and red lights trail down the street after cars.

I am going to call my shrink in a couple of hours.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Update New Years Day

My dear friends,
Please don't take my lack of posting a lack of interest in me for you. I have moved, fallen in love, tasted freedom for the first time in my life, all in the last 3 months. I have resisted chocolate, eaten chocolate, celebrated the holidays, gone through all of my possessions with a fine tooth comb. I have bought presents, baked treats, cooked meals, picked out a refrigerator and a stove. I have sifted through all the red ribbon in Wal-mart. I have watched Game of Thrones, Star Trek, The Grinch That Stole Christmas. I have panicked, cried, been joyful, surrendered, felt despair, grasped at hope.

I have walked into the wind, an hour after dawn, and felt the sun bath my face in this cold time of year. I live in the mountains, and somehow, the wind does not seem to have ceased this year. I have left the Christmas tree lights on, overnight, to ensure Christmas the year round, as tradition states.

And so, on this first day of the new year, it does not surprise me that I feel a tiny wobble in the orbit, a small anxiety of what my life will see this year. I do not mean for this to be a message without hope. There has only been one time in my life without hope, and I managed to live through it, through no will of my own. I can only credit the Presence with that happening.

I am in no mental shape to write this blog this morning. I do not fear the holidays, but the end of them. I fear the season of darkness coming. I fear the winter's dark without light. I think the Christmas tree will stay up until March. 

Later: This is an update that I am glad to make. Although I have been under the weather since October, I am happy to be in a new place, with my babies, and relatively healthy.

Just remember, boys and girls: don't write your blog before food and your meds kick in...