A Brief Break Before All Hell Breaks Loose

Even though I can no longer work I am going on a little vacation. Yay!

A couple of dear friends that I have known for 39 years have invited me to their home in the hills of North Carolina. 

No internet, no cell service, just the woods and good friends.

Although it will only be for a few days I plan on recharging my batteries fully.

I got a notice of eviction today and have 14 days to replace the carpet in my apartment or I am out of here. Funny how the manager didn’t serve me with it until she knew that I had plans to be out of town for two weeks. She has changed her tune quite a few times. Even my psychologist and case worker were taken aback by the new developments. So, my plans have changed a bit and I will be back sooner than I had planned.

Hopefully a dear friend can help me with the costs. If not, well, I don’t know what. That bridge will have to be crossed when and if I come to it. I can’t reach him until tonight, so I just have to be more nervous until then.

Right this minute I am frozen with anxiety. I still have things to do to be ready to leave tomorrow morning, so I am trying to get up and get moving. I am trying to breathe. I am playing the movie “Hot Fuzz” off of my dvr. 

Sometimes I feel like, “What more does the world want from me? Why is this happening to me?” I am kind, I help people and animals whenever possible. I don’t cause trouble. I pay my rent on time every month. Because my poor old dog left some stains on this old, worn out, indoor-outdoor carpet I may be kicked out.

But – crying woe is me won’t solve or help anything. 

I will go visit my friends, who I haven’t seen in over ten years, and allow myself to be loved and have real conversations and drink in the mountain air. 

And when I get back I will deal with the situation and with that mean-spirited bully of a manager. That is what she is, pure and simple, a bully. As soon as I told her that I needed my case worker to be with me when she was telling me these things she slammed the phone down and decided to just evict me. Also, to bully a person with a severe mental illness takes a certain kind of shit for a soul.

I am taking pen and paper with me to note specifics during my time in the mountains to share them with you on my return.

Please wish me luck.

My Favorite Poem – Antigonish

I can’t let World Poetry Day go by without sharing my favorite poem.


It is Antigonish by William Hughes Mearns.


Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there

He wasn’t there again today

I wish, I wish, he’d go away…


When I came home last night at three

The man was waiting there for me

But when I looked around the hall

I couldn’t see him there at all!

Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!

Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door…


Last night I saw upon the stair

A little man who wasn’t there

He wasn’t there again today

Oh, how I wish he’d go away…


Hearns wrote the poem in 1899 as part of a play for Harvard University. In 1939 it was made into a song with credits by Harold Adamson and Bernie Hanighan. In July of the same year the Glenn Miller Orchestra made it a hit.


Bits of the poem have been included in many songs and movies. My favorite is in Identity. An actor that I love, Pruitt Taylor Vince, mutters the first stanza and that is where I first heard it.


I have written about the poem before, in my blog post No Sleep For Me.

Reciting it helps me when I am anxious.


Do you have a favorite poem? Do you have one that helps you in times of anxiety and/or depression? Please do share in the comments.

It’s World Poetry Day!

In 1999 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared that March 21st would be World Poetry Day.


Before that it was celebrated in October to mark the birth date of Virgil, the Roman poet, and there are still national and international poetry days held then.


To celebrate I would like to share one of my poems with you. I wrote this for my grandson Connor.



Bedtime For Connor

Read me a story

He said with a smile.

I’m not sleepy yet.

It will take just a while.

I’ll read you a story.

We’ll cuddle and hug.

Then you’ll go to sleep 

When I tuck you in snug.

Read me two stories

He said with a grin.

I’ll be sleepy for sure and 

I’ll go to bed then.

I’ll read you two stories.

I’ll lie here with you.

You’ll be very sleepy

When I read you two.

Read me three stories

He said – about space!

I might be sleepy 

After a moon race.

I’ll read you three stories.

We’ll fly to the moon.

But we can’t stay long.

You’ll be asleep soon.

Read me four stories.

He said with a yawn.

I’m sure I’ll be sleepy.

The sun is all gone.

I’ll read you four stories.

But that will be all.

I have housework to do

And people to call.

Read me five stories.

He said in his sleep.

Then while you do your housework

I won’t make a peep.

I’ll read you five stories

My precious, my sweet.

The people can wait and

The laundry will keep.

I hope you like it. Thank you for reading.

Please feel free to share your favorite poem in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you.

On Love And Panic Attacks

Today is day three of the Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey 21 Day meditation experience. But since I didn’t open the laptop yesterday I did the day two meditation first.


It is “Success Increases Love”. The centering thought is “I am here to bring more love into the world.”


It really was a lovely guided meditation but, and it’s a big but, it was hard to do while on the verge of a panic attack.


For the last two nights I have not been able to sleep very well at all. I am waking up every hour or so and then my cat has taken to waking me around five A.M. to get me to give her some canned food.


This morning I thought that I would just fix me some coffee and stay awake like I did two days ago. Monday was a good day.


Nope. No such luck. As I drank my second cup of coffee I felt the anxious beginnings of a panic attack. So I stopped the coffee and thought that doing the meditation would help. It ended up being too distracting to fight.


I really do like the idea, though, that I am here to bring more love into the world. I love people and creatures and places and things. And I try to share that love in my writing and in my actions every day.



Then, on Facebook, I saw a nice article in Psychology Today about what love is. It discusses whether love is an emotion or an feeling or a drive.


My belief is that love can be all three of those things.


While writing this my dear friend Mark, whom I love, called to chat. Talking to him really helped disperse the panicky feelings.


So perhaps the meditation did work in a way. While concentrating on me bringing more love into the world, I received a bit and it helped me.


Has this happened to you? When you are having a panic attack have you received help in a serendipitous way?

Happy Monday And Meditation

Even though today is Monday, I am having a pretty good day.

On Friday I got a call from the apartment manager who told me that I don’t have to worry about changing my carpet until after April first. So the heat is off about that, at least for a couple of weeks.

Last week I finally got to go and get my little dog’s ashes from the vet’s office, so he is home again, in a way. Just having the dark wooden box sitting on my shelf makes me feel better. Makes me feel that he is close to me.

This morning I started an awesome 21 day meditation experience with Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey. I don’t meditate often but this will give me an opportunity to have a guided meditation every morning. Today I felt more relaxed and confident after doing it. And my coffee has awakened me without the anxiety that most often comes with drinking it. The experience is free and I recommend doing it as an introduction to meditation or as a fun thing to do if you currently meditate.

The meditation got me interested in the greeting/farewell of Namaste. You can learn more about it here. I like the fact that it is acknowledging that in each of us there is the spiritually divine.

I have noticed that some Facebook friends end their posts and comments with “Peace and Love. Namaste.” Who can argue that peace and love is not a concept to strive for? Just the thought is calming.

I hope your Monday is going as well as mine. I can only hope to continue feeling good. Usually I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. Sometimes it does, but for today I am just trying not to think about it.

Do you practice meditation? Has it helped you deal with your anxiety or depression?

Namaste

Peaches – A Weekend Quickie

As part of the Iron Writer group we also participate in Weekend Quickies, in addition to our weekly challenges.

This past weekend I joined in on the fun and this is the story that I wrote.

The four elements to be included in a 200 word story were: beta max, cats, peaches, and a man in a white van.

Featured image

Peaches

Joey stared out the dusty windshield of his van at the highway that seemed to stretch on forever. The vehicle was supposed to be white but the roads in South Carolina had left it a mottled brown.

He enjoyed playing Elton John’s “Rotten Peaches” as he rolled past the countless roadside stands. It had been one of Marie’s favorites.

Jack the cat leapt onto the passenger seat and melted into an orange puddle in the heat.

“We’ll be at the coast pretty soon,” he told the cat, lying about the amount of time they had yet on the road.

“Then there will be new work, new home. But no new women.” He felt his heart wince at that last statement.

All he owned was in the back of that van. They had laughed at him for packing the old beta max but he still had so many home videos of Marie that he wasn’t ready to toss out.

He could have had the car fixed and driven it but he just couldn’t face the fact that she had died in it.

He pulled into a stand, throwing up a cloud of gravel and dirt.

“One basket of peaches, please.”

If you would like to read the other stories for this Weekend Quickie you can find them here.

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed it!

No More Shadow

I can now walk from room to room unhindered.

When I turn I don’t have to wait for someone to turn around, too.

Everyone says that fifteen years is a long time. No, it’s not long enough.

My depression is really rearing it’s ugly head. I am taking lots of naps. When I am asleep I don’t hurt. But every time I awake I look for him. In that one brief second I forget that I no longer have a little buddy.

He was my buddy, my little man, my Bubba. He was my reason for getting up in the morning and the one that I spooned with at night. He was my velcro dog. He was my shadow. He was my heart and my life.

And now he is gone.

Mary’s Maximillian

November 16th, 1999 to February 12th, 2015

He had Cushing’s disease that caused pancreatitis and renal failure. And I was in denial. I took him to the vet thinking that they could give me a fix for his tummy troubles and we would be okay. But we weren’t okay.

In the end I could not be selfish, although I really wanted to be.

I do have a kitty, Pinky, but she is not a cuddly kitty. She comes to me a few times a day for pets and to get me to give her wet food.

I am trying to feel better by binge watching Breaking Bad. And that is comforting.

But my heart aches for one more hug, one more walk, one more look into those old eyes that never showed me anything but adoration.

I feel lost and off-kilter without him.

My heart is shattered.

I have no more shadow.

The Circle Tightens

For twenty-two years my father had a wonderful girlfriend. Her name is Brynn.

She got the nickname Brynnie from my boys when they were toddlers.

She was an RN and worked both in a hospital and in a private practice.

When I cut myself on an old tin can she brought home a tetanus shot. This was years ago and the syringe was in a metal case. She gave me the shot in my left arm and said it wouldn’t hurt now. After she gave me the shot she said that it WILL hurt now.

She was a tall, graceful woman. Shopping for a sleep shirt for her one Christmas my oldest boy, about six at the time, told the salesperson helping us that, “Brynnie is a BIG woman.”

She was as kind a person as you could ever meet. She was generous. She loved animals.

She had Huntington’s Disease. It ended up making her quit working, as the spastic movements of her arms and legs made it difficult to do her job.

And then, one Sunday night, she fell out of bed. She couldn’t move her head so an ambulance was called to take her to the hospital.

Her regular neurosurgeon was on vacation. The neurosurgeon on call was incompetent. You could see her spine making a large lump on the left side of her neck. She lay in the hospital bed, screaming in pain each time she was moved, for a week. The doctor told us every day that nothing was wrong.

Her neurosurgeon came back on Friday, walked into her hospital room and said, “Oh my God, her neck is broken!” By then her arms and legs were paralyzed.

She underwent surgery to fix her broken neck and she regained some movement in her arms.

Yes, lawsuits were filed. And won.

When she was able to be kept at home my sister and I helped Dad take care of her. I would come every night after work and on the weekends while my sister took the weekdays.

She loved apples but they became a choking hazard as she could not chew well. I cooked them with some butter and brown sugar so they were caramelized and tender for her.

The other day I was trying to enjoy some apples myself but was finding it hard to chew them. I have dentures. A Facebook post reminded me of cooking them as I had for our Brynnie.

So I cooked them and enjoyed them and felt like crying. I was remembering Brynnie and thinking of my own spot in my life.

The circle tightens. That circle of life we all go through. The feeling that you are nearer the end than the beginning.

I try to find the good in all things so I will believe that my recent thoughts of Brynnie are a good thing. She was such a wonderful person who approached everything she was dealt with grace and bravery. If I could strive to be like her in all things then I would be happy knowing that the influence she had on me was a great one. Her memory lives on, I should do things that ensure that mine will do the same.

We love you, Brynnie.

Have A Minute To Read A Very Short Story?

You may already know that I am part of a group called The Iron Writers.

Every week there are four or five authors competing in a challenge. The stories can be no longer than 500 words and must contain four specific elements.

This week the elements are:

This image:

            A Howdah

A Floor Buffer

It must be told from the point of view of an alien who views humans as both food and pets.

The title of my story this week is Holiday.

So, if you have a minute, please click here and read the stories. Vote for your favorite (even if it isn’t mine, of course).

I appreciate you visiting the website and voting.

If you want to become one of The Iron Writers just let me know or go to the Facebook page and request to join the group. It is a great bunch of people and loads of fun.

Thank you!

Hard Days And What To Do With Them

Well it has been a yucky couple of days.

My apartment is not spotless. I am a hoarder by nature and it is hard for me to let things go. My back and neck sometimes hurt me so much that I can barely move, so cleaning is an all day event with lots of rest breaks. My home is messy, but NOT dirty.

Yet when the exterminator, who comes once a month, came to my door yesterday he said it was too dirty. My kitchen was spotless, but it is so small that you can barely see the counter for my appliances – coffee maker, toaster, microwave and the like. My coffee table and dining table were cluttered. This is a small one bedroom apartment with one big room for the living/dining area and a tiny alcove kitchen so you see all this from the doorway.

When he left I called my wonderful case worker, R., and cried to him in a tizzy. He reassured me and said he would be here first thing today. Well, he came by this morning and said that all was okay, just do some decluttering, and he went to talk to the apartment manager for me. End result is she is coming this afternoon to see the apartment first hand. I am very nervous.

But what I am not is a wreck. I had my coffee this morning and it didn’t turn into a panic attack. My little meds must be in there working overtime. I am on edge, but not over the edge.

I began to wonder why I am not a basket case. I have come up with a few things that are helping me to keep a panic attack at bay..

  1. I can only worry so much. My mindset today is that I need to wait to see exactly what there is to worry about before I commit more time to it.
  2. If a panic attack starts I can do my best to squash it in it’s tracks by taking a few deep, controlled breaths. In through the nose and hold and out through the mouth. This often works to center my mind on something else besides the circles it wants to run.
  3. I accept that I cannot control everything, so I will do my best at the things that I can control, like making sure the apartment is cleaned and vacuumed and dusted.
  4. I was able to talk with a professional – my case worker. He is expert at allaying my fears, giving me something else to concentrate on besides impending doom. And his promise to help no matter what comes of it is one that I can rely on.
  5. There is TV. Yay! I chose The World’s End to watch. It is the last movie of the Cornetto Trilogy. And now I will have Shaun of the Dead, the first of the three, on while I compose this and wait for the manager to come. For one, there is the humorous nature of the movies – they make me laugh. Second, I have seen them so many times that they can be on in the background and I can still follow along. Humor is a great blessing all the time, but especially when you are stressed out.
  6. I am trying to see the positive in the situation. This will give me the boost I need to clear out some boxes I have been saving (for what, I don’t know) and get my closets cleaned out.
  7. I am writing this post to perhaps give someone else ideas on how to deal with their own struggle. In trying to help someone else, I am making myself feel better. So thank you for being there.

I found the quote by Andy Warhol to be helpful today. In the end, so what.

So what if I have to do a deep clean? So what if I have to pay to have the carpets cleaned? So what if I have to have people come in and help me?

I am not meaning it in a snooty way, just saying that in the end all these things are doable, so why worry about them until they have to happen.

If you are having a hard day I hope one of my suggestions will help you. Please let me know of something I might have left out that would be helpful. What do you do to deal with your hard days?