Friday, March 27, 2015

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.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

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.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

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?

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Review Of "A Boy's Life"

Why a review?

I recently saw a post leading to a blog with a review of the marvelous book A Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon. It was nice, but it was a paragraph. Please, allow me to elaborate.

What is it?

A Boy's Life is a novel by Robert R. McCammon first published in 1991. It is the tale of a year in the life of Cory Mackenson and his friends Davy Ray, Johnny, and Ben. They live in the town of Zephyr, Alabama in the early sixties. There are adults in the story, too; Cory's mother and father and grandparents and others, good and bad. Oh, and dogs. Where there are boys there must be dogs. It is a novel of magic and mystery, sad times and glad times and scary times, the best of people and the worst of people. But something in myself just wants to cry, "But it is so much moooore!"

What's the story?

At the beginning, Cory and his father are faced with a horrible event. This event shapes their lives that summer while other things are going on. There are stories of bikes and dogs and there's an awful flood. The elderly lady from the black section of town feeds a monster in the river. Cory finds that there are good and bad people, and sometimes what one person seems to be is not what they are at all. A dinosaur comes to the city with the fair. 

Robert R. McCammon's usual descriptive prose leaves you feeling the chill of an early spring morning and the pain of a playground fight. Your heart will ache but it will also soar. You will hold your breath at times and at other times you will laugh out loud, thinking, "I remember that!".

Who should read A Boy's Life?

Everyone who enjoys a good book would be happy reading it. Both of my sons got copies from me. I have reread it so many times that I now have two copies. For someone in that ten to fifteen year old age range the book would be marvelous. Boys AND girls, I would think. And for the grown-ups, oh, it is so wonderful to go back in time when we had the freedom of a summer off from school, the best friends we ever had, and there was magic all around us. When you want to be immersed in a great tale, pick up this book. There is not a dull moment in A Boy's Life. It flows so swiftly and is so easy to read that you may find yourself reading it two or more times.

Thank you for reading my review of Robert R. McCammon's A Boy's Life. I hope you enjoyed it and I also hope that you can read the book. You won't regret it. And it may ignite a spark of magic in you.

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?


Monday, March 2, 2015

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.


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!