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Look Back in Anger 2010

Look forever into the western sky.

Horizon of emptiness, hollowed out soul

Nothing but a dream of getting out to the place where horizons are buildings, people, noise, hurry, excitement, HAPPINESS

Leave behind silence. Leave behind ceaseless wind. Leave behind a curve of unspoken secrets of those back there in the quiet terror

Keep close. And late at night, take out in a spasm of regret the splashes of ugly memories on those who would rather forget. In the silent aftermath of desperate longing for absolution, the spill of harsh kitchen light and tickticktick of the stupid clock that sees all and knows nothing.

It never goes away, those dark grindings of heat and cold that pass through landscapes alive with voices crying

A passing train offers golden squares of light where people are laughing and talking and pretending to be normal but nobody is really normal

Another generation of lust and dust yearns to find the horizon of freedom in the western sky

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I woke up to silence this morning.

Internal silence. The quietness of mind and body that is all too rare for these older bones. Mental fog? None. Achy muscles, gone.

A mental list of things I could do formed and swirled like a throng of blackbirds wheeling effortlessly, cohesively

Tasks, ideas, plans, they wove an intricate pattern of instinctive order out of daily chaos and intransigence

What was formerly a tumbling rock slide insurmountable opened up to a path to the other side, the true resting place

I will enjoy this clarity and energy for the short time it is here, without the spectre of chronic pain that hovers, lurks and waits to once again strike

Oh, the blessed quiet

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1 large can of tuna in water, drained

1 pinch of brown sugar

1/2 yellow onion, chopped coarsely

2 tbsp olive oil, more or less

1 pkg Uncle Ben’s ready brown rice, or 2 cups of cooked rice, whichever works. If you use cooked rice, you will need to double the wet ingredients

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1/4 c. ketchup

water or chicken broth to thin the stew, but I like mine pretty dry, so there’s that

couple of dashes of hot sauce

dash of lime juice

In a pan, turn the fire to medium, add the oil and chopped onions. Stir around until you can smell the onions, but don’t let them get brown. If you do, that’s ok, but you want to release the flavor, not kill it. Til they get soft, I mean. Add the drained tuna, stir around until it’s heated. Add a pinch or two of brown sugar. It seems to bring out the freshness of the tuna without overpowering it. Now, turn down the fire to low, add the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Sometimes, I will throw in a tablespoon of mustard if I’m feeling pungent, but it’s not necessary. Heat all that up and add the rice. Stir it up til everything has a nice reddish brown coating on it. You can add the thinner if you want, but I do like mine dry so I can roll it up in a flour tortilla or wrap. You can add cheese, but I don’t see it adding much more than filler. Now, sour cream or unflavored greek yogurt? Hell, yes. It’s done. Just a dash or two of hot sauce and some salt and pepper to taste. You want to taste everything and have the heat waiting behind the door. Not to jump out and scare you to death, but just so you know it’s there. On the plate or in the tortilla, add a squeeze of lime juice if you want. It’s quick, filling and cheap. Throw some chopped lettuce on the side of your plate or in your tortilla without any dressing, and eat it all together. Crunchy texture goes really well with the rest of it.

I smelled spring in the air today and it was magnificent in all its damp, rotting mulch glory

A watery sun broke through some of the clouds and bathed all the dead grass with a brassy glow

it released more aroma of the hay fields down the road, alfalfa turning up the allergy meter to almost intolerable

but it still felt damned good and warm and my skin expanded to its normal size after some weeks of shrinking as close to my insides as possible

it was tight and it loosened with an inaudible sigh

and when it loosened up my mind loosened up right along with it

Winter pinches and squeezes a body more so after fifty, squeezes the mind and the mood and the spirit into drafty little corners of darkness

I’ve felt claustrophobic this year and it feels like a too-small overcoat that chafes my skin

Pretty kitty and Casey

I washed my sheets yesterday. I moved my bed a foot. I cooked for the first time in two months-no, three. I threw away one more useless item.

Good night’s sleep by my standards means that I woke up fewer than ten times and fell asleep again before the night clerk at Hotel Anxiety rang the bell. I had a good night’s sleep.

No clean sheets, though. They are drying now. I slept on a bare mattress, contrary to every tenet of home training I had. I did drag the covers off my absent roommate’s bed (she’s temporarily in a nursing home. I hope.) and her cat immediately found a corner of the blanket to knead and suck. That poor feral baby slept against my legs all night, her delicate ethereal weight letting me know that she exists in a sad, grieving place of confusion.

Two cups of black coffee have a sedative effect. Feral kitty and and Black kitty settle in: her at my calves, him down my back. I think they like this routine.

Lunch is leftovers. I wanted a fish sandwich. I’m lying. I wanted two fish sandwiches. The echoes of depression voices channeled by my mother, filtered by my guilt, amplified by my depression keep me at home, in slippers, the clothes I’ve slept in for four days, and well, shit, it’s Monday.

Tomorrow might be better. I might be able to slog through the mud and fog again. Today, today continues.

black hanging bridge surrounded by green forest trees
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I put a new roll of toilet paper . . . On the holder.  It felt like I’d completed a workout in the rain barefooted.

Depression is a catch-all term for a whole plethora of symptoms relating to the psychological and physical inability to function like normal people do in the real world. Allegedly. We depressives tend to not talk much about the various ways our depression will sabotage our efforts to function. I like to write. I like to create. Mostly, what I do is nothing. My bed calls me, dirty sheets and all. And every time I crawl under the covers, right before I sigh with exhaustion, I think, I should change the sheets and throw these in the washer and take out the trash and wash the dirty dishes and clean the kitty pan and . . .

Two hours later, the nap has succeeded in making me feel worse. I still can’t move, though. I should hang up those clothes. I should go visit my friend in the nursing home. I need to write. I have some orders I could be working on. Those dishes aren’t cleaning themselves. Those sheets are getting sadder by the minute.

Depression lowers the immune system. Being the misanthrope I am these days, about half the time I go out of the house, I get sick with something: bronchitis, stomach viruses, strained tendons, 6-5 and pick’em.

My truck had four active recalls on it when I took it in for work. 24 hours later, I felt like a new deckhand working a tuna boat on the Atlantic in January with a violent storm blowing in. My cat curled up on my head, all 17 pounds of him, purring like a kitty generator. I firmly believe that my fever would have lasted at least another day if not for his medical intervention. As soon as I started sweating, he moved down to my icy feet and draped himself over them until they warmed up. Three days later, I’m still not well physically. Kitty did check on me last night, delicately licked my eyelid, and settled down for a nap on my painful shoulder, purring contentedly.

The first glimmer of a break in the clouds just happened a few minutes ago. You see, I try to listen to comedy bits, and they say laughter is the best medicine. It’s actually more like a vitamin supplement: the placebo effect temporarily supplants the depression. This small window of not-feeling-hideous could be used to wash the sheets, I suppose. I’m going to try it, see if this actually makes it to the bedroom. If it does, Ch. 2 might be a progress report.

I used to love the holidays

They were a time of anticipation, of warm drinks and crispy nights where the stars all glittered with a promise of exciting adventures just around the corner

Life happens, as it does

Loved ones went away. Jobs shifted. Hometowns got shabbier. That bell ringer became annoyingly aggressive in front of the store. Instead of good will towards all, the mantra seemed to be, what’s in it for me?

The pandemic of sadness and grief settles like an ice fog over everything.

I want to tease out all the components that contributed to this and cleanse them of darkness, but

I lovingly hoard each dirty, grimy piece because they are mine alone. They are my companions, for good or ill. Perhaps one day, when the first daffodils poke out their heads from the cold ground, I will try to travel lighter, with less baggage and more kindness.

Until then, let me grinch and grumble, toast my irks, feed my peeves. After all, this is a time of giving, and it’s my gift to myself.

 

 

 

 

scenic view of the trees
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There’s a curious freedom in dreams

curious and crucial

it makes for exciting scenarios, heroic actions, perfect endings with perfect partners

perfect skin, perfect teeth, perfect body

And just for that while, that vivid, fantastic dream period, the smile in the mirror contains all the wisdom that unlocks every mystery, answers every question that my fevered mind shouts into the void:  Two nights in a row,

My lost love reappeared to let me know that all those feelings never left completely

that what we’ve built separately could have never been accomplished together, because

Together, we were complete. Together, we reached the pinnacle.

There would have been no need to strive for more, to engage every ounce of energy in creating a place of serenity, for we were already serene together

And for a few minutes, I embrace the wisdom of dreams, the divine message of meaning and hope

that I cannot fathom when I am awake

And it feels quiet and good and perfect for a few minutes.

gift set 2

I have tons of ideas.  Most are good, viable moneymakers.  Others, not so much.  Recently, a walkway to a new school opened near my house.  It winds through the woods for maybe 1/4 mile before it ends at the unfinished school. Several kids from my neighborhood will go to the school when it opens, but parents are leery of the isolated pathway and likely will drive their children to school instead of walking with them.

So, my brainstorm was to offer walking services to kids and their parents for a small fee.  It seemed like a win-win in the first minute or so.  Then, my internal editor/parent/critic started up with fifty reasons why it would not be a good idea.  A few of the highlights:  what if it rains? What if somebody gets hurt? What if my ankle and back get too sore to do it? And thus endeth that brilliant, flawed idea.

My newest venture is soapmaking.  Actually, making soap is but a part of my business. I’ve started making bath bombs (whoo, boy, the kitchen smells like someone slaughtered a bale of crisp cotton) they are now curing in the laundry room. My coffee scrub is very popular with at least one customer. My next product rollout will be wax melts just in time for the holidays.

“Fail to plan, plan to fail”. I’m seeing this in action.  I’ve watched at least one hundred videos on every aspect of the soapmaking business, from marketing to packaging, and I’m seeing a pattern.  Successful businesspeople actually get out of the niche and generate more income streams with videos, affiliate marketing, instagram posting, and their original business has settled into a solid grounding, but not the only income they rely on.  Hmmm.  Interesting.  So, first things first.  I have gotten great views on facebook when I make videos of my processes. I will likely start making weekly videos on whatever I’m working on at the time in addition to building my product inventory.  I have a possible retail space opening up in a store in a very hot area here, so definitely, more inventory is in order.

Packaging.  I really am not very good at it, honestly.  My label making skills are somewhat on par with a toddler banging away on My First Tablet.  I spent hours yesterday trying to make one label, and it didn’t go as well as it should have.  So, I found a video that showed some easy peasy ways to wrap soap, and I thought, oh, yeah, this is the way to go.  Then I remembered that I cannot wrap a present, much less make a cute, tight little soap wrap.  So, I can go for easy and inexpensive, or I can go for easier but more expensive.

Right now, I’m giving away a lot of products. Most everything I ship costs as much to ship as what I charge, so what am I doing? I’m getting feedback on what works and what doesn’t. My beta customers will always be the ones who will get the discounts, the secret goodies, and the upcoming production runs and the new scents available.

I must be doing something right, because I’ve been waking up at 1 am every night, having an anxiety attack, hearing my internal critic berating me unmercifully.  I get up, get a drink of water, and go back to my recipe book in search of new combinations.  Sometimes, that is just too much.  That critic can get so loud that I feel like giving up, but then I remember why I do this.

I love it.

I didn’t get into this for money. I do this because I love to create.  My creations will sell themselves because I’m sold on them. That reminds me: I have a commissioned art piece I need to start working on.

 

adult alcohol bar bartender
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Either the crazy never begins
or the crazy never ends

Irascible writers are blown by the
winds to their place, screaming or quiet

In life, as in marriage or writing or working or drinking or making love or sweating out a hangover

Desperate regret births fear
And so, safely in the waiting room, under the buzzing lights
we will read a magazine, toss it aside
pace and curse and commiserate with others
but
we will never leave that room