He is my last man. The last soldier or toy of any kind I have from my childhood. After all of the moves to all of the homes, four different states, ten different cities...after all of the times I gave stuff away or otherwise pared down my possessions, I still have this guy. Yes, he was there - Stalingrad, Comrades. And Stalingrad did not fall. Nostrovia!


I decided to just open up my computer and start typing a blog post. I have nothing in mind, nothing meaningful has happened to me lately. This is a free write. I'm still making the hour long drive to work. I'm still in a dull job where I have lots of time to think. I'm still addicted to the internet. I'm still a recovering television addict, six months sober. It's Saturday. I ran some errands today: picked up the wedding ring from the FedEx distribution center, took back a library book, got my car worked on, roamed around the mall and became paralyzed with indecision: I could not figure out what to do next, so I sat on a bench. I witnessed a couple of very loud cell phone conversations. I heard a retired guy telling this story to a shoe salesmen: was working for the phone company in '65, I think it was, and a metal pole fell off the truck and damn near destroyed the toe. ...I'm reading the same book every time I go in the book store, it makes lots of references to other great books which also refer to books. ...I wondered what it would be like to walk from Eustis, Florida to Gainesville, Florida (and then beyond) via 441...while my car was getting serviced, I walked to the mall on 441, and on the way back to get my car, walking on 441, which is all sidewalks and strip malls, I wondered what it'd be like to just keep walking. 441 is not as scenic as the Appalachian Trail, but I was confused. I cut across a parking lot and wondered what it'd be like to be chased by cars in an empty parking lot in the middle of the night.


In my ongoing love affair with anything musical from Brazil...

Elis Regina canta "Upa Neguinho"

...and also, a little bit of talkin, and then some singin from...

Chico Buarque e Caetano Veloso - Tatuagem/ Esse Cara


I haven't really had any serious trauma in my life (everybody has deaths in their families, I've had those (maybe a little more than my share in the last ten years, but...)) - maybe no more than usual - not really.

I mean: My childhood was not too horrible...not really...there was a hell of a lot of yelling and screaming. I did not actually see violence (I was the youngest, I guess they kept it in the other room), I heard some scary banging and bouncing around, and people said there was violence. Some. Not constant. Not really that often. I think. I didn't see it. It was there. I was scared by it, but I don't think I had an experience that was all that traumatic.

People who have had trauma - they are certainly more aware of their trauma than I am of my minor scares and fears. Maybe people with real trauma are more likely to take action to move toward healing than somebody like me with low grade misery in my past. I'm less likely to address my problems because I really didn't realize there were problems. But there were. There are. I grew up in a really angry freakin home. There was a lot of love too, don't get me wrong. But all that anger...sheesh. I gotta try and shake that shit.


All of this reading I'm doing lately about peace of mind and mental health and anxiety and anger - it shakes the crazies loose in my head. As I work all this stuff out...tracing things to their proper origins...reframing things...making discoveries...because of these things I'm trying to do: I have had some real grouchy moments lately and some real panic-ridden moments...I guess it was panic...maybe it was heightened confusion or...just these anomalous knots...or something...some kind of crazies being exercised out, rooted out, weed whacked - - it's like pushing your lawn mower back and forth over a crazy person's daily art diary - and all that crazy confetti shoots out. As I try to untangle my brains, some odd feelings spring out.

But: I have passed some tests lately too: I've also let some irksome or possibly volatile things slide on off of a seamless slickness of cool-headed chillness. So, there's some good and some bad. I'm working toward that mostly good state.

Sometimes I just ask myself: Am I getting worse or am I getting better?

A lot of it is choice. Do I want to make peace and be content with my current situation? Or do I want to struggle for a better situation? What's better? Who knows? Can I be happy realtime as I try for that overall happiness?

In that anger book I read, it said that if you're not acknowledging your emotions for what they truly are, you can ruin your creativity. I don't want that.

Now then: Let's turn our attention to our breathing. Your mind may wander from this meditation. It's okay. Just gently guide your attentions back. Right here. You will hear things in your surroundings. You will sense things. It's okay. Thoughts will come, they will occupy your consciousness. Don't hold on to them. Let them come and let them go. Let go. Just let go....and all that.


A 75-year-old woman fell on the treadmill today at the YMCA. I didn’t actually see it, I heard it. It sounded terrible and I jumped off my machine and saw this poor lady on the floor. Only a few people were concerned enough to interrupt their workouts to check on her and help her out. We got her on her feet and she just stood there staring straight ahead. A couple of people went back to what they were doing. I asked the lady if she was okay. I asked if she was at the Y alone or with somebody. She kept saying ‘yeah’ to every question.

“Are you here with somebody?”


“Who are you here with?”


This big-ass weight lifter had helped her up, but he was kind of pacing around not sure whether to leave her be or what. I went up to him and said she seemed very disoriented to me, that we should do something. His wife was a nurse or had some kind of medical background. She came along. We got a chair for the lady to sit in. We’re asking her all these questions, and people walked up...did whatever survey of the severity of the situation they felt was necessary...and then walked off. I was alone with the lady a few times there. Finally I got it out of her who she was with, and I got him over there. And more people were around then, and there was a young guy working there, working the room where all the treadmills and so on are. The phone system was the kid called 911 on his cell.

There were only three of us who thought the call to 911 should happen. The other four or five didn’t seem to have a plan or didn’t think it was that bad. The lady was not communicating well at all. She seemed dazed and dizzy and out of it. Then I heard somebody saying she’d just been discharged from the hospital...with some kind of condition that causes one to have difficulty communicating or whatever. I don’t know what the hell that means.

The more I talked with the lady - or tried to - the more I thought we gotta call 911. So what if it’s a false alarm. False alarms happen. ...but now I’m feeling kind of dopy and panicky and silly for freakin out like that. It scared the hell out of me, but I’m pretty sure I did the right thing. Still, though, I have this feeling that I'm kind of a dope...and I can't reason it away. Maybe I overreacted. I'd rather overreact than underreact. I'd rather be dealing with the feeling that I was a dope instead of dealing with the feeling that I watched a 75-year-old lady flop onto the floor while I continued my workout, just turning up the volume to drown out the annoying sounds coming from some irksome commotion...know what I mean?


Ouch, My Back

My back's been hurting me. It's not that severe right now, but a couple of months ago, it got so bad, I was laid up for a few days. I couldn’t figure out the exact cause of it then. I had gone to the gym one morning, and then I was hunched over my computer all that afternoon - computer on the coffee table, me on the couch. That evening I tried to get up, and pains shot down through my legs, and I couldn’t straighten all the way up. All I wanted to do was lay on the floor, on my back, with my heels pulled up into my butt. It’s not that bad right now, but I do feel some pain in there. I hope my back doesn’t get as bad as my sister’s back.

My sister was working in a daycare center, and she reached over a chain link fence to pick up a kid. The kid started kicking and fighting, and the strain blew her back out. She ruptured a disc. They operated on her, and she was okay for a while, but then it went out on her again. They tell her now that it’s degenerative, it’s only going to get worse. She’s actually on the fentanyl patch. Fentanyl is like 50 or 80 times more powerful than morphine. It amazes me that they make it in a patch...but then...they make a painkilling lollipop out of the stuff, so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.

Once my sister slaps one of those fentanyl patches on, she’s in for quite a trip. She’s trying to get off of them. She doesn’t want to be all doped up like that. But as her pain increases, they have to up her dosages, upgrade her meds. Sometimes when I see her, she’ll be fine and coherent and lucid, but then she’ll take one of her stronger meds, and she just gets wasted. Then the medicine gradually wears off, and she’s back with us again. It’s scary. The doctors seem to intimate that it’s a one way street with her back pain. I hope they can advance other treatments before she gets too far into the fog.


Four Day Weekend

I have no plans. I'm feeling good though. I had a very cleansing one-on-one meeting with the boss, and I presented some grievances and some were presented against me. I’m not sociable enough, she said, I’m not a team player. I pointed out the difference between team player and sociable, and it turned into a sociology debate and then a point by point discussion about what sucks about everybody, and then I asked about new positions opening up in our branch of the org chart...and before we realized it, we had been in that room for two and a half hours. We came out of there laughing.

I want to be a better person.

But I worry I’ll turn into the opposite of a writer. If you’re constantly letting things go (the meditation mantra or whatever, “Let go” “letting go”) . . . if you’re constantly letting go, how do you record anything? That’s what writers do (wannabe writers too)’re recording everything.

I guess you record it and then let it go.

I heard a real writer say that once you write it, it’s gone. So maybe that's true - by writing it, you let it go. When you’re writing it, you’re trying to pull pieces of the memory from the past to the present, and you’re assembling the pieces, and soon this thing you’re assembling becomes the new form of it, the new reality of it - - so instead of having an undesirable memory, what you have is this thing you’ve written.

I don’t know if that’s right or if that’s just poetry...I heard some writer say it on NPR. it being poetry, maybe it’s righter than right could possibly be, righter than words could ever say. Maybe by writing it, and writing it out successfully, you have beaten it.