Life Is More Than A Bumper Sticker ~ Late Afternoon Thoughts

On a site I follow daily, they posted about depression as living in the past. There’s a tremendous truth to that…However, those of us living with depression for any length of time also know “the mind is a dangerous place to wander in, unaccompanied – especially at night.” And that depression is more than a bumper sticker.

Over these last few years – you’re welcome to read about it in other posts – I’ve also discovered there’s a huge difference between the “dark night of the soul” and a “dark night”. Tuesday was one of those “nights”.

Duane Townsend (.com)

Duane Townsend (.com)


It’s a feeling of things not being quite right, of emotions that want to come to the forefront for no apparent reason. It’s a soft feeling of dread. A feeling of loneliness that may or may not have roots in reality.

It’s a terrible feeling when you that in your mind there’s no one to call … which is vastly different from the feeling there’s no one who cares

Sometimes, I set the timer and just “let it all hang out”,~ however,  sometimes – such as tonight – it’s more important to do a version of what AA calls fearless moral inventory. I do what I call a version of that because when I’m doing this inventory, I must sit quietly and track back where this is all coming from.


You see for those of us with severe depression, there is no “It will suddenly get better”, “snap out of it, quit being selfish”, “fake it ’till you make it” or “Pray and all will go away as if it had never been”. If such things had worked for me, there wouldn’t be the gash scar on my forehead or the long scar on my neck from the exploratory surgery to see if I’d damaged something after I’d tried to commit suicide.

And I've actually had a couple of these tossed my way ...

And I’ve actually had a couple of these tossed my way …

For those of us with severe depression, it’s a life-long job. And 99% of the time, it’s a job that’s actually quite easy…it’s that 1% which gets really, really difficult and makes even doing the simplest tasks a major undertaking.

And here’s the other “rub” … sometimes when we are going through these “dark night(s)” … it’s highly possible no one will know. We’re awfully good at hiding. There are those we can’t hide from – ourselves and our [don’t judge my term here – there’s a reason for it] higher power, and eventually, one of the two (if not both) will get our attention …

When I was at CRU, they gave us a tool called F.L.A.S.H to instantly check our feelings (which as you know, feelings are neither right NOR wrong – they just are.). F-fearful, L-lethargic, A- angry, S- sad. (not just “down” but sad) and last H-happy. Of course, being the sane adults we all were, we laughed quietly at such a childish idea. Childish until you realize that given the letter – you then must try to identify why. Not necessarily solve it, but identify it ….. Ah, not so childish or easy now, is it ….
So, after – OK, the truth – two days of F,S,S,F,A (FSSFA sounds like a bill from a drunk congressional committee) I can say I’m firmly in the H camp.

This isn’t a call for pats on the back … but rather part of my ongoing attempt to be honest and transparent with others …

We will now resume your regularly scheduled broadcast. 

Post-Valentine’s-Mortum ~ Early Evening Thoughts

Let me say up front, there were a couple of people that thought I was little (!?!) cynical about Valentine’s Day. I will reply in honesty … Yes, I probably was. However – let me explain.

(Assuming best Masterpiece Theater voice)

My week of working in the florist shop began on Tuesday … the calm calm before the storm. It was a long day, but fairly uneventful. By the afternoon, the temperature had begun to rise in the clients calling in for orders. Still, no one appeared to have “lost it” at this point.

Wednesday the floodgates opened at 8:30am and the phone did not stop ringing until 5pm that night. There were 120 orders and walk-ins that went out the door that day … some were called in, some were web orders from Telefloral and FTD. Still, the day went smoothly and people seemed pleased. By the end of the day – there appeared to be over 230 orders that were going to have to be delivered on Thursday.

Thursday (the actual day of Valentine) the phones started ringing at 7am … they were not answered until 9am. From that point on it was non-stop. We actually had people calling in at 10am wanting to know why the arrangements they had ordered had not been delivered yet.

Finally all the drivers had loaded their vans and headed out to all points of delivery. At this point, we are keeping tabs on inventory AND zip codes. There were several people who had not listened when they were told there were no guaranteed delivery times for that day … it would get there, we just couldn’t say when.

The day was moving forward (cue sound track from Jaws here). At this point the calls were being balanced between people wanting to know when, people wanting deliveries to areas we didn’t and people wanting the impossible. “I’m sorry sir, we don’t sell carnations — of any color and we would be unable to deliver them to Clutch, TX even if we did. (actual name of town).

There was only one complaint at that point – she didn’t think her arrangement was “perfection” and wanted another. Fortunately, she was in the building so a new one was walked up to her – and the “imperfect” one brought back to the shop. As it was sitting on the counter ready to be put back in the cooler, someone walked in and bought it. The front of the store was beginning to resemble a bargain basement – people trying to wheel and deal.

Technically there is no smoking in the building, but as I was not going to be able to leave to go outside, I was given an ashtray and I took two smoke breaks the entire day. Lunch was at the desk … the work must go on.

At this point I was dealing with people who forgot it was Valentine’s Day — or just waited until the last minute…not a good idea on this holiday ~ trust me on that one!! There is a certain 800/internet outfit that takes any order that comes in and then tries to farm them out to local florists at the last minute. I had to deal with about 10 phone calls from them and ended spending quite a bit of time explaining each time why we couldn’t/wouldn’t be able to help.

The wire brought in 3 orders for funerals in town and I ended up wiring out several funeral orders for out of town. And the phones kept ringing. The system that the shop uses allows us to look up florists in a specific zip code – I was using that a lot to tell people who to call that might be able to deliver. Also, we have a similar name to another florist close by … several calls from people who were unhappy with the arrangement only to be told that they had called the wrong shop …

Four O’clock came and thought we were surely through with all the last minute orders – when this gentleman(?) called in to demand that a dozen roses be delivered to an address forty-five miles away in rush hour traffic. He became highly incensed that had to tell him that we were not going to be able to do that. I was going to offer to deliver it for a $100 delivery charge, but thought better of it.

Why the chaos? It can be summed up, I think, by saying that of all the holidays Valentine’s Day is the most personal. People do remember their friends (thank you DB, EM for your ecards!!) But by and large this is a time that seems to be for those who are in a relationship, want to be in a relationship or need to be in a relationship. And, they get crazy and somewhat stupid illogical. For example … I got a call (on Thursday) from a gentleman who wanted to recognize that he had been with this person for two Valentine’s Days. He was insistent that there be only two roses in a vase … no greenery, etc. AND that it be delivered. This delivery was going only a few blocks from where we were ~ and not much further than from where he was. No, it had to be delivered and as soon as possible. This arrangement probably would have cost him at the most $12 using premium rose buds. We have a $35 minimum delivery AND a $15 holiday delivery fee. He spent $50 to have it delivered.

Ah yes, the wonders of the holiday…I’m glad I only do this once a year to help out. There was talk about having me work Christmas week, but I think I’m going to be very “busy” that week. I think I’ll be able to appreciate the season more!!!

He loved her very much.

He wanted this Valentine’s day to be special, so he had ordered a bottle of her favorite liquor imported from France and it had arrived in time for the occasion.

On his way home, he stopped at the local florist. He had planned to have a bouquet made with her favorite flower, white anemones. But to his dismay, he found that the florist had sold all her flowers and had only a few sterns of feathery ferns left for decoration.

In a moment of inspiration, he had the answer.

He asked the florist to make a bouquet using the flask of liquor instead of flowers and what she produced was magnificent well beyond his expectations. He added a card, and proceeded home.

When he arrived, his wife was beautiful in her most elegant gown, and it was apparent that she had spent much of the day preparing a romantic candlelight dinner for the two of them.

He presented her with his gift, and she opened the card to read, “Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.”

With a tear in her eye, she whispered to him lovingly, “Yes, and with fronds like these, who needs anemones.”
—Stan Kegel

Thankful? Grateful? ~ Early Afternoon Thoughts

For those who have been following this blog (even during the unintended/intended) absence ~ I want to let you know that my Mother is slipping away. While this is not a totally joyful occasion, please be aware that I am totally at peace with what is going on. I have no unresolved issues with her, no excess baggage that has to be dealt with. I will, however, be flying to Montana tomorrow afternoon and will return to Texas late Wednesday night. Trust me – where my mother is there is NO computer connection (sorry Laurie!!!) so I will report on the trip next weekend.

Now, for the heart of this posting — I was talking to a couple of friends this week, one is an addict and the other a really hard-core alcoholic. We were discussing being thankful and grateful ~ and the difference between them. Some of what I am posting relates directly to them, but thought about it, I realized the questions related to everyone.

Am I/you/we grateful?

Supposedly we are celebrating being thankful this week ~ but it appears that the Thanksgiving part has been shoved off the shelves for the next event in the calendar. But, has that spirit of being grateful vanished from the shelves of my life as well? Am I truly grateful?

Am I grateful for a place? For the shelter from more than just the elements of weather ~ but grateful for the shelter sometimes from others and sometimes even from myself?

Am I grateful for myself? for the who/what that I am? Am I grateful for the recovery from addiction(s) help me keep my life in balance? Am I grateful for the possible metal diagnosis that will keep me very aware of what is going on around me and within me ~ perhaps for the rest of my life?

Am I grateful for what I can do? Am I grateful for what I may be unable to do? And grateful for those who respect my limitations, but do not baby them either? And am I grateful for those who don’t?

Am I grateful for my frustrations? Am I grateful for what I’m not being allowed to do? Am I grateful for the road-blocks in my way? Am I grateful for the mountains that seem insurmountable that I know I must go over as I unable to go around them ~ of under them?

Am I grateful for others? The ones who greet me on the way by? It’s easy to be grateful for the ones I like, but what about the ones that I don’t? Perhaps those are there to help me learn ~ such as patience, tolerance and long suffering (and they can make me suffer!) Perhaps by being grateful the annoyance will fade over time.

Am I grateful for what I have? While many of us have very little, there are those who have even less. Of course there will always be those who have even more, but am I able to be grateful for those as well?

Perhaps the universe will not trust me with more until I am truly grateful for all I have.

When I become grateful for all these things, then my heart will be at peace…my life can come back to manageability.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

What Is Your Internal? ~ Early Evening Thoughts

Today was an interesting day. While not full of great insights, I did gain insight into some of the people I work with.

Ninety percent of who we are is internal, and only ten percent is outside of us.
— Anonymous

As often happens when I need to think through issues and complex problems, I turn to what others have written or said that links into what I’m dealing with. Hopefully, these will touch your lives as well.

Think of Honesty and Integrity as sisters. Honesty is truthful and is well respected because she lives truth in her heart and offers it to others
without compromise. Integrity believes in wholeness, goodness, and excellence, and is willing to serve as a praiseworthy example for others. Both are held in high regard. Practicing honesty and integrity is a two-fold gift. The first gift is seeing yourself as honest and having a high level of integrity. The second gift is offering your honesty and integrity to others. You become a respected person of integrity when you are unwilling to compromise your values.

I’ve done a number of posts about integrity and honesty, but these reached into where I was standing today ~ and helped to “sooth the savage beast” that seemed to want to tear up what I was thinking, believing about people and hoping about people.

To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.
–Douglas Adams

Integrity has no need of rules.
–Albert Camus

Honesty is the cornerstone of all success, without which confidence and ability to perform shall cease to exist.
–Mary Kay Ash

The greatest homage we can pay to truth is to use it.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

A life lived with integrity – even if it lacks the trappings of fame and fortune is a shining star in whose light others may follow in the years to come.
–Denis Waitley

The highest compact we can make with our fellow is, – ‘Let there be truth between us two forever more.’
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
–Thomas Jefferson

The glue that holds all relationships together — including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.
–Brian Tracy

Integrity is the first step to true greatness. Men love to praise, but are slow to practice it. To maintain it in high places costs self-denial; in all places it is liable to opposition, but its end is glorious, and the universe will yet do it homage.
–Charles Simmons

Our lives improve only when we take chances – and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.
–Walter Anderson

Integrity is not a conditional word. It doesn’t blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a man who won’t cheat, then you know he never will.
–John D. MacDonald

Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.
–Ayn Rand

He that loseth his honesty, has nothing else to lose.
–John Lyly

(Again, forgive the lack of images, I as still using a computer that makes it so I really can’t place images in the blog. Hopefully, Comcast will solve that problem shortly.)

–more tomorrow

And Your Little Dog Too! ~ Early Morning Thoughts

One of my daily read favorite blogs is called “Don’t MAKE Me Get My Flying Monkeys!” I have to admit that the very first time I saw the title, I had to repress an enormous urge to shout: “I’ll get you and your little dog too!!!” As I have followed the blog over time, I have have found out just what a delightful person Laurie is and those connected to her as well.

Laurie ~ you have kept all of us so updated on your life, and then you began the series involving Dale and ALL that he has been going through in the hospital (to say nothing of your (1) hysterically (2) described (3) trip (4) – well, the drive (5) anyway – to get there). While convincing me all the more, that a hospital is not exactly the place to get well … at least Dale has been surrounded by love, care, concern, hope and a decided lack of fear. (If anyone hasn’t read it – now would be a good time to click on the link above ~ or the one –>RIGHT HERE<– )

Now, you are faced with the wrenching problem of having to leave for a time.

As much as I hate to leave Dale in this condition, I have work duties that have to be taken care of. Making the decision to go is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I don’t see any way out of it and it is breaking my heart.

I know just how difficult that decision has been and is for you. There is such a sense of feeling that you will not be there — and not be there for Dale. However (comma) I want you to assure Dale:

I may not be physically present,
but my spirit remain.
My hope
is ringing
the hospital bed
on which

I may not be physically present,
but my concern
and love remain.
That love
has seeped
into the walls
the hospital bed
on which

I may not be physically present,
but my thoughts
and belief remain.
They will shine
from the corners above
the hospital bed
on which

I may not be physically present,
but I will see you
at every turn,
I will see you
in a stranger’s smile,
a word of greeting,
a moment of silence.
I will hear your voice
as I look out over
the valley,
as the cats play
terminator with
their cat pole,
as the wind comes across
my face
in the mornings.

No, I may not be
physically present ~
but I’ll be (insert favorite “cuss” here)>)
if you’re going to
me ~ yet!

(An aside to Wolf:)

As you know, I play a character on World of Warcraft … allow him to imbue your armor with +25 stamina, your chest plate with +16 Int, +5 Crit. I’m going to add +22 healing to your armbands and +16 healing to your ring of defense. Go forth young Warrior!!

–picture of the flying monkey was labeled as a Mattel toy. I’m sorry I don’t know the date of manufacture.
–seeping light picture from

The Storms Have Eyes ~ Early Morning Thoughts

As I mentioned last night, it seems not to just rain, but it pours. I told a friend today that it reminded me of that moment when the grocery bag has a small hole and then suddenly “rendeth” open and dumps everything out. I was just glad that I had a couple of other “bags” to put everything back.

“While grave-digging, after rainy weather
Always keep a long hollow pipe next to you.
Another poet told me never to forget this.
It will help you to breathe until you’re dug out.”

I had mentioned that yesterday was to be a day of rest and relaxation. Toby and I spent much of the day just chatting and even some – dare I say it – dozing off (and you thought we were doing what?). There were two lengthy conversations later in the day, that I’ll post on later. But, that seemed to set the tone for the evening. There was a great deal of honest talk – some of which fell into the “I’m not sure I want to know that…but I’m glad I do” category.

Of course, no “interesting” day would be complete without some interaction with D&D having some kind of interaction either with themselves, or the world around them. The evening’s middle trauma was a phone call from one of the D’s announcing that they were through with each other and that I could expect a phone call from the other shortly. Having been around them as for this long, I cudda/shudda moved that announcement from the “I need to worry about this right now” to the “I’ll worry about that when I get around to it” category.

But the most troublesome part of the evening involved my Mother. She is a feisty 93 year young lady, who still lives alone – does quite a bit for someone of her age, and refuses to have an answering machine. Last night when I called, something didn’t sound quite right – but I let it pass at the time. Nothing I could put my finger on, but just slightly off none-the-less.

This morning the reason I was uneasy became even more clear. She was lounging in bed when I called and was thinking about simply staying in bed all day. This is not like her. Now, she (as I do) loves to sleep in and enjoy easing into the morning. This was unusual.

Tonight was the cap of the two days. When I called her – all she could get out was that she was having trouble with her words. The next sentences were completely unintelligible. Now, this was a call to action. There are two people who live very nearby and with one phone call one was on the way to see what was up – or down.

My Mother suffers from TIA … without going into great detail (which you can get —>here<—), she was suffering from a mini-stroke. This has happened before, and will definitely happen again. And yes – according to the Doctor, it's not a question of IF she has a stroke but WHEN. (Just to let you know – yes, plans and provisions are in place.) Alright, now the choices come into play. The inner choices. The kind of choices we make all day long on minor things, but sometimes I drop the ball on the major choices about my reactions to what’s going on.

I’ll go back to my Mother – when asked tonight if she realized she was having trouble talking, her only comment was: “The only one I was talking to was the dog, and he wasn’t listening!”

I could easily have become a “spinner” over all the events. Let me explain. When I worked for a certain major airline – the flight attendants had a expression for those people who discover that someone is supposedly sitting in their seat. (next time you’re flying – watch for this) They usually stand in the center of the aisle and turn around and around. Hence, the name spinner. Of course, with all that’s gone on the last couple of days – I could emotionally become a spinner as well.

“And the music goes ’round and ’round
and it comes out ….here.”

And in my case, it wouldn’t have been music, and it certainly would have come out NOT where I wanted. But then again – maybe there IS music in all this. I posted the following on another blog (Sorry Laurie, but I’m using it here as well!!!). It kept coming back to me all day – So, here’s a wonderful poem about music and life!!

Tuning up for the concert of my life
Taking note of classic techniques
Finding the keys to composing myself
I entered into the first movement …
ready …
To B Sharp.

Being A Natural … at this stage
fright did not come into play
Being confident of each measure
I scored victory
Refusing to sing the blues
over A Minor setback
(stumbling upon a broken / bridge
over troubled waters) …
Crossing over anyway to
C Major possibilities
not to B Flat or one-dimensional …
but to embrace all that jazz this
life’s made of …
I entered into the second
movement … set …
to B Sharp.

Directing a chorus
voicing four-part disharmony
Orchestrating rare repeat performances
in unison
I turned a deaf ear to discordant tones
striking a chord of discontent.
Having no time for Modern / pop / bluegrass
/ country / swing / hip-hop
Soul / rap / rhythm and blues / heavy
metal to weigh me down …
I entered into the third movement to a
higher octave oblivious to
all that jazz …
and decided to B Sharp–
to be … MYSELF.
–Iris Formey Dawson
Essence,May, 2001