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. 

Odd Thoughts Because It’s Been An Odd Day ~ Late Afternoon Thoughts.

There’s been a lot going on this week.  I have a friend at Stage (end) cancer, another friend that is facing what could be heart failure.  I’ve been strong and uplifting until last night …. that’s when I discovered that the well had run dry.  I’ve been around long enough and through enough (look back through this history of the blog for those episodes that really revitalized my outlook) to know that it’s bound to happen.

Even counselors know that a sponge can only absorb so much, and then all that has to be squeezed out or the sponge becomes of no use.

Today, then – became a quiet and reflective day.  However (comma) I really wanted a few things to possibly 1) kick me in the behind to make me move (LOL) or 2) make me laugh and/or 3) inspire me ….

Here’s the laugh factor …. as a preface – the Mouse House (AKA Disney Studio) is NOT known for their sense of humor in regards to what others might do with their material.  I’ve been surprised at some of what on YouTube is allowed to remain and not so surprised at what they’ve wanted removed.

In this case, they took the recording outtakes/bloopers from The Lion King and animated them and included them (evidently) in The Lion King DVD … I’m still chuckling over parts – especially the last one.  I have to admit when I saw the film the first time (and the stage show) a part of me wondered if that had ever happened.

And now – THIS video made my day just to be able to watch these folks fly … and what a rush it must have been for them …..

Let me quote:

Wingsuit flying is the sport of flying the human body through the air using a special jumpsuit, called a wingsuit, which adds surface area to the human body to enable a significant increase in lift. Modern wingsuits, first developed in the late 1990s, create the surface area with fabric between the legs and under the arms. A wingsuit may be referred to as a birdman suit, flying squirrel suit, or bat suit.

A wingsuit flight normally ends with a parachute opening, so a wingsuit can be flown from any point that provides sufficient altitude to glide through the air, such as skydiving aircraft or BASE jumping exit points, and to allow a parachute to deploy.

The wingsuit flier wears parachute equipment designed for skydiving or BASE jumping. The flier deploys the parachute at a planned altitude and releases the arm wings, if necessary, so they can reach up to the control toggles and fly to a normal parachute landing.

Now that my heart has stopped racing … enjoy…..


Early Evening Thoughts ~ The One Last Ride ~

I’ve written about my suicide several times over the last few years, but one aspect that I didn’t cover was one that I really preferred to keep somewhat unknown.  It wasn’t an attempt to keep it secret (if you’ve followed this blog, you know me better than that…) as much as a problem in knowing how to handle this.  When all was said and done, the Dr. felt that I had possibly had 2-3 concussions one right after another … as a result, for several months afterward, I had a lot of difficulty with sentences, names and remembering certain things.  It was, in all honesty, one of the most terrifying times of my life.  I was afraid that I had possibly done severe brain damage (cutting off one’s oxygen supply and hacking one’s neck with an eXacto knife will have a tendency to do that sort of thing…)

At the least, I was afraid that I might have triggered Alzheimer’s and all that would entail.  Fortunately, none of that happened.  Gradually, words, memories and such returned and I seem to hold no further problems from it.

I was and am blessed with wonderful children, and friends who simply said to me – if it happens it happens and we’ll deal with it then.  In other words sir … quit borrowing trouble from the future, you’ve got enough to deal with right now …. and how right they were.

This story, which I understand like yesterday’s has been making the rounds for sometime now, made me cry.  Not only for her, but for the blessings that I have of people around me who know me and mercifully still love me! What would it be like without anyone? I really don’t care if and haven’t looked up to see if the story is true.  The story still makes me cry every time I read it …. [update: the story is true … I just looked it up]

A NYC Taxi driver writes:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next few hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired.Let’s go now’.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.

‘Nothing,’ I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Early Evening Thoughts ~ Have Lunch With God ~ Bring Potato Chips

Potato Chips

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God
lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack
of root beer and started his journey.
When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man. He was sitting
in the park, just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and
opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when
he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he offered him some chips.
He gratefully accepted it and smiled at him.

His smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered
him a root beer. Again, he smiled at him. The boy was delighted!

They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a

As twilight approached, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to
leave; but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran
back to the old man, and gave him a hug. He gave him his biggest smile ever..

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother
was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?”
He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But before his mother could respond, he
added, “You know what? He’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”

Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked, “dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?”

He replied “I ate potato chips in the park with God.” However, before his
son responded, he added, “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”

Have lunch with God…….bring chips.

Evidently, this story has been making the rounds for awhile, but it was the first time I’d seen it and I’ve fallen in love with it ….

Intermezzo ~ Late Evening Thoughts

For tonight, I’m going to leave myself at the hospital with a broken arm, and various problems with Julius Caesar and Midsummer Night’s Dream unresolved. I wanted to head in a different direction for tonight …

Today I found out that D&D,who have been close (if dramatic) friends for over 10 years, are ending their unending relationship of over 9 years. I would like to say that this came as a complete shock to me, but it did not. For a number of years, they have sounded more like a couple that’s been married for a long time – but didn’t want to be. And their idea of communication seemed more to talk AT each other, rather than TO each other.

I haven’t done this for sometime, but I went back and looked at various quotes that I thought were relevant and realized again – any relationship/friendship takes work. Sometimes a lot of work. The advantage of friendship, as I see it, is that there is a separation inherent in the dynamics.

However, as I learned in my marriage that ended after 15+ years, marriage is not a minimizer but an enlarger. Those charming idiosyncrasies that are so charming when dating – can become major mountains that need to be overcome!!

(but it’s all worth it!!)

“Love is not written on paper, for paper can be erased. Nor is it etched on stone, for stone can be broken. But it is inscribed on a heart and there it shall remain forever.”

“It is strange how often a heart must be broken before the years can make it wise”
–Sara Teasdale

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
–C.S. Lewis

“When love is lost, do not bow your head in sadness; instead keep your head up high and gaze at the stars for that is where your broken heart has been sent to heal!”

“A broken heart is what makes life so wonderful five years later, when you see that special guy in an elevator and he is fat and smoking and saying ‘Long time no see’”
–Phyllis Batelle

“The day you finally decide to love me will be the day after the day I have given up on chasing you.”

“I don’t miss him, I miss who I thought he was.”

” Maybe nature is fundamentally ugly, chaotic and complicated. But if it’s like that, then I want out.”
–Steven Weinberg

“Man is harder than iron, stronger than stone and more fragile than a rose.”
–Turkish Proverb

—and as Paul Harvey might have said: Tomorrow, more of the Shakespeare story

Writer’s Cramp And Pain ~ Late Eveing Thoughts

I have to apologize for the silence in this blog. I really haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, nor have I been captured by a mob bent on burning, raping and/or pillaging.

I have been deeply involved in two creative projects . . . one is total vanity on my part – I have been putting a book together which is now taking shape. It will hold it’s shape as long as I don’t get the “Oh, good Lord – what do I think I am doing” vision and use the delete key to take it all away. I don’t think it will happen as there’s been a bit too much of my energy, etc. involved in it.

I can tell you that the title will be “Do You Want Me To Bring The Ashes?” which comes from an incident involving my Mother’s funeral. Almost the entire book are base on my memories of things in and around my life. Much of the material has come, so far, from the postings in this blog ~ all of which has required a LOT of rewriting and “fixing” – especially when it comes to names and such.

The other creative project that has really consumed me, I was asked to create a theater piece. I have NO idea if it will be performed or even make it to a staged reading. It is a type of theater I have always had difficulty writing, but I am slogging though all this and fully expect to come out the other side. Perhaps I will not come out the other side triumphant but I certainly will have accomplished a major goal.

I think that things will begin to settle down now and not take quite so much of my time and energy.

Talks about writer cramps and pains … Sometimes creativity hurts!!!

An Elegant Moment In Time ~ Early Morning Thoughts

What happens when you take ~ 8 weeks of planning, 8 sound tracks of 60s through 90s music, 10,000 who auditioned, 400 chosen, 10 hidden cameras, and a terminal full of unsuspecting commuters? You get an amazing moment in time.

Here is a cell-phone commercial recently filmed in England … at a railway station during rush hour…

Of course, it took quite a bit of planning and rehearsal ….

I always get a bit teary/emotional seeing things such as this … hopefully, not too many commuters missed their trains ….

Side note ~ There are some advantages to being old(er). Years ago, on the old Alan Funt Candid Camera, in a supermarket ~ there was an announcement on the loudspeaker asking everyone to take a moment and dance. A waltz was played and the “plants” literally took unsuspecting shoppers in their arms and began to waltz with them. My family urben legend is that my uncle had written the show and suggested it as something they could do.

A Moving Tale (2) ~ Early Afternoon Thoughts

Previous post about moving –>here<– I got the keys to see the apartment, and upon entering ~ I actually loved it. There was a much larger living room, an actual hallway to the bedroom (Le Mutt would enjoy the running room) and, of course, the washer/dryer connections off the kitchen . . . just right to clean and cook, right? The patio was larger and only needed some weedkiller for the forest primeval that was attempting to grow there. All seemed to be well and what I was looking for in living space.

Now came the difficult part, actually making the decision to move. I weighed all the options, made innumerable lists comparing the pros and cons . . . and finally decided that I would once again move. Again, it was only 150 yards down the way. . . and down a short flight of stairs into the apartment or down cement steps OR a slight grassy incline into the porch. Shouldn’t be much of a problem.

I had decided that there was no way I was going to pack and move myself. Somewhere I felt there was one of the moving companies that would pack, move and unpack. That was a correct assumption, but you would have thought I was moving into the White House based on the conversations and prices I was quoted. I was stunned to find out what the charges would be just to MOVE things that were already packed. So now I was faced with doing it on my own ~ so to speak. While I was contemplating this turn of events, I got into a discussion with my daughter. My son-in-law, in order to add extra money into their personal stimulus plan had been doing a number of “side-jobs” on the weekends. I decided that I would hire them for the move. . . and pay them quite well for it.

This proved to be one of the best decisions about the move I could have made. I decided on moving the last week of December. The move would occur the 24th of January. My neighbors were planning to make their move to a different complex the same weekend, so we would be able to share/commiserate during the ordeal of boxes and dumping and hauling and sorting.

During the week of the move the weather reports were quite typical for Houston. . . in other words, no one really knew WHAT the weather was going to be like during the weekend. Of course, there is always the chance of rain or storms ~ but nothing such as that seemed to be on any one’s mind. The day of the move was actually quite cool, overcast, light wind and some rain was forecast at some point during the day. My daughter, Son-in-law and the 2 grand kids showed up ready to begin the day . . . I was actually ready to begin it myself. Very shortly. however, I was banished sent to the new apartment to oversee the arrivals and to place and unpack them as well.

What my Son-in-law has done was hire four men that work on his construction sites to come and do the lifting, hauling and placing. This meant that he could arrange, box and get things finalized (with the rest of his families help) and they would simply “hoof” it over to me. Talk about an incredible time-saver and energy saver! Very shortly furniture, boxes, tables, beds and all the etc. began to arrive to be placed and/or unpacked. What the moving companies had told me would take two days (!?!) was accomplished in a few hours.

The best moment of the entire move was the arrival of Bonzai (who had been in his large crate the entire time to prevent him from trying to help/hinder the move!) I’m old(er) enough to remember the spectacle of Elizabeth Taylor’s entrance into Rome in the movie Cleopatra. The dog arrived much as she did – with one guy on each of the corners of the crate. They carried him through the complex and down into his new kingdom. We were all laughing but I can report that he was “not amused.”

He was even less amused when Daughter, Son-in-Law and grand kids all went to dinner and left him behind.

So now I had moved into my new space without too much difficulty (only one slight damage to a piece of furniture) and I was awaiting the quick connection of the phone, Internet and TV.

—that ordeal will follow . . . and it was an ordeal!

It’s My Party And I’ll . . . ~ Early Evening Thoughts

Today is my birthday – a wonderful milestone for me. . . it’s been almost 1 year and 6 months since I decided to live sane(r) and sober. . . it’s been almost 1 year and 6 months since I re-connected with my kids and grandchildren that I thought might be lost to me forever.

It’s been an interesting journey with some wonderful highs and some rather interesting “valleys” . . . but, as I reminded someone today – there is little good grass that grows on the mountain top ~ particularly above the tree line!!

So, how did I celebrate all these milestones? By doing exactly what I wanted to today, sharing with some friends and enjoying the day and my life.


Now that may be a very small button – but press it and press it again and again and help me celebrate my birthday with unicorns and rainbows!!!!

An Explaination Of Sorts ~ Early Evening Thoughts

I apologize for my silence ~ on January 25th I moved from one apartment to another in the same complex. This was not a move to another town or even across town…I moved approximately 150 yards from where I lived.

I finally got my land line hooked up Monday and the internet TODAY ~ (cue frustrated sounds here).

I have a lot of emails and some work to catch up on and then I will post the story(ies) of this saga.

Again, my lengthy silence was certainly NOT my intention …