Stars and Cats

Good Morning Everyone.

I had my alarm set for 4am this morning. The plan was to get up an hour early and get some writing work done before I had to start the get-the-kids-ready-for-school-Samba. I only pushed the snooze button three times. Then Panda came into my room, sat on my chest and proceeded to give me sandpaper purring kitty kisses until I got up to feed her.



She was being sweet this morning. Usually she sits on the night stand and knocks everything off, one item at a time, until I get up. It goes something like: swipe, thump. Book falls in floor and Panda glances over for a reaction from the human. Swipe, thump. Second book and a hair tie meet the ground. Still no reaction from the human feeding unit. Swipe, rattle-rattle, glasses get close to the edge and the human jumps up…

 Anyway, I got up early to write and feed the cats. So, after feeding the cats, I sat down at my computer with a cup of coffee and stared at the screen for awhile. My eyes roamed over the bookmarks toolbar at the top of my screen, looking for inspiration, and found a link to something about the Night Sky.  I remembered there was supposed to be a meteor shower this month. I couldn’t remember the dates but since I had time and it was still dark, I decided to go spend some quality time star gazing.

The thing is I live in a suburb. When I was a kid and lived in the country the sky stretched spaceout in every direction, a dark cloak scattered with fiery diamonds and imagination. Now, once I turned off all the lights in the house, there is like a scrap of real night above my house that fades at the edges as the light pollution from other houses and street lights reach out to blur the beauty. If the night sky of my childhood was a diamond studded cloak, then the one I have now is a stained version in a second hand shop made with cheep rhinestones that have mostly fallen off.

Still, I laid down on the back porch and gazed up at what I could see. I opened all of my senses and took in the smell of recently cut grass and the sound of a train whistle. I felt the chill from the boards under my back seeping past my shirt and I watched my small window patch of sky. I felt recharged and more awake than the coffee could account for. Then my neighbor’s air conditioning unit kicked on at the same time one of the cats stuck his nose in my ear and I managed to levitate off of the porch.

I had left the back door cracked open so that if the kids woke up I would hear them. The cats had apparently saw that as an invitation to follow me.  Even the blind one, Max. I had three furry faces gathered around me on the porch, trying to figure out just what I thought I was doing. Laughing at myself, I gathered up Max and went back inside. I sat back down on the computer and I wrote.  Good Morning…

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A phone post from the alert impaired

I didn’t post a blog this morning but it is still Monday here for another hour. I had time this morning, I just spent it enrolling in company health insurance. The dead line is in a few days and I needed to sign up before I miss the chance. Then I went to bed. I slept poorly. How poorly became evident when I tried to check the time by staring blurry eyed at the thermostat on the wall instead of the clock.

True story.

My mom took pity on me, made me sit down, and brought me a cup of coffee. I sat on the couch watching the cat give herself a bath until the coffee was gone, then got ready for work. This is night six of the seven in a row, so I only have to survive tonight and tomorrow.

My mental function is slowly improving but it has taken a brownie and three cups of coffee to get this far. I thought I would do a quick post from my phone before the caffeine wears off. I hope everyone has a good night and I will attempt a proper post later this week after I have a longer, more restful visit with my pillow.

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Dealing with the family demon

I am sitting at a cafe with a cup of coffee and my ten-year old son asleep across the booth. All around me the clatter of noise bounces but we are safe from the chaos thanks to the tall seats of our refuge. My son is snoring softly and that is the only sound I care about at the moment, not the squeaky string music piped through the store, not the loud whisper of voices from other tables, and not the hiss of steaming milk.

My son should be at school right now but neither of us really slept last night. We were too busy doing battle with the anxiety demon. I am reminded a scene from the movie done about Bruce Lee’s life. In the film, there is this haunting snippet that is sort of like a dream sequence. He has to face the demon that is his family curse dressed in armor. My family demon is anxiety. It is more ninja like than armored warrior. Even when it is expected it can still surprise us.

Today I have a meeting with the principal of my son’s elementary school. I may be leaving with my pockets a bit more empty than they already are, because they may decide to slap me with a fine. Too often he has been late to school and that apparently violates some state law.

Perhaps keeping him out on the day I have this meeting seems like a bad idea, but we were losing our minds this morning thanks to stress and no sleep. So after the second time someone burst into tears I decided enough was enough. I dropped my daughter off at school, stopped by the pharmacy for some tissues, and then sought out breakfast. My son worked on some homework and I organized my notes for the upcoming meeting.

There is a reason why my son is late often enough to require a meeting and a fine, some days he gets so upset at the thought of school, all the people, and facing a teacher who keeps trying to change his very nature that he throws up all over himself. Usually this will happen right before we leave or even in the car. That throws our schedule off because it takes time to change clothes and clean up. Also there are days that he dreads going so much that he drags his feet as much as possible. I have had to carry him to the car before. So getting him to school, even late, feels like a victory those days. (He has been late 8 times this school year.)

After looking over his records I have discovered he is most often late on Thursdays. Thursdays are Rally days at his after school program. All of the kids are crammed into one room and it is really loud. I think him dreading that crowd of chaos at the end of the day is the reason he is often late at the beginning.

Now that we have each had a warm drink, our anxiety demons are at least soothed and napping. We can step forward and face the day pretending to be people unaffected by invisible monsters. At least until the next attack.

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I have a new book

I still have a lot to learn about publishing and marketing. Honestly, I know very little about marketing at all. I have a few ideas and I did order a few promotional post cards. However, as I was putting the post cards together my ten year old was looking over my shoulder and giving me tips like: “Mommy you need to use a brighter color there, you are trying to draw attention.”I still have a lot to learn about publishing and marketing. Honestly, I know very little about marketing at all. I have a few ideas and I did order a few promotional post cards. However, as I was putting the post cards together my ten year old was looking over my shoulder and giving me tips like: “Mommy you need to use a brighter color there, you are trying to draw attention.”

So he is now my official marketing agent. Especially since he managed to sell a copy of my poetry chap book to the nurse at the doctor’s office a couple of days ago. I guess, being a kid, he gets a lot of promotions shoved in his face all the time. He is smart enough to pick out what the advertisers do to draw attention. So while having a ten year old as a marketing executive may not sound like a wise business move, it is a resource not everyone else is using. I was impressed by him tossing out a sales pitch for the old book while I had my head stuck in editing the proof of the new one. And he had the flu and was running a fever while he did it too.

Anyway, if you want to check out the new book just follow the link below. It is a book of short stories. Most of them are a little odd. The person who edited them referred to them as “Fantastically Weird”. I read at least eight of them to my son while we were in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, even though I didn’t really intend for it to be a children’s book. (There are a few curse words in a couple of stories.) He liked “Deflated” the most. It was one of the newer ones that I wrote just a week before I put the book together.


The Oak Muse And Other Stories

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Walk or Run?

This guy has a big heart. Who wants to join him? $40- $50 Dollars and you can join in no matter where you are. You get a t-shirt and a medal for your participation.  You don’t even have to go outside, you can walk up and down your hallway or trot laps around the kitchen table if that is what you want to do. He is trying to get people from all over the world to connect in something that benefits others and isn’t too bad for yourself either.

Now I know some people have to work this Saturday or have other obligations, but you have up to a month if you join the virtual run to complete the 5K. It is all done on the honor system. Asthmatic that I am, I once walk a 3K at midnight in the cold. I hate cold.

Okay, to be honest,  I only walked three quarters of a 3K.  Then I hitched a ride with the event orginizers back to the finish line just so I could beat my marathon running friend and her siblings. You should have seen the look on her face. It was great. :D

I also did this walking contest at work once for a gift card. I will do a lot when offer me money for books. It helped that I walk a lot at work and that counted as long as I kept track, so I wasn’t really doing much more than I normally did.

Anyway, the point is, even lazy me can walk a 5K in a month. I haven’t signed up yet but if I can get my 12 year old to agree, I am going to sign both of us up. (I just have to wait until she wakes up.) Even if I am unable to join the marathon, I will at least donate a few dollars to help the cause. (My son currently has the flu and I may not be able to get out of the house when I want to.)

So come one guys, who wants to walk a marathon with Sean Astin?sean astin 2015 raeligh

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Sharing Burdens

I feel like I am hanging on to the end of a frayed rope and my palms are sweaty. If I think too much I will have a major anxiety attack and end up back in bed, under the blankets, and trying not to hyperventilate. I’ve got troubles. Doesn’t everyone?

I know that the things going on right now that are stressing me out will pass. And once time moves me past this trial it won’t seem as insurmountable as it does now. Sometimes living with anxiety depression makes you feel like even small tasks are the equivalent to Frodo taking the one ring to Mount Doom.

Today I am facing a second trip to the doctor for my sick son. I also have a million tiny errands that need to be done. I need to make some phone calls, buy cat food, acquire doctors notes, and manage to pick my daughter up from school.

Monday I have a meeting at my son’s school because he has been absent a lot this year. He has inherited my anxiety demon. It, combined with a few other stressors, has made this school year hell. There have been times I have had to drag him begging to the car and you don’t want to know how many times he has thrown up on himself because of stress.

This meeting has me all tied in knots. I am trying to prepare for it. I don’t like confrontation to begin with and now I have to stand up and plead my son’s case or leave with a fine. Ironically, the day after he brought home the note for the meeting, he woke up with a 103.3 degree fever. I took him to the doctor yesterday and they said it is the flu. Again. (He has already the flu once this school year, before Christmas.) They want to see him again today. He will be out all week.

I did have plans to attend a Cherry Blossom Festive this weekend. That has been scrapped in favor of playing Nurse Mom and fretting over the future. I know worrying over the out come of the meeting will not change anything, but that doesn’t stop my brain from going: What if… and then chasing the thoughts around and around like a dog going after his own tail.

I find  that writing things out does help. That is one of the reasons I am writing this. I don’t have to share these words on line but I probably will anyway.  Because, I know I am not the only anxiety depressive out there. Sometimes reading about other people’s struggles makes your own seem smaller. Sometimes it makes you feel less alone.

If one person reads these words an thinks “Oh, I do that” or “Yeah, feeling overwhelmed sucks,” then these words will have meant something more than just me calming myself down. They will have reached out into the world and connected me with another person, and that is a precious, wonderful thing. It means I am not alone either.

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A dispatch from Fort Living Room

Originally posted on Brad R. Torgersen:

I ordinarily keep my family pictures private. I don’t share many of them on the internet. But in this instance, I think I’ll post one. That’s my wife Annie, my daughter Olivia, and me, back in 2008 — when we first moved into our (then) new house in Utah. As of the writing of these words, Annie and I have been married for over 21 years. We’re opposites in most ways. Personality opposites. Political opposites. And — apropos to this particular discussion — racial opposites. From the time we got married in the Salt Lake City LDS Temple in December of 1993, until now, it’s been an exercise in learning how to live together, cherish, and love one another, despite the differences. I’m proud of my wife. She’s not only smart, she’s got an enormous heart, I’ve never seen her judge people unfairly, and she’s never been afraid to roll…

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