Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Some childhood memories, I am getting older or why can't they make TV like this anymore?

I've been nursing the same cold now for 3 weeks. Temperature fluxing from 100-101 daily, won't go down past 100.  Cough bad- phlem balls, yeech.... I have not left the house in over a fortnight, which explains why I am in such a bad mood.

This morning my mom took me to the doctors office- while we were waiting in the waiting room, she was telling me she has been glued to PBS' new Ken Burns series on National Parks. She was asking me if I remeber the summer I was 12 and my sister was 10 and we drove out west to "show the kids America". Gas was 35 cents a gallon she told me. I didn't realize that.

I remember the car we drove in a 76 Pontiac  Bonneville, brown, with a tan padded roof. My sister and I sat in the back - my parent's nightmare , as we subjected them to 2,000 miles of "Are we there yet?", 'MOOOOMMMM!" , and the ever famous "I GOTTA GO NOWWW". Needless to say, it wasn't a very good trip for all involved, and we turned around and came home quicker than dad wanted.

One of the things my mother wanted to see was the Old Faithful geyser. She was a city kid- so this really appealed to her. We stopped at a hotel overlooking the park, signed in and went to KFC for dinner. The next morning, my mother woke us up at 4:30 am. My father wanted to sleep, mom said the geyser went off at 6 am. "You're getting us up at 4:30 am to see a geyser piss?" said my dad.

Exit stage left. Two little girls laughing so hard at their father they both had accidents and had to get new shorts on.

Now, thirty some years later, my mother is watching TV with my dad- seeing Old Faithful on TV- and laughs. Dad asked her what she is laughing about.

"Do you remember the time you said you didn't want to get up at 4;30 am and see a geyser piss?"

No. No recollection. As he ages, more and more memories are being wiped from his gray cells- like the brain is saying "You are in your 80s you don't need to recall this anymore".

I've been thinking of my childhood. One of my most favorite memories was watching the Sunday Night Movie- Dad in his chair,  Mom on the couch, each daughter under one arm. And children silent for once-glued to the TV because we loved this show.  I loved this, I felt so safe and secure snuggled with my mom.

Here is the opening. Henry Mancini in all his glory.  For the life of me, I cannot recall the show "Hec Ramsey'.  I can recall the other ones clear like I saw them in last night, but not this show I wonder if anyone remembers it.

And one more view- I didn't realize that Jack Klugman as Quincy was also in the line up. Check out the music. It's slightly higher in octave, and a bit livelier.

Ah, take that 70s show! This was great 70s TV!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Is A&E's Horders the best depiction of mental illness on TV today?

 According to Reality TV critic,  Andy Denhart, it is. On today's blog, Denhart writes-
Hoarders works because you can see mental illness and its effects on screen like never before: in piles of trash, or rotting food, or feces-covered toilet paper, or, in one especially disturbing episode, dozens of dead cats. The two people featured in each episode are usually at some kind of turning point—their relationship is deteriorating, they’re going to be evicted—and so a professional organizer and/or specialist comes in with a cleaning crew to help them deal with what has accumulated over the years.
But the subjects’ mental illness—for which hoarding may just be a symptom—prevents them from being able to do that, which makes it obvious that they aren’t just being stubborn. That frustration is clear in friends and family members, but particularly in the workers who have been hired to help clean up. They can’t understand why it matters that they threw away a piece of broken tile, for example.
People with mental illnesses hording is not a new thing. D. Jablow Hershman  in his book 'Manic Depresion and Creativity" mentions the fact that Victorian writer Thomas de Quincey "(He) piled  his papers until every piece of furniture and every inch of floor were covered with them, leaving only a clear path to the door. He called this process "snowing up." When a room reached that condition, de Quincey locked the door  and left it forever. He did that to six rooms." (p. 192)

Probably the most famous hoarders were the American Collyer Brothers, Homer and Langley.  Both were eventually found dead in 1947, in the Harlem brownstone where they had lived as hermits, surrounded by over 130 tons of rubbish that they had amassed over several decades. E.L Doctorow's  2009 novel "Homer and Langley' and Stephen King's "Salem's Lot' were both inspired by the brother's story.

"Horders"  is worth a look if you find it on your TV schedule, or download from iTunes or Hulu. But as a warning- if you love animals, cats and dogs, do not see the episode with the woman who hoards cats. 

A viewable  preview of the season finale is here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy Anniversary! No Words Are Necessary

September 26, 1996-
September 26, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Triggers-One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor

As I wrote in a previous post, this past week I had a very bad  bout from wrestling with the Black Dog. It was one of the worst I had in quite some time. Most of the time, that type of depression , brought on by a single  trigger, doesn't stay more than a day or so, and I can just ride it out.

This time it went on for six days, and was very impossible to ride out.  Fortunately, it ran it's course, and as it was lifting, I had an Eureka! moment- i knew what caused this one. Silly, but once realizing it, I felt like I had climbed Mount Everest without the Sherpas. It was a comment made on a blog by someone I used to be very close to but am close to no longer. It took a lot to take him out of my RSS feeders reader, but it's for the best. Right now everything he is writing is triggering me.  And it's not his fault- it was this time of year when our relationship ended.  Don't get me wrong- he is a good writer- (But I am  as good, by his own admission , and  much  cuter, LOL).  I have referred people to his blog- and I hope he reciprocates to mine. But right now- E is - off the list. I don't think I can take another depressive episode like that again this year.  It destroys your soul- as seen in the post- but it also destroys your body and your health.

I feel like Sisyphus, during these episodes. One step forward, ten steps back. There is the end of the road- where things will get better or normalize- and I can't get there. It's beyond my grasp.

                         Ever feel like this cat?

Paul Simon wrote a song after he broke up with Art Garfunkel.  "One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor".  That is how I see triggers. I can identify my triggers- and I guess  to 99.9 percent of the universe they'd be  nothing. But then, I am not triggered by spiders or snakes- though I've never seen a King Cobra or Black Widow spider.

One of my triggers are babies, and small children.  I need to wrap my head around this- at this point in my life, biologically I am still young and healthy enough to have a child, but without a boyfriend, or a steady job, or finances,  it is not going to happen. Seeing my friends with their children is painful, hurtful. It isn't their fault, it's mine. I think of the child I carried for 13 weeks and want to cry.

When I turned 30 I wanted the little white house a  with picket fence, two children, a dog and cat, and a station wagon. I had a good career, was making money, now was the time to listen to my clock. This was the life my mother had- this was half the women I knew in college wanted. The illusive  'Mrs", degree. The other ones wanted to work, and subscribed to the adage  ' a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle'.  Is it any wonder my generation was the first one to grow up confused between our mothers who came of age in the 50s, and our cousins who came of age in the 60s and 70s?

What I found was the men I dated- all good men- were kind and sweet, but when the relationship got to the point where it was getting "serious",  they backed off or broke up. The reason- I know they loved me- but did not want to father children with a woman who was bipolar. When I turned 40 I met the Ex - who like me was bipolar. In hindsight, that was all we had in common besides our writing. His dreams were not mine, mine were not his.  It is not a blight on his character.  He was older and wanted different things in life than I did. In hindsight, the relationship was doomed from the first date  at the Guggenheim.  But I can take comfort  in that for a little bit I did know him, and he taught me - a very independent woman at the time - that living with someone is really, really wonderful. Some days I miss him, some days I don't. From now on, the days when I do- I cannot read him. Not if I  do want to stay grounded and stable.  I want to get well again, and  not look back but look forward to a future. Right now I cannot grasp the idea of a future. I am stuck in the present. But I will understand future again.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cutest Cute Fix- Ever. Sweet Million In NY

To make up for the last sad post, here is something that is guaranteed to make all who view it smile. It is the latest ad for the New York State Lottery, 'Sweet Million' game

Is Depression like snow?

I cannot help but wonder- is Depression like snow flakes? Every episode different and beautiful in it's own way??

Since this past Saturday, I have been experiencing a Depression different than any other I have ever experienced.  Listen-

I cannot get out of bed, and have no desire to use the toilet. I cannot eat. Indeed, I have not eaten anything since Sunday other than water and iced tea. I get up solely to feed and water the cat and change her box.

The cat is ignoring me. I suppose I would want to ignore me too. No bathing, no brushing teeth, not hair. Why bother? Europeans in the Middle Ages never bathed.

I cannot sleep. i am sure I do in fits and starts, five ten minutes here and there- but not more than that. I close my eyes, I see myself dead- hanging from a tree outside my apartment, bleeding to death in the bath tub- dying from not eating- dead from a broken heart. Indeed the last one concerns me, my heart is racing so fast I cannot breathe. The last time I saw the doc last week, my blood pressure tapped out at 160 over 120.  Not good. I never had this problem before. I cannot read, I cannot watch TV, I can barely write. My thinker seems broken.

And the worst part is, I have never experienced this, and even worse, after a day or two- I should be starting to flip back to mania.

There was no mania this time. I did not fall from mania, I did not get it. Instead, this bout seems to be triggered by a writing by someone I actually know, that upset me, no - made me retch. It seems to me, the older I get, the deeper and longer the depressions get- and the worse the suicidal ideation gets as well. The mania - when I get it is different too. Most of the time it's mild, like I have OD'ed on coffee- but now, for the last 3 years, every July I get manic- to psychotic, to paranoid, to I am putting the Reynolds Wrap on the windows so the neighbors cannot hear my thoughts. This is new.

And the weirdest symptom of all - now- is I am afraid to leave my apartment. Right outside my door I have a rose bush. It officially died this summer because I could not get outside to water it. I have a mail box right outside, and i cannot even go and get that. I don't understand. There are 17 stairs to get down to the front door- I cannot walk down them. The cat runs down them, I cannot bring myself to walk down them.

I think the worse thing is, i have not seen another living soul, sans cat since Saturday Night. This is not good. I cannot even talk on the phone without crying copious amount of tears.

I murdered my roses. I feel awful. Those little guys never had the chance. I wish I knew how to murder my depression and get back in the land of the living again. I do know the tools- I have them. I just cannot get out of bed to do it.

All these symptoms are new. So I wonder, is Depression like Snow?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

When favorite things go bad-

Bitter, at My Medicated Cartoon Life, is celebrating his 2nd,   "bloggisversary I am reminded of one of my favorite drawings of his- about Apple.  I love Apple. But the new itunes- is dreck. Awful. Piece of garbage. Updated last night and - yeah, everything crashes again.So it's back to install and re install. Don't get me wrong. I am a proud member of the Cult of Mac. Once you go Mac, you won't go back. A Mac is a girls' best friend. But itunes 9? Bah!  The only thing WORSE than itunes 9, is the new update to Blogger, because I cannot post this real cool movie to my blog I am aching to do so

Monday, September 21, 2009

Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang-Repost

I am in the mood for a repost, while I try to get my brain around several posts I am working on in a white hot bit of mania. This is the second piece to be written for this blog.... Enjoy.

I am losing it. Everything that I have is about to be taken away from me. For the first time in my life I am, really powerless. I am having problems at work. I cannot think anymore. I cannot do my job.  I cannot compartmentalize, work,  and home anymore. It's like my life is a house of cards. it is about to come crashing down. I am loosing everything. I am scared. 

This is still true. I am not working now, but trying to work. Trying to rebuild my life, brick by brick, again. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, rebuilding from ashes.  But people do it. They do it after catastrophies, and they do it in real life after something shatters and turns your world upside down. I've done it before, but this time, I'm older, and it's harder. It's harder and harder to stay afloat.

I look at other people in my online support group, and my support group in real life. People have spouses who help them. I never had that. I have a network of friends, but  I cannot call them or ask for help when I start the black thoughts, my brain starts drowning in it's morass that is darkness, depression clutching my black heart and dragging me into the undertow, bashing my brain against the rocks while a siren sings, but not for me. For anon.  If I do reach out, I am afraid I will loose them.

The point is moot anyway. It looks like my brain is turning against itself, the gray matter leaving. Perhaps going South for the summer to warmer climes, only never to return. I feel alone and lonely and that adds to the black morass. Is this the way recovery is supposed to be?

I was once an intelligent person. I have a college degree and a graduate degree. I was asked to join Mensa, but didn't think I was smart enough to join. Turns out I passed the test to join, but didn't. I don't know why, maybe I didn't feel I was good enough.

I know I have suffered from low self esteem all my life. I never felt I was good enough for anything. I always felt like a fraud when good things happened to me. So maybe the masochist in me should be enjoying the fact my brain doesn't seem to be working anymore. And if and when my money runs out.....

I loose my apartment, and my  way of life. I have been homeless before. I know I can do what I did in college, wait on tables, schlep drinks. Work retail. I don't mind working, I would rather work than be on disability like now.

I am upset. I didn't ask for this. Yet when I found out about my birth mother, I found out that everyone in the family was either bipolar, schizophrenic, or a combination of both. Lots of horrors, lobotomies done in the 40s and 50s, too many suicides and no one dying of natural causes. I hope I can escape the genes, but sometimes I wonder if it's something I have to deal with, like Oedipus first hearing the prophesy  he was going to marry Jocasta, runs away to  escape and ends up marrying his mother anyway.

I don't have curtain pins to tear out my eyes. But I do hope I  can escape the genes. Keep the illness under control, and live a "Normal" life. I should have realized that "normal" is only a setting on the washing machine.

 I don't like the fact I cannot recall things. I get stressed and cannot talk. People confuse me. I cannot handle crowds anymore. I cannot handle being around people anymore. Even my friends overwhelm me if I am with more than two or three people at a time.

I use to be the life of the party. I was the class clown. Now look at me.

My father tells me I have let myself go. I can still pass for 10 years younger, but maybe I have. I don't know. Sure, I could loose some weight, but who couldn't? Maybe that is all I need in his eyes to feel better. Loose 30 lbs, go to the gym, lighten my hair and bleach my teeth. In my grandfather's day they toled women to go out and buy hats. This generations it's a pair of Manolo's.

All I know is I am loosing it. I don't feel anything. I should feel anger, but I don't. I don't feel resignation though.  I feel nothing. Hollow. Empty, devoid of feelings. It is like I am watching my own funeral, but cannot feel anything. I don't feel it's normal. And if I cannot work, once myinvestments are gone, I am going into a home.

I don't feel suicidal though. Not now. I just don't feel. Is this what being dead is like? No feelings, just numbness?

I don't want to leave the human race yet. I want to stay productive. My prayers aren't being answered. I sit and stare in front of the computer and cannot recall how to write. Then I write copious amounts where I cannot stop.

The other night I was driving home and I drove past my apartment. I never did that. I forgot where I lived. I didn't realize my error till about ten miles later. This isn't like me. I have been driving home on the same road for over 10 years now. I can drive back and forth in my sleep I know this road so well. Yet I forgot.

I feel like my brain is turning on itself, eating itself alive like a female praying mantis does to the male when it mates. I am scared.

I keep thinking of my grandfather. He was in his late 90s when he died. When he was in his late 80s my mother and father and aunt and uncle put him in a nursing home. He had Alzheimer's. I remember the nursing home, one of the best in the state at that time. How happy my mother and father were to get him in there. I was in high school. We visited him almost every weekend, rain or shine. Some days he didn't know me, some days he did. I can still smell the nursing home in my memory, it smelled like Lysol, sweat and tears. At that time I thought it was like living in a hotel, grandpa had his own room and took communal meals. He had his own shower. But the furniture was standard nursing home issue; it reminded me of my dorm room furniture, only with a hospital bed. We brought him a meal, flowers, cookies. When I was in college aI visited him once or twice a week on my own between classes. I remember I did that every semester when I had a four or five hour gap between classes.

What stays with me are his eyes. Dead empty blue eyes. the nursing home did that. Every other resident had the same stare. Empty, dead. Like the only thing they all did was wait for God to send them home. Grandchildren, great grandchildren, were cherished. But when they left at the end of the day leaving only a memory and an photograph taken from a Polaroid camera that would spit out the film, the dying began again in ernest. TS Eliot wrote about measuring your life with coffee spoons. Here your life was measured on days on a calendar, only instead of marking the days til Christmas like an Advent calendar, it was a giant advent calendar of death. Don't fear the reaper, minus the cowbell.

Is this to be my life soon? When I can no longer work or write, to be shuffled off to some home with my books and my crocheted afghan to serve as my bedspread? To measure each day as one more closer to my death, instead of one ore day that I was grateful to be alive?

Or is it that you die once you go to a place like that, your soul and your spirit  leaves you and you do the opposite of a physical death, instead of waiting for your body to return to dust, you wait for your body to stop breathing.

Was it a curse on my forehead, from the time I was first came into this world, backwards of course, that made me who I am? The sins of our parents- when I was born was it determined by the Greek Gods that this is how my life would end I just exist while I wait for Klotho, Lachesis, and Atropos to cut my thread?

The weird thing is if I had a choice up to now, to be normal, or to be bipolar, I would pick bipolar. I have seen remarkable things and done remarkable things when manic. I've done some beautiful writing when I was depressed.  By contemplating suicide, could I understand existentialism. True, I have been alone, gone to bed so many nights wishing there was someone I could hold on to, hold me and be held, make love with. But I have the gift of writing instead. I love to read and write. Would I have been so creative if I wasn't bipolar? I don't know. What the Greek Gods give they also destroy. They gave me bipolar so I can create. I know ths. I have to suffer. Don't I?

Last night when I brushed my teeth, I looked back at my reflection. My blue eyes reflected back and they are still alive. I breathe the air and I am grateful for the small stuff.

I don't know how my life will end. Someday t will end. I just hope  my brain chooses to fall softly on itself, slowly, ever so slowly and gives me another couple decades of good life.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Book of Bunny Suicides

Pictures from The Book of Bunny Suicides. Please take this post with a grain of salt. Sometimes at 4 am you need a dark sense of humor.

I really really need some sleep! Like I said, its 4 am! But the black dog has lifted and now I am laughing at it......and the feeling has lifted. From these stupid cartoons. Miracle, maybe?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, for all those who celebrate, and frankly for those who don't but I just like the sentiment. The New Year is 5770.

My mother's kasha with bowtie noodles, and brisket. Enjoy!

3 onions, diced
2 tablespoons oil
2 cups fine grain dried kasha (buckwheat)
1 large egg, beaten
8 cups chicken stock
2 cups small bow tie pasta


1 Fry the onion in oil and set aside.

2 Pour kasha into a hot pan and toast for about one minute while stirring.

3 Add beaten egg to kasha and continue stirring and seperating grains (don't worry if a few lumps appear, they will break up afterwards anyway) Lower fire to medium and add half the chicken stock- it will cook down quickly so keep an eye on it Once most of that liquid is gone, reduce the fire to low and add onions and remaining liquid.

4 Cover pan and allow it to cook for about 1/2 an hour.
5Once the liquid is cooked out, add the cooked pasta and serve hot.


2 very large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 8 to 10-pound brisket
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 pounds onions, halved and sliced
3 medium carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
2 large, outside ribs celery, sliced 1/4-inch thick
4 small bay leaves


1. Rub 1 chopped clove of garlic into each side of the meat.
2. Salt and pepper the meat on both sides.
3. Spread the onions, carrots and celery on the bottom of the pan. Put the meat over the vegetables. Put 2 bay leaves under the meat, 2 on top of the meat.
4. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and cook in a preheated 350°F oven for 4 hours, until meat is just tender.
5. Let meat rest 20 minutes, then slice: Cut the second cut off of the first cut and trim off and discard the layer of fat between them. Slice both cuts across the grain, either straight down or at a slight diagonal angle. Skim any fat off the juices left in the pan, and serve the onions and vegetables with the juices as a sauce for both the meat and any starch accompaniment. If desired, you can puree some of the vegetables to make a thicker sauce.
6. If preparing ahead for serving another day, refrigerate until several hours before serving time. Skim hardened fat off the surface of the liquid that has collected around the meat, and off the surface of the meat. Allow the meat to come to room temperature before final heating.
7. About an hour before serving, using a long-bladed, preferably serrated knife (I use a bread knife), slice the meat about 1/4-inch thick. It will require a sawing motion and a strong arm. Do not disturb the conformation of the meat. Return the meat to the roasting pan as if it was still a whole brisket.
8. Baste with pan juices and heat, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, basting a few times during that period. The surface of the meat should have browned nicely, and the slices of meat should be heated through and fork tender. Trim excess fat off the meat on the plate, as it is eaten.

Picture of kasha and bowties

(Sorry the pictures aren't flush, Blogger has changed slightly and I cannot figure out the slight changes!)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

On Suicidal Ideation

Therese Bouchard of Beyond Blue had a gem earlier this month I must have missed.  It was on Suicidal Ideation.

I think I am the Queen of Suicidal Ideation. Right now I have my ibook on my lap, a razor next to me. I want to pick it up, go into the bathtub and play with it. What is stopping me from that? I am writing this, fast, furiously, hoping among hope I can stay busy until the feeling passes and I can put the blade away without any cuts or blood to my person. But oh! It would be so tempting to just pick it up, go into the bath tub, strip down to my underwear, crawl into the tub, run a little hot water so that one delicious vein in my wrist will show, and cut deep.

But what stops me is what if I screw up, and only destroy a tendon. Not loose enough blood to sanguinate?  That is one. But if I mess up and can never use my hands again? I gotta fight it.

And in fighting it, fighting this feeling, I could take Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali down with one hand tied behind my back. I   have been doing this most of my life, since my first attempt at four.

I have learned various tricks to stop it when it hits, write. Write as if your heart is breaking and just keep writing. Don't proof read, just write/type as fast as you can, and when you are in a better frame of mind, proof read, or destroy the manuscript.

Another trick I have learned is to take an ice cold bath. Don't know why but it works. Another trick is to smoke- this probably won't work for everyone but for some reason after a few cigarettes, I feel stable. It must be the nicotine.

Sometimes the feeling comes and goes quickly, in minutes. Sometimes it goes on for days and weeks like it did when I wrote this to Liz Spikol, who was kind enough to print it.  Three weeks ago my mother phoned me and I was crying, begging her to let me come over and pick up the rifle my dad has. That is a rifle for game, not people. It doesn't even have ammo, and hasn't been used in over 40 years. I got over that by staying in the apartment, until it passed.   I don't drive. I try to identify what triggers, if any made me get Existential and want to x myself out of existence.

It's not that I want to die. I  want to stop living. I want the pain- whether it would be real or imaginary, to stop. What is painful to me, may not, as triggers and thoughts go, be the same for another. For me, it's broken dreams. The realization I peaked at 23, and the life I wanted never would happen.Wishing when i was 22 and had a chance to have my novel published, I choked.  From that point on, my writing and my career dreams went down the toilet.  Other things, the fact I am not a mother, that ranks pretty high. Seeing couples being happy and being in love, makes me want to stab myself in the heart and rip it out like an auto-sacrifice of my own in a mock  Aztec fashion. Only I would continue to live, without the heart.  It's not a big deal because I think honestly I am living that way now.

I still feel like I want to go into that good night, not sure if I will hit the publish button or delete. Maybe should try to sleep a bit? Lie down and arrange the pandas in the bed with me. With a bit of luck, the striped one will finish her nocturnal rounds and snuggle. She is my saving grace, my saviour. She leans up near me so close I can hear her breathe, and feel the fur against my naked leg. And it soothes me.

I know I will pray as I do most every evening of my life to not wake up in them morning. To learn if you dream you are falling and you really hit bottom and don't wake up. If a heart attack really hurts. And I have trepidation because I am such a loner and introvert it could be days if not a whole week before they find me. So what ever it is, will be. There are some things I can change, and other things I cannot and I need the courage to know the difference.  And dying, no matter how tempting it seems, isn't. Not now. Not ever.

Monday, September 14, 2009

His Last Day-A Memoir.....

Kleenex needed.

My blog friend Anthony, also in NJ but the side closer to Philly than NY, put his beloved 18 year old cat Kitty down today.

He wrote a lovely tribute to his beloved fur friend, along with pictures.

Putting down your best friend is something I did with my previous cat. It was the worst day of my adult life.

I hope those who read this can pop over to Anthony's blog, read about his beautiful friend and see his pictures as well.

Reminders of our own mortality-3 AM musings

It seems that every news story I saw last week, every friend I talked to, almost every blog I read reminded me- no hit me in the face with this- that we are mortal. We, as all mammals, come into this world and start dying the moment we draw our first breath.

That is a concept that most people don't want to think about. You mean babies start dying from the moment they are born?

Yes. Cells start sloughing off and die. The only way to escape this is to be a single celled organism that reproduces by division that way. For if you belong to any species that reproduces by sex- you start dying the minute you are born.

Take the following news events this week-

1. Big news if you live in the US and are a baseball fan. Derek Jeter broke the Yankees all time career hitting record- that was previously held by Lou Gerhig. Fans over the age of- well, 40? 50? were happy and sad. If a record had to fall, why one by one of the most beloved baseball stars of the last century? It's as a friend of mine said- "Soon all he (Gerhig) will be known for is a black and white movie and a disease".

2. Larry Gelbart passed away at the age of 81. Gelbart was the genius who brought M*A*S*H to television. My youth and teenage years were absorbed by this show- it was the entire family's favorite. My father still loves watching re-runs on TV when he accidently finds them while channel surfing.

3 The world's oldest person died at the age of 115. Wow. I cannot even picture myself at 50, let alone, double that. That is a celebration of a life, not a death. Think about seeing three centuries- New Year's Eve's go by! Think of seeing electricity, horses replaced with cars, man landing on the moon- that is a celebration of a life.

4. The world's oldest dog died in Manhattan at the very old age of 147- doggie years, and 21 in human years. And Larry, if you are reading this, she was a doxie. Maybe all those Sabrett and Coney Island dirty water dogs, added to her longevity.

5. Two people I know had to send their dog and cat to the Rainbow Bridge.

6. "King of the Hill', Mike Judge's brilliant TV show and razor sharp views of American family life, went off the air last night after a 13 year run. No more Bobby and Hank Hill! (Sniff)

7. And lastly The Beatles:Rock Band came out, and i realize, even though I was first into Paul and Wings- then the Beatles; I was alive when John Lennon died. Now i know the Beatles won't be reuniting, with both John and George Harrison gone.

I think about my friends children- little boys between 3 and 6, and it's a sharp contrast. Full of life, playing, doing all the things small children do, some of it to the consternation of their parents. I was once a little girl, sitting on the floor with story books and dollies, thinking about how cool it will be to be a grown up. To do grown up things, like drive and be a mom. And now I wonder, what is it like when you are grown up, and you cannot drive anymore? What is it like to be 40 or 50 and not recognize the current bands? What is it going to be like to be a parent- and hopefully, a grandparent?

It's 3 am in the morning. I wasn't planning on writing this. I just cannot sleep. But,even with these musings, I feel blessed that such things were in the world, and I was alive to experience and know them. Socrates once said "The unexamined life isn't worth living". All I know, as i stifle a yawn, I am glad I have experienced these things, but- i don't think in all honesty, I would want to live to be 115, in human years, or even 147 in doggie years. If I wake up on December 22, 2012 and am still alive, that will be enough.

Friday, September 11, 2009

We Remember

September 11.

It doesn't seem like 8 years, but yes, it is. Amazing how time flies.

One of the tools you learn in recovery, is to identify triggers and cope with them. This is a trigger for me, as it still is even now. Not as acute, but still there.

I will be off the computer, turning of the TV and radio and just reading and listing to music. And in my own way, praying for those who died and those they left behind.

Time does heal all wounds, but may we never forget those who died when the walls of Tower One and Two collapsed, or the Pentagon's or a field in Pennsylvania. May we never forget what courage is, as the NYFD went into the doomed towers. The story of the man in the wheel chair and his best friend who gave up his life so he wouldn't die by himself still makes me cry, and wonder if I would be as good a person if faced with that situation. May we all be and know Peace.

A list of all who died on this day is here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Remembering a very good friend on World Suicide Prevention Day

September 10, has been designated as World Suicide Prevention Day. My good friend Kevin Greim suicided one year ago on September 14. He was 28.

For those who think Johnny Mandel summed it up best when he wrote 'Suicide is painless/and I can take or leave it if I please', i want to say- unlike in the movie "M*A*S*H" there is no black capsule. Suicide IS painless. It doesn't matter as Kay Jamieson wrote in "Night Falls Fast", 'What matters it if rope or garter'. There is no easy death- not for those who left behind. For every "Eleanor Rigby' funeral- (died at the church and was buried along with her name/ no body came).  There are hundreds of thousands if not millions of those who, leave mourning widows, parents, siblings- and friends. Like my friend Kevin.

Kevin's memorial service was packed. He really touched a lot of lives. I wonder now if, as time does, those who knew him still have nightmares where they are on the train tracks as some type of ghost like Clarence and in the few milliseconds before he died, could have told him to jump out of the way.

There are two beautiful obits about Kevin that I know of. One was written by John McManamy, who loved Kevin like the son he never had. And the other one is written by me here.

So if anyone is feeling suicidal, please read these obituaries. And if you still are after that, i have set up several links on my blogroll of where to get help. Fighting the black dog sucks. It's hard. But the alternative- that's harder. Keep fighting. Keep coming back. Keep on, Keep on,  Keep on....

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Conan (O'Brien) Takes on Pfizer!

Thanks to Philip Dawdy over at Furious Seasons, I took down the original clip I posted earlier today from Hulu and put up the same clip from NBC. Now it should be more accessible. Philip has a brilliant blog and is currently doing his quarterly fund drive. If anyone has any money in these hard times that they can send his way, please do. He is one of the last old gumshoe journalists. Thank you Philip.

"Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien' From September 8, 2009 show....Conan takes on Pfizer!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

09/09/09 - A Day Without Cats? Or dogs? Why Pets Are Better Than Prozac

Around the interweb gossip, various sites are asking for people not to put up cat pictures on this auspicious day. Show of your canines! And the back lash is- nuts to the dogs, show of your felines! Every day is Caturday!

Now, frankly, I think pets are better than Prozac, and honestly, as much as you can say your bff, or spouse, significant other or partner is your best friend or soul mate- I personally believe it's the critters we share our lives with that are. It doesn't matter if they are dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, mice- fish- we love them and they love us back despite all our imperfections. All they ask is to be loved, fed, walked and loved. Did I say love? They comfort us when we are blue, they sleep with us when we have had our hearts broken by the latest boyfriend/girlfriend.

So while the interwebs declare war on deciding- which is better- cats or dogs- I Susan S - say this- it doesn't matter. Both pets rock.

So be good to your animals today. Because we all know, if cats had opposable thumbs, they really would take over the world. And in a reverse weird Planet of the Apes way, humans would be at their beck and call. Worse than they are now. Pets are the best thing to chase away the blues than anything in the universe- even chocolate. Instead of banning one or the other, lets just cherish them.

(Picture of cat curtesy of Bitter Animator)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Try Happiness, You Will Like It More Than Misery

Mary, the brilliant webmistress of Letting Go, has a real gem today. Mary is a talented writer- and was a writer and editor. Like me, she is a friend of Bill W. Unlike me, she writes about it beautifully. I noticed the longer my long term sobriety became, the less i wrote about it. Mary inspires me, and I will be dedicating my next year coin later to her this month.

It is raining and I am sitting indoors witha pot of tea and a copy of The Atlantic article on What makes us happy? In looking at what makes for a good life, the writer Joshua Wolf Shenk focuses on the Grant study: for 72 years, researchers at Harvard have been following 268 men who entered college in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age. The director George Vailliant paid attention, not to what kinds of troubles these men faced, but how they responded to health crises, divorce, war, failure or success. Do we respond to life with humour, altrusim, hopefulness and resilience or do we shrink back, give up too easily, act out our pain in blaming or violence? What factors prevent the development of mature, flexible defences and responses to life’s challenges?

‘Again and again, Vaillant returned to his major preoccupations. One is alcoholism, which he found is probably the horse, and not the cart, of pathology. “People often say, ‘That poor man. His wife left him and he’s taken to drink,’” Vaillant says. “But when you look closely, you see that he’s begun to drink, and that has helped drive his wife away.” The horrors of drink so preoccupied Vaillant that he devoted a stand-alone study to it: The Natural History of Alcoholism.’

But Vaillant’s key preoccupation was with the importance of relationship in a happy life. His comment on 40 years of studying life histories of the Grant study is revealing although probably not a surprise to many of us.

“The only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.”

Continues here.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Life Is Stressful

I got this quote from the brilliant and beautiful web mistress of Beyond Meds, Gianna Kali. Thank you Gianna.

Life is stressful. Things don’t turn out how you expect. Sometimes you get what your don’t want. Most of the time it’s trivial. Sooner or later, it’s tragic. You can’t change the way life works, but you can change your response. — Stephen Schettini

Friday, September 4, 2009

Don't Worry- Try to be Happy

Just be happy with who YOU are...

We are all different, we're individuals. True success and achievement is not about being better than someone else; it is about being better today than you were yesterday. Comparing yourself to anyone else is self-defeating, as there will always be someone faster, smarter, better looking, wealthier, and healthier than you. I know this is easier said that done because the world demands that you compare yourself to someone or something. Standing in line at the supermarket, you read headlines about the prettiest people in America, how to lose weight, how to have better sex, and how to look like a movie star. At work we are subjected to relative rankings and performance scales. Our children constantly face scrutiny and comparisons at school where they face grades on a curve, the homecoming court, and MVP awards. The same is true for us. We have been trained to compare ourselves to others as a way to determine our self-worth. Self-worth begins on the inside and never on the outside with comparing.

Continuous comparisons create a constant stream of negativity in the form of competition between ourselves and the people around us. This especially happens between siblings and family members to the point where relationships are stretched to the limit and destroyed over competition and judgment. Comparing yourself to someone else is a veiled form of judgment. You are either judging them or judging yourself. Either way, it is unhealthy and unrealistic. And stirs negative emotions, such as jealousy, which are only ever destructive, in the main for the person feeling the envy, so why put yourself through that...

On the other hand, we often demand a comparison, thinking that we deserve something that someone else has. This creates a strong sense of inferiority, which, in turn, creates guilt and anger. Comparing yourself to anyone or anything else is a battle that cannot be won. To be truly happy requires that you let go of comparisons and establish your own measure of success.

Who do you think is more successful: the person who overcomes anger or the person who overcomes an addiction to alcohol? We could debate this question forever, but the truth is that there is no comparison! Our goal is to improve, to grow, and to develop love, compassion, and experience joy. When you compare yourself to others, you limit yourself and you limit them. A study of more than eight thousand adults revealed that a person’s level of happiness is reduced by 26 percent if he or she regularly compares the quality of his or her family and social relationships to that of others. Comparing ourselves to others creates an unrealistic and unobtainable standard to live up to and leads to unhappiness.

There are at least three forms of comparisons that are dangerous:

(1) when we compare ourselves to others;

(2) when we have an unrealistic view of what success is; and

(3) when we compare others to others, such as comparing your spouse, your partner. All of these comparisons are unhealthy and cause you to determine your self worth from outside sources. You are beautiful, you are wonderful, and all that beauty and all that wonder are already inside of you. Be happy by not comparing and you will see just how beautiful you are.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's My Birthday!

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Now accepting pressies.........

Let's Hope it's a good year!
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