Friday, January 31, 2014

Little Wing

Luke took a 50-minute time lapse of our bird and condensed it into a minute. Like toddlers, budgies never stop moving.

We had to say goodbye to our much-loved, 7-year old parakeet, Nitwit, this morning.

Luke named him when the bird was one of 2 hand-fed, hand-trained babies left at a pet store in Park Ridge which was closing. "He looks like a Nitwit," Luke said. And he totally was.

Before his wings matured and grew out, which we didn't get clipped, he was an out-of-the-cage bird, largely. He'd sit on my chest while I watched TV, or sit on the top of the couch, look out of the window and sing. Being a caged bird didn't curb his nuttiness. 

Why not?

He was a Miklasz.

 If you went out, he'd chirp his little heart out wanting to go with you as you walked out the back door. And when you came home and opened the door, you were always met with a hugely exuberant litany of singing. 

Rest in Peace, Little Wing.

And yes, we'll get another one. My MO at the pet store is to look into the giant cages and pick which bird looks the most insane, is bothering all of the other birds, has the most energy and appears to be the youngest. It's my turn to name the next one and I'm teetering on Zevon (and call him "Zevie") though my mom's more partial to George (Harrison). I've already gone through a Ringo and a Zappa, a Micky, Sparky and Joe-Joe. I like Bowie, but I have a friend who has a dog named David Bowie, so that's not very original. Suggestions are welcome.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Most Exciting Divorce News in Quite Some Time!

This'd be even more excellent news if I wasn't under a gag order to tell you all why I think this is excellent news.

The Captain and Tennille are getting a divorce after 39 years of marriage!

Surely they outlived the muskrats, love couldn't keep them together and she got tired of him doing that to her one more fucking time. I assume that song referred to him wearing that ridiculous Captain Steubing hat everyfucking where they went.

Never give up, forlorn ladies! (No, I'm not talking about seeking out the affections of The Captain.)

Everyone's replaceable, even those seemingly endless loves.

No disrespect to their heartache, but holy hell!

Who did what to whom with whom and when and why and what happened?

This oughta put the fright of Christ in every couple married over 25 years. THE CAPTAIN AND TENNILLLE BROKE UP.

Monday, January 20, 2014

You Couldn't Dream

...of having a custom made winter hat a tenth as cool as the one my friend made me. She did it from a pattern (off of Pinterest) and all I had to do was buy the yarn. Because she's awesome, she knit the hat for free.

Chicago DOES get awfully cold in the winter and to answer your question, YES! I certainly plan on wearing it to school. It's subtle enough (um...) not to attract attention to the glaring obscenity.


Jealous? You ought to be.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Hard Heart

I woke up at about 5am this morning, smoked a cigarette & went back to bed, but tossed & turned well after the sun had risen. It was one of those ugly moments, nevermind that the covers were arranged uncomfortably but I was too tired to re-make the bed, where I realized I had nothing with which to crossover my conscious to my sleep. Like I've said before, I had no warm thoughts to transition my brain from awake to asleep. I'm just void. I'm just there. What's worse is that nearly everyone can notice it.

Trust when I say that I'd COMPLETELY be cutting if I could find a new spot. I certainly refuse to fuck with $500 worth of bitchin' tattoos on my forearms. Abdomen? Leg? There was just something so sinister and dangerous about grazing the knife so close to the wrist that made cutting that much more pleasurable. I haven't since 2008? 2009? I forget. That being said, we kids did buy my mom a new set of EXTREMELY SHARP kitchen knives for Christmas.

Yes, I suppose going to see a tribute to the songs of a famous misanthrope WITH a misanthrope is probably kind of a buzz kill, but as usual, I don't have anyone else who would accompany me, so I asked him, and he said no, for favor of his sisters flying in. All I answered in response was "Naturally." This is after getting zero response to the fact that Meg and I were out on the town the other night and implied his company would be welcome. Listen to the song. Nobody ever seems to listen to the songs, which play directly into the blog. I wouldn't post them if they weren't totally relevant.

The gifts in the attic, I fear, will have to be somewhat re-packaged (actually, why fucking bother?) for his Cinco de Mayo birthday.

Between him and more utter school total bullshit that some idiot thrust in my direction, I'm getting more depressed as the days go on. Wow, I hope nobody tries to throw Jesus religious bullshit in my face.

Shining moment of the week? Luke turned 14. Hooray for the one thing in life I've managed not to utterly fuck up (yet). Tomorrow, celebration with my brother and nephew, and an ice cream cake. Luke is officially taller than I am (and I'm 5'8") and sounds like James Earl Jones.

Funny, we had a guest speaker in Addictions class on Monday, and based on my answer to "What is recovery?" I had to laugh, because he said, "You're a two-fisted drinker, aren't you?" Well, fuck. I just know that of which I speak, which was that you never "recover." I offered the definition of a "reprieve." Counting days, months and years one has been sober is such as waste of fucking time. Just get an hourglass and watch the sands count the seconds. The speaker said "What if you've been sober for 5 years?" I answered, "Live your life and God bless you, but that doesn't mean you're not going to totally relapse multiple times." The whole thing is stupid. (Actually, I think those were Christ's undocumented last words on the cross.)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tear Down the Wall

I, frankly, don't see where or why I have negated the philosophy of an educational institution.

I'm supposed to trust someone "weirded out" by my blog just because he/shes's got issues about my writing and opinions which might dissuade a young person from spending $250k on a degree?

Let's play Jeopardy, sweetums.

You're all "weirded out." That's what keeps you coming back for more.


Jesus Christ, my point in blogging is to "weird" all of you out. What other joy could I garner, except from helping hundreds, if not thousands of people with a voice of psychological help which can and does impact tons of people. "Write a book," all my professors tell me.

 My blog is simple: If you're interested in crock pot recipes, you've landed in the wrong yard and I should hope you'd pick up your doggy doo-doo. Sorry.

The Offbeat Drummer refuses to be silenced.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

"But I Know Which Way I'd Run To, If the Choice Was Mine...."

It's always refreshing for someone with bipolar disorder to have one's depressive episodes reduced to simply being a "bad mood." Sort of goes along with that whole "Snap out of it!" mentality, which is completely unjustified and unfair. As I said in my last blog, it's not uncommon for a bipolar patient to slip into a depressive state when he/she gets really sick, and I was really sick. I'm no longer really sick, though still coughing, but my mood, I believe, is currently relatively stable.

Sure, it's helped tremendously that Luke has been home with me since Saturday and we've had no school the last 2 days due to the extreme cold here in Chicago (-40 wind chills!) and I feel a little safer from the wrath of my mother's rage. This is pretty much what we all look like when we go outside:

She was so upset over my bank statement not balancing when she went to do the reconciliation (who the fuck does those anymore? It's all online or at the ATM!) and it didn't balance, why, I don't know, as I thought I'd recorded every penny I'd spent, that she did this with her dinner the other night, before slamming the door with her coat on and going to get some fresh air or something. A tad over the top, no? (Like it's any of her goddamn business where I spend the money I loaned out off of which to live while I'm in graduate school.)

The next day, angry because there was a sticky spot on one of the stairs while she was vacuuming, hoisted and threw the vacuum cleaner up the stairs. She screams profanities that make me sound like an angel in comparison. You have to understand: with her, everything is somebody's fault, but never her own. There is a reason, in her mind, why everything goes wrong, but it's not by her doing, and whomever is responsible should be subject to ridicule, shouting, snarky remarks, insults or, in her worst spells, a slap. I've armchair diagnosed her with having Borderline Personality Disorder or some type of schizo-affective disorder, but I need a more professional opinion. Unfortunately, she'd sooner die of a stroke from stress than see a psychiatrist.

Only sick, crazy people actually go see psychiatrists, and all they do is fill you up with drugs. She's therapist-resistant too, and sees a social worker (who's not actually a therapist) maybe (MAYBE) once every 3-4 months, which anyone will tell you is not effective, consistent treatment. Much of this I blame on her age and generation, and still maintain that it's one of the chief reasons my father just kept drinking instead of receiving proper treatment for what I still strongly believe was his own bipolar disorder. (I've put the pieces together in blogs before, and I'm almost 100% sure.) I told my own psychiatrist today, after showing her the dish photo, what was happening and she agreed that my parent needs treatment and medications on a permanent basis. I agree with her.

Don't think I'm so stupid that I haven't sent the picture of the dish to anyone I know who might be concerned with my safety and well-being. Luke and I really have no means out, unless some anticipated funding comes through to me in the next several months. It's this or go live in a shelter. So we put up with it. Interestingly, she NEVER does this when Luke is here. Only when I'm home alone with her.  I think she knows that if she pulled this crap while Luke was home, SHE would be the one suffering the wrath of my highly protective, Papa Bear son. And that could get ugly. We really have nowhere else to go until I graduate in a year and a half. I'm not sure how much longer all 3 of us can stand living like this, though. 

My mom claims that if it wasn't for the fact that Luke and I live here and she has to take care of us, like we're unable to take care of ourselves, she'd be "living like a queen," traveling the world, and much happier, but that she had to take us in and that kills her buzz. She lives modestly. She travels once or twice a year. I hardly think she'd be living like "Downton Abbey" if Luke and I weren't here. That's just another mindfuck to make me feel guilty and downtrodden for "invading" her house when we lost our apartment due to the landlord's foreclosure on the property. Living like a ass. I'm sorry I ruined her retirement. We'll be out of the way as soon as we can and then what? She'll get all depressed and cry a lot because we're NOT here and she'll have little purpose in life other than, of course, traveling the world (mmm hmm). 

My car won't start. It just goes click-click when you turn on the ignition. The headlights work, the defrost and radio work, but methinks I need a new starter. I wanted it to be towed to the mechanic's today to either get a jump from a neighbor or have the mechanic fix it, but my mom won't let me until the temperature is 20 degrees warmer. IF it doesn't start then, I can call the mechanic. So like not until Friday. Because a tow costs money, which I have. So what the hell? And WHY do I even listen to her? Why don't I just bloody tow the car because it's my car and I'm paying the tow and likely the repairs. Because I'm scared, I think that's why. And at age 41, I shouldn't be, except I need a roof over my head.

Never mind that I have errands to run, I need to bug my mom for a ride to the train to school, and it makes it difficult to haul Luke around where he needs to go, oh, and I have band this weekend. I am most displeased about the whole situation, because I view it as a power move on my mom's part. If I went with my gut and called a tow truck today, I could GET that new battery or starter by tomorrow. Alas... 

A friend emailed me the other day, "It takes less energy to be positive." 

Um, no.

For someone with my condition, it takes 200% more energy to be and stay positive than it does the average person and that's no bullshit. I told him it takes enough energy just to be happy about something for a period of cetain happiness for any great length. Mania doesn't bring "happiness," that's a fallacy. It wears you out. Sure, there's the delusion of grandeur, the go-go-go on no sleep & seeming euphoria that go along with mania, but as I've said, it comes crashing down if you don't stabilize. I understand that makes people like me probably quite difficult to live with but my God in heaven, at least I'm NICE about it and my "bad moods" don't involve deliberately hurting other people. If I'm in a depressive state and want to be alone, I just do so with no gruff from my son. Not everyone else I know is on board with this. Professors are, as well they should be in a psychology school. Doctors and therapists are empathetic, as are a handful of friends. Some people avoid me, which is okay, but sometimes makes matters worse, as I tend to take it as a character flaw of my own rather than the person being often times slightly frightened of a depressed person. 

Depression takes work. Lots of it.  It takes energy to get out of bed, to shower, to get dressed, to eat. It takes energy to defend yourself from the crap you're dealing with on a daily basis. Sometimes none of us--not just people with depression--have that energy. So yes, I corrected my friend on his invalid assumption. I haven't heard a rebuttal, so I assume he got my point. I'm not just calling whine-one-one on this matter. 

Between my recent illness, a solo Christmas and boring new year' eve, I'm itching to get out of the house even if it's just to go to the store or something. I can tell you first-hand that Chicago's in the middle of facing its most brutal winter in 3 decades, with scant relief in sight come late this weekend (read: temperatures above 30). We were buried in about 2 feet of snow, then hit with a cold spell that's still making it unbearable to be outside and has closed schools and businesses, delayed flights, messed up trains and buses and caused widespread misery all across our great city and outlying areas. Temperatures reached a high of -16 yesterday, with -40 below wind chills, and today we cracked one plus degree, though still with wind chills in the -20's. All this cloistering in the house with my family would've been made impossible without Luke, so for that, I'm very grateful. (And he and his buddy dug my car out, for naught). 

So, stable but in a state of flux. A militia at home. 

I hope everyone's staying warm and feeling loved.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Chapter 2013, Page 365 of 365. Chapter 2014, Page Zero of One.

It's very quiet outside. The big snowstorm quiet. The New Year's Eve quiet.
Very little traffic on the mucky roads that haven't been completely plowed yet.
They can't be--we're expecting nearly a foot by Thursday night.
For a night during which most people shouldn't be driving, the L is scarcely zipping down a Kennedy trickled with overly cautious, some no-doubt intoxicated drivers.
If it weren't so nippy cold outside, I think I'd be quite content to just stand outside and listen to the nothing. The nothing is better than the roster of random songs shuffling on my iTunes that are making me feel icky, or the screaming commentators on Chicago television reporting what a great time all the youngins are having getting shitfaced at the Palmer House or Toby Keith's (blech!) megaplex in Rosemont tonight. 

I'm still coughing but my lungs no longer hurt to inhale, so I'm stepping outside every hour or so for a smoke. I hold the shovel in one hand and the cigarette in the other, and weakly just twist the fluff in a direction which will keep my (I know...) Uggs from tracking in too much snow. I have a brutish, surly, hulking, strong teenager in the house who's busy making dubstep mixes or some such nonsense and won't go out and shovel tonight, though tomorrow, if he thinks he's staying cozy in the house, he's sorely mistaken. For starters, he owes me $50. He could work off, say, $10, digging my car out and cleaning it off.

I'm drinking blood orange San Pelligrino. It's 10:35 CST and I took my Valium for the night, not anticipating being up to ring in Chicago's 2014; rather will countdown with the folks on the East Coast under the big, obnoxious ball with the more obnoxious Ryan Seacrest. Poor Dick Clark. The Ambien (and most likely requisite online zombie shopping, e.g. I bought a certain critical edition of "War and Peace" Kate and Tim recommended, which I hope isn't in a 3 point font like the copy I already have, because Kate says that if I plan to ever win Crush's affections, I will have to have read "War and Peace") will wait until I'm trying to go to sleep and not think about anybody. It's so hard not to fantasize when you're trying to fall asleep and you don't conk right out. You try to imagine pleasant encounters, or even the warmth of lying on a blanket in the grass in the park on a warm spring day. 

As far as resolutions are concerned, they're quite simple: Yin Yoga by Paul Greeley and building an impenetrable wall against the depressive tendencies and loving the wrong people.  The latter seems more like it'll be made of sand than brick, because my natural impetus is to give...a lot. To love...passionately. But if 2013 taught me some lessons, it'd be these:  Give less to those who give less. Love less than the lesser love. Stay off the third rail. Shoo away the wolf at the door. Clutch tightly to those who DO care. 

My mom snidely asked me today if I'm in "one of my depressive moods." And I am. It's very, very common with my mental illness to become depressive when in the throes of serious illness. And I've been holed up in bed for a week. I ate close to nothing last week, slept like crazy, and only took maybe 3 or 4 showers, tops (one today!).  I pulled muscles in my chest coughing. My inhaler was my best friend. The good thing is I got my research paper done, finally. I don't know if I did it right, or if it's total crap, and it's worth 40% of my grade. But it's done and had to be done by tonight, so I did what I  thought was my best, given I didn't really understand the assignment in the first place. 

"Auld Lang Syne" and "Isn't It a Pity."

"Should old acquaintance be forgot?" Perhaps. Some yes, some no. Some definitely not. Patti said last night that people don't stay in one another's lives for 20 years for no reason, and she's right. And she should know--we've been friends for what, 36 years?  I have Christa, who I was blessed to reconnect with a couple years ago, who was my best friend in high school. And  then there's Kate...we've been very close friends for 22 years, though we haven't seen one another face to face since 1993, when she moved to New York from Knox in Galesburg. Meg? We grow tighter every day, and have been friends for going on a decade, and she, Kate and BMF are the 3 sole people on Earth I trust with all of my true feelings. Then there are my 2 virtual best friends, Veronica and Rob, who I haven't known very long, but wouldn't trade for the world. Crush likes to tell people we've "known each other forever." It just seems that way. I'm just glad I impressed him enough to remember who I am in the first place. BMF and his BFF and I have pranced into and out of one another's lives for another 20 years, but are one big happy, dysfunctional family. I like those guys. They take care of me, virtually anyway, to the best of their abilities. 

Well, I'll be darned. It's midnight Chicago time. Ambien on board. Two tonight. Happy New Year.

John Lennon's "Woman" shuffled to play at almost exactly midnight. It's the kind of song every woman wishes the man she loves would write for her. Such vulnerability, such devotion. "I love you. Yeah, yeah. Now and forever."

I hope Steven and Wayne had a great New Year's Eve show tonight. I always wish I could be in Oklahoma City for one of their legendary shows, but finances are tight too regularly, and the trip would be a luxury. And I'd take Luke, but I have a lot of friends who've never seen the Lips or met them in person, whereas Luke is old hat with Mr. Coyne, especially.

Isn't it a pity, isn't it a we break each other's hearts and cause each other pain? How we take each other's love, without thinking anymore? Forgetting to give back. Isn't it a pity? Yes, it most certainly is.  Guy's a lot of the reason for the impenetrable wall. Lord knows I gave. And gave, and gave, and gave, and loved and loved and loved. The return on that investment was a pittance in comparison.  He'd argue he gave as much as he could, given what else is more important in his life, that I expected too much. Maybe I did. It doesn't give him carte blanche to doormat me.

ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" is playing. That's just slightly ironic during a blizzard.

2013, I'm glad you're gone. Don't ever come back. 2014? As my life credo says, "It's all uphill from here."