Saturday, July 19, 2014

Weird Saturday

It's gray outside.  It's cool but not cool enough to turn off my rattling air conditioner that keeps Daisy from hiding in the bathroom on the cool tile.  Everything feels off today.  Was it because I woke up a couple of hours later than usual, after a dinner party in some friends' garden?  Because I didn't take anything to sleep, making me vaguely anxious on a day when I have few obligations to the world?  Long dreams?

I don't know.  It's after 1 and it could be ten in the morning or six at night.  I did my first, essential rounds of social media for the day and I don't think it should have taken three hours -- but I wasn't hacking around.  If felt very slow motion.  Lots of looking and not finding, but the looking is essential.

Or is it that I waited forever for Deborah Harkness to finish the All Souls Trinity and it was mind candy I haven't had in a long time?  The problem with the last two books, Shadow of Night and The Book of Life, seems to me a fear of getting going that makes the first two-thirds of each book a lot of scene changing but little tension, and then a hurry-up through what should be drawn out. 

I feel a little guilty about saying this because I'm lousy at my own plots and if I only had skill in that discipline I wouldn't have to write about me-me-me all the time.  But I think she could learn something from reading The Return of the King.  And it feels like fear rather than lack of talent.  And there she is, making a gazillion dollars despite these problems because somehow the story is really compelling.

I'm pissed off that my mind candy is done.  I read The Book of Life on Kindle and flipped to some research after finishing, only to gag at the cloyingness of some forward to a book about 20th century popes and their relationships to the Virgin Mary.  Should I read BOF again?  Would I like it more?

I WANT MY CANDY!!!

I also want to work, which is why I'm at least writing my blog, and I want to hear from Dar, who is or isn't dead on the streets, and I want him to go away and leave me to get over him some more.  And I want to go to Copenhagen and get a juicer and I think there's room for a pony in the Bat Cave if it wears a diaper.

Ha!  The co-op board, in its un-wisdom about dogs, put a size restriction on future canines.  Daisy is grandfathered in.  But there's nothing in the bylaws about ponies and I could save a lot of subway fare...

God.  It's not quite 1.30 in the afternoon and something is stirring in me at the same time that time feels like t-i-m-e.  I am restless to be absorbed.  It's very hard to become absorbed when one is restless unless it's to escape self.  I'd like to avoid that today -- such a lovely empty day -- but I don't know if I have the strength.

But I just made breakfast.  Maybe that will help.  Maybe someone will find something to relate to in here and compliment me, which I seem also to be hungry for.  Oi!  I should go buy flowers or really cook something for dinner or go to Pinterest with a vengeance.

Or work on the rosary proposal.  After I eat.  After I do dishes.  After I.......

Thursday, June 19, 2014

P'sst. Is it safe to come out now?

It's been 16 days since the publication of Love Sick.  I don't troll Amazon often but at last look its ranking was OK and the reviews mixed.  The Book Mark Shoppe in Brooklyn was kind enough to have me in to read, mingle and drink wine and I've done a little of this and a little that for promotion.  In some ways it seems behind me now, especially because my agent has given me an August 1 deadline to turn in the proposal for the rosary book, which I think I'm calling Oh Me of Little Faith.

The weeks around launching a book are always fraught.  Passing for Thin was months of whirling and Love Sick has been much quieter except that I didn't realize how much of myself I was exposing or how much of my past I was reopening -- old wounds and all that.

That's what I want to try to talk about today and it's complicated and I woke up in a state of high anxiety so I'm doing this under the influence of Klonopin, which was the right decision because otherwise I would have spent the morning in the bathroom.

Someone on Amazon knocked a star off her review because I made such poor choices of men in the book, starting with Dar who is 10+ years younger than I.

I'd like to say that if I was good at appropriate choices and behavior, I'd be thin, have many more books published, would not be on a see-saw of depression and anxiety, would have more money and I don't know what else.  My life has kind of been about a series of inappropriate decisions and actions.  Further, having missed out on the socialization of dating in my teens through my early forties, I don't know that much about men or dating.  Worse than that is the fact that I'm way immature for my age.  I don't, emotionally, feel 57.  I feel about 40.  Maybe.  It's hard to argue with an emotional maturity that I should be dating guys my own age with concerns and preoccupations I have no experience of -- children, grandchildren, careers, owning things like homes, boats, golf clubs.  I gravitate toward men who are still creating themselves because I'm still creating myself and haven't gotten very far.

Someone else felt the book is unfocused.  Maybe it is.  But it seems to me, after rereading for various reasons, that it centers pretty clearly on the search for good-enough, which is exhausting and which is as much about being one's own best date as being girlfriend material.  I was forced to look hard at the men in my life, how they brought me to the age of 53 when I started the book, and who I am in relation to people in general.

Those are the only points-off reviews I've read at this point and I'm not spinning in my chair to go read other reviews.

More important than how people read my book or expected me to be a grown-up, is the fall-out of the book.  So far, no one is mad at me -- or they haven't said so.  Will, who I met in first grade and whom I dedicated the book to, loved it.  So did Dar.

I could have lived without that last information.  It so happens, however, that Dar was in a depression that, he said, made him identify with every line and every up or down in the book.  He read beyond himself and into me. 

And that, my friends, is like a knife wound in the gut.

We had -- I hope/fear "had" is the right tense -- a two-week email back-and-forth in which both of us were depressed, tending to open up, waspish, complimentary in the right ways.  It was stupid of me to answer his email but, frankly, when I first did I was tipsy on champagne cocktails consumed in celebration of the publication.  Later curiosity led me into the chambers of the heart where I never belonged.  I flirted.  It felt like he was flirting.  He's wrestling the Black Dog and if he was leaking bits of that unholy state with me, I felt I had to be there for him.  I also know that we became friends when he needed me, that I've always made friends when people were in need.  It creeps me out about myself, not because I contribute to their darkness or try to prolong it for myself, but because...well, it's nice to make friends in equal daylight.

It's been about 48 hours since I've heard from him on a trivial matter that required a one-word response.
  I've been chanting to myself, "He's not in love with you, he's not in love with you" and actually praying that he'll feel better and forget about me again.  It will hurt -- it does hurt -- but being busy with work, school, family, friends in his own life will give me a brick wall to start retreating from.  And as painful as that is, at least I have 50 years of practice doing it.

The weird thing is, though, that Dar has a gift for friendship that no one else I know has.  Will and I text once or twice a week.  I rarely hear from Kevin any more.  I speak to one friend each weekday morning when I walk her dog.  Even Eric, a.k.a. the Boy from Connecticut, who, before the book came out, I decided to try to be friends with again and have pretty well succeeded (it still hurts but he's crazy in love with a woman I can only shake my head at and grant him to honor of finally having outdone himself in his own bad choices), is only as present as girlfriend and work allow.

So there's a new regret over Dar, this aspect of him that, with the black dog panting hotly on his chest, could get it together to ask how I was feeling.

And I don't know what to do.  I don't know anything.  And I loved him.  And it's as tempting as white cake.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dear Mom:

Five years ago you were on the verge of falling into your last days.  What a horrible summer that became, more for us than for you, luckily.  The actual fall that accelerated your decline also dimmed your memory.  At lunch you couldn't remember breakfast.  I'm grateful for that.  By the end, maybe, when you approached your next painful sip of oxygen, you couldn't remember how much the breath you just took had hurt.

It's to my sort of Platonic ideal of you as Mom that I'm writing to, though. 
In that ideal, the pain in your last years and months must be an awareness but not an actuality.  You'd walked your own parents and your sister through the ends of their lives so you knew what was coming.  You were a good daughter and sister, and a good mother.

I know that if you were on earth in your Platonic ideal, you'd have worried a lot about me in the last five years.  I've had some tough times, one step back for every two step forward.  I'm about the same weight you saw me last, maybe a little smaller, and my antidepressant dosages keep going up.  But my debts have gone down.  Daisy has gotten louder and more critical of everything on the street, but she has the same old energy chasing a ball and she's a fantastic nurse when I'm sick or can't get out of bed.  You did good when you picked her out for me.

I still live in the Bat Cave but it has a lot less stuff in it -- in fact, it's a perfect day today to keep taking books out to leave on walls in the hopes that someone else wants to read Faulkner.  I certainly don't and I've given up on being the sort of smarty-pants who does.

I finished a novel yesterday that I would have passed on to you -- I Thought You Were Dead.  I didn't think the human relationships were all that great but the relationship between the protagonist and his old dog was amazing and I can't stop crying about it.  I'd have warned you before giving it to you but I know you would have liked it a lot.

Dad is fine.  He's the same old piss-and-vinegar codge who lives on his own planet.  He finally let me alphabetize his CDs this winter (and donate a LOT of them: you would have been shocked) and he spent about two months listening to Chopin from beginning to end.  It would have annoyed you.  He's kind of in love with someone -- well, you know her well and if in some ways you might have disliked his choice, I am glad because she goes back such a long way that it's like having a bit of you in our lives.  It's a long distance relationship now.  They'll never see each other again.  But it helped him get through whatever he didn't tell us about losing you.

I've written two more books since you died, the one you knew about and another one, which I'm glad you can't read.  It's rated R.  Dad asked for a bunch of copies to give away at the senior apartment complex where he's living and I'm blushing at the thought.  One is designated for Fr. Max, if you can believe it.

And now I'm waffling about getting going on a book about the rosary.  I know, I know: you were never much for the rosary and mostly thought Mary was a nice icon, an inroad on the patriarchy.  I'm finding it hard to round up the kind of Catholics who don't believe birth control is a sin but who say the rosary.  The semi-renegades.  I need to do more research.

Maybe on Craig's List.

Ha ha.  That was a joke, Mom.  Craig's List is

Oh, never mind.

But we have a new pope, Mom.  Rat-singer, the old Nazi, retired.  This one is a puzzle.  He's warm, simple, charismatic, anti-capitalist, forgiving.  He's also enlisting more exorcists and he hasn't put the Pietá up for sale.  But I have some new hope for the Church.

I have some new hope for me, too, Mom.  I fell into something.  It involves getting the word out about books and healthy living (excuse me while I go have a cigarette: yes, Mom.  I know, Mom.)  It pays well and I'm getting more work.  I think I'm succeeding because of my writing talent and because I'm pretty nice as an online presence.

Sorry.  "Online" means

Never mind.  It's good and has to do with computers.

Anyway, I have a little hope for myself for the first time in ages.  I like doing it.  I do it at home.  It's creative.  I can take it anywhere.  Independence isn't so far away.


I've been estranged from hope for so long that the relief of thinking about things I want and want to do without having to tell myself to shut up is like champagne.  I'm working like a dog but I like it and I have a real desire to do well in it.  I haven't felt that way about my occupations, except around my writing, since I was in university and graduate school.  It feels like falling up.

I've backed off sugar and wheat again, although I'm not doing meetings and stuff.  Yeah, I know.  I'll try.  But I have reasons for wanting to lose weight for the first time in years and it's not about looking better.  I want to travel, Mom.  I want to go to Fatima.  Can you imagine the gift shops?

I know.  I don't believe in it either.  But maybe I can be the miracle who goes rather than leaves.

OK, I'm all cried out now.  I need a cigarette for real this time.  I think about you every day, Mom.  Miss you.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

It's Cry or Blog

Funny how one can turn things around and then suddenly deflate.  My last post worried people and it worried me.  It wasn't so long ago -- I had a very blue weekend last week.  Somewhere in that weekend, I realized I had nearly emptied a bookcase and that the time had come to finish the task and break down the bookcase that was falling apart.

I greatly enjoyed it.  I'm giving away any books I know I'll never get around to reading or whose transportation costs when I can finally leave this In-Life Purgatory known as New York City for a real destination are not worth my while.  I kept the Dickens because there are so many characters to keep track of that I always write down each new name and the page it first appears on the fly leaves -- hard to do on Kindle.  I kept my beloved Trollope.  I found I could not recycle Anna Karenina, which has so many notes in it from having read and written about it so many times that no one would want it.  I'm sorry, Kim, but Iris Murdoch is destined for another home.

On Tuesday I took a hammer to that sloping bookcase and carted the pieces out to the curb.  The dust behind it was frightening.  Mostly I sweep up dog hair but this was imploded grit.  I was filthy and sweating and happy by the time I got the carnage onto the street and stacked up the remaining books I wasn't sure where I should place them.  I was able to move a little "furniture" (almost nothing in my apartment qualifies as Furniture) and there is a sense of lightness I haven't felt since I was fired from my last full time job. 

It took another two days to figure out what else I wanted where -- any collector of books knows how organization is both essential and idiosyncratic -- and I now have almost all my books in shelves except for a pile of medieval history I have to make major decisions about.  This is not to say that I've organized myself completely, only that what I've figured out is done.

I actually have gaps in my shelves.  I could actually shelve the medieval history pile and decide its fate later.

So I was feeling pretty good about that, although my bank balance was worrying me.

Today the sense of mission with the books has worn off.  My shoulders ache in addition to all the other aches.  Today I've desultorily looked up some factoids regarding the rosary and have not goofed off but that sense of mission is gone.

At least, I hoped this morning as I went over my gratitudes, I'll have money to put in the bank.

And I will, but not from the dogs who pulled me down and busted my face.  I had to go back to walking them because I need the money.  I am scared of the jackal of the two, who bit me when I put his leash on and is aggressive to all dogs and some people.  I'm still scared when I hook his leash to his choke collar.  I pull it around to the top of his neck and get the hell away from his mouth as soon as possible.  I walk the pair looking all ways to make sure we can steer clear of other dogs or so that I can hook them to a fence if a meeting is inevitable.  I'm usually shaking when I leave their building twice a day.

My inner lip will never heal from the fall they caused.

They are two weeks overdue in paying me.  That check, due today, would allow me to pay my rent without dipping into savings.  I'm going to have to dip into savings. 


And somehow, when I saw the empty invoice envelope when I leashed them up this morning, I nearly broke down.

Maybe I'm tired -- it's been a physically demanding week and all of yesterday's walks were performed in a stinging winter rain.  I think, though, it has more to do with financial fear and, by extension, fear of the rest of my life.

Combined with a profound disappointment that my clients haven't paid me that makes me think of the disappointment I feel about certain declared intentions not having been performed and, worst of all, the silence from someone I considered my best friend and partner in crime.  I -- we -- had planned a future but this continuing silence makes me feel it will not happen.  If I have a Plan B, it consists of begging my other best and longest friend for a job that we treat as a joke.

Either of those men are like family to me, the brothers in sensibility I didn't have.  I love my actual brother[s] -- I hugely enjoy my living brother and his children and wife are actually among my best friends -- so this is not an insult.  But these friends are the men who like to shop, who understand a collection of dinner china, who, each in their own way, gets the who of the who of me.

I have a constant fear of being Too Much for people.  Too needy.  Too depressed.  Too loud.  Too dependent.  Too fat.

I have a competing constant fear of being Not Enough.  Not smart enough.  Not sympathetic enough.  Not successful enough.   Not pretty enough.  Not important enough.  Not disciplined enough.  Not enough of the enough that other people seem to carry with them.

And I'm sure sometimes (like now) I am exactly accurate in my fears.  I can't gauge this.  I do know, however, that I also make myself as small as possible when the Enoughs loom as the reason for not hearing from someone.  I stop asking to be heard, to talk, to be in touch.  I figure that, at best, they need space.

It's hard to wrap my mind around the idea that, maybe, I could be of actual use to friends in difficult times or that my friends -- my bestest friends -- maybe sort of owe me a hello or a goodbye.

I don't know what I'm owed or what I deserve.  I don't know how to figure it out.  I think I've written before that obesity is a harsh mistress.  It taught me to always expect me to be last.  When I lost weight, thinness taught me to fake not assuming last place.  When my fraud was exposed, I gained weight again.

So a missing $300 has brought me to a place where I am both blogging and crying because one future has dropped me (me: my sense of humor, my taste, my hard work, my generosity, my utter faith in and admiration of them, my prayers, my intelligence, my best clothes, my sense that anything I have is theirs, including my family) and the other future is a joke.

I know I deserve to be paid.  I know some other professional promises will be upheld later rather than sooner but will come to pass.  But I am disappointed in my friends and scared of borrowing from myself and scared of not having a future. 

Hunh.  Borrowing from myself.

Isn't that what silent friends, family, lovers, co-workers and all the other close relations in our lives, force us to do?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Reeling

OK, Facebook friends, I won't stop blogging.

I failed to fulfill my Lenten promise of a blog a day by a long shot but I fell down dead in Holy Week.

It felt like an Unholy Week to me.


It started, really, on Palm Sunday, when I didn't go to Mass, but it became foul the next day when my church held a day of reconciliation in the afternoon and evening.

I didn't go.  I got "busy" or I couldn't ignore the brick in my chest or the fear of telling my darkest shames in my stomach.  I decided there would be confession another day that week.

Of course there was not.

And my soul felt -- feels -- grimy.  There are things I have done I have to admit I hate myself for.  But the worst sin, the one that makes amends impossible, is my hopelessness.  If I did everything right -- pay off my debts, save money, get another book contract, lose weight -- so what?  I do not anticipate anything.  I don't often feel I have present tense friends.  I don't believe in heaven and I've mostly lived in hell.  Sometimes this is despair but mostly it's an absence of desire or faith in the future. 

Given that, why do I care about the few reparations I owe? 

That was with me as Holy Week progressed without me.  I couldn't take Communion in that state and if I can't take Communion, I'm not in step with the Church, not part of it, not even betraying it.

It's a week later and I am simply tired.  My nutrition has been miserable and I think I tried so hard to jolly myself along in the last couple of months that I exhausted myself.  Right now it seems I am better off in My Other Life, where we are on a numbers quest that I am the only one who can do the footwork to achieve.

Is this true?  Yes and no.

I forget that I've been having some fun tracking down my childhood in starting a Pinterest site for myself.  That I was able to listen to a friend who has a worry and have tried, at least, to distract her with tour books for Venice and Florence and a possible joint trip.  And someone called me today simply to witness me saying out loud that I don't know what is wrong with me right now.  Simply saying it out loud to that particular person lifted the cloud enough to brush my teeth and walk Daisy to the bank.  We even dropped a handful of Henry James novel on a stoop (I can download James on my Kindle: serious space made in my bookcases) and was amused to see that someone had spread them all out and was photographing them as we returned from our little outing.  Was it the irony of The Golden Bowl, What Masie Knew, The Americans, The Bostonians in this neighborhood that looks like pure Henry James?  What made them photo-worthy?

So there are two parts of me, one of tiredness and need (I need to be writing; I need to be getting healthier) and OKness, presence and upliftable-ness. 

I'm sure this is everyone's quandary, to some extent or with other polarities, so I'm putting it out there as part of the general human condition. 

But I desperately need some time in the confessional and on my knees.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hello. Allow Me to Introduce Myself

I've been out of pocket, failing at my Lenten promise for days because I got involved in starting my own social media factory for Love Sick.  It meant combining two sitting duck Twitter accounts which were linked to email addresses I no longer had passwords for, then re-following followers who are still active and tracking down new people to follow.  It has wholly absorbed me from Saturday afternoon to yesterday, leaving me sore and wondering if I was going to throw a clot from sitting in the same position for twelve hours at a stretch.

So I'm sorry, guys, and I'm sorry, Jesus, if you're there.

I'll Tweet this post so I think it's time to introduce myself in more than 160 characters.

I was born, raised and earned BAs in English and religious studies in Missoula, Montana.  I went to Catholic school -- St. Anthony's -- so I have a thing about nuns, shame and plaid.  Lately I've had a lot of spring hymns running through my mind.

I went to graduate school in creative writing at Cornell.  Several famous writers were in my cohort.  We were best friends.  We are not friends any more.

I've had a long life of obesity.  In a 12-step program I lost 188 pounds and wrote a book that did well: Passing for Thin.


Then I gained a bunch back and wrote a book that was calledAngry Fat Girls in hardcover, promptly remainedered, and Eating Ice Cream with My Dog in paperback.  Please buy it because I have $95,000 of the advance yet to earn out.



When you have that much unearned advance you are lucky to get another book deal, even at a serious reduction in advance.  That book, Love Sick, publishes this June 6.  It's a funny, harrowing story of trying to get over Mr. Friends with Benefits.  I have and haven't succeeded in doing that.



In between Cornell and Passing for Thin I was a literary agent.  I wasn't very good because I was cautious about advances that wouldn't earn out.  I didn't listen to my own lesson.  Also, my bosses and I were at loggerheads all of the time.

You'll learn a lot about me if you read those three books.  Right now, I'm beginning work on a proposal about saying the rosary for a year.   I'm not a good Catholic but it's the only thing that sticks.   Why would I do such a project?  Because I live in despair, which is a sin, and because I have few trustworthy relationships.  I'd like to build one with, um, God.

So here's what you really need to know about me:

  1. I walk some dogs and do social media for some people.
  2. I suffer from dysthemic depression, anxiety and borderline agoraphobia.
  3. I don't believe in heaven but I do believe in hell.
  4. I am left of left politically.  I have insurance because of Barack Obama.  Thank you, Barack.
  5. I grew up with Labradors.  Now I am owned by one, Daisy.  She has Tourette's Syndrome and Joan Rivers-envy and can be a real asshole.  She's my best friend and has saved my life.
  6. I live in the crappy studio apartment with no natural light.  I call it the Bat Cave.
  7. I'm a Daddy's Girl.  My father is 96, in his right mind mostly, still interested in physics, blind, blunt and hilarious.
  8. I'm really fat.  I hate it.  I think I need to make peace with it because it is the metaphor, as it were, for hating my self.  And I don't deserve to hate my self.
  9. My self is slothful, envious, angry, without much hope.  My self is funny, smart, sees things and has a big vocabulary.  It is generous.
  10. I like Bach best.
  11. I like Victorian novels, World War II, anything about the Renaissance, 18th and 19th century Europe.
  12. I'm a terrible housekeeper and I am owned by too many things.
  13. Lately I'm obsessed by House, M.D.
  14. I'm lonely.
  15. I don't bathe as much as I should.
  16. I'm trying to pay off what started out as about $28,000 in debt.  I've cut that by about half.
  17. I hold grudges.  I don't get over men I've loved.  Menopause and Prozac prevent me from being very interested in intimacy however.
  18. I spent summers, until nine years ago, on Flathead Lake in Montana.  I'm afraid to go back there because it was the best place.
  19. If I had lots of money I would travel.  By myself.  I don't like museums.
  20. I'm also afraid of my hometown.  All the bodies are buried there.
  21. I miss my mom, my Uncles Norbie and Connie and my Aunt Claire.  A lot.
  22. I'm adopted.  This is a complex and icky way to start life.
  23. I'm nostalgic for large parts of my childhood.
  24. I have never read Finnegan's Wake.  I've never finished Moby Dick, Ulysses.  I like Tolstoy better than Dostoevsky.  I get frustrated reading Yeats, Shelley, Pound.  I don't understand a word of it.
  25. I used to feel that way about Emily Dickinson, but I grew into her.  That doesn't mean I read her though.
  26. I don't watch TV except for occasional reality TV binges when I'm really sick or really depressed.
  27. I don't know what Mad Men, Game of Thrones or any other cool TV is.
  28. I make annual donations to Planned Parenthood, Macular Degeneration, University of Montana, Spirit Animal, Democratic party, public radio and television.
  29. I miss the friends I've alienated.  Every day and achingly.
  30. I'm probably as close to my cousins as I am to my sibling.
  31. I'm tired of New York.
  32. I'm scared of when Daisy will die.
  33. I've been living on peanut butter and macaroni and cheese because it's cheap and because I need to get my kitchen sink fixed.
  34. I'm in trouble for not having cleaned out the washer and dryer well enough and leaving dog hair behind.
  35. I'm 57.  I smoke.
  36. I think I will not smoke from tonight until Sunday morning, in observance of the arrest - resurrection of the Christ I don't like very much.
  37. Blogging gets me in trouble at least once a year.  It happened recently.  And yes, I know it was you who left the nasty anonymous comment.  And I know you are at the heart of the snarl.
  38. There are Rules of Etiquette for walking dogs.  They involve crossing the street when one person has one dog and the other two or more, letting dogs decide who they want to meet and not bothering dog walkers.  I wish these rules were observed, as well as cleaning up dog shit.
  39. I intensely dislike 98% of the privileged spoiled princes and princesses and their mothers and nannies in this neighborhood.  Sometimes I hope they would get hit by cars.
  40. I am passive aggressive in the streets.
  41. I am nice to doormen, clerks, cab drivers, maintenance people.
  42. If I have money and you need money, I will give it to you.
  43. All I really ever want to do is go back to bed and hide.
  44. I speak really bad Italian and German, and worse French.  I'm better when I'm drunk but I don't drink much any more.
  45. You'd probably like me if we met.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Poopy Barbie and Special Intentions

I did a radical thing today: I fulfilled my self-promise to go to Mass and the rosary at 8 a.m. this morning.  By myself.  Too early for drugs.  Sober.

It was nice, especially because Saturday morning is so sparsely attended that Fr. King asked if there were additional special intentions.  Without thinking, I asked for prayers for the painless peaceful deaths of those awaiting death.  Right now I am several degrees removed from three hospice situations, one of which is someone I know.  I hate the idea of the pain these men are suffering, and of the suffering their loved ones feel because of it. 

And saying the rosary out loud -- !  I don't think I've said the rosary with people since grade school.  It's a somewhat more elaborate rosary than the script I use, with prayers for vocations, to St. Michael, St. Gertrude and the long litany it would be dumb to say alone.  The voices together felt strong.  On the other hand, my script breaks each mystery down and I read and meditate on it in a way that is intellectually more satisfying than the group's nominal attention to the mysteries.  But there is something comforting and distinctly NON-intellectual about saying it as a group that is also good.

I had a credit for books from Amazon and ordered a couple of research items.  They arrived in good time but, not needing the books immediately, I didn't open them.  I was astonished when I did because one was a gift from someone I really don't know well, Poopy Barbie. 
OK, the real name is Barbie Potty Training but I like Poopy Barbie better.

I've been fighting the blues -- am fighting them -- taking one step back for every two steps forward (after church I collapsed into House, natürlich, and rose from my non-life only to walk Daisy, which ended up being a social event because everyone is out on the lovely day.  Poopy Barbie dropped into my life like a feather from an angel wing -- or, more aptly, a feather from Divine's boa.

So thank you Divine/Angel.  Barbie is not going to be unboxed but she stands guard at the foot of my bed.  And I feel like somehow I belong to something, although I'm not sure what.