Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I'm not popular

I always have to listen to the people at work talking about "American Idol" and how it's the greatest show ever and they can't wait to see what happens next and so on and so on. I can't get into that show. I think if someone wants to be discovered they should do it the old fashioned way... playing their music in dumpy night clubs, school dances and motel parking lots. Not really, but I just don't get all the emphasis that's put on being popular. I can see younger kids who look to some of these people, going on to be stars in their field, as idols, but there are lots of older people watching Idol and getting into it. So many folks today think that you aren't anyone until you're famous. That transcends from national tv shows all the way to the workplace, where "popular" people get the better jobs and the hard-working average Joe gets diddly squat. I guess it's always been that way to a certain extent, but is it getting worse or is it just me? On job applications anymore they almost always ask you what sports you played in school, and what extracurricular activities you did. I think most places want a local sports star working for them to draw people in, even if he might be the laziest person imaginable. I first realized that several years ago when I was working at a large supermarket. I'd been there several years and had only gotten a brief "hello" from the owner whenever he happened to pass by. However, when they hired a 16 year old kid who was an all star lineman at the local high school the owner made it a point to stop and talk to him everyday, asking him how he was doing, and could they get him anything... an extra lunch break, dancing girls, a raise. All the while he stood there with his hands in his pockets saying intelligent things like "yeah", "ok", "uh-huh","I think I made three tackles". That was his usual stance... hands in his pockets.

Maybe I'm being just an old coot, and I feel I'm being hypocritical because when I was younger I worked for a state senator and enjoyed meeting "important" people from the political and media arena. But there again, I was young and in awe of those famous people. Nowadays I would much rather talk to people who go about their lives humbly and without a lot of fanfare, whether they happen to be important people or not.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I just put in about 20 minutes of exercise... something I haven't done in quite a few months. So far I'm still alive, though my legs are like jelly right now and that might be a heart attack creeping in on me, but I feel good that I've finally started again. The other day I climbed to the top of the hill of the property I'm wanting to buy to try to find the boundary marks. I was huffing and puffing so bad I could barely talk, and the realtor - an older guy probably about 60 - kept talking and walking without stopping to rest at all. That's when I decided that it's time to get in shape and trim away this build-up around my middle. The Christmas cookies and pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving were delicious, but I didn't expect them to still be hanging over my beltline at this time of year. Two years ago I joined a fitness center and got in the best shape I'd been in in years, in just a short amount of time. But, for some reason, it became harder and harder to motivate myself to go each day and within a year I quit going altogether. Now I can't afford to rejoin, and probably the same thing would happen again - I'd be too busy at home to go everyday. So now I'm hoping to watch what I eat and workout a little each day and maybe by summer I can go to the beach and take off my shirt without people yelling things like "Hey, can't you see there are children here! Put your shirt back on!". Of course I could always go to the beach populated by the colorful local inhabitants... in other words, the "redneck beach". I wouldn't feel out of place at all there... except that I don't have an old pickup truck... and I don't drink beer, so they would notice me right away if I didn't sneak in a cooler of Busch. On the other hand I probably would bring a rod and reel and cast in right beside the kidders whilst they was a swimmun. That wouldn't draw any attention at all. Ok, kinda got off the exercise subject but I'm through writing for the night anyway. All those situps have me worn out.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Part 2

I guess the only reason I did a "Part 2" was because I ran out of time to finish earlier. At any rate... I was saying that my anxiety and panic attacks had kept me almost homebound and my first attempt to seek counseling was not productive at all. Several years after that, when my kids were growing up my panic had started to branch out. Now I would think about almost anything long enough and it would incite panic in me. From being alone, to being in crowds... anything that made me even slightly uncomfortable somehow got intensified when I started pondering the situation. That's when I decided to give counseling another shot. This time the counselor I went to was far more helpful. He gave me insights into what might be the cause of my situation, and offered tips that were helpful in dealing with the physical symptoms. The underlying causes have been difficult to pinpoint but have a lot to do with insecurities I felt growing up. I saw that counselor for about five years and did make some progress, but when it came right down to it the only one who could help me was me. I had to make a decision to want to beat this so I could live a normal life. It's only been in the last year or so that I've made any more progress, but I feel that maybe , before too long, I'll be able to take some significant steps toward recovery. To people who don't understand why I can't just grit my teeth and make myself get better I often compare myself to an alcoholic in that he can be sober for a long time, but it might only take one drink to fall off the wagon. In my case, I can get used to driving a certain road and be fine, but sometimes if I don't drive that road for a long time the anxieties come right back when I go on it again.

So here I am today, just a little better than I was when I was 22 and this situation first manifested itself, but I have to say that I have a much better feeling about the future. I'm not sure if it's other things that are overshadowing my anxieties or whether I'm just learning to live with them a little better, but hopefully I'll be able to come on here and give myself (since I'm the only one who reads this) encouraging updates.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Why the "Postcards" title: part 1

When I was 22 I had an experience that changed my life and has taken me to some of the lowest points in my life. I was delivering furniture (my job at the time) and I became lost in the country while trying to find a house. Whether it was the fact that we (two of us delivering) were behind schedule and I was hurrying or the fact that there was nothing around in the way of landmarks to guide me, but for whatever reason I had my first full-blown panic attack then. At the time I didn't know what was happening, I hadn't even heard the term "panic attack" before then. All that I knew was my heart was racing, breathing rapid, I was shaking all over, and worst of all, I felt completely out of touch with reality. It was as if my common sense had been replaced by terror which I couldn't get under control. I don't think the person I was with had any idea this was happening to me. It felt as if I needed to get out of the truck and run around screaming, but I kept that feeling inside me and didn't say anything to my co-worker.

That incident started what turned out to be a life of isolation and fear. You see, after that first panic attack I avoided driving to places that I didn't know, eventually quitting that job and taking one with no traveling required. It was during that time that I decided to seek professional help with for my panic and the almost daily anxiety I was living with. My first choice of treatment, however, turned out to be not the best direction for me to go. I walked into the local Mental Health Center and asked to speak to someone. I did get to talk to someone and told her about my problem and how I thought I was going crazy. She listened with a sympathetic smile and told me that I needed to get out more and go places to do things that were fun. That was good advice maybe, but she offered no answers as to why I was having these feelings. I set up several appointments and saw her again, however, one thing from that first session stayed with me and added to my feelings of actually being crazy. When I came outside from that first session I noticed a sheriff's car parked at the entrance. At the time I thought little of it, but a short time later I found out that it was their policy to call the sheriff anytime there was a new walk-in, in case they were violent, I guess. I only went back there a few more times and no progress was ever made. So for the next several years I lived with the anxiety growing in intensity, but the panic attacks less frequent. This was because I had so much fear about driving someplace that I just didn't go anywhere. I was restricted to driving short distances from my home. If I went any farther than I was used to - even by a hundred feet- I would feel the urgent need to get back to "safe" ground. During this time I had married and started raising a family, just like any normal person would do with one exception.... we didn't go anywhere.

Monday, March 13, 2006


Have you ever had a dream where something amazing happens, like, you discover the answer to the mystery of life, or you find treasure and know exactly where it is in real life, or someone tells you where Jimmy Hoffa's buried? I used to have those all the time. Several of them were dreams where there was something totally unheard of - like a new invention or a way of doing things - that was so commonplace in the dream that you wondered why no one had ever thought of it before. But... you always wake up and forget it completely, except to remember that if you could remember you'd change the world. I had a dream last night which woke me up, and when I woke up I was determined to remember it. It was so hard to try to keep it from slipping back into my subconscious , but I made myself stay awake just to remember it. It wasn't an earth-shattering new invention this time, but it was the oddity of it that told me I should remember it. Here's what I remember from it, keep in mind that my dreams seldom make sense or have any continuity. I was in a room of a house with a girl, or woman maybe, and it was nighttime. Really dark except for a light shining in the window. I don't know what we were doing but she was talking and telling me about where we were, and that there were three suns (evidently we weren't on Earth) and she was telling me about them. I was really paying attention to her until she said "That's one of them shining now". The light shining of the wall like a flashlight was indeed a sun. I looked out the window at it. That's when I got really scared and woke up....sort of. Somewhere in there she told me, or I decided to, remember the phrase "Three suns of August". I was half awake then and kept trying to fall asleep, but I knew if I did that I would forget that phrase, so I committed it to memory. Now comes the weird part. When I came down in the morning I typed that phrase into Google. What came up was the title of a book, and....numerous references to a new planet that had been discovered in August of last year, which was in a system made up of three stars. Odd coincidence? You're probably thinking that I saw that somewhere in a magazine, or on tv but I know I didn't. Things like that interest me and I would have remembered had I seen something on it someplace. It was just very strange.

I often wonder about dreams, like, whether they can tell the future or the past. I think that in each person's memory is stored information, passed down from our ancestors.... memories and feelings ingrained into our genes. I wonder if the experiences of our ancestors come out in our dreams once in awhile. Or, for that matter, when people have past-life experiences, could that be the same thing? I don't know, and haven't studied the field of dreams, past-life experiences, and other related phenomena enough to be able to hazard any kind of educated guess on the subject, I'm just rambling on. But I do think that the truth about all this, which we may find out only when we die, will be far more bizarre than anything one person could imagine.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Vacation's Over

Only two more days of vacation left and I haven't done much of anything at all. We went to a hotel for a couple of days last weekend, just to get away and so the kids could go swimming in the pool. Other than that, I've been extremely lazy this week. The furnace guys are all done with everything and we now have a new furnace and central air. Went to see about a loan so we could have money to buy the land we're looking at. hmm... not much else that's interesting or thought-provoking in Tim's life. Maybe if I hit the lottery tonight I'll have something to write about. Actually, I don't know if I could write anything down before my wife spends it all... still trying to figure out a way - when I hit - to keep it from her. Money never seems to reside long in her clutches. There's always something she just has to have. Well the sun is shining for a change so I think I'll go see what I can get into today.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

New House Site

We've been looking at some property and think we're going to make an offer on it. Most of it is on a hill but there is a great place to put a house with a terrific view of the valley and opposite hills... and no traffic, no neighbors nearby, and no noise. The landscape in this part of Ohio is awe - inspiring in places, and this is one of them. Although it's only five acres, the location is worth it. I only hope it hasn't been sold when we get ready to move on it in a week or so. There will be a lot to do to get it ready to build on, but it'll be fun to go there in the summer and work on it. The kids will love it.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

We Don't Need No Stinking Expiration Date

I just happened to be in need of a laxative to, er, help speed things along so I dug through the medicine cabinet and found said chocolatey "delight". After taking the recommended dosage I happened to take a gander at the tiny print on the end of it and noted that it had expired in Sept. of 2003.. hmm... well, it did lack a little flavor I guess. Not an hour later I made myself a cup of coffee and noticed we had no milk - which I usually use - so I got in the cupboard and got out some Coffeemate, which is good in a pinch. Just for fun, and remembering my earlier discovery of the antique medicine I checked the date on it. May 23, 2003. hmm.. well it tasted fine to me anyway. But I'm wondering if maybe it's time to clean out the cupboards.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Just a Few Things

Yesterday started Lent so no more pop for us. Every year we give up pop (or soda if you will) for Lent as a family, and some of us make personal abstinences as well. A lot of people give up sweets, which is something I should do but haven't.

My oldest son left this morning on a weekend vacation with his friend. It really worries me because they are driving to Canada with little money and no real plan. It's snowing like crazy here so I hope he doesn't run into any of this. His friend has a map, but my son is not good at following directions and gets lost going about anywhere, except to bed. Just hoping they don't do anything stupid that will start an international fiasco and lead to all out war with the Canucks.

The furnace guys got the new furnace hooked up and there's heat coming out of it! They've been at it all week and are moving along pretty good now that they've put almost all the ductwork in. Since it's pretty cold tonight we'll get a chance to see how much of a difference it makes.

Tomorrow is my last day of work before vacation! :)