Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: the last photo shoot. He was the best dog on the planet.

Tomato Madness

Tomato Madness
The author of Mark's Work

Hollyhocks and zinnias

Hollyhocks and zinnias
Why I grow flowers

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast
Love is the greatest power.

Tomatoes are us.

Tomatoes are us.
Smoked paprika catsup, here at HappyDay Farms

Packing some heat...

Packing some heat...
These peppers know how to party!

Halloween fun

Halloween fun
Lito and Keelee

Our house

Our house
The snow season approaches...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tea for Me


Tea for Me

I have a cold.  I and probably half of America.  So what’s the big deal?  This is the first time in my life that I welcome said cold with open arms, if not open sinuses.  Why would that be, you might ask?  I welcome my cold because I caught it from Annie.

I knew she had a cold when she came up to visit over the Thanksgiving Holidays.  I openly consorted with her, even though she warned me that she had been experiencing a sore throat, and that it had turned into a full-blown cold.  Did I care?  Emphatically not.  

Just as I used to joke that I loved going to breakfast with her, because it implied that we had spent the night together, I joked last week that I hoped I would catch her cold.  If she and I were not together, there is a fairly good chance I could have escaped the ravages of this pesky business.  However, we are together, so to be unhappy at the resulting cold, would be to imply that I was unhappy with Annie, and that is never going to happen.

I know I am sort of a goofy guy, but that is the way my world works.  Love Annie-love her cold.  I have shouted-repeatedly-that I would do anything on the planet for her, and now I have the opportunity to prove it.  I woke up at 1:25 this morning, and immediately decided a cup-or two-of Gypsy Cold Care Tea was in order.  

Dozer the dog was most perturbed to be disturbed out of his snoring slumber, but I tried to convince him that he did not have to accompany me to the kitchen to make said tea.  Maybe it was the howling of the wind outside, signaling the approach of the series of November storms that have been forecast to hit NorCal, or maybe the banging of the screen door.  Suffice to say, he was happy when I returned to the bed with my tea, and turned on the light so I could continue to read The Girl Who Played with Fire.  Yes, I am reading again, after a hiatus of almost two years.

I guess it was one of the many lifestyle changes that I underwent, over the course of the time since I emerged from panic attack syndrome, in October of 2010.  Little did I know that I would then proceed to exhibit the full-blown tendencies of a bipolar-ll mood disorder.  Big sigh.  But that is ancient history.

Now I am well on the way to mastering this illness, with the help of the same medication that I was so unwilling to indulge in.  Silly me.  I should have realized that millions of Americans, who also take medication for this malady, could not all have been off-course.  

Now I am aggressively fighting this cold with tea, rest and vitamin C.  Ever since an esteemed colleague at school convinced me that over-the-counter medicine is nonproductive, or even detrimental to a cold, I have taken this stance.  In the past I have found this type of medication has done nothing more than give me a fat head, and very weird dreams.  The worst side effect of the tea is that I have to get up every half hour and stumble into the bathroom to use the facilities.

So when I say I have a cold, I am not whining, I am celebrating.  Call me goofy, call me naive, but just make sure you call me happy, because that is the way I feel.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Zinnia


The Zinnia

My sweetest of apple blossoms is a very private person.  I have agreed that I will not elaborate about her or our difficulties.  However, my heart is like a perfect round stone, skipping merrily over the surface of a pond, because I have my wife and my life back.  Therefore, if I speak only of myself, when it comes to illness, I think I am on solid ground

Annie is the smartest woman I have ever met when it comes to common sense and street smarts.  There is no way I could ever have effected the changes that I have made within myself, if Annie went about it in any other way, than to move down to Willits, an hour away, in order to get a handle on her illness.

I am up on our mountain, taking care of the critters, working construction when the weather permits, and trying to cut/split five to six cords of wood to get the household through what has started out to be a  harsh winter (regardless of the weather).  I am sixty years old and my body is protesting mightily, but that is neither here nor there, and has nothing whatsoever to do with anything.

When Masked Mom quoted Donovan Hohn in her “Random Quote Friday,” she wrote, “The past creates us and we are powerless to change it.  We can only-if we are very persistent and very lucky and usually not even then-change ourselves.”  

Though it has been very difficult because I have had to battle solitude and loneliness, I have made many changes, the need for which was caused-in part-by my diagnosis as being bipolar.  I prefer to refer to it by the more contemporary title of mood spectrum disorder.

I have been taking the medication for almost two months, and because of this, I have successfully managed to eradicate some of the other things in my life that may have contributed to the ups and downs of my moods.  I had already stopped alcohol consumption at the beginning of the summer, though I have never been much of a drinker; my drug of choice has always been reefer.

At the same time as I began the meds, I decided that I would stop all consumption of marijuana, because I figured I no longer need it to help stabilize my temperament.  The meds are supposed to do that.  It was ridiculously easy, because I knew that it would please Annie, and I was willing to do anything on the planet to win back her heart.  

I tossed in caffeine (another lifetime relationship) and sugar, for good measure, in an effort to eliminate ANYthing that would contribute to shifting my frame of mind, either up or down.

And that was only the beginning.  I learned that I needed to do three things: get a handle on my illness, learn to be independent and learn to be less self-centered.  In all reality, I could never have done these three things successfully, if there was no sense of urgency.  How better to effect these changes, than to remove herself from the arena?  Annie is one smart cookie.

I protested!  I squirmed!  I begged, but it was all to no avail.  I was told that there was no time framework in place, and that I needed to either go about the tasks required, or suffer the consequence of losing her.  So independence has been achieved, simply because it was either sink or swim.  After all, I am the guy who “hitchhiked”-in uniform-while in the military, from Seoul, Korea, to Osan Air Force Base, in Korea, to Osaka Air force Base, in Japan, to Travis Air Force Base, in California, to home.
That could be construed as independent.

Somewhere along the line, I lost that ability to function independently.  However, Annie could no longer keep me afloat, because she had far bigger worries than those which plagued me.  As my anxiety issues have become more pronounced over the years, she felt she had to disengage.

Now that I am taking the meds, and have soaked up every iota of information about my own illness, I feel-as does Annie-that I have a handle on my illness.  As for being self-centered, nothing pulled the rug out from beneath my feet, like Annie vacating the premises.  Suddenly, I was able to see clearly, that to which she referred.  If I wanted back into her life, I needed to recognize that I no longer came first.  I can only say that my vision is now twenty-twenty, and I know where my priorities are.

My priorities are with Annie.  If I ever forget that, I know, and not just in the back of my mind, what may result.  I would never risk that course of action; therefore, I will never put myself or my needs first again.

When I asked Annie what kind of flower she thought might best represent her, she said a zinnia, because they are so tough.  But Annie is also fragile, because her illness makes her so.  As oxymoronic as it may appear, my girl is the toughest, and yet most fragile flower, in the garden that is life.