Some One Get Me Out of This Hell Hole

So, in my pathetic attempt to ease my social isolation, I joined a few organizations.

Now, I just got back from my “daily constitutional.” Because everyone insists exercise is the cure for depression, I exercise every day. Yesterday, I lifted weights at the gym, which is depressing but just barely bearable. Today is my day for a walk/jog. It’s really more of a power walk than a jog, but I try to keep up the pace. Shortly after starting out I started feeling those chest pains again, you know, the ones the doctors say are in my head. I guess they are. It’s probably anxiety. My route is about 2 and a half miles. In New York it used to be five, but due to the fact that Baltimore is a dangerous city it’s hard for me to find a route that’s more than two miles. And it’s really boring. I do the same route over and over and over. It it gives me a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how much I hate my life. How much I hate my body. How much I hate Baltimore. How difficult it is simply to not get fat. How futile this attempt to lose weight is. Then I tell myself that it should be for health, not appearance. Then I start to wonder why I want to prolong my life when I hate it so much. I don’t want extra years of being lonely and men don’t want healthy, they want anorexic. I start feeling like a caged rat on a wheel.

I arrive home feeling remarkably angry and wonder whether or not I should take an Ativan.

I sat down to write. My mind wanders when I walk and although most of the thoughts are how I hate myself a few aren’t. I’ve been working on a novel and few ideas were about that and I sat down to write those down. Then it seems that I had saved something else with the same title as the working title of my novel thus overwriting everything I’ve written over the past few months. Fuck.

I managed to find another copy elsewhere, so I didn’t lose everything, but my bad mood went to even worse.

Now, don’t ask me why, I started feeling really, really lonely. I just want some company. Is that too mush to ask?

Apparently, in Maryland, it is.

I mentioned having joined some groups to try to meet people. Okay, one thing is the sketching, but it’s early on Saturday morning and I woke up late today. I haven’t been able to get to it for two weeks running and I doubt I’ll get there tomorrow. I’ll try. But this is why I fucking hate Maryland and Baltimore. It’s Nowhereville. Could you imagine living in New York and having to wait for Saturday morning to roll around again in order to do something.

Okay, well, I also joined Mensa. Well, once a month they have a film night and tonight was the night, but I didn’t look at it until it was too late. Don’t you know, they go to an early show. I could have gotten to it if I had thought to look yesterday, but I didn’t. Now, I’ll have to wait a month.

So, do they have anything else on their agenda. Yeah – tomorrow – Saturday – Mensa is going to a GUN RANGE!!!! I’m suicidal, but I’m not fucking stupid. I know well enough that I should stay away from guns for the foreseeable future.

Now, what else is Mensa doing?

July’s speaker is Walter Jones, a graduate of Yale University and Howard University Divinity School, and his presentation is titled “We’ve Come this Far by Faith”.  Walter describes it as a brief gospel history lesson, portrait of a people, and folk sermon rolled into one.

Guns, God. What next? An anti-gay protest? Did I join Mensa or the Tea Party?

Man, I miss New York.

Fourth of July Photos

The following photos were taken at my sister’s place over the Fourth of July weekend.

I like this photo because it's easy to see that what we perceive as a "flower" in the Aster family is really made up of many tiny flowers. You can see that several along the outside have open while most in the center are still closed.

I like this photo because it’s easy to see that what we perceive as a “flower” in the Aster family is really made up of many tiny flowers. You can see that several along the outside have opened while the rest in the center are still closed.


The bird on the left is an adult male Downy Woodpecker and he appears to be feeding his fledgling.

The bird on the left is an adult male Downy Woodpecker and he appears to be feeding his fledgling. The picture’s a little blurry, but I think it’s so adorable when the parents feed the babies.

A few years ago, we planted some Asclepias incarnata in order to attract butterflies. Bumblebees love it as well.

A few years ago, we planted some Asclepias incarnata in order to attract butterflies. Bumblebees love it as well.


Here is a closeup of the flowers.

Here is a closeup of the flowers.

We frequently find this cat lurking near the bird feeder. He gets really nasty when you try to chase him away. It's funny because when he's not hunting he rolls on his back and purrs when he sees people.

We frequently find this cat lurking near the bird feeder. He gets really nasty when you try to chase him away. It’s funny because when he’s not hunting he rolls on his back and purrs when he sees people.

The Rudbeckia hirta in the new perennial bed seems to be doing well.

The Rudbeckia hirta in the new perennial bed seems to be doing well.

The blue jay fledgling sits near the bird feeder and cries for his parents to feed him.

The blue jay fledgling sits near the bird feeder and cries for his parents to feed him.

I believe this is a Nuthatch fledgling.

I believe this is a Nuthatch fledgling.

The chipmunk on the left is the friendly one.

The chipmunk on the right is the friendly one. It’s a little scary that I can actually tell them apart.

This is the Red-bellied Woodpecker fledgling. It's hard to see in this picture, but I think it's a male. His parents have had one or two fledglings each year.

This is the Red-bellied Woodpecker fledgling. It’s hard to see in this picture, but I think it’s a male. His parents have had one or two fledglings each year.


My Sister Might Lose Her Job

Well, at six-thirty this morning, I went to the gym with my mother for my twice weekly weight lifting routine. When we were done, my mother asked what I was going to do for the rest of the day. I said that I wanted to stop by my sister’s and watch the birds and the squirrels. I don’t like working out. It’s one of the chores I do because I have to and I almost always finish in a worse mood than I start. Since I had already started the day crying… I told her that I just needed some peace and relaxation. She asked if she could accompany me. That seemed harmless enough. She said she wanted to sit inside and make some phone calls to her friends. While we were on our way over, I mentioned how a former boyfriend of mine who suffered from depression was always telling me that it was important to get in some pleasures and enjoyment. All the being good and dieting and going to the gym and wearing a hair shirt won’t do any good if you don’t get some enjoyable things in. She said, “You seem to like quiet things.” I said, “Yes, I do.” “So, you wouldn’t like, let’s say, whitewater rafting?” she asked for no reason I could discern. She has a phobia of water, so it wasn’t an invitation.

We arrived at my sister’s house and she started making phone calls. I sat outside with a bag of nuts, but didn’t see any squirrels. After a while, I decided that I might as well garden. I got out the bucket I use when I’m weeding. I didn’t see my gloves with the other gardening supplies. I went into the house to see if I could find them there. My mother said, “Don’t call your sister.” “Good idea,” I said, “Let’s text her.” Then my mother started to cry. “Last night, your sister phoned me and said, ‘I’m fucked.’ I think your sister is going to lose her job!”

My mother started explaining the situation to me but I couldn’t follow because the chest pains started getting worse.

Well, I packed my things back up and drove my mother home. So much for my attempt to have a pleasant day. Is that selfish for me to think that?

I don’t know if I should go out and try to do something else enjoyable or finally take that Ativan.

I just want to go someplace far, far away and fall asleep and never wake up.

Update: My sister is having some difficulty at work, but she says her job is very stable and my mother is exaggerating.

Did You Ever Know What Would Help

but you know you wouldn’t get it. I just want someone to hold me and let me cry on his shoulder. Unfortunately, there isn’t any therapy like that. I wrote that in a comment the other day and everyone made fun of me. I keep playing the mockery over and over and over again, Jon Zande, Remigius, Ron. These are exactly the sort of people I want to flee. I’d be angry with them, but I just don’t have the emotional energy for that feeling right now. I woke up crying this morning. This is the fourth day that I’ve been crying more or less non-stop.

Am I such a freak to want somebody to hold me? But science says that this is a normal need.

While studying wild baboons in Kenya, I once stumbled upon an infant baboon huddled in the corner of a cage at the local research station. A colleague had rescued him after his mother was strangled by a poacher’s snare. Although he was kept in a warm, dry spot and fed milk from an eyedropper, within a few hours his eyes had glazed over; he was cold to the touch and seemed barely alive. We concluded he was beyond help. Reluctant to let him die alone, I took his tiny body to bed with me. A few hours later I was awakened by a bright-eyed infant bouncing on my stomach. My colleague pronounced a miracle. ”No,” Harry Harlow would have said, ”he just needed a little contact comfort.”

I know that until I get some real contact with another person or other people, everything else I do is just propping me up so I can take another fall. When you get to a certainly level of patheticness, your patheticness itself drives people away. It’s like a viscous circle. I can’t see an end to it anymore.

There was another atheist blogger who used to like me when I was funny and sexy and invited me to visit. That invitation’s been rescinded since I’ve shown myself to be a tad more fucked up than he though. The ironic thing is, I’m pretty sure that I would seem less fucked up in person. Last night, I went out to dinner with my sister and my mother. I didn’t drink since I’d been feeling blue and that’s not and advisable combination. Other than that, you wouldn’t have noticed anything major wrong with me. I made chit chat, jokes. Then I went home and went to bed and cried.

This morning I had already had a bout of crying when I got an email that made me feel worse. It was from one of the few people who still contact me. I feel like I’m coming to the end of the line.

An Argument for Suicide

I’ve started having chest pains. I’ve been having chest pains continuously for about three days now. Yesterday, I nearly asked a policeman to call an ambulance. But I hat ambulances. They’re always just such a fuss. I just want a doctor who will listen. I woke up this morning and felt chest pains when I got out of bed.

Then I read an email and my chest pains got worse. I guess if the chest pains get worse when I read an email, it’s anxiety and not a physical condition.

I’m really seriously, seriously, thinking of suicide. I don’t have a plan yet, which is why I’m still on the outside walking around. However, that’s only because I’m terribly afraid of a botched suicide. When I’ve made up my mind, I’m going to do some research and will do something which will work.


Perenial Bed

I mentioned the other day that I had been gardening. The back of my sister’s yard has been a puzzle. First of all, the rocks there are very close to the surface and it’s difficult to dig more than half an inch in much of it. Secondly, people drive over it all the time. A few years ago, we tried to plant some bushes to conceal the neighbor’s garbage pails. Between the deer and the cars, they did not survive. I’ve been a bit puzzled about what to do with the area since then.

a shady area with lots of weeds


I decided that the only real solution was building a raised bed. They’ve been taking down abandoned row houses in Baltimore. We were able to get some of the bricks and I used this to build a bed. There’s no mortar, so it’s not really very sturdy, but it doesn’t have to be.

A rectangle of bricks.

We planted plants that we thought might appeal to butterflies, birds and other wildlife, Chelone glabra, Rudbeckia hirta and Monarda.


It will take a few years to fill in.

In the meantime, I haven’t named this little fellow yet. Actually, I suspect it’s female, but it’s hard to be sure.



Gardening Again

I’ve spent much of the last week at my sister’s gardening. It’s not really surprising that I’m alone because so many of the things I enjoy doing are more or less solitary pursuits.

After spending much of my adult life in New York City I can’t say that I knew much of anything about gardening. I moved down here and my sister, who’s allergic to just about everything on earth, has a huge backyard, by suburban standards. When I arrived, there was a greenhouse in the back. My brother-in-law, who doesn’t really enjoy gardening, kept up the flower beds in front of the house, but the back yard, which is long and narrow and reaches back towards an alleyway that terminates in a patch of woods, had long been neglected. Once, many years earlier, someone had planned and planted a nice garden, but that had since become overgrown.

Most gardening books I read had advice that started with planning a garden that seemed to assume that whatever you did you were going to start from scratch. I had neither the money nor the manpower, or womanpower in my case, to do that, nor would I have had the inclination to do that if I had. So, I had to make up my own gardening ideas.

The first year, I didn’t do anything at all. The main effort was to keep other people from trampling everything. It was a year of learning to identify a great many plants. I waited for things to come up, took pictures and ran to the internet to try to identify things. There were some tall white plants with pretty little white flowers on top which turned out to be garlic mustard, a rather nasty invasive weed. I started ripping it up when I saw it. That was how much of the first year went. Identifying what was in the garden and deciding whether it would stay or go. Unfortunately, since the overall image was one of a big, abandoned mess, people would walk all over everything thinking that everything was a weed. We have primroses, Polygonatum, Epimedium, Galium odoratum. These things were quite obviously planted. I have also found several native North American wildflowers which, while occasionally cultivated, have probably grown there themselves. There’s Claytonia virginica, Chimaphila maculata and some sort of Trillium that I have not identified properly. There had been a large patch of foxglove near the alley, but people have trampled it so many times there’s almost nothing left.

From the green house to a large old beech tree there is a stone path. I noticed a tall gangly plant growing up between the stone. I was about to pull it up when I decided I would wait to find out what it was. A month or two later it finally bloomed. It had rather funky looking brownish pink flowers. I was hoping it wasn’t anything noxious because I like the way it looked. I had quite a difficult time identifying it. I took some photos and tried again. Then suddenly, I remembered a little detail. There’s quite a lot of fungus growing under the beech trees because I see the squirrels dig them up and eat them. (I’ve nicknamed them “squirrel truffles.” I’m not the only person who’s observed this.) I had a vague recollection that there was a relationship between trees, fungi and orchids. On a hunch, I started looking up information about native orchids that might grow among beech trees. I will confess that I got rather excited about the thought of finding something rare, although intellectually I knew it was unlikely. Finally, I decided that it was Helleborine, probably Epipactis helleborine. I found it on a British site and it seems to be common there. It does appear in North America, but it’s not considered invasive or otherwise problematic, so I thought it was rather interesting and I left it. That’s a good example of the idiosyncratic “gardening” that I’ve been doing.

Slowly, I’ve been adding to the garden, favoring plants that encourage the local wildlife. This frequently means native plants, but there’s nothing ideological about it. I’m happy to have non-native plants as well. We have hummingbirds and I’ve planted Lonicera semperviens, Lobelia cardinalis and Spigelia marilandica for them. The Lobelia was planted next to a fern that didn’t thrive, so I thought that I would add to it and make a larger patch of Lobelia. Nearby, was a bit of Chelone glabra. So, my sister offered to help and she started clearing the weeds from near where we were going to plant the Lobelia. She pulled up the Chelone glabra along with the weeds.

A couple of days later, my mother offered to help. I showed her a weed, I’m forgetting the name at the moment, that I wanted pulled up. It was growing off to the side of the stone path. It was a broad leafed plant about half a meter high with pale green leaves with serrated edges. I thought this was a safe instruction to for her because it looked nothing like the Galium among which it was growing. I went to another area of the garden. Later I came by to see how she was doing. She didn’t do what I asked because she was afraid of poison ivy, although I told her there was no poison ivy in that portion of the yard. Instead, she pulled up some “grass” growing among the “flowers.” What she pulled up was Sisyrinchium angustifolium, a flower I’d found amongst some Hosta the first year and which I’d been slowly encouraging and had since become a sizable patch. Well, there’s a couple of examples she missed, so I guess I can start again.

I took a deep breath and told her to stop apologizing. I went into the garbage. Some of the Sisyrinchium she pulled up still had some roots on them, so I started putting them in pots to see if we can save them. Then, when I was going through the garbage, I found what looked like the orchid. I ran to the stone path were it had been, and indeed it was gone. I just sat on the ground and sobbed.

There are days I can’t do anything right.

A couple weeks earlier, one of the neighbors had come by and mentioned that her husband wouldn’t mind picking up a little extra cash if we wanted him to come by with a weed wacker. It’s so damn frustrating. I have a somewhat odd idea. I don’t want to clear everything and plant neat little rows of petunias and dump a bunch of fertilizer and pesticides. In fact, I’ve intentionally planted plants that bugs will eat, specifically I’ve been slowly planting the host plants favored by butterflies. I’m still trying to get my hands on a Pipevine for the pipevine swallowtail, but we’ve planted Milkweed and a Spicebush and we’ve seen Monarch caterpillers on the Milkweed, and, no, we do not want any help in getting those bugs off our flowers.

Sisyrinchium angustifolium, aka Blue-eyed grass. This flower is perhaps one and a half centimeters. It's a pretty little thing if you stop long enough to look.

Sisyrinchium angustifolium, aka Blue-eyed grass. This flower is perhaps one and a half centimeters. It’s a pretty little thing if you stop long enough to look.