Sunday, April 21, 2013

“I'm not the problem, you see.”

I'm not the problem, you see.
It's everyone else that bothers me.
They make it so hard to be kind,
But when I'm with you I don't seem to mind.
— Linus of Hollywood

I have had occasion to have a relationship of sorts with an alcoholic. Kathy's late brother had a friend who is, alas, an alcoholic. We'll call her Patricia. She just had a child after having had to lose her older child because of her alcoholism. And now, thanks primarily to people she calls friends, there is a chance she'll lose this child to the system as well.

Her "friends" invited her and the baby over, coaxed her into drinking, and then called the authorities. They did this out of revenge, because Patricia at one point had a role in one of them losing a child to Children's Services.

Where I come in is that I recognize that she doesn't have much of a chance if she doesn't change her environment, so I have offered her the opportunity to move where I live, where Kathy and I can help her get set up in an environment that will support her quitting drinking.

The problem for me has been dealing directly with an alcoholic again. The promises, the excuses, the disappointments, and the lies are all familiar to me intellectually, but being the recipient of them in person touches buttons long dormant. I have to stop myself from becoming angry with her with the anger that rightfully belongs to and with my father.

I have decided to have no hope about the issue and just let what happens happen.

Linus of Hollywood sings what I think of as the alcoholic's anthem.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Graduation Day

Well, this past week I graduated. Not from school but from therapy. After having gone to therapy actively since the summer of 2008, the summer when my wife and I had the last marital troubles that led to our marriage dissolving, I am now no longer seeing anyone. And it feels...weird.

I started going to the first therapist, Marie, as a marriage counselor with Portia, my then-wife. The marital therapy was about as effective in keeping the marriage together as the Cleveland Browns offense was that year (4-12) in winning football games. I then continued to see Marie for the next three years, surviving the break up and then the tumultuous relationship with Stella. But progress seemed slow and less than satisfying.

Then two things happened. The first was that Marie, after three years, found out that my father was an alcoholic. I never hid it from her. It somehow just never came up. This led her to suggest I read Co-Dependent No More, which is where I heard of Adult Children of Alcoholics. But the other thing that happened is that Marie took an opportunity to do some special work elsewhere, leaving me in the care of her colleague, Caroline.

Caroline had a much more assertive style. She pushed me. She gave me homework. And so, between ACoA and her, I began to make much swifter progress. Of course, it didn't hurt that my relationship with Stella was soon over, allowing me to focus even more on healing myself, since she was a bullet still lodged in my open wounds.

And in one last push, she pushed me to push off and leave therapy. I could argue with it. I'm better. I can do things in love relationships (like set boundaries) that I couldn't before. I have come a long way. Am I fixed? No. I will continue to evolve as long as I live. But I am moving to a new chapter, so play the music; I'm marching in graduation.

Pomp and Circumstance No. 1, conducted by the composer.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Things I learned from looking up other things

A while ago, I ripped off Sydney J. Harris by titling a blog entry "Things I Learned While Looking Up Other things." It is one of the most popular of my blog entries, right behind the one that has boobs in it. And so, since I am always looking up something being a lover of learning and an autodidact, I decided to do it again.

This ÷ is called an obelus. This · is often referred to as a middot but is also known as an interpunct. This ‽ is called an interrobang and it denotes an excited question, while it's upside down cousin is called a gnaborreti.

The name Calvary comes from a translation of a translation going back to the name Golgotha which means "Place of the Skull."

In America, not only are charitable donations of money and goods tax deductible, but so is mileage accrued in service of a charitable organization.

The song 25 or 6 to 4 was written about its own writing. That is to say it is a song about writing a song.

And finally, the actual, correct title of Sydney J. Harris's column is Things I Learned From Looking Up Other things.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

They're coming to take me away

And then the days got worse and worse
And now you see, I've gone
Completely out of my mind.
— Jerry Samuels, a k a Napoleon XIV

It's quiet right now in the Lightning Cave, but instead of just enjoying it, I am taking advantage of this time to get a blog entry out before it starts again, the horrible menace plaguing my days for over a month now. What's "it"?


I am a pegging-the-meters introvert, so the last few weeks have pushed me to my absolute limit regarding the company of other human beings and the noise they bring and the need to discuss irrelevancies. I did something actually pretty cool the other weekend, visiting with men in prison while talking about my religion, but that required me to spend a lot of time with people without much of a break. Then I also during this period spent a ton of time trying to teach someone at work how to do her job. She, however, has been a difficult student not inclined to independent study. And finally, with Kathy out of work, she wants to talk when I get home.

I have lost my sweet, sweet time of not listening to anyone and not doing anything for anyone, the time where I feel creative enough to write, or draw, or write music. Thank God for bowel movements or I wouldn't have time to read anything that wasn't on a computer screen. At any rate, I have been short tempered and snappy and have been making weird, sometimes sarcastic remarks. So much so that, like the fellow in the song, I feel like I'm losing my mind. I was hoping to take advantage of the Easter holiday weekend to recharge, but Kathy invited her adult niece to visit, so no soap.

What's that? Is that a siren I hear? Will I be happy to see those fine young men in their clean white coats? Are they coming to take me away? Hee hee. Hah hah. Ho ho.

Napoleon XIV

Sunday, March 24, 2013


I had to go into work today and it was storming rather fiercely It was dramatic but also very beautiful. I have liked storms for many years and it was also appropriate for my current situation. I am going through a storm in my personal life right now and the squall made for a perfect metaphor.

I am doing a lot of things lately stemming from the religious retreat I went on last fall and they are both a part of and a respite from my current storm. I have decided that rather than put that information here I would keep this blog focused on ACoA and start a second blog, which you can visit here. Remember that this is a religious blog and might not be your cup of tea depending on your religion.

How any of this relates to ACoA is that I am better able to see the current situation as a storm and not the end of the world, and for that I do have the program to thank.

The Classics IV.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Don't you care?

If something happens twice it's a coincidence and thrice it's a trend. So with that in mind, I want to talk about something that happened to me now with Kathy that also happened with Stella and Portia, namely jealous about how I talk to my friends.

From their perspective, I share more with my friends and I have a closer relationship with my friends than I have with them. I believe this is a misapprehension of what's really going on. So I decided to take a look at it and see if I could figure out what they were seeing and what I could do about it.

It seems to me that what they are seeing is:
  1. I don't enjoy many conversations with them
  2. I enjoy the conversations with my friends
  3. I tell my friends things about my life and my day that I don't tell them

Don't You Care?

"I don't like to talk" is usually what I say to people, but that is not the whole truth. That statement is actually made up of a couple of things. I don't like to talk about things I don't care about and I don't like to talk for no reason.

Portia, Stella, and even Kathy love to talk to me about things I don't really care about. I am not a great actor, so they all know that I don't want to hear about these things. The other thing I am asking in my head when we talk is "Why are you telling me this?" And usually in their cases I do not get an answer that has anything to with me. They're often talking for them, which is fine, but again they can tell that I don't care and it hurts their feelings that I don't.

Words With Friends

I do enjoy my conversations with my friends. This is due to several factors. One, they don't talk to me as much. I usually spend a lot of time with the woman in my life, consequently, I don't talk to my friends nearly as often. Thus when I do talk to them, it's something special. Two, usually enough time has elapsed that they have a lot to tell me and usually just hit the high spots. And three, they, to varying degrees, know what I give a crap about.

Sharing Is Caring

As to why I tell my friends things about my life, first of all, they generally ask. Stella and Portia in particular did not really ever ask me about my day or my life. I would have to force the conversation in my direction when I wanted to talk about my life. It wasn't worth the effort. To Kathy's credit, she does ask me about my day. However, she tends to ask me stuff right when I get home from work and am not in the mood to talk to anyone about anything or when I am in the middle of doing something and am not in the mood to have a conversation.

But as with anything else the question is "What am I going to do about it?" I do not have a magic formula to find interesting things I do not find interesting. I have debated telling Kathy about any of this, because I don't want her to think I think her purpose is to entertain me. I think I will just assure her that it doesn't mean what she thinks it means and leave it at that. But since she reads the blog periodically, I figure she might learn about it anyway, which would certainly give us something to talk about.

The Buckinghams

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Quite possibly my favorite single class when I went to college was Introduction to Logic. It wasn't because I was particularly fond of my philosophy professor although he was a nice enough fellow. It was the subject matter itself. Logic was orderly and it made sense. And it allowed for useful insights into what people were saying. It in fact amazes me sometimes how people do not see the logical conclusions to be drawn from the things they say and do.

I believe my love of logic is because of my upbringing and my FOO. People are messy and illogical and the world made little sense to me. What understanding I have of humanity and sociology has only come from studying people in an almost scientific fashion, since people were unreliable to me and made little sense.

The problem though is that whenever you get a shiny new hammer, everything looks like a nail. I had logic and it worked (and works) well for me in a lot of areas, so I used it to try and understand, explain, and solve everything. And using logic about (and in some cases with) people only gets you so far.

It wasn't until today though that I realized that my love of logic was an understandable reaction to the unpredictability and sometimes irrationality of my home life. As Mr. Spock would say, "Fascinating."

1, 2, 3, 5!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

She cried

Sometimes you have to smash your forehead against a brick wall a good several times before you really get it.

I keep trying to deal with Portia, my ex-wife, as if she is a mature human being and honestly, she just isn't. I was talking to Tina, my granddaughter, on the phone and I was thinking that it might be worth it to try and persuade Portia to allow Tina to go on my annual vacation back home. But I really didn't want to have that conversation with Portia if Tina didn't want to go. So I asked her to think about whether or not she wanted to go with me and if she did, I would talk to Portia about it.

As soon as Tina and I finish, Portia calls me up all on fire, asking how could I ask the kid the question and saying there is no way she was going with me and Lord only knows what else because I said "Okay, she can't go" and hung up on her. This didn't satisfy Portia because she called Kathy and yelled at her for an hour too. I later found out (because Kathy and I were in different places when this occurred) that Tina was in the background sobbing because Portia had told her rather nastily that she couldn't go, repeating the lie that I have an anger problem.

What I have is a "My ex-wife is a lunatic bitch" problem.

Jay & the Americans, with the first Jay, John "Jay" Traynor.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Gung Hei Fat Choi 2013

I am not sure why I started paying attention to Chinese New Year, but it was Chinese New Year Sunday and I had some delicious twice cooked pork to celebrate.

I know. Anything to eat Chinese.

An apology of sorts to Google

A while back I complained that Google AdSense cancelled my account without explanation. I had assumed it was for fraudulent click activity. (I don't know if they said as much.) But as it turns out, I was in violation of their TOS, which I only found after being bored and having nothing else to read.

See, I like to post song videos here. And even though AdSense, YouTube, and Blogger are all related IIRC, posting YouTube videos that you didn't make on your Blogger blog is against AdSense's TOS. So I do owe them an apology about saying I did nothing wrong.

But not taking the time to explain yourself is still crappy customer service. Sorry.

Breaking up is hard to do.

Don't say that this is the end.
— Neil Sedaka

It really isn't as big a deal as it would have been a year or so ago, but since I told you about Kathy and Portia developing a relationship I think it only fair that I tell you about "The Breakup."

Over the course of the last few months of 2012, Kathy and Portia's relationship cooled. Kathy seems to think that Portia finally got the idea that Kathy wasn't going anywhere. Also, Portia had begun to be more and more negative, again according to Kathy. I like to think she just was more and more her true self.

But at any rate, after she and I returned from spending the holidays in her home state to where we live, she noticed that Portia had suspended all contact with her, down from contact at least once a day. Kathy was fine with that but curious, so she texted Portia to get the scoop. Portia then set up a meeting to have a "talk".

Portia then had a dramatic conversation with Kathy that seemed an awful lot like a break up meeting. Portia claimed that Rick, my stepson, had advised her that it wasn't healthy to keep having a connection to my life and so she was ending her relationship with Kathy so as not to have a window into my life. Of course, that was the only reason she had pushed a relationship in the first place, but I digress.

She said that I would always have access to my stepdaughter Tina (who mysteriously is nonetheless never available to me when I want her) and that their mutual friend could still be friends with Kathy. Kathy acted like this was a loss and then went on her merry way.

And I feel better than I used to.

Neil Sedaka.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I wonder who taught her how to talk like that.

Baby's into running 'round, hanging with the crowd,
Putting your business in the street, talking out loud,
Saying you bought her this and that
And how much you done spent.
I swear she must believe it's all heaven sent.
— Boz Scaggs

As I have said here on any number of occasions, Stella, my ex-girlfriend, has seen fit to libel me on her blog. She's also disparaged Kathy, my current girlfriend. And we've pretty much just let it go. We both stopped looking at her blog because time had marched on. However, mutual friends, family, and acquaintances interested in the main subject of her blog continue to read it, as well as Portia, the ex-wife.

Portia and Stella have struck up a relationship that I have taken to calling the Paramour Revenge Squad after the Superman Revenge Squad of comic book fame. Again, no skin off my nose. In fact, I think it both a little funny and sad that the two of them get together and compare notes as to how horrible I am.

At any rate, word got back to me that she had made a big life decision and had posted same on her blog. I think it a positive life decision and I was glad to hear it. I mentioned it to Kathy. Kathy, who has a relationship of sorts with Portia, mentioned to Portia that she thought this was a good decision. And, apparently, Portia told Stella. And Stella went what I shall charitably call "cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs®."

She assumed that I got the news through a mutual friend, Whitney, and proceeded to libel Whitney on her blog while excoriating Whitney for telling me this information. And she repeated her many lies about me for good measure.

Whitney is a wonderful friend. But as Stella is going to find, she's even more a tremendous enemy. Stella should not have done this, especially since she puts her own business in the street in the form of a blog that is open to the world. So pretty soon Whitney will "bring the chick around to the sad, sad truth, the dirty lowdown."

The dirty lowdown.