Alone I sat, in my mentally made cell.
Why was I there, in that self created hell.
Thinking back to school, and my days of dope.
Foot by foot, rolling out the damn rope.
Hallucinogens were my rope, meth my noose.
Heroin in the needle, would have been my cooked goose.
One day in April, in the year ’99,
I awoke, did my prep, and did my last line.
I looked in the mirror, deep into my eyes.
I’m not am addict? Bullshit! No more lies!
I have stomped a mans head, into a curb.
He only mouthed off, something he didn’t deserve.
I broke my glass pipe, and then walked away.
No hospital detox, not even N.A.
17 years, this wagon’s been on this ride.
Not one relapse or slip up, I say this with pride.
For many years I sat, staring at my cell floor.
In the end, it was up to me, to walk out the door.

**17 years ago today I decided to get clean. I hear people browbeat others when they say they have only been clean for one week or one month and it upsets me. The truth is, we all start at day one. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you aren’t good enough, or haven’t been sober long enough to be respected for the amount of time you have been sober. Be proud of your accomplishments, and stick with it. One day you’ll look back at all that time, and your use will be a distant memory.**

  I had gone shopping for a few things today, and stopped by the gas station on my way back. I walked in like normal and stood in line. There was a long line and a woman standing off to the side leaning on the counter looking sad. As I got closer, the clerk asked her, “Are you going to be alright hon?”
  The lady said nothing and shook her head no. The clerk spoke to another customer saying that the lady had just told her that she was about to have a seizure. Then she told the lady to sit down and she would go get her mom in a moment. There were still like 4 of us in line and I couldn’t stand there and do nothing.
  Some people have the ability to sense a seizure coming on, and if she really was about to have one, I didn’t want her to fall and get hurt. I walked up to her and offered to help her sit, as she looked very shaky and was trying to sit on the floor. I got an arm and helped lower her to the floor as I was telling the clerk I would go get the mom. Suddenly the lady dropped into the seizure.
  I told the clerk to go get the mom immediately as I took hold of the back of the lady’s neck so she didn’t slam her head into anything. I held onto her throuought the ordeal and her mom came in after it was over and helped as well. She had been sitting against the ice cream bin, so we slid her down all the way to the floor and another customer gave us a sweater to put under her head.
  She awoke confused and didn’t remember anything prior to it. I understand this happens often. She didn’t even remember leaving the house today. We helped her up and were walking her to the car as she was talking with her mom. “Where are we? We aren’t at home. I don’t remember coming here.” Then she looked at me, then back to her mom while she motioned toward me, “I remember him tho. I don’t know who he is, but I remember him.”
  I was floored. Why would she remember me? I would figure that I’d be forgotten like everyone and everything else. I helped her into the car, told them to take care, patted her mom on the back and told her it would all be ok, and went to my car where I cried almost all the way home.
  This is the second person in the last few months that I happened to be in the right place at the right time to help like this. It freaks me out a bit, because my father had a seizure just before he landed in the hospital where he died so it brings back a lot of emotions that i dont enjoy dealing with. But when I’m there, I am calm and alert. I seem to handle the situation well until it’s all over. I’m thankful for that! Could it be that I’m being shown part of my purpose in life? I don’t know what it means, or if it actually means anything at all… but one thing is for sure… I’m happy I was able to help.

  It’s difficult when you don’t have a place to call your own. You start to feel like a failure, a loser, even worthless. I don’t mean having to rent instead of owning… I mean not having a home at all.
  Shortly before Thanksgiving, my roommate’s boyfriend got us evicted. I could have stayed the owner said, unfortunately I couldn’t afford it.
  A coworker told me to come stay on her couch. I did so. I don’t like taking up space in someone’s home. She wouldn’t take any money when I’d offer. A good friend of mine is going through a rough time. Good friend doesn’t fully explain it, but let’s just say that she is not ready for anything more than friends. I love her dearly, and I understand her position… mostly. Anyway, I digress… her daughter and grandson have come to live with her while her daughter is going through a divorce. I love those two like my own. I’ve even told them that I officially adopt them as my daughter and grandson.
  Well, I have been helping them babysit so nobody has to lose hours at work. My boss will usually let me come in at 4 am so I can get off at 1. So, I’ve been doing this for awhile, and the lady where I was staying (after making sure she was ok with all of this) decided it was time for me to leave because I would spend many nights out since nobody got home til 11pm and I had to be at work by 4, there was no point in driving. So, my friend has let me stay at her place now for a few weeks. But it’s getting tiring not having a place to call home. Almost all my stuff is in my car still.
  I do love this woman, and will wait as long as she needs to heal… and my wanting to call this place my home has a bit to do with that, but mostly I enjoy being able to help the people who I consider family. I am prepared to ask tonight if I may consider this my home, or if I should try to find a place I can afford. Regardless of the answer, I will still be helping them… but I pray she says this can be my home.
  I have wanted to ask this question for awhile, but I’m scared of the answer. Then today, with no warning… I started to have a severe mental breakdown. I mean crying at work and just feeling so low that my old self harming thoughts were creeping back into my mind. I asked one of my managers if I could leave for the day, and kind of explained the situation to him. He told me that if I need, they will throw a benefit for “an anonymous employee” to try to raise the funds to get me into a place. 
  I would rather stay here because not only do I get to help with the childcare, but I throw money towards rent which also helps her out more. I’m praying she says yes, but again, I’m afraid of the answer.
  I’m asking for your prayers and good vibes on this one. I know in the end, it is as God wills it… I’m having trouble with that as well, but I do have faith. Thank you for reading, I’ll keep you updated.

    I saw a vet today. A Vietnam era vet. He was having to use a motorized cart. I came up behind him and he dropped his cane off the cart. I was too far away to help. I heard him sigh in exasperation and he picked it back up. I could tell it pained him to do so. It saddened me to see such a sight. Here we have a person who risked his life, for an ungrateful country, gaining years and not as spry as he once was. I could tell he felt like shit because of his inability to walk.
    I did what everyone else seems to do and just let it be… but I continued to see the image in my mind’s eye. Around the corner, I was putting away some vegetables and I heard something drop. I turned to see this man trying to grab a pot pie that dropped. It landed in front  of him and slid across the floor. I picked it up and handed it to him.
    I pay a lot of attention to my surroundings, and one of the big things is looking people in the eyes. As I handed it to him, I noticed tears. He accepted the help graciously, but I could see that it hurt him to do so. We could all use a bit of humbling from time to time… but this was too much. He made a “joke” about the eyes going first, then everything else, but what I heard was, “I didn’t used to be this way. I was once young, strong, and almost unstoppable.”
    How quickly our youth goes huh? One day we’re climbing trees, jumping from great heights, and the next we’re in an electric cart trying in vain to pick something we’ve dropped up off the floor.
He thanked me and went on his way as I told him, “No problem.” And I was left thinking… One day this will be me. A mere shadow of what I once was. Not able to do the things I once could. Possibly relying on help from strangers just to get through my day.” Then I started thinking. I believe in karma. And I believe that at times, we can become karma incarnate. Today I got to be a good part of the karma for a man who has done noble deeds in life… and for that I am thankful. I only pray that one day I deserve good treatment like that.
    He went on his way and I went back into the freezer at work and cried my eyes out. It was too much emotion for me to contain. Many good people are looked down upon and treated like crap because they aren’t as mobile as the rest of us. That’s no way to treat people!! Treat them with the same respect that you would treat your mother or father. I mean hell… they have been through more than you most likely… and if not… who cares… they’re human beings, and everybody needs a kind word and deed in life.

    It’s been awhile since I wrote anything.  I’ve been busy as hell.  But I find myself with some time this evening to tell you a short (ish) story about the rattlesnake situation out here in the prairie lands. 🙂  (Keep on reading this one John… it’s a good one) 😉
    I hadn’t given much thought to the fact that the prairie is loaded with rattlesnakes.  Well… it is. Bwahahaha. XD So my buddy and I are in the barn one day when we hear the distinct rattling from somewhere in between us.  There isn’t a lot of room to move around in the barn, and it’s pretty messy after years of not being touched.  So we carefully moved away and tried to look for the snake without endangering ourselves too much.  We had already relocated a few young snakes this season, but sometimes, they are in places where it’s unsafe to let them live.  Well, we found him in the middle of the pipes too far away for us to grab him with the snake grabber.  Well… we couldn’t leave him in the barn because of the danger.  Don’t get me wrong, all rattlers are dangerous, but the two types we have out here are no joke.  Western Diamondback and Prairie Rattlers.  They have both Neurotoxic and Hemotoxic venom.  You have about 2 hours to get treatment if you get bit… otherwise you’re pretty screwed.
    Being the awesome farm boys we are, we fashioned a long hook so we could scoop him out of the pipe and dispatch him.  Well, you know how farms have a lot of old equipment on them?  There just so happens to be an old broken tractor in the way so we could get him with the hook, but when pulling it out, it would get hung up… putting us in pretty decent danger.  Add to the fact that I’m holding the flashlight and can’t see the damn thing so I keep moving a bit when my buddy needs the light.  The snake was pissed!!  I would love to claim I’m so awesome that I wasn’t scared at all… but I was shaking pretty bad.  This was the first grown rattler that I had ever dealt with.  The babies aren’t so bad.  A rattler can strike up to 2/3 of it’s body length, so a one footer isn’t too scary… but when dealing with a three or four footer… it’s a little different. LOL
    So here we are, trying to figure out what to do when my inner redneck shines through.  “Hey… you got bird shot for your shotgun?” I ask.
    “Yep.  Guess I’m gonna go grab it.” replies my buddy.  And oh how the fun started.  I’m sure you all know how strong steel is right?  Well imagine shooting a shotgun into a steel pipe that’s six inches wide, and about 20 feet long.  My buddy comes back out and shines the flashlight into the pipe.  “There he is.”  Then he turns to me and says,”You might want to plug your ears.”  They were already plugged.  He raised the muzzle, took aim, and BLAM!!!  The sound was deafening even with my ears plugged.  “Son of a bitch!!”  he screamed when he looked again.  “The bastard is still alive!!”
    I’m not sure how much you know about the physics of birdshot, but ponder this for a moment.  Have you ever skipped a stone on water?  What about 30 or 40 stones at once?  Well, bird shot isn’t enough to damage the steel, so if the angle of the shot drives it into the steel, it bounces… at about 427 meters per second. So here we now had a very pissed off snake, who was probably reeling from the concussion… but he didn’t take one hit from the shot.  What a lucky snake.  If I got shot at, I can say with certainty that I would get hit with almost every piece of shot in the damn bullet. LOL So he shot again… and again… and again.  If he wasn’t so pissed off, I would have been rolling on the floor laughing.  My buddy is one of the best shots I have ever seen, so to see him miss so bad, and get so pissed was frigging hilarious!!
    After five shots, he finally took of it’s head… and 3/4 of it’s body.  It was a scary ordeal, but of course, as we leave the barn, and walk a short way out into the field… we find another snake.  This was much easier to get rid of.  I grabbed it with the grabber, and he lopped off it’s head. It turns out that it’s much easier dealing with a snake when you’re out in the open and not in some super close quarters. Now… being that we live on a ranch in the middle of nowhere, we don’t like to waste things.  I had done some studying on how to cure snake skin, and I had always wanted to try eating snake.  The grilled snake was amazing, but the skin curing is a story for another time.  I might write a post on that shortly, as I’m at the end of my day and I’m not too tired yet.
    I hope you have enjoyed the story.  There should be plenty more of them as I find the time to write more often.  I’ve had a few cool adventures out here, and I’m sure there will be many more.  🙂  I’ll leave you with a shot of the snake on the grill we made, and a shot of Ranch hand Grinning Bear. 🙂
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   Nothing quite like some fresh grilled snake. 😉
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I think the straw hat suits me. 🙂

  Death comes in many forms;
Death of an era, death of a marriage, death of your childhood, brain death… then there’s having a heart attack and dying in the flaming wreckage that about two minutes ago, was your car.
  I was notified yesterday that my ex wife’s grandfather died in a car wreck. He was a great man. A self reliant, good ol’ boy from Missouri. He was an engineer, who owned his own well digging company. Even in his late 70’s you could still find him out there, climbing the rigs to get things set up. No ropes, no harness, just… climbing.
  When I first met him back in 2001, I had a big black Mohawk and piercings all over my face. He didn’t even bat an eyelash. He shook my hand, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “Welcome to the family.”
  My ex and I had just gotten engaged, and I was nervous about meeting him. My grandfather had been from Missouri, and he was very vocal about not liking my piercings. So I worried that he might also judge me by all the metal in my face.
  But he didn’t. I did notice however, that he kept a close watch as I opened doors and pulled out chairs for his granddaughter. I wasn’t trying to impress him though. I always did these things for her. Needless to say, he approved.
  As we left to return home he took my hand and shook it. He said, “I think you’re an OK guy… I don’t care what they say about you.” He gave a smirk and a wink as he said it. I smiled back, and got in the car to drive home.
  Over the years he has asked about me through the rest of the family. Always wanting to know how I was doing, and what was going on in my life. About a year ago, my ex mother in law told me that he said he missed me being around at family gatherings.
  Jim… I have always remembered you fondly. You were always nice to me, and as far as I know… never had a bad word to say about me.
  Rest in Peace Grampa Jim.

  So… we all know I don’t make a bunch of money. Hell… who really does?! But I had quite the adventure in Povertyland yesterday.

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(Enjoying the beginning of Adventure Time)
  First, my bus didn’t show up. In fact… the first two buses didnt show up. Luckily, I discovered that my little sister wasn’t working, so she was able to give me a ride to work. I gave her part of my bus money, leaving me with enough to grab the trolley on the way home, and had enough for the next couple days.
    My boss, whom I commute with (After getting to his house via the bus) had some type of emergency with his gf and had to leave. He wasn’t able to make it back.
    The bus that I normally don’t have to take is more expensive. It takes you over the mountains, and back to my area. After having to catch that, I didn’t have enough money to catch the lightrail home. It’s about 10 miles. Mind you, I stand at work all day and my shoes are worn out.
    See where this is going? My sister asked to only be asked for rides in an emergency due to lack of funds. I didn’t deem this to be one.
  Off the bus finally at 7:00 p.m. I started walking. My journey started near the H.P. Pavilion.

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(Home of the San Jose Sharks, and former home of San Jose Stealth Lacrosse)
    There were many people on the path that I walked, but it was much nicer than walking through downtown. I had figured out the milage, and the path running next to the Guadalupe River was less than half a mile longer.
     I was feeling pretty good at this point, and was only moderately tired. There are lots of wild animals along the trail; and many dog walkers too. I saw some rabbits and stopped for a moment to thank the universe for such a cool sight. We don’t see many wild rabbits out here in San Jose.

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(I know it’s not a rabbit, but I didn’t get a pic of them)
    I continued my journey north as the sun started reaching the horizon. I was approaching my halfway point. The San Jose Mineta International Airport. I’ve seen airports, driven by them and all that… but I don’t know if you can appreciate the size unless you walk past one. It took about 45 minutes to walk past. I mean, I was right next to the thing. The short term parking was very pretty in the quickly fading light.

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(With the sun blocked by the building, I got a nice second shot)
    I continued onward… although my feet were starting to feel the effects of my journey. Lol.

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(It’s not poverty, it’s ventilation)
    I mentioned in my last post that I discovered geocaching. Well, I’m always checking the official site to see if anything is near. There were about five or six caches along the way. I skipped the ones in the beginning, but after dark had finally fallen, I couldn’t resist finding at least one. So I took about five minutes, found it, signed the log, and moved on. I couldn’t take a pic of the log sheet like I normally do. On my next journey through the area, I will have to grab a pic. 🙂 But here’s a shot of a sign log about the same size.

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(Writing that small is tough)
    Have you ever walked down the street at night? There’s something moderately scary about it. Well on the trail it gets real dark. You can hear animals crashing through the brush. You hear mysterious noises behind you and imagine it’s something awful. Only to turn around and discover that it’s only the sound of your backpack. Lol
    I was texting my best friend all the way home. She is my dearest friend. She’s on the east coast, but insisted on staying awake until I arrived home safely at about 1:30 a.m. her time.
    I had to stop texting at one point around 9:00 because as I looked up from my phone and my eyes adjusted to the dark, there was a skunk walking across my path. That could have been a disaster. Lol

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(Wish I had a camera instead of my phone. This was beautiful)
    The final mile took about 45 minutes. My eyes were blurry and my mind was foggy because I hadn’t eaten since the night before. Ever experience hypoglycemia? It sucks. But thanks to the fact that I’ve been in that position before… and I used to party a lot as a teen… it was nothing I couldn’t handle.

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(One for the sports fans. Levi Stadium, future home of the S.F. 49ers.)
    Crossing the final street with about a half mile to go, a car decided he wasn’t going to wait for this pedestrian to cross before turning. I know he saw me, because he honked at about the same time I felt the wind from his side mirror. After a long day, I lost control. I saw him look at me through the driver side window as this all happened. I yelled, “That’s right!! Keep driving asshole” He was about 50 yards away when he hit the brakes, “This is it” I thought, “If this dude gets out of his car with anything but a, “”sorry”” I’m gonna put his head into the pavement.” I threw my arms out and yelled, “Fuck you!!!” I guess he decided he didn’t want any, because he sped off.
    When I got home, my feet were so sore, that it didn’t even feel good to take off my shoes. I said hi to my uncle, (who gave my his last few bucks for the bus) made a sandwich and some top ramen, and passed out.
    A quick note for those that know the San Jose area. I started walking at Diridon Station by H.P. Pavilion, and my house is near 1st and Tasman. Lol
    Thank you Blue, for staying up to make sure I got home safe. You are truly a great friend! *hugs*