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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Going Underground

The short version:  Parrish went to Atlanta on September 23, and within 24 hours of his arrival, he was mugged, robbed, beaten senseless.  He went to hospital there but was never admitted - detained in ER for almost three days so the hospital wouldn’t have to admit a medicaid patient.  
He came to Macon on Monday evening, the 26th.  He was dirty, smelly, and his face looked like something out of a horror movie.  Dark black swollen eyes with hemorrhagic whites, totally red.  He was bruised all over, sporting large knots where he had been beaten. I took him to ER, where he was held for over 24 hours, then shipped off to the state-run mental hospital in Augusta, GA.  He was held there in observation for 24 hours and finally admitted late today.
His MD called me this afternoon, assured me P was getting his medication, and that he would keep him for a week while the social worker tries to work out a discharge plan.  I am working on same from here.  We are trying to get him back to Florida, where he is a legal resident.  It takes a great deal of internet and phone time, nearly always leading to a dead end.
I will see all of you when I get this behind me - or not.  Now I need to give this problem my full attention, and besides, I feel really bottled up, only recording journal entries.  I may share them later.

I am going to try to attend my monthly Zona Rosa workshop in Savannah this Saturday and also see my wonderful granddaughter, Addie, Parrish's child.  I think both would do me good, and I'll get nothing done about placing P over the weekend.
Namaste to all of you wonderful people.  I will be back soon.
© cj Schlottman 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

He Did It - or - "Is there any more SHIT we can pile on to the top..."

He did it.  Parrish took the bus from Miami to Atlanta, but his plans did not work out.  Yesterday, he called me from a pay phone at the corner of 10th Street and North Avenue, his old stomping grounds.
His plan to go to Crawford Long Hospital blew up in his face because it is no longer Crawford Long but a division of Emory.  He said he told them he was mentally ill and needed a referral to Georgia Regional.  They did not do anything.  (Remember.  This is his story). He said he then went to the Dekalb Crisis Center but they wouldn’t take him because he doesn’t live in Dekalb County.  
He wanted to know what to do.  I told him to go to Grady’s ER and see if they would refer him.  I have not heard from him since around noon yesterday.  
It will be no surprise to me if he shows up here in Macon today.  
These “plans” of his were non-plans.  He didn’t make a single phone call to Atlanta to check out the lay of the land.  He never contacted anyone.  When I asked him why he didn’t make some calls from Hialeah, his answer was that he didn’t know the numbers.  No shit.  He said that.  He really thinks that I believe he doesn’t know how to dial 411?

If he can’t get himself committed to the state mental hospital (Georgia Regional), he needs to go to the Salvation Army and see if they will take him into their detox program.  
Yes, I have known for months that he is dirty - either using or drinking or both.  I can tell by his behavior and his speech.  When he is dirty, he calls me several times a day to say slurringly how much he loves and misses me and how I’m all he’s got in the world and that his life is a piece of shit.  When I challenge him on his slurred speech, he blames his medication.  That is followed by a period of silence until I call to check on him.
I can’t imagine that he doesn’t know that I realize all those recent trips to various ERs were drug shopping maneuvers.  He is too sick to know what he knows, and now he is back on the streets.
How do I feel?  I feel as though I have been stabbed - repeatedly.  Though this is not a total surprise, I am still shaken by it.  I need to be thankful that he stayed in Hialeah for 2-1/2 years.  It’s the longest period he has remained in one place since 1995, and I am grateful for that.  But, I’m exhausted, drained, sucked dry of tears.  When I heard from Parrish yesterday, I cried for a few minutes.  No tears since, only the knots of not knowing in my gut. 
I feel sorry for myself.  Since August 24, I have:
  1. set myself on fire.
  2. had my homeowner’s insurance cancelled because of non-payment while I hold a cancelled check in my hand that proves I paid the premium.
  3. had my email account hacked and so scrambled that it took hours to straighten things up and retrieve my contacts. 
  4. had Parrish show up in Atlanta.
I feel Like Vinny Gambini in the movie, My Cousin Vinny, when he says “...I don't need this. I swear to God, I do not need this right now, okay?”  And, “...and let me see, what else can we pile on? Is there any more SHIT we can pile on to the top of the outcome of this case? Is it possible?” 

© cjschlottman 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What Comes Around...

Growing up in the Deep South in what can only be described as an isolated WASP environment, I was an adult before I gave much thought to the concept of Karma, though in the Bible we studied every Sunday in the Methodist Church when I was a child, there is a reference in The Epistle of Paul to the Galatians, that goes like this,  "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap," which, to me, comes pretty damned close to the idea of Karma.  
It was 17 and a participant in a program here in Georgia called The Governor’s Honors Program during the summer between eleventh and twelfth grades when I became acquainted with the concept of Karma.  All the students in attendance were required to take a course called “Basic Issues of Man,” which launched me on a road to self-examination and curiosity about “The Nature of Man,” the title of the first volume.
I still have my six-volume boxed set of the “Issues” we studied.  Bear in mind that a college campus filled with 16 and 17 year old kids offered many diversions, and I am proud to say that, while leafing through the volumes today, I actually found highlighted and underscored sentences.
It’s not clear to me why, but recently, I have had Karma on my mind.  Maybe it is fueled by my regular practice of yoga.  I have been practicing my own self-tailored program for years, but I admit not so much as a spiritual practice as an exercise in fitness and flexibility.  I routinely close letters and e-mails with the word “Namaste,” and I truly mean it in it’s traditional context - that of honoring the God in the person to whom it is uttered or written.  
Now, to Karma.  It is a much discussed and bantered about concept, which, in essence, says that what goes around, comes around.  Timothy Burgin, writing in Yoga Basics in 2004, described it this way:  “Central to the philosophy of yoga is the universal spiritual concept of reaping what you sow:  the law of Karma.”
I believe the average thinking person today would agree with Burgin’s definition.  Believers in Karma live by the notion that, in a nutshell, our current and past behaviors (in past or future lives) create or lead to what happens to us in the future.  
If you live a life of evil and selfishness or even complacency, you create negative Karma, and your future will be colored by those actions, opening you up  similar (or worse) actions being visited upon you.
On the other side of that coin is the notion that, just as we can create negative Karma, we can choose to live ego-free lives of selflessness and generosity (insert your own positive noun), then we can look forward to a future in which life is good to us.
Bad Karma is bad.
Good Karma is good.
But to believe in Karma, one must embrace the notion that this is not all there is.  One must believe in past lives and future ones.  That is a conundrum for me.  
On some level, I do believe we contribute to the creation of our own heavens or hells, but I also believe that bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people, and there is no way of making sense of it.  

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Guest Post from Jane Krause

Earlier, I received this e-mail from Jane Krause, one of my Sisters in Zona Rosa.  She does not have a blog, and I am hoping that seeing her work published in this forum will encourage to build one of her own.  I had trouble with the formatting, just couldn't get the email to cut and paste right.  (Sorry, Jane).  Increasing your screen size will make it read more like it should.

I was working outside of Washington, DC during Sept. 11, 2001. I was in my
office building in Fairfax, VA with my colleagues. At around 8:50 I¹d
gotten up to get another cup of coffee. Although my radio was on in my
office and I recall hearing something about the ³World Trade Center² the
volume wasn¹t up high enough for me to make any kind of connection. However
one of my colleagues had had the volume turned up enough on her radio
because she was in the conference room with the TV on when I passed by ­
something highly unusual for that time of day. I stopped in to see what she
was watching and slowly sank into a chair next to her as the horrible
spectacle unfolded before our eyes. Eventually all of my office mates
gravitated to the conference room.

By the time the second plane hit the South Tower there were probably 8
people in the conference room. As the second plane came into view I recall
thinking ³is this a replay of some sort?² I turned to the woman next to me
and said, ³This can¹t possibly be another plane ­ they are saying it was an
accident.² But of course we could see the smoke from the North Tower and
knew it was no replay or accident. Some of us were crying, some of us were
angry, and we were all in shock. After the second plane hit and we knew it
was an attack I left to conference room to go back to my office to call my
Dad in Denver. It was 6 a.m. there and they would still be in bed unaware
of what was unfolding. He answered the phone, I told him to please turn on
to the news right away, that our country was under attack. This World War
II veteran¹s voice said only a sad ³oh, no². I told him I loved him and
would call him later. I then returned to the conference room to be with the

Shortly we heard the broadcaster say the Pentagon had been hit. We were
somewhere around 22 miles from there. Then we heard all kinds of rumors:
that there are planes heading towards the USA Today building, the White
House, the Capital and more. Shortly we heard about the Shanksville plane.

When the South Tower collapsed, the Executive Director of our organization
came out of his office where he had been alone watching the nightmare unfold
and told us all to go home. I was standing at the time with my hand over my
open mouth as I watched the mammoth building come down.

The drive home that day was surreal. As I stopped at the traffic lights and
looked at the other people in their cars stopped at the traffic lights I
could tell they were in shock, as was I. At the time I lived within about 3
miles of Dulles airport, the origins of two of the doomed flights. At the
time I did not know this but had I pulled up to a traffic light on my way to
work next to one of the highjackers on his way to kill all those people?

When I got home I called my neighbor because I did not want to be alone. I
took my dog, Sailor, and watched from her house for the next 8 hours as we
both sat in shocked disbelief. When I got there however some guy she was
had recently started dating was there. He didn¹t want to stay and watch the
news with us because was anxious to get to his golf game and left. My
impression was that he was clearly unable to grasp the depth of this attack.
I told her that if she ever went out with that guy again I would question
her sanity ­ he was clearly an insensitive jerk.

The days that followed revealed fighter jets flying over the Dulles airport
area instead of the usual air traffic.

I did go to work the next day because I had a prearranged meeting with my
boss, the Executive Director of our organization. I was unsure of the
protocol and asked him what were we supposed to be doing if anything? His
response was ³Onward and upward!² The next day, Thursday, I called in sick. 
© Jane Krause
September 11, 2011
I am sure Jane would love to receive a comment or two!

Remembering 9/11

When the phone rang, I was standing in the kitchen, mixing up a pound cake and watching reruns of “The Golden Girls.” 
“Mama, do you have the news on TV?”
“No.  Why?”
“A plane has crashed into the World Trade Center.  Hurry, turn to MSNC!”
I did as instructed and saw one of the hundreds of re-runs that would be aired of the first jet plowing into the side of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  It was American Airlines Flight 11.  I slid to the floor, spatula in hand, rang off with Parrish and sat glued to the screen.
Tears were next, and like so many others, I uttered the name Osama bin Laden under my breath.  Rocking back and forth, the spatula and it’s cake batter dropped to a spat onto the floor, I hugged my knees and stared blankly at the screen.  
Clint was on the golf course, and I knew the club would get the news to him and his friends.  
Suddenly, I could not bear to be alone.  I stood up, not bothering to clean up the floor, and called Deidra at her office.  
“Can I come over there with you?  I don’t think I can go through this alone.”
“I’m three minutes away.  Come, please come.”
As the radio blared in my car, I heard the news that the South Tower had been hit by United Airlines Flight 175, and there was talk of other imminent attacks.  When I arrived at her office, Deidra and I held each other and wept.  We made coffee and sat holding hands as we watched footage of the towers collapsing before our eyes.  
There was news of two more planes that had been hijacked and were flying in the direction of the Pentagon and The White House.  American Airlines Flight 77 made it’s target, the Pentagon, killing 125 people.   Another 59 died in the plane 
(not counting the five terrorists). 63 were injured.
United Airlines Flight 93, crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after a group of American Heroes tried to take control before it could reach the hijacker's intended target in Washington, D.C. 
Nearly 3,000 died in the attacks.
The day is a blurred memory for me, and I had to research the actual order of the hijacked planes used as missiles to kill American citizens.
Life in The United States of American was changed forever.  Ten years later, we are still afraid.  Our privacy has been compromised in the name of Homeland Security, and every one I know is praying this day will end without another attack.
I tried to write a poem about that day, but I have never been able to.  So, I’m linking to Jenny Matlock’s blog so you can read her touching piece.
Namaste, my Friends, Namaste..........cj
© cj Schlottman
September 11, 2011
No, Comments, Please.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Butterflies and Martinis

First of all, I want to welcome two new followers of The Red Sweater:  Elliot MacLeod-Michael at http://appellatesky.blogspot.com/  and Adrienne Scanlon. Adrienne, I couldn't find a URL for your blog!  I you don't have one, start one!

Now to Butterflies and Martinis

It has been a week since I published a post, and I am feeling a little like a slacker, not that I see writing as work.  Being stir crazy and cabin sick has not exactly fueled my creative juices.  Funny, but I thought being on drugs would somehow bring me hallucinations and crazy dreams to write about.  Wrong.  The opposite was true.  My sleep was dark and deep and I woke without a single remembrance of a dream.
I’m off drugs now, and I cannot imagine how anyone could get hooked on Lortab.  When I took enough of it to kill the pain, I got queasy and had to take a nausea pill.  The result was that I was either asleep or awake and miserable.
I do remember a dream from last night.  A hummingbird was in my house and couldn’t figure out how to get out.  He flittered and buzzed from window to window.  I tried to catch him in a butterfly net but was afraid of hurting him, so my efforts were half-hearted.
My dogs were oblivious to the little winged creature and lay around like dogs do all day long unless you are feeding them or playing with them.  I was terrified that my little hummingbird would hurt himself trying to fly through a window, so I called Clint and asked him what to do.  He said to open all the doors, and when I did, dozens of other butterflies came in the house to join their friend.  Their rapidly flapping wings gave the house a pleasant hum, and I was almost hypnotized by it.
It gets weirder.  I finally resorted to bringing their feeders inside so the little Dudes - and Dudettes - would at least have something to eat.  They gathered on the perches of the feeders to suck at the nectar, and one feeder at a time, I took them back outside.  Yes, they just sat there on their perches and let me take them outside.
The whole process took some time - even in a dream world - but I finally got the last ones outside just as Clint was coming in the kitchen door in his green scrubs.  He kissed me, and we went around and closed all the doors, made martinis and sat down to have our nightly “Date Drink.”  
And I woke, feeling warm and all soft inside from my time with Clint, who, as all of you know, has been dead for over two years.  This is the first dream I have had about him from which I didn’t wake crying.  I had touched him, kissed him, shared time with him, and it was just as though he were still alive.
Why can’t he be?  I know the answer,of course, but after all this time, I still want to see him coming through the kitchen door.  At least this is a happy dream, something to fortify me and give me a new hope for healing.
The butterflies?  I haven’t a fucking clue.
© cj schlottman

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Off on a Field Trip

After a week of self-pity and whining, I have decided to be done with that.  There is a new piece called "Curtains" on my poetry site that was my vehicle for dealing with the discomfort.  And, I have begun sweeping my mind free of negative energy, practicing a sort of mental yoga. 
After all, this is not cancer or child abuse or homelessness or hunger.  It is a stupid accident that resulted in burns that, in their own time, will heal.
Yes, I am worried about missing work, but I can control this situation no more than I can control a hurricane.  It is what it is.  Yes, the pain continues, is worse some times than at others, but it will end.  
I’ve taken no pain medicine since 6:30 this morning so I can go to Wal Mart after I bathe and change my dressings.  My dogs need food and treats, I’m out of milk and Tide, there is no fresh fruit in my house, and, besides, I am sick of staying home.  
Sure, friends and family have offered to do my marketing for me, but marketing is something that one does for one’s self.  It would take longer to explain my list than it would to simply go to the store myself.  
“Almond milk?  Really?  When did you start drinking that?  What kind of dog treats?  What kind of Tide do you want?  What if they don’t have Cameo apples?  I never heard of Starbuck’s VIA.  What use for panty hose could you possibly have?  Rogaine?  Where in hell do I find that?  If they don’t have Seven Sprouted Grains bread, can I subsitute some kind that actually tastes good?  Why do you need Prevacid?”
See what I mean?  Sometimes it’s just easier to skip the middle man.
When I arrive back home, I will, no doubt, lapse into a coma of fatigue, but getting out of this house for a while will be, oh, so worth it.
© cj Schottman
August 2011