Leave 'em better than they came!

Happy New year everyone! I won't start my first post of the year with all the things I promise to do this year and then pitifully NOT do any of them. Instead I simply want to share this amazing video posted on Youtube. I found it while looking for motivational speeches to listen to while hitting the treadmill. (We will see how long that lasts lol) The video shows how doing a random act of kindness can effect others around you. It's something I've told people before...even if the person you are being nice to or trying to help doesn't get it someone is watching and you never know how that might impact their lives. This video is a perfect visual of that concept. As we're all making those promises to ourselves and others to better ourselves, let's just take it slow and do something simple like pick up a piece of paper, hold a door, pay attention to those around us. It doesn't take much to make someone's day. Years ago while working retail, a woman came into the little boutique on a Tuesday morning I believe. I greeted her like I did everyone that came in, with a smile and a Hello, how are you doing today?. The look on her face was utter disbelief. Her reaction through me as much as my greeting had her. She shook it off and said "I've been in this mall for almost 2 hours and you are the first person to speak to me today." Wow! I smiled at her and just chit chatted with her. I can't remember if she bought anything or not but she left that store with a smile on her face. That was worth more than any sale I could have made because she left better than she came. I hope you enjoy and I hope you can find a small way to make people better when they left then when they came.

God Bless!
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Bipolar rant!

I’ve mentioned it a time or two on this blog about being bipolar. I have been a highly functioning
bipolar most of my adult life….most of it anyway. I have been blessed to have an extremely great support group…close friends, co-workers, family and even my children. All know the signs and triggers that send me off the rails and the ticks to steering me in the right direction.
By nature, I am an inquisitive, hyperactive person. I am constantly having to do something…usually something mental. For example, my job is mental. I am a problem solver and I write technical articles for our support service vendor. I also am working on finishing my Bachelor’s with my eyes set on graduate school. Along with 6 credit hours of upper level classes and a full time job, I also have a highly functioning special needs 23 year old who is struggling to find a place in the world for himself and maneuvering the wonderful world of voc rehab, a 19 year old who cannot figure out what to be when he grows up and can’t NOT break something on his car or slow down, and a 16 year old with a social life. We also live far out of town so everything requires driving and gas money.
This past November I participated in the National Novel Writing Month and completed it! Woo Who! Talk about mental! Add on to that, that I have started to have some medical issues that have not made me sick but have required test after test after test and lots of waiting. Then add to that, difficulties of others not playing nicely at work…between departments, systems office, employees and just people in general. Toss in a side of one income and lots of bills with a splash of Christmas gifts and what do you have? One cycle crazy bipolar struggling not to snap.
Let me just add that I am not the crazy up on the bell tower picking people off with an AK something or another. No, other than the random snapping at you biting your head off I am the crazy lock myself in my room and sleep for days or go shopping and spend the mortgage money crazy. I am border then whole snapping at people and going to sleep for a month at the moment. I hate this feeling. Everything is stressing me yet I have enough knowledge of my…heck what do you call it? A disease? A disorder? A case of the crazies? Whatever you call it I have enough knowledge of myself to know I walk a fine line. I know that everyone cannot possible be this annoying and idiotic (although some are very close to my perception at the moment). I would give anything sometimes to be “normal”. Of course, I would probably have to give up my creativity, my think way outside of the box approach and I would not have the wild moments of bravery that lets me venture out into the world unafraid.
Why am writing this post about being basically on the line to being insane? Because I guess I just want someone to know I am fighting it and if there’s someone else out there in the same boat, we can form regatta of off kilterness. (Yes I know that isn’t a word). For all those, who don’t have a handle on the mental issues that strike you, just know you are not alone and there is help. I know I am blessed by my support system and the knowledge that I have gained over the years. I also know the moments when you can’t tell if your paranoia is justified or if it’s in your head. I also know that feeling of complete and utter uselessness. It doesn’t have to always be that way.
So tonight while I want to scream and shout and let it all out. I sit here and type this; hoping for relief from this downward cycle. I know it is temporary and I will swing back up to a level balance and life will be ok again. Never perfect. Never too bad. Never not fixable. And that my friends is basically all I have. Perhaps I’ll go find something to distract my racing mind as it slides down the corridor of negativity and remember for a brief moment, the many blessings I have. The tricks of the trade…distract my mind. I’ll smile and remember it’s ok not to be fixed…it’s ok to be broken. 

If you suffer from depression or if you just need help please contact your local mental health provider or visit http://www.nami.org/ for more information. Education really is power.  
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Guess who has two thumbs and decided to join the insanity this month with NaNoWriMo?

 That's right! This insane girl. I wrote 50,199 words of pure crap! But it was the first crap that made it out of my head and off of an outline and into some kind of form. It's amazing how consumed I became of this challenge but I did it. My first novel is penned. Now it's time to do rewrites, editing, a lot of crying over the kind of crap I thought was decent and maybe, just maybe, I may have something that resembles a decent story.

I had a so much fun (and headaches) with the challenge. Most of the high points involved the awesome group page on Facebook for my region. Sprints, pub crawls, words of encouragement, and great laughs. Will I do this again? Yes! It is just the catalyst I needed to remember what I love....writing. (What? Did you think I was going to say sleep derivation and lack of social life?) Yea, those too.

That is my big news. I'm so excited! So as I sit here bragging on myself, sipping my sangria, and listening to the winter storm roll in, I feel almost like a real writer. Watch and we shall see!!

Post Haste Writing Muse

So maybe more like "Post it" haste. My creative muse has now escaped my mind and taken up residence on my bedroom wall and a traveling notebook that's at my side at all times.
It's been such a long time since I've had more than an inkling of inspiration. So this weekend when it hit I went with it. First just jotting down a few outlined things on paper...several pages in I quickly realized I couldn't keep all straight.

Hello story boarding!!

Everything became so much clearer. After an hour or so, I was ready to at least start my thoughts on virtual paper. By the end of the night 6,000 well organized words came to life on the page. 

Now the trick is to remember when I'm out in the real world that the world in my head isn't really out here. Ha! Ha! That's just a hazard of being who we are. Writers don't get to be 'sane'. If we did, the world would be a very boring place.

As for now, I'm still writing and planning. Only now I'm balancing work, family, and two classes to boot. I have faith though. While I doubt it'll ever become a published work, I do believe it'll be one of the greatest contributions to my million words of crap!

Happy reading...& writing! 

Paper doll

I wrote this poem with thoughts of my grandmother. A small moment in time that seared this imagine in my heart.  I hope you like it.

Paper Doll 
By Catherine Russell

Soft paper-like skin
lays over vessels glowing
translucently under
a thin veil of tissue
pulsing the remains
of life left in an aging body.
A snow white cap
peaks over eyes
containing within them
miles of memories
of a life lead.
Lines divide and connect
the contours edging a smile
of gaiety that covers
a deeper sadness.
Cool brittle hands
flutter up to cover
a mouth of missing teeth
as cackling laughter
escape the lips.
A warm flush spreads
across the cheeks
just below the surface
of the thin paper veil
that is her skin.
Eyes of gray
glisten in the crevices
as a tear of joy
escapes the corner.
A simple moment
in this paper doll’s life
A memory forever
in my heart.

As always this is my intellectual property and cannot be shared without my expressed written permission. 
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Not Seen by Catherine Russell

Not Seen 
by Catherine Russell

You look but don’t see.
You peer through ill fitted glasses,
Through filtered reality.
Blinded by a fantasy that will not come.

An exterior of superficial desires
but not into the soul.
You never see what’s really there.
Only the window dressing.

An image you have created
that is nothing of the truth.
Blinded to what is before you
What truly composes the canvas.

Oh the things you have missed
right before your very eyes and heart.
All is there yet invisible to your perception.
There in plain sight yet not seen.

**This is not only my intellectual property but also and extension of my soul. Please do not reproduce this work without my expressed permission.
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Poetry in motion

I've decided to step out on a limb. Make a motion and put a little piece of me out here. A friend once told me that poetry was like walking down the street naked. It bares the soul for all to see. That's probably why I never want to let it out there. Nothing worse than that dream we've all had being naked on the school bus. UG! However, I'll never move forward if I don't put this out there. So without further rambling from me, here's a little piece of my naked soul.

broken glass

By Catherine Russell

Shoes that are scuffed
A hem that unraveled
A blouse faded and frayed
All the outward signs
That I am broken.

Facial lines deepening
Lips embraced by a frown
Eyes settled with sadness
All the outward signs
That I am broken.

A dented fender
A wobbly tire
A cracked windshield
All the outward signs
That I am broken.

A loving heart
A forgiven soul
A mind filled with knowledge
All the inner signs
That I am not broken.

A warm desire
A tender moment
A twinkle of the eye
All the inner signs
That I am not broken.

A song in my head
A spring in my step
A smile growing within
All the inner signs
That I am not broken.

A day begun
A day lived through
A day coming to an end
All the inner signs
That I am not broken.

Copyright by Catherine Russell
Do not reprint without expressed written permission from the author.