• 12Jan

    Reading this article, made me send a facebook message to a friend who is also a graphic designer. I am completely disillusioned with the industry. It has incrementally moved from design to programming and data management. AI won’t do us in…things like Canva and Adobe templates will. Who needs a designer when there are such easy things to use? I liken it to desktop publishing days. But that was much simpler. And what’s happening now will just beef up more.

    I am not a programmer. Nor do I want to be. And I don’t want to run in the hamster wheel that is digital marketing. It’s not even a hamster wheel because it doesn’t last that long. It’s all become so superficial and fleeting.

    But I’m glad I found this article FROM 2019. It has made me truly realize that I want to take a deep, focused dive into work that I do. I’m ready to throw in the graphic design towel. But what next?

  • 24Sep

    It’s been 10 years since my first blog post. And I’ve probably written 10 posts. At 5:30 AM, after being awake since about 3:30, I’m feeling the need for #11ish.

    [EDIT: This is actually post #23! I underestimated myself.]

    In 2019, what does “friend” mean?

    Merriam Webster
    friend noun
    \ ˈfrend \
    Definition of friend (Entry 1 of 2)
    1a : one attached to another by affection or esteem
    She’s my best friend.
    2a : one that is not hostile
    Is he a friend or an enemy?
    b : one that is of the same nation, party, or group showbiz friends
    3 : one that favors or promotes something (such as a charity) this trend has alarmed friends of the liberal arts — Raymond Walters
    The friends of the library will host a fund-raiser.
    4 : a favored companion
    5 capitalized : a member of a Christian sect that stresses Inner Light, rejects sacraments and an ordained ministry, and opposes war — called also Quaker

    friend verb
    friended; friending; friends
    Definition of friend (Entry 2 of 2)
    transitive verb
    1 : to act as the friend of : BEFRIEND
    2 : to include (someone) in a list of designated friends on a person’s social networking site

    Urban Dictionary
    1 friend
    A friend is someone you love and who loves you, someone you respect and who respects you, someone whom you trust and who trusts you. A friend is honest and makes you want to be honest, too. A friend is loyal.
    A friend is someone who is happy to spend time with you doing absolutely nothing at all; someone who doesn’t mind driving you on stupid errands, who will get up at midnight just because you want to go on an adventure, and who doesn’t have to talk to communicate with you.
    A friend is someone who not only doesn’t care if you’re ugly or boring, but doesn’t even think about it; someone who forgives you no matter what you do, and someone who tries to help you even when they don’t know how. A friend is someone who tells you if you’re being stupid, but who doesn’t make you feel stupid.
    A friend is someone who would sacrifice their life and happiness for you.
    A friend is someone who will come with you when you have to do boring things like watch bad recitals, go to stuffy parties, or wait in boring lobbies. You don’t even think about who’s talking or who’s listening in a conversation with a friend.
    A friend is someone for whom you’re willing to change your opinions.
    A friend is someone you look forward to seeing and who looks forward to seeing you: someone you like so much, it doesn’t matter if you share interests or traits. A friend is someone you like so much, you start to like the things they like.
    A friend is a partner, not a leader or a follower.
    The word “friend” comes from Old English “frēond”, which is actually the present participle of “frēogan”, which means “to love” and “to honor”.

    2 friend
    A friend is someone who won’t lie to you. They respect you for who you are and make every moment with you count. Time with your friends should be fun and you shouldn’t have to change for them. Your friends should understand you and trust you. They help you with your problems and are always there when you are feeling down.
    A friend cannot be replaced so don’t even try.

    3 friends
    people who are aware of how retarded you are and still manage to be seen in public with you. people who make you laugh till you pee your pants. people who cry for you when one of your special items disappear. when you dont have enough money to get a ice cream, they chip in. knows all of your internet passwords. who would never make you cry just to be mean.
    I think I have a lot of friends that would fit this perfectly.
    #reatarded#public#laugh#diappear#money#& cry

    4 Friends
    What i thought i had
    nathan and will were my best friends but they stabbed me in the back
    #butt lick#ass fuck#toobagan#sixety nine#doggy style

    5 Friend
    A word that defines those you keep company with. A person that is, trusting, caring, and will stick with you through thick and thin. The one you can talk to about anything and they won’t judge you for it. Someone that when times are hard stands beside you saying “let’s do this.” The person that if no one else will, will stick up for you.
    Sam: How’s it going Nick?
    Nick: Not to good my Friend.
    Sam: Why? What’s up man?
    Nick: My girl just left, cars broke, can’t pay my rent now. Shall I go on?
    Sam: Nah, alright let’s go get a beer and have a chat man, it’s on me.

    6 friends
    no such thing. fictional creatures from mars.
    dude i have a lot of friends

    7 Friend
    Somebody who comes to your house and eats all of your food, (cheetos, doritos, pizza, etc,) and also uses your stuff with their cheeto dust hands.
    “hey man, what happened to all of your snacks?” “aw man, my friend came over”

    Interesting that Merriam Webster mentions social media, but Urban Dictionary does not. It does, however, have a number of variations on the word. Some of the best:

    The question is/questions are “Are you really friends when…”
    …one doesn’t communicate with you for a long time, relative to how often you usually (used to) communicate?
    …your whole relationship is via text?
    …you’re going through a prolonged hard time, but they stop checking in with you after a while?
    …they don’t see you because their lifestyle/job/school/family situation has changed?
    …they don’t talk to you about something that’s bothering them about your friendship?
    …they’re in town for 6 months after being away for a year and they’re “too busy” to see you?

    Friendships change, morph, and sometimes drift away, especially at certain times of life. But I’m starting to see a pattern in my friendship history. And I don’t like it.

  • 11Jun
    Written by: Categories: Life Comments: 0

    It’s been seven years since I posted in this blog. A lot has happened during that time. I met the most important person in my life on a social media site. After private messaging thousands of words for many long hours, we met in person in St. Louis, him driving from Kansas and me flying from Pennsylvania. It was the first time I wasn’t nervous meeting someone new. And now we share our lovely house (albeit a little messy…he’s very patient with me) and home in a beautiful piece of Pennsylvania. With our amazing puppy-cat, Arnie, who was here when we got here, and patiently waited until we were ready to admit we were going to take him away from his existing family. Turned out they were just happy to know he was well.

    One night we went to bed and I told my partner I’d felt a lump and asked him to feel it. It was small, but it was there. After jumping through some highly unnecessary medical hoops, under the circumstances, I had a biopsy done and, yes, it was cancer. But “the best kind to have,” if that’s actually possible. We were at breakfast at our usual place when I found out, and I started to cry. Just a reaction, I think. I didn’t really know what any of it meant. As time passed, I decided I just wanted people to know, so I went around and told the people we knew well at the restaurant. Some of them thought I was nuts. In hindsight, it was weird. Knowing what I know now, always allow people to do whatever they need to do under similar circumstances. It’s like when someone dies. Everyone handles it differently. And no way is wrong. Frankly, I think I was looking for as much support as I could find. Unfortunately, I didn’t find it in most of those places. But I learned a lot in the process.

    That Thanksgiving, during a break from my radiation, we went to my cousin’s for dinner as usual. But it wasn’t usual at all. Shortly after we arrived, my partner suddenly wasn’t well. He ended up collapsing and had a lot of trouble breathing. We eventually learned at the hospital that it was congestive heart failure. Fluid retention from kidneys not working sufficiently filled him to the point of affecting his lungs. He was in the hospital for two weeks as they worked to bring his weight down. That kind of emergency changes how you see things. Eventually, he came home, my treatment was done, and we moved on to our new normals, working through the after effects.

    A new coffee shop opened up close to us. My partner had been looking for a decent cup of coffee since moving here. Finally, he could get one, and right near home! So, he started up his old routine that he followed in Kansas and went to the coffee shop every afternoon. It’s a great habit…same time, same place, often the same people… This time, the people were two young ones who worked there. He would come home and tell me about them. They were smart and thought about life, but were also light-hearted. The barista, although in her mid-twenties, had been through more than she should have at that age. She had the tough edges acquired from bartending and fending off drunks. She’d dealt with other life events that made her wise beyond her years. Yet, I was to find out, she still ran around on her toes. It was a long time before I actually saw her feet flat on the floor. Her co-worker had only recently entered his third decade. He was quiet with a big smile and gentle disposition, and eyes for the barista.

    One thing you can always count on is that things will always change. You can never imagine that they will, or what they could change into, but they do. I can’t even really say in what way. We all change too. Inside, if not outside for other people to see. This has happened over and over for many centuries, yet we can never really be prepared because we don’t know what will come. And, of course, as humans we don’t fully understand things until we live through them. How do you know what it’s like to be married until after walking down the aisle? Or what it’s like having a child until there’s a little being who’s totally dependent on you and cries when you leave its line of vision? Or how you’ll react when diagnosed with cancer?

    We have no idea what time will bring and it will surely affect us in ways we would never expect. It can even take years to understand what those effects are. Only yesterday, 2 ½ years after my cancer surgery, I realized that maybe allowing my sister to come for it would have helped HER. She offered multiple times. She wanted to be here for me.

    What we experience growing up, and after, makes us who we are. As a child, we have no idea what our minds are putting away for use later. Often those things sit there for years and years without us realizing. But they certainly affect our behavior and decisions. Our parents’ choices, sibling dynamics, experiences in school, and learning how to socialize.

    Our relationship with our barista friend has changed. For the better, I think. She has a beautiful baby girl now. She no longer walks on her toes.

  • 10Jun
    Written by: Categories: Art, Habit Comments: 0

    Uh-huh. A challenge, based on an article about creative “cross-training.” I didn’t have to choose this, of course, and still. must. paint. But I do want to write, and the author suggested choosing something you have an interest in. So, here we go…

    Topic: I thought of things to write about last night, I swear. They’ll come back to me. Right now, I think the point is just to write. I’m trying to remember a couple books I’ve looked at in the past (this memory is terrible). When you search for “writing book” on Amazon, sadly the first book is “sponsored.” Amazon has taken a page from google. I could write 1000 words on that alone.

    The second book is also sponsored, but I like it: Cursive Handwriting Workbook: Cursive Handwriting Book for Kids (Grades 3 – 5) – Workbook to Practice. One of my hot spots. Schools are no longer teaching kids how to write in cursive. This news came out right after my sister, an elementary school teacher in Louisiana, had taken a teachers’ trip to New Orleans to learn a new way of teaching cursive. Brilliant.

    I am, however, happy to see that parents have chosen to take on the teaching task themselves, and other venues are promoting the reasons to teach cursive to kids. There’s even a Campaign for Cursive with an extensive web site.

    Back to Amazon. The next three books are Amazon “Best Sellers”: Another workbook on cursive writing; a workbook on printing, for younger kids; and The Writing Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Writers. Well, I’m glad to see they’re covering the bases and reaching out to young people. That’s the time to learn these skills. I have a friend who, while attending Lehigh University, said that her professors did not mark her papers for spelling or grammar! Not even comments. I was appalled. College is young people’s last opportunity to be taught to write well. And they will need it in the real world. But, the quality of communication is changing drastically. Hey! Another writing topic! But I digress, yet again…

    The next book on the Amazon search results is On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King. It has 4½ stars, from 3,155 customer reviews. One review states, “He awakens in one an urgency about writing, and how this activity can just fill one’s life with meaning.” I’d like to say that makes me want to read it. Unfortunately, I have become jaded about Mr. King. Years ago, I loved his books, especially one of short stories, which I don’t usually like. They were so gripping with simple, effective premises. Unfortunately, I can’t share what the book is (that darn memory again), because when I searched Mr. King’s books on Amazon, on about page four of the list (there are four “sponsored” listings per page), it started including other authors. That’s where they lose me. I became jaded with Mr. King because it seems to me as if he is one of those celebrity writers just pumping out books. Either for money, or to meet his contractual obligations (although it does seem like he should be able to write whatever and whenever he wants, at this point).

    Book five on the search results list is a blank journal. No, thank you, I already have enough of those. I love journals. Oh, the possibilities. I could collect them. But writing on that first blank page is so intimidating. This one says it’s “for Boys and Girls,” so I’m safe passing it up. I don’t think I fit the “Girl” category any more.

    The list then disperses into the wide variety of writing books. Grammar (the only one you’ll ever need), writing nonfiction, resumes, fiction, general writing tools and Start Writing Your Book Today! As usual in this world of too much information, they all start to meld into a pile of HOW TO WRITE.

    But that list was based on Relevance. Let’s see what happens when I order the results by Avg. Customer Review.

    Number one is The True Story of Fake News: How Mainstream Media Manipulates Millions. A big topic right now. I don’t know if this is the penultimate source for information on fake news. According to Amazon, the author’s “YouTube channel has over 1 million subscribers and more than 400 million views, and his viral videos have been mentioned on the Fox News Channel, CNN, the Drudge Report, TMZ, the New York Daily News, the Washington Times, and other media outlets around the world.” (emphasis mine) I’m not sure if having a popular youtube channel makes you an expert. But I could be wrong. Youtube has become a venue for all kinds of people to get their message out and has made many very successful. But is does get five stars, averaged from 2,496 customer reviews!

    I have no idea what the next group of books have to do with writing. Maybe they came up because I included the word “books” in my search. There’s a kids’ book, book three of what looks like a teen drama series, a couple Christian-based books, another blank journal…I could go on. I’m not sure ordering by customer rating works for me. I rarely read best-sellers, either.

    Finally, I remember the title of one book I’ve read—Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Ms. Lamott is an excellent writer. This title is based on her father’s advice given to her brother when he was having trouble writing a report about birds as a child. He said to just write it “bird by bird,” excellent advice. Starting to write is so hard (as are many other things) because we look at the blank page and the topic as a whole. Breaking it down is the only way to start.

    I own this book. And others on writing. Like the blank journals, I have, in the past, read about writing without committing to do it. I’m sensing a trend.

    One excellent tip I read long ago was to write first thing in the morning. One to three pages, just dumping whatever is in your head. That tip seems to be all over the internet now, but I’m pretty sure it originated from a book on drawing: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Excellent book. The idea is to get all the garbage out of your head to clear the way for real writing. There are always days when you will just write garbage (this could be one of mine, you judge), but, the more you write, the more chance you have of writing something decent. Of course, there’s more to it than that. But you have to start to for it to be even possible.

    This is my start. This time around.

  • 20May

    Do you know the stories behind these images? Don’t you think you should?

  • 13Dec

    So, apparently I have Essential Tremor. There’s no test for it. But I shake. And it’s ‘familial’, meaning inherited. Dad had it. It’s not just visible shaking. I shake inside. So I feel like I’m vibrating. Although I’m still trying to figure out right now, I can’t help but wonder what the future will be like. The shaking’s enough, but Dad had dementia issues. I remember him periodically doing things like going to pick up food with a fork he hadn’t put in his hand yet. He was in his 70s then, so we just quietly handed him a fork.

    Apparently, it’s not unusual for ET to start in your 40s. The progression is different for everyone. The cerebellum is believed to be the source, since that’s the center for movement. The usual test for ET is a writing test, to see if your handwriting is shaky. I’m not that bad yet. But will it eventually affect my writing? Typing? Driving? Even steps?

    The cerebellum “is also involved in some cognitive functions such as attention and language, and probably in some emotional functions such as regulating fear and pleasure responses.” (Wikipedia) These things are the center of my being. What happens when I have problems with them? Is worrying about it making it worse? I’m finally finding my life, and it’s becoming intellectual. I don’t want that taken away. Ever.

    Of course everything I know about ET is from reading online, or in journal articles. The neurologist I saw didn’t even say “ET.” He said “I’d deal with it” (the shaking). It was my primary doctor who said ET. He’s pretty sure because he knew Dad. I think he was trying not to make it a big deal, but said there is medication that I can take in the future. Apparently the main ones are propranolol which is a beta-blocker, and primidone which is an anti-epileptic. Speaking of which…

    I had a seizure about, oh, 25 years ago. Just one. Throat spasms led up to it. While investigating my recent shaking, a neurologist gave me an EEG. Yes, the seizure activity is still there.

    To make things more interesting, I went through a period of panic attacks. (Wow, I sound like a basket case…I’m really not) Bad time in my life. I’m currently going through a stressful time buying a house. And it’s all rearing its ugly head.

    More than a little unnerving.

  • 21Mar
    Written by: Categories: Uncategorized Comments: 0

    Links to web sites related to madness,
    psychiatry, neuroscience, and the mind

    This post will be periodically updated.


    h-madness blog
    Updated almost daily, this blog presents the latest information and commentary on topics related to the history of psychiatry


    History of Psychiatry

    Trends in Cognitive Science

    Most of these podcasts can be downloaded via itunes.


    Brain Science

    Shrink Rap Radio


    Philoctetes Society
    The Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination: This non-profit organization holds roundtable discussions and events on topics related to creativity and thought. All events are free and open to the public, and most are posted online in video form.

    Conferences, Seminars, Events

    Madness and Literature
    1st International Health Humanities Conference: Madness and Literature to be held at Nottingham 6th – 8th August 2010



    Bethlem Royal Hospital
    “The Bethlem Royal Hospital Archives and Museum records the lives and experience and celebrates the achievements of people with mental health problems.” Founded as a hospital for the medical treatment of insanity in 1547, the museum opened in 1970 and exhibits primarily work by artists who have at some time suffered from mental disorder, but also houses historical material.

    The Prinzhorn Collection
    This Psychiatric University Hospital in Heidelberg, Germany, houses a collection of drawings, paintings, collages, textiles, sculptures and a great diversity of texts which were produced in hospitals, mainly in the German-speaking world, between 1880 and 1920. In addition to the core Prinzhorn collection, permanent loans and donations were deposited in the Psychiatric Clinic, such as works created at the Rhine Federal Hospital Viersen (around 1900), wooden sculptures by Carl Genzel from the Wesphalia Psychiatric and Psychotherapeutic Clinic, Eickelborn near Lippstadt (approx. 1920), the Petschner Collection, Psychiatric Hospital Merxhausen, Bad Emstal (1960-1980), as well as works of art of contemporary patient-artists. Description paraphrased from museum site.

    Case Histories

    Case histories from the history of psychiatry

    Other helpful sites

    Google Translate
    Google translate makes it possible to read many of the pertinent sites that are written in German or French.

  • 17Jan
    Written by: Categories: Life, Uncategorized Comments: 0

    This is the worst time of day. Somewhere between day and night. The day is ending, feeling like time has passed…yet again. Did I waste too much? Did I get anything done? Does it matter? It’s Sunday, I can take it easy.

    And yet, the morning, somewhere between night and day, is wonderful. Nothing has started yet. People aren’t bustling. It’s quiet and I can do what I want undisturbed. Everything’s fresh and unmarked. Dark and peaceful.

    Tags: , ,
  • 12Jan

    I spoke to an old friend the other day. We’re linked by loved ones who’ve passed. What a sweet and caring woman she’s always been. Four years after her husband passed away, she has changed her work situation, traveled, built a new relationship and home, repaired other relationships, and finally now feels content. Her husband passed 4 days after Mom. Dad and I went to the viewing. The line wound through the funeral home and out the door. A shuttle gave people rides from the parking lot. We saw her often after that. Dad had a crush on her. He gave her a watch for Christmas one year. And now when I see her, that’s what I think of. Because, although she has moved on and built a life, I have not yet. At least not fully.

    I’ve been saying that for a long time, it seems. I’ll get there. At the pace of a slow crawl. I haven’t found my ground to stand on. This is not home. And yet it is. My old home. I still long for the family home I don’t have any more. It’s time to let it go. I need to build my own, whatever that means. Whatever that takes.

  • 03Jan

    January 14


    The Golem


    January 11


    A Streetcar Named Desire


    January 10


    Ten Little Indians


    January 4




    January 2




    January 1


    Farenheit 451

    The Third Man