Tuesday, March 20, 2018


I'm watching the last of the spring blossoms on this rain-drenched afternoon. The temperature is dropping rapidly. Snow is expected to start falling by dusk and continue through the night. By dawn the blossoms will undoubtedly be a thing of the past.

A good time for a cup of hot tea, contemplation, and quasi-confessions.

I regret the fact that I no longer drink (booze, I'm talking about). Liquor is nearly impossible to obtain in this annoyingly "dry" part of Tennessee. My abstinence isn't voluntary, it's mandatory. But, hell, strong tea is good enough.

My very best confessions would be those  from my Hollywood years, but they are potent enough to render unsuspecting interlopers into shock and/or unconsciousness.
So I'll settle for more recent, non-toxic confessions. 

I've always found writing to be a beneficial catharsis.
I also always appreciate the comments on this blog. It's comforting to know that people care.

I most often try to suppress my deepest personal problems from public consumption - but merely hinting about them probably makes everything seem more dire and mysterious than it really is. I've been depressed for a long time, mostly because of a long compilation of things that happened these past few years.

Where to begin?

I had a fantastic life in California. Professional musician. Excitement. Glamour. More adventure than I knew what to do with. But I lived in the fast lane, reckless and dangerous. I was burning out quickly. By the time I was in my early 30's I was wasted. And the person I truly loved had died. It was time to leave.

I won't get into the reasons I wound up in the Missouri Ozarks - but I became a free-lance writer there and had success. I also got into an extremely detrimental relationship - which ended up in a long and horrendous ugly drama during which we nearly killed each other.
I regret all of it.
I regret believing a liar and catering to a hardcore alcoholic.
I regret not committing murder.

Am I trying to interject grim humor here??

I moved to Texas to be near my retired parents. But I immediately knew that Texas had been a huge mistake for them - - and for me.
Especially West Texas - which can be rough, uncouth, wild, and....difficult.
Texas is a great place if you were born there. For unsuspecting outsiders, it can be an unpleasant shock.
And especially for innocent midnight cowboys who were used to Hollywood Boulevard.

I did my best to adjust. I shed all the aspects of my true self and became a faux cowboy. I endured the brutal droughts, broiling heat, endless endless winds, unbelievable dust storms - the rattlesnakes, scorpions, chiggers, and fire ants....

This was my back yard in Texas during a dust storm, also known as a Haboob.

After my father died - very unexpectedly - in 2005, I took care of my mother for the next four years. They were good, peaceful years - but it was heartbreaking to see a  truly beautiful and brilliant woman deteriorating so rapidly. Her mind remained sharp until she had a series of strokes. After that it was useless.....I couldn't begin to describe the agony, I've tried to expunge it all from my memory.

The last time I saw my mother, she called me "Carl". That was the name of her brother.
She died in December, 2009.

I was living comfortably in Texas - a beautiful house, four vehicles, no debts and perfect credit.
But I despised Texas and wanted to leave as soon as possible. That's when Fate noticed my discontent and plagued me with an eternal streak of bad luck.

I began losing my money. There were large medical bills (trust me, Medicare doesn't pay everything). There was a bogus business deal (I don't want to go into it). Then my savings were wiped out by identity theft.
Far too many details to explain....
I eventually had to sell my vehicles, antiques, and coin collections to survive.

My house was located in a rural area where nobody wanted to live - and subsequently it was impossible to sell.
My realtors were a trio of old ladies who were (to say the least) incompetent and indifferent.

To shorten an endless story, I put my house up for sale in February, 2010 - - and it finally sold in October, 2014. At a fraction of what it was worth.
By then I was nearly suicidal.

And the realtors were still alternately telling me the house is sold, it might be sold, we're not sure if it's sold.....
When the deal finally went through I had only one week to get out. I frantically worked 24/7 doing all the packing by myself:
a large house, a large storage room, three storage sheds, and an attic.

End of story? Not quite.
In my haste to leave Texas, unbeknownst to me, I hired the moving company from hell. I had to put my things in storage while I looked for a place to live in Tennessee.
I innocently had complete faith that a supposedly reputable moving company could transfer my possessions 1,000 miles with no problems.

 The moving van was much too large to get up the narrow road to my shack. They had to transfer everything into a smaller U Haul. Incidentally, the company I initially hired wasn't Bekins. It was Hart Moving and Storage. Hart inexplicably transferred my things to Bekins.

They not only made me wait two and a half months to get my things from Texas to Tennessee (supposedly due to the Christmas holidays), they also "lost" (or stole) many of my most cherished possessions - - including furniture, my piano music, my collection of rare antique books, costly paintings, and ALL of my personal hand-written diaries and journals that I had meticulously kept for 30 years.

Could it be worse?

Yup. I had paid them nearly $10,000 for moving and storage expenses.
And I couldn't afford moving insurance, which would have been a few thousand more.

In essence, I was financially raped and left for dead.

That's only a small part of my tales of woe. I left out a myriad of other horror stories simply because this post is far too long.

I won't mention the spinal injuries I sustained during my first winter in Tennessee when I fell on the ice. You've heard more than enough for now.

So, here I am - penniless in my drafty rural shack, listening to the cold wind howl, and waiting for the snow.....


  1. Certainly many painful experiences, yet you were there for your mom, as terrible as it was for you. I find myself alternately disgusted and delighted by people; I enjoy their diversity, but often chafe at not understanding where in the world they're coming from, emotionally, politically, morally--you name it. My older daughter has lived in Los Angeles for over 5 years, and I'm not a fan. However, it sounds much better than West Texas.

    1. Margaret,I have long given up on trying to figure out where people are coming from. The older I get, the less I understand humanity - and the less I want to know about it.

      California was a FANTASTIC place when I was a kid growing up there and I loved Los Angeles more than anything. Unfortunately it has changed DRASTICALLY over the years and is nothing like it used to be. I think I left just in time.
      And I'd never go back.

  2. I agree the Chiggers and Fire Ants are misery. Hope things look up for you soon.

    1. Paula, I've heard that Tennessee has chiggers but so far I haven't seen any. By the way, you live in a much nicer area of TX than I did!

  3. I have always wondered, do the moving company that lost your belongings even ever offer you money in reimbursement for the lost goods??? If they were there when you left, how did they explain this? That is one huge truck!!!!!

    My cousin that lived in Queens most of his life still lives in Texas where he moved with his wife to tend to her ill father. They both HATE Texas. He is counting days till they can move back.

    1. Moving companies seemingly can get away with anything, if you read the fine print (which I didn't). Even if you get moving insurance, they still pay very little for missing items. I got ripped off Big Time. And I'm still kicking my ass for initially putting my trust in them.

      Texas can be a huge shock for the uninitiated - - especially if you're in West Texas, where I lived.

  4. Jon, from what I've learned of your past, I have nothing but admiration for your strength and resilience. You have a devotion to the arts that transcends social and political differences. You communicate sincerely. Your choice of realtors could use a little work though --but then, so could mine (and thereby hangs a tale).

    1. Unfortunately, they were the only realtors around for fifty miles. I tried to get another realtor in Lubbock, but they told me that since they were so far away, my present realtors would have to show my house. It was a no win situation.
      Also, it doesn't pay to live in a rural area.

      The abuse that I endured from my father was far worse than anything I went through later. I often marvel at the fact that I survived without going insane, or committing murder or suicide.

  5. Morning Jon: any response I could muster would be totally inadequate. Horrendous times for you. I am so sorry.....MaggieB

    1. My entire life has been filled with horrendous things, Maggie. Fortunately I've learned to roll with the punches - - but it isn't easy....

  6. Jon, what a bad luck but you did right to be a good and decent child for your parents. Luck could change and sincerely I hope for you in the near future. I always wanted sailings boats ,yachts and after so many impulsive and bad choices I still have access to a few sailing boats. Not mine but rich neighbour ask me to take care while they are working overseas.You like a fine things in life and somehow you will have them again.Take care ,regards from Australia.

    1. I've always loved boats and sailing, but I've never owned a boat. You're fortunate to be able to take care of some. It would be tempting to sail off into the sunset....

  7. What can we say? When the sun comes up each day, we start over, and make the best we can of each day.

    1. It's best to forget the past and just move on...yet there are many times when my past still drags me down.

  8. Life can really, really suck sometimes. The thing I can relate to the most was your personal journals/diaries. I had a suitcase full that a jealous boyfriend got a hold of and burned in a bonfire in his driveway. At the time, it felt like he ripped out a piece of my soul.

    But you have survived it all. And you still have a loving heart...just ask your sweet cats. :)

    1. What an extremely vicious and cruel thing your boyfriend did!! That would be completely unforgivable.

      Rita, my diaries and journals were the most cherished things I ever had - my entire life was contained in them. I remember carefully packing them...and watching them being loaded onto the moving van in TX. I'll never forgive myself for entrusting them to the movers.....and I often wonder what became of them - and who has read them.

  9. Hi, Jon ... it takes a lot to open up on the Internet exposing bits and pieces of ones self to a world of strangers. If writing about various shit storms you've gone through helps even a little, then by all means do it. No judgement from me, just a lot of understanding and caring coming your way.

    A lot of what you've been through mirrors my own tales of woe. Some would call it all bad luck, while I prefer to think it's part of the trials and tribulations that go along with life on this rock. For every negative we survive, we become that much wiser and stronger.

    It's always baffled me as to how people in the US pay for those horrendous medical expenses. I'm leery to set foot on US soil - even with the extra medical insurance we would have to purchase should we unfortunately find ourselves landing in some hospital. It's a crap shoot really since I know people who ended up with humongous bills despite their extra coverage. Check out Costa Rica. I'd relocate tomorrow ( I think ).

    1. Helga, I often regret the things I reveal on this public blog (it's sometimes a dangerous place to tread). I wanted to reveal some of the things from my past simply to let my readers know a little more about me. I offered a very condensed version of all my woes. It would take a book (or two) to tell everything.

      You're right when you said that for every negative we survive, we become stronger and (hopefully) wiser.

      Medical costs in the U.S. are completely outrageous. If you ever wind up in a hospital here...you're finished (financially speaking).
      I presently have absolutely no health insurance. And I pray every day that I'll never need it....

  10. I'd forgotten that you only had a week to vacate your house in Texas. I'm sorry that you lost so many items of value in the move. It seems that you had to find your current home in such a hurry that you weren't able to weigh the pros and cons of its purchase. You deserve better. I hope that it will work out for you someday.

    1. After waiting so LONG for my house to sell, I was completely taken by surprise when it finally did sell. Thanks to my realtors I was only given a weeks notice. The people who bought it were extremely anxious to move in.
      Unfortunately everything was happening so quickly that my mind was muddled and I made some careless decisions. I SHOULD have taken my journals and piano music with me in my car - - but it was a small Toyota - and I had three cats in large cages....

      Actually, I could have afforded a slightly more expensive place here in TN, but I wouldn't have had any money left. I mostly chose this house because of the low price and remote location. I do have many complaints about living here - but I still love the privacy and peace.

  11. Dang. Sometimes, it feels like life enjoys kicking the crap out of us, doesn't it? And yet... you prevail. May it ever be so.

    I'm most concerned about you not having any medical insurance. That's downright scary. Have you considered Medicaid?

    1. Yes I have considered Medicaid, and that's probably what I'll eventually wind up with. Better than nothing.

  12. life can be a real pain in the ass sometimes. but in your case it seems to always be that way. wish there was something i could say to help. you should have been reinbursed for what the moving company lost even though most items were priceless. like you i live in a place i'd rather not be. but don't have the funds to vacate the premises. what to do. what to do?

    1. A curse seems to have been following me around for years - most especially after I left California.
      There things about my present place that I love - but also a lot that I hate. Much like you, there's no way I can leave. And if I could, I wouldn't know where to go.


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