Friday, November 22, 2019


I've been in an extremely foul mood for a long time, compounded by an intensely suffocating depression. I counteract my misery by writing benign blog posts about lovely forests, cute cats and teddy bears and occasional piano interludes......a blessed escape from grim reality.

If I ever unleashed all the problems and stress I have with my (declining)  health and with this complicated life in the peaceful wilderness, you'd marvel at the fact that I'm still sane (which at this point is a matter of debate).

I won't mention my back problems - which makes it extremely difficult for me to walk - - or the ongoing problems with my hip and knee.

I will mention, however, that for the past few days I've been without heat and hot water. The furnace and the water heater noticed my misery and decided to compound it by refusing to work. 
Thank Gawd that the weather has (temporarily) turned mild again. Rain is predicted for the entire weekend.

I plan to (reluctantly) check the furnace and water heater tomorrow. The water heater is located in a tiny windowless "room" that is extremely difficult to access and scares the living jeeters out of me. 

To complicate my abject misery, the mild weather has resurrected the Asian beetles (see my previous posts about this). They are everywhere - - and I still clean up hundreds of dead ones daily. 

I made the long, dreaded drive to town yesterday (Thursday) to stock up on supplies, but forgot to buy several things. Might have to go again next week (before the Thanksgiving holiday).

Interesting Fact:
my bill at the supermarket was $99.99.
I got back ONE PENNY in change.

Unrelated Topic:
I recently lost my favorite ring. It's an 18th century Italian ring, made of gold with a beautiful amethyst.
My question - how the hell could I lose it???? I'm completely baffled.

I'm always extremely careful with my rings. I checked all of my pockets, and the entire house, and the car. 
Whenever I come home, I immediately put my wallet, keys, and rings on a shelf. 

The only thing I can think of is perhaps I dropped it and one of the cats got it (Bosco loves to play with anything).

My worst scenario is that Bosco accidentally swallowed it. I'll have to carefully check his litter box......
am I trying to be funny? 
Naw, I'm not in a funny mood.

Yesterday when I got home from town, I took a few photos. The leaves are dying, the forest is as dire and gloomy as my soul. It starts getting dark very early - around 3:30.

A rare glimpse of the house.The forest begins right where this tree is.

The forest is so gloomy now that the camera flash goes off.

It's early Friday morning as I'm writing this. Pre-dawn, dark, and pouring rain. I'm in bed with my laptop and the two cats. I'd like to cover my head, forget everything, and sleep in eternal least through the weekend....


  1. I fully understand right now. I'm going through some things of my own, and of course there is so much we wouldn't dare share on a blog entry. Most folks think what they see on my blog is what my whole life consists of, but I've always tended to keep quiet about the things that bother me. People get enough negativity from the news, Facebook, and people around them. They don't need to hear about my petty problems.

    1. I've never been an optimistic or upbeat person, Donna, and I often say things on my blog that should probably remain unknown. BUT I try not to be too depressing. As you said, some things are best kept to ourselves. The world certainly is a depressing place and there's no need to contribute to it.
      I always read your blog but haven't been commenting. Take care!

  2. I wish I could bottle up some optimism and good health and ship them to you. Is medical marijuana legal in Tennessee? (I could look it up, but I'm too lazy.) If a doctor would prescribe it for you, it might help with both your pain and your depression. Unfortunately, it wouldn't do anything for your furnace or water heater. :(

    Be well, cowboy. Try playing some cheerful music. Instead of playing something dark that reflects how you feel, why not play something upbeat that could change how you feel...? (And sing along!)

    1. I don't know if medical marijuana is legal here, but I'd never consider it, anyway. I feel that it only masks problems - like alcohol.

      I bought this place in the wilderness hoping that I'd find peace and a simple lifestyle - but almost immediately I realized I was in way over my head. The problems and inconveniences are innumerable. It wouldn't be bad if I were 20 years younger, but it's not the place to be when you're getting old and have lousy health....

      Yet, I'm not ready to surrender yet.
      I should probably sing songs and clog dance (if my bad knee will allow me)

  3. Jon, so sorry to hear about this chaos occurring in your life right now. Isn't it something how when it rains it pours? God, I recall when I first moved back East in 2001 and my entire life fell apart. It would take too long to tell you about it, but it was three straight years of hell (no job, no money, went through bankruptcy, my cats died). However, things did improve drastically and my life changed. I learned a lot about myself during that time. And although I would NEVER want to go through all that again, I look back now and see what I learned. And for that, I am grateful. I realized that my life had to fall apart to come together.

    Fantastic photographs!

    Have a peaceful weekend, my friend. And be well.

    1. Ron, your kind and encoraging words are greatly appreciated.
      "My life had to fall apart to come together" - - so true!

      My life has fallen apart far more times than I would care to remember, and somehow I always survived. Quite honestly, I seldom remember a truly peaceful time.
      By far, the very worst happened when I was living in Texas. There were MANY medical bills after my parents took over FOUR years to sell my house...I was jobless, penniless, and sold my antiques and coin collections to survive. To make an endless story short, I lost an enormous amount of money in TX....which is why I'm now living in poverty in TN.

      In retrospect, our uncanny ability to survive is amazing.

  4. I hope Bosco didn't swallow it I think it would have chocked him. I hope you're feeling better soon. I understand your back problem very well as long as take better care of myself mine doesn't bother me as bad. I enjoy your blog know matter what you wrote about. Take care,Jean.

    1. Jean, it's always good to hear from you. I certainly know that you've endured more than your share of troubles. I hope things are going well for you now. Back trouble can really be debilitating, as well as frustrating.
      Take care and have a peaceful Thanksgiving.

  5. I had a cat once who loved to steal anything shiny and small so earrings and rings were prime targets, but she'd steal paper clips, pens, magnets--anything that caught her eye. The trouble was she would either bury them in her litter box or drop them in the toilet when she was done with them.

    I had another cat who loved to pull thing loose with her teeth. Once I came home and she had pulled out every push pin from my cork board over my desk and these were papers all over the floor. She unplugged cords from the wall!

    Anyways, if you are a creature of habit (like me) you probably did put the ring in the usual place and I wouldn't doubt it was a curious cat responsible for its disappearance. :)

    1. Wow, you've had some rowdy (and funny) cats! I've never heard of a cat pulling cords from the wall.

      When Scratch was a kitten, she loved to take jewelry and shiny objects. Once she took a wristwatch and put it in her water dish. I thought it was really odd, but did some research and discovered it's quite common with cats.
      I learned that cats take things that are appealing and hide them in places that are "special" to them - - like food dishes or litter boxes.

      There's never a dull moment with cats. I keep hoping that the ring will eventually show up on the floor somewhere - - I'll keep looking....

    2. I hoped that would cheer you up a little. A shiny ring would be the perfect thing to bat about on the floor. Could be under a chair or couch or your bed, etc. Gotta love our strange creatures we live with--LOL! ;)

  6. Hi Jon - well, you're not alone with doom and gloom taking over. I'm sorry that you're going through troubled times. It becomes more and more difficult to keep upbeat when the roof keeps falling in ... so to speak. I hope your furnace and water heater are fixable. Isn't that always the way - just when you need heat, the furnace decides to crap out.

    I replaced the hot water tank yesterday ( which was only eight years old )and apparently quite normal the plumber said. Ten years max is what he stated, and that's pushing it. So there goes another 1,500 out the window - on top of a bunch of other unexpected expenses like my vehicle. Some bonehead backed out of a parking stall, hit my rear end while I was parked and took off. Nothing but a pain in the ass dealing with insurance when it's a ( hit and run ) claim.

    Ah well, some things are just out of our control. Whatever happens, happens, and we just have to roll with it since we have no choice. Take care !

    1. Helga, I'm so sorry to hear about the hit & run incident with your car. And insurance companies are definitely a pain to deal with concerning such situations. Life seems to be overflowing with one unpleasant thing after another.

      My furnace always acts up during the coldest time of the year. It happened last winter, too. The repairman advised me to get a new furnace - which would cost over $2000. I told him that I'll stick with the old one until it dies.

      When I lived in Texas my water heater sprung a leak and flooded the bathroom. I'm hoping (praying) the same thing won't happen here.
      Anyway, I hope you're hanging in there and enjoying November. Did you get any snow yet? Take care!

    2. Jon, I'm wondering if they have some rebate program in Tennessee where you get a good portion of a furnace paid for by replacing it with a new energy efficient one. Same thing for water heaters I believe. They do that here - sometimes it's through the gas provider, or municipal rebate programs. Might be worth checking into since it reduces the price a lot ... here anyways.

      We did have one dump of snow in the mountains last week - then it all melted. We're green at the moment- which is fine with me. Shoveling isn't the type of workout I care to do. There's usually some sort of injury involved. Have a pleasant weekend !

    3. There was a similar rebate program in Texas but I haven't heard of one in TN. It's worth an investigation. My appliances were all gas in TX but here in Tennessee everything is electric.

      I'm glad you're having a "green" November so far. It's presently rainy here, but I prefer it to ice.

  7. I'm so sorry to hear of your (continuing) challenges! Have you checked your trash for that ring? (I speak from experience.) I'm hoping Bosco knocked it off the shelf and it rolled. You don't happen to have access to a metal detector, do you?
    Wish I could offer some pearls of wisdom. Just please know, there's lots of us out here who care about you.

    1. Good grief - I took all my trash to the town "dump" on Thursday (without checking it). I keep hoping that the ring will eventually show up. I'm really perplexed about how it disappeared - since I almost never go anywhere, I live alone, and I'm generally careful with my things.

      I can only hope that the ring is on the floor somewhere. I USED to have my mom's metal detector, but it was lost when I moved to TN. Heck, I'll keep checking Bosco's litter box (*smile*)

      It's truly comforting to know that you and others care. I appreciate it more than you know.

  8. Oh dear. I'm sorry to hear of your struggles, Jon. The dreary weather is not helping, either. If you don't mind, I will say a prayer for you for healing and peace. And I will add to what Donna said that most of us are going through some sort of crap. For me, blogging and reading books is my escape. Sending virtual hugs.

    1. I'm surprised at how many other people are going through difficult times. When I'm "afflicted" I tend to think I'm the only one.
      These certainly aren't the worst times I've ever been through, and somehow I always manage to survive.

      I can always use prayers for healing and peace, and I truly appreciate your kind words.

      Yes - reading has always been my greatest escape (even as a child)....and music. (and, of course blogging).

  9. I share your concern. Not much fun, is it, when everything doesn't go according to our personal plans? You will probably thing this old fool has no idea what you are going through, well - if so, you are wrong. Totally. I have huge handkerchiefs if you need one!
    God bless you and know that you are not alone. I mean in situations rather than our living arrangements!

    1. You're definitely not an "old fool", Valerie. I greatly appreciate your thoughts, wisdom, and compassion. And I can probably use one of those handkerchiefs!
      Thanks for being there. It's a comfort to know I'm not alone. Take care!

  10. Hey Jon, I've read your post several times, but couldn't come up with any wise suggestions in a hurry - so I had to let everything sink in before I dared to leave a comment...

    Anyway, I'm sorry that fate seems to be making your life so difficult for you. You most certainly deserve better, so let's hope - little by little - everything will get better. I know from personal experience (years of personal experience!) that deep depression tends to make living life an ordeal at best.

    Getting out of bed, taking a shower, forcing myself to eat, etc. - it's something I struggle with every day of my life. And then when I'm suddenly forced to deal with a major problem, it often seems like a disaster to me! I start to panic big time, and the only way I am able to cope is by making a list and doing (little by little) something to calm me down - and make me do what I need to do.

    First, I don't think you should abandon all hope (regarding the loss of your favorite ring). I bet it's still in your house (but not in the litter box!). Chances are it's hidden under a couch, chair, bookcase, desk, piano, etc. - due to one or both of your playful cats. Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope it turns up sooner than later.

    Also, do you play the piano A LOT when you are feeling really low? This always worked for me (when I had a piano). It helped to slow down my thoughts and lessen some of the fear and panic, so I could ultimately accomplish what I needed to accomplish. I'd start with the simple things until everything on my LONG list of things to do was done. So much activity always made me feel less depressed in the end.

    And regarding those wretched beetles? They cannot last forever. When winter really does come and stay, I bet most of them will be done for.

    Jon, I use those tiny space heaters to keep my apt. warm as best I can. The trick is to only heat the room you (and your cats) are in at the moment. This way the electric bill will not scare you to death. Could you do that until your furnace problem is fixed?

    And I know it must really suck not having any hot water! I once lived in a place (for 3 months) where I had to boil water on the stove for a much needed bath and laundry purposes, etc. Could you try that until you have a working hot water heater again? Believe it or not, it didn't seem like such a chore after doing it a few times...

    Are you taking any kind of pain reliever for your back? I also have a lot of physical problems, so I've learned to pace myself as best I can - and take whatever meds are best for my pain (there's lots of free info online). This is also true for chronic depression: A good multivitamin can work wonders! I get the kind that works best for men over fifty :-)

    Oh, and I know listening to good music has been mentioned before, but it really can make a difference when you are feeling stuck and/or overwhelmed by what life throws at you. Plus a favorite movie or two - just don't let it become habit forming :-)

    Sending you lots of warm hugs,


    P.S. Sorry for the long comment! But I care a lot about you - and I'm not the only one. (Hello Helga, Susan, and Geo! Happy Thanksgiving to all!)

  11. Dylan, your extremely thoughtful comment is greatly appreciated - and I can relate to everything you've mentioned.

    My life (unfortunately) has always been filled with difficult situations and, consequently, I've never been an optimistic person. Even during times when things were going well, I've never seemed to obtain true happiness.
    My present situation isn't the worst thing I've been through...and I'll undoubtedly survive.

    My on-going health problems are very depressing. I seem to be completely falling apart at an earlier age than I ever expected. I had several serious spinal injuries in the past which never healed properly - and they're causing more problems now than ever.
    Living here in poverty in the wilderness also has many depressing aspects. I love the solitude and beautiful surroundings, but the problems and inconveniences are exasperating: the ENDLESSLY long drive to town, the snakes and insects, the wild animals that constantly invade my roof and the crawlspace under the house.

    Also, this is absolutely the COLDEST house I ever lived in. I don't need a furnace - I need an exorcist (*smile*). My bedroom is like a freezer, so this winter my cats and I plan to move into a small interior room. I do have two small space heaters, which come in handy.
    I really miss having a fireplace (I had one in Texas) but they're a lot of trouble to clean and maintain.

    I think I'll be able to fix the water heater, but I'm not sure about the furnace.
    Also, my clothes dryer broke about a year ago - so I've been forced to hang my wash outside...which isn't exactly easy.

    I smiled when you mentioned making lists, because I do the same thing. I make endless lists of all the things I need to do and it keeps me occupied. As you said - keeping busy is extremely important. I love reading, writing, watching movies and documentaries, and of course listening to music.

    Unfortunately, despite the fact that I have two pianos - I haven't really touched them since I moved here. This is astounding - since music used to be the major part of my existence. When I moved to Tennessee the movers lost all of my piano music and manuscripts that I had for years - and all of my mother's piano music. This depressed me so deeply that I simply lost all interest.

    The movers also lost my electric keyboard - and I'm seriously thinking of buying another one. This could get me back on the path to playing/performing again.

    This "reply" to your comment is getting long and I'm rambling. Hope it makes some sense.
    I truly appreciate your concern and suggestions, Dylan - it means a lot to me.

    Big hugs always, Jon

    1. By the way, I've been taking a lot of vitamins lately and they really are beneficial.
      Have a peaceful Thanksgiving!

  12. Some days I love where you live, out in the middle of no where, and then other times I read of the struggles you have in the middle of no where and change my mind.

    I notice I huge difference when I don't take vitamins. I saw that in the above comment. Just in energy alone.

    1. That's exactly the way I feel - - it's a love/hate relationship. I was admittedly a wilderness virgin when I bought this place. I honestly thought my life would be simple, peaceful, and worry-free. I hadn't anticipated the endless problems and complications involved (and I haven't even mentioned half of them). I suppose nothing is perfect....

      I absolutely believe in the benefits of vitamins - they are a help both physically and mentally.

  13. Your photos look beautiful to my eyes. I am fighting the gloom of living in a northern gray state where it's getting dark too early. (around 4:30 though) I'm so sorry for your health issues; that makes everything tough and depressing.

    1. Hi, Margaret - thanks for visiting my humble blog. Glad you enjoyed the photos. The autumn foliage is fading very quickly and I'm sorry to see it go. It gets dark extremely early here because I'm surrounded by forests. The sun disappears quickly behind trees and shadows - even during the summer.
      Hopefully my gloomy mood isn't too depressing. Writing has always been a great emotional outlet for me.

    2. I find that I write/blog much better when I'm depressed than I do when I'm happy. However, it's not the best trade off! :)

  14. Jon, I am late in reading this post and damn the only luck you seem to have is bad luck. Sorry, I didn't mean to be uncaring but you have had to put up with a lot in that remote location: injuries, insects, snakes, heat, and now failing appliances. You are much stronger than me because just a couple of those would have done me in. I wish there were more words of advice that I could send your way as so many others have done and I have read through all the previous comments. It's obvious you are cared about by so many of your fellow bloggers and keeping lines of communication open is so important to not only your state of mind, but for many of us as well.

    Like others, I also do not share everything on my blog. Even though I know that many folks share so much on FB and other social media platforms, none of which I use or read. So many of us have private concerns and issues that we don't share publicly. Whereas, you have felt comfortable enough to share feelings of despair, loneliness, health issues. oddly enough, I think that's a "good thing" because if you can talk about it, then perhaps you feel less alone. Perhaps one day I will feel comfortable enough to do the same.

    Please keep hanging in there, Jon. I know this question might seem out of the question, but have you considered trying to sell the house and move closer to town so you will be around people? (Not that being around people is always a good thing.)

    1. Thanks for your kind words and your concern, Dorothy - it's greatly appreciated. It's bitterly ironic that I moved to a rural area to have a simple, peaceful life - and it seems to have backfired.
      I have considered selling this place and moving back to civilization - but I've moved so many times in my life that I think another move would kill me. I'll try to stick it out here and see what happens.

      It is rather dangerous to write too many personal things on a public blog (which I have a tendency to do). Writing has always been a great catharsis for me and I often wear my heart on my sleeve. I usually regret things that I say...yet that doesn't stop me.
      Incidentally, I dislike Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets.
      Blogging seems to be a more appealing outlet for me - and I've discovered many wonderful and caring people here (along with a few crazies....).

      I think my health problems are depressing me even more than the tribulations of rural life. I seem to be falling apart at an earlier age than I expected.
      Anyway, many thanks for your input!

    2. Thanks for your reply, as always, Jon. Fellow bloggers may not be able to provide remedies or solutions, but all are caring and good listeners too. I hope you do manage to have as happy a Thanksgiving as possible.

  15. Have you checked inside your shoes for the ring or maybe the cat batted it into a tight place and it got stuck? Maybe between a furniture leg and the wall. Hope your mood lifts soon and you find your ring.
    Take care, Sheila

    1. I did check inside my boots and slippers, and I searched every nook and cranny in the house that I could think of. I'm completely baffled over this....but haven't given up hope yet.
      I even checked the pockets of all my clothes.....and the washing machine and dryer!
      Anyway, thanks! I nope you have a great Thanksgiving.


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