tidbits and morsels

Another blogger noted there is a fine line between discipline and abuse when dealing with kids. I agree, and I will add that when the parent has unresolved issues from childhood, it always seems to come out in anger when the kids are at their worst.

Some of the best photos I have taken are accidental. Photographers with real talent prepare for those accidental moments and make it look easy. Guess what? It’s easy for an amateur to take a million bad pictures before two or three good ones show up.

Remember when everything you needed to know about everything in the world was at your fingertips, if you had the Encyclopedia Britannica? (Kids, ask your parents.) I loved the old set we inherited when I was a kid. I knew lots of stuff up until the mid 1960s… and it was 1984.

I wish people who follow the other blog knew about this blog, but I feel like pimping this blog on the other one would be tacky. Speaking of the other blog, I’m running out of ideas to write about bipolar. I knew I would hit a wall at some point, I just didn’t think it would be so soon.

This weekend I am going on my sometimes-annual baseball road trip, to Minneapolis and Milwaukee. Pictures when I return. Lots of driving and time to think, but no time for writing it all down. I’ll take a notebook, just in case. Trying not to think about possible disaster while I’m traveling. Dread mixed with anticipation, so typical of me.

Are there any people from Wisconsin or Minnesota who read this? If so, I’ll come visit you.

I am firmly convinced I am an atheist, but then again I also believe there are things which cannot be explained by reason or logic.

You know the feeling when you know the ink will smear on what you just wrote, and yet you have to test it anyway? Why not write on scratch paper and test it there? That never occurs to me until it is too late.

There is a little space under the stairs in the basement at my office. I have this nagging feeling that someday I will hide there to cry.

bipolar memories


Listening to sad songs, triggering a memory of past mood swings…

Originally posted on Bipolar Dad, Bipolar Daughter:

Sometimes I miss being me when I was unmedicated and out of control. I think about the days when I was able to swing back and forth between manic highs and crushing depression, and I listened to sad songs or heavy metal to match my mood. I remember the times when it was me and my pickup, and I could hide there and laugh, cry, scream, or wish I were dead. I ran to the ocean or the forest or the mountains or the desert to ride out those manic episodes. I felt so alive in those moments.

I kind of miss those days … then I remember how close I was to death, and how I almost destroyed the ones I loved. I remember how I felt later about the things I had said or done, and the people I hurt along the way. It was a devastating time…

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In the end, we all lose. Friends, money, and possessions all go away when we die. You lose your health, your memory, and ultimately your life.

That’s a sobering thought, especially for someone who worries about becoming feeble of mind and body when the end is near. Sometimes living bothers me, but dying a little every day bothers me more.

Maybe the lesson here is to live while you have time, and take lots of pictures along the way.


I’ve been a little irritable and restless lately. It’s not a manic spell coming on, just a nagging sense that time and opportunity are slipping away. I feel a need to make changes, and I have a few things I want to get done, but certain people in my family are not cooperating with me.

I can take care of what I can control, but much of what I want is out of my control. I can tell the kids what I want, and they just ignore me. I can’t directly tell Mrs. Fish what I want because she gets irritated if I have a difference of opinion, or if I try to tell her she has been procrastinating.

I find it ironic that I am the person who is trying to move things along, considering that I am the one who usually procrastinates and puts things off, or makes excuses for not doing things at all. It gets frustrating when they seem to be content to let each day just happen without making any changes, then wake up a year or two later and wonder where the time has gone.

faces of san francisco

At my high school, the photo class took a trip to San Francisco every spring. Looking back, I can’t believe they let 30 teenagers loose in the city and said “Meet the bus at the corner of Grant and Columbus at 1pm,” and everyone made it just fine. No one got into trouble, no one got run over by a Muni bus, and no one got lost in the days before cell phones and Google Maps.

Armed with a Minolta, and several rolls of black-and-white film (kids: ask your parents), we roamed from the Financial District to Chinatown to Aquatic Park looking for interesting sights and subjects. Some of the “people” photos are below. I have never been good at capturing people, but this day was pretty successful. I have misplaced the negatives, so I had to scan the prints, but they still look okay to my non-expert eye.

alone in chinatown

Alone in Chinatown


Waiting for customers


Feeding the pigeons

alone time

I have spent a lot of alone time this week, with Anne and Nicole in California and Dan doing his school/work/hide-in-bedroom thing. I’ve been getting enough rest, I haven’t gone manic, and I’m only a little depressed. I haven’t really done much with my time however.

What I’m discovering is that being alone on a regular basis would be very bad for me. I wouldn’t take care of myself, I wouldn’t do anything enjoyable, and I would just waste all my free time instead of accomplishing anything. Kind of like what I do now, but without anyone to talk to. I wouldn’t go out and meet people, I have too many anxieties for that. I wouldn’t go to someone’s house if I were invited, I would just find an excuse.

When I was driving I spent up to 2 weeks at a time time alone, and that was definitely not good for me. Sometimes I feel like I don’t get along with my family, but the truth is that I need them just as much as they need me. I would be an empty shell without a family to come home to.

Break time is nice, and a little alone time is a good thing, but the truth is I can’t wait for my girls to come home.

National Child Abuse Awareness Month: Emotional Child Abuse Is Real and Its Effects Last Long Into Adulthood


THIS is it. This is what I have been writing about for so many years. I have been trying to describe what it felt like to be shamed and invalidated, and have every bit of self-confidence and self-esteem stripped away. This article defines emotional abuse with empathy and compassion.

My entire life has been deeply affected by the lasting effects of emotional abuse. Until the last couple years, the internal wounds were still raw and sometimes bleeding. Since then I have been able to be less depressed about the past, but the scars will always be there.

Originally posted on The Invisible Scar:

Editor’s note: April is National Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention month. The Invisible Scar is dedicated to raising awareness of emotional child abuse, so in honor of this month’s focus, we’ll revisit the definition of emotional child abuse, types of emotional child abuse, and its effects for those who are not yet familiar with the fact that emotional child abuse is real.

[photo credit] [photo credit] When child-advocate lawyer Andrew Vachss was asked, “What is the worst case you ever handled?” when protecting abused children, he answered, “Of all the many forms of child abuse, emotional abuse may be the cruelest and longest-lasting of all.”

Why is emotional child abuse  the worst kind? Why is it even worse than physical child abuse or sexual child abuse?

It’s because emotional child abuse seeks to destroy the person’s very being.

“Emotional abuse is the systematic diminishment of another,” Vachss…

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t-rex and tape measures

I’m forgetful and disorganized, and this causes me problems. I forget that I own things because I can’t find them. I have 5 tape measures because I couldn’t find one, and I thought “I was sure I bought a tape measure last month”. Then I buy one and store it in a place I will remember it, which I promptly forget. I also forget buying the item in the first place. You know how a T-rex forgets about you if you don’t move? That is me and tape measures. One of these days I won’t be able to find my wife anywhere, and I’ll run out and get married again.

I can’t find things once I’ve used them. My workbench, my desk at home, and my closet all have the same organizational scheme, as if Jackson Pollock was throwing tools into my house. I toss stuff where I will be able to find it later, and then I can never find it again. I like hardware stores because they look so neat, even though I can’t find things there either. But I know where the tape measures are, goddammit.

I find things when I least expect to, usually when I am looking for something else. I bought pens recently, then I found 40 of them when I was looking for a tape measure.

of mice and men and peanut butter

Day one of the social experiment begins. The experiment is to leave a bipolar person mostly alone for 9 days with nothing but a well-stocked larder, a mousetrap, and the Internet. The hypothesis is that one of three outcomes will occur:

1) he falls into a deep depression and fails to see daylight or shower for the entire time.
2) he remains surprisingly positive without tipping into a mood swing, one way or the other.
3) he decides that tonight is a great opportunity to scan 25 years of photos into the computer, then drinks too much coffee, and pushes himself into a manic spell, which is followed by the inevitable crash.

Mrs. Fish and Nicole are vacationing in Hippietown (where we lived for several years, which you would already know had you been following my ramblings for the past 10 years). I dropped them at the airport at 0-dark-30, then I took the car for some repairs, then I started looking at slides and photos to scan. In the meantime I offered to go to breakfast with the Dan The Man-Child, and he picked the Taco Bell drive through. Oh well, at least he inherited the “cheap” genes.

I will not actually be alone during the next 9 days. Dan is here, although I don’t see him very often due to work and school schedules. I want to talk to him about school and trying to find a better job when he is done, but it always seems so awkward to get that conversation rolling. Often I don’t know what to talk about with him.

Also keeping me company will be the anguished spirits of the mice that will soon be dead. There have been nocturnal scuttlings in the ceiling for a couple of months. I wanted to kill the mice, but Nicole and I both think they are cute. Nicole is against killing any animal, and the cats aren’t doing their job, so I am taking the opportunity to do the dirty job while she is gone. I placed a little peanut butter in the trap, and started thinking how much I like peanut butter, and when I licked the knife I almost looked up to see if there was a gleaming instrument of death poised to strike me down. I feel bad, but it has to be done.

I tell myself I won’t stay up too late scanning tonight. I have all rainy weekend, and I don’t have to look presentable until the fish-in-laws take Dan and I out for dinner Sunday. As a non-believer, I don’t celebrate Easter, but the fish-in-laws are mildly religious. I was surprised to realize Dan has basically given up going to church and reading his bible, because he was pretty far into the cult a couple years ago. I wonder what happened, but again I don’t know how to start that conversation.

Just 50 more sets of negatives to scan, then check the mousetrap, then sleep for 2 hours. Then more coffee.

So. Much. Coffee.

olympic peninsula

I don’t have anything of substance to say, so I’ll post a few pictures. In 1997, while working in Vancouver, I was sent to a 3-day workshop in Seattle that began on a Monday morning. Of course I didn’t go directly there. I spent the weekend looking at stuff on the Olympic Peninsula: rainforest, moss, elk, wetlands, beaches, Indian museums, forts, bridges, and ferries. It was a great weekend … until Sunday night, when I didn’t feel very well. I went to the Kingdome to watch a baseball game, and I became violently ill with some kind of intestinal distress. Ew, enough said. I was sick for the next three days, but I still attended the workshop for my boss. That is dedication.

Anyway, here are a few poor quality pictures from the peninsula.

Crescent Lake at dusk. This photo was taken with a cheap plastic 35mm camera, then the paper photo was recently scanned. No color fixing. Despite the poor quality, one of my favorite photos ever.

Dead Elk, Ahlstrom Prairie

Boardwalk trail on the way to the beach.

Whidbey Island Bridge (I know, too much dust!)