Blogging from the lower class.  I came hope having a great day.  I went to the lakes…got a sunburn…spent some time in a rowboat on the lake.  You know how fun it is to get out of town!

I get home…just settled in, when my neighbor down the hall rang my doorbell.  She told me a new company will be owning the building I live in and will be raising my rent $100.00.  That will put my rent over the amount Section 8 will cover.  They will be also making the people who have therapy pets pay a $300.00 dollar deposit the first month we get one.

I don’t know what to do.  I don’t make enough to pay my bills and eat.  I am feeling panicky.

Are anyone of you bloggers out there having housing issues?   I want to move to Minneapolis.  My future seems hopeless.

What the fuck am I supposed to do>   Have faith that God will help me be strong?

Is there anyone out there that can  show me a way  to survive all this?

A moment at the lake.

I was invited to go to the lake with my friend who is also my shrink.  She wanted me to stay until Wednesday, but after only a few hours with each other, I realized it was a mistake to go.

When I woke up Tuesday morning I told her that I would stay until 7:00 pm. She was relieved.

I don’t think it’s possible for people from 2 different income brackets to actually be friends.  That’s too bad, and maybe I am wrong.  I hope I am, but I think there is such a big gap on what the rich people care about at opposed to me.

I also don’t think a person’s psychiatrist should actually invite a patient to her lake cabin.  What do you all think?

Hello World

Since I can remember, people have told me two things:  That I should write a book, and that I should do stand-up comedy.

More recently, I was asked if I have been blogging lately.

I haven’t because I am lazy.   I have a whole litany of other excuses, but that’s the main reason.  So I blogged 3 things today.  I am bringing my computer with me when I go to the lakes this afternoon.

I’m living my life.  That’s another reason I don’t blog every day, as has been suggested by my a few important people in my life.

So  I don’t pretend to be a writer.  But I am doing one thing the Universe keeps whispering to me.  Write, write, write.

Sometimes I don’t want to stop.


Mom woke me up yesterday morning.  Very gently, but it was definitely her voice.  

I was having a bad dream.  the dream started out lovely.  I was watching a beautiful woman with an athletic build on a  diving board.  She was getting ready to dive nd I remember thinking how impressed I was with her beauty and perfect form as she was getting ready to dive.  She was doing a swan dive from the highest diving board, and she dove perfectly into nothing but cement.  I saw her lying on the cement; bloody…unrecognizable.

Just at that time, my mom (who died in October of 2014) said to me, “Jann, wake up.” in the most gentle voice.  Yesterday was Sunday and I quickly, almost automatically took a bath, and got ready for church.

Lately,  I have been isolating from family and friends more and more.  I have neglected to get in touch with God and have felt like I’m on a row boat on a turbulent ocean.  Fear.  That’s what it is.  And what a waste of time.

I spent 100% of my day Saturday watching movies and series after series of “Ray Donovan”. Among other things.  Movies I can’t recall a mere 2 days ago.  24  hours I’ll never get back.

Nobody is going to come over to my house and tell me to get off my ass and get to church, or a meeting, or a walk.  I lack motivation and structure and I blame it on the fact that I am alone.

So Mom… woke me up Sunday morning, and I went to my favorite Recovery Church.  I also went to a place to play games and socialize with my new AA family.

Sometimes I wish I belonged to a circle of friends outside of AA, but it I am afraid.  They say to me, “You have to “put yourself out there” but I don’t know how.  It used to be the bars and after-the-bar-closes parties where I used to go to make friends.  But that doesn’t work for me anymore.

Mom always said that church was the answer. I will find God in church, and I will make friends in church.  I just have to show up.  Just like AA.  I simply have to show up.

So I am grateful that Mom saw fit to urge me to get up, in my dream.  She would’ve been happier if I had chosen the traditional Lutheran church.  I belong to both.  One for the hymns, one for the relaxed and youth-oriented atmosphere.

Commitment issues?  Perhaps next time

Violent Night, Holey Night.

So….here we go again.  That’s the thought that scrolled through my mind as the sheriff reinterviewed me again; 4 years after my Aunt Linda– Mom’s youngest sister by 9 years–shot my whole family… well, all but 2 of us.
it was the beginning of August 1976, and I was only ten years old during that  nightmarish night.  My brothers, Andy, and Franklin had just had their 2nd  and 4th birthdays the week prior.  My oldest brother, Glen was 13,  and my 3-year-old  little sister Julie and my mother  were all violently shot and killed, our house a blood bath.  Aunt Linda couldn’t find me as I was hiding under my oldest brothers bed.   I guess she never thought I would hide under someone else’s bed.  or, perhaps Aunt Linda forgot about me altogether in the adrenalin pumped rampage she was in.
I wanted to think she knew I was there and was protecting me (you know how self-important 10-year-old kids can be)  but she hadn’t given me a thought. I later learned during her lengthy trial, that she had come to our quiet farm home that evening to tell the truth to our mom, and confront our daddy  (who’s life was also spared)  that she was pregnant with Daddy’s baby and wanted mom to back out of their marriage gracefully.  As I’ve told you before, I didn’t see how things escalated because once I heard their soft voices turn into hysterical screams, I hid under my sleeping brothers bed.  I did check on my little brothers and sister before I went and hid, but they seemed oblivious to the noise…fast asleep and it didn’t occur to me they wouldn’t be safe.  the guilt I’ve had to live with for not protecting my siblings often comes back to haunt me if I let it.

I told them everything I could from my view under the bed at 10 years old. I told them everything I knew about Aunt Linda, Mom and Dad.  But they kept treating me like an adult when questioning me at 10 years old.  They questioned me for hours after I finally emerged from under the bloody floor of my oldest brother’s bed.  Finally, after about what seemed like a month, my best friend’s mom, Cheri Sanders, came and rescued me from the scene of the “mass killings” as the press called it.

For years, I carried that night with me around like a coat of armor.  I allowed the fucked up nature of the so-called adults in my family define me to the point that when I  was around them, I felt intimidated by them, because they all knew I knew more than I told the police.  Aunt Linda got out in just 4 years after being charged with manslaughter.  I, myself, had to disappear.


Hi, Everybody!

Today I am going to write exactly how I want to–being mindful of spelling of course.  Most of you who have followed any of my blogs have heard the dark side of life with some humor tossed in to (hopefully) keep you coming back.

Well, today I finally have some great news to report.  I met the man I invented about 5 years ago and we are buying a 3 bedroom Brownstone in Minneapolis, MN.  I’m so happy it doesn’t seem real.

You may be wondering why I’ve waited so long to tell you,  It was because I was afraid that if I said anything it would end.  How we met is very unusual, and probably–if you want to split hairs–unethical.  But not really.

You see, about a year ago I had yet another obviously failed suicide attempt which landed me on the second floor of the dreaded local treatment center.  The place had an awful reputation of keeping medicare and Medicaid-insured patients for lengthy stays or basically until the insurances refused to pay any more.

So when I ended up in the loony bin once again, I figured I’d have to stay for months.  I was admitted to the 2nd floor at 6:00 am on a Wednesday morning, given a set of paper scrubs, and was ordered by the charge nurse to try and get some sleep.  My arm looked like it was about to abscess, and I ended up trying to at least rest my eyes in the “Commons” room as the beds felt like uneven bricks.

The charge nurse, Toby Deaton, told me the shrink would be in to see me by 11:00 am.  SIDEBAR; There is NOTHING like being surrounded by people with mental problems so bad and scary that they actually make you feel healthy.

Promptly at 2:30 pm, Dr. Messo (not a typo) came and plopped down on the metal chair across from where I was diligently working on a 100 piece puzzle of a bunny.  He introduced himself, and without looking up, I said, “You’re late!”.  He told me he was always late…that he was the latest person he’d ever known, and could I forgive him.

Again, without taking my eyes off the puzzle, I twirled my hair, stuck out my bottom lip and told him that MY family was the latest family documented of all time and that of them, I was SO late I was usually early, soooooooooo.  I then looked up and saw him for the first time.   He was laughing when he said, Penelope?”  I told him how surprised I was he got the reference.  And a renewed sadness and hopelessness came over me.  He was beautiful. And after talking to him for 20 minutes, I knew he was the man I had invented years ago when a friend of mine asked me to write down what would be the perfect man for me.

Knowing that due to the nature of my situation leading to the care of Dr.Messo,  the “relationship” would be strictly professional and I closed down.  But he was so different than other Psychiatrists.

Dr. Messo seemed to find it necessary to tell me he was only a visiting Doc and lived in Watertown, SD where he worked the psych unit at the local hospital.  He also happened to mention he came to Fargo on his 3-day weekends off from work to see a show, go thrift and antique shopping or go  to Detriot Lakes Minnesota to simply hang out.  He said he loved going to the various coffee shops to sit quietly, listening to bands he’d never heard before. He een told me that he drank for several years and had to quit because it was beginning to interfere with his work, friends, and family.  I thought that wa so unusual.  I felt like saying, “BOUNDRIES DOC!”

After our session, we shook hands; (well, actually I went in for a hug) and I was discharged an hour later.

Months went by.  I never forgot him…there was something about him that felt like home.  It seemed that we had a connection.  Now, keep in mind– I hadn’t been with a man since I was 45 years old.  Ten years with out even a close girlfriend.  I was certian God was punishing me for all of my sins.  I had been trying to accept that at 55, my life was going to be one pitfall after the other.

I went into the Treatment facility for a suicide attempt.  It was pretty lame, but they had to keep me for at least 48 hours.  When I left I returned to my same life, feeling so stuck.  Six months after that incodent, I read, cleaned, went to the park….just anything to stop isolating.

I was reading a book at my favorite park when my phone rang.  Not knowing who it was, I was reluctant to answer, but I did.  It was him.  Dr. Ion Messo.  He said he was at Terrace park in Fargo and would I be interested in meeting him.  I told him I was ALREADY at Terrace Park.  The rest as they say, is history.  He is the man whoes characteristics I listed that day so many years ago.  And the greatest part of all…..He loves me, too!!!  Flaws and all!

I had lost all hope.  And now, that I am finally ready to give and receive love, God gave me a person to carve out the rest of my days with.  I cannot put into words how happy I am.  And guess what?  As I am writing this, I am in the sunroom of our newly remodled Brownstone home.  Now, even my son visits!!!  Thank you HP!


It’s been years since my mother died.  On this, the 10th anniversary of her death, I thought I would take it upon myself to tell a little of her story.  My name is Olive Christine Town. I am (was?) my mother’s youngest child and only daughter.  Her first child (my half-brother, Justin) is six years my senior and is a successful Dr. in a beautiful, cozy little town near the Pacific Ocean in Northern California.

My mother, Alice J. Olson, met my father, Jacob Lee Town during the spring of 1980. When they met, Mom was bartending at the lounge my father’s band was playing at.  When they met, Dad and his band were on the road at least 250 days a year. But mom and dad fell in love quickly and  eloped in the fall of 1980 (a mere 6 months after they met) deciding it was silly to wait when they knew they’d found true love.

They also  had a family already in place; Dad’s 2 boys, Wayne and Marc, and my half-brother, Justin, whose status changed from “only child” to “little brother” when Alice and Jacob took their wedding vows. Then, 6 years later, I came along “Giving your brother someone to blame things on.  even so, Mom tells me that Justin took me to “Show-and Tell his 1st week of the 1st grade. Too bad the pride of having a little sister lasted such a short time.

 Much like my family of origin, Mom also was the youngest of 3 older brothers.  My Uncle Bart was the closest to her in age.  He was six years older, just like Justin is to me.  My Uncle Kevin is 10 years older than Mom, and my Uncle Thomas is 7 years Mom’s senior.  Mom’s family of origin and her own family matched almost exactly.

Mom loved to tell the story about how she and Dad met, how hard it was having 3 boys at first and finally, how I came to be.

“Three years into our marriage, your dad and I decided we wanted to have a baby which would solidify the boys. The son or daughter we’d have together, would be half-brother or sister to all 3 of the boys. We were so excited when we made the decision to have a baby…OUR baby but It seemed that for all our trying, we  could not get pregnant. It got to the point where we had sort of given up.”

Then one beautiful spring evening, your dad and I walked to the Red Owl grocery store, a half-mile away. to pick up a few things.  Along the way, a little, tan puppy with floppy ears began to follow us.  I naturally stopped to pet, then hold the puppy, and returned it to the sidewalk. The puppy continued to follow us until we got to the store.  Then much to our surprise, there she sat, waiting for us, starting to follow us back home.”

“She was just so damned precious” Mom continued.  “I had her named a block away from the store! Your father was quiet, but smiling.  I asked him if we could keep the puppy, whom I had already named Sandy Allen. In lieu of an answer, he simply turned around, back into the store where quickly emerged with puppy food, a collar, a leash, and 2 dog dishes.  He then said, “This puppy is yours to train, pick up after, and love.”  I was so happy I jumped up and down, puppy and all, kissing and hugging your father until he almost fell to the ground.

 “Honestly, Olive, she said, I couldn’t remember feeling such pure happiness  I was certain that God picked Jacob just for me.

“After that, she confessed,  I forgot about trying to get pregnant and poured my motherly instincts into caring for and loving that puppy.  And low and behold, about a year later YOU Miss Olive, were born.  At that point, she’d give me that sweet smile–tears trying to escape from her eyes.  I loved hearing that story and never grew tired of hearing every year on my birthday.

Mom used to pray she’d have a girl because of already having 3 boys.  Yet, when I was delivered, it took my dad and the Dr. three times to convince my mom that I was a girl.  She had to actually see for herself me before she finally believed it was true. “We wanted a girl …well, I wanted a girl so bad that I just KNEW I was going to have another boy.  Not that there’s anything wrong with boys,” she quickly amended.

Mom told me she vowed to be a better mother to me than her mom was to her.  That–the relationship of my Grandma Olson and my mom–is a pretty sad story. If this was a novel instead of a blog, I’d go on to tell it..  But, suffice it to say, their relationship was turbulent from the moment Mom was born.

Having yet another baby at the age of 40–much less a girl– wasn’t in the plans for Mom’s parents.  Grandma Olson actually told Mom she was a mistake.  She also told mom that she’d wished Mom had been born a boy.  Grandma didn’t seem to know what to do with a little girl. On the other hand, Grandfather Olson seemed to know just what to do with his little girl.

His dirty little secrets were exposed when his boys discovered boxes upon boxes of child pornography hidden in the forbidden closet of the attic. Discovering that their father could be in possession of such evil images, complete with personal perverted notes handwritten in the margins, served as validation for the experiences their little sister had told them during drunken phone calls in the middle of their night.

 When I was about 13, Mom told me that she’d committed herself to the Adolescent Unit of the North Dakota State Hospital at the age of 13.  She told me she wanted to go there as she couldn’t stand living with her parents one more day.

 I asked her what kind of kid would actually want to be locked up in what was then called “The Loony Bin”?  She seemed sad and ashamed as she answered my question.  After a long pause, Mom softly said, “I wanted to go there for several reasons: I knew something was terribly wrong at home and I didn’t feel safe…or even loved for that matter. I didn’t know WHAT was wrong, but I knew I was pretty messed up. “While I was living at the Adolescent Unit, I was forced to go to school and was actually expected and encouraged to get good grades. There, we were made to go to bed by 9:00 pm and were woken at 6:00 am.  We had chores, and homework, and 3  meals a day.

 But mostly, she said, for the first time in my life, in that girls dorm in that State institution, I felt like I fit in.  I felt like I belonged. I could sleep at night without being afraid. I also needed a place that would keep me off the streets because even at that early age of 13, I used a lot of drugs and alcohol to escape and was already promiscuous.  I mistook sex for love and suffered grave indecencies at the hands of men much, much older than myself.”  “I could tell you more, but I think you understand, right Olive?”

Mom held me and cried for a minute or two then told me how proud of me and happy for me she was.  “You’ll never be a loser like me” she once said.  Then, as usual, she cracked a smile and started singing that song by Beck entitled “Loser”.  Changing the subject.  Turning awful into funny. Being thoughtful and charming. And completely detaching or forgetting. Those are the skills Mom used to survive most all of her life. And they worked for years to come.  marriage, she found out that Dad was cheating on her and had been almost from the beginning of their relationship.  Learning of this broke her heart in jagged little pieces.  She has tried to explain to me that’s why her life spiraled out of control for so many years; why she didn’t put up a fight for me and Justin during the divorce.

Actually, Justin was so fed up with our mother that he couldn’t stand being around her, let alone living with her.  You see, he thought it was solely her fault because she’d drink on the weekends when his step-father’s band was playing out of town.  He blamed her for most of the problems he was facing as an adult, too.  Just like Mom blamed Grandma for most of her problems,

Justin told me over cocktails one night when we were both home from college over the holidays, “I am still so angry at Mom for being such a fuck up and I wonder if I’ll ever be able to forgive her–let alone love her, again. Jacob was such a better father and role-modle… more than my so-called real dad, and I have never felt more secure and happy than those years when we were all a family.” he whispered into his drink.

Ironically, the farther Justin distanced himself from all things ND, the more he distanced himself from Mom.  Yet, when she thought he’s was coming to visit her,  She jumped through hoops to please him…make her love her, I guess.  She would pray for him.  She enlisted lots of help from the prayer circle at her church.

 Mom never bad-mouthed dad,no matter how he treated her or how he belittled her in front of his college friends. She knew that we kids would never go without anything materialistic or otherwise while in his care.  He had a great paying job during the week and loved playing in his band on the weekends. He had such a natural ability of balancing work, fun family and friends. He doled out the right amounts of discipline and loving kindness as situations called for. It was obvious to his friends and colleguges that  Mom had a great deal of love and respect for her husband even after their divorce.

Prior to the letter she’d received in the mail announcing the affair her husband  was having with his ex-partner’s wife, suspitions of Dad’s insatiable appetite for “new pussy” were planted in her mind throughout the years. But she refused to become one of those jealous, nagging wives so many of her friends bacame.  Plus, Mom couldn’t bear the hought of a life without him.  So she’d quickley reroute those suspitions that tugged at her from time to time and thought of the nightmare she’d most likely be living without him.

 Mom knew that Dad could teach us things she couldn’t . She believed that she wouldn’t be strong enough to be a good mother to her 2 children after they divorced…especially with a broken heart and spirit.  “So, away I went, she said. And I’m glad I did!  If you kids were left with me, chances are I would have made a colossal mess of your lives.

So-she left us with Dad. That is true. I remembered missing her so much and crying for her at night. I  remember never wanting to go back to Dad’s after spending a weekend with Mom.  I don’t remember being mad at her or  hating her, as a child or an adult.  And though we were told by Sheri, our new “mom” that our mother was a drunk and a cheat, I can’t remember a time…especially as a kid…that I didn’t simply delight in the times I got to spend with her.

The picture of Mom painted to Justin by his sarcastic, spiteful Grandma T. fuled his anger towards our mom. Even today, 10 years after her death, Justin can’t squeeze out more than a few civil words about Mom.  It’s sad to see, really.  This grown, accomplished man, close to 4o years old still holds so much anger, resentment and full-on rage towards BOTH his biological father and mother, that he cannot maintain  healthy relationships with women.  He treats most women like objects, or puts them on an unobtainable pedistal.  Either way, he ends up feeling unloved and abandoned time and time again.  Ane while we rarely talk about his practice, I can’t imagine that some of his anger bleeds into his practice, too.

 I ache for my brother. Maybe he could have gotten some kind of emotional relief or perhaps a fresh perspective about Mom if he would have bothered to go to her prayer service 10 years ago.  (to be continued).

We sat at that bar (practically the only patrons there) until closing time.  And while Clem was talking in his smooth, Southern, voice the story about Mom unfolded.  Everything about her seemed to make perfect sense. I was so grateful for the courage and kindness it took for him to talk to me.

  For years to come, I grappled with everything I had learned Mom had been through. Selfishly perhaps, Mom not feeling she could confide in me  caused an ache deep inside me.It almost felt to me as if I had been lied to my whole life…that maybe I could have been a much better daughter had I only known the truth.  Maybe I could have saved her had I known sooner.  It wasn’t until I had daughters of my own that I understood why she continued to keep her secrets.  Shame most certainly was a big part of it.  But mostly, I think it was because

Mom moved to a little town in Wisconson from a town in North Dakota, to be near her newly married son, Justin.  For years now, she felt an anger in him that needed some healing. And even a little of his anger was directed her way, she wanted to learn how to  work on repairing her relationship with Justin, her first born and only son. He began hating our mother when she and Dad divorced 25 years ago, after 10 years of getting used to calling Jacob “dad”.  So she moved near the town where he and his new wife lived , only to see them move  to California  four months later.

So, afer relocating to Wisconson  and finding herself again without family, she tried to make some new friends out there: she volunteered at the local food bank, and rocked babies at the Dell County Birthing Center.  Ahe also  worked as a chef’s assistant 3 evenings a week and every other weekend.  Yet, after 6 years of living there, she said she felt so lonesome, “like an island.”

I’m getting to Ruth Ann.

“I Brake for Hallucinations”

I remember when I was 11.  I couldn’t wait to turn 13, then with 13 came 16, then 18, then I couldn’t wait to turn 21.  That was 34 years ago.  Yet, when I looked at myself in the mirror this morning– not avoiding eye contact as I normally do–I had a hard time wrapping my mind around how quickly the time has gone since my 21st birthday. Time has gone by in a blink.

At the age of 55, I am finally learning how to live.  I’ve wasted all but 5 years of my life chasing after people, places, or things that I believed would make me happy.  Being an active drinker and drug user since I was 11 years old, I never really knew sober Jann.  Oh!  I have a litany of excuses for continuing on my road to nowhere.  And, over the years  I have been given so many opportunities to “get well” but I didn’t do the work.

Being sober and actively participating in my recovery, I am discovering the Jann I had buried for most of my life.  I am grateful I have gone through some of the horror stories my addictions dragged me through.  There are several.  But, I’m alive!  I am embracing  the truth about who I am–the good, bad, and the ugly.

Perhaps I will blog about these different experiences.  Perhaps it will be therapeutic.  The stories are based on truth with fiction woven in to protect myself and others from any recognition.

       I recently had a conversation with one of my family members about          the past and some anger surrounding some events.  I had no idea            how angry this person was.  Nor did I realize how much I’d hurt him.          But the most disturbing thing of all, was when he basically said, my           past, my memories, my experiences, were all a lie.  He claimed he            was there for things I have no recollection of.  To all that I say “Oh           well.”

         Today I am embracing the goodness, the talent, the little girl who              likes to act, and pretend.  I am good at acting.  I’ve been acting                  most of my life.  On Monday, I am going to walk into the                              neighborhood theater and see if they would have a part for me to              audition for.  I am also working on developing a stand-up comedy              routine for “amateur night” at a coffee shop downtown.

          I was pondering all these things, listening to “Waitin’ for the Bus”              by ZZ Top, when I saw what I thought was a puppy running across            the road, so I slammed on my breaks.  Turns out it was a plastic                bag.  Luckily, the cars behind me were the standard ‘car’s length’              distance from me, so there was no rear-end pile ups.  I had to                    laugh, however.  All these intentions to live in the moment, and                there I sat in my car, waiting for the non-existent puppy to get                    across the street safely, while, because of my radio blasting tunes,          the cars behind me were honking, swearing, and acting like                        I would act if I was behind some car, obviously stopped for no                     reason.

         A sweet man came and gently knocked on my window asking “Is              there a problem miss?”  I embarrassingly shook my head, no, and            proceeded on.   I later saw him at one of my meetings.  He                          introduced  himself saying”Hi!  My name is Toby, and that lady over          there he said (pointing to me) brakes for hallucinations!”  I was                  a part of my new family.  People who accept me for exactly who I              am.  People who are supportive and try not to judge.  And I love                them all.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 After the meeting, I noticed an envelope placed under my                           windshield wiper.  I opened it only to find a bumper sticker that                  read, “I Brake for Hallucinations” in big, bold letters.

          “I thought I’d let you decide if you wanted to put it on your                            bumper”, Toby wrote.  “Let’s have coffee soon.  I’LL DRIVE!!”