Pays au dela

"As to the natural parts I have, of which this is the essay, I find them to bow under the burden; my fancy and judgment do but grope in the dark, tripping and stumbling [wobbling] in the way, and when I have gone as far as I can, I am in no degree satisfied; I discover still a new and greater extent of land before me, with a troubled and imperfect sight and wrapped up in clouds, that I am not able to penetrate." Montaigne-"On the Education of Children"

My domain name, "Pais au dela," is the original French translated here as "extent of land before me." My goal for this page will be to explore, in an ambling way at times, the great land before me hoping to find clarity as I advance. I will focus centrally though not exclusively on mental health issues in my stumbling march forward.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Triptych Series 6: Holiday Spirit

There are 3 irreverent things I love most during the holiday season

  1. A friend taught me several years back how to make something called "three day candy." These things are deadly delicious little turtle like chocolate treats with an oozing caramel-pecan center. The recipe is a tri-generational family gem that my friend learned from his mother who learned it from her mother before her. And, as the name indicates, the process takes three days. Day zero of the process for me is the festive trip to the grocery store where I find a stock person and with a 110% dead pan straight face ask "Hey, can you tell me where your nuts are?" This tradition was established ca. 2011 and so far no one has laughed. There is usually an instant's facial glitch, while the stocker mulls whether I actually just said that, and then s/he directs me to the aisle where pecans are stocked. Friends and family who will be tasting these sweet nutty treats in the coming days, please know they were prepared with love and inappropriate humor. Savor accordingly.

  2. Another grand yule tide tradition near and dear to my heart established ca. a couple weeks ago: running my smart ass mouth to the Alabama fans in the family when Auburn stomps wild over the tide en route to an SEC championship and a ticket to the all the marbles big dance in January. I'm not trying to rub this in or anything (#preterition), but, seriously, how many fantasy points do you get for a field goal return td? Please comment here if you know the answer. I do really want to know. Is it advisable to weigh field goal coverage ability when selecting a def/special teams unit? WFE. 

  3. This, always and already this, forever. HAPPY CHRISTMAS YOUR ASS FOLKS!

If you think laughs could be worth money, consider supporting my marathon fundraiser. 'taint no joke. Thanks to everyone who already has.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Race for Your Mind Deux: Pheidippides Runs to Texas

Last December, I competed in the Rocket City Marathon here in Huntsville. As runners often do, I used my race as an opportunity to raise money for a cause, the Huntsville chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illnes (NAMI). I reached out to friends and family and asked for donations of a dollar for each mile of the 26 mile race. I had wonderful response and even received contributions from friends of friends, strangers I had never met.

On February 16, I will be competing in my second marathon, this time in Austin, TX. Again I will be using my race as a fundraiser for NAMI Huntsville. For those who can, I would like to ask again for suggested $26 dollar donations to help us continue providing mental health educaion, support, and advocacy in our community. Donations of any amount are appreciated. Simply spreading the word about this fundraiser and our organization is a valuable gift. In addition to individual donations, I will be looking this time for businesses interested in sponsoring our mission to sooth some of the pain wrought by psychological and emotional disorders.

For me this is personal. After serious mental breakdown in the fall of 2010 and many painful months for my family, my friends, and myself while I battled severe depression, racing is a celebration of mental stability regained. I don't believe it's possible to separate emotional and physical health. They are not different issues to be treated by isolated specialists working in unrelated branches of medicine. Psychological and physical health work best when they work in tandem towards complete, overall well-being. Get your mind working well and your body naturally tries to follow along. Get your body firing healthy and your mind begins to fire with it (that's a chiasmus for my rhetoriquer/quese buddies out there).

NAMI Huntsville helped me trek back from the mouth of hell during the worst of times. Returned to stability, volunteering at NAMI Huntsville keeps me steady and upright, providing purpose and a sense that my pain can now be useful to others in need.

If you would like to donate, you can make contributions online at my crowdrise site or send checks to NAMI Huntsville; 701 Andrew Jackson Way; Huntsville, AL 35801. If you are interested in adding your company’s name as a race sponsor please contact me at

Fundraising Websites - Crowdrise

Donations help us provide:

*Family-to-Family Education Courses. A free, 12-week course for family members of individuals with severe mental illnesses. Times and days vary and courses begin two to three times annually. Those interested can contact the NAMI Huntsville office for information about upcoming courses. Registration required. 256-534-2628.

*Monthly support group meetings for family members of people with mental illness. First Tuesday of the month @ 7:00 p.m. in the United Way Board Room. 701 Andrew Jackson Way; Huntsville, AL 35801. 256-534-2628

*NAMI Connection a weekly recovery support group for people living with mental illness in which people learn from each others’ experiences, share coping strategies, and offer each other encouragement and understanding. Thursdays @5:30 p.m. in the United Way Board Room. 701 Andrew Jackson Way; Huntsville, AL 35801. 256-534-2628

*Monthly education meetings on varying topics related to mental health. Third Tuesday of the Month @ 7:00 p.m. in the United Way Board Room.

*A mental health library of over 200 titles in our office at the United Way Building. All are welcome to use our resources on site. NAMI Members can check out books from the collection for at home use.

*Compassionate empathy and information from experienced volunteers about local resources and navigating through the complexities of the mental health services system. 256-534-2628