Saturday, October 23, 2010


OK, it's been a month or so since I last posted, and while there's been some fun stuff in the interim, which I'll write a little more about later, I've mostly been working and getting my system adjusted to the routine of working 5 days a week, and sandwiching some fun in between.
I LOVE my job. Most of the people I work with are great, and the drama seems to stay to a minimum, which is always good. There are new opportunities on the horizon for me, having proven some of my abilities from very early on. Things are still a little up in the air, as policies are established and enacted, and there's been a bit of a power tussle going on, but I'm staying out of it, doing my work, and keeping my nose clean.
I've recently met someone, with whom I have regular contact, who we will call WB (WhineBag). WB is quite possibly the nuttiest individual I have ever met! OCD from HELL, persnickety, morbidly obese, and a religious zealot to boot. The first time I met WB, something happened (I don't remember what) that caused me to think (and say) "oh my God". I heard a prissy little voice say "Please don't take the name of MY Lord in vain!" (OMG garners the same response) *note to self: just don't say things around WB that are not TO WB* WB's OCD tendencies are, as I understand it, minimized by medication… I totally cannot even begin to imagine how bad they would be without it. Her grocery lists are computer documents, arranged in the order of the arrangement of the stores. Don't ask me why I needed to know that all of her clothing matches EVERY DAY, including her undergarments (because her mother made her wear matching undergarments when she was a child), but apparently, she believes that I do need this information. WB has had weight loss surgery, which had to be modified due to an issue with her band (because she had to lift weight above her post-surgery limit several years after her surgery, since her "ex- left all of his shit at the house when he left" and she had to help friends move it), so she has gained back all of the weight she lost. Her arm hurts all the time "because the desk is too high". She has breathing problems, "only at work because there's probably black mold in the walls". She didn't get home one night until 9:30 because when she left work (around 5:30) & went to WalMart, her mom was sitting there waiting on her (and had been since 4:30) to start the grocery shopping.
One of these days I'm going to point out to her that she needs to OWN her issues:
  1. Oh My God is NOT a swear word. Since you are not in my brain, you need to stop assuming what I mean by OMG, which, more often than not is Oh My GOODNESS!
  2. You are nearly 40, and your mother is still dressing you??? Unless that's the case (and THAT is a whole other rant), YOU are the one who is insisting that you match your underwear, and frankly, the rest of the world does not even give a damn!
  3. I have heard the weight loss story 3 times now, and the next time I hear it, I think I'm going to interrupt you and point out that YOU are the one who chose to revert to your old eating habits, instead of continuing the plan you were on with the band filled. Your obesity is on YOU, NOT YOUR EX.
  4. Sure the desk is taller than is ideal for you, however YOU have the power to get a smaller mouse that fits your hand better, and since it's wireless, YOU can choose where you place it, perhaps on your drawer on a daily basis, instead of just once a week when someone gets tired of your whining and tells you to do it.
  5. There may be black mold in the walls, despite NO EVIDENCE, but your breathing troubles are more likely related to YOUR OBESITY… you huff & puff walking 10 feet from your car to the door, therefore your assertion that you breathe fine until you've been in the office for a little while is an invalid argument.
  6. Over 3 hours shopping in Walmart? Seriously? That is RIDICULOUS, ESPECIALLY with your handydandy OCD shopping list arranged to correspond with the layout of the store! YOU allow your mother to take advantage of you if you let her keep you in the store for that long on a work night.
I am not perfect, and God knows that I haven't always owned my mistakes and issues, but you know what, I DO OWN THEM. I made poor choices, especially in the last 2 years or so, which have landed me where I am today.
I blew my inheritance. EVERY PENNY, with the exception of my LASIK & paying off my student loans a couple of years ago. I have NOTHING to show for it. I DID IT. Nobody else. It's all on me. I SUCK at managing my own $. I always have, but I'm working on it, one week at a time.
I got cocky in a job. Oh, not outwardly cocky. Maybe complacent is a better word. It never occurred to me that my performance was a problem, I thought I was keeping up pretty well, but, apparently, such is a problem of 2 different offices, with poor communication. In the end, I've wound up in what is really a better situation, and emotionally a healthier environment for me.
I'm a fat ass. Yeah, technically, I am morbidly obese, but I don't look perpetually pregnant, and I can walk a pretty good distance and a reasonable pace without huffing and puffing. I ALLOWED IT TO HAPPEN. Sure, I am of the whole "clean your plate because there are starving children in Africa" generation, but it has been a good many years since I was required by my mother to clean my plate. The bottom line is that there are a LOT of foods that I am just not willing to give up eating in order to change my size. Again, it's all on me.
I am a packrat. I keep EVERYTHING… I learned this habit from my mother, who also kept everything. I KNOW that I don't have to keep everything, and I know that I should figure out how to keep my private space more organized and less cluttered. I'm working on it, though not very hard, because there are other things, generally more fun, that I would rather be doing. Yeah, I could go on and on about how because when we were small, we had a housekeeper who came in several times a week, I didn't have to learn to clean. I could point out the fact that I have been told more than once by one of my great-aunts, "Honey, your mama never learned to clean properly, so she couldn't have taught you." (both of my grandparents taught school while my mother was growing up, and thus afforded a housekeeper to keep the major cleaning done, as well as some of the cooking). The bottom line is that I am more than 40 years old, and I do know how to clean, however I CHOOSE not to do much heavy cleaning, and only the light cleaning that I HAVE to.
Sure, I bitch & complain a bit, but I truly try to not WHINE, and I try not to bitch day in and day out about the same damned thing, OVER AND OVER AND OVER! Nor do I bitch about unchanging things I HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE!
That's the end of my rant for today, time to get a few things done for work…

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Busy Busy

I had really hoped that before now I would be in the swing of my work schedule, and be able to set aside some time each day to do a little writing, and have been trying to keep track of the random funny and odd things that occur along my drive to/from work, or as I'm out and about. (prime examples being the dead tree full of vultures I saw on the way in one day last week, and Thursday's unfortunate vision of a 350 lb man who does get kudos for actually doing some exercise, but subjected morning commuters to the view of his enormous, glowing white belly as he used his shirt to wipe his face) Unfortunately, I've not gotten there yet. It's been a busy couple of weeks.
Last weekend I had to get up early on Saturday and head to Arlington in order to get my car inspected (it was, by then 11 days past due). I had to go there, because, well, Don's Total Car Care has been taking care of my vehicles for about 10 years now, and I suspected a couple of things that might be a problem, but I wasn't sure. I know that Don will be honest with me, and work with me on expensive repairs, should they be required. Fortunately, they were not, and I was on my way to Grapevine before 9, so I could pick up a Survivor Joe bracelet as a Christmas gift. Sure, I could buy it online, but it would cost me an extra $5 PLUS shipping, so I spent a couple of bucks in gas and picked one up. Lunch at Friday's with friends, for the first time in months was both yummy and entertaining.
Wednesday I got to have dinner with some of the usual Wednesday Dinner Crew, again, for the first time in MONTHS. Genghis Grill, oh how I have missed you!
The big excitement for the week has been the addition of Li'lcat to our family. 

He is one of 3 living Dwelf cats in the world. As he is haired, and breed standard is hairless, he is, obviously, a non-standard Dwelf, but he doesn't know that, he just knows he's cute, loveable, loved, and a snugglebug! His presence continues to drive Girlcat & Boycat crazy, but they are adjusting. For several days they lashed out at Shortcat as well. I suspect that what they said to her went something like this: "Mollie, you little shrimp, he is short, like you, this MUST be ALL YOUR FAULT! What were you thinking getting Mom to bring ANOTHER one in here? Are you NUTS? We were just fine, the 3 of us and her, but NOOOO, YOU had to have another shrimp in here didn't you?!" Ultimately, I suspect largely out of self-preservation, shortcat also took a swat and a few hisses at the li'lcat as well, though she's definitely the first one to chill out over his presence. I suspect that he may not be staying too much longer, but we'll see what happens in the coming days. His former owner may decide that she didn't really want to give him up to begin with. As much as I love him, a week later he STILL doesn't follow the rules, and decides about 30 minutes before the alarm that he needs to speak with me, IMMEDIATELY.
Last weekend I learned to crochet, basically, a potholder. For years I've been able to make long chains, but not connect them together, so I'm pretty pleased with this development. I have no idea what I'll wind up making, but for now I'm just making a long ole, scarfish sort of item, so I can get my hands accustomed to the rhythm of it. Eventually I will learn to read a pattern and make an afghan, or hats, or something.
For now, it's off to bed with the 3 cats that actually will sleep in the bed with me, and perhaps the 4th will decide that she can, indeed, be in her corner of the bed with li'lcat on the other side, away from her.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I've had this post sort of rolling around in my head for several days, yet never quite found the time to sit down and actually work on it. Not that I didn't HAVE the time, I just didn't choose to do it. A week or so before I went back to work, we decided, in the interest of eliminating some of the chaos and allowing everyone to focus a little better, even for short periods of time, that we would no longer eat dinner in the living room, watching television. We've moved our dinners into the dining room, most nights, and it's kind of nice. We all leave our phones turned to silent, and spend that half hour or so with just those of us in the house. It does, however, cut into my computer time in the evenings, as by the time I get home, it's nearly 6, and we try to eat between 6:30 & 7. Then there's that little thing called a J.O.B. which keeps me away from the computer for most of the day, which, actually, is a HUGE blessing.
I know that I have a tendency to allow myself to get bogged down in the negative, and lose sight of the blessings which are present in my world every day.
  • I have family members who love me, quirks and all, though we may not always see eye to eye
  • I have friends and chosen family who love me, sometimes especially my quirks
  • I have a safe roof over my head, and food to eat
  • I have a church home that has been a blessing in my life for most of my life
  • My commute involves very little traffic, and the traffic report virtually never affects my commute
  • My co-workers are good people, and I have the opportunity to really be a part of shaping the office
I am endeavoring to keep my blessings in mind, rather than letting Negative Nelly rear her ugly head again. Next month I get my medical/dental/vision insurance, and will really be able to get back to taking my wellbutrin every day, instead of just on work days.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Looking Forward

Tomorrow I start my first FULL week of work in 4 months. It will be broken up by a couple of appointments, one set prior to even interviewing for the job, and the other the result of Friday's appointment with Texas Workforce. On Tuesday, I expect to lose 2-2.5 hours, hopefully not more than that, and since I'll only take a 30 minute lunch tomorrow, Weds & Friday, that will make up an hour and a half of it. Thursday I expect to lose another hour, which, after taking only a 30 minute lunch will work out to only losing about half an hour. I am also going to see if I can go in about ½ hour early every day after tomorrow, which should more than make up for my lost time.

This afternoon I took a dear friend shopping so she could get a few things for her upcoming trip to PA and a visit to her children & grandchildren. I have avoided the mall for so long that I'd forgotten what a nightmare it can be! Too many kids (and adults) with no respect for anyone, including themselves it seems. We had to use a regular dressing room because the handicapped stall was occupied. Once my friend was settled into a regular room, which, thankfully (and Kudos to JCPenney for providing them) was large enough to accommodate her power wheelchair and give her space to try on what she needed to try on, I saw 2 women, who appeared to be mother & daughter, and 2 kids, around 9 or so, come out of the handicapped stall and meet up with a man who was waiting outside the dressing room area. SERIOUSLY??? You are all 4 able-bodied. Only one of the adults was carrying anything that appeared to have been tried on, the other woman and the 2 kids were empty-handed. I would say JCP, you need to mark your larger, handicapped stalls as such, because clearly, based on the traffic I saw entering and leaving the stall over the 45 minutes or so I was waiting for my friend, there are some seriously either STUPID, INCONSIDERATE people out there. Since there was space in the regular stall for my friend in her chair, the 18x18 stool, and my fat ass, with enough room for me to move around and help her as needed, you dopes can certainly fit 2 slim women into one, since only one of you is trying anything on. Also, please note that there is a nice couch in the dressing room area, where your friend/mother/sister can park herself and your 2 children, so that someone who REALLY needs the space has access to it. I would also like to give Kudos to JCP for having plus sized mannequins in their Women's department as well. Granted they aren't as plus sized as I am, but they are definitely somewhere in the neighborhood of a 14 or 16, instead of a size 6 that has a size 14 outfit on and all tugged and pulled to give the appearance of "fit", which does not actually show the true fit on a plus-sized gal!

In other news, I think it's time for a haircut. It's longer now than it's been since about 1977 or 78. It's lovely, but it's starting to get on my nerves. I know that I want it long, but I have no idea what I want to do with it, and I do know that the longest layers are about 2 inches too long and keep getting caught in my shirts and under my arms. Perhaps over the holiday weekend I'll find an inexpensive place to have it cut… if I can find the cut I want. The last time it was cut was May of last year, so it's gotten quite long. I've also started having some almost hive or rashy discomfort on the back of the right side of my neck and my right shoulder. It's that sharpish stinging sensation sometimes caused by freshly cut coarse hairs. Typically for me it signals the possibility of a fibro flair, but I suspect that this time around it may be a reaction to the mousse I've been using when I scrunch it and let it be wavy, so I'm going back to straight with the shine serum and will see if that alleviates the problem.

Now off to bed with the kitties, 6 comes early these days

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Busy Bee

So, as I mentioned on Tuesday, I have a new job! It's a larger than my last, and slightly smaller than my job before last (well the long-term ones, anyway). The people seem very nice, and while yesterday was pretty uneventful, and actually bordered on boring, today I felt like I actually accomplished something. It wasn't a whole lot, but until my desk is available, I'm sort of at a disadvantage because there's nowhere really to train me on the phone system. Tomorrow, however, that should be rectified, and I'll start really doing my job. Well, at least until I have to leave at 1:15 to go to TWC and talk to them about the school program I am trying to get funded for. Which reminds, me, I need to make sure I take that stuff with me tomorrow morning when I leave. I honestly don't know if I'm still going to be qualified, but the fact that I've taken nearly a 40% pay cut over what I was making last year at MFLD, and what my experience is worth in the field, I am hopeful that I'll still qualify. The bottom line is, at my current scale, I will NEVER be able to get my own place again, and get by without government assistance, and that's without paying any part of health insurance premiums. The statement was made, by the lady who told us about this school funding program, that TWC wants us to get the schooling we need to be self-supporting, which, at this scale, I cannot be. We'll see what they say tomorrow.

I am still adjusting my brain and my body (and my cats) to the new schedule, which, while it's kind of a pain, it is not NEARLY the pain that the last one was (getting up and leaving the house by 6:15 to be at work by 7, and not getting home until 6:30 in the evenings). I think this weekend I'll be doing some more reorganization of my room, and trying to locate some of my desk stuff. I can put my hands on my notary stamp and book, but I've no idea where my awesome sword letter opener is, and my photo frame needs repair, so I'm nottaking that up right now either, but I've got a few little things, my nameplate and such that I tend to have on my desk and need to locate. Fortunately, the commute is about 35 minutes in the morning and about 40-45 in the evenings, which isn't too bad. Most of it is country roads, so traffic is fairly limited for much of the drive.

I think that's about it for now, brain is tired, and so are eyes from counting stuff today. Have a good night ya'll!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Fresh Start

I have gotten so very tired of the whole job search thing, and trying to generate some income somewhere. I finally managed to discover yesterday that I will NOT be starting school on Monday, because I can't even talk to TWC about the program options until Friday afternoon. This morning, when I was checking the Work In Texas website, I made a couple of tweaks to my search area, and lo and behold, there, in Granbury, less than 30 miles from home, was a posting for a receptionist with a construction company! I made a couple of edits to my resume, wrote a new cover letter, which included my Texas Back To Work certification, and emailed it to the address specified. Within an hour, I had a callback, and they wanted to interview me at 2 this afternoon. By 2:30, I had been offered the position! WOO HOO! The pay is significantly less than what I've made in the past decade, however it's a job, with some growth potential, and it looks to be something at which I can really make a contribution. It's a small company, started a few years ago, experiencing a good bit of growth, necessitating the creation of a new position. So tomorrow morning at 7:15, I'll head out, stop for gas on the way, and then be at the office by 8.


So now it's time for me to go to bed and get a decent night's sleep before I get up and have a longer than usual day.


Commence Happy Dances Now

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Technologically Dependent

I've gotten fairly lazy about posting, and really, I need to focus more on making sure that I do post more regularly, if for no other reason than keeping myself on some sort of schedule in the chaos that my world has become of late. I really didn't have a clue about WHAT I might need/want to write about specifically, and then I read a friend & sorority sister's post this evening, about a stranger who challenged her to leave her phone behind & devote her attention to her children while she was in the store, instead of being tied to the technology. Now, personally, I would wonder about the motives of such a person… I mean, a random stranger telling me to leave my phone in the car while I am in the store? Really? Dude, I don't know you, and perhaps I'm too cynical, having lived in the city for too long, and having had my car broken into in my own driveway, when the only thing in it was a pool cue, so I'm absolutely not going to let you see me leave a cell phone in the car while I'm in the store.
At any rate, I admit that I'm pretty tied to my technology as well. Since I have no satellite box in my bedroom, and only a limited supply of tv series DVDs, I've gotten a little better about not watching tv in bed anymore, and certainly about leaving it on all night long, but I still like to have the one in the living room on when I'm in there. The necessary change in my phone service/provider means that I no longer have a smartphone or even a dumb one with a qwerty keyboard and a decent sized screen. What I have now is a very basic one, and while I can check email & facebook on it, it's a hassle, and my aging eyes don't like trying to read messages on a 1.5x2 inch screen and it's much harder to text without the qwerty. I do keep it with me, virtually all the time, simply because I am looking for work, trying to get some state assistance, and trying to get my school enrollment handled, and I REALLY can't afford to miss calls that relate to any of those things. Of course, I don't have children that I'm sacrificing time with to spend with my technology. I just almost can't stand not to read the text as soon as it comes in, or check the voicemail. My computer is a near constant companion, when I am home, anyway, simply because I do spend a good deal of time doing job searches, and trying to research income generating opportunities. That being said, I also spend probably more time than I really should on Facebook, MySpace, the Wench Board, and various other fun (as opposed to research and news) sites. Baby steps, I suppose.
Recently, a child near and dear to me was diagnosed (we were already fairly certain, based on our research, but it has now been confirmed) with Asperger's Syndrome. In an effort to learn to communicate more effectively with her, and help her learn to cope with the world that she ultimately will have to cope with, several books have been purchased, and we are all going to take turns getting through them. The first one was written for kids, by a boy with AS. It spoke in simple terms (almost too simple for teens, but I understand that details are sometimes too much information), and it gave me some more insight into my dealings with her. She has come a long way in the past, oh, about 2 years or so, but I know that there is still much to be done. Tonight, I put my phone in my pocket and ignored it for a little while. (Baby steps, remember?) She asked her mother earlier in the week about us eating dinner at the table in the dining room, rather than in the living room watching tv and balancing our plates on our laps. For all the meals I can remember sharing with her, she eats fairly quickly, and often leaves the room when she's done, not to return until we are all finished. So tonight we sat down, all of us who were eating, and had a nice meal at the table, without the distraction of the TV, or the cats, or our phones. It was nice. Quiet, to be sure, because, well, there wasn't a lot to talk about that we hadn't already discussed during the day. Hopefully, as we all get school & work going, at least during the week, dinner will be more lively, with a little more conversation. I remember when I was a child, and we ate dinner at the table, actually, we ate all of our meals at home at the table. When I got a little older, and the living/dining area was more of an open area, we watched tv from the table, but we were at the table. When I live alone, I ate in front of the tv. ALWAYS. I think we've lost the art of appreciating our food, because we ARE so geared to multi-tasking that we don't consider eating a task all on its own, and have a need to be doing something while we eat, whether it be watching tv, reading the newspaper or a book, working a crossword, studying, or whatever. Dining should be an enjoyable event all in itself, and I think that as a society, we would do well to remember that, AND to put it into practice.
My goal for this next week is to eat 3 actual meals each day… probably not perfectly balanced, but not just snack along the day, skipping breakfast or lunch in favor of a snack, but something with some nutritional value, and to actually ENJOY what I'm eating, without the distraction of the television or computer.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Witty Title Here

I wish I could tell you that this was going to be an exciting or witty post, but, in all fairness, it's probably not.
Today would have been my kid brother's 41st birthday, had he made better choices 22 years ago AND survived the military action that was going on at the time, since he was a United States Marine. This fact is not particularly relevant to anything else I have to say today, it's just a little tidbit I thought I'd toss out there. 

In the last couple of weeks since my last post, I've been working on getting paperwork together for a couple of things.
  1. SNAP (AKA Food stamps)—I've been approved, pending paperwork processing, which, really, I've turned in already, and am now just waiting to get notified that the money has been put onto my card. I can only purchase non-taxable food items, which is fine with me. Since I have been a responsible person and not had any children that I cannot afford to support, I am limited to 3 months of assistance every 3 years unless I am working at least 30 hours a week, earning minimum wage or more. The problem I have with this plan is that if I had a job, even at minimum wage, I would not so desperately need the assistance! The past twenty-odd years that I have been working and paying taxes which support this very program that will provide seemingly unlimited assistance to women who prefer to keep having children that they cannot feed mean nothing when I am the one needing assistance, apparently.
  2. Workforce Investment Act—I have been approved to get into the program, and I had to apply for a Pell Grant, even though there is funding available from the state to pay for my schooling. I was denied the Pell, because, well, I have a Bachelor's Degree, which, after spending $25K of loan money, plus 4 years worth of Pell Grant, is not actually worth the paper upon which it is printed. I've left a couple of messages for the coordinator of the program at the Workforce Center, and expect to hear back from her tomorrow.
I have resigned myself to living with a catbox on a table at the end of the bed, since it will save my mattress, as well as wear and tear on the sheets and mattress protector. My body is adjusting to sleeping on plastic tablecloths between the mattress & mattress pad (yes, I'll take all the defense I can get against cat pee on my 2 year old, $900 mattress!).
I've been working on my faire calendar, and hoping that I'll have managed to come up with some money to spend, at least for admission, at said faires. First up is Middlefaire, which will likely be the first weekend of October. It's sort of become a tradition for some of us who have birthdays that first week to celebrate at Middlefaire that weekend. The following weekend I'm hoping to be able to make it down to TRF for their opening weekend with friends that are planning to go then. It seems that as long as I'm living here at Castle Wford, sharing responsibility for HoBBiTcaTs & WaveorgoNaked,Sphynx either I can be gone, or the roomies can be gone, but we can't all be gone a full weekend at the same time. I'm planning to make Dickens on The Strand again this year, which makes missing the 3 day weekend at TRF easier to bear, cuz I really don't need to be gone two weekends in a row, and the roomies will be in Corpus for Thanksgiving, so I'm staying closer to home. I hear that there are a couple of Pirate invasions planned at a local garden area, but don't have dates on those yet.
I'm also brainstorming ideas to make this space a little more interesting (thus drawing more readers and hopefully ultimately some advertising revenue), as well as helping to give me a goal to meet each week… maybe a photo of the day, recipe, quote, or something, I just haven't figured out what I really want to do, other than aimless rambling. Any ideas would be most appreciated!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Update & stuff

Last week, I was without internet access at home, which, in all honesty, had me a little VERY freaked out. The only reason my sanity was intact (well, as intact as it ever is these days) is that I could at least text and check Facebook & email from my phone, thanks to my pastor's generosity and willingness to lend me the $ to get a metro PCS phone. I didn't do much posting or answering email, simply because the phone is a no-frills, basic model, without a QWERTY keyboard, and it's just too much work to try to email or post much of anything using a phone keypad.

Yep, my phone is only marginally bigger than my iPod.

As it turns out, a mouse had chewed the wire along the wall for the DSL line. Damned mouse! Apparently caged cats are no mouse control whatsoever… hmm. A friend said to me "Kitties are not doing their jobs." I pointed out to him that there are only 2 cats in the whole house that think they have a job other than breeding or looking precious, and those two stay locked up in my bedroom, which is NOT where the DSL line is located.
Today, as I was cleaning the kitchen, I moved the toaster and found, what we can hope was the offending mouse.  S/He was fried and toasted, having chewed the toaster cord in at least 2 places.  Serves the little bastard right! Not only did it cost us DSL, but we are out a toaster now too! But we do have more kitchen counter space...

I did manage to get a few things handled last week, using the computers at the Workforce Center and Public Library. I've applied to Weatherford College, to enroll in an Associates of Business Administration program. It will get me some more accounting, HR and Payroll experience, and hopefully, make me more marketable than my Bachelor of Arts in History/English has. The Workforce Investment Act should cover the costs of school, supplies, and fees. I have an appointment with the HHS office for some public assistance, after spending an hour standing in line, having filled out my application manually (since they chose to ignore my online application for some reason).

I finally (I hope) broke the shortcat of her penchant for peeing on the bed. Granted I am living with a small, covered litterbox on an endtable at the foot of the bed, and a folded over plastic tablecloth along the foot of the bed, just in case, but I no longer have a huge cat crate taking up half my meager floor space, and I don't have to wash linens every day.

Today I managed to get my bodhran moved to where I've wanted to put it since I moved into this room, and put a bamboo shade on the west window. That window's shaded partially by a tree, but since we hit our 10th day in a row of 100*+ temperatures, the partial shade is NOT keeping much of the heat out. The shade isn't a perfect fit, there are a couple of inches on either side exposed, but for the most part, my window's covered, I've got more privacy than the sarong that was hanging up there before afforded me, and my room stayed much cooler today, with the a/c unit on low and on a more mid-range temp than the colder one I use when I'm in here at night. Tomorrow I am going to locate a hammer and get a couple of other things hung up and get the room into a little better shape so it doesn't make me want to scream when I'm in here for very long other than to sleep.

And now, if you'll excuse me, the shortcat is demanding her turn on the computer…

Sunday, August 1, 2010

the Awful, Terrible, VeryBad, NoGood Day!

Today was a HORRIBLE day… when I first woke up, it wasn't so bad, and then I discovered that the DSL modem seems to have died. AGAIN. Now, this would not be a HUGE tragedy, except for the fact that for about a week and a half, I have been without a phone, because I could no longer afford the plan that I had, and my provider wanted almost $500 to turn it back on, including last month's bill, this month's bill (which wasn't even due yet when they shut the damned thing off), and a deposit equal to a little over a month's bill, plus a reconnect fee. Well, go ahead and try to collect… what's that you say? If I don't pay you, you'll cancel me and charge me an early termination fee? Yeah, good luck with that. I didn't have the $140 for last month's bill before you sent the bill for this month, what makes you think that I'll have another $250 on top of the $500 you've cut me off for?
Immediately, I'm stressing because while I was phoneless, I did have my computer, and access to the internet, day or night, and, actually, most of the people I talk with regularly I can talk with via email, so I while my contact was sort of restricted, it wasn't totally cut off. Until this morning. I went BERSERK! In retrospect, I probably did overreact, which I am prone to do these days, but you know what? It just seemed like the straw that broke the camel's back… cutting me off from the world, unless there is someone else home, with their phone, I AM cut off from the outside world. Several weeks ago, when we moved rooms around, and I moved into the small, back one, for more privacy, I knew that part of the price of that privacy would be a feeling of isolation. That is part of the reason I don't spend a lot of time in here, unless it's bedtime, or first thing in the morning. I go about my business, getting dressed and getting my face on to go to church. And I notice shortcat looking at me with a smug expression… and I realize, she is peeing on the bed… AGAIN! I snatched her up, and put her back in the crate, stripped the bed, and stomped out to wash my sheets and mattress pad for the ummm, 4th time in 9 days. Of course, the person who started laundry at midnight last night, didn't bother to move their clothes to the dryer when the wash was done (and I KNOW they were still up and about when the dryer buzzed with the load of cat bedding they'd put in it. AND they used the last of the laundry soap, without tossing the bottle or leaving a note for anybody. Fortunately, we had some Borax, which, along with the wee bit of detergent I managed to get out by adding water to the bottle and swishing it around, sufficed for the first load.
My bitchiness was met with distain and not much sympathy from the only other person up and about before I left, and I can't say I blame her, but a bit of sympathy would have been nice. By the time I got to church, I'd dried my tears (though I did fail to look at my face and sat through Sunday School with mascara streaks down my cheeks, and nobody said anything to me about it), and put on a bit of a brave face. I made it through church without completely going to pieces, and after services were over, talked with my pastor for about an hour or so… mostly with me bawling like a big baby, out of frustration, anger, depression, disappointment, and on some level shame. I HATE for anyone to see me cry (which is probably the main reason that I didn't go all to pieces during church), I suck at asking for help, and I'm at a point where I don't know what else to try to get my world back on the proper tilt. God bless her, she loaned me $ to get a phone that is contract free, and a manageable rate for me, bought me lunch, and promised to look for a DSL modem that she no longer needs, so we can get reconnected at home.
By the time I got back to town to get the phone from a local provider, I was overtired and getting cranky a bit. And THEN, my car wouldn't start. Yeah, phone has no charge, no car charger (and isn't activated yet anyway, since I need to charge it some before I spend the time on it to activate it.), and I don't have my old phone (with numbers in it) with me either. I scrape up enough change to call the roomies and leave a tearful message about where I am stranded, and hope that they will check their messages before they just leave to go to the naming ceremony & drop the boy off at some friends' place so he can hit the road in the morning for a couple of jobs. And I return to my car in the 105* parking lot to wait, and hope that they check messages soon. Luckily, it wasn't long before they arrive, we got my car moved so it could be jumped off, and I was on the road to the house while they went in and picked up a couple of last minute things for the excursion to our friends'.
I spent 20 minutes on the phone to activate it, and the programming fails. Dinner is ready, so I go out there and eat before I try again. 3 tries later, I finally wind up with someone real (as opposed to a computer) who tells me that I need to call from a phone other than the one I'm programming, because the programming failed the first time around and must be done manually now, which can't be done if the phone is in use. NIIICE. Yeah, that was the whipped cream on top of my SHIT sundae, and almost did me in. I talked with one of the priestesses, and the father of the baby being named, and excused myself from the circle, as I knew I was too upset and raging to be able to contribute to the peace and love of the circle. Instead, I offered to stay on the porch and take photos with my camera, since it was the only one at the event for some reason. It was a lovely circle, and I will gladly take part in another, given the opportunity.
I finally managed to borrow my friends' landline and get the phone programmed properly, and am no longer totally out of touch with everybody. It's a TINY phone, not much bigger than my iPod Nano, and it doesn't have a QWERTY keyboard, so I'm having to learn again how to text from a phone keypad… fun times. I don't think it's Bluetooth capable, which is a sucky deal, but I guess if I have to use a wired headset for a little while until things balance back out better, then I'll have to do that.
And the CHERRY on top of today's SHIT Sundae was the fact that apparently part of our neighborhood is without water. And the city "has made a note of the problem". Yeah, I guess it's just as well I had my shower this morning, and that I washed the sheets/mattress protector this morning before I left…
I'm not totally sure why it ALL came to a head today… although it is the first of August, and August always sucked for mom, and maybe I'm kinda missing her. Who knows, hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Faith. It's defined by Merriam-Webster thusly: 1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
2 a (1)
: belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>

I was raised to be a Christian, from very early on. As an infant I was baptized in the Lutheran church, and honestly, I don't remember going to Sunday School & church when I was small, though we must have, because I knew that the Greek Orthodox church our Greek friends attended did things differently than "our" church. Even when we returned to the States, and moved to Kansas, I recall going with my friend next door to her Presbyterian church, and it being a little bit different, but more like what I was familiar with. I always knew that Christmas was about the birth of Christ, and that Easter was related to his crucifixion and resurrection, even when we weren't going to church or Sunday School regularly. When we moved back to TX, we first joined a Lutheran church in our town, in what I suppose was Mom's attempt to try and salvage her marriage and hoping that we would attend church "as a family". Yeah, that didn't last terribly long, a little over a year, I think. Eventually she gave up and we returned to her United Methodist roots. I got involved in the youth group and made friends, went through confirmation classes, and joined the church. For the past 30 years, I've been a Methodist. I haven't always been active in a church, and many times my membership has been at a church nowhere near where I was living, simply because I didn't move it, either because I was lazy, or because, well, the church I found that I was most comfortable in just wasn't quite home.
In 1987, a friend and neighbor invited me to a Bible Study, held in her home, led by a member of her church, for young adults. By the beginning of 1988 I had joined her church. Epworth United Methodist Church. Immediately, Epworth was more like home for me than even the church I first joined upon completion of confirmation, a church I was active in for several years. That summer, my younger brother died in a motorcycle accident, in the wee hours of a Sunday morning. After blood family, the first people I called were those neighbors who had introduced me to Epworth. I made that call as soon as I saw a light on at their house, shortly after 7 a.m., I think. Before 8, my pastor had arrived at my house. Note that I was the ONLY member of my family who attended Epworth. My mother, grandmother & brother had all kept their memberships at a larger Methodist church in town. By the time I arrived for Sunday School, the entire congregation had heard the news, and was praying for and with me. Those same people, fewer than a dozen of whom had ever met my brother or my mother, filled the sanctuary to overflowing, practically, for his funeral a few days later. As much as I was loved at my first "membership" church, Epworth has truly been family for me, for many years now.
Over the years, my faith has remained strong, despite hardships and sadness. My beliefs have evolved, and I've come to a point in my life that I embrace and incorporate bits and pieces of various belief systems into my daily life and it works for me. I try very hard not to be judgmental, especially of other people's beliefs. It is not my place to judge. Your salvation or future lives are between you and whatever deity you choose to worship. Personally, I think that we are all worshipping the same entity, it's just that we visualize and refer to that entity in different ways. My beliefs are not any more right/wrong or valid/invalid than yours.
Through some personal experiences, and experiences of those close to me, combined with some study on my own, and talking with people with other beliefs, I've come to the conclusion that I am a Methodist, and that at least as long as my Christian journey continues, I am always going to be a Methodist. I am always going to have a preference for a traditional service on Sunday mornings when I'm in church, complete with piano or organ, hymns that I know and love and can find the words and music to in the hymnals in the pews, rather than a contemporary service with a bunch of amplified instruments, words to the songs on a screen, and a show.
I have never understood why I needed to go through anyone else to talk to God… I was taught from early on that I could talk to Him whenever I wanted or needed. I have never understood the mentality of roles in the church being defined by gender. I have never understood why someone other than the actual parties involved in a marriage having any say in the religious upbringing of the children born of that marriage. I have never understood excluding anyone from church based on location, color, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, parenting status, clothing, living situation, or anything else.

Many years ago, I went to church with a guy I was dating. It was a relatively conservative, small church affiliated with a much larger VERY conservative denomination. The Sunday School teacher went on and on about "ritualistic churches, such as the Methodist church." Uhh, what??? Because my boyfriend was divorced, he was not allowed to be a greeter, usher, read aloud, or lead a prayer in church. The fact that he thought they "loved and accepted" him completely baffled me.

This past weekend, I attended a small church out in the country with some friends. Friend A is a member there, and they've been wonderful to her over the years, so I understand, and she loves it. So Friends C & D met the pastor at the funeral for A's husband in the Spring. Friend C went a couple of weeks ago to the regular service, and LOVED it. Since then, she's said to me a few times "I really wish you would come with us one week, I think you'd like it for the times you don't make it to Epworth". So this weekend, C&D decided to go again, and I went with them. NOT my cuppa tea. I DID have a bit of background: Pastor was raised in a conservative (and in my experience largely judgmental and closed-minded) denomination, and spent some time on the country music scene. The church looks much like a warehouse or industrial sort of building from the outside, with a steeple on top. The inside has some lovely woodwork, and the altar area seems more like a stage than an altar. There was a drum kit, an electronic keyboard, an electric guitar, a bass, an acoustic guitar (plugged in), and a fiddle, in addition to a half dozen microphones. It really felt like to me, after a few minutes of initial hellos and visiting with a handful of people who welcomed us, that we'd been dropped into an old-tyme country gospel show… There were maybe 3 songs that had the words projected onto a screen above the pulpit, but much of the music was the musicians/singers (pastor, 3 other instruments, & pastor's wife singing). I will say that everyone up there is talented, though country is NOT my choice in music, unless the only other option is rap. The men were invited down to pray at the altar prior to the sermon, though at one point there was an invitation for anyone to come down. The message was good, about having people around you who will have faith FOR you during those times when yours might falter, as the man who was lowered through the roof by his friends who were trying to get him in to see Jesus so his paralysis might be healed (Mark 2:1-12); as well as being one of those people for others in your life. I just don't think that church needs to go on for an hour and 45 minutes… especially when close to 45 of those minutes were a country gospel show and included 85% of the music for the entire service. Yeah, NOT going to be going back there, probably EVER. I don't think that it's wrong, or bad, or anything like that, it just doesn't appeal to me, and as sweet and welcoming as the people were, it's not going to meet my needs on those days I can't make it to Epworth.
It did remind me, again, that I am blessed to be part of a church that is at least as welcoming as that little country church. We have awesome kids, and awesome adults, and an awesome pastor. We are small, some would say we are old-fashioned, and we are family, and I like that whole family thing. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Hi, my name is Raevyn, and I am a recovering (I hope) hoarder. I have entirely too much stuff, and when I think back to what I inherited 8 years ago, when my mother died, I am appalled! I have blogged in the past about the amount of stuff she had… Some was hers, some was what she had inherited from her mother in 1992, and never dealt with. My mother admitted her packrat tendencies, and I've always been pretty honest about mine, but my grandmother absolutely denied that she was a packrat until her dying day. Yeah, that's why, back in October, as I was preparing to clear out of my last place, my sister, brother-in-law & I threw away receipts and paid bill notices older than I am… Edie was the 4th of 8 girls, raised in the country. Even now, many families with 8 children, who are not selling their stories to the highest bidding television network, manage without a lot of extras. She raised her family during the Great Depression and World War 2, she learned to conserve, and, I am sure, save things that were likely to be useful later. I understand jars, dishes, and the like. I even understand tax, real estate, and major purchase papers for several years back, but at one point (before Mom died), I shredded 2 file drawers full of tax returns from the 1950s & 1960s! Over the past 8 years, I have done several purges, and I've gotten a good bit of it under control, and begun to put into practice "If I am not willing to dust it regularly, or actually USE it, I don't need to keep it". I still have some boxes to unpack and put stuff away out of in my bedroom, but by the end of Saturday, I WILL have that done, and be in the process of making my little room into a home for me and the heathens, small though it is.

I have a friend, who is a dear sweet person, and having seen her space, talked with her about some of her things, and having a bit of other background about her situation, seeing her issues objectively, has allowed me to both rationalize some of mine down, and put mine in perspective at little bit better.

For whatever reason I believed that I was in control of the material things in my life, keeping them scattered and messy, because it is my life, and I don't have to arrange my things to suit anybody but me. I rationalized it by saying that I was controlling the chaos. The reality is that the chaos has ALWAYS controlled me. For as long as I can remember being directly affected, there was some sort of chaos, either physical, or emotional in our house. After the divorce, especially when we moved out of the house we lived in when we came back to TX, there was always an area of unused, or rarely used stuff. Baby clothes, outgrown toys, more Christmas stuff than we could EVER use. Sometimes it was in the attic, out of sight, out of mind. Sometimes it was in a closet or a storage building (again OOSOOM). Our 2 car garages NEVER held 2 cars that I can recall, though they usually held one. For YEARS, I moved boxes, unopened, from the house, to a storage unit, to the next house (in the storage building behind it), and to the next house (again, in a storage building). I have gotten rid of (or am in the process of getting sold) the 'heirlooms' that either I don't love, or I'm fairly sure none of the next generation is interested in. I have no need for a bazillion baby pictures of myself, or my kid brother who died 21 years ago. Our genetic line ends with me. I've kept a handful of photos from various time periods, my sister has some, and our brother has a few as well, I'm pretty sure. It was so very important to my mother to keep the past, and to hold onto those material things from her past… clothing, photos, costume jewelry, books, vinyl records, inexpensive artwork from the places she had visited, trinkets from the places she had been. Those were HER memories, they are not MY memories. My goal is to be able to store, once I am back into my own space that consists of a whole apartment or house, no more than my garb for faire and my holiday items, both of which are seasonal, instead of using only a small fraction of what I own.

I have spent years compensating for whatever it is that I was missing at that moment, by surrounding myself with things, and running away from the clutter and disarray that has been my home. Sometimes that has been a love interest, other times Mom, other times a family of my own. That run ends now. I am taking control of my space, accepting some responsibility for helping to maintain the rest of the house, and figuring out how to dream again.

Tomorrow morning I will be up at a reasonable time, and until we leave to go help our friend work on her clean house adventure, I will be in my room, getting things unpacked and arranged so that it's a pleasant and welcoming place to be, rather than the cluttered cave that I've allowed it to be for the last week.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

It’s Something, Anyway

Yesterday our modem decided that it needed a vacation day… or something… A call to the ISP netted nothing more helpful than "we are sorry ma'am, but your modem is dead, and out of warranty, if you want to have internet service through us, you will have to buy a new modem, or upgrade to a new, more expensive plan, at which point we will GIVE you a new modem." Umm, yeah, right, isn't that handy, if we agree to pay you at least 50% MORE than what we've been paying for the last 14 months, you will GIVE us a new modem… it's only going to cost us an additional $10 and change a month. THAT'S NOT A GIFT YOU TWERPS!!! Fortunately, this morning, after leaving the modem off for 24 hours, we were able to get it restarted, and working just fine. So, we are going to try to keep it somewhere with a little better air circulation so it doesn't get quite so hot and need another vacation day.
In the meantime, we managed to get the carpet pulled up in the front room. Utter NASTINESS, let me assure you. Based on the orangey color, and the patterned shag nap, I am gonna venture out and say it was installed sometime in the, ohhh, late 1960s or early 1970s. Since its installation, it had multiple animals, plus an old Mustang, I think, engine restored while sitting on it. The padding was rotten, and almost as orange as the carpet. HUGELY gross, stuck in many places to the linoleum. We scraped, swept, vacuumed, scrubbed, and mopped as much as we could up, and then commenced moving most of the furniture we planned to put into the room. Unfortunately, as the prodigal adult kid has returned, and requires a spot to bed down (and I'm now in his old room), a couple of pieces we planned on putting in there just won't fit. It's fine, those pieces are not really in the way where they have been for months.
Today we sorted through no less than 5 mail totes, a couple of laundry hampers, 4 milk crates, and a couple of cardboard boxes. Toys, clothes, linens, books, videos, video games for obsolete systems, video game boxes with no games in them. Yeah, in the end, I have 2 boxes of toys/misc household stuff, 2 big bags of clothes plus a few hanging pieces, and 2 big bags of linens that I'll take to Mission Arlington tomorrow afternoon after church. We won't even go into what all got trashed because it was clearly broken or otherwise ruined, rendering it useless. My room is still a pile o'stuff, but I can address that once the public areas are handled to the point that I'm not needed out there to be working on that stuff. I will have 5 days while everybody else is gone next week to get my room under control and get more fully settled.
I am also working on carving out a time in my day to sit and write regularly. Honestly, much of it may be rambling nonsense, more journaling than anything else, but I am hopeful that as the habit develops, my writing will develop and improve. I am going to look next week into perhaps some HR & business classes, maybe some creative writing courses or something at the local college. I'm not having much luck finding work, even at minimum wage, perhaps a course or two would add to my skill set, make me more marketable, and give me more of a creative outlet. For now, it's time to snuggle with the kitties and watch a little Northern Exposure.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sometimes Things Have to Fall Apart.

One of the things I did manage today, between moving stuff and trying to keep the cats somewhat settled down, was to discover & read the blog of one of my kids from church. I call her one of MY kids, because back in, 2007, she was one of the kids on my first mission trip since I was a youth. Except for one of them, who was a senior, and one who was a junior I think the rest of them were on their first mission trip, since they'd just finished 7th grade. She (and our Senior) were on my workteam, and, like all of the kids, were awesome! I knew, back then, that she is something especially special in my world. Over the last 3 years, I've read her blogs on her MySpace & Facebook, always marveling at her gift for writing. She's a wonderful public speaker as well. She's started a new blog… one with its own space, not a page on MySpace or Facebook. As I was reading several entries on her blog, I was struck by this paragraph
Sometimes things have to fall apart to fall into place…And when they do fall apart, it doesn't matter that everything's in pieces. What matters is how you carry them. God will let you carry your pieces however you want. But me? I want some help with mine. So I vote we remember our windows, put less stock in our lights, and carry our pieces towards the Lord, because once you remember he's there, he's a lot easier to see.  Marianne Brown, 2010
Recently, I have felt very much like things in my world have fallen apart. I suck at asking for help. I know this. I suck at asking the friends I can see, and the ones I can't. My faith has always been a big part of my life, and while it's fundamentally still pretty much what it has always been, I've learned that I can successfully incorporate some other ideas into the mix, not be wrong, and still be loved by God. Perhaps I've been the strong one for too long… I need to let God help carry my pieces.

It's been over a year since I was employed for anything longer than a couple of months. There have been ups and downs, frustrations beyond belief, and some wonderful revelations along the way. Several weeks ago, tensions came to a head and seemed to be at an impasse with regard to my living situation. This resulted in a frantic search for somewhere I could go, and, knowing that none of my options for MY bed could include my cats. I was fortunate enough to find someone not only willing to foster them for me, but also willing to drive a couple of hours to meet me about halfway between our places to make the exchange. Many tears, frustrations, and a bit of a hollering match later, we reached an accord that will benefit all of us in the house, preserve a friendship, and let me keep my cats with me.

See, we live in a house that was originally built in the 1880s. Yes, that is correct, the house (parts of it anyway) is over 120 years old. There have been a couple additions over the years, rendering parts of the house more energy efficient than others. The room I'd been in since November is part of the original house. There are 4 windows in that room. 2 face WEST, and, if not original to the house, are at least from the early 20th century (I would say maybe 1930's at the most recent) They are the old double hung sash type windows, that either have to be hooked open (there are eyebolts on the tops of the part that raises/lowers) or propped open with something. To help keep the cold out over the winter, we put some heavy plastic up over them. The other 2 are on the front porch, and face south/southwest. That room is also over a basement shop that isn't used except for storage probably 90% of the time. Also, the tree that's on the west side of the house provides NO shade to that bedroom. Yeah, cooling it in the summer is F.U.N. let me tell ya… especially with a window a/c unit. The other drawback to this room is that it is the public path to the only downstairs bathroom, and the only public bathroom in the house. Now, if I was in there asleep, nobody ever tried to come through, and for the most part, my privacy was respected, with a couple of exceptions. Oh, and I am TOTALLY not a neat freak. I can absolutely organize and clean someone else's stuff like crazy, but my own stuff tends to be fairly haphazard & messy (although I generally know where in my "mess" things are)

Upstairs, above the front room (where I was), is the master, which has a total of, umm, I think 7 windows. Some very old, some new, and honestly, since I don't spend a lot of time up there, I couldn't begin to say how many of each. At one time, there were 2 bedrooms in that space. 2 of the windows face WEST (and only one of those MIGHT get a bit of shade from the tree, but it's minimal at best). 3 face south, and 2 face north. Also up in that room are the cats which make up the "stock" of the cattery owned by one of my friends. Because they are mutant cats (yes, hairless is a mutation), they tend to be a bit more delicate, as a regular cat's fur helps to regulate its body temperature, that is likely the most important space to control the climate. Being that we are in TEXAS, in probably the hottest summer since 1980, plus the fact that that's an older (though I'm not sure original) part of the house, it's upstairs, and heat rises… well, the AC unit runs pretty well constantly up there to keep the room around 78 degrees.

Also upstairs is the teenager's bedroom, which has either 3 or 4 windows, facing east and south, and 2 cats. That room I KNOW is part of an addition from, I think around the 60s or 70s., and is above our living room & dining rooms.
Before the major heat hit, we were already running 3 a/c units, and hadn't even turned on the ones in the living/dining room.

There is also a small bedroom downstairs, with lots of natural light (nearly a whole wall of windows facing north, and a couple facing west that are mostly shaded by the tree outside, which I think is part of the 60s/70s addition. The west windows also have storm windows. It's almost half the size of the other bedroom, but it's not the smallest bedroom I have ever had. This shift allows me more privacy (nobody has any need to come through my bedroom to get to the bathroom, and the laundry room has 2 entries, so nobody has to come through my room to get there either.

The dining room can be moved into my old bedroom, along with several other things that have been sort of crowding the living/dining area because they needed to be where we could access them, but aren't things we necessarily use every single day. Those things don't have to be constantly climate controlled. (We are now up to 5 window units… 1 for each bedroom plus 2 for the living/dining area). The cattery stock can be moved into the more accessible former dining area (which is going to be climate controlled anyway because we usually have someone in that part of the house during the day), and we can stop running a/c constantly at such a level in 2 rooms. It is going to allow us to reduce energy costs, PLUS it will give the cats more socialization because they'll be where there are people all the time, instead of upstairs on their own.

So yesterday we finished getting the stuff (largely junk & such that will be either sold at a yard sale, Ebay-ed, or donated to charity if it's in decent condition, otherwise the trash men are gonna have a big load from us one of these days! Actually, a recliner and a coffee table got put at the curb last night, and picked up with the rest of the trash today. I vacuumed thoroughly (the last one living in it was a 20 year old boy, who wasn't exactly a clean or neat freak), and shampooed the carpets. This morning the carpets were dry enough, and we moved my stuff in. Before I moved anything in, I smudged with my sage stick to cleanse the energy (and the smoking boy aroma), rang my tingshas and burned a bit of purification oil to fully prepare the space.

There's still a table in the other room, which will go to storage, and a glider that will wind up in the living room, because, well, we can use another comfortable chair in there! My Ebay shipping supplies are also in there, but hopefully they will be able to stay, because, even once I put all the stuff I have in here in a proper place, there's nowhere for anything else! I have clean sheets on the bed, a temporary quilt (actually, it's a lap quilt that my sister-in-law made for me, umm, around 1990 or 91, I think. It will serve the purpose until the house is put back together and the laundry room is emptied to a point where we can get to the washer & dryer again…

I have much more to write about some of my plans for the coming weeks and months, but alas, the short cat is becoming INSISTENT that I either give her a turn on the computer, or get it off my lap so's I can scratch her properly… g'nite ya'll.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Scarby 30th Season is history

Another season of Scarby has gone into the history books. Overall, it was a very odd season. No Rogues piping (either in their original form or in another incarnation) on a regular basis. In the 9 years I've been going, at least once a year, I've NEVER been without either The Rogues, or Scottish Mayhem, which was comprised of former Rogues members playing. Shoppes were moved around. Or gone. Acts were moved. Or gone. Somehow the magic was out of whack. At first I thought it might be the absence of bagpipes, but since wherever I went in the shire, even to areas where there weren't usually bagpipes, the energy was different, there's more to it, though I've no idea what it was. Several people who are usually about, either working, or simply adding to the atmosphere along with the rest of us weren't there.
Today was harder than I really anticipated, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that my <3 is still very much in control of what it wants, regardless of what is best for it, or what my brain tries to convince is the best thing for all of us. I finally got around to sharing my frustrations with someone I thought might be 1. Understanding, 2. Supportive, and 3. Helpful in overcoming the issues. I was, actually surprised that my plea was ignored, and once again, I simply don't matter as much as other people do. Eventually I will learn this lesson, and retain the knowledge in some manner that will keep me from getting stomped on regularly. I hope.
Now off to bed, for tomorrow starts much earlier than I am accustomed to starting, and will likely end later than my usual bedtime.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

New Projects

It's been a busy couple of days, and several projects have gotten accomplished.

  1. Corset pattern for undercorset which won't poke me in the ass like my first one did
    1. Pattern drafted as one piece that I can use to make a couple of covers

    2. Pattern drafted into separate pieces that can be made with or without a busk
      1. First layer of new undercorset cut & pinned

  2. New Bloomers
    1. Memorial Day/4th of July stars
    2. Pirate

  3. Skirted Pirate corset
    1. Outer layer of fabric cut for corset cover

  4. Use existing pieces to create jewelry for sale
    1. 1 necklace with matching earrings set
    2. 2 necklaces with fused glass pendants
  5. Create ETSY shop to sell jewelry and whatever else I decide to make and market
I'm not sure what prompted me to go ahead and get off my ass and actually make the jewelry, except that I have had some of the pieces for a couple of years, without doing anything with them. Some of the beads are old necklaces of my mother's and grandmother's that I'd disassembled to use some of the beads in different projects.
I'm thinking that perhaps I will start trolling garage, yard and estate sales, see what I can find and repurpose into something new and interesting. I'm not expecting to make a living at it, but perhaps it will bring in enough income to cover some of the bills until I'm working again, AND when I do start working again, it will be a source of fun money, in addition to creative expression. In the meantime, watch my ETSY Shoppe

My undercorset pattern is going to be fairly tedious, because well, I've got one layer cut and pinned, but I need 3 more layers cut into the 5 pieces, 20 bones, and all of the assembly. I drafted the pattern off of my favorite red corset. It's not actually renaissance period, in that it doesn't do the whole conical shape thing, but DAMN I do love the silhouette I get when I wear it, and it fits me better than any other corset or bodice I've ever worn, so I'm going with it, and if it comes to pass that I MUST be wearing something more historically accurate, I believe I can achieve the line using the overdress.
I've also drafted a one-piece pattern of the same corset, because I plan to make at least a couple of covers for it, so that I can get more wear out of it, and have a few different looks with just the one corset as the foundation. The Skirted Pirate corset will probably be an entity unto itself, however, because I just can't visualize how to make it one of the covers.

Pirate bloomers, well, my second pair of self-made bloomers were pirates… and I LOVE them, still… which reminds me, I need to take the elastic in on those about an inch and a half so I don't accidentally pants myself at faire. I've also got some really fun skull fabric that I think will make a cute second pair. This season I'm only out at faire on Sunday of Pirate weekend, but in other years I'm usually out there both days, so 2 pairs of pirate bloomies would be fabulous. I'm hoping to get them whipped out tomorrow so I can wear them on Sunday

Memorial Day Bloomies… my original pirate bloomies are red, white & blue, and have been just fine, but last year I found this awesome blue fabric with red white & blue stars on them. I have until next Thursday to get these finished, before I head to west TX for the #1 Boy's HS graduation, after which we may be making a dashing trip back early Saturday morning so we can make part of Saturday, plus all day Sunday, and Darla can head home after Parade Monday.

In other news, this morning I had a call from a firm to whom I submitted a resume last week, asking me to come in this morning for an interview. I literally had an hour and a half from initial call to scheduled interview time. I hate not having time to prepare, and I'm not sure I did as well as I would like to have, but I gave it my best shot, and should know by the middle of next week whether they want me to come back for another interview, or if they've made a decision.
Much to do tomorrow, so now it's off to bed with me…

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Trying to get better

I'd gotten pretty lazy about posting, I suspect, mostly because I was too tired to do anything by the time I got home from work. Now that I'm back out on the jobhunt again, perhaps I will get better about keeping up with my thoughts and ideas for posts. I've decided to break my Fibro posts off to a separate blog, more to consolidate them and keep them a little more organized for me, than anything else.
A lot has been going on, and this may wind up being a much more rambling post than originally planned, but hey, I've got a good bit to put into words, and it's my blog, so I can do that…
For the past 8 years or so (admittedly only the past 3 of them full runs), Scarby has been a place of magic and joy for me. It's been an escape. Home. Family. Comfort. Love. Acceptance. Magic and Music. I knew going in that this year would be different, several acts that I enjoy are missing, either entirely or present only in limited runs. There has been some drama that affected me indirectly. My funds have been limited. Opening weekend there was an almost eerie silence in Pecan Grove. My schedule is all messed up. Oh, that's right, I don't have a schedule this year, because my favorite performing friends aren't on shire. I have never been at Scarby without full time bagpipe shows. Sure there's a piper in parade every day, but since I am not about to put myself into the Death March, I get about 5 minutes of bagpipes as the Scottish Regiment goes by. Even if I was willing to do the Death March, walking a mile over the course of almost ½ hour, hearing the same bit of tune on endless loop would likely put me off the pipes for a bit! I've adjusted over the past 4 weekends to the lack of pipes, and that's not nearly as annoying as it was the first weekend, but overall, the energy of the festival is just off somehow. I can't put my finger on it, but it's there. Vendors have moved, or been removed. Some of the new additions have been umm, questionable. I've elected to forego even walking into one of my favorite shoppes as a result of behavior exhibited by one of the owners at another festival. The last 2 seasons, I've not missed a single day. This year, I'm only going to make 1 full weekend of the remaining 4, the rest I will miss one of the days, in an effort to conserve $, gas, and make sure I can make my #1 boy's HS graduation over Memorial Day weekend. Surprisingly, it's not as heart wrenching as I thought it would be to begin with… perhaps on some level, without the usual magic, it just doesn't seem as if I'm giving up as much as I would have, say last season…
When I started the job in February, I was excited about the possibilities and opportunities I believed were opening to me. The early mornings and long days were hard to adjust to, getting up at 5 a.m. so I could leave by 6 and be at work by 7, and not getting home until 6:30, IF I didn't have any stops to make, but worth it in the end since I had 3 day weekends every week. I adjusted, and I thought things were going along just fine. A couple of weeks ago, I was assigned to go out into the field with an inspector, to give me a better understanding of that side of the work the company does. Monday and Tuesday were fine… not terribly warm, poles we had to check were not difficult to access. Wednesday, we had to go to a site that had 3 poles in a river bottom sort of area. I made it down to and up from the first one, huffing and puffing. The grade to get to the 2nd & 3rd was just more than I have the balance or stamina for, so I didn't even try. The inspector told me not to worry about it, it's not like I was going to be out in the field anyway. Monday after that (April 26th), I was called into my manager's office and terminated. I was under a 90-day probationary period, which had not yet passed, so I don't know that I will get approved for unemployment, but we'll see. In the meantime, I am going back to Ebaying, and hunting for a job, and trying to get blogging better. I am also going to look at perhaps making pins or something that I could sell online…
Other stuff:
Last weekend was hard, physically and emotionally. I suspect it was a combination of the stress of the wedding, losing my job, and general blah-ness that made it hard on me. Sometimes I HATEHATEHATE being the strong one. It's been a long time since I was part of a couple. I truly thought I'd gotten past the heartbreak of last fall, when I decided that I would stop beating my head up against a wall that was not ever going to come down. I was wrong. It just annoys the hell out of me that everyone wants to hang with and make sure that the ones who have someone else taking care of them are taken care of… Sometimes I just want to smack them and say "HEY, WHAT ABOUT ME?" I don't know what it is about my personality that makes me try to hide my frustration about the situation, but I recognize that I do need to work on being more honest about what's really going on in my head or heart when someone asks me what's wrong, instead of just saying "meh, I'm tired"

Monday, May 3, 2010

Another Monday…

So last Monday I went back to work, as usual, after having been out in the field learning a bit more about the inspection side of what the company does. Around 3:30 that afternoon, I was called into the Regional Manager's office, and told that after 60 days (it was a 90-day probationary period), the company had evaluated and re-evaluated where the position needs to go, and decided that it's just not a good fit for me. I was completely astounded. As far as I know, I didn't do anything to bring it on. I was never told that the position was being reevaluated, or that they were considering changing the duties that had been outlined when I was hired. I was there every day, on time, without leaving early or taking any extra time at lunch. I did what I was asked or told to do. I spent a week out in the field, hiking to places I could not foresee what I might encounter. There were 2 poles that I could not get down to, because the grade was steep enough and my balance is poor enough that getting down there would have involved sitting on my ass and sliding down, then hoping I could crawl back up again. The inspector I was working with said it wasn't a problem, and I took him at his word, since I was hired as an Administrative Assistant.

On the up side, if there is one, I did have plenty of time to finish my dress for the wedding I was in this past weekend, as well as helping the bride finish a couple of other projects that HAD to be done, including one that we didn't even discover until Thursday night, when we were supposed to leave just past noon on Friday to head out! The wedding was lovely, we had a good turnout at the wedding, at faire, and at the reception. My dress turned out better than I expected, though there are a few things I will tweak for the next Irish dress I make. This one will strictly be a March/early April and November/December piece of my garb. It cost me about $10 to make, including fabric (must LOVE the $1/yd room at one of the Fabric District shops), thread, plastic zip ties, grommets, and ribbon to lace with. My next one is going to be reversible, I think, but I've not chosen colors, although I have found a lovely green that I like at Joann's in a 97/3 Cotton/Spandex.

I've taken today to try to get caught up on the rest I didn't get over the weekend. Tomorrow I'll finish updating my resume again, get some applications going, and get some Ebay listings up, in order to start some income generation to tide me over until I can find something full time.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fibromyalgia & The Spoon Theory

Several years ago, I read this, found it to be a great analogy for my Fibromyalgia, and then somehow lost the link and forgot to go back and find it again.
As much as I would like to print the entire text here, copyright restrictions prevent that. The author suffers from Lupus, which is also a disease whose patients often look perfectly healthy. She came up with this analogy when she was trying to explain her Lupus to a good friend, who did know the medical definition, but had trouble grasping the reality of living with such a disease.
Now, I've never bothered to count my spoons, but I learned long ago to listen very carefully to what my body is telling me, lest I use that last spoon before it is time to crawl into my bed for the night.
I'll start at what I believe is the beginning of my life with Fibromyalgia. In 1997, I had graduated from college with my shiny new Bachelor of Arts in History, and absolutely no job prospects within my field, as I'd already figured out that I am entirely too independent of a thinker to last in a classroom. I was working for a dairy transportation company, in their payroll/HR department. When my insurance kicked in, I made an appointment with a doctor that I knew and trusted, for a complete physical. I was tired all the time, had a constant headache, the back of my neck and between my shoulder blades hurt most of the time, my lower back felt like it was on fire by midafternoon, and my knees had been bothering me more than the usual arthritis that I'd had for several years. I was honest with him and told him that I was taking ibuprofen like candy (as Tylenol, aspirin, and naproxen don't do squat for me), just to keep the pain under control. I realize that I am truly one of the lucky ones. I had a doctor who not only acknowledged the disease, but recognized it without an endless stream of tests and failed attempts to treat other things. He looked at me and said "well, most of these seem unrelated, but when all found together, they are typically a relatively recently recognized disorder called Fibromyalgia" Initial treatment was either Amitrypteline or Nortrypteline, which I took in the evenings before bed, to help me sleep through the night, as his belief was that at least part of the problem was a lack of restful sleep. Those worked for awhile (one stopped working, so we went to the other). I also discovered a year or so later, that I am indeed VERY lucky, because there are a lot of people who are totally disabled by this disease. In the years since my diagnosis, I have been on a variety of therapies, which have included Ambien, Ambien CR, a couple of antidepressants I can't even remember the name of, something for Restless Leg Syndrome, and now I am on a generic form of Wellbutrin SR 150. The Wellbutrin is the only thing that has worked for me long term, and for now, I am able to combine it with OTC sleeping medications to get the rest I need. Ambien worked for less than 6 months, Ambien CR worked for less than a week (yeah, I fell right to sleep, then woke up in about 3 hours, exhausted, but with my brain racing so I couldn't sleep. The RLS drug also woke me up.
Fibro affects everybody differently, and there is no right or wrong therapy, it's a matter of what works best for the patient involved.
My biggest issues are:
  1. Inability to sleep well and STAY asleep—my brain races ninety to nuthin for HOURS unless I have something mindless to settle it down. Currently OTC sleep meds, Claritin D (for my allergies), and a handheld solitaire game work pretty well. I also have a "sleepy" mix on my iPod of some of my favorite tunes and songs by musicians and friends, as well as just simply soothing songs & tunes
  2. Brain fog – this is sometimes due to the lack of restful sleep, and I'm very aware that it is intensified if I don't get sufficient rest. I have to make more notes in order to remember things,
  3. Getting sick more easily – As a child, I was rarely sick, and even after I was grown, until I started suffering from the Fibro, I was generally healthy. I do realize that poor sleep contributes to lowered immunity. I try to avoid people who are sick, and I use a combination of natural products to ward off the multiple respiratory infections that I used to get at least several times a year, and I've not had one turn from a congested nose into an infection in a year and a half
  4. Getting fatigued more easily—Again it goes back to the sleeping disorder part of this, and this is a big part of the Spoon Theory. If I use up all of my spoons, I know I am going to be in trouble. I know just how far I can make my body go before it will turn on me and shut down for days.
  5. Constant aches and pains – Fortunately, I have been managing the disease relatively well, which has greatly reduced the aches and pains I get, and my Fibro related pains have yet to be enough that I need prescription painkillers.
  6. Gastro-intestinal issues – I have always been something of a picky eater, but in the last few years, I have also developed a bit of IBS or something. I've learned which restaurants I can have beef, and which ones I need to stick with chicken, a salad, or an appetizer if I want to finish my meal before I am hitting the ladies' room.
I have learned over the years what my biggest triggers to a flare up are:
  1. Being overtired (DUH, right?). I try to get at least 6.5 hours of sleep as a minimum. Ideally, I like to get about 8-8.5. Unfortunately, in my current situation, that doesn't happen very often, because no matter how early I shut down my room, the rest of the house doesn't shut down until at least an hour later, sometimes more.
  2. Stress. When I get stressed, my brain goes into hyperdrive and thinks weird, insane, or incredibly negative thoughts. It keeps me from concentrating on anything, and it causes me to go through spoons at an alarming rate. Sometimes it's extraordinary stress, like a death in the family. Other times it's what seems like normal, everyday stuff like traffic.
My management techniques:
  1. Take my medication. It helps me to stay awake better during the day, so my brain will shut down and go to sleep at night. The side effect of it is that it's an anti-depressant, which does help keep my moods on an even keel
  2. Downtime. For years I lived by myself, and now I live in a house with 3 other adults and a teenager. Sometimes there is just too much activity for me to deal with. It is never my intent to offend anyone, however I know that I NEED my downtime in order to function effectively and conserve spoons. There are evenings that I come home (after I've been gone for almost 13 hours), and just close myself up in my bedroom. My health MUST come before my tendency to try to be social and nice to everybody
  3. Regular bedtime & bedtime routine, which lets my brain start shutting down before it's time to actually sleep.
  4. Reduce stress, which I can sometimes do, other times I have to just deal with the stress. I've made some great strides in this area in the past couple of years. I've eliminated a couple of people from my world who do nothing but suck energy away from me and drag me down. I have been burned by various people in recent years, and to that end, have decided that it is all about ME. My health and wellbeing are my first priority. I am no longer putting myself second in order to put everybody else first. I realize that it sounds selfish, and for a long time that bothered me. Until I realized that by and large, that's what many other people in my world do, and it's really OK for me to do it too.
I have recently started a new job, which I'm pretty happy with. I like the people, I learn something new at least every week, and I no longer think "well damn, do I REALLY want to get up this morning". I earn a decent wage, and by and large, I don't feel a lot of stress or tension in the office. One of the best things about it is that I work 4 10 hour days, instead of 5 8's. I LOVE having a 3 day weekend every weekend, especially during Scarby season, because it does give me a day to get some stuff done, and get my bag packed for the weekend at faire. This week there are several things on my agenda, and I'm hoping that by getting to bed early tomorrow night, I will wind up with enough spoons to get the majority of it done on Friday.
At any rate, I just wanted to share a bit of information about what it's like to live in my body, with Fibromyalgia. I will get some links posted later, when I'm more awake and functional..By the way, I feared, earlier today that this was going to be a zero spoon day, but I managed to have a small one left by the time I crawled into my bed.
Thanks for reading ya'll