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.