Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


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Sioux Falls

I am staying in a Holiday Inn Express, which is a pretty good hotel. I usually stay at a Hilton, but this one is about a mile from my work location so that’s pretty cool. I could almost walk to work, if the weather were just a bit warmer.

I find it’s not the temperature that gets me, it’s the wind. It’s hovered around 35 degrees F (for you C people, that’s just above freezing) and I would be good in just my hoodie and scarf if the wind would stop. Plus, it’s like summer in Texas, you just don’t spend that much time outside. You go from a heated hotel to a heated car to a heated office.

I have made some friends. There is D who was very chatty and I missed her Friday because she was sick. There is K who is the wild one. She’s the one who can probably get me into trouble. And there is A, who I know from another deployment. Assuming we are here at Christmas, we have plans to spend the holiday together.

Having friends means having a social life, so I have used the company card A LOT. I can’t begin to imagine how much I owe for food and drinks. I have also consumed more alcohol in the last 3 days than in the year before that. I need to slow down. Once I get paid, I can stop using the company card and go back to using my own money.

Yesterday we puttered around downtown Sioux Falls. It was very cute. We stopped in at Woodgrain Brewing Co for a quick drink and to make our game plan. I had a milk stout that was very good. A had a much paler beer than I like and K had wine. All local. I like to try local food when I get to an area.

We headed up Phillips St and the first thing we noticed was all the sculpture on the sidewalk. Apparently they were having a sculpture walk. There was everything from byper-realistic to surreal to assemblage. I would have liked to be able to look more at the pieces but the temperature made that difficult.

Now Phillips St is the part of town that is all little shops and restaurants. We went into several shops. One was called Urban Archeology and it had some cool antique and vintage stuff. The thing I wanted — that I will buy if I am stationed back in Sioux Falls — was a vintage 1800’s crazy quilt that was $50. It was amazing. But as much as I love it, I have pee-pee kitty who marks all my laundry. I would probably resell it.

We went into a store called Spice and Tea Exchange which smelled incredible. It reminds me of Penzey’s back home only somehow more quaint. I found several things I would get for friends. There were the tiniest measuring spoons, local salt rubs and seasoning, and merlot salt which was an amazing magenta color. A checked out the teas and said there was a great selection, but I don’t know, it looked small compared to the spice section.

We went into a little florist shop that I forget the name. It was a tiny crowded shop that had everything from hand embroidered tea towels to fudge. Oh yeah, and flowers. I had a sample of the penuche, it was amazing.

I made us stop at Zandbroz. It was a most intriguing store to me. It had jewelry, bath goods, books and stationery. I found a ton of stuff I’d like to own. It’s also the only place I went that had postcards. There were pretty costly at $1.50 each, but if I get stationed back here, I will for sure buy a bunch. Some of them would make great collage backgrounds.

We ended the night at Turks & Caicos Cabana Grille. The food was amazing. I had the huli huli chicken which was 3 big pieces of chicken thigh and spam fried rice. Very Hawaiian to me. I had enough to bring home, though I have no idea when I’ll get to eat it. A had the steak tacos; K had salmon. But I was quite pleased with my choice.

Reminder: the photos go on my Facebook page, and you can look me up. Allison Leonard. I’m the one with the colorful A, though that may change.

Today is laundry and a short trip to check out the local area. A’s granddaughter is a rock hound so we are on a quest for some local specimens. When we get back, time to pack and Monday is a travel day.

Now it’s time for breakfast so I’m off.


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So Much Has Happened

I am writing this from Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

I had been working that job at Michael’s. I like Michael’s. I liked my coworkers. But I’ve got to be honest: retail is a physical job. I had been told 15 to 20 hours a week and I was working more like 30 and my back was killing me. There is a spot on my right shoulder that just burns. I expected sore feet, but sore back was surprising.

I spent Thanksgiving with the family. I put my foot in it, of co urse. My cousin K came on his own. He said the kids would be joining him shortly, which they did. When he was leaving, I told him to say hi to D, his wife, for me. “Oh, I guess you haven’t heard,” he said, “We’re not together any more.” Boy did I feel like an idiot. My cousin J also did not show up with his partner, so now I wonder if they’re still together any more.

Still it was a good day. I got to see my daughter, and we had a real good heart to heart about why we have so much stress over the holidays. I feel like we both understand each other better, even if we don’t agree.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, at 10:45 at night, my work phone went off. Usually it’s just a notification that some news service has a new story so I don’t look, but this time I did. It was an email, telling me I had an online message from the government. I pulled it up. It was a deployment request. Well halleloo! I had just said that I was good with the Michael’s job but I would prefer something else, and there it was! From my mouth to God’s ear, as they say.

So of course I accepted the deployment, even though South Dakota in the window is no cakewalk. I don’t even own a real winter coat since I’ve been in Dallas for 25 years now. Right now I’m good in layers but soon I’ll have to invest in something more solid.

I had to call Michael’s and tell them I quit. I felt bad. They were good to me. The store manager said she was just glad I called and told her. I hate that. It means they have a high turnover of people who just don’t show up, which is bad business manners. But it also felt like I let them down. I didn’t like that feeling. I wouldn’t have taken the job if I knew I was going to be deployed. I figured I wouldn’t be deployed until at least spring, and that a seasonal job would be done by then.

And yet, true to form, the government called me late at night on a Sunday and told me to report to work in another state on Tuesday. That meant I had Monday to pack and Tuesday to travel. I thought about working Monday, but I just couldn’t figure out how to make that work. I had to quit with no notice to have time to pack. At least I had already done laundry, at a friend’s house, where I was house sitting. And at least she was coming home the next day so her house wouldn’t be empty more than 30 hours.

Monday night I got a call from daughter. She asked how I was getting to the airport. I said, my roommates were taking me. Daughter said she was already on the way to the airport, so why didn’t she take me and then she could borrow my car? No exaggeration, my car Phyllis is more than 20 years old. I drive a 1998 Chevy Lumina. She has just about 150K miles on her, so she’s low mileage for the years. But she is starting to be a little grumpy. She has a coolant leak and she needs a tune up, and there are probably some other things too. I don’t feel good loaning her to anybody. Plus, if she broke down, daughter doesn’t have the money to get her towed. I would repay daughter, but she’d need the money up front to get the initial tow done. Car would end up left on the side of the road and impounded, which I can’t afford.

Or what if she got into an accident? The car’s only worth $400 or so. All it would take is a good rear end collision, and even though it would be the other guy’s fault, Phyllis would be totaled. I can’t afford to replace her.

So with all that, I had to tell my daughter no and the call ended badly. She’s over it now, but I felt horrid for a couple of days, thinking the last thing she said before getting off the phone was “that’s fucked up”. I try to end the call by saying I love her so if anything happens, that’s the last thing I said to her; but she was having none of it that day. I am not hypocrite. I can say no and still love you. But it didn’t feel like that to her.

I have so much more to tell, but I am getting sleepy and I have some errands to run tomorrow so I think I’ll go to bed. Good night.


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OK, Boomer

Apparently there is a new insult for people of a certain age. When an adult over 55 says something you don’t want to bother refuting, the response is, “OK, Boomer”.

How do I know it’s over 55? Because I was born in the last acknowledged year of the Baby Boom and I know how old I am. My year isn’t even always listed as part of the Boom, sometimes I’m as much as 5 years into Generation X. I describe myself as raised to be a Boomer but functionally Genex. Because that’s the world I lived in.

Anyway, “OK, Boomer” is getting a lot of press because, surprise, surprise, Boomers don’t like it.

Don’t they remember “dirty thirty”? “Don’t trust anyone over thirty”? Well, that’s them now. “OK, Boomer” is just the latest incarnation of that.

Foamy the Squirrel did a pretty good riff on this, pointing out that Boomers were 60’s flower children who protested the Viet Nam war and tried to change the government. Find it here.

Young people have always struggled against the older generation, the establishment. We need them to bring new ideas and innovation to the otherwise stagnant culture. And they need us older folks to bring wisdom and knowledge to the table.

I think it’s like my struggle in my relationship with my daughter. She is 23 now, and she has her own life. We’re pretty close, especially compared to her friends and their parents. I still want to mother her, but she doesn’t need that any more, she needs more of a mentor. So I am learning a new role and it’s hard and sometimes I don’t do it well.

Boomers — and a significant part of Genex — need to learn a new role. We need to start stepping back and letting the young people have their day. And it’s okay to do that! They are the future, they need to create the world they want. We’ve had our turn, it’s their time now.

But we need to guide them. We need to teach them history, full history, so they know where they come from. It’s like the irony of Sesame Street, a public television show designed to help inner city and underprivileged kids learn basics so they wouldn’t be behind when they got to school, which is now available on HBO, a pay service that many underprivileged kids can’t access. Without knowing the history of Sesame Street, this is a move that doesn’t seem to matter.

I get that kids are tired of explaining things to adults. I also get that adults are upset about being dismissed the way they want to dismiss young people. And really, Millennials aren’t that young any more! They are 22 to 37 years old. They are out of college and have careers and families, and they feel like they aren’t making it. Boomer lifestyle doesn’t work for them. The world has changed.

If there’s one thing Boomers should understand, it’s idealism and the desire for change. Sure, they have “sold out” and settled into a comfortable middle age. They continue to defy stereotypes while creating a new one.

It’s time for generations to communicate with each other. Voting is one way to do that. Polite discourse is another. Being open to each other’s truth and sharing stories would work. Boomers will need to learn a new way to tell stories, but Milliennials need to practice old ways of listening. The old ways are not better, but they are full of knowledge and wisdom that need to be accessed.

So, OK Boomer, but also OK Millennial.

Take your respective heads out of your asses and learn from each other.

Stop being so sensitive and try on the other side’s perspective.


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More Work

I am doing my best at work but I feel my shortcomings very sharply.

I tried to fill candy today, and was told to just run the register. Then I was waiting for a customer and I was told the coke refrigerator needed to be filled. Well I’ve never done that, I don’t even know where we keep the extra cokes. Of course then a customer appeared, so it was a moot point.

I just found out today that I’m supposed to be checking my hours online somewhere. First I heard of it. I have to find out more.

Also, I am not used to standing for so long. I didn’t notice my feet hurting because we are so busy, but my back sure gets sore.

Still, I am out there trying. I managed to pick up the phone a few times today so that was good.

I am trying to crochet some slippers. I did fingerless gloves that don’t exactly match, so I expect the slippers won’t exactly match either. I’m using long color change yarn so they won’t even be the same colors! But my feet are cold so I am giving it a shot. After the slippers, I’m back to hats. I ordered some yarn that should be here in a couple of days. I’m also going to work on a present for L. I can’t afford Christmas this year but I can probably make something. F won’t mind too much as long as I do something for L.

I might turn on the space heater in my room tonight. It’s that cold. I’m also thinking of acquiring an electric blanket, but with Charli peeing on my stuff, I’m not sure that’s wise.

I’m thinking of going to bed in a few minutes to see if I can get up early and do some art in the morning. My roommates keep the living room pretty dark — in fact, F would make it darker if L would let him — so I prefer to make art in the mornings when the light comes in the windows. It’s brighter then. I can see the colors clearly. Dim light gives everything a yellow-ish cast and I can think things blend that don’t actually match.

Looks like my daughter might be joining us for Turkey Day. National Gluttony Day, I guess it is. I enjoy getting together with family, but considering the history, I’m not sure how I feel about Thanksgiving as a holiday. Like Columbus Day. Some things are just gonna fall by the wayside.

I want some desert. I really want the coconut custard and sweet rice from Thai Thai. Or maybe some tiramisu. Or hot pecan pie with vanilla ice cream, talk about a sugar overload! Pecan pie is just about my favorite and I used to get it only at the holidays. Now my cousin’s kid has a tree nut allergy so we can’t have pecan pie. I guess it’s pretty serious, because frankly he’s old enough to simply not eat the pie, but some people can’t be around it at all.

Time for chocolate, then to bed.


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Work and Other Activities



I work now. I work at Michael’s. I also shop there. This is bad for me. I spent $30 yesterday which I really shouldn’t have but the stuff was marked down for stock reduction so if I didn’t get it, it might not be there in a week. Still, I didn’t need it right away. I could have waited, because there will be other cool stuff in the future.

So work. It’s a lot of banging a cash register, which is fine. I made a sale yesterday to a gentleman for over $600. It took forever to ring up, the line just kept getting longer while I was doing it, but it was quite a purchase. More than I’m going to earn this month.

I was asked to answer phones yesterday. Apparently there is a phone at some of the registers and when you’re at a register with a phone, you’re supposed to answer it. Now I object to that, though I haven’t said anything. When I am shopping, I don’t want the clerk stopping to answer the phone. I want their attention. I am the one who is there trying to give them money, ignore the damn phone. So when I am with a customer, I am totally with them. Treat people the way you want to be treated. I honestly don’t even hear the phone ring. But it bothers the other people so I’m trying to figure out a method for doing this. I can listen in between customers, though that won’t help if I get another $600 purchase.

I need to follow up with DBSA tomorrow. R asked me about it. In case you, dear reader, don’t recall, we are trying to put together a WRAP class for the community. The problem is, we need a place to hold it. R likes to do it as an 8 week course, so we need a place without a big fee. We’d like to use one of the facilities at the Meadows Foundation but they require particular paperwork showing DBSA’a status as a 501(c)3 charity. I am working with national headquarters to get it, but so far no luck. So tomorrow I need to send another email and see what’s going on with that.

I did some painting the other day. Craft type painting. I am making the bases for other projects, such as painting little boxes that I will decorate. I really need to do other kinds of painting. Because hopefully I will be able to participate in the art show on the 23rd. I guess i need to request the day off.

I will be house-sitting for K from the 20th to the 3rd. I’m looking forward to it. I need to get on top of my ecourse because that would be the perfect time to record the vocals. Her house is quiet and tidy so filming me would be okay. I’m gonna need a headset with a microphone. I need to pay for my blog right quick here too. I think I know how my last unemployment payment will be spent!

So it is almost 1:00 and I have work at 2:30. Time to get myself ready.




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Feeling Productive

I called Michael’s today because I had no idea what my hours are. This week I am working Thursday and Saturday. The 2 days I was hoping not to work are Thursday and Saturday. Oh well. Thursday I asked M to facilitate the group. I need to remember to tell him what page we are on so he can prepare. I’m a pantser, I fly by the seat of my pants. Saturday I had plans with my daughter, so we moved them to Sunday.

I finished the fingerless gloves and matching hat. I’ll post a picture later. I’m working on another bucket hat. I love the yarn colors so much, I am wondering about doing a blanket. But the yarn is a little stiff, craft yarn more than garment yarn, so maybe not. Or maybe a car blanket.

I watched a documentary on microdosing with psychedelics. I’m thinking, if I could find a drug trial for LSD, I’d apply in a hot minute. I could use getting some gunk kicked loose in my brain.

I viewed the video of Marney Makridakis‘ class “The Muse vs. Monster Mash”. Enjoyed it. I admit, I did not do the art activities in the real world, but I did imagine them and think about them. The Monster of course is the thing that holds you back and the Muse is the impetus to be creative. My Monster told me he wants me to be traditional. My Muse said to follow my dreams. She says the purpose of life is not to be safe, but to be fully myself.

I went to group today. We talked about creativity. I have so much to learn about being creative. The biggest thing for me is, don’t quit on projects. Keep going to the end.

It’s already November 5 and I haven’t started my NaNoWriMo yet, so I think I’ll just let it go for this year. November is a hard month for me to do this, August would be better. I might just try it in August, actually, the only real difference would be that there is no community doing it with me. I can live with that.

I took out 5 bags of trash today. I got the bathroom, kitchen and F’s trash. Then L asked me if I was taking the trash out of the other bathroom. I hadn’t planned to but that sounded more like instructions than an actual question so I got that one. And F asked me to get the confetti bits out of the shredder bin. So 5 bags. Hopefully back to 3 next Monday.

Tomorrow I am hoping to go to morning group then come home and make art. There is a possibility of being in an art show and I need some art to show. I don’t think I’ve ever been in an exhibition before.

Oh, it’s my birthday on Wednesday. If you’re just dying to give me a present, I have a wish list on Amazon and one on Yozocraft. Not that I expect you want to buy me stuff. I’ll settle for a donation to Heifer International.

Looks like a good week, all things told.


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Feeling Unattractive

First I want to post the most recent photo I have of myself:

Me, October 2019, photo by Mike Fiddleman of Fidd Worldwide

It’s a candid shot, which is the best way to photograph me. I don’t pose well. I don’t come from a family that took photos very regularly so I am vaguely uncomfortable with the whole process.

I like that it’s a natural expression for me. This is what I look like. I wonder what I was laughing at.

But I look at it, and I see 2 things: how plain I am and how fat I am.

I mean, fat. Yep, I weigh 275, so I’m not skinny. But I forget that my body is as big as it is, especially when I am so hungry so often. I mean, look at those arms! I got Hulk Hogan‘s 22 inch guns without the firepower. I get tired of people telling me “you’re not fat”. That’s not what my doctor says. And it’s not what my experience of my body says. Oh, yeah, and it’s not what my dating life says.

I am also plain. I don’t mean ugly, but not pretty. I know this from my dating life too. I am the girl who hears, “I’m a great guy, introduce me to your friend, because pretty girls don’t see what a great guy I am because I’m not handsome.” Well you know what buddy? You’re treating me the way you say you get treated. I don’t think you’re so great.

I am so tired of being single that a guy friend of mine bought me a soda, and I spent an hour wondering if it “meant something”. Well of course it doesn’t, it was just a friend picking up the tab. I’ll get it the next time. No big.

I do get an offer from time to time, but they are mostly from people I know in open relationships. It’s flattering in a way, I mean it’s flattering when someone is interested even if it’s not reciprocal. But most of them, well, I don’t want to be your bit on the side, I want to be someone’s person. I’m holding out for being special to someone.

It’s been 10 years since someone asked me out on a date. That’s a long time. It wears me down in a way, to know I’m not special to anyone. I’m a great gal, says my married friend C. Yeah, I am, but who knows it? Or maybe, who appreciates it? I’m not pretty enough for my wonderfulness to be noticed.

So maybe when I have money again I’ll join a gym. I miss working with weights and that’s much easier for me at a health club than it is at home. But it makes me sad that I am somehow not good enough as I am.

Why not me? But apparently, not me.