Kiss5Tigers

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


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Breakfast at K’s House

I have had a good day today.

I slept in until 8:30, which is pretty late for me. I take one of the residents to work for 8:00 in the morning on weekdays so I am up around 6:30 which is early for me. Now I have a hard time staying up late on the weekends for that midnight curfew.

But I slept in today, so that was good. And I hope to sleep in tomorrow.

Then I went to visit my friend K and her other half. When she was single, we used to hang out sometimes twice or 3 times in an average week. Then several things happened at once: She got a promotion. She started dating. She moved. I ran into money issues. I moved. And, oh yeah, Covid 19. The universe just conspired against us. I actually thought for a while that she was one of those women who drops all her friends when a man appears. She isn’t, it was just a perfect storm of circumstances, and I never said anything to her about it. I had stuff going on too.

K made breakfast bake for us. She spray greased an 8″ x 8″ casserole, cubed 4 slices of bread into it, added browned ground beef, then a layer of spinach and a layer of shredded cheese. She scrambled 10 eggs with about 3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream and poured it into the pan. Finally she topped the whole thing with sliced tomatoes and baked it for 20 minutes. It was yummy. And I had 3 cups of coffee, so I felt quite full. Fruit salad rounded everything out.

Mostly it was just good to connect with a friend again.

I am seeing my friend B tomorrow at Cane Rosso in Deep Ellum. They have a patio with outdoor seating. B wants to do things again but several years ago she had cancer so she is taking extra precautions with Covid and prefers to sit outside. I’ve never been there, but one of the waitstaff is my daughter’s roommate.

After I see my friend, I might go visit my old roommates, F & L. I haven’t seen them since I moved out and it’s been like 6 weeks. It’s mostly because I owe them money which I hate. I can’t wait until I can pay it. F doesn’t say anything but I know he thinks of it. Plus I want to see Momo kitty. I miss him, but he is doing so great there, I am very happy for him.

I haven’t had a weekend this busy in a couple of months. I’d say it’s due to Covid but really it’s the lack of money. I don’t go out much these days because I can’t afford even a coke, and I don’t want my friends to feel obligated to pay for me.

Not withstanding, I have posted my peer-to-peer payment information on Facebook in case someone wants to buy me a cup of coffee.

Here are my various contact information:

Venmo = @Allison-Leonard-23
CashApp = $AllieSunlion
Zelle = 9724807770
Patreon = Allison Leonard
Paypal = Kiss5Tigers

In case someone would like to contribute. Because unemployment is kind of a bitch and I’m not getting paid by them at this time.


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Cafe Brazil

Cafe Brazil is maybe my favorite coffee place. Oh, sure, Starbucks and Dunkin’ are on the list too, but they are chains and this is a local place. Well, still a chain, but only like 8 stores, not nationwide. My aunt, who is a flight attendant, swears by McDonald’s coffee, so, you know, something for everybody.

But today I celebrate Cafe Brazil. Finally open again 24/7. I have been waiting for a place I can hang out and use wifi to reopen. Usually I use the tables at Half Price Books but they have put the chairs upside down on them which is clearly meant to discourage people from congregating. I think the coffee shop might even be shut down.

So clearly I am going to have to pay to occupy space somewhere. I could go to Denny’s or IHOP but they generally don’t have wifi or a place to plug in my computer and work. Cafe Brazil it is.

The walls are painted bright lime green and cerulean blue. There is a border painted near the ceiling of palm leaves, flowers, parrots and pre-columbian heads. The walls are usually covered with art that is for sale. This particular shop had only about 5 pieces on display at the moment. With huge windows on 3 sides, there is a lot less wall space than many locations but often there is more art. Maybe I should bring some down, see if it can be sold here.

Mostly today I had coffee and wrote 3 letters. I have one more to write before bed tonight but that can be any time. I also had nachos. I really like the nachos here. The appetizer size is a meal for one so that was tasty. I even ate a few of the jalapenos.

I remember the first time I had jalapenos. I was about 8 years old. We had come to Dallas from my native Boston to visit my dad’s family for Christmas. My mother’s brother, who was in the air force, was stationed I believe at Lackland AFB so since we were in the state, we drove down to see that part of the family too. My uncle took us across the border to Mexico. My mom, my aunt, my cousin and I went shopping, and the men went to a little cantina and were enjoying cerveza and nachos. My uncle thought he would play a joke on my and gave me a nacho. It was a crispy corn tortilla wedge with cheese and a single pickled jalapeno in the center. I think he believed I would freak out, but my first solid foods were pickles and corned beef, so you can guess I like things with strong flavor. I loved the nachos. Dad was oddly pleased and let me eat as many as I wanted. It was literally a decade before I went to Chi-chi’s restaurant in Boston and had nachos, and had that whole episode flood back into my memory.

Well, my boss has called and I need to take care of something. But today was a good day. I got poetry written and letters written and talked to my daughter, and oh yeah, Cafe Brazil is open again. Life is good.


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Asking

The generosity of people just blows me away.

I have a favoite author, SARK, who says, “Ask. Ask again. Ask differently.” I like that. Not to bug a person, but sometimes your request gets lost in the general noise of life. And sometimes people don’t understand what you’re asking for.

On a business level, Shepherd Inn is opening a new home and needed furniture. My boss asked for in-kind donations rather than cash. In-kind means people donate the item itself, so if we need a sofa, they donate a sofa. In two days, the house was furnished! Well, two exceptions: coffee table and end tables for the living room, and new mattresses for the new beds. I’m going to ask my friend K about the tables, she’s really good at finding things for cheap online.

On a personal level, I posted that I got turned down for unemployment and that I was worried about taking care of my cat. One friend brought me food and litter, another friend Amazon’ed me a huge bag of food and some litter, a third friend donated cash. I am just blown away by this. I mean, I knew people can be kind, but so many people concerned about my cat, wow.

What I take away from this is that it doesn’t hurt to ask. I didn’t ask for someone to get me pet food, but people saw the need and jumped in. My friend L taught me about asking too. She asks for prayer for things and usually someone is led to help her out in a material way. In fact, she is one of the people I send money when I have a little extra. I haven’t had any extra lately, but L and N get money from me. And daughter of course.

Even if I hadn’t gotten donations, I would have vented about my fears and that would have helped as well. Keeping my fears and needs to myself just seems to magnify them. They become so huge and overwhelming, probably because they end up taking up so much of my brain space.

So, another thing I got, that I need but didn’t ask about, was this evening I am off. I will be so happy to get some time to myself. I have chores to do around my room, but mostly I will go to Half Price Books for a look around, maybe to Barnes & Noble. I want a copy of Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ “Between the World and Me“. I already know it’s sold out at Half Price but B&N might have it. After that, I’m thinking of a poke bowl. I’d like to invite daughter and boyfriend to join me.


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Ecstacy and Hospitals

A young friend of mine, L, went to the hospital early on Thursday. I got the call from her roommate M at 5:45 in the morning. I always get these calls just before my alarm goes off.

L had been offered some ecstacy by a friend of hers. She declined it and then went out. After a few drinks, the friend convinced L to take the drug. Things were fine for a while, then they went all pear-shaped.

L became violent and aggressive. She hit one of her friends in the face. She got mad at her boyfriend because he wasn’t her father. Then she decided she’d had enough and left the apartment. Her boyfriend sensed something was very wrong and went after her.

It’s a good thing he did.

She climbed to the roof of the parking lot and tried to go over the edge. Boyfriend restrained her. She began kicking and punching and biting. Two other friends and M came to help. It took all 4 of them to keep her on the ground. She was screaming the whole time, no words, just an unending shriek.

When she wasn’t screaming, she was talking to someone that nobody else could see. She kept saying “I see him,” but she wouldn’t or couldn’t say who she saw. We believe it was her deceased father but we’ll never know.

In the meantime, neighbors heard the ruckus. They stepped outside with phones. At least one of them called the police. That’s when M called me.

M was scared and crying. Both of those are perfectly understandable responses to the situation. I told her she was doing the right thing. She put me on speaker phone. When L heard my voice, she shouted, “You piece of shit! You’re never there!” and went back to the wordless yell.

M apologized to me, but really there was nothing to apologize for. We got off the phone and I called the cops again. I gave them some details that they didn’t have.

I heard later that a lady cop arrived first. She apparently was the mental health expert but once the male cops arrived, they didn’t treat her with respect. They cuffed L, who was cooperative with the process, and took her to a local hospital.

About fifteen minutes after that, I arrived at the apartment. The young people were all sitting in s circle, decompressing. They talked about what had happened. We all laughed uproariously when a cat missed a jump. It wasn’t that funny, we just all needed a break so badly at that point.

The friend who supplied the drug never appeared. I assumed she was at work or otherwise out. It turned out she was in her room watching cartoons. She had been there all night. She had not followed L outside or tried to help or even come out to see what all the commotion was. The whole group of young people is, as they say, over her. She lost a bunch of friends that night.

Boyfriend got together some clean clothes, L’s glasses, her wallet and keys, and we headed to the hospital. We tried emergency and they wouldn’t let us in. They told us they hadn’t seen her, but gave us a number to call. We tried the psych ward; they also said they hadn’t seen her. We tried psych emergency. They said they could neither confirm nor deny that they had her. That meant she was there so I left a message with my phone number. Boyfriend and I went home.

I spent the day wondering how she was. About 10 hours later, I called again and left another message. I gave the number to boyfriend and to M, so they could call and leave their numbers in case she preferred to call one of them. Finally the phone rang.

Of course nothing can go smoothly. I answered the phone, but there was no sound. I assumed it was L, so I explained that I couldn’t hear her and I was going to hang up. It happened 2 or 3 more times and I eventually called the ward. The person I spoke to said they’d been having trouble with one of the phones and they would provide her with different equipment. At last the phone rang and I could speak with L.

Her voice was hoarse from all the screaming and she sounded tired. She stated she hadn’t seen a doctor. I asked if she was in an observation room, since I assumed this was a 72-hour psych hold. She said no, she was in a big open room with recliners and no beds. She just wanted to sleep. We got off the phone.

I called the ward and asked about the doctor. It didn’t make sense that she had been there that long and not talked to anybody. Fortunately she had signed a piece of paper that they could talk to me. They told me she had been seen twice but she was so out of it that they weren’t surprised she didn’t remember. They also told me they were going to release her the next day, Friday. I said I would pick her up.

When I saw her, she looked rough. She was clearly tired and out of it. Her anxiety was high so we stopped at a gas station for gas, cigarettes, and drinks, then I took her home.

We have talked a few times since then even though it’s only been 2 days. We talked about what could have been different, what I could have done, ways I can be there for her. She broke her hand during the fracas so we talked about ways to splint it. She told me she plans to move since friend cannot be trusted and therefore was no longer a good roommate.

I am just glad L had friends who protected her from herself. I could wish everybody had friends like that.


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Last Day in Hutchins

Tomorrow is moving day, tonight is my last night here.

I am definitely ambivalent about it. This has been my home for 5 years now and it’s sad to leave. On the other hand, I’m looking forward to new adventures.

I am almost all packed. I have one load of laundry left to pack. It’s clean and in the basket, just needs me to fold it and pack it. I need to pack the bathroom but I can’t really do that until I’m done with my morning ablutions. I will need access to my toothbrush and contacts after all.

I need to remember to get my laundry supplies out of the laundry room. I also need to remember some of my stuff from the kitchen. That smoothie powder that I don’t like. Maybe V will like it.

There is a chocolate cake for me and milk to wash it down. That will be nice tonight. And I have a chocolate bunny waiting for me.

Yes, I bought bunnies for everyone this year. White chocolate for L, milk chocolate for F, and dark chocolate for me. I think we each believe we got the best of the bunch.

I have turned in my house key and the mailbox keys. L gave me back my food stamps card. I owe F for 2 months of phone bill. I’m trying to think what else.

So about noontime everyone will show up, friend and boyfriend, and daughter and boyfriend. So there will be 5 of us loading up from here and with V there will be 6 of us unloading there.

I wish I had something profound to say. I feel like I should acknowledge the occasion in some way. I’m melancholy and sentimental; I think they call that maudlin.

I have completed the Trust Based Parenting course. I feel rather empowered by it. They advocate a lot of the way I raised E, so apparently I had some good ideas. Of course we will be working with older kids so a lot of the tools they gave us won’t apply, but a lot of the thinking behind it will.

For example, respecting the young person as a person is important. She has certain rights, such as the right to privacy. She’ll come to us with a past, with a story that is her own. It’s not my business to tell her story, even though I am likely to be excited about the new relationship. Is that the right terminology? Because this is a relationship, hopefully a therapeutic one.

This should be an interesting job, challenging and fulfilling.


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The Argument About Selling Seeds

Piggybacking off yesterday’s post . . .

It seems odd to me that seeds are considered non-essential, but here’s the thing:

There are small businesses and mom-and-pop places that sell seeds, toys, pet supplies, etc. which have been told to close because they are not essential businesses.

Here comes the big box store selling groceries and with a bank and a pharmacy, but also selling furniture and craft paint and clothes and car parts and camping supplies and toys and gardening supplies. Customers can go in the store because groceries and pharmacy are essential, but they can buy this other stuff as well.

Small businesses say, if it’s not essential for me to sell, then it’s not essential for them to sell. Or, to put it the other way, if WalMart can sell seeds as an essential business, then so can Ruibal’s. (By the way, Ruibal’s at Farmers Market in Dallas has one of my favorite shop cats. Just saying.) It’s not fair to close Ruibal’s and allow WalMart to do that kind of business. It basically puts the little guy out of business while allowing the behemoth to benefit from picking up the slack.

So in some places — because this seems to be by location, not a federal mandate — you will find big box stores with different departments closed.

I hadn’t really thought how bad this lockdown is for small businesses, but now that it’s come to my attention, I can see it.

And I am a fan of small businesses, I want to see them survive this event.


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Gardening As a Subversive Act

Only certain stores are allowed to be open, they have to provide essential services. So nail salons are not open but grocery stores are. However certain items can only be purchased in stores of a certain size. This means that, for example, Wal-Mart often exceeds the square footage requirement so they can’t sell certain items that are not essential.

Among the non-essential items are seeds. Apparently the seasonal department is closed down and at this time of year, that’s the gardening department.

So growing your own vegetables is considered non-essential.

To me, there is no reason to discourage people from gardening, and in fact it feels like the government doesn’t want us to grow our own food.

Which to me, is the perfect reason to do it.

I used to garden when I was a kid. I grew flowers, mom grew vegetables. I had a flower bed near the house, mom dug up the ground over the septic tank. As a child I never thought about it, it was just the grassy place then the vegetable garden, but as an adult I’m a little grossed out. I’m not invested in gardening very much at this point, but fresh veg is always a good idea.

V is talking about putting in a raised garden at Shepherd Inn. I’m not sure how she thinks that’s gonna work, but we’ll see. She works more than full time as it is at her non-profit. I need to work to cover my other expenses so I feel like I can’t really devote much time to gardening. The kids, maybe?

What would I plant? Let’s see . . . Tomatoes. Zucchini. Carrots. Mixed lettuce. Should I try onions or potatoes? Maybe some kind of squash like butternut or pumpkin. Peas? Cucumbers? Ooh, bell peppers. Radishes. Salad fixin’s. Beets. What, I like beets! Broccoli? Jalapenos?

Possibilities.

I’d have to order seeds by mail. I’d go with Burpee, since that’s the company my Grandpa used. Until I wanted heirloom seeds, then I’d have to look somewhere else.

So, gardening might become a thing in my world.


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Moving Forward

In so many ways it feels like life has come to a complete halt but in other ways it’s still moving forward.

It’s spring in Texas. Bluebonnets are out along the highway and I saw a lovely patch of Indian paint brush the other day. I haven’t seen anybody stopping to take the obligatory annual bluebonnet photos that are a Texas tradition, but that is likely to be due to rain as much as social distancing.

Pumpkin the cat has had a litter of 4 kittens. Daughter now has 14 cats in her house: 2 of her own, 1 of her boyfriend’s, and 4 that belong to her roommates plus 2 litters of kittens. One litter is actually old enough to go to new homes but the person who wants them lives in another state and travel is restricted right now.

We had a meeting at Dunbar House with a potential client. She seems like she could really benefit from 3 – 6 months of assistance while she gets her feet under her. And she seems pretty motivated to move her life ahead. The drawbacks are that she has a dog which she simply could not bring with her, and she has a significant other who she would like to stay with. We can’t take in a couple. In fact, I said to V today, we should let it be known that there is no dating within the household. I just see that being a bit of a problem.

I am still planning to move on the 18th. I picked up boxes from a friend today. It was so weird, both of us with masks and afraid to actually chat about anything because of risk of exposure. I just totally appreciate the boxes. I should be able to finish packing now.

I am finding all kinds of cool stuff in my bedroom as I pack. I mean, I knew I had it. I just didn’t know where it was exactly.

I need to do much laundry in the next week. Charli the kitty has been peeing in my laundry again so I need to get that handled and packed. If I can just wash and pack that will be easiest.

I have no idea where I’ll be putting stuff once I move. So much of it is art supplies. I need to actually use art supplies instead of just buying them. I hope to have an opportunity to make some art once I move.

So yeah, things are difficult and strange, but on the other hand the situation is changing even as I write this. Slowly but still shifting. Slow is not staying still, so that’s good. Hopefully things will be different before too long, in a good way.

I feel pretty optimistic today.


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Sick Tigers

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAAPHIS/bulletins/285036f?fbclid=IwAR1DPwRx87nhxZDXdcet6lRQCfOMyVAeXgz60b6wiluNE8B3-IwhgtwSShg

A zoo in New York has a Tiger that is sick with Covid-19. That really scares me. I could live in a world with fewer humans, although Covid is a particularly horrible way to go. But to think that we could harm animals makes me sad. This virus is mutating, I guess, as these things do. But to think that someone accidentally infected a tiger! Tigers are important to me.

I don’t have words for the kind of hollowness this puts in my chest. I could almost cry.

But the tiger is expected to recover at this time, so hopefully that will be the end of it.


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“Plague Trip”

Took a little road trip with the roommates today. It’s interesting to get out in the world after being at home so much.

First stop was Fiesta for a money order. While L went in to take care of that, F and I went to McDonald’s. McDonald’s was a bit of a clusterfuck, though there was worse to come. In spite of the fact that the app says you can get 40 nuggets for $10, the lady insisted you could only get 20 for $7.50. F became very frustrated but settled for the 20. I got a sweet tea and a McChicken. The lady at the payment window didn’t have half the order so we had to verify it again. The chicken was dry and had obviously been cooked a while ago. Then we went back and picked up L.

I got to look at the scenery while we drove along. Usually I am driving myself so I don’t get to look around much. I was struck by how many big trees there were. We passed a golf course surrounded by a stream. A man and a big buff-colored retriever were walking along in the water. There was a group of black kids in black clothes, except one in a purple hoodie that seemed so bright in contrast. But on the roads there were almost no vehicles. The lack of traffic is what really feels apocalyptic. Gas prices were down to $1.34, though they are 20 cents higher closer to home.

Next stop was CVS for F’s meds. One of them is a controlled substance that is not kept in stock. I understand that because I go through this with my psych meds from time to time. F’s script had been submitted on Tuesday. Today is Friday. He called CVS to be sure it was ready, and the local CVS said they didn’t have it in stock, it was at another CVS 2 towns over. When we got there, they told us they didn’t have the prescription. Apparently when it’s a controlled substance they can’t electronically transfer it, the doctor has to submit a new script. So the choices were, order the drug which will take over the weekend to arrive, IF the manufacturer ships it, which is an ongoing problem not related to Covid-19; or have the order cancelled and get the doctor to send new orders. F opted for waiting over the weekend, though he did say that if the drug wasn’t there on Monday, he would have to contact the doctor. He wished the lady a “happy plague” when we drove away.

Then we went to pick up some items L had loaned a friend. I stayed in the car. The friend did come up to F and hug and kiss him, so I hope she was not infected. While we were waiting for L, we saw an old lady with really unfortunate hair. I told F, if my hair ever gets that kind of thin, I am going to shave my head and go with wigs. I have thought of doing that anyway, but the cost of wigs is off-putting. I actually have sympathy for the woman. We talk about male pattern baldness but nobody talks about women’s hair thinning as we age.

Next stop was Eatzi’s. I love Eatzi’s but I can’t really afford them. I had to pee so I went in with L to use the restroom. L bought me a coffee, so that was a treat. She also bought good bread, pizza and cookies. We ate the Mexican wedding cookies while we waited for the pizza. Yup, desert before dinner. The cookies went really well with my coffee. The pizza was freshly made and hot. The crust was thin though I think it could have used a little garlic or butter to be perfect, and I really liked the cheese.

Final stop was Dallas Tamale and Tortilla Factory. F wanted pork tamales but this late in the day all they had left was beef and jalapeno. I probably won’t be eating any of them because jalapenos don’t like me. L bought the last ones, and the lady that came in after wasn’t able to get any. I bet she was kicking herself for not going in sooner, since she was already there when we pulled up.

Then we went home. We didn’t stop for mail, which is fine, I’ll just take a walk tomorrow to get it, unless it rains. And my belly is full of snacks, though I will want to eat again before going to bed. It’s been a good day.

Now to write some snail mail.