Kiss5Tigers

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


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Can I Do This?

Last Monday, I facilitated a group.

On Monday afternoons, I attend the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance support group, because I have bipolar II, which I’ve mentioned before.  I’ve been going for about 3 years now.  I’ve worked through the book more than once.  I know the answers, haha, as if I could know the right answers to mental health when it’s different for everyone.

The regular facilitator was having a hard day and asked me if I would lead.  None of this is surprising, since he is a peer and the group could be led by any peer.  I said yes, and I was happy to do this favor for him.

It went surprisingly well.  We worked our way through 2 pages in the book.  That may not be much but it included some conversation and it was the end of a section.  Didn’t make sense to start a new section with only 15 minutes left.  The group appreciated the chance to chat during the session.  It was a little more active than the usual facilitator likes, but we have different philosophies.  He is trying to get through the book, whereas I use the book as a jumping-off point.  Nothing wrong with either one, just different.

At the same time, I have been hearing about women who lead seminars to help other women.  I think I could lead one about vision boards and creating goals.  It would be maybe 3 hours, give or take.  Part of it would be about setting goals, where do you want to be in, say, 5 years?  Or indeed, ever?  Part of it would be making the actual vision board.  And part of it would be about sharing our dreams and visions.  I think I could manage about 10 women, and they would have to bring their own scissors since I don’t own that many pairs.  Glue and magazines I’ve got, scissors not so much.

So I am looking for goal setting exercises.  They are surprisingly hard to find.  There are a lot of sites devoted to professional development and goal setting in that regard but really almost nothing about personal goal setting.  The principles must be the same however so I just need to tweak them.  Of course I would need to tweak them in any case to make them my own.  I’m about being inspired by other people, not stealing their work.

I believe I can do this.  It seems very do-able.  It also doesn’t overlap the government job so there should be no conflict of interest.  The first one or two would be free while I get my feet under me, then I would have to start charging.  I wonder if I could even do it monthly.

Words of encouragement and suggestions only, please.  I have enough nay-sayers in my own head as it is.  I could stand some support around this idea.


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What I’ve Been Doing

I was sitting here drinking the coffee that my roommate L has made for me and I realized that you don’t know what I actually do with my time while I’m demobilized.  I’ve done a fair amount of complaining about things and I’ve certainly shared my (mis)adventures, but really life is pretty good and I want to share some of that.

I sleep most days until 9 or 10 in the morning.  I usually wake up with my cats cuddled up to me, which makes me happy.  If you have pets, you understand this.  Or children, I suppose, though as a mother I dislike comparing pets and children.

I get up and check facebook and email and other online things I’m working on.  I take my morning meds and eat some peanut butter toast.  I like the way the hot toast melts the peanut butter.  Usually by then L is up so there is coffee.  Now you may ask why I don’t make my own coffee since I certainly know how.  The truth is, we use a French press and the thing is just a pain to clean.  I am lazy.  That’s my big secret.  If L makes the coffee, she cleans it up.  Yup, that’s it, silly as it is.

Most days I go to a support group.  I use a peer run support group cluster that is available through a local mental health facility.  It’s free.  Mondays is DBSA, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and we are working out of a book about managing life while struggling with a behavioral health concern.  Tuesday is Recovery International which has a very formal method.  It does however teach you to deal with daily life, something I don’t always do very well.  Wednesday is the PTSD group.  I don’t have PTSD but nobody is without trauma.  Thursday is a depression support group.  Friday is ATTA, which stands for Achievement Through the Arts.  It’s for artists with brain differences, so there is a mix of people with issues ranging from schizophrenia to injury.  Most of these groups meet for 2 hours, so that gives me a whole lotta free time.

I have been writing letters.  I have an extensive mailing list that I am trying to send everybody something and see who writes back.  Then I’ll keep up with the respondents.  I like getting mail and to get mail, one must send mail.

I also have been working on the 100 Hats project.  I want to sell them but I suspect most of them will wind up donated.  And that’s fine, for me the joy is in the making.  Speaking of making, I am working on some art pieces as well.  One of them is based on my friend K’s living room.

I stay up with my roommates until around 1 in the morning, then I lay in bed on the phone until 2 then I sleep.  So 10 am is really 8 hours of sleep, which is good for me.

I do see friends and go out to eat and run errands.  It makes for a pretty full life, but I would like to be deployed again.  Not that I wish for bad things to happen, but when a disaster hits, I am ready.


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Scammed Already

So I was on this dating website about a week and someone contacted me.  The site said his name was Jeff Nowak.  After another week of chatting, he asked if I wanted to move the conversation to Google Hangouts.  Well the website cuts the conversation after a week, so I agreed.

We were talking about having a degree, which I do not.  I am 3 classes short of the degree, but I owe the school about $2000 that I have to pay before I can register for the classes.  Being on furlough right now, I don’t have the money.

Jeff asked if I had a bank.  I told him I have a credit union, which is true, but that I mostly use Paypal, which is not true.  I do have a Paypal account, I just don’t use it that often.  I felt suspicious about the question, but I couldn’t imagine why he’d even ask, unless he wanted to send money, but that made no sense.  Then he asked if the debt was on my bank account.  What a weird question.  So I ignored it.

Next came the story, and I believe it was written by someone who did not speak English as their first language.  The actual text was “Two of my friend has fucked me up when I was in Syria and Cuba, because they headquarter wanted to give me my leave bonus because I can’t access my account here I told to help me out with their account but at the end of the day when I was home I didn’t my money complete.”

The next several texts were, ” That has really made me not to trust people much about money.”  “But now I just think the best thing is to have it once am home.” “But I just can’t be here for 4months”  “Still looking for a way out”  “To have part of my leave bonus to terminate my contract but I need someone I can trust”  “Don’t want it to end up like the last time”  “Do you have the debt in your account?”

Um, yeah, we’re done.

I reported the account to the website.

Then today I got contacted by two other men.  I am chatting with them, because that’s why I’m there, but I am suspicious of them.  Once burned twice shy.

And I feel stupid for not picking up on it sooner.  I guess I am just gullible.


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Meeting People and My Work

I have decided that I’d like to date again, even have a long term relationship.  This is huge for me, this is something I never thought I’d do again.  Truly it has been 10 years since my last relationship.  I figured I was on my own until the end of my life, when I would move back in with my daughter.

The biggest problem is, how do you meet people?  When you’re young, you just meet.  You go out with friends and meet their friends.  You meet people at school or at work.  Then you settle down and family life takes over.  I was single into my 30’s so I lost a LOT of friends to marriage and family.  I don’t begrudge that, I think it’s to be expected.  Family takes energy and time so you just don’t have it for outside activities.  That’s okay.  But it does mean that your single friends move on in different ways and maybe you aren’t that close any more.  So you’re on your own more and more and eventually you’re used to being alone.  How do you get out of that rut?

I asked my friend B.  The first thing is, he had to clarify to me that even though he was dating someone and is not now, that he is not looking for a relationship.  I must be a real dog in that any time I talk to single guy friends about relationships, they feel a need to be clear that they aren’t interested in me.  I don’t assume they are.  And I’m probably not interested in them.  After all, if there was mutual interest, we’d already be more than friends.  I just figured, if you want to meet single guys, ask a single guy where he goes to meet women.  B did tell me two places:  church and online.  I’m not churchy, so online it is.

My friend K has been looking for a partner for some time now.  She has had good luck with online dating sites so I asked her what she thought.  She told me a little about the ones she’s used — which ones were more hook up sites and which ones were more relationship oriented.  So now I’m on a few websites, seeing what I find.  (If you’re reading this and you want to know me, I suggest contacting me in the comments.  And I’m talking about friends, not just dating.)  Now K is beautiful so she gets lots of responses, I am middle aged and plain so I get fewer responses, but I have noticed a few patterns.

Yes I have a job.  No I am not working at the moment.  My job is an on-call disaster relief position so I only work when there is a disaster.  There is not a disaster at the moment so I am not working.  I don’t have a call-back date because disasters don’t come on a schedule.  I will not be going back to work on Monday, this is not a vacation, it is a furlough.

Having said that I am not currently working, I want to clarify that I don’t expect you to support me.  I can support myself.  I am not a gold digger.  I am not looking for a man to take financial care of me.  To balance that, I don’t make enough money to support another person (if I did, it would be my daughter), so don’t expect me to pay for your life.

I don’t want to go dutch.  I don’t have extra money at the moment, so I can’t afford to do a lot of activities.  But even if I was rich, I would want the man to pay for dates.  Unless I asked, in that case I would expect to pay.  The thing here is, I have had a number of serious relationships where all the resources went to the man’s benefit.  Now if you want my interest, you need to be willing so spend a little money on me too.  Not for my necessities, I can pay my own rent and utilities, I am an adult; but gosh pay for dinner or bring flowers or something that makes me feel like you think I’m worth the effort.

Please take the time and pay attention to actually know me.  If I have told you three times that I am furloughed, don’t keep asking how my day at work is going.  If you asked me when the last time was that I flashed someone and I stopped talking, accept that this is not going to be a hook up.  If I don’t ask you about your blow job comment, don’t send me a dick pic.  If I say I read Charles de Lint, don’t recommend John Grisham.  Or at least ask me what kind of books Charles de Lint writes.  Know that my taste runs to steampunk industrial and don’t buy me american traditional.  Even though I love Frank Lloyd Wright.  I am smart and open minded and unfortunately I don’t have a sense of humor.  I am what I am and it’s not going to change much at this point.

So here I am venting.  I don’t think I’m unreasonable, just a little worked up at the moment.  Frustrated.  And trying to make it work out.  Because I don’t want to be alone any more.

 


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Sea Fever

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
     So this was, at one point, my father’s favorite poem.  I wanted to memorize it to honor him (he passed in 1984) but I have only gotten as far as the first couplet.  There are two other poems which I might share later that I would also memorize for him.  This is odd to me because Dad was a scientist, you wouldn’t think of him reading poetry.  Mom was a librarian, you’d think of her being more involved in literature, but I don’t know of a poem that was meaningful to her.  Just two books:  the Bible and The Once and Future King by T.H. White.
     Anyway, what brings all this up, is that my cousin sent me a picture today of Dad and Nana (his mother) on the boat we had while I was young.  The name of the boat was Sea Fever, after the poem above.  We sailed out of Beverly Harbor, through a facility called the Jubilee Yacht Club.  Here’s their website, they still exist.
     Now don’t get the idea that I grew up all rich because we owned a boat.  We didn’t have color TV or wall to wall carpeting or a dishwasher or even wallpaper.  But Dad wanted to sail, which we did many weekends, so we had a boat.  She was a 32 foot sloop, which means she had one mast with a sail on both sides of it, and a jib out over the bow.  All my memories of time on that boat are very visceral.  I miss the ocean, living landlocked as I do now.
     So I’m going to add the picture, my Nana looking prim and a little uncomfortable, Dad relaxed with a can of Budweiser in one hand and the tiller in the other.  Funny the things that bring up memories.  I can almost feel the rocking of the ocean and hear the seagulls and the lines clanking against the mast. This is probably around 1974; I believe by 1976 Dad owned a share in a small plane.  Look at Dad being all casual in trousers and a button shirt.  Notice that nobody wore jeans in my family, while I practically live in jeans these days.  It was a different era.


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Money

I know, it’s been a week since I posted anything.  I am visiting a friend, so I have been busy.  Friends are good.

Today I checked my bank balance and I am thinking about money.  Now I have a little money in the bank, I’m not freaked out about money, but it is on my mind.

So I’m thinking, let’s say I have $500 in my account.  It’s so easy for me to feel like, I can buy this $20 book, and these art supplies, and lunch for my friend, no big.  Except I still have bills (rent, car insurance, cell phone, the usual suspects) and that money needs to be accounted for too.  So I don’t have $500, I have more like $50.  Which is still okay, I don’t really need more art supplies, but it’s so easy to overspend.

I am really working on my relationship with money.  I have previously lived as though money were no object, it just didn’t matter.  But now I find I am not prepared for old age (I am in my 50s, old age is coming on fast!) and it’s a little late to start.  Not impossible, but definitely not easy.

However it’s only possible if I take control of how much money is coming in and where it’s going out to.  I must pay attention, which I’m not used to doing.

I have a friend who has an Excel spreadsheet with all, and I do mean all, her expenditures on it.  Not just her bills, but even a pack of gum or a bottled water.  She knows down to the penny where her money goes.  I admire her, but I would find that system a little stifling.  Just thinking about it makes me want to go out and spend money willy-nilly.

I did figure out that, just like the idea of dieting makes me want to eat, the idea of budgeting makes me want to spend.  It’s the difficult side of me, that wants exactly what it can’t or shouldn’t have.  Tell me no and probably that is the next thing I MUST do.  Not so much in friendships, but life in general.

I am on unemployment at the moment so there’s very little wiggle room with regard to money.  I need to play it close to the chest, yes I do, and not give in even when I have amazing coupons and a specific book I want.  I don’t need a book.  I do need peanut butter.  I guess I don’t NEED peanut butter but I eat it regularly for breakfast.  Mmmm, peanut butter toast, yum.  The point is, there’s only so much money and some things take priority.  Rent over extra gas to run around, for example.  I need a place to live, I can live without seeing my friends all the time.

So, relationship with money.  I guess it’s avoidant and passive-aggressive.  If only money would be in a relationship with me, then my being manipulative would at least have an effect.  Alas, it is just me and my financial resources.

I am working with a mantra, “there’s always more money”, as a way to combat that crazy urge to spend.  I don’t have to buy it now, I can buy it later, because there’s always more money.  There will be more money in the future when I need the thing, I don’t need to buy it right now.  I don’t need to have it handy in case I need it sometime maybe.  I’m not going to run out of money forever, I will earn more, I am broke not broken.  It gives me great sympathy for hoarders and bag ladies.  I don’t want to be either one.

I will figure this out.  I am smart and motivated and I don’t want to die poor.  I don’t need to die rich, but I don’t want to be hurting for resources when I’m old.  It’s just another puzzle in life.


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Letting Go

I am a mother.  About 22 years ago, I gave birth to the world’s most perfect child.  Which, of course, every mother probably thinks.

Only now she isn’t a child any more, she is an adult.  A YOUNG adult, but an adult nonetheless.  And probably not that young, come to think of it.

When I was 19, my parents died.  I was thrust into the world on my own.  By 22, I had gotten myself under control.  I can’t say I was a hugely successful adult, but I was working on it.  I don’t feel like my daughter is nearly as adult as I was.  Maybe that’s my own nearsightedness.  Maybe we always think too highly of ourselves.

My daughter has taken off on a road trip for a month.  A month!  Three girls and two dogs in a car with no money for a month.  She is loving it.  I am scared to death.

Okay, not scared to death but nervous as hell.  What about phone or meds?  Well those things are on me, actually.  I said I would pay her phone for her so she has that security.  Meds are more on her.  There isn’t much I can do about that.  She’s going to have to find a Kroger and come up with the money.  I might have to pay by phone, I don’t know.  I can’t help worrying.

What about the other people on the road?  What if she has a fight with her travel companions or something happens to one of the dogs?  Who will she meet, that might hurt her.  She is going to Rainbow Gathering, where there will be drugs and alcohol, no doubt.  She isn’t clean, she’ll try stuff.  What if something goes wrong with the experiment?

And yet, this is exactly what’s supposed to happen.  She’s supposed to grow up and build a life apart from me.  Take the trip while she’s young and optimistic.  Do the stupid things while there’s time to recover.  Live!  Live the life she dreams of, before reality sets in and she has to sell out to pay for the daily needs.   How many of us work a job that doesn’t make us happy just to pay for rent and food?

I am supposed to let her go.  Push her out of the nest and watch her fly away.  I wonder if mother owls go through that.  “Get out, get out, get out, no, don’t go!”  Probably not.  Nature doesn’t second guess itself.

So she goes and I chew my fingernails.  I hope she never sees me do that.  I want a strong brave adventurous girl, not a wimpy little person afraid to take a risk.   I want her to fly strong and swift.

In about 25 years, I won’t be able to live alone any more.  I’ll have to come home to her nest and wait out my days.  Separation isn’t forever and the roles will reverse.

Until then, I watch her head out and miss her.