Kiss5Tigers

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


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Today Was a Good Day

It’s so easy to talk about the bad days, but today was actually a good day.

I woke up and managed to stay awake for the first time in, well, more than 2 weeks. I have been waking up about 9 am and doing a few things, then going out into the living room to plug in my phone. Now everyone sleeps late in this house, so even as late as noontime, the living room is dark and quiet. So it’s really easy to just stretch out on the sofa and nap for another hour or two.

But this morning I had calls to make, so I stayed up. And the calls were successful, woot woot!

First call was to Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). That’s the unemployment office to the rest of the world. Texas really has exactly one unemployment office which is in Austin (the capitol) so you really can’t go to unemployment. What they do have is the TWC, which is basically an employment office. Because they are not concerned about you getting money, they are concerned about you working. I am concerned about me getting money, job is a fine way to do that, but I have paid into the unemployment system and so has my most recent employer, so I don’t mind saying I feel rather entitled to the money. This is not charity; it is, in fact, insurance.

Anyway, in Texas you can only apply for unemployment once every 12 months. I had a deployment end last spring, and I applied for unemployment on June 3. I did work again in Sept – Dec, but when that deployment ended, I couldn’t apply for unemployment again. Now since it was within 12 months, I could continue collecting on the previous claim. But funding ran out and I was still within the 12 months, so I couldn’t apply again.

However, today is June 3, so guess what? Application time, baby. I tried to apply online but got a message that said “we can serve you better by phone”. My first call this morning was to TWC. They took my application by phone. They really couldn’t believe I earned as much as I did during that Sept – Dec run, but I was working 60 and 70 hour weeks, so with all that overtime, I was doing great. Hopefully that means I’ll get a decent check, but really anything is better than the nothing I’m getting now. So this is a good thing, it’s just a waiting game now.

The second call was to Citibank, my new bank. Now I do most of my banking online so I didn’t realize until later that they actually do not have a physical branch in Texas. I need to make an initial deposit to fully open the account, but what I have is a paper check. I had to be sure I could just deposit it into an ATM. They said to use any ATM that accepts deposits, so I’ll have to use one at an actual bank not at a corner store. So I’m trusting them for this. I also got the passcode for my new debit card today. That means I should get the card in the next day or two, which is also good. In the meantime, I need to change my banking information with unemployment, so the money goes to the new account. Also a good call, because it answered a question.

The third call was to my employer. Remember that I do seasonal work for the government. I get deployed, I get furloughed. I work when there’s work, but I don’t get paid when there’s no work. That’s why I get unemployment. I do look for other work in my down time because I need to do something, but this time no luck.

Anyway, I am required to keep up with trainings and other meetings while I’m not deployed. I got a notice that I had missed a training that was due for the end of May. I have a company phone, but I don’t have a company computer, so I didn’t know how to take the training. I spoke to a very helpful person who let me know that even though I got the notice, I was not in trouble. I wouldn’t be able to access the class without a company computer so I’m not expected to do it until I’m deployed again.

While I was talking to her, I asked about the coach / evaluator certification. What that is, is a person who signs off on certain requirements for being fully qualified for a position. I am a qualified ASPS, and I have opened a task book for the next higher position, which is housing lead. A task book is the list of necessary skills and requirements that someone needs to observe you doing. The observer is the coach / evaluator. Well, you can only evaluate a position for which you are qualified. So I would be able to sign off on people who are working on their ASPS qualification.

I asked about how to become a coach / evaluator and the helpful person sent me the link to the requirements. Pretty much, you need to be qualified for the role you want to evaluate, and you need to have the task book opened for the next level. Check and check. Now all I need is to let my cadre coordinator know I’m interested. I can do that tomorrow, after I verify who that is. Coordinators also get deployed and furloughed, which means the info can change while I’m out of the office with no notice.

That makes 3 calls, all productive, which is a good day in itself. I also went to group and hung out afterwards with some of the other clients. When I got home, my roommate had made roasted potatoes and barbecue ribs. Momo Kitty fell asleep on my feet, which is very affectionate for him. Charli is always on me for attention but Momo is pretty self contained. It’s now 11:00 and I’m thinking of bed.

Tomorrow is another busy day. I have group in the morning, then I’m going to visit a friend who is in the hospital. I hope to add in a visit to another friend who is in the area after that, just because it would be convenient. I mean, she’s my friend and I’d love to see her, but the timing would be convenient. I am short of gas money these days.

It looks like a good start to the week.

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Tuesday Night Thoughts

I didn’t sleep last night. I get manicky sometimes and sleep eludes me. I surfed the web and watched some Netflix. All good and not conducive to sleep. Finally about 8 am I fell asleep. The problem being, I was supposed to be somewhere at 10 and I slept through it. I meant to just stay up then come home and crash but that didn’t happen.

I am sleepy tonight and it’s only 11 so I might be asleep before midnight.

I need $145 for my passport. I have about half of it, unless I need to put gas in the car, which I probably will. But my friend paid for my airfare so I think I need the passport more than I need gas. Except I need the support groups and I have to drive to them, so . . . I hate being on the horns of a dilemma.

I am thinking about B. I know we haven’t planned anything other than hanging out and there isn’t anything that makes me think he likes me especially. I went through this with Joe back in the 80’s. He was good looking, sincere, kind and had a way of looking at you with his full attention. He also had a girlfriend that he was very serious about and eventually married. The first few times I interacted with him, he rather took my breath away. I don’t think he ever knew I felt like that and it’s well over now so if he happens to read this, it’s funny more than embarrassing.

So B is better looking than I am, and kind and polite and pretty smart. He’s a balanced individual and respectful. Earnest. And he has a way of interacting that feels like you’re the only thing in the world. But he’s like that with P too and I know they’re just friends. Aside: there is something about friendships between men that makes me happy. Anyway, I will just be friendly, I can always use another friend, and hopefully he will never know I am getting all day dreamy.

But for myself, it’s nice to feel like this. I have had no sex drive or even interest in years. Here I am all butterflies and blushes and I thought it was over. Time of life, medication, being plain and pudgy, just seemed like there was no hope of this kind of juiciness. I’m happy for myself, regardless of whether this turns into anything. It’s fun

I long for a couple of dollars to spare so I could get a mocha at a coffee shop. I would like to take my letter writing stuff and take over a table and drink some professionally made coffee. From espresso, not from drip. With dark chocolate. Oh, decadent. LOL. It’s just coffee.

I am tired of being poor. And I will be poor for some weeks more. I need to just suck it up and get on with life.

Someone was very kind to be at the Marvelous Message Board, my SARK group. The organizers decided to drop my membership from $20 a month to $5, which was huge even though I still couldn’t afford it. Then someone anonymous paid for a year for me. So, wow! The kindness of humans is beyond amazing. I am a valued part of the community, and someone was willing to back that up with action. I am honored.

Well, 3 and a half more weeks until food stamps renew, 2 weeks until I can apply for unemployment. Even if I qualify, it’ll be 3 weeks until I get paid, and I’ll only get paid for one week because Texas holds back the first week.

I am going to be so poor for so long. I can’t stand it.


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Dead Phone

My daughter managed to kill another phone.

This is a problem because now there is no way to get in touch with her and she is going through a rough time. I worry. I worry a lot.

In the meantime, I had a bit weirdness. I was doing laundry and I opened the washer, and there was a white plastic rectangle on top of the wet clothes. It was a driver’s license. It belonged to my daughter’s ex. So I tried to reach my daughter, which like I said, is difficult right now. I ended up texting her ex. We met up at the 7-Eleven near Elm and Good-Latimer. She called me “mom”. I know she thinks I am a great mom because her own mom is, well, less than accepting. She told me she is going back to school to get her diploma. I’m proud of her for that, but she really hurt my daughter. My daughter could deal with the break up, but she hasn’t seen her in days. I think that’s so true for my daughter, that it’s not about the sex but the emotional connection. I feel that she is so alone right now. See? Mom brain. It keeps coming back to my daughter.

Finances are crap. I have to tell K that I can’t go to Alaska with her. I really wanted to go. I never take a vacation for myself and this would have been the thing. But I own less than $100 so I just have to suck it up. Plus K will basically remember this every time it comes up about taking a trip together. Assuming it comes up again. But I will babysit Archie the cat while she is gone, as good as a vacation for me. Well, almost.

I applied for food stamps today. I don’t know what kind of documentation they’ll want. I really have none. How do you prove a negative? I can’t prove I have no income, nobody documents that. In Texas, as a single adult, there is a lifetime limit on what you can get in food stamps as well. So I am out of unemployment money until June, and I don’t know how long it will be if I even qualify for food stamps.

On Saturday I really need to go down to the local food bank. I may not be able to bring money home but I can sure bring food. Us unemployed people can get food almost anywhere.

Someone, one of the animals, tried to tangle my yarn up. I left a half-crocheted hat and its ball of yarn on the back of the sofa. I got up in the morning and it was all over the floor. At least the hat was intact. The yarn had to be untangled and rewound. I assumed the culprit was Charli the kitty because she has a long history with yarn. But while I was working, Jack the dog kept grabbing mouthfuls of yarn and pulling it to the floor. I think Charli knocked it off the back of the sofa and Jack pulled it apart. Good teamwork. Sort of.

Well, back to the job hunt. Maybe I can find something I’m qualified to do.


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Planning Ahead

I went to ATTA this morning, and the writers’ group had “planning ahead” as the topic. I wrote my 3 pages. They must have been good because they made people laugh. But it did raise some questions for me.

I am not good at planning ahead. Part of it is because I don’t really believe life is going to work out according to my plans anyway. Why make plans you know are going to fail?

So I tried to be very zen about everything. You know, in the moment, mo expectations. It’s basic Buddhism, right? You suffer because you want things, so to end suffering, don’t want things. If I’m not attached to an outcome, I can’t be disappointed.

Only, here I am over 50 and nothing has been accomplished. Because I didn’t make any plans and just let life happen. I feel like, I should make a better plan, if it’s not too late. I could possibly be too old for making plans, I do’t know. Is there an age limit?

Obviously there’s an age limit for certain plans. I can’t join the military or become an air traffic controller. I can’t even have another baby, though one child seems to be enough for me. But in general, can I run out of time?

Why haven’t I planned better? Or at least more? What was I thinnking?

First of all, I didn’t expect to make it past 50. I really didn’t. I still think I’ll be dead by 56, though I don’t know exactly why I believe that. It’s from an old sleepless night back in Sept-Iles. I don’t think the world is going to last that much longer. But 56, yeah, something about that number.

And yet I could easily live into my 80’s like so may of my family have. Or at least my 70’s. Though I expect to work until I’m 70 or 75, unless I go senile, which I don’t expect.

So was I really being zen or was I just lazy or lacking in self discipline? I think now it’s the self discipline issue. Because I didn’t manage to save enough money to get to Alaska this summer. I have pieces of the trip bought but I never did find a job so I can’t afford the other pieces. I’m really disappointed. I’m also sorry that now my friend won’t believe me about making plans. I hate looking bad but sometimes shit happens. And sometimes I fail to plan appropriately.


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Brunch and Mall Walking

It’s been a good day.

I went to an organic plant sale at St Andrew’s church in Dallas. It was raining mildly when I left but not horrible. By the time I got to the highway, it was practically white out conditions. Yes, a rain white out! I kept going anyway because I am fearless. Well not quite, I was only going 55 mph the whole way. South Dallas was a swamp. I hit every light red and the water was building up so fast that the storm drains looked like whirlpools in the middle of incredibly deep puddles. But I made it to the sale, and didn’t find anything to take home. I liked the cat mint, but cats apparently don’t care about it. I know it’s not the same as cat nip, but I thought maybe it had cat attracting properties. There was also an adorable little plant called red amaranth with hot pink stems and pink leaves. Turns out that sucker grows to be like 5 feet tall, and apparently might get taller, so not a good choice for me. I’m going to repot some aloes I trimmed tonight and bring one to my friend tomorrow I think. She couldn’t find anything either, but her problem is a shady porch. Most plants in Texas want full sun and she just doesn’t have it.

We then went to brunch at Cindi’s deli. I paid. I get to do that from time to time. But also, I know that soon enough I’ll be flat broke and I won’t be able to do it. It feels good to treat a friend. I had eggs and lox. The first bite was SO fishy, lol. I don’t know what I expected! I mean, it was lox, of course it’s fishy! The hash browns were perfect; the bagel, well, my only complaint was that a full bagel could use 2 packages of cream cheese, not just one. Coffee was so good. I also really like the reuben sandwich here, but I didn’t want one for brunch.

Then we went to the Galleria and walked. We circled each of the three store levels and got almost 2.5 miles out of it. I worked up a sweat so that was probably beneficial. I don’t usually care to sweat. Usually it just means I am uncomfortably hot because Texas is a hot state. We went to Old Navy and my friend bought 2 dresses and a blouse. I saw a lot of really cute stuff, but I won’t buy it. I have lost 10 lbs in the last couple of months and I’m hoping to lose more. I just refuse to buy new clothes until I don’t fit into what I already own. Unless I need something, like to replace my black jeans with the broken zipper. Or the bra that the underwire is poking through.

Now I am home, with my cat snoring next to me. She has soft little kitty snores. It took me the longest time to figure out what the sound was and my roommate didn’t hear it so I couldn’t ask her. We had pizza for dinner and there is some soup that I’ll probably have a bowl of when I’m done here.

I have posted some of the hats from the 100 Hats Project on Etsy. You can see them here. They are pretty inexpensive for a handmade item, and for now any money earned will be spent on more yarn for more hats. I saw such a good buy 2 days ago and I just couldn’t do it. So please buy a hat!

Also, don’t forget about my GoFundMe for Envisioning Wellness. Looking for something to do with your tax refund? I could stand a few more donations!


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Facilitating

Today I had the opportunity to facilitate a DBSA support group. The regular facilitator was out of town.

It went well, I thought. Though we had many more people than usual.

Usually there are about 6 of us, today there were close to 15 people, many of them new. That is really a LOT of people. I didn’t have performance anxiety but I was concerned about the size.

Additionally, the reading today was a story from African folklore. We had 2 black ladies from the US, and a black couple from Africa. I was like, this will either be really good or really bad. And it was a mixed bag. The black ladies stayed, the African couple left. I hope they weren’t offended. I can’t help what the material is, I just facilitate.

I did notice a few people were less involved than usual. A few people passed on responding to questions, which also doesn’t usually happen. We read the lesson out loud, a few people passed on that too.

After the lesson, I asked a couple of the regulars how they felt about the size of the group. Mostly, the response was negative. Too many people. Especially for my folks with social anxiety, just too much. I want people to be comfortable. I can’t suggest the group will be that big every time, but how can we make people feel safe to share.

I think, when there are more than 10 people, we should consider breaking the group up. I could take half, and the regular facilitator could take the other half. That way, people would feel more comfortable opening up about their stuff. I have texted this idea to the regular guy, we’ll see what he says when he gets back.


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Trying Things

Trying bulletproof coffee for the first time. I like my coffee black so this is without sweetener. Mostly tastes greasy. I might prefer regular coffee. But I am trying to be low carb at least, trying for keto at home but it’s hard. I can think of all kinds of things to eat, but they involve crackers, so . . .

Yesterday I had my first poke bowl at a place called Below 40. It had salmon and crab and was so good. I was full most of the day. I was of course hungry again by 6 but that’s pretty normal. Going to try another one of their signature bowls next time. My friend K who I went with had a custom bowl made. Hers had greens instead of rice. I might try that the next time.

Slept on K’s new sofa this weekend. So comfy. What a process it was getting that sofa! First problem was getting the old sofa out. We got it to the truck no problem. Getting it into the truck was a different story. While we were trying to wrangle the thing over the tailgate, a fire truck pulled up to check a nearby hydrant. The firemen came over and put the sofa in the truck for us! Very helpful. Unloading it was pretty straightforward. The staff at the store loaded the new one for us and we got it off the truck just fine. Then came getting it through the door.

We turned it one way, didn’t fit. Turned it the other way, didn’t fit. The feet were in the way, the curve of the back was in the way, the whole thing didn’t fit by only an inch or two. A neighbor named Gary came by. He helped us turn the thing a few different ways but his girlfriend showed up and they had to get to a concert. Then Alan and Ty, some neighbors from upstairs showed up. Alan actually took the sliding glass doors off the tracks to get the sofa in. It took him over an hour, things were so stuck by paint and dirt. Who knew the track to a sliding door could get so dirty? Who even thinks of cleaning such a thing? Then the guys lifted the sofa over the porch railing and into the living room, and they put the doors back. Ty said he’d take a bottle of Crown for his efforts, but Alan doesn’t drink so K will get some money for him.

We went to an estate sale yesterday afternoon. I bought a copy of a book called “The Birds’ Xmas Carol” by Kate Douglas Wiggin. I bought it for nostalgia reasons, but it’s got an inscription dated 1913. The copyright says 1886 but I think that’s just the copyright date, not the publication date of this issue. I mentioned it to K, and a man near us kept going on about how much the book was probably worth. I don’t care about the value. It reminds me of my grandmother.

I also saw a pretty pink glass rabbit dish that reminded me of her. It made me think of the chicken bowl she had that always had hard candy in it. It was a milky blue color. The bottom was a wicker basket and the lid was a nesting chicken. You lifted the chicken off to get to the treats. Speaking of candy, I remember her buying ribbon candy at Christmas and Peeps and Easter. Grandma would eat a whole Peep, just popping the whole thing in her mouth. I never liked them myself, not a fan of marshmallow.

Well, I am off to my Artists Way group. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!