Kiss5Tigers

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


Leave a comment

Making Coffee in a Strange Kitchen

I’m house sitting for a friend. She went to Europe. Often I would be envious but not in this case: I know what she puts herself through to save for her adventures. I don’t have that kind of self-discipline. I hope she has fun.

What she does have, is a cat named Archie. He apparently doesn’t take well to staying alone so I am here to take care of him. He is meowing for food but his dish has food in it. From this morning and from yesterday. In the morning, before I leave, I will clean his dishes and put out all new food.

Now what she doesn’t have, is cable tv. I am a person who runs the tv all the time for background noise. I’m darn glad she gets Netflix is all I can say. And she has set up a profile for me. I’ve watched way too many NCIS, a few Person of Interest and some Sherlock. I saw a documentary about eating called The Magic Pill. One of the things I thought was interesting was the connection between how we eat and the environment. I also watched a movie called Dumplin’ which was about a girl who loves Dolly Parton entering a pageant. Spoiler: she doesn’t win. But it was heartwarming nonetheless.

My coffee is cold and there is no microwave to hot it up. My friend lives close to the bone to save for travel, but the no microwave thing is more of a life choice. She objects to them. She claims they are not good for food and she is into clean eating. I’m struggling with keto and she is adding in the secondary layer of ethical sourcing. Hats off to her, it’s more than I would do.

I need to rearrange my stuff tonight. I brought an extra bag of activities so that I would have something to do while I was here, but I don’t want to check a bag on the plane tomorrow so I have to consolidate. I figure I’ll leave the extra bag here and pick it up later. But I do need to go through the bags and figure out what goes and what stays.

The travel. Not sure if I mentioned that already. I am going to Alabama for some training next week; Sunday – tomorrow – is my travel day. Oh that reminds me, I must get my boarding pass into my Apple wallet. I can stand a week of pay, since I’m not going to Alaska this time around. My training counts as a deployment so I probably go to the bottom of the list. I’ll have a wait.

I have written about 20 letters for International Correspondence Writers Month, called InCoWriMo. I have maybe 10 more addresses that I pulled off the website. Then I have a stack of mail that needs replies. I figure the nights this week will be good for getting some writing done. I need to get going on my morning pages too, even though I don’t actually do them in the morning.

I will miss my support groups this week but work is good. I should make myself some eggs and toast, and settle in to sleep early.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Wonderettes and Prime

Went to the Ennis Public Theater with my roommates. A friend of ours is in a musical called The Marvelous Wonderettes and we were privileged to watch the dress rehearsal. It was a fun night out and the actresses all seemed to enjoy themselves. I mean, it’s community theater, you don’t expect lavish productions and Broadway quality acting. It was as good as any high school play I’ve ever seen and the cast had fun. That’s what I go for. It was a good time.

When I got home, one of the dogs had chewed the padding off my headphones. These are not earbuds but the old fashioned kind of over-the-ear headphones. They keep me from getting too much outside noise when I’m listening, and my content doesn’t disturb the roommates. Because I usually work in the living room with the people around, that’s why. So I went to Amazon to replace them. Of course the same ones were out of stock with no information about when they’d be available again, so I had to order a different pair.

Then I started to think about free shipping. If I spend a certain amount of money, I get free shipping. So I ordered a book called The War of Art and some Dresden trim and Diamond Glaze for making collages. Then I added a data cord for a digital camera I was gifted. Totaled it all up and figured I’d better stop spending. Went to check out and was offered the free 2 day shipping option so I took it.

Well of course it wasn’t because I spent enough — I did, but with different vendors — so it comes with a free trial of Prime. I hope I like their video offerings because I don’t really order that much from Amazon. Of course I can always cancel later if it doesn’t work out.

My new book Ephemera arrived from Uppercase today. I love ephemera. I even love the word. And this book is actually about ephemera itself, not artists who work with it, so it makes my little heart happy.

I also got a batch of postcards that I had made from a picture I took. If you want one, contact me and we’ll figure it out. If you follow the link and email me, be sure to let me know you want a postcard so I don’t ignore you. I get a LOT of junk email, a wicked lot.

Tomorrow is breakfast with the roommates and a support group meeting. I really need those support groups, they give my day structure. I strongly recommend peer support groups as part of a wellness plan. And that’s for everybody! Mine happen to be mental health related, but even a Bible study group or a meet-up gathering provides support and community. Support comes from any number of places.


Leave a comment

Steak and Chai Tea

Wednesday (yesterday, today is Thursday) was a busy day for me.

I started the day with a COMI meeting. Basically it’s a forum where local mental health services meet up and share their information. I found out, for example, that Dallas has closed 3 mental health hospitals in the last 2 years, and no one has replaced the beds. So there are that many people who need to be hospitalized who can’t access services. That is a crying shame. There are so many of us who need respite and there is no facility for that.

I made a contact to a group called BattleBuddies, which works with veterans, and that led to a project called Stop One. What is important about this is that they offer Mental Health First Aid for free to the community. In my work in disaster relief with the government, I often see people who are distressed and a little training on how to help them would be a good thing.

Then I met up with my daughter for coffee. I like to see her regularly but she does live with her boyfriend. They only have one day off in common so I try not to take up that time. Coffee is a good thing. Daughter made coffee for me and we hung out for a while. She gave me some gears for my art, so that was very cool. And some buttons. We spent about an hour together then I took her to work.

My next stop was lunch with my insurance ladies. We all started at the company at the same time and were in the same training class. Usually there are 4 of us, but T was just back from a family trip so she didn’t make it. We went to Outback and I had steak which was wonderful. I don’t often get meat that’s rare to medium. Meat at our house tends to be fully cooked, which is not my preference, but I don’t have to cook so I’m not complaining. I also had cheesecake, something I don’t do very often. It was very good. We sat in the restaurant for almost 3 hours just catching up on life.

After leaving the ladies, I texted my friend K. I knew she was still at work but since I was in the area I thought I could stop by. I went to Barnes and Noble to kill some time. I took a few books off the walls and a couple of magazines, and I went to the cafe for a coffee. Well they were having a sale on chai, hot or cold, any size, for $2. You don’t have to tell me twice; I got a grande hot chai. So good. I didn’t buy a book, though, I don’t need anything more to read. I need more light in the house so I can read more.

I did go see K. She needed some help turning the mattress on her bed. I know it sounds like an odd activity, but us ladies need to help each other out when there’s nobody else around. There are many of us over a certain age who are single. Wonderful people, just not meeting the right other person. Or like me, divorced and wounded. Or, yanno, just not interested in having a relationship. Not everyone wants to be coupled up. We must band together and be there for each other.

I got home about 11:00, which was quite late for me. I slept well. It was a good day.


Leave a comment

I’m Ba-ack

Hello again!

I’ve been gone for quite a while with work.  I got back home about a week ago.  I’ve already seen many friends and my daughter; been to a brunch, a birthday party and a vineyard; and I’m all set up with unemployment.  Tomorrow of course is the new year so everything is closed, but Wednesday I will start contacting temporary agencies.  I like working for FEMA and I want to be able to continue with them but I do need to work during the down times as well.  Temp jobs are perfect because I can call out if I want to, like for trips and such.

What I have not done, is laundry.  And of course I am generating more of it as I continue wearing clothes.  I need to get on top of that.

Tonight is New Year’s Eve.  I am spending it at home with my roommates, and we have plans to eat ice cream at midnight.  It will be the last ice cream for a while, though, since we have decided to go keto.  No sugar so no ice cream.  Actually I think I am more paleo but they want keto so here we go.  We’ll see what happens.  Dinner tonight was a hunk of ground beef.  L called it a hamburger but it was just a chunk of meat, nothing like egg or bread crumbs mixed into it.  I don’t know if I can eat like that all the time.  I have some cooked shrimp in the fridge though that I’m looking forward to.

My daily living activities have definitely slowed down since I’ve been home.  I took a shower tonight because my hair was dirty and my skin was itchy, whereas on deployment I took a shower every other day.  I’m not a daily shower person, it dries out my skin.  But I recognize the signs of depression settling in and I need to make a plan to fight it.

I’m glad to see my cats again.  I’m going to try to add a picture of my Charli.  She was laying next to me, sleeping so hard she was snoring.  I would have said cats don’t snore but I would have been wrong.

2018-08-23 21.20.27


Leave a comment

Isms and Whiteness

I’ve been thinking a lot about isms in the past 24 hours.  Before I start, I want full disclosure that I am white cis het female over the age of 50.  I am a product of my environment in many ways.  I am trying to transcend that, but sometimes I get caught in verbiage I don’t understand or old ways of thinking.

I belong to several online support groups.  Two of them have a high overlap of people so there is an issue that started in one group that spilled over into the second group.  That issue was around perceived racism and observed name calling.

Now I will be honest that I didn’t see much of the original thread.  What I caught was a friend of mine trying to defend his position, and another person issuing personal attacks.  I understand a third party made a comment about ISIS that other people took to be islamophobic.  My friend took the position that it was basic human stupidity not racism, based on the third party being a Fox news enthusiast.  You may agree or disagree with Fox news, but they do have a particular perspective to their reporting.  Another person felt that my friend was being racist and supporting a racist.  At some point the thread disintegrated to such a degree that an admin pulled it down so I am unable to review it.  My friend got banned from the site.

My friend went to another site, and mentioned that he was banned.  Of course people wanted to know why and he told his story.  Obviously he told it from his perspective.  The other person almost immediately chimed in that he was wrong and became personally insulting.  The second group tried to get her to tone it down and stop being so rude, but she would not.  Someone moved to ban her from that site.

The other person went back to the first site and stated that a bunch of racist women were supporting my friend.  That of course got the people at the first site riled up.  So now we have two people having a disagreement that has escalated to involve two forums.

Here’s the thing, it brings up questions for me about how to talk about racism and other isms.  The big question for me is, who gets to decide when something is racist?  Is it the person on the receiving end?  Or is it the person who committed the faux pas?  Because it feels like if it’s the receiver, then there is no room to make a mistake while if it’s the committer then there’s no way to call out someone’s bad behavior.

But what if the person who committed the ism is a POC and the person who got offended was a white man?  And what if the POC rather quickly escalated to bullying behavior?  Is this prejudice?  Group one is very supportive of the POC to the point where it has been suggested my friend is gaslighting, and sealioning.  (Apparently sealioning is when you argue with someone who is trying to leave the situation, that is, arguing to argue, posturing.)  On forum number two, the dynamic is almost the opposite, with the most vociferous people defending my friend and even suggesting we ban the POC.  I don’t know her except for this interaction, and I’m not impressed with her.  She gets heated rather quickly and doesn’t seem to be able to defend her position beyond name calling and stating that certain things are obvious.  Oh, and that she doesn’t owe a random white man anything.  So she played the race card twice.

I am so frustrated by this whole situation.  My friend may well be racist, I don’t know him that well, but I think if he is it’s more institutional racism, not a personal bias.  He has been fair with me and I don’t see him being intentionally racist to other people.  Of course if we agree that the person on the receiving end gets to decide, then the POC would no doubt find him guilty of racism.  If we agree that it’s the person making the faux pas, then there’s no way to call out my friend on the part that he’s getting wrong.

He thinks I am not supportive because I don’t argue directly for him.  I will do that with the admin, not on the general website.  I don’t want to stir things up any more than they already are.  And I do support his right to stand up for someone else’s right to make a mistake.  I get that we want to be allies for POC, women, LGBTQ, and all the rest of what used to be called minorities.  I also get that my friend is being vilified for something that I can’t prove he did.  And he claims he did not do.  (I can’t prove he didn’t do it either.)

I’m so confused.

It’s not the responsibility of POC to educate white folk, but on the other hand if someone is having a problem, it’s incumbent upon them to speak up in a way that the issue can be addressed.  If I don’t know I’m being sexist, someone has to tell me, and probably that would best come from the offended party, even though in another way they don’t owe me anything.

What is the best way to handle situations like this?  Ignoring it only lets it escalate and hurts my friend.  Getting involved has only made me upset, although I don’t think I’ve come across as very upset because I am trying to be diplomatic.  Also I have mostly been asking questions, since I could be completely out of touch.  That happens as one gets older.  I don’t see engaging with the offended person since she was rather vitriolic with my friend.

It just makes me sad.

 


Leave a comment

Don’t Get Cocky

The Universe has a way of evening things out.

Today, I got a call from my support group facilitator.  He is also a peer.  He’d had an active weekend and just didn’t have the spoons to lead this week, so he asked if I would.  Of course I said yes.  I want to be helpful but also I like facilitating.

I went in early and set up.  J and B arrived.  Then 2 more B’s, E and M.  It was a full house.  I started the group at 5 after, just in case anyone arrived late.  I started off by reviewing the rules, which the group mostly stated to me.  I think the facilitator would be pleased to know that.

We did two pages of exercises from the workbook we are using, and the rest of the time we just talked.  Now the usual facilitator is very book oriented.  I am more relationship oriented.  I was glad to see people reach out to each other and provide feedback.

M brought up a good question.  A doctor can, for example, prescribe a particular kind of mattress if someone needs it.  Most of us have doctors who want us to attend these meetings.  There is a cost to the book.  Only $25, but for some of us that’s a lot of money.  If the doctor prescribed the class, would the cost of the book be covered by insurance?  Oh, probably not, because that’s how things work out, but if I went for physical therapy and needed equipment it would be covered.  This is psycho-therapy – at least loosely – and the book is the equipment.  I think we should try it out.

Anyway, I felt pretty good when I left.  I feel pretty good about my facilitating.  People enjoyed the meeting and I think they got something out of it.

I was driving home, minding my own business, when the Universe decided to make sure I didn’t get too cocky.  Suddenly my engine didn’t sound right.  I couldn’t figure out what was going on.  I looked down at the dashboard and saw that the temperature was redlined.  I pulled over and shut off the engine.

I pay for good insurance, so I called my roadside assistance and they sent someone out to tow me home.  I waited about an hour in 100 degree heat for a 10 minute tow.  So be it.  It was covered.  I checked fluids and oil was low, so I bought some oil that I’ve added.  Now it’s too dark out for me to be able to check the level again so it will have to wait for the morning.

I hope the low oil is the whole problem.  If not, I don’t know how I’ll pay for it.  I mean, I have 6 hours of training to do in the next week or so, so that’s a few dollars.  There is always unemployment.  I just need to drive the car around the block or something and see if the temperature shoots up again.

I’m just glad I had The Artist’s Way with me  while I was waiting.  It’s a good read.  More about that later.


Leave a comment

The Need to Connect

I love words.  Obviously I do, since I choose to blog.  I love that blogging allows me to explore an idea in more depth than, say, Facebook does.  Not that Facebook puts a limit on how long a post is, but the format doesn’t lend itself to ruminations of any kind.

Now I like Facebook.  It gives me almost instant access to people.  But lately I am missing the old BBS’s.  I miss the connection of paragraphs rather than sentences.  I miss feeling like I really knew people.  It’s the difference between chatting at a cocktail party and having a meal with someone.  Both are good, they’re just different.

I write letters to connect with people.  I do.  I write actual pen-to-paper snail mail letters.  I’d say, if you want one, contact me; but the internet will be around long after I am no longer blogging and I can just imagine some poor person trying to reach me and I’m not around.  I do have a mailing list and I do send out mail on a regular basis.  In fact, I’m planning to send some stuff out this week.

So what is it, this drive to connect with folks?  I don’t build community much in person.  No, I take that back, I am part of several communities.  I have a friend or two who I met just socially.  I have 2 different groups of work friends from different jobs.  I have more than one friend from support groups.  And of course I have roommates.  Oh, and my extended family (the nuclear family have all passed away, but the cousins remain).  So there are several communities of which I am a part.  I am more social than I give myself credit for being.

And yet I feel disconnected.  The only thing I know to do is reach out more.  Go back to The Cat Site and IUOMA and see what’s going on.  Plan lunches with the work ladies.  Call my family and see what’s up.  Write some letters.

Maybe, if you read this, you could leave me a comment so I know we touched each other’s lives for a moment.