Kiss5Tigers

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


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Small Victories

It’s been a couple of rainy days and I’ve been in the house since I got home Friday. It’s now Sunday.

I don’t have any money so I can’t exactly go places. I did request my first unemployment payment today, but they have me down for receiving checks and that means it can take time for the money to arrive. Then I have to cash the check, and send some of it to the bank.

Yes, Citibank does not have any branch offices in Texas, so I have to mail them my opening deposit. Very frustrating as well as causing delays, but once I get that initial deposit in, I can use direct deposit. As long as I can get it resolved before the second payment. The second request is right before my trip and I’d like to get paid for vacation.

I have had another sale in my Etsy shop, so that’s cool.

I finally managed to take a shower this evening. I should have done it while my roommates were out of the house but I couldn’t pull myself together. This is a small victory, but the bipolar didn’t win today. My hair is washed, my jammies are clean, my legs have been shaved. Not well, but shaved none the less. I am all girly again and I don’t smell.

You know, personal hygiene is such a struggle for me. It’s like, it’s just a pain in the ass and it feels overwhelming. I don’t understand this because once I’m actually in the shower, I am happy to be there. It just seems like getting over the threshold into the tub is nearly impossible. I don’t know why that is.

I had a shower. I took my meds. I ate. I didn’t exercise though, I am bad at doing that. And I’ll go to bed soon, which is a reasonable time for me. I don’t have any obligations until tomorrow afternoon.

Life is full of small victories. I made my own breakfast. I journaled. I made some plans. I taught that vision board class last month, I just need to find something else to teach now. I might see if I can get certified to teach WRAP.

I am hoping to hear that I’ve been accepted for coach / evaluator at work. I know it’s only been a week since I applied for it so it may easily take some time to be approved. But I am an optimist about time.

Of course I am a pessimist about the background check. I’ve been doing the job for a year now, 2 years if you count my time as a local hire. I would hate to lose it at this point because of my credit report. And I’m afraid I will.

Still, I am clean and ready for bed, and that’s a good thing. Sometimes little things are all there is.

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Background Check and Meds Issues



It’s been an interesting week so far.

I loaned my book Coping Skills by Faith G. Harper to one of the ladies at group. I just hope I get it back at some point. I need some of the information in it for the “book” I’m writing.

I put book in quotes like that because it doesn’t feel like it’ll be 100 pages, and most books are 200 pages or more. Some of those Harry Potter books were almost 2 inches thick, that a lot of words! I don’t have that many words in me any more. I used to, before meds, but now it’s just impossible. I have become a good listener and not much of a talker.

Anyway, I seldom loan out anything, so it was a rare moment of generosity for me. Especially since there is the possibility it won’t come home to me. Slight, but still.

Sunday was the storm in the picture I posted the other day. It was apparently a thing called a rain bomb, where a very small area has a terrible downpour and high winds. Of course it moves as the storm front moves. It took down trees and took out power for 3 days in some parts of town. What I have learned from this is, Dallas is not prepared for a disaster, if it took 3 days to restore power after a storm. What if something significant happened?

Monday I went to deal with my passport at the post office. It went pretty fast, but boy it was hard to part with $125. The passport itself isn’t that expensive, but I’m less than a month from travel so I had to expedite it which is another $60. Photos were $20 and there was a cost for cashier’s check, which the government needs since they don’t take bank cards. So this is a good thing, but I’m missing the money.

There was no group on Monday because power was still out at the facility.

Tuesday I had a work meeting so I didn’t go to Recovery International. I was told the meeting was at 10:00, so I signed on at 9:55. Well, sure it was at 10:00 — EASTERN time! I’m in central so it started at 9:00 for me and I only went to like half of it. At least I’ll get paid like $10.00 for it. I feel a little dumb about this, I mean, I know the meeting is webcast from DC, I just spaced on the whole time zone thing.

Then I had to drive up to the office for a background check. I’ve been working for the government for 2 years now, and they’re just getting around to the background check. What if I don’t pass for some reason? I mean, I’ve proven I can do the job, would they really let me go? But I was honest with them about what they asked. They asked about my work history and I told them about getting fired from the bank job. I mean, why hide it? The job became a call center, I am not cut out to work in a call center, and I was glad to be fired. They also quizzed me on my credit report. There were of course medical bills, which I may never pay. And my student loans. But they had something with TD Bank, and I’ve never done business with them to my knowledge, so I’ll have to call on that one. I don’t mind paying for what I owe, but I don’t want to pay for the other Allison.

You might remember the other Allison. I mentioned her in a previous post. She has my same first and last name, but she has a middle name which I do not, and she was born in the same town I was but 3 years before me. That means when I request my birth certificate, I usually get hers. Pain in the tushie. Plus I have had her stuff show up on my credit report. I know it’s hers by the location. And I have had her information show up in those verify your identity quizzes. They pull the information from public records online, and we are too similar to avoid computer confusion. I wonder if I should have mentioned her in the background check? Probably not, it would be too confusing.

I stopped at Buc-ee’s on the way home and got a peach ice tea. It was so good. I also got chicken salad but it was a bit too mayonnaise for me.

Today I went to group, the first one this week, and it was so good to be there. It’s truly my safe place. I will miss it when I’m deployed again, but so it goes. Someone in group payed me a great compliment today. She said I am her accountability partner, because she texts me and I always text back, and I don’t take sides or have an opinion about things. I know she is used to people just piping up with their take on situations in her life, and I don’t do that. I just mirror. She feels heard and understood. I bet I turned red when she said that.

Then I took my daughter to get her meds and dropped her off in town. She has a friend visiting who is catching a bus home at 3 a.m. tonight. I’ve taken buses, it’s a hard way to go. But the friend bought my daughter’s meds and some cat food, so that was nice. I got home and remembered that I hadn’t picked up my meds so I had to go back out.

I take 3 things for my bipolar disorder: Prozac (anti-depressant), Abilify (atypical anti psychotic) and Lamictal (mood stabilizer). I see the doctor about every 3 months, unless I’m deployed. He usually writes the prescriptions in 90 day lots. Well, I got 90 days of Prozac and 90 days of Abilify, but only 30 days of Lamictal. I called for the refill, because the bottle said I have 2 refills, and the pharmacy said I didn’t have any. I asked them to contact the doctor, and I called the doctor myself. Of course that was Friday, the doctor sent the refill on Monday, and it has taken until Wednesday for them to be ready to pick up. I’ve been out of my mood stabilizer for several days now. However, I have felt pretty good even without it. I might ask the doctor about that, since I’d prefer to take less medicine if I can get away with it.

Right now I am sitting in the living room, enjoying the air conditioning. Momo kitty has been affectionate and Charli cat is napping nearby. I have some reading material to get through and then, if I feel like it, some letters to write. I made 2 more sales on my Etsy shop, so that feels good. Those need to get mailed tomorrow. I also found I had $20.00 more than I thought I did. I celebrated by getting a frozen cranberry limeade at Sonic. I also stopped at QT and got a huge cup of ice water and an ice cream cone. Didn’t even come to $1.00 so that was a nice treat. Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. Ice cream and a cold drink, and I feel like my day is complete.

Time to get working on my reading material.


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Starting a New Week

It’s late Sunday night and I will be going to bed soon, but I want to think about what’s going on next week.

First of all, bank. I finally got my debit card and it is now activated, but I don’t have the pin. Apparently Citibank mails it to you under separate cover. So I have a card that is active but no money in the account and no way to put money in the account without a pin. So this is a little frustrating.

I already heard from unemployment. The turnaround time was really fast. I got paperwork and a handbook and a decline letter. They said I didn’t earn enough to qualify for unemployment. Now really, people who earn less money probably need unemployment more than people who earn the big bucks, so that already is annoying. But also the unemployment people didn’t have all my income for the year. I had to print out and send them a copy of my W2 for 2018. I mailed it Friday, the post office says they’ll have it Monday. Hopefully so, because I need them to pay me. That reminds me, I need to update my banking information with them.

Tomorrow morning I have an appointment at the USPS to get my passport. Or rather to order it. I have to get up and stay up long enough to do that. Standing in line will be the hardest part. Actually, turning over my birth certificate will be the hardest part. I can stand in line any time, but it’s a right bitch to get the correct birth certificate. Someone with my name was born in the same city but 3 years before me. Every time I request my birth certificate, they send me hers. Standing in line is cake compared to municipal bureaucracy.

I also need to stop by the pharmacy and pick up my prescription. That’s the blood pressure med. I am out of mood stabilizers, so the next couple weeks should be interesting. I called the pharmacy who says there are no refills on the script. However, it’s not like my doctor to put in one month for one med and 3 months for the other 2. I asked the pharmacy to contact him, but I left a message for the doctor myself.

Tuesday I need to drive up to Denton to go to the office. Now I need to do it anyway because I am having issues with my enterprise password so I need to see tech support. Besides that, work is doing a background check on me. You may well ask, haven’t I already been there for 2 years and shouldn’t this already be done? Well, yes and yes. In fact I asked the officer about it when I called them back. I figured, since I’ve applied for a few jobs while I’m off work, that it was one of them doing the check. But no, it’s my regular job. And the reason? “We’re catching up,” is what he said. But I will go up to the office, so that is my safety catch. Hopefully that night I can meet up with friends for dinner or drinks, though I really can’t afford it.

Elcie is working again, starting Tuesday. Full time for her. So that’s a good thing. Maybe she can pay me back some of the money she owes me. I could sure use it.

Also, I set up the hotel room for Vancouver. I had points from being deployed last fall so I was able to reserve a room for July 4. Something good from all the time spent at the Hilton Garden Inn.


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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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DBSA Vision Board Presentation

Monday afternoon is DBSA at MHA. I got to do my vision board presentation again. I’m getting pretty good at it, and people are enjoying it. I’m actually amazed that people think I’m as good at it as they believe. I mean, I’m used to having to work so hard to be successful at something, so to have this pretty much come naturally is a real gift. I mean it, it feels like a present to me.

Most people shared their vision boards, a few people didn’t. I always ask if they’d like to share, and remind them that “no” is an acceptable answer to that question. One lady decided her piece was too personal to share, another was new to the group and felt shy. I am not about forcing people to do something that makes them uncomfortable. I want people to feel safe and respected.

There was a new lady today, and I talked to her for quite a while after the meeting. She had a lot of family issues that affected her deeply and she just needed to get it all out and not be judged. I am very good at not judging. I am a good listener. So I sat with her until almost 6, just because she needed to talk.

One of the guys asked for my number today and said he’d like to hang out sometime. I don’t know if I think this is a potential dating situation or not. I don’t think I’m his type and he is better looking than me, but maybe he can see past my plainness to my heart. It could happen. And yet I don’t want to think too much about this. We can be friends, see what happens. Maybe nothing.

He joined us for coffee at Cafe Brazil last week, and paid for my snack. And he hung around after class today and helped me bring stuff downstairs. So maybe he is being friendly but maybe it’s a little more. I can’t tell, but right now I don’t mind the uncertainty.

It’s nice to feel a little bit of interest. I have felt pretty much asexual for several years now. I’ve thought maybe it was menopause or maybe it’s my meds. Many antidepressants kill sex drive. So it’s fun to feel a little like, maybe there’s some interest there. No expectations, just noticing that I can still feel this way.

The rest of the week will be pretty busy. I have Recovery International tomorrow morning. Wednesday I’m covering Taking Care of You for the usual facilitator who is out of town. Thursday I’m doing the vision board presentation for the last time. Friday is ATTA. I missed them last week, I just plain did too much and was worn out.

I often wonder about that. When I work, I work 10 hour days, 7 days a week, and it doesn’t bother me. Then I get furloughed and I have weeks or even months to myself. But I have had regular 40 hour a week jobs, and they just drain me. Why is that? I feel like it must be related to the bipolar pattern.

And, I have been asked a couple of times now how people can help me out, since I am having money issues at the moment. If you want to make a donation, my PayPal is under rippledwords@yahoo.com. Otherwise I have an Etsy store where you could consider buying something. I am really feeling the crunch, any little bit would help.


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Vision Board Presentation

I did my first vision board workshop today. It went very well.

So, vision boards. In simple terms, it’s a sort of affirmation meets arts and crafts proposition, but it actually works.

When you think a thought often, you strengthen that pathway through your brain. It becomes easier to think that thought again. So if you are thinking something negative, it becomes easier to keep thinking it. That’s why we get caught in thought loops about being, say, ugly or worthless or stupid.

But the reverse is true too: If we get into the habit of thinking positive thoughts, those also become easier to think. That’s why affirmations work. You spend more time thinking a positive thought, it becomes easier to think it, and eventually it becomes second nature. I am a good person replaces I’m worthless.

Now the left side of the brain contains the language centers. Working with words like affirmations activates the left side of the brain. But there is another side of the brain, one that does not think in words but in pictures. You are familiar with its way of thinking, you call it intuition. It’s the things you know that you don’t have the words to express, because you don’t know it in words. In order to make changes, you want to activate the whole brain. So how do we activate the non-verbal righthand side?

Turns out, art and imagery are a good way to engage the right side. So if we want to fully activate the entire brain, working with words and images together is one good way. So if we combine the words of an affirmation with pictures, we get vision boards.

There are several benefits to creating one yourself. First of all it causes you to think about the topic. In my presentation, the topic was “live your best life” so people had to think about what their best life would be like. Then they had to find words and images that spoke to those ideas. Now some magazines have content that fits exactly, but lots of time it’s just a case of symbolism. You might, for example, find the word “relaxation” or you might find a picture of a hammock. They speak to different parts of the brain.

People find that once they go through these exercises, the ideas really do stick. And because they stick, we act on them. Maybe not consciously, but we open ourselves to possibilities and take actions in line with the new way of thinking. Both halves of the brain work together to bring about a change.

So my little group of people, they are going to find themselves experiencing some changes in the future. They have developed an idea of what their best life looks like and feels like, and they have worked it into both sides of their brains. The non-verbal side will influence their behaviors even if the verbal side still provides negative messages.

People had fun with the activity. One of the ladies found an image that clearly depicted the kind of confidence she wanted to have. One of the men found wonderful words that spoke to his self-described zen self. Several people asked for another piece of paper to do another one at home.

The only complaint was that there weren’t enough male images. Now that’s no surprise. I get mostly women’s magazines, and for some reason I didn’t have any Wired or Fast Company in my stack. I did have some National Geographics. But it’s a valid concern, so I will have to hit up Half Price Books and see if I can find some Sports Illustrated or GQ. Maybe Men’s Health.

So I would say this was very successful, and I’m excited to be doing it another several times. After this, I start to monetize it. Because I need something I can do when I’m not working for the government.


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Mushroom Pasta

We are a keto household. I need to clarify that I am not fully keto myself, but I am definitely low carb these days. One of the things my roommate F misses is pasta. Well, L found shirataki noodles in the produce section at our local Walmart that are pretty much the same thing. The texture when chewing is a little different, but they are an Asian product and it isn’t much different from glass noodles.

All of which is to say, tonight we had spaghetti casserole. Shirataki noodles, tomato, meat and cheese. It was a little greasy, but you know, sausage and cheese are not fat free. Very good, and a nice change from servings of just meat. F is not a fan of vegetables, so we don’t eat a lot of those.

I’m planning to go to North Texas Food Bank on Saturday morning. They provide fresh produce, I think it’s 30 pounds to a household. There is a place near me that claims they come every Saturday, but I think they really only deliver once a month. But I’ll go down and check it out. I might have to give away some of it so it doesn’t go bad. I feel like, as long as I have no money so I can’t pay for things, I can at least find other ways to bring resources into the house. Being poor is hard work.

I took the first withdrawal from my GoFundMe today. It will take a few days to be available and then I’ll withdraw it so it doesn’t accidentally go for another purpose. I’m keeping an eye on my bank account. I wish I could withdraw to Paypal, which would be more accessible for me.

I continue to post hats in my Etsy shop. I’ve gotten compliments on my work but I haven’t sold one yet. Of course this is not exactly the hat time of year. I need to find something else I can make that is more seasonal. I used to make jewelry but now it’s too difficult. I can’t see up close with my contacts / glasses, and I can’t see far enough to pick up the beads from the table without them. I can’t even thread a needle at this point, which makes needlework or mending difficult. Eyesight is sure a problem when you get older!

We didn’t make it to the plasma center yesterday. Daughter was sick as a dog. She thinks it was food poisoning. She was eating chicken nuggets Monday night and one had a huge (for a nugget) bone in it. She kept eating. I think it’s money stress combined with lack of sleep.

We did make it to the doctor. She finally talked about her issues with employment and got a referral to Genesis Women’s Shelter. They do counselling as well as housing, so hopefully they can find some way to help her. Daughter gets anxiety attacks when she’s at work. I think she is capable of doing a job if someone is willing to support her until the anxiety attacks subside. There are all kinds of jobs for people with disabilities. Hers is very real and there should be options available for high functioning people who just need a little help.

I fall into the same category, since bipolar is certainly considered a disability but I can hold down a job for months or even years at a time. I just need some support when things come crashing in on me. There isn’t much room in our society for people who don’t aspire to a 40 week job or who don’t fit that mold.

In the meantime, I keep working on finding money. I believe the Universe has infinite resources and can find some to share with me.