Kiss5Tigers

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


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So You Wanna Help

As we approach the end of Hurricane Florence, we are going to have to deal with the aftermath.  That means damaged houses, lost jobs, community clean up, and displaced individuals, among other issues.  People will want to help.  Here are a few thoughts about that.

Don’t give used stuff.  People don’t want your old clothes, and someone has to wash, bleach, iron, sort and transport that stuff.  It’s not free by the time it’s all done.  And it’s not uncommon for bugs to become an issue while it’s being stored.  Give money instead.  That way agencies can buy things that are needed based on demand.

Don’t donate canned goods.  They also have to be sorted, packed, shipped, unpacked and distributed.  I’m told a 69 cent can of beans can end up costing $3.00 by the time all that is done.  Plus it takes manpower that might be better spent on other tasks, like debris removal.  If you want to run a can drive, please give the bounty to a local food pantry where it can do the most good.

Do give money.  First of all it allows agencies to buy what they really need.  The American Red Cross might supply beds to displaced survivors but they need cots and blankets to do that, which wear out over time and need to be replaced.  Second, many agencies give out gift cards or pay utility bills, which are obviously much easier to do with cash.

Do give blood.  Not only is there likely to be an increased need, but blood drives in the affected areas have been cancelled so supplies may be down throughout the region.  If you can’t afford a cash donation, giving blood is a good move.

Now maybe you’ve decided to give up this morning’s latte to help disaster victims, but what can you do with that $5.00?  You’ve heard all the stories about charitable organizations where 90% of the money goes to internal expenses like executive salaries.  If you decided to help, no doubt you want the most of your money to go to the disaster.  A good site to check out agencies is National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster .  Their landing page is all about helping Florence victims.  Another good list of options is this one from Fast Company.  Notice the emphasis on giving money or time.

All of which is to say, please give but be smart about it.  Give what people need and choose responsible organizations.  Be wise and be kind.  Your heart will be happier.


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Hurry Up and Wait

Thursday was my travelling day.  My roommates took me to the airport, so that was a good thing.  Plane was on time.  There was even an empty seat next to me, which is a relief for a fat girl like me.  I wasn’t crowding anybody.  The landing was amazing, I almost didn’t feel it at all.  Then I got to Atlanta airport.  The airport, according to the announcements, is the busiest passenger airport in the US.  It was actually pretty easy to navigate and I even got some bad Asian fusion food there.  The problem is, I arrived at 3:30 and the bus to the facility didn’t arrive until after 7:30.  We got to the facility about 9:00, had an orientation briefing, grabbed a box dinner and made it to my room about 9:30.  Just about passed out.

Today my day started at 6:00 am.  I sometimes don’t go to bed until then, so this was very early for me.   There was coffee in the room and I managed to get breakfast before going to my first meeting.  Meetings started at 8:00.  I actually dozed off a time or two during the lecture, I’m not sure what I missed.  Then we began the other processing.  I went to security and had to re-key my badge.  I went to lunch.  Then I went to IT to get my laptop set up.  We used our badges to log in to the computer.  Guess what?  My badge didn’t work.  So after waiting almost 3 hours to get to IT, they couldn’t even help me.  Then the intranet went down.  At 6 I left IT without my laptop working.  I made it back to campus in time to grab some dinner.  Now I am in my room, watching the Weather Channel, cooling off, catching up.

The room is actually not bad.  The facility is a decommissioned air force base, so the rooms are like a dorm.  The walls are painted cinder block.  There is a tv and wifi.  I have a full-sized fridge, a microwave and a coffee maker here in the room.  I share a bathroom — well, toilet and shower, there is a sink in my room — with one neighbor.  I haven’t met her yet and possibly never will.  The bed is tall enough that I have trouble getting into it.

Tomorrow my first meeting is at 6:00 am, so that means getting up about 4:30.  People who arrived Wednesday are already shipped out, so I wonder if there is a plan for us to be gone by tomorrow night.  Maybe not until Monday, I could wish.  In any case, Florence is still active and they won’t know where to send us until the storm abates.

Right now they know of 5 deaths associated with the storm.  Almost a million people are without power.  Many more are without water.  How ironic, storm surge is causing widespread flooding but people are lacking potable water.  Storm should last until Sunday morning, raining the whole time.  The wind, while strong, is tolerable but the water is causing a LOT of damage.  Florence was a cat 4 a few days ago and dropped to a cat 1 before making landfall.  People didn’t evacuate, probably because they felt like it wasn’t going to be as severe, and now there are people on their roofs calling to be rescued.

For myself, I have posted in a few sites what’s going on, and of course blogged here.  I am going to do my morning pages, lol, my not-morning pages, laying in bed.  It’s 9:15 and I should be asleep soon to get up early.


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New Doctor

I saw my new doctor for the first time today.  His name is Joshua Richard, pronounced the French way, “ree-SHAR”.  He was a pleasant good looking young man with rather amazing eyes.  But so young!  Probably over 30 because I think you have to be that old to make it through medical school.  And he seems to be an intern because he had to bring in an attending at one point.  Also a good looking young man.  Young.  I feel old now, lol.

I am used to my doctor being older than me.  Or at least close to my age.  These guys just seemed more youthful than I would have expected.  Now I do want to be clear that I believe these guys know their stuff.  I don’t pay for age, I pay for knowledge.  Young doctor means new ideas and maybe I need some new ideas.

I was pleased that he didn’t bring up me being overweight.  I mentioned it, but he didn’t say anything about it.  I’m so used to doctors being pretty much fat-phobic that this was very refreshing.  I’m sure part of it was because my blood pressure came up at 113 over 79, which is really good.  Doubly good considering I’ve been off my meds about 2 weeks.  Of course I hadn’t had any coffee yet and I know coffee spikes my blood pressure, so maybe there is a connection.   Still the numbers were good enough that he wants to cut back on my medication, which is nice.

The rest of the day I spent with my roommates.  I bought a pocket stone at the Rock Barrel, a crocodile jasper.  It’s supposed to calm the nerves and be good for grounding.  It’s also supposed to help the body absorb nutrients from food.  It spoke to me, and I picked it up and it fit my hand perfect for fidgeting.  L bought me a strand of Labradorite too.  That’s good for self awareness, intuition and strengthening the aura.  But she bought it because I think it’s pretty.  I want to leave the strand in one piece but I also want to take it apart and make bracelets out of it.  I think it would be so pretty, the chips separated by little gold beads.  Or maybe that’s just me.  We also went to Andy’s for ice cream and Central Market.  I got my morning pages written, though not until after 9:00 at night so hardly morning.  It’s been a good day.


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Losing my Doctor

Yep, lost.  As in, I used to know where he was and now I am not sure.

I take medicine for high blood pressure.  I ran out 2 days ago and called the pharmacy to see where my refills were.  They said they hadn’t heard back from the doctor.

Well that seemed like an easy fix, so I called the doctor’s office.  Phone didn’t even ring, just dropped the call.  I thought maybe I was in the wrong spot for my cell phone so I moved.  Still dropped.  I tried a few more times and thought maybe I had the wrong number so I googled the doctor.

The google blurb said “closed permanently”.

Closed permanently?

When did that happen and how did I not know?

I called the medical board in Austin.  They said he still shows an active license and he hasn’t appointed a custodian of records.  They also said he should have notified everybody who he saw in the last two years.  I didn’t receive anything.  Not saying they didn’t send it, but if they did, it didn’t get to me.

So I don’t know what happened.  I don’t know if he died or went bankrupt or what.

And I don’t know who has my medical records!

I have an appointment with a new doctor and I don’t know how to get them my records.  Very strange situation.

Little slice of weirdness in my day.


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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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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.


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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.