Kiss5Tigers

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


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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.

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Cookies and Shopping

This morning I went to a Recovery International meeting. Usually I am just a participant but today it looked like it was going to be just me and one other person. The facilitator called in sick. We decided to have the meeting just ourselves and while I was making coffee another person arrived. I ended up facilitating, which is fine, just unexpected. A fourth person joined us about halfway through so we ended up with a decent group. One of the guys asked me if I wanted to grab a coffee after group but I couldn’t today.

When I got home, I texted my dealer about coming over today. Yup, I admit it, I’m addicted to Girl Scout cookies. I particularly like the Do-Si-Dos, which are a peanut butter sandwich cookie. They might be my favorite cookie, though shortbread dipped in dark chocolate is a close second. Got to be the right shortbread though, not just a vanilla cookie. So now I am the proud owner of 3 boxes of Do-Si-Dos and one of toffee cookies. No they are not keto friendly but if I only eat one or two a day I’m still within my guidelines. We all had a nice visit with my suppliers, mother and daughter. Actually the daughter is a very cool kid. She showed up wearing a wolf tail and some wolf ears. I wish I’d been able to be that creative when I was a kid, but I’m pretty sure my dad would have stopped me.

After a few hours, roommate L and I went out to run an errand. I needed some snack food and roommate F needed a carton of cigarettes. We went to Sam’s Club, Winco and Walmart. I got broccoli, beef jerky, nut flour crackers, those veggie straw things, cottage cheese and sour cream for making dip. Sour cream dip is keto. I just needed the crackers and the veggie straws to dip in it. I can eat 17 crackers or 38 veggie straws with dip. That’s a LOT. I probably wouldn’t eat 38 veggie straws even if I wasn’t watching carbs.

Now Walmart was a quick trip. I just needed some red acrylic paint for a project for Valentine’s Day. L needed to pick up a prescription for a friend. The drug was Tramadol, a synthetic opioid pain reliever. For something like the third time, Walmart has the drug backordered. Now really. I know opioids have fallen out of favor, but this is a common drug and lots of people take it. Walmart is a huge company. How can it be that they can’t get this medicine reliably?

Home for dinner: roast beef with jus. It was a little longer cooked than I prefer but the flavor was good. I can’t help it that I like my meat bloody. I am doing laundry and, well, blogging. NCIS is on; we record it, I don’t know if it airs on Tuesdays. I am planning to take a shower later tonight.

All is good in my world. It was an enjoyable day.


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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


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On My Way

I’m deployed.

I’m halfway between excited and nervous.  I’ve been waiting for this so I’m excited to finally be called.  Yet I don’t know what I’m going to find, and that makes me nervous.

Roommates are concerned that I will be overwhelmed by the victims’ emotionality.  F took me aside tonight and told me to protect myself.  I know he means to build up a psychic shield, surround myself with white light kind of thing.  Mostly he kept saying for me to remember it’s not my fault, there’s only so much I can do, and take care of myself.

I have packed, unpacked and repacked.  I want to get down to one suitcase.  I figure, they’re going to give me equipment to manage as well as my suitcase and purse.  I don’t want a ton of stuff.  I mean, I do want a ton of stuff, but I can’t manage it all.  I’ll bring my computer, headphones and all.  And my sketch book.  And a glue stick.  I think I’ll throw a pair of scissors in my luggage, since I’ll be checking a bag.

Meds are in my purse.  Contacts and glasses will go in my purse too.  As did makeup.  I did look for another purse and couldn’t find one I liked.  Now I’m glad to have the extra room.

I got to see my daughter E today.  We ran some errands and I gave her my car to use.  I’m not sure about this.  I think, it’s not in good shape, what if something happens while she’s using it?  It gets towed and I can’t get it back.  Then I’m without a car.  I don’t know how long I’ll be deployed, so $25 a day for storage times who knows how many days.  I’d lose the stuff that’s in the car, some printed material, some knitting, all my stuffies.  It would make me very upset.  So I told her, no using the car.  She can use it to get her stuff from V.  But no joy rides.  And tonight she had K pick her up to go visit a friend, so she is trying to respect my wishes.

Charli the kitty is all over my suitcase and she yells at me every time I come into the bedroom.  She is upset that I’m leaving but I can’t take her with me.  F and L will look after Charli and Momo so that’s something I don’t have to worry about.

I made sure F, E, and my cousin all have each other’s phone numbers.  If anything happens, I want them to be able to contact each other.  Not that anything will happen.  It’s a precaution.  I should text them all from my work phone too so they have that number.

I think I’ve got it all covered.   One last load of laundry in process.  Extra suitcase packed in case I’m there more than a month.  I think, I really do think, I’m almost ready.


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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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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.


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Life Changes Fast and Slow

Do you remember a game called Boggle? It was a box with a grid in the bottom that held dice with letters on them. You shake the box to scramble the letters, then compete to see who can form the most and the longest words.

Sometimes I feel like I live in a Boggle box.

I feel like, for no reason I can discern, life is shaking me up and reconfiguring the pattern and I’d better adapt and do my best to get a high score.

Other times, I feel like life takes so very long to happen. Sometimes you’re doing everything you can do, but the process takes longer than expected or you have to wait on something else to happen that you can’t control.

So I’ve been having both situations simultaneously, and they impact each other.

I’ve had my job just over a year now, and I have been trying all this time to get full time hours. I can bid up again when the shift bids come in July, but there’s no guarantee I’ll get anything. On the other hand, I’ve been allowed to participate in some cool projects and offered a little additional responsibility, which is all good. My boss also showed me a job in another department that he thinks I should try for. It’s fewer dollars per hour but it’s full time, so I’d get about the same pay. The company likes to see wide experience in employees, so even though it’s sideways (ie. not a promotion) for now, it would be good to say I’ve done it. And full time employees get tuition reimbursement, so I could finish my degree. Education is very important to get ahead in certain types of job and it would sure help here.

So this is all very good, but it has taken a long time to get here.

Or at least, it feels like a long time to me right now. Because I am not making enough money for anyone in Texas to rent me an apartment on my own, and even if I have a roommate, most people want to qualify us separately not as a unit. I’m an adult, if I could qualify on my own, I wouldn’t be thinking of a roommate.

The people I live with are VERY unhappy that I’m here. I moved in about a year ago, and I believed I’d be able to get full time hours at work and I wouldn’t be here very long. We wrote a contract for 6 months, and I truly believed I wouldn’t even need all of that. Only it’s been 12 months, and I’m still here.

In January, the husband offered me a ride to work and said “I’m not telling you to get out, but the contract said January, and it’s almost the end of January, and you’re still here.” Um, how is that not telling me to get out? And there have been consistent reminders that I should leave on a regular basis since then, including a few actions that were clearly designed to make it uncomfortable to be here. Because apparently knowing you aren’t wanted but having no place else to go isn’t uncomfortable enough.

Now about 10 days ago, my daughter finally decided she’s ready to strike out on her own (see previous blog post “On Being a Mother Hen . . .”) and that changed A LOT about the kind of apartments I can rent. I’ve been looking at 2 bedroom apartments so my daughter could have her own room, but I can live in a studio if it’s just me. That changes rent from $800 and up, to $500 average. And THAT changes the income requirement from $2400 a month to $1500 a month, which puts things down into my price range. I was hoping to be out by the end of this month or during next month, mostly due to the time it takes to find a place.

Monday I went to a stress management session. My stress is so high that I am unusually grumpy and my stomach is creating enough acid to start damaging my esophagus. I have meds that should help until the root cause can be handled. While I was in the session, my phone kept going off with messages. I ignored it, because my powers of ignore are very strong but when I checked it later, my daughter had texted that I need to call her.

Your kid telling you to call her is very scary for a parent, but it isn’t always bad. Sometimes it’s just too complicated for text. I called, but I didn’t know what to expect. She walked into the other room, saying “I don’t think it matters, but there are ears here.”

Hmmm, not ominous at all! It made me suspicious more than anything.

“The husband has been yelling at the wife for the past 2 days about evicting you. She went down to the police station today to get the eviction order.”

Well crap.

And, eviction orders don’t come from the police, so maybe she already had it and was getting a cop to serve me?

But there wasn’t anything I could do about it at the moment. It was my day off, I had a few errands to run still then I got a very long phone call from a friend. I made some more calls to rental offices to see what could be done fast.

I also talked to a very good friend — you know, one of those friends who is more like family, even though there’s no genetic connection — and he said, basically, I needed to get out of there regardless of whether was an eviction, and I could stay with him and his wife.

Sunday is my next day off, so I am moving on Sunday.

There’s much more going on here than this, which I may or may not post about.

But the point is that for a year I have been needing to get out of here. I have tried everything I knew and could not change my situation. I could see change coming, but I couldn’t hurry it up. Life was moving very slow. Then suddenly in the last 2 weeks, the situation changed. And on Monday, I was in the Boggle box.

Still trying to spell the new words, not sure if everything is fully settled yet or how long it will take to get into the new place.

Just the knowledge that everything is different and it’s a new game now.