Kiss5Tigers

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


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“Plague Trip”

Took a little road trip with the roommates today. It’s interesting to get out in the world after being at home so much.

First stop was Fiesta for a money order. While L went in to take care of that, F and I went to McDonald’s. McDonald’s was a bit of a clusterfuck, though there was worse to come. In spite of the fact that the app says you can get 40 nuggets for $10, the lady insisted you could only get 20 for $7.50. F became very frustrated but settled for the 20. I got a sweet tea and a McChicken. The lady at the payment window didn’t have half the order so we had to verify it again. The chicken was dry and had obviously been cooked a while ago. Then we went back and picked up L.

I got to look at the scenery while we drove along. Usually I am driving myself so I don’t get to look around much. I was struck by how many big trees there were. We passed a golf course surrounded by a stream. A man and a big buff-colored retriever were walking along in the water. There was a group of black kids in black clothes, except one in a purple hoodie that seemed so bright in contrast. But on the roads there were almost no vehicles. The lack of traffic is what really feels apocalyptic. Gas prices were down to $1.34, though they are 20 cents higher closer to home.

Next stop was CVS for F’s meds. One of them is a controlled substance that is not kept in stock. I understand that because I go through this with my psych meds from time to time. F’s script had been submitted on Tuesday. Today is Friday. He called CVS to be sure it was ready, and the local CVS said they didn’t have it in stock, it was at another CVS 2 towns over. When we got there, they told us they didn’t have the prescription. Apparently when it’s a controlled substance they can’t electronically transfer it, the doctor has to submit a new script. So the choices were, order the drug which will take over the weekend to arrive, IF the manufacturer ships it, which is an ongoing problem not related to Covid-19; or have the order cancelled and get the doctor to send new orders. F opted for waiting over the weekend, though he did say that if the drug wasn’t there on Monday, he would have to contact the doctor. He wished the lady a “happy plague” when we drove away.

Then we went to pick up some items L had loaned a friend. I stayed in the car. The friend did come up to F and hug and kiss him, so I hope she was not infected. While we were waiting for L, we saw an old lady with really unfortunate hair. I told F, if my hair ever gets that kind of thin, I am going to shave my head and go with wigs. I have thought of doing that anyway, but the cost of wigs is off-putting. I actually have sympathy for the woman. We talk about male pattern baldness but nobody talks about women’s hair thinning as we age.

Next stop was Eatzi’s. I love Eatzi’s but I can’t really afford them. I had to pee so I went in with L to use the restroom. L bought me a coffee, so that was a treat. She also bought good bread, pizza and cookies. We ate the Mexican wedding cookies while we waited for the pizza. Yup, desert before dinner. The cookies went really well with my coffee. The pizza was freshly made and hot. The crust was thin though I think it could have used a little garlic or butter to be perfect, and I really liked the cheese.

Final stop was Dallas Tamale and Tortilla Factory. F wanted pork tamales but this late in the day all they had left was beef and jalapeno. I probably won’t be eating any of them because jalapenos don’t like me. L bought the last ones, and the lady that came in after wasn’t able to get any. I bet she was kicking herself for not going in sooner, since she was already there when we pulled up.

Then we went home. We didn’t stop for mail, which is fine, I’ll just take a walk tomorrow to get it, unless it rains. And my belly is full of snacks, though I will want to eat again before going to bed. It’s been a good day.

Now to write some snail mail.


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Toilet Paper

Yep, I am going to talk about toilet paper.

Or rather the lack thereof.

Dallas is a big city and the stores here are huge. I mean physically large. Plenty of room for goods. Plenty of goods offered for sale.

But not today.

Today was a day of empty shelves.

I went to WalMart, Target, Kroger and even Office Depot but none of them had toilet paper.

They did have empty or nearly empty shelves. Lots of items were low. I did however see a really cute stuffed cat that I want. So soft and plushy.

I went home, and my roommate and I went out looking for toilet paper, because it happens we are out. We went to Kroger again, Sam’s Club and WinCo. Still no toilet paper.

So we bought kleenex, paper towels and baby wipes. We figure we can use what we have, and throw it in the trash instead of flushing. Due to septic issues, we throw away paper anyway so it doesn’t really matter what we use. Not that you care.

Got home and the CDC has declared a ban on gatherings over 50 people. No school. No work. What about homeless shelters? No support groups. Malls and museums will shut down. I wonder about grocery stores. I mean, between staff and customers, there were easily 50 people in most of the places we stopped today. Will there be lines and limits on who can be in a store? What about restaurants?

I went to a new group today, Foundation 45. I really liked them. I also got to see a different side of a friend, so that was cool. She talked about some things that don’t come up in our regular support groups and I feel closer to her now.

In other news, I am looking for work. I was going to post a few signs advertising house sitting and pet sitting, but people aren’t travelling so that seems pointless. I think instead I will post signs advertising child care. It seems like there will be people who need to go to work but their child’s school will be shut down. It’s a thought.

I am also considering opening a Patreon. I realize it works best for people who have high output, but if I’m getting paid to make art . . . It seems like it could work. I have to think really hard about what my tiers would be and what I could give away as premiums.

At least I have an interview tomorrow. Hopefully that will go well.

I just need to generate some cash flow until there is a job.


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In Which I Don’t Name Names

The bank has finally released my money, woot woot! And I spent about $300 today catching up on stuff. But I don’t feel bad about it, it was just things I had to pay for.

I have to call the doctor on Monday and pay them, now that I think of it.

I have had help from friends along the way. One friend gave me $75 to tide me over. Another one loaned me $100, which I will pay back next week. I actually didn’t touch that money but it was a relief to have it available in case I needed it.

Roommate and I have been watching The Marvelous Mrs Maisel with great enjoyment. The actress is impossibly tiny. She reminds me of my friend M, who I haven’t seen in a while. Having binged our way through the series, we are now watching Chuck. We seem to have a Zachary Levi theme going.

Today I heard about an art exhibition, the Art214 Juried Exhibition. It’s juried, which is a bummer for me, but there’s no entry fee and you can enter up to 3 works, so that’s good. I’m going to see if I can make one more piece so I have 3 and then I’ll enter. I figure it’s worth trying, to see if I can get in. Worst they can say is no, and then I’m no worse off than I am now.

I have been working on hats this week. I got one done and another one mostly done. One of the things I bought was to order more yarn. I really don’t need more yarn, but the price was so good and they were selling out. I want to order about $200 worth of Noro yarn from WEBS but I don’t have the budget or the space for it.

I have been underemployed for so long, I haven’t been able to pay storage. It’s been like 8 months. I thought the units had already been sold. Then I got a call from the manager saying he’s having trouble processing my card. Well I bet he is, that card’s been cancelled for a long time. Now I don’t know what to do. I don’t have the money to pay it up and I’m not working right now so I can’t even make the regular monthly payment. But, I want my stuff. I thought I had gotten over it and now I have hope again. I’m torn.

I am having trouble getting my checks from Michael’s. They aren’t intentionally giving me a hard time, but they aren’t exactly helpful. They sent me the forms to request a replacement check in .pdf format. I could open the file, but there is no option to turn on the edit function. I had to print a copy to fill it out. Now I need to mail it to them, but there isn’t an address on the form. I tried calling. I got a person who told me to edit it online AFTER I told them I couldn’t do that. Then they told me to scan it in. I don’t own a scanner. I was finally forwarded to another department and the person I needed to talk to was away from her desk. I left a message, but so far no response. I guess that’s another thing to do Monday. I’m really putting together my Monday to-do list right now, huh.

I feel like I got closer to a friend today. J was dithering on going to ATTA today, and I convinced her to go. I picked her up, so we had a few minutes in the car on the way there and back. I think it might be the first time we’ve been alone together. I feel like we really connected. Not to mention we’ve been reading each other’s blogs so that gives a good picture of what’s going on in our heads.

Daughter is having roommate drama. Things have been stable for her for several months, so it’s time for everything to get shaken up. The kittens are adorable but if she has to move they are a complication. Her new ID hasn’t arrived yet. At least, with the one roommate gone, nobody will be throwing away the mail. Daughter goes by her nickname so people don’t recognize her legal name, which is of course is how the DPS knows her. I’m pretty sure her previous replacement ID got tossed.

Nothing amazing happening, but I felt like checking in.


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Selfish or Lazy

I had a run-in with one of my roommates today. She is frustrated by something I don’t do, which is mostly because it just doesn’t occur to me.

“I know you like to blame it on your bipolar, but I can’t tell if you’re being selfish or lazy,” she said.

Now I try very hard not to blame character flaws on being bipolar. Taking on too many projects, shopping too much, yeah those are bipolar. Not watering the pets, well, that’s just not thinking of it. Since my roommate handles it most of the time, it just hasn’t been on my radar.

So that brings us down to selfish or lazy. I don’t think it’s selfish. I’m not thinking of myself ahead of others, I’m just not thinking. It’s not a case of “that task is beneath me” so much as “oh, is that something people do?” Although I will own that there are a few times I feel like, that really isn’t my problem. But if I am asked to handle it, I generally do.

Like vacuuming. I don’t think the carpet looks bad but my roommate sometimes does. He won’t ask the other roommate to do it, but he’ll ask me. He asked me the other day with her in the room, and they were both so gleeful. “You have to learn to vacuum,” he said. “You have opposable thumbs, you should be able to work a lighter and run the vacuum.” (My inability to work a lighter is an on-going source of amusement. To me as well.) I know how to vacuum. The sound of the vacuum cleaner is very difficult for me. I grit my teeth the whole time it’s running. But it has been decided for me that this is my chore, and I don’t want to be responsible for it. Someone must vacuum while I am deployed for work. Let that person continue doing it.

Anyway. I’m not mad, just saying.

So my roommate is irritated that I don’t change out the pet water, more so because my cat dips her paws in it and that tracks in cat litter. I don’t blame it on my bipolar or on being selfish. I can’t even say I’m lazy about it, because it isn’t a decision to not do it. I simply don’t think of it. It doesn’t occur to me to water the pets. Now it has been brought to my attention. So my solution is, I will change out the water while I am making breakfast. The toaster takes 5 minutes and I am standing there with nothing to do, I can change the water.

I said as much to my roommate. It defused her anger. She seemed surprised. I suspect she is ascribing motives to me that just don’t exist. I am oblivious in this matter more than intentionally avoidant. It’s not that big a deal to me and it’s huge to her, so I can just add it to my list of morning tasks. Like scooping out the cat box every time I go to the bathroom. If I lived alone, it would be scooped maybe daily, maybe 3 or 4 times a week. But one of the roommates kept complaining about the smell so I scoop it more often. I don’t understand why cat poop in a cat box smells and cat poop in a trash can doesn’t, but whatever.

So we’re down to lazy and I don’t think I can even own that. Lazy to me is an intentional decision to do nothing. I am very seldom doing nothing. I am often doing things that don’t look important to the people around me — like writing this blog instead of emptying my suitcases — but that’s a matter of personal priorities, not laziness. Yes, I am comfortable in my bed with the suitcase on part of it, I don’t know why that’s a problem for my roommate, but it is.

The biggest thing that looks lazy I think is the state of my bedroom. It’s bad, I know it’s bad, but I don’t even know where to start. I get in there and look at it, and get overwhelmed and walk away. Lazy isn’t the word for that. I know it needs to happen, I just can’t seem to find a plan of attack. Though emptying the suitcases will make a difference, I’m sure. This is an example of me being avoidant. But I am doing other tasks, so it’s not lazy.

In other news, I joined a gym today. I will start tomorrow. I had to buy new sneakers because the inner soles are pulling up in my old pair. I guess I need to throw away the old pair, come to think of it. But yeah, I needed sneakers and a lock for the locker. I’ll pack up a bag in the morning and go before group.

I need to get out some of my received mail and take a picture of it for This Zine Has Issues. I wrote a piece for the second issue and the editor asked for the picture. I’m published in the first issue, woot woot! Now I need to reply to the letters.

I should hear by the end of the week about the 911 operator job. I kind of hope I don’t get it, because I want to do other things. But if they offer it, I will take it. I might just make it through the training and decide it’s not for me.

I am still owed a check from the job at Michael’s. I got the first check and the last check, but I am missing the one in the middle. I need to call them about getting a copy of my pay stub anyway, so I’ll just ask about getting another check.

Ah, the 10,000 things that shape daily life. Tomorrow is Monday, a new week with new things. And I will do them. I have a list and I will stay on track. Happy Monday.


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Testing and Unemployment

It’s been a busy day.

I woke up early to go take a test. I applied to be a 9-1-1 operator and there is a test that comes with the application. It was an interesting little test. Online. Sound bites. And of course since the idea is that you might have several things going on at a time, there were interruptions all the way through.

I was the second person to complete the test. I felt like I was lagging the whole time so I was surprised to be done soon. I don’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I mean, I suppose being speedy in responding to emergencies is a good thing. But it will be a week or more before I know my score, and it’s easy to be sloppy when you’re going for rapid.

I ran into H from FEMA there. She turned down the deployment to South Dakota because she doesn’t like cold weather. But she also got called out earlier in the year. We were both demobilized at the same time — I have the pictures of us travelling together to prove it — and she got called out 3 times, though she turned one down. Of course she’s bilingual so that could make a difference. But she, like me, can’t keep waiting on a disaster to earn money.

The instructions said the test started at 9 and went for 3 hours. Then they sent another email saying to be there half an hour early, so 8:30. Allow time for traffic and parking, since there’s no on-site parking. I expected to be there until 12. Finishing early, I got done about 10:45. I didn’t know what to do with myself.

My next appointment was at 2:30 and I needed to eat, so I headed over to the area and checked out breakfast places. There weren’t any. I ended up at Taco Bell. For some reason, my order at the kiosk didn’t go through and the staff ended up coming to where I was sitting to take my order a second time, then they brought me my food. I essentially got table service in a Taco Bell. Not that I’m complaining, mostly surprised.

By 11:30, I had finished eating and making phone calls, and I still had 3 hours to fill. So I went thrift shopping. The first place was all clothes. Nothing wrong with that just not what I was looking for. The second place was a little better. I bought a white plate with a sort of basket weave edging. It felt like a background for something. Last stop was Goodwill. I found a little collectible that I’ll post on ebay and a fabric manikin and 2 picture frames. Whole thing came to $5. Of course they gave me a senior discount without asking, but I’m down for saving a couple of bucks. It’s all stuff to alter.

I still ended up at Workforce at 1:00. I checked in and got on the computers to print out my resume. I also just generally checked email. And I ran out of things to do. I chatted for a minute with one of the counselors and decided to stay for the class. I might be glad I did. The instructor was a little blunt but I could live with that.

I’m supposed to be signed up with ResCare for some e-learning but I can’t log in using the rubric they gave us. I’m supposed to go back tomorrow so I’ll ask again then. I’m bummed to miss my support group, but I need help with my resume, so I’m determined to go. I want to have a decent job that I, well, that I like.

I found out today that F knows details about my bedroom. That means L has been checking out my room and discussing it with him. That doesn’t feel good. I don’t like feeling spied on. I know I’m not tidy, but I’m hoping to get to organizing stuff this weekend when they are out of town. I’ll be able to move stuff into the living room so I can re-pack my room.

Thinking of bed, since I was up early. It’s almost 11, a good time to sleep. I’ve taken my meds and drunk my water. Cats are checking on me, pacing back and forth between me and my bedroom. Yup, I think it’s time to put my stuff up and go to bed.


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New Year, Same Life



I’m not complaining, my life is okay.

When I was young, I somehow had the feeling of one year ending and another beginning. It felt like crossing a border of some kind.

Nowadays, well, time is more of a spiral, no discernible step between one year and the next, it all just slides together. Today is not appreciably different from yesterday. New Year may be now, but new beginnings are when you make them.

I am looking for computer books to help hone my skills in Excel and PowerPoint. I decided to start with Excel. Do you have any idea how many books there are about Excel? Not to mention, several of them ask what version I have. I googled how to find out, and it looks like I have the 2019 version. Only thing is, I don’t remember buying the 2019 version. Does it update automatically? I found a book on Excel 2016 at Half Price Books. It was inexpensive, seemed like a good place to start.

I am also trying out some products from an online buying club. I went to their annual launch presentation today, and I am actually pretty impressed with the company. I’ll talk more about that as time goes on. I don’t want to turn into a Scamway bot.

I wrote another piece for the next issue of This Zine Has Issues. I’ll provide a link as soon as there is one. I know it will be published by Microcosm Publishing. I happen to love Microcosm. I just ordered a pack of zines from them.

Speaking of ordering, I ordered a hoodie that I think is hella cute, graphic with a big cat on it. I also ordered some art supplies.

Ah, art supplies. I keep ordering more like craft supplies but I really need art supplies. That might not make much sense. I ordered, for example, Prima flowers. I love the flowers. They are a scrapbooking product. But I long to make printed papers. I don’t have the supplies (or the space) to do that. I may have to take a class just to have studio space. I really need to start using the stuff I have. I’m thinking of ordering some mirrors from IKEA that would work as substrate.

Work continues. I have a qualifying test on Tuesday for being a 911 operator. I’m not sure I’m really the person for that job but it seems like a place to start. I also have an online interview for an eating disorder counselor. Which would probably be ironic for me, as a fat person. I am going down to the unemployment office to see what they can do for me. They might be able to help with the computer learning. I have applied to MetroCare to be a peer specialist. I need to come up with about $2000 to handle that school debt, then I can finish the degree. I figure if I get the degree and I already work at MetroCare, there’s a good chance of advancing. I am also waiting to hear from the PA cadre at FEMA. They said 2 months, that should be sometime in January.

So, no big changes. It feels like crossing the threshold of the new year should bring a new life, kind of like birthdays always seem auspicious. But truly it’s just life moving on. It is what you make of it. I think I’m doing pretty okay, and hopefully things keep looking up.




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Sioux Falls

I am staying in a Holiday Inn Express, which is a pretty good hotel. I usually stay at a Hilton, but this one is about a mile from my work location so that’s pretty cool. I could almost walk to work, if the weather were just a bit warmer.

I find it’s not the temperature that gets me, it’s the wind. It’s hovered around 35 degrees F (for you C people, that’s just above freezing) and I would be good in just my hoodie and scarf if the wind would stop. Plus, it’s like summer in Texas, you just don’t spend that much time outside. You go from a heated hotel to a heated car to a heated office.

I have made some friends. There is D who was very chatty and I missed her Friday because she was sick. There is K who is the wild one. She’s the one who can probably get me into trouble. And there is A, who I know from another deployment. Assuming we are here at Christmas, we have plans to spend the holiday together.

Having friends means having a social life, so I have used the company card A LOT. I can’t begin to imagine how much I owe for food and drinks. I have also consumed more alcohol in the last 3 days than in the year before that. I need to slow down. Once I get paid, I can stop using the company card and go back to using my own money.

Yesterday we puttered around downtown Sioux Falls. It was very cute. We stopped in at Woodgrain Brewing Co for a quick drink and to make our game plan. I had a milk stout that was very good. A had a much paler beer than I like and K had wine. All local. I like to try local food when I get to an area.

We headed up Phillips St and the first thing we noticed was all the sculpture on the sidewalk. Apparently they were having a sculpture walk. There was everything from byper-realistic to surreal to assemblage. I would have liked to be able to look more at the pieces but the temperature made that difficult.

Now Phillips St is the part of town that is all little shops and restaurants. We went into several shops. One was called Urban Archeology and it had some cool antique and vintage stuff. The thing I wanted — that I will buy if I am stationed back in Sioux Falls — was a vintage 1800’s crazy quilt that was $50. It was amazing. But as much as I love it, I have pee-pee kitty who marks all my laundry. I would probably resell it.

We went into a store called Spice and Tea Exchange which smelled incredible. It reminds me of Penzey’s back home only somehow more quaint. I found several things I would get for friends. There were the tiniest measuring spoons, local salt rubs and seasoning, and merlot salt which was an amazing magenta color. A checked out the teas and said there was a great selection, but I don’t know, it looked small compared to the spice section.

We went into a little florist shop that I forget the name. It was a tiny crowded shop that had everything from hand embroidered tea towels to fudge. Oh yeah, and flowers. I had a sample of the penuche, it was amazing.

I made us stop at Zandbroz. It was a most intriguing store to me. It had jewelry, bath goods, books and stationery. I found a ton of stuff I’d like to own. It’s also the only place I went that had postcards. There were pretty costly at $1.50 each, but if I get stationed back here, I will for sure buy a bunch. Some of them would make great collage backgrounds.

We ended the night at Turks & Caicos Cabana Grille. The food was amazing. I had the huli huli chicken which was 3 big pieces of chicken thigh and spam fried rice. Very Hawaiian to me. I had enough to bring home, though I have no idea when I’ll get to eat it. A had the steak tacos; K had salmon. But I was quite pleased with my choice.

Reminder: the photos go on my Facebook page, and you can look me up. Allison Leonard. I’m the one with the colorful A, though that may change.

Today is laundry and a short trip to check out the local area. A’s granddaughter is a rock hound so we are on a quest for some local specimens. When we get back, time to pack and Monday is a travel day.

Now it’s time for breakfast so I’m off.