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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Why Do I Blog?

Why do I blog?

Why does anyone blog, if you think about it?

Surely I don’t think the minutiae of my life are that fascinating, and I don’t have deep or universal thoughts very often.

For me it has to do with connection.  I don’t tweet because 140 characters doesn’t seem like enough to me.  Facebook is good but I don’t feel like I can fully expound an idea there.  It needs to be short enough to keep people’s interest so nothing too long.  Maybe a paragraph.  Maybe 2 if the subject needs it.

But sometimes I want to say more.  I want to connect with people in a longer thought, not a sound bite.  Or I want to say something that doesn’t seem suited to the public forum of Facebook.  I suppose a blog is actually more public, since it lasts longer than a standard post on FB, which lasts longer than some other sites do.

At the end of the day, I am reaching out across the existential abyss to see if anyone else resonates to my ideas.  I hope someone reaches back.

I know people read my blog.  I get notifications from WordPress when people decide to follow me.  I don’t know if they come back though.  I have over 100 followers but I don’t have 100 hits on my posts, usually 2 or 3.  And they aren’t the same 2 or 3 because they come from different countries.  Though I do have a LOT of Americans that read me.  I am surprised by how many people in India read my blog.  But very few comments.  I guess I am not controversial enough to prompt response.

I do read blogs from other people from time to time.  One friend writes about his trauma and loss.  Another writes about her insecurities in a way that makes you want to hug her.  People comment on their stuff, but not so much on mine.  I think it’s because it’s not as emotional.  I don’t touch people in that visceral way.

Which is probably medication related.  I used to think big.  I used to write about things like love, homelessness, the human condition, why we should take care of each other, God.  Now my brain is full of the present moment, which for me is usually quite tolerable.  So life is tolerable or even good.  I don’t feel deeply any more.  And when I do, I can’t articulate it.  I have issues with Trump and I can’t really explain it to people.  I mean, he brings out the worst in Americans, but I can’t tell you specifically why I believe that.  I can agree with the people who articulate it, but that doesn’t seem like enough.  I can’t  have a discussion because I can’t say what I think.  I don’t seem to actually think anything, I just have a knowing deep inside.  Is that what it’s like for most people?   If so, I miss being neurodivergent, I felt quicker and more full of life.  I felt like I understood things.

Nothing against being in the moment.  People work very hard at being here, now, to reference Ram Dass.  I get that anxiety is obsession with the future and depression is obsession with the past.  Live in the present.  I get it.  But it’s all I can do.  I can’t see the big picture any more.  I can’t put things into perspective.  My mood is good though and life is manageable, so isn’t that what I want?

All of which is a very far way from why I blog, but there it is.  I blog to connect because I feel disconnected even from myself.  I blog to communicate with myself.

Though I still hope for comments from people.


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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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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.


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Sea Fever

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
     So this was, at one point, my father’s favorite poem.  I wanted to memorize it to honor him (he passed in 1984) but I have only gotten as far as the first couplet.  There are two other poems which I might share later that I would also memorize for him.  This is odd to me because Dad was a scientist, you wouldn’t think of him reading poetry.  Mom was a librarian, you’d think of her being more involved in literature, but I don’t know of a poem that was meaningful to her.  Just two books:  the Bible and The Once and Future King by T.H. White.
     Anyway, what brings all this up, is that my cousin sent me a picture today of Dad and Nana (his mother) on the boat we had while I was young.  The name of the boat was Sea Fever, after the poem above.  We sailed out of Beverly Harbor, through a facility called the Jubilee Yacht Club.  Here’s their website, they still exist.
     Now don’t get the idea that I grew up all rich because we owned a boat.  We didn’t have color TV or wall to wall carpeting or a dishwasher or even wallpaper.  But Dad wanted to sail, which we did many weekends, so we had a boat.  She was a 32 foot sloop, which means she had one mast with a sail on both sides of it, and a jib out over the bow.  All my memories of time on that boat are very visceral.  I miss the ocean, living landlocked as I do now.
     So I’m going to add the picture, my Nana looking prim and a little uncomfortable, Dad relaxed with a can of Budweiser in one hand and the tiller in the other.  Funny the things that bring up memories.  I can almost feel the rocking of the ocean and hear the seagulls and the lines clanking against the mast. This is probably around 1974; I believe by 1976 Dad owned a share in a small plane.  Look at Dad being all casual in trousers and a button shirt.  Notice that nobody wore jeans in my family, while I practically live in jeans these days.  It was a different era.


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Money

I know, it’s been a week since I posted anything.  I am visiting a friend, so I have been busy.  Friends are good.

Today I checked my bank balance and I am thinking about money.  Now I have a little money in the bank, I’m not freaked out about money, but it is on my mind.

So I’m thinking, let’s say I have $500 in my account.  It’s so easy for me to feel like, I can buy this $20 book, and these art supplies, and lunch for my friend, no big.  Except I still have bills (rent, car insurance, cell phone, the usual suspects) and that money needs to be accounted for too.  So I don’t have $500, I have more like $50.  Which is still okay, I don’t really need more art supplies, but it’s so easy to overspend.

I am really working on my relationship with money.  I have previously lived as though money were no object, it just didn’t matter.  But now I find I am not prepared for old age (I am in my 50s, old age is coming on fast!) and it’s a little late to start.  Not impossible, but definitely not easy.

However it’s only possible if I take control of how much money is coming in and where it’s going out to.  I must pay attention, which I’m not used to doing.

I have a friend who has an Excel spreadsheet with all, and I do mean all, her expenditures on it.  Not just her bills, but even a pack of gum or a bottled water.  She knows down to the penny where her money goes.  I admire her, but I would find that system a little stifling.  Just thinking about it makes me want to go out and spend money willy-nilly.

I did figure out that, just like the idea of dieting makes me want to eat, the idea of budgeting makes me want to spend.  It’s the difficult side of me, that wants exactly what it can’t or shouldn’t have.  Tell me no and probably that is the next thing I MUST do.  Not so much in friendships, but life in general.

I am on unemployment at the moment so there’s very little wiggle room with regard to money.  I need to play it close to the chest, yes I do, and not give in even when I have amazing coupons and a specific book I want.  I don’t need a book.  I do need peanut butter.  I guess I don’t NEED peanut butter but I eat it regularly for breakfast.  Mmmm, peanut butter toast, yum.  The point is, there’s only so much money and some things take priority.  Rent over extra gas to run around, for example.  I need a place to live, I can live without seeing my friends all the time.

So, relationship with money.  I guess it’s avoidant and passive-aggressive.  If only money would be in a relationship with me, then my being manipulative would at least have an effect.  Alas, it is just me and my financial resources.

I am working with a mantra, “there’s always more money”, as a way to combat that crazy urge to spend.  I don’t have to buy it now, I can buy it later, because there’s always more money.  There will be more money in the future when I need the thing, I don’t need to buy it right now.  I don’t need to have it handy in case I need it sometime maybe.  I’m not going to run out of money forever, I will earn more, I am broke not broken.  It gives me great sympathy for hoarders and bag ladies.  I don’t want to be either one.

I will figure this out.  I am smart and motivated and I don’t want to die poor.  I don’t need to die rich, but I don’t want to be hurting for resources when I’m old.  It’s just another puzzle in life.