Kiss5Tigers

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


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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.


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Letting Go

I am a mother.  About 22 years ago, I gave birth to the world’s most perfect child.  Which, of course, every mother probably thinks.

Only now she isn’t a child any more, she is an adult.  A YOUNG adult, but an adult nonetheless.  And probably not that young, come to think of it.

When I was 19, my parents died.  I was thrust into the world on my own.  By 22, I had gotten myself under control.  I can’t say I was a hugely successful adult, but I was working on it.  I don’t feel like my daughter is nearly as adult as I was.  Maybe that’s my own nearsightedness.  Maybe we always think too highly of ourselves.

My daughter has taken off on a road trip for a month.  A month!  Three girls and two dogs in a car with no money for a month.  She is loving it.  I am scared to death.

Okay, not scared to death but nervous as hell.  What about phone or meds?  Well those things are on me, actually.  I said I would pay her phone for her so she has that security.  Meds are more on her.  There isn’t much I can do about that.  She’s going to have to find a Kroger and come up with the money.  I might have to pay by phone, I don’t know.  I can’t help worrying.

What about the other people on the road?  What if she has a fight with her travel companions or something happens to one of the dogs?  Who will she meet, that might hurt her.  She is going to Rainbow Gathering, where there will be drugs and alcohol, no doubt.  She isn’t clean, she’ll try stuff.  What if something goes wrong with the experiment?

And yet, this is exactly what’s supposed to happen.  She’s supposed to grow up and build a life apart from me.  Take the trip while she’s young and optimistic.  Do the stupid things while there’s time to recover.  Live!  Live the life she dreams of, before reality sets in and she has to sell out to pay for the daily needs.   How many of us work a job that doesn’t make us happy just to pay for rent and food?

I am supposed to let her go.  Push her out of the nest and watch her fly away.  I wonder if mother owls go through that.  “Get out, get out, get out, no, don’t go!”  Probably not.  Nature doesn’t second guess itself.

So she goes and I chew my fingernails.  I hope she never sees me do that.  I want a strong brave adventurous girl, not a wimpy little person afraid to take a risk.   I want her to fly strong and swift.

In about 25 years, I won’t be able to live alone any more.  I’ll have to come home to her nest and wait out my days.  Separation isn’t forever and the roles will reverse.

Until then, I watch her head out and miss her.


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Water

I am learning to love drinking water.  Oh I know, what a cliche, water is good for you, blah blah.

I am a soft drink person.  Honestly my favorite is strawberry Kool-Aid but I also like sweet tea and Diet Coke.  Not to mention coffee, lots and lots of coffee.

While these things are tasty, they don’t really resolve the issue of thirst.  I can drink a soda and still feel thirsty.  I have had a glass water with my coffee.  Sometimes water is the only thing that actually quenches my thirst.

I like my water cold, and I mean cold.  My favorite water is melted ice, that’s how cold I like it.  Some people like it room temperature or even warm but for me it should be frigid.

Even as I write this, my trusty water cup is next to me.  I have this wonderful travel cup, designed for coffee, that keeps my drink so cold sometimes there’s still ice in it the next morning.  Yep, a 95th anniversary State Farm travel cup.  It was even a gimme, and it does the job perfectly.

What got me into water?  Well it started when I moved to Texas.  The heat in the summer just takes it out of me.  Water puts it back.  I want to be clear that I mean the heat.  Natives complain about the humidity but it’s not that bad.  I come from a place where in the summer it can get to 95 degrees with 90% humidity.  There’s so much water in the air that you feel like you can’t breathe.  You sweat and there’s so much humidity that it doesn’t evaporate, your clothes just stick to you.  Texas is not humid like that, but it IS hot.

Then several years ago I worked a Renaissance fair in the late spring.  In Texas, that’s still in the 90’s.  At a ren fair, everything is outdoors, there is no air conditioning.  You do get used to the heat.  One of the unspoken rules is, you should drink enough water to need to pee about every hour.  I have a problem with retaining water so I drank like a camel and seldom needed the privvy.  People worried that I wasn’t hydrated enough.

Now I just carry water with me wherever I go.  It’s cheap because I drink tap water.  Finding ice is the hard part.  I can go to QT and get a huge styrofoam cup of ice and water for 28 cents.  Can’t buy bottled water for that little!

In conclusion I want to say, I don’t drink water for health reasons, although there are many health reasons for drinking water.  I drink it because these days, I like it.

 

 


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He’s At It Again

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not a fan of Donald Trump.  I did not vote for him and I feel he brings out the worst of what America is.  But he is the president, and he is living up to his campaign promise to make changes.

I get so mad that it’s hard for me to talk about these things.  If I understand it correctly, Mr Trump would like churches to be able to participate in politics without losing their tax exempt status.  My first thought?  There goes the separation of church and state.

Again, if I understand correctly, if a church was willing to pay taxes then they are allowed to voice an opinion.

Concurrent with this, he also has proposed to allow groups to curtail health care options such as birth control if it goes against their religious principles.  The whole question of unwanted children aside, I am a woman with a hormone imbalance that could be treated with birth control pills if I chose that route.  I wouldn’t want my employer deciding for me that I couldn’t get hormones I needed because birth control was a side effect.  I already had an employer tell me that they wouldn’t cover bariatric surgery because it is cosmetic, even though my interest is health related.  (I am not pretty and being thin will not make me pretty; it will however help with blood sugar, blood pressure, and joint health.)  I would be unhappy if I had to choose an employer based on what health care coverage they offered.

I am not a churchy person although I have a faith.  (I’m Catholic, if that matters.)  I don’t really like anyone telling me what and what not to do.  And I would be unhappy to have people vote as a block because their minister tells them to rather than voting their own consciences.  I have several friends who voted for Trump because they will never vote Democrat which they see as the party that is killing babies by allowing abortions.  I feel that abortions are within acceptability because one has to treat the patient in front of them (the woman) not the patient they cannot see (the baby).  Not everyone agrees with me and that’s okay, but it does mean I might vote for a Democrat because I want other social programs to be available.

That is always my dilemma, actually, that I am fiscally conservative and socially progressive, which effectively makes me Libertarian.  There aren’t very many Libertarian candidates, though, so I often chose between candidates that don’t really reflect my views.

Having said that, I don’t want a church telling me what my views are.  And I can hardly imagine the uproar if the Pope expressed an opinion about who Americans should vote for, which this change would allow him to do, as the head of the Catholic church.  We have already had Russia involved in an election, do we really want Rome involved?

I am so incoherent about this because I have big emotion around it and I lack the patience to process an argument about it.  I mean argument in the debating sense not in the fighting sense.  I have no problem with the idea that people may disagree without getting worked up.  Or at least that they can keep it civil.

I don’t know.  I feel like this goes against some basic tenets of my country’s foundation.  And Mr Trump’s supporters seem to believe that saying anything that disagrees with the president is un-patriotic.  I am saddened by the loss of discourse and certain freedoms about which this current administration seems so proud.


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Thinking About Spade and Bourdain

Handbag maven Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain have both died from suicide this week.  Very sad.  Any death by suicide is sad and touches my heart.

The usual “if you’re depressed, please get help” noises have been made.  Someone I follow online  has angrily and rightfully reminded us that sometimes the help people need, well, it’s me.  They need an ear or a babysitter so they can get a break for a while or a place to take a shower or someone to bring dinner over.  There is real concrete help that we can give each other, that might just be the break someone needs, or the reminder that their life is valuable.

Here’s another thing.  When successful people commit suicide, the response tends to be, “They had everything to live for, they must have had problems we don’t know about.”  Odds are, the problem they had was depression.  When life is good, when things are going well, when there is no obvious cause (grief, for example, or stress) and you still feel like life is not worth living, well that’s depression.  That’s pretty much the definition of depression.

Sure there are things you can do to combat depression.  You can take medicine if you’re so inclined (I take it myself).  You can try prayer or meditation or biofeedback.  Physical activity is good.  Being sure you are properly fed and hydrated is good.  Do some things that you enjoy, for me that would be making art or spending time with my cats.  Be kind to yourself.  Socialize if that helps, spend time alone if that’s better for you.  Be sure that you are doing what’s better not simply what’s easier; easier could reflect your energy level which is likely low when you’re depressed.  Sometimes you have to make the effort.  Not always, but you know for yourself when you’re just too overwhelmed and when you really could do it.  Balance, balance, balance.  Not pushing yourself too hard to socialize but not isolating either.

Depression is when getting out of bed seems like too much.  Have you ever had a flu so bad that you are just physically worn out and it feels like your brain isn’t working?  You don’t need any stimulation, just breathing is enough?  Depression feels like that.  You just don’t want to do anything.  Only it’s worse, because the illness lies to you.  With nothing to distract you, you find yourself thinking what a failure you are, how socially awkward you are, that you are all alone and will be alone forever.  Why am I here?  I am useless.  I am a drain on people.  I can’t even take a shower.  I wish this was over.

And often “I wish this was over” feels like “I wish I was dead”.  The idea of being dead feels like a relief.

I’m thinking of my ex husband, who also completed a suicide, about 2 years ago.  His life looked good.  He was married to a woman who loved him, he had a nice house full of children, he was driving a Porsche, he had a job he enjoyed.  What’s not to be happy about?  Except he wasn’t.  His relationship with his daughter was strained, he was searching for his place in an industry that was changing around him, he’d had to file bankruptcy with his second wife, he felt his financial responsibilities keenly.  And he was bipolar.  So the stresses that make life difficult met his depression and he couldn’t see his way out of it.  I believe he could have handled the stresses if he hadn’t become depressed, though I also believe the stress exacerbated the depression.  For him it was a deadly cocktail of emotion, one that felt like there was only one way out.  But really I am speculating.  I can only guess, I will never know what was actually going on for him and I choose to believe the thing that gives me sympathy for him.

Why guess at all?  Because suicide is such a drastic solution and to a person who is not depressed, it seems like life is not that bad.  Maybe it’s not good but it’s still worth living.  And with these two famous people dying so close together, we are looking for answers.  We want to know why.  We can’t know why, because each suicide has a different root cause.  So we are shocked and saddened.  We think, if that fabulous life was not worth living, what about my average life?  I have it worse than they did.  Maybe, but your inner self is probably resilient in a way theirs wasn’t.

Because the opposite of suicide is resilience, the ability to bounce back.  Bad things happen to people, to all people, but many of us manage to get along anyway.  I have a friend who says I am an inspiration because of all the times life has kicked me in the teeth and still I keep going.  I don’t feel inspirational.  Sometimes I feel like quitting.  But what I am is resilient.  I am an optimist at heart.  For all the times I’ve battled depression, I know it will pass and I don’t get suicidal.  I’m lucky.  And I work at maintaining that luck.

How do I do that?  Well, that goes back to my list above.  I try to eat and drink enough, to get the right amount of sleep, to exercise.  Yeah, I suck at the exercise part of it, but I still try.  I pet the cat and write letters, make art and visit friends.  The things that make me happy.  For me the meds are the biggest part, but not for everybody.

So that’s what I’m thinking.  So long, Kate and Anthony.  I believe we’ll see you again.  I hope you found what you were seeking.