Kiss5Tigers

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


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Cafe Brazil

Cafe Brazil is maybe my favorite coffee place. Oh, sure, Starbucks and Dunkin’ are on the list too, but they are chains and this is a local place. Well, still a chain, but only like 8 stores, not nationwide. My aunt, who is a flight attendant, swears by McDonald’s coffee, so, you know, something for everybody.

But today I celebrate Cafe Brazil. Finally open again 24/7. I have been waiting for a place I can hang out and use wifi to reopen. Usually I use the tables at Half Price Books but they have put the chairs upside down on them which is clearly meant to discourage people from congregating. I think the coffee shop might even be shut down.

So clearly I am going to have to pay to occupy space somewhere. I could go to Denny’s or IHOP but they generally don’t have wifi or a place to plug in my computer and work. Cafe Brazil it is.

The walls are painted bright lime green and cerulean blue. There is a border painted near the ceiling of palm leaves, flowers, parrots and pre-columbian heads. The walls are usually covered with art that is for sale. This particular shop had only about 5 pieces on display at the moment. With huge windows on 3 sides, there is a lot less wall space than many locations but often there is more art. Maybe I should bring some down, see if it can be sold here.

Mostly today I had coffee and wrote 3 letters. I have one more to write before bed tonight but that can be any time. I also had nachos. I really like the nachos here. The appetizer size is a meal for one so that was tasty. I even ate a few of the jalapenos.

I remember the first time I had jalapenos. I was about 8 years old. We had come to Dallas from my native Boston to visit my dad’s family for Christmas. My mother’s brother, who was in the air force, was stationed I believe at Lackland AFB so since we were in the state, we drove down to see that part of the family too. My uncle took us across the border to Mexico. My mom, my aunt, my cousin and I went shopping, and the men went to a little cantina and were enjoying cerveza and nachos. My uncle thought he would play a joke on my and gave me a nacho. It was a crispy corn tortilla wedge with cheese and a single pickled jalapeno in the center. I think he believed I would freak out, but my first solid foods were pickles and corned beef, so you can guess I like things with strong flavor. I loved the nachos. Dad was oddly pleased and let me eat as many as I wanted. It was literally a decade before I went to Chi-chi’s restaurant in Boston and had nachos, and had that whole episode flood back into my memory.

Well, my boss has called and I need to take care of something. But today was a good day. I got poetry written and letters written and talked to my daughter, and oh yeah, Cafe Brazil is open again. Life is good.


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Sheltering in Place

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 5 days since I last posted. I mean, I guess, so little is going on in my life right now that the last post, which I think was the last time I was out around people, seems like it just happened. The days are blurring together.

So, situation report. Dallas County has gone to sheltering in place. Nobody can leave the house without a reason. You need to have documents from your boss to go to work. You can go to the grocery store or the pharmacy. And that’s about it. Now I don’t know how they’re going to enforce the work documents. And if I’m driving to the grocer’s, well, how do I prove that? Current guideline is, if you don’t have the paperwork, you can get up to 180 days in jail. What do I get for going to the pharmacy? I mean, I need my meds.

I was supposed to have a third interview for Shepherd Inn this evening, but we cancelled it. It was mostly a meet and greet with the board, not a final decision. So we are still planning a move-in date of April 4. This should be okay, assuming the shelter-in-place orders are lifted on April 3, as anticipated at this time. I sure hope so, because I need help moving my stuff so I need people to have a certain amount of mobility.

I did have group today. We met on Zoom. There were about 10 of us altogether which is really pretty good for online.

I also heard that people need to be checked on. We are stressed and we are already less than optimum, so I must remember to check on people over the weekend when we don’t meet.

It’s so easy for us to fall into the doldrums. I nap a lot now. I am both energized and dragging, waiting for something to happen. I need to pack but I’m not sure how fast. I mean, I want to leave stuff out so I can amuse myself, but it’s not like I do anything right now. I kind of can’t focus but I need to do something to make the time pass. I don’t feel like I can make art right now. It seems frivolous somehow. Not to mention that I don’t really have the space for it. I don’t have any work space right now.

I went to check the mail today. I talked to my daughter while I took the walk. It was good to hear her voice. There wasn’t anything good in the mail, just a magazine that I can’t read because there isn’t enough light in this room and the print is so small, and some junk mail. I need to generate mail so that fun mail comes back to me.

I read an article about Covid19 today, and what the end stages look like. Pretty much you drown in your own body fluids. The care provider said he expected to see yellows and greens because that’s what infections look like, but with this he is seeing pinks. The capillaries in the lungs are leaking red blood cells into the lungs. Also, between delirium from the fever and the inability to draw a deep breath, patients are struggling and flailing in their beds. Some of them have even pulled out the breathing tube because it feels like they are being suffocated. So often they are being restrained. Clearly for their own good, but it looks and sounds horrible. Not to mention, even if you get through the crisis, there can be terrible damage to the lungs. However, Europe is doing drug trials for a, well, I’m not sure it would actually be a cure, so I guess that makes it a treatment. They are looking at a small handful of drugs: a malaria drug, an ebola drug, and two AIDS drugs, if I recall correctly.

So that’s about it. That’s my life right now. I miss getting out and getting around people. I need to remember to keep taking showers and getting dressed because it helps me feel better. Normalcy is a long way away and I don’t know how long this will continue. Trying to be more optimistic. Might even succeed.


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I Need to Get My Meds Regulated

I am not managing life right now. I mean, I am, but it feels harder than usual.

I had nothing to do today and I wanted to get out of the house. I ended up at Half Price Books working on some outgoing mail. I sent a letter to Fishspit and a couple of add-and-pass items out, and I sent altered cards to a couple of new contacts.

I also met a woman named Jana. She told me she was 79 but she sure didn’t look it. She was interested in astrology and past lives, she says she believes in God, and she is a Trump supporter. She was quite interesting. She suggested a group called College of Complexes, which she is finding to be overrun with liberals, so I would probably enjoy it a great deal. I’m planning to go next Saturday, since the topic is creativity.

I can’t wait for tomorrow to happen. Monday is so much easier for me. I hope to work out in the late morning then go to group in the afternoon. I have a plan. I have things to do. I hate weekends with nothing to do.

My friend K has a boyfriend. I’m glad for her, but she turns out to be one of those people who is too busy for her single friends when she has a boyfriend, and that makes me sad. I haven’t seen her in a month and I can’t seem to get her to text long enough to make plans. I’m a little frustrated. But hopefully the infatuation will level out and she’ll get back in touch. I don’t want to be just a filler friend for when there’s no boyfriend. I need to talk to her about this but like I said, I can’t seem to get her attention at the moment.

I tried to spend some time with my daughter today, but she had her boyfriend, and I don’t want to interrupt that. I mean, he’s a good guy and he wants to be a provider so her difficulties with work aren’t a deterrent. We’ll see what happens. He’s supposed to move in sometime in the next month, once he gets his car working. Because right now he can ride to work with a roommate, if he moves in with my daughter he needs to be able to get to work on his own.

So I am feeling very much my singleness. Even my roommates are a couple, and I am reminded a few times a day that I am an afterthought in the household. Not that they’re mean or anything, just that they are clearly a unit and I am, well, the extra person.

On top of this, I ran out of one of my meds the other day, and with the health insurance issue, I wasn’t able to fill the prescription. I have found another source, however I didn’t take it for a couple of days. I can really feel the difference it made. It will take a few days for things to stabilize again. In the meantime, I am a little emotional and melancholic, and it lends itself to feeling sorry for myself.

No, not exactly feeling sorry for myself, more like feeling like there is an instruction manual that other people got and I somehow didn’t. Like I’m trying to play a game where nobody will explain the rules. I feel puzzled and a little out of the loop. Which I understand to be very “on the spectrum” feelings. I have wondered if I have Asperger’s, though that is probably just speculation. I have spent enough time in psychiatrists’ offices in the last 5 years that I bet they’d’ve noticed it by now.

I can’t help thinking, but I’m afraid of disappearing up my own backside. It’s starting to be all hamsters and rabbit holes in my head. I need to distract myself. I think I’ll work on some mail art. I don’t have any particular inspiration but you never know what you’ll come up with.


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I Got the Vest

I work at Michael’s now. It’s official. I even have the red vest. It’s a very busy store so I work registers and get no minute to breathe but that’s good. The job would be boring if I wasn’t busy, just standing at a register waiting. I am still very slow at checking people out but I can do it. I’ll get speedy with practice. Or at least speedier.

It has rained twice tonight, just sudden downpour out of nowhere. I am cold and sitting in my jeans with a blanket across my lap. I will sleep with 2 blankets in bed tonight.

I need to tell work that I’m not available on Thursdays. I am facilitating group the next 3 weeks, and I have DBSA meetings on alternate Thursday nights. It’s easier to just request the day off than to have them try to keep track of it.

I want to write a letter to my friend Fishspit. I owe him a letter. I owe lots of people letters. I have been particularly unmotivated to write lately. I haven’t even journalled in months. I miss journalling.

I am thinking of NaNoWriMo this month (November) but I have no idea how I’ll manage all that writing with my current slackerly attitude.

I need to work on my ecourse. I paid for the course for that so I really should take advantage.

Speaking of courses I’ve paid for, there is my Japanese course on Rosetta Stone and my life coach courses on Udemy. I really need to get on with it.

I mean, I get up in the morning and fall asleep because I just can’t find anything to stay awake for. Well, there are 3 things right there. Not to mention my new shopping club.

I want dessert. I want amazing dessert, not just some cookies. I want hot pecan pie with ice cream. Or chocolate mousse or creme brulee. Rice pudding. Chocolate lava cake. Fried ice cream. I don’t know, just something. I would probably be happy with rice krispie treats or those yogurt covered pretzels. But here I am, drinking my water, eating some mixed nuts in a single serving package.

I left my meds box in Longview on the road trip. I thought T was gonna bring it by tonight, but I guess not. Weather is too icky for me to want to drive up there. I figure I’ll get it tomorrow or the next day.

I am almost out of meds at the moment, I’ll have to call the pharmacy. I have to call the doctor too. I got an automated call to remind me of an appointment on Friday, but I can’t make it so I chose the “reschedule” option. The system said, “Your appointment has been rescheduled” and hung up on me. I’m like, rescheduled for when? Because I’m thinking that’s something else I have to move to Thursday. I tried to call back but the outgoing message said the office was closed.

I am feeling my singleness very keenly lately. I want a companion. I wouldn’t mind a little sex but a warm body to sleep next to would be perfect. Someone to share adventures. But I am somehow not right. I don’t know if I’m not pretty enough or if it’s because I have no sense of humor or if they can smell the bipolar on me. I wish I could figure it out because then I could fix it. Or choose not to, but at least it would be a choice, not just the way things are.

Well, off to take my meds. Good night.


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I May Be Doing Too Much

I am playing with my mood stabilizer and I’m not sure how I’m doing.

I mean, I feel good. Mood is good. Energy level is meh. Sleep is a little on the too much side.

I am trying new things this month.

I tried a new supplement regimen. First is colloidal silver, which is controversial because you can overdose and actually turn yourself blue. It’s called Argyria. It’s supposed to do 2 things in my situation. First it is an antibiotic which clears out the gut. Second it is a conductive metal so it helps to rewire the brain. Not entirely sure how it’s supposed to cross the blood-brain barrier so that could be some hocus-pocus there. Not sure if it has had any effect at all for me. I will finish up the bottle we have but probably not order another bottle at this time. See what changes, and avoid over dosing.

I also added an antioxidant and a probiotic. The antioxidant should support brain health as well as general health with regard to aging. The probiotic is the one I can say is helpful. At the risk of TMI (fair warning: poop discussion ahead) . . . I have had a soft stool for some time now but when I started Metformin, it had the expected side effect, and we are talking some shapeless cow-pie type waste. Like, not quite soupy, but definitely mushy. Since starting the probiotic, things are much more solid and log-like. So I would say the probiotic has been very helpful in keeping gut health improving.

I am also trying some dietary changes. I’m supposed to be fasting every other day, per the diet my doctor gave me. He said not to worry about being strict with that, just take home the advice that intermittent fasting is good for you. I have ordered some additional supplements like protein bars and shakes from a new online shopping club. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Ask me about the shopping club! It’s only $20 per year and the products are so pure and natural. Next month I’m going to try the laundry supplies and shampoo, but I wanted to try the healthy snacks first.

I start a new job at Michael’s craft stores, hopefully this week. I filled out the background check information on Friday and they said it will take 24 to 48 hours for it to be returned. In a perfect work, 48 hours was Sunday, but in the business world it could easily be Tuesday. So as soon as they get that back, they can schedule me. It’s just a seasonal job, but it’s something.

I am working on writing an e-course on managing bipolar. Or at least, my experience of managing bipolar. Too many people see this diagnosis as a sort of death sentence and I refuse to let that be the case. I mean, we’re all going to die someday, but there’s no reason to live a life that is any less fulfilling just because you have a mental health diagnosis.

I am applying to a different department at my government job. I work with individuals, helping disaster victims get grant money to rebuild their homes. However, there is more work for public assistance which works with the infrastructure like the fire department or road damage. Because my job is federal, it requires the state to ask for assistance. States determine what type of assistance they need, and more states ask for public assistance more often. So I am sending my resume over to the public assistance side.

I am debating joining NaNoWriMo this year. I have no real plan in terms of an outline, so that makes me a “pantser” as in, writing by the seat of my pants. November is a hard month for me to be consistent. There is Halloween at the beginning of the month with Day of the Dead and all that stuff. Then there is my birthday and voting day. Thanksgiving which seems to take up a whole week. So being disciplined seems to fall by the wayside. I feel like August would be a better month, but oh well.

So here I am trying all this stuff, and I’m wondering if I’m a little hypomanic. Now for me, Samhain is the new year so this is a little like making New Year’s resolutions. And there is something that happens for me around the changing of the clocks. I don’t know if it’s related to natural timing that just happens around that time, or if resetting the clocks somehow confuses me. And this is all near my birthday. I am unclear what it is that causes this burst of energy at this time of year, but I experience it regularly.

On the other hand, I am sleeping an awful lot. Like 12 hours a day plus maybe a nap. Well, make that 12 hours including the nap. I sleep, say, midnight to 8, then doze until 9:30, then go out to the living room and doze on the sofa until 11 or 12. Too much sleeping, Not enough getting stuff done. And you can tell from my list, I have stuff to do.

I am wondering if this is what the mood stabilizer helps me manage. Because my mood is generally good but the behavior is a little off. And it’s mixed: taking on too much and shopping like I’m hypomanic but also sleeping too much like I’m depressed. Is this a mixed state? Or is it just lack of self control over behavior? Which I pretty much suck at.

I see the doctor tomorrow. If I remember, I’ll ask him. Because I have brought my mood stabilizer down to the lowest possible dose, and maybe I just need to kick the dose up a notch.

I’ll keep you posted.


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Life Moving Forward

I got an invitation to speak at a DBSA meeting in December. I accepted, pending deployment. At this rate, I assume I will not be.

It’s a panel discussion, sort of “meet the facilitators” type of thing. I don’t really have much to say. I feel like I’m something of a unicorn. I haven’t been hospitalized, I haven’t tried suicide, I gave up self medicating without a struggle, the doctor got the medication right the first time. I mean, I’m proof it can happen but I don’t feel like I’m typical. I am a little embarrassed by how easy it’s been for me.

The WRAP class is coming together. The facilitator has picked dates and times, I am just looking for a location. If we get enough people, we can have a room at UT Southwestern, but that location alone will cut down on the people who can get there. Ah, the balancing act. If they want it badly enough, they will come. But if you make it impossible for them to get there, you are not serving the population.

I have a dreadful cough. It’s making my ribs hurt but is rarely productive. Clearly an itch, post nasal drip. Probably an allergy. This is Texas after all.

Took my daughter to Planned Parenthood the other day. She has a boyfriend and doesn’t want babies, so she needs birth control. I like Planned Parenthood. They were affordable and professional, and she felt comfortable. Clean. Kind.

We tried a new poke place, Royal I.T. Cafe. It was adorable. We both got the Seafood Bowl. It was huge. The rice was hot which was a nice contrast to the chilled fish. There were 6 shrimps, an ice cream scoop of spicy tuna with mayo and a huge serving of salmon. Plus red onions, avocado and furikake. Neither one of us could finish it, but it was SO GOOD.

I went to art therapy today at Dallas Art Therapy, sponsored by Foundation45. It was interesting. I am too much in my head, though. I did better the first one than the second, but I did learn something. I wrote “the pain is not symmetrical” by which I meant physical pain, but it applies to my emotional pain as well. Most of my pain is due to loss. I feel it. The other person, the dead person, doesn’t miss me. Which is okay. I would hate for my mother to spend her afterlife missing me. Grief is rather one-sided, I’m afraid, but that is the nature of it.

I have signed up for a course from Leonie Dawson called “40 Days to Create + Sell Your ECourse“. I figure, I can be inspirational. I can use a stream of income that flows even when I’m busy. And Leonie, well, I remember when she was figuring it out. She’s got it sussed. I should definitely follow her path.

Maybe instead of writing a book, I should release a series of e-courses. Each chapter could be another course. There’s a thought . . .

I am also working on a book about human pollinators. They do the job that bees used to do, but by hand. I am trying to work out the action in the plot. I have some ideas, but no real outline yet. Still, everything starts somewhere.

I think that covers it for now. Like most of my posts, not really anything earth-shattering, but then life is full of average moments. I’m thinking of a nap now, actually bed based on the time, though it’s a bit early. Rest is so important.


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Hopeful Things

I’m feeling better, so that’s good. My ribs are still sore from being sick so it’s painful to cough but that will improve with time.

I made an amends to someone today. I don’t know what I needed to do, apologize doesn’t exactly work, so I ended up with 12-step language. She said we’re good, so I’m glad I did it.

Group was good today. The tables in the room had been rearranged and it gave us a different energy. Plus new people. One of them talked about his wife with such emotion, it’s so cool to see married people still in love. Made me happy.

I had breakfast with my daughter. She is planning to go back to school in January, assuming I get to work. She’s only planning on going part time, so with books it should be around $600, which is affordable. IF I’m working. Which I probably will be, since it’s storm season.

Ah, work. I enjoy working when I can. I wish I would be called back to work soon. It’s been since December, and people I know have been deployed, just not me. Well, that 12 day deployment earlier this month, so I hope they contact me again soon. I need to spend more time on USAJobs.gov to see what I can get.

I need to start reading the grant writing book that Bonnie gave me. I meet with her next week, wait, later this week, so I should have at least some idea of what I’m doing.

Grant writing is one of those things that, if I’m going to work in mental health, I’d better learn how to do it. It would be great to be able to take Kiss5Tigers and make it a 501(c)(3) non profit. (At least I think that’s the right code.) Or if I could set up 5Tigers Charities as a wholly- owned entity. Ah, dreams, lol.

So yeah, it will be useful to me, it will give back to a place that has given me quite a bit, and it’s a marketable skill. Win-win to be mentored in grant writing. Which I’ve known for years.

I need to be in touch with APAA about space for the WRAP class. I did speak with someone a couple weeks ago and he said it would take a while, but I need to make details public as soon as I can. I have the instructor, I have students, I just need a classroom.

I need to work on something creative. I have a scarf I can knit, but I really want to paint. Maybe tomorrow afternoon, after Recovery International.

I need to get that list of bands to my friend. A friend is looking for some new music and thought my daughter would be a good source, so I asked her for a list of 6 or 10 bands she thought I’d like, that I could share with my friend. I have the list, I just haven’t shared the information yet.

Things are going well. Stuff in progress, all looking good.


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I Did It

I did the thing.

I have been procrastinating, and I finally forced myself to stop procrastinating.

I opened up my file, and began typing.

I didn’t get much done, but I got some done, and that’s good enough.

Actually, I got more done than usual. I have been writing one paragraph at a time, and tonight I wrote about 6.

I have no deadline, so I’m not worked up about how much I do or don’t write. I just know I need to write.

I also have a sort of outline for this writing. I don’t really like outlines. To me, once I’ve written the outline, I don’t want to write the thing. It’s like, I’m done. But this time, well it’s not really an outline, but I’m finding when I run out of ideas I go to it and pick up the next topic. Writing is progressing.

I just heard about a really cool index card method, too. You make notes in the book as you read it and mark the pages (I would have to use sticky markers) and then a week or so later go back and transfer each item that still seems relevant to an index card. Use correct citations. Because then you can physically organize the cards by topic and you don’t have to remember where you read it. Sounds like a cool way to write a book or paper. I’ll have to try it sometime. Like, for a year, to have a variety of information to work from.

So this is my way of patting myself on the back for making the effort.

Because I am not ready to share the project, but getting over procrastination is huge!