Kiss5Tigers

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


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Asking

The generosity of people just blows me away.

I have a favoite author, SARK, who says, “Ask. Ask again. Ask differently.” I like that. Not to bug a person, but sometimes your request gets lost in the general noise of life. And sometimes people don’t understand what you’re asking for.

On a business level, Shepherd Inn is opening a new home and needed furniture. My boss asked for in-kind donations rather than cash. In-kind means people donate the item itself, so if we need a sofa, they donate a sofa. In two days, the house was furnished! Well, two exceptions: coffee table and end tables for the living room, and new mattresses for the new beds. I’m going to ask my friend K about the tables, she’s really good at finding things for cheap online.

On a personal level, I posted that I got turned down for unemployment and that I was worried about taking care of my cat. One friend brought me food and litter, another friend Amazon’ed me a huge bag of food and some litter, a third friend donated cash. I am just blown away by this. I mean, I knew people can be kind, but so many people concerned about my cat, wow.

What I take away from this is that it doesn’t hurt to ask. I didn’t ask for someone to get me pet food, but people saw the need and jumped in. My friend L taught me about asking too. She asks for prayer for things and usually someone is led to help her out in a material way. In fact, she is one of the people I send money when I have a little extra. I haven’t had any extra lately, but L and N get money from me. And daughter of course.

Even if I hadn’t gotten donations, I would have vented about my fears and that would have helped as well. Keeping my fears and needs to myself just seems to magnify them. They become so huge and overwhelming, probably because they end up taking up so much of my brain space.

So, another thing I got, that I need but didn’t ask about, was this evening I am off. I will be so happy to get some time to myself. I have chores to do around my room, but mostly I will go to Half Price Books for a look around, maybe to Barnes & Noble. I want a copy of Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ “Between the World and Me“. I already know it’s sold out at Half Price but B&N might have it. After that, I’m thinking of a poke bowl. I’d like to invite daughter and boyfriend to join me.


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Nasal Swabbing

At work we have a handyman. He works for a number of people, but he was over here last week hanging a room divider for the girls’ room. On Friday, he called us and told us he was being tested for Coronavirus because someone in his apartment complex had it. Today he called us with the results: His test came back positive.

Now of course we are sorry that he is sick, although he has no symptoms. However, that means that our household needed to be tested. Fortunately, Watermark Church is doing free testing for people without insurance. Since I am on the Parkland Plan, I don’t have traditional insurance and I got the test for free.

Let me tell you: The nurse who administers it is a little humorous about it. “That physical feeling of being violated will pass, the emotional part I can’t help you with.” Which was actually cute the way she said it.

But yeah! Did it feel like a violation!

The swab is about 8″ long and it goes up your nose. Up your nose and down your throat and into your brain. It is a long-ass swab. It wasn’t exactly painful but it was not at all pleasant.

Of course I got all tense and that makes it worse. They do it with you sitting in the car and I arched all up out of the seat. I felt like, if I could have tipped my head at a different angle, it would have been better. But yeah, not fun, not fun at all.

The whole car got tested and now we wait for our results. For the next 2 weeks we are quarantined which means the 5 of us (me, Victoria, our 2 guests and the baby) are stuck in the house. Together. Victoria and I get along pretty well, I don’t know the girls will be after being cooped up for 14 days.

I am going to let my daughter take the car for the quarantine. She has things she needs to get done and I can’t go anywhere so she might as well use it. I hate for things to be wasted through non use. (Remind me of that with regard to art supplies.)

I did however get two very cool masks in the mail today from Lilydale. Who is a person in Canada. I don’t know her real name, she’s an online friend so I only know her alias. So that was a nice surprise.

And I got Jack-in-the-Box for lunch. Tacos and egg rolls. Greasy greasy food but I’ve been eating home cooking for a couple weeks now so it was really good for a change.

Here’s hoping the tests come back negative and life returns to “normal”.


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North Texas Giving Tuesday

Hello hello hello

Today is a mixed bag of stuff.

In the middle of the night, I got a notice from unemployment that they turned me down because I gave incorrect information. Now I actually spoke to a person — they called me, I can’t get through to them — and I thought we got it all squared away. I thought the Census Bureau was my last employer because they hired me back in March, but since they never paid me, I am not considered an employee. Now I have to try to call the unemployment people again and see if I can find out what went astray.

On the other hand, Parkland finally approved me so I got my blood pressure meds today. I was starting to get headaches from blood pressure being too high so this is a great thing. It also means I have health insurance for the coming year.

I ordered stamps from the post office and they are having issues with delivering them. I don’t know why. On May 2 at 10:27 it says “out for delivery” and by 3:30 the same day, the package is marked “available for pickup”. I mean, if I was going to pick them up, couldn’t I have just gone to the post office and bought stamps? I have letters waiting to go out.

I did speak to the mail carrier, but he doesn’t sort his own mail so he said I needed to call. Well I’m trying but it’s nearly impossible. The system is set up to do everything automated and will only let you speak to a representative under certain circumstances. Stamp orders is not one of those circumstances. So I tried general customer service and right now I have been on hold for 36 minutes waiting for a representative. I know it’s Covid season but they are providing poor service with no way to correct it.

Today is North Texas Giving Tuesday and I work at a non profit so if you’re looking for a place to give . . . We got 501c3 status, I think it was Thursday, and already all the beds are filled. Teenagers need a place to go, a safe house for them is a real blessing. So we have 2 girls, one with a baby, who we are helping get back on track.

I am hoping to make some artist trading cards this afternoon since I have some time to myself. I might just watch TV and crochet though. I don’t know. I started a series called “Tales From The Loop“. It’s kind of “Eureka” meets “The Twilight Zone“. I’m really enjoying it. I’m thinking of getting a drink in a second and looking up a local phone number for the post office.

Here’s hoping I find stamps soon!


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New Digs

I am now living in Dallas proper, not just in the Dallas area.

I have a room at Shepherd Inn where I am the house manager. Right now that mostly means I cook. I don’t love cooking, but everyone likes my food here so I don’t hate it either.

My ex husband hated my cooking. He is the only person I know who could make the statement “This is like gourmet food” sound like an insult. He liked very processed food and I tend to start with ingredients and try to add veg whenever possible. He didn’t like veg. He wanted meat, cheese and bread. I’m surprised he didn’t have more digestion issues than he did. Anyway.

It’s nice to cook for people who appreciate it. I made crock pot chicken twice now. Banana bread. Egg salad. Omelets. Salmon. I have a crock pot of apple sauce cooking. It’ll be like apple pie filling without the crust. Chicken salad. This week I’ll try for spaghetti sauce. We have a couple pounds of venison in the freezer that I want to use up. Maybe chili later in the week.

We have our first guest at Shepherd Inn. She was an emergency intake, her boyfriend basically beat the shit out of her and she had nowhere to go. We are supposed to get a young single mom later this week. It’s pretty exciting. I really hope we can make a difference in these people’s lives.

V is painting the living room with her mother. I hope it’s done in time to go grocery shopping later today. We don’t need a lot of stuff but we are out of a few things. I’m working on this and on my Patreon today so I’m not painting. I don’t really have clothes to paint in anyway.

I had a job interview yesterday with Texas Workforce Commission, or Work In Texas or whatever euphemism they’re using for the unemployment office these days. I guess it’s not actually the unemployment office because all that is handled through a single office in Austin. The local centers are all about employment. So the position would be helping people get further education to move into a different field and helping with job matching. I was deucedly unprepared for the interview. They wanted to know what I knew about the job, which was pretty much nothing. I did tell them at the end that I knew I didn’t a lot about the job, but a benefit of that is that they can train me their way because I don’t bring a lot of preconceived notions with me. They gave me several scenarios to comment on. V overheard — it was online so I was in the kitchen — and said I interviewed really well. I’m not sure the interviewers share her opinion. But I did my best, what else can a person do?

I spoke to unemployment this week. They called me which was good because I had been trying for ages to reach them and couldn’t get through. I was offered that job at the census bureau but not given a start date. Now census says operations are suspended so I can’t even guess when they’ll need me. I figured I probably qualified for the extra $600 they are giving out, even though I have otherwise used up my benefits for the year. So they are going to update the information and reapply for me. See what happens.

I had several face masks, and now I can’t find any of them. I have misplaced the llama one and the sugar skull one. Sugar skulls might be in the car so I should check there but the llamas, I don’t know. I really need to look for them in case we go out later. We’re supposed to go grocery shopping and we are still social distancing.

Texas is supposed to be opening up starting yesterday. Restaurants are open at 25% capacity to keep distance between diners. Bars the same. But I am hoping for Barnes & Noble or Half Price Books to open. I miss coffee and browse the stacks. So many cool books waiting for me to read them.

I am currently reading Unf#ck Your Brain by Faith G. Harper. It’s a small book but it is taking me forever to read. I really hate that I can’t read any more. Well I can still read, I mean, I know how; but I seem to lack the focus to actually read a book. Even fiction.

I have put in my background check for CK Family Services. Talk about extensive! Ten years of residences, 6 personal references, and oh yeah supply my own copy of my driving record. Even the government didn’t ask for that much stuff. Though I suppose they have a record of my addresses due to filing income tax.

Parkland has been a headache. I am out of my blood pressure meds and I can’t get them. The out-of-pocket price was $108 which I just don’t have. I tried to apply for the Parkland Plan but I didn’t have all the documents I needed. I was told to bring a copy of my latest bank statement. I went back yesterday with the statement and they told me it was supposed to be my last 3 statements. I can go back Monday to finish the process but oh boy, do I not feel like going. But I will. I will feel pretty achy by Monday and be ready to get my meds. I might bring daughter down with me since she needs the insurance too. She would also benefit from the VIP program for abuse survivors. I just don’t know if she’ll live in town long enough to attend it. Her lease is up in August.

So much going on, and I’m feeling a real need to look for those masks. I think I’ll jump off here.


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Gardening As a Subversive Act

Only certain stores are allowed to be open, they have to provide essential services. So nail salons are not open but grocery stores are. However certain items can only be purchased in stores of a certain size. This means that, for example, Wal-Mart often exceeds the square footage requirement so they can’t sell certain items that are not essential.

Among the non-essential items are seeds. Apparently the seasonal department is closed down and at this time of year, that’s the gardening department.

So growing your own vegetables is considered non-essential.

To me, there is no reason to discourage people from gardening, and in fact it feels like the government doesn’t want us to grow our own food.

Which to me, is the perfect reason to do it.

I used to garden when I was a kid. I grew flowers, mom grew vegetables. I had a flower bed near the house, mom dug up the ground over the septic tank. As a child I never thought about it, it was just the grassy place then the vegetable garden, but as an adult I’m a little grossed out. I’m not invested in gardening very much at this point, but fresh veg is always a good idea.

V is talking about putting in a raised garden at Shepherd Inn. I’m not sure how she thinks that’s gonna work, but we’ll see. She works more than full time as it is at her non-profit. I need to work to cover my other expenses so I feel like I can’t really devote much time to gardening. The kids, maybe?

What would I plant? Let’s see . . . Tomatoes. Zucchini. Carrots. Mixed lettuce. Should I try onions or potatoes? Maybe some kind of squash like butternut or pumpkin. Peas? Cucumbers? Ooh, bell peppers. Radishes. Salad fixin’s. Beets. What, I like beets! Broccoli? Jalapenos?

Possibilities.

I’d have to order seeds by mail. I’d go with Burpee, since that’s the company my Grandpa used. Until I wanted heirloom seeds, then I’d have to look somewhere else.

So, gardening might become a thing in my world.


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Hunger Busters

I had the opportunity to work for an organization called Hunger Busters this week. They provide lunches for kids who usually get the free lunch at school. Since schools are closed, many times these kids simply don’t eat. This program provides 2 meals per day per child, Monday through Friday. All you need is the kid’s name and the name of the school, although they like to have a student ID number too.

Now it’s not haute cuisine. I spent my time making ham and cheese sandwiches, and stuffing apples and chips into paper sacks. But for a kid who might not get lunch, this is a necessary meal. Can’t have hungry kids roaming around, so I felt good about feeding the little ones.

I still haven’t got the ShiftSmart app working on my phone. It simply doesn’t show me any shifts. I have emailed them asking for help so hopefully they’ll get back to me shortly. I got one email from them saying they’d reply within half an hour, and then a second one saying due to high volume etc. etc. it would be more like 3 to 5 days. So I wait.

I visited my daughter after working. It was good to see her. What was even nicer, was seeing boyfriend come home. They play together. They joke and wrestle and enjoy each other’s company. It made me happy. I hope it lasts. Just writing this puts tears in my eyes for her. Big mom emotion.

I am mostly packed. Probably about 80% done. I have run out of places to put boxes in my room. I am at the point where I mostly have to do laundry so today I washed my comforter and some blankets. Tomorrow I’ll wash black clothes and underwear. Nothing amazing but it needs to get done.

Packing is both easy and hard. I am excited to find stuff I’ve been missing. I’m a snail mail geek, so I was happy to find some packages of envelopes. On the other hand, I don’t know how to put this things in boxes so I can find it again. That’s the rub. It’s not boxing things up, there’s no difficulty just picking up the next item and dropping it in a box. The problem is doing it in a way that’s at least semi organized so you can find stuff later. But most of it is art supplies so finding any of it at all will be amazing.

I don’t fully understand why I keep getting certain things in the mail. I am out of money and overdrawn at the bank. How can I keep getting things that I haven’t paid for? But here we are, I got a package from my house items today, and I know I didn’t order it. I can’t afford it. So we shall see what happens.

Money continues to be an issue in my life. Shepherd Inn is talking about paying me maybe $500 a month, since room and board is covered. That still only brings me to about $17,000 a year so I’ll need another job as well. Plus I still owe the government for health insurance and for that company card. I thought I had made a huge payment on that card but it apparently bounced out so the amount is a lot larger than I thought. I am very stressed about money.

I found my 2″ circle punch so that made me happy. It was in the car, of all places. I’m thinking, with this punch, I could make pins. I mean those button type pins for novelty items. I don’t know how much the machine costs though so it might not be cost effective. Now if I have a wealthy reader who is feeling generous . . . (I’m sure you’re all in the boat I am.)

So I keep on trucking. Life continues its forward momentum. And really, in this time of stress and blockage, that’s a miracle.


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Moving Forward

In so many ways it feels like life has come to a complete halt but in other ways it’s still moving forward.

It’s spring in Texas. Bluebonnets are out along the highway and I saw a lovely patch of Indian paint brush the other day. I haven’t seen anybody stopping to take the obligatory annual bluebonnet photos that are a Texas tradition, but that is likely to be due to rain as much as social distancing.

Pumpkin the cat has had a litter of 4 kittens. Daughter now has 14 cats in her house: 2 of her own, 1 of her boyfriend’s, and 4 that belong to her roommates plus 2 litters of kittens. One litter is actually old enough to go to new homes but the person who wants them lives in another state and travel is restricted right now.

We had a meeting at Dunbar House with a potential client. She seems like she could really benefit from 3 – 6 months of assistance while she gets her feet under her. And she seems pretty motivated to move her life ahead. The drawbacks are that she has a dog which she simply could not bring with her, and she has a significant other who she would like to stay with. We can’t take in a couple. In fact, I said to V today, we should let it be known that there is no dating within the household. I just see that being a bit of a problem.

I am still planning to move on the 18th. I picked up boxes from a friend today. It was so weird, both of us with masks and afraid to actually chat about anything because of risk of exposure. I just totally appreciate the boxes. I should be able to finish packing now.

I am finding all kinds of cool stuff in my bedroom as I pack. I mean, I knew I had it. I just didn’t know where it was exactly.

I need to do much laundry in the next week. Charli the kitty has been peeing in my laundry again so I need to get that handled and packed. If I can just wash and pack that will be easiest.

I have no idea where I’ll be putting stuff once I move. So much of it is art supplies. I need to actually use art supplies instead of just buying them. I hope to have an opportunity to make some art once I move.

So yeah, things are difficult and strange, but on the other hand the situation is changing even as I write this. Slowly but still shifting. Slow is not staying still, so that’s good. Hopefully things will be different before too long, in a good way.

I feel pretty optimistic today.


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How Fast Things Change

Yesterday felt like life was all uncertainty, and today feels completely different.

First of all, I talked to Shepherd Inn. We figured out that the current shelter-in-place orders are going to be extended. That’s not a surprise to me, really, we are still getting increasing numbers of cases in Texas so there’s no reason to think they’ll let the orders lapse any time soon. Also, unofficially, the state government is already discussing extending them past April 3.

In any case, we decided to postpone me moving in until the middle of the month. I don’t think orders will change then either, but since the place is due to open on May 1, I don’t know that I can wait any longer to settle in. I think it’s important that I am not arriving at the same time the girls are, for the sake of stability. So this is good. I feel more grounded about that.

V also asked me if I want to work, which I do. So she is going to set something up for me that’s part time at a food bank. Part time is perfect for me, since this will be physical work and I am not used to that. I need to figure out how to use an app called ShiftSmart because that is how I’ll get paid. It’s only $10 an hour but I have bills I need to take care of, I need the income. They pay by the day, with about a 3 day lag for the first check.

Monday morning I’m going to pick up my daughter and we’ll go pick up my meds at Parkland. Then J and I will arrange a way for me to pick up boxes from her. Probably she will put them in the yard and I will drive by to get them.

While I’ve been packing, I’ve been finding all kinds of cool stuff. I mean, I knew I had it, I just didn’t know exactly where it was. No, really, I’d forgotten that I had some of it. But that’s okay! One day I will have a studio room and I’ll be able to organize stuff so I can know what I have and where it is. Just getting things boxed up is my goal for now.

So I’m feeling a little better about things. I have a plan for the next few days. Shower in the morning and get dressed since that helps me feel human. Something about putting on pants and a bra makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something, gives me focus.

Sometimes all I need is a little sleep and a new day to have a new attitude.

And you know, things are going to be okay. It’s all going to work out somehow and it’s gonna be 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.