Identify what is most important )0( Eliminate everything else
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world. Dr. Paul Farmer
The suffering of others is not alleviated when no one knows about it.
There is no one right way to live. Daniel Quinn Ishmael
The only thing that you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right sort of people.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Day 25, and big 'ole Hadean epoch

We know what those are.  It is the beginning of (have to look it up) a time in history "...marked by notable events or particular characteristics."  Thank you Google.  That is it.  I just could not put it into my own words.  History is not just the world-thing, we have our own epochs, with significant things that happen to us.  Maybe beginning a family, or moving on our own to a new city or country.  Starting a career or being a grandparent.  Maybe even when someone dies.  Like when we lose something and have to find a way to move on.

My most recent one, epoch-wise, began on that day I left.  Maybe it started before that, I just do not know.  Maybe at the beginning of the hundred days project.  Maybe it was something just before that, something that put me on the path to all of the changes.  You know, that liminal moment when you cross the threshold into whatever is on the other side.  I almost always see them after they happen.  Sometimes it is held in moments, other times I have to look back into my past to search for them.

The only reason I am thinking of this today is that Yahoo! had an article about a visual aid that, I think, Nature published, shows what a revolving earth more than four billion might have looked like.  I know nothing about science or astronomy or physics, but I love them so much.  Even if I never learn anything substantive about any of that, I am informed over and over again.   I really am not articulate enough to express how much science means to me.  I think sometimes that it must be because it is what it is.  It changes when those who do science learn new things, make new discoveries, but in that moment it is truth in a way not nothing else approaches.

So, I saw that image today and it quietly left me breathless, thinking about that distant past and my own and all of our pasts. 

This week and last week I have done things I could never imagined myself capable.  I feel confident in, well, it is kind of weird.  I do not feel powerful or that I am inspiring myself to do more adventurous things, but whilst I am not capable of doing anything, I do have the ability to do more than I thought I could.  I was full of adrenaline when the breaking-in happened, and I held on to that feeling for a couple of days, but now, I have that same quiet and breathless feeling that I got when seeing that gif this afternoon. 

It is nice and I would like to be supportive of those feelings in what I choose or decline to do.  You know, that is the particular path I feel that I am on now.  I feel persuaded to consciousness about whatever I am doing, even the time I will be spending with my friend that I help.  And, there is this kind of responsibility to no only pay attention, but to avoid missing whatever might be important in even the little things we will do together today. 

nuts - these are so filling and taste good, and as long as i do not eat too many, healthy

pineapple slices and the juice

is yet to come, but I am planning on a nice piece of fish, roasted vegetables and salad, as well as planning to eat all of it.  I will not be bringing leftovers home.  I might even have a wee glass of wine. 

Edited to add:
3 bowls of soup
2 plates of salad
3 bread sticks
2 diet colas
Olive Garden

I rarely get to choose where my friend and I will go for a meal.  Truth is that I rarely choose anything we do.  She tries to bribe me, keep me beholden to her, by buying my meal.  However, I pay my way.  So, there.

If she had other resources, I would abandon her to them in a heartbeat.  I like her very much, but she does not treat people nicely.  The people I mean are wait staff, clerks, sales people, cashiers.  When that happens, as it did twice today, I say something.

If you choose to let your entree go cold because you want to fill up on soup and salad and breadsticks so that you are, in effect, getting two meals for the price of one, and you are rude to the waitress because you complain about the pasta being hard, it is because you let it set there and I will, when you look at me to solicit me to agree with you, what you will hear is that your food probably would be more pliable if it were still warm.  I do it with a smile, you know, just trying to be helpful and all that, but satire aside, I do it in support of the poor working girl you are bullying.

And, yet, she still had the nerve to ask for the meal to be packed up, extra sauce added and for a box of bread sticks to be added.  It does not help anything that she under tips.   I just settle there and make sure that I pay for my own meal and tip at least 75% of my total bill.  That along with an apology is the least I can do.

I do not even want to write about what she did to the cashier at the grocery store.  Sigh.  I always feel guilty about how relieved I am when she leaves town to visit her children.  My guess is that she behaves the same way when she is with them. 

I used to just leave a big tip and let it go at that, but I seem unable to stop myself from trying to make amends to the people she treats rudely. 

And, yet, my own behavior is just as lacking.  I was reminded of a responsibility that I have neglected for many weeks.  Truth is that I totally forgot about it, and being out of town, I cannot rectify my crappy behavior until Monday at the earliest. 

It is so much easier to see the flaws in another person than it is to recognize the exact same crap in ourselves.  This is probably where the notion of not throwing the first stone originated. 

I throw stones.  And, I act like I know it all, I act like a pompous know-it-all.  You know, if that sort of thing does not shame me, nothing will.  I do feel ashamed.  I do know that I need to keep my mouth out of her business, hell, anyone's business. 

There is this kind of belief that I am holding that because I did not have a voice for most of my life, that I have some responsibility to use it now.  I can do that, but not at the expense of another person, not at the cost of shaming them.  Good manners is the practice of not doing anything or saying anything about the poor manners of someone else.  Good manners is keeping your mouth shut.  Good manners is not correcting anyone else.

This afternoon and early evening I did not have good manners.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Day 24

I wonder if I will stick with this as long as the 100 day project from two years ago.  That was part of the preparation for leaving that other life, although I had no idea that it was back then.  At the time it was a way to concentrate on something for a hundred days.  Whatever this is, I hope that there is something great at the end and that it does not take an additional year to show up.

I awoke hungry, until I was up and about.  Then, my appetite went somewhere without me, so I had a cup or so of my nut mix.

1/4 pound of baked ham, fat removed

After I ate the nuts, I went to the refrigerator and the only things in there were/are a bunch of condiments, most of a carton of eggs, 3 apples and a ham.  So, I baked the ham and had a few more nuts along with a square of chocolate.

The ham was pre-cooked, but I remember from ages ago, when I last bought a ham, that they taste better when they are baked.  So, that is what I did, and it was ready by lunchtime.

a bunch of small ham slices, heated in a frying pan with a can of sauerkraut on top

That was good, except for the part about forgetting that there was still half of it in the pan.

I will grocery shop when I take my friend out to do something with her accountant, have an early dinner and take her shopping.

I did not waste any meat this week, but a few vegetables went into the trash in the past few days.  I am doing a respectable job of using the food I buy, and hope to keep getting better at that.  It was easier when I was buying mostly fruit, during my fruit binge buying, as that never went to waste, but you cannot eat just fruit and salad, as I found out.

I have no idea what to buy and will wait to see what is on sale.  The market she likes is too expensive for me, but I always buy stuff there because I am already there.  The meat is very good.  Very unlike the discount market meat and these recent trips to her favorite market have been a strain on my budget, with those higher prices, but the meat purchases have made it difficult to go back to the quality of meat I was buying.  I feel guilty buying the better meat.  I just do.

I meet with my spiritual adviser in the morning.  It continues to amaze me that I have a spiritual adviser and that I am going to church once in a while, although the church part is not all that connected to the tender explorations I have with Sister.

I never know what we will talk about, not even when I meet her.  It all just happens, mostly interesting and forward moving stuff, but there will come a time when I and the process will become redundant.  I know that.  My hope is that I actually have a spiritual practice that means something to me before that happens.

I am hoping to finish Sue Monk Kidd's, The Invention of Wings tonight before I fall asleep.  At midnight, just a half-hour from now, it will be overdue at the library.  I need to finish it for the next person waiting in the queue to read it and I need to find a used copy for myself, because I need to read it again, as soon as possible.

I have this fistful of books that I re-read nearly every year, and this book of Sue's has become one of them.  I liked The Secret Life of Bees, very much, but this book, it is speaking to some vital part of me, not so much my heart, but some little place inside that does not have a name.  I know it is there, that part.  I can feel it respond when I am reading.  That part inside me takes in the words as I read, fetching them from my eyes and brain and folding all of it into something that makes the kind of sense I need right now, sense for which I am in such need.

It supports my work and it just might be the next step in whatever I am supposed to do.  I knew that I liked it from the beginning and I thought that I should read her other two books.  Now they have to wait until I re-read this one. 

This same thing happened to me when I first fell upon Alice Walker.  And, Margaret Atwood.  Harper Lee, George Orwell, Poe, Kurt Vonnegut.  Those and the others who live on the shelf at the head of my bed, their dusty covers shedding the stuff that kept me alive in that other life and which feeds me now.  I wish it would also help me be a better housekeeper, but I guess you cannot have everything. 

now my ethics are p......

Just received a reply.  Apparently I was not the teeniest bit successful is sharing how important it is for me to support our women.  Although it could have been much worse.  Her reply to me was:

I certainly do not want you to go against your beliefs.

I will consider you removed from this project.
Could be worse.  Really.  This should be breaking my heart a wee bit; instead I am not exactly giggling, but I am smiling.  I believe that I might very well have written the same thing as she has.

ethics are a pain in my personal southern hemisphere

My southern hemisphere has been giving me pause for months now, of the lower-intestinal distress nature.  But, that is another, even more disgusting story than I usually share.

So.  I asked for clarification about the art project proposed for women who have experienced domestic abuse.  This is only my opinion, but were I asked to participate under the process that has been set up, I would feel potentially exploited, absolutely traumatized and re-traumatized and I would probably say something along the thoughts of that I would think about it.  Then, I would procrastinate, be passively non-committal and not do it.  And, all during the process, and afterwards, I would feel badly about myself.  For feeling icky about being part of it, for not being able to pull my big girl panties and just do it, and for feeling as though I was not the only person I let down by not doing it.

I received the answers I needed and replied with my withdrawal from the project.  It will be awkward seeing that person at work.  I can live with that.  I did my best to be supportive of the desires to provided this. 

Given what I knew last week, I had made this decision then, just wanting to wait and see what the registration materials were going to be like.  Even though the person who designed the project has many good ideas, she had shared enough of it to help me understand that I could not be part of it.  I felt that I owed both of us to have all of the facts in print before quitting.  I was simply waiting for that confirmation before sending the quitting e-mail to her.  I understand that everyone is very busy and that e-mailing is the default communication.  I wish that I could have had this last conversation about the project in person.  Just saying.

So, I was ready with my reply.  There was one shock when I read her reply to my questions.  It seems that the women who participate, nearly all of whom have no art or crafting experience, and for whom this is a new and interesting process, have two choices in participating.

The first is that if their art sells they can give the sale price to the shelter as a donation.

Their second choice is to not offer the art for sale. 


There is no option for selling their work and keeping the money for themselves.  These are women who have practically nothing, and they are asked to put themselves and their experiences out to be seen and judged by strangers without any benefit to themselves.

Disgusting.  Foul.  Despicable.  Horrible. 


I am just guessing, but the original plan had the exhibit held in a bar/restaurant, with at least 70% of the space devoted to the bar.  At night.

Many of our women are still cautious and afraid of being out after dark, even when escorted by someone they trust, and there was not any accommodation being offered for the artists to have safe transportation.  Not to mention the alcohol.  Most of our women are either in recovery, struggling to stay in recovery or longing for recovery from their substance issues.

It was only after a fairly emotional conversation (mostly on my part) that the venue was changed to a regular art gallery.  But, it is still at night and those who attend to view the art are allowed to bring their own wine and beer.  But, it was the best compromise I could negotiate.

But, even though my decision had already been made, the fact that this was clearly designed to be a fund raiser for the shelter defies everything that I think our shelter holds sacred. 

If my withdrawal...allrighty, let us call it what it is...quitting the project causes problems for me, even it if makes things awkward, I might have to invite myself to quit working there.  I do not want to do that.  I have invested everything I have into that work, that job.  I would be a little bit broken if I find that I must leave.  I have already shared all of this with my immediate supervisor and she assures me that all I have to do is the right thing.  So, I am.  Or, I had already done that, but it was nice to hear here say that.

This stuff is hard.  Back in that other life all of my decisions were trying to do the right things for the right reasons whilst trying to stay unhurt.  That danger is gone and I am left to be a big girl in all of this, and having to be able to present myself.  Understanding how I feel is one thing, defending it is something entirely different.

I hope I was able to do that today.    

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

23rd day of striving towards health

If you sleep until 11:30 a.m., there is no such meal.

I was not hungry, so between noon-ish and 4:00 p.m. I had:
bowl of chili
pickled vegetables
4 ounces of left-over steak

bowl of chili

The meat was difficult to eat.  I wanted to stop after the first two bites, but I did manage to eat the whole piece.  I really did take me those nearly four hours to eat that stuff.

This lack of hunger bothers me so, in between bits of eating, I researched lack of appetite in regards to dieting.  The most frequent thing I found was that eating too few calories shoves you into that controversial starvation mode.  It makes sense, but it has the ring of too easy of an excuse for a lot of things about cutting back on what we eat.  I am not a scientist, just a science nerd, so what the heck do I know.

The web site that made the most sense to me was one with which I registered.  Based on my weight and how responsibly, gradually and permanent I want my weight loss to be, I am supposed to be eating 2300 calories each day.

Hell, I did not eat that much when I was eating anything that did not move.  My current weight certainly has a close relationship with savory things and anything that you can dip into it.  Salty and crunchy are my all-time favorite things to eat, especially if you can put sour cream on them. 

The bulk of my former diet was beans, legumes, seeds, grains and dark vegetables.  Cutting out the carbohydrates left me hungry and frantic for food at times.  I resisted and then almost immediately had trouble rousing my appetite. 

I figured...still do, although today's reading has informed me otherwise...that if I am not hungry, then my body does not need food, which almost instantly brought back some memories.

Aside from over eating, I would not say, or believe, that I have any other eating disorder.  Except that I now remember a year or more when I was intentionally not eating enough. I would pick at food, break it up, move it around the plate and clear my plate into the garbage as soon as I could.

I cannot believe that I had forgotten this stuff.  It was about 26 years ago and was a time when I knew that I could not escape my marriage and all that meant and whilst I convinced myself that I was going to be more fit, slimmer and hopefully more attractive to my ex, and hopefully less hated as well, near the end I came to understand that I was trying to starve myself so that I could escape one way or the other.  I only stopped because it meant that I would be leaving our child unprotected.  The truth is that if I stayed there, he would concentrate on me and not her.  The few times I went out for a lunch or an activity with friends, I would come home to hearing that if I had stayed home he would not be bothered by having to watch our daughter.  He also told me that if I wanted to do anything outside the house that I had to beg him to do so.  I thought he was joking (yes, that is how stupid I was) and he told me that every man wants that. 

Oh, I can remember exactly how he said it and how he shifted his weight in his chair, the same thing he did later just before something bad happened.  Is that when that physical shift started or just that I am remember it now.  It was that movement that propelled me backwards out of the house that last day.

At that time of starving, it was as though I felt that eating was the only control I had in my life.  As long as I cooked what he wanted, I could eat too.  What a fucking mess.  How did I survive all of that.  What unobserved damage have I done to our daughter, my daughter.  It is no wonder, no great stretch to imagine how greatly we have been damaged. 

Well, here we are.  I think that one of the best parts of having this now-new life is that I get to make amends with her.  I get the chance to make everything that happens from now on be different and supportive and whilst there was so much love back then, love can shower over both of us.  Heal us as much as that is possible. 

Man, all I an trying to do is become more fit, more healthy and all this stuff is unearthed.  I wonder how much more there is to be remembered.  All I have to say is that it would be nice if the memories came rushing back on days when I am doing well.


Where was I?  Oh, yes, 2300 calories a day.  I understand the reason for not cutting calories so drastically and I will try to eat more, even though I do not have an appetite. 

I am finished with all of that wonderful, seasonal and cheap fruit, but the apple I ate for dinner was nice and crunchy and I felt absolutely no need to put sour cream on it. :)

I am going to keep snack-sized zipper bags of my nut mix around and will eat those, raw vegetables and apples during the day.  All three of those can go with me wherever I wander, so I have no excuse for finding myself with only drive-through choices.  Insanely, the drive-through item I want, crave, the most is those blended coffee drinks, all icy and sweet and delicious.

I will be walking to the shelter tomorrow to deliver research I did for one of the other advocates.  I could drive, but I want to see if I can walk that bit-over-a-mile.  I will be taking lots of meds beforehand, and taking lots of water with me.  After last week's successes, I will be trying to convince myself to take on new challenges.  Crapynappy, I cannot walk there.  I have two other errands to take care of in the morning.  No matter, there will be new opportunities.

I do not remember what I needed to write about today.  Something.  Maybe it was a though of something that brought me to the other stuff. 

I do want to eat more food.  It is healthier and it will help me lose weight more quickly and efficiently, although all of this is really not about the weight.  Not so much.  I want to get back the good health that I have enjoyed until recently, although it is clear that I have not appreciated and supported it the way I should have been doing.  Interesting that I could get to this age with so little health and body stuff to worry me.

I am glad that I am taking these monthly weeks off from my library jobs.  I need to have four days in a row to nap and do other things, as soon as I think of some things to do.  I am planning to walk downtown on Wednesday.  Return my library materials, sit in the square, get coffee from the sandwich place.  Watch people, read, walk home.  Spend more time on the porch.  Just be outside these walls.

Monday, July 28, 2014

day 22 - captain's log

nothing, having chosen sleep over nourishment.

no time between therapy and group.

Mid-afternoon stop at the Chinese place. All healthy and just enough.   If I could afford it, eating there would ensure enough calories a couple of times each week, making up for the days when I forget to eat. Or,I could just be more responsible.

Anyway, I am out on the porch, eating the bag of nut mixture I carry around now, finishing Mr. Mercedes (hoping this book will make it to the end without any of my favorite characters getting killed, feet up and enjoying this most wonderful day.

The air is light and slightly breezy and the temperature here in the shade is nearly perfect. I am not sore or feeling stiff and creaky, and it is only today that I realize how badly Friday might have gone, especially had I become stuck or been knocked senseless after diving through the window.

Well, you know what they say about fools...yeah, that pretty much sums me up.

And, poking away at this teeny keyboard is to much for even a daredevil. Cat burgled , turned secret agent like myself. It will be interesting to read this later and see any autofill I missed.

Oh, I almost adopted three kittens this afternoon.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Day 21 - trying to eat more food

steak, quick and more like brunch-time, although my first meal of the day
3 ladles of chili
I wanted to eat salad, but I was full, and I am trying to respect what hunger really is, instead of just stuffing stuff down my throat because it tastes good. 
I also cooked a second, larger steak and cut it in half for two more meals or snacks.

I no longer want that mindless and careless eating.

a bowl of chili, kind of medium sized

I have not made chili for a long time because I have been avoiding beans.  I just had to have some today, and making some means that I did not have any chance to not get around to cooking the ground beef and end up wasting it.

I brought cherries and my nut mix to work, but never got to eat any of it.  I did, however, get to lick the little lid of the frosting candy I bought for the kids from the Hispanic market.  Good thing it had eighteen little packets, as all the women wanted candy, too.  It was very sweet, pun totally intended, because they were just darling.

10 or so ounces of pickled vegetables and a diet ginger ale.

When I finally got home a few minutes ago, I was sort of hungry, but nothing looked appetizing except for frozen Brussels sprouts, but it is too late to start cooking anything.

So, I am off to bed.

Oh, and that nice scrape on my side goes down to my leg, something I did not notice yesterday or Friday.  I have lots of bruises on my arms, but many fewer than I expected.  They are all on the really small size, and I have no idea what I could have landed on to have that happen.  Even my knees feel less tender and I have not had all that much trouble walking up and down stairs, which I have to do whilst working in a three-story old building.

The bruise I expected to have on my upper chest, based on how much it hurt yesterday morning, did not manifest at all.

I have to say that I am feeling good.  I feel strong and capable and can hardly wait to share the story in therapy tomorrow morning.

I called my daughter on Saturday, late afternoon, and told her about all of my adventures last week.  The art show project, being asked to be in that brochure, fixing the broken brake light (without any help or a manual or anything) and then breaking into my house.

We chatted for a while and I then said that I had called for another reason, and she shrieked, oh god, what else did you do?  But all I wanted was to drive up next Friday and offer to send them off for the night.  We are going to do that, but before we signed off, she berated me for allowing the boys to watch a particular program.  I said fine, but she would not let it go.

In the past, even the recent past, I would have left it at my apology, but not this time.  She was snarky and about something that she and my son-in-law allow them to watch.  I did not belabor the point, but at least I made it.  If I do not begin to stand up to the stuff she says, I will lose my connection to keeping our relationship healthy, and just go off to lick my wounds because I am uncomfortable saying anything.

The truth is that any kind of similar conversation is beyond my comfort areas.  I never talk back or argue, I never confront anyone much less offer a challenge.  I despise drama, it frightens me.  I will swallow any rude treatment, whilst backing up, both physically and metaphorically. 

It is the pattern of my life, that other life, and habits are difficult to change.  I would like to be more assertive, more self supporting.  I would love that.  I hope that I am making progress in that direction, it is just so slow going. 

This is interesting, because I had no intention of writing about my daughter and the program issue.  At work tonight, shortly before my shift ended, I had a conversation with one of our women about not allowing other women to speak rudely to her, to not allow them to tell her what to do, especially as concerns her children, who are very nice boys.

And, here I am, struggling with the exact same issues, nearly at the same level of dysfunction.  No one is perfect.  If they were, they would drive us crazy-ier.  No one knows everything.  We are all doing the best we can. 

I saw a quote a few days ago.  Stop doing what doesn't work.  Why is that so hard.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Day 19 - Healthier? Not so much, but I am still here


4 Hebrew National hot dogs.  These are so good.  No horrible ingredients and they taste very nice.

That is it.  No lunch.  No dinner.  I forgot to take something to work, which is not a meal, just easy to eat snacks.  Between clients.  There were only three today.  One is a regular, one other is always challenging (but really, really nice and I like him a lot), and a new person who came in with an insanely difficult problem concerning SSI documentation.  We all rocked there today.

The day began with me locking my keys in the house.  I knew the instant I heard the latch click.

I always keep a spare key in my bag.  Always.  Except for today.  I looked.  So, I started to walk to work and remembered that I do carry  an extra car key, so I drove and was not late.  Yay.

I called my landlord when that happened, but I could tell by his voice that he was super busy and told him that I would get a locksmith.  I called two whilst waiting for clients.  I could not understand anything the first one said, as their phone connection was horrible.  The second one told me to call back when I was near the end of the day and a technician would set up a time for him to come.  I did that.  He said that he was in the neighborhood and asked if he could come right over.  I skipped a task I needed to do today and raced home.  In the car, but I did the speed limit.  It seemed like racing because I was not walking.

I waited more than an hour.  I must live in a really huge neighborhood.  He came, introduced himself, worked on the lock for ten minutes and told me that he could not get it to open.  Then, he took my last $75.00 and told me to have a nice day.

It grieved me to call my landlord again, but I did.  I left a message.  Then, I thought, hell, I did not do a perfect job of installing the little air conditioner in my bedroom.  Yeah.  I can go over there, pull it out, climb in the window and somebody's your uncle.

I forgot that this is house is not level with the ground, and whilst the windows look to be just fine inside, on the outside, the lower edge is higher than I am tall.

And, I thought, heck, I can do this.  It would have been nice had I thought to break into my flat before I did commerce with the un-locksmith guy.  However, it is still light and where there is a will there is a way.  I could have gone all soft and just stayed overnight someplace until my landlord was available.  Oh, unless the rush in his voice earlier meant that they were going away for the weekend.


So, I went to the side of the house and tried to remove the air conditioner.  Not only is a little air conditioner much heavier when it is stuck in a window over your head, than it is when you are inside your bedroom, but it leaks water on you, small gushes, but still.  Worse was that I had fastened it more securely than I thought.  Nice and all that if someone wants to break in, but since I was the person breaking up, the fact that I could even move it around a little was nice for me (the locked-out) it kind of freaked me out that I could move it at all.

I went to the lawyer office next door to ask if I could park my car in their driveway so that I could climb on my car to break into my flat.  They were very nice and said that I could if I could do it quickly or wait until they closed the office at five.

Whilst I was waiting for them to go home, I returned to wrestle with the wee air conditioner, managed to get wet again, lose my grip and have it drop on my head and then finally heaved it up and into the room.  Then, I went to wait until the lawyers left.

Car back into the driveway and perfectly positioned and I discovered that the old arthritis would not allow me to lift my leg high enough to climb up on the rear bumper.  I used my porch chair and managed to step up and crawl onto the trunk.  I braced myself against the house and stood up.

The gap between the trunk and the window was too great, so I eased myself up along the rear window frame, hoping that I did not pop the back windshield out.  I got one knee on the window sill.  I could not get my right knee up there because my bone-on-bone knee joints were not cooperating. 

There I was, left knee on the sill, sort of balanced between the car and the house, still with a song in my heart and finally realized that the only way this was going to work was to abandon any notions I had about boosting my bulk onto the sill and swiveling myself into the room.

So, I did the only thing a responsible person, especially one facing the prospect of sleeping in the car, would do.  I threw my upper body over the sill and into the bedroom.

I balanced there for a while, if you could call that balancing and then pushed myself forward, missing the wounded air conditioner and the red crate of art supplies I have been storing here. 

Wedged between the conditioner and the crate, I tried to roll onto my side, hoping for a better fit and, well, I gave up and kept pulling myself into the room.  My legs dangled for way too many minutes, but I made it.  I dragged myself (knees not working) to my bed and pulled myself upright.

Now, the one question I have is, how serious is it that I smashed a bunch of those thin metal baffle strips when I crashed onto the conditioner?  I hope not too badly.

And, I stood up, went to the door, opened it and retrieved my key ring from the shelf where it had been forgotten, locked and unlocked the door to make sure that the un-locksmith had not messed that up with his hammer.  Yes, he used a hammer-like tool.

What with the changing of the car lights yesterday and breaking and entering my own flat, I am feeling preh T gud.

I received a call from the shelter where I lived two years ago and where I now work.  One of the largest foundations in the country provides one of our biggest grants.  Last year, I think, the director asked me to write my story as part of the grant application process.  This year they want to use me in their new brochure(s).  I am thinking about it.

Thinking will have to wait because I am eating delivery Chinese food (thank the goddess for credit cards) and waiting for Shark Tank to begin.  Tomorrow morning I will be meeting my friends for coffee and next week when I have all those days off, I will be visiting a dinosaur museum and walking downtown to just sit, have a coffee and watch people.

I have the best life.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Leftover steak

bag salad
hot dogs  - It was National Hot Dog Day, and the ones I ate were meat and seasonings without any preservatives or stuff like that.

bag-o-shaved-deli-corned beef

I had this bag of corned beef because I was going to mix it with sauerkraut, heat it up and douse with bottled thousand island dressing.

Unfortunately, I do not have a can opener.  Ooopsie.  So, I ate just the meat.

sweet potato, microwaved, butter, pepper and some salt on the last bits because they did not have any butter or pepper taste.

4 pieces of fish sushi
some baked chicken, meat only
green beans
a handful of cubed potatoes and a whole glob of wasabi - very yummy
soft drink

Yes, I had to eat out and went to my favorite Asian buffet.  I showed great restraint and did not fill up on their amazing hot and sour soup, that is thick and chock full of seaweed, mushroom stems and bits of tofu.  Instead I ate healthy choices, aside from giving into temptation for the potatoes, sushi and green beans.  I ate very little, at least for me, and left barely satisfied, which satisfied my desire to eat well and minimized the fact that I chose that place to eat instead of going to a grocery store and buying a salad.

drive-through burger and fries

In my defense, today was stressful (including a thoroughly distressing visit to my cell phone provider) I was stopped by a police officer and given a warning about replacing the driver's side brake light bulb, stopping at the auto place, buying a pack of replacement bulbs, tearing the trunk apart to get to the place where you can replace the bulbs, and discovering that you cannot do that from inside the car.

This is the car I was forced to take got in the divorce, that miserable piece of metal parts that has cost me a small fortune to fix all the stuff that my ex knew needed fixing and then charged me back an insane amount of compensation.  I am dumb, but at that time I was incapable of standing up for myself and just let him and his family fuck the beans out of me during that entire time and on through the final decree. 

The car does not have a manual and I had to figure out how to remove the entire assembly, with only a little pliers.  And, I did it.  It took me a half hour, but I figured it out, removed the whole light section, replaced the bulb and got it all back together.  The best part is that it worked!  Too cool.

So, hot and tired and relieved that I was able to figure that out, I drove through a fast food place and ate on the way home.  I am sad to report that it tasted more wonderful than I could have ever imagined, and that has nothing to do with not having to cook it myself.  I ate only part of the bun bottom and the fries were cold and did not have any salt on them, but, oh gosh, it was so good. 

Had I not already started feeling a tiny bit uncomfortable about eating out twice today, I swear that I would have driven back and bought more fries.  So good.

The thing that happened at work on Sunday, the one for which I was feeling ashamed, turned out fine.  When I went to our director to share what I had done, instead of cautioning me to avoid doing anything similar in the future, she told me that making up my own rules for that circumstance is exactly what she wants me to do, what she wants all of the advocates to do, but that she does not expect that the other will take the initiative to do anything like what I did.


I work tomorrow and Sunday and then have a whole bunch of days off.  Yay.

Tomorrow is back to eating well.  I plan to buy more corned beef and make that mixy-mess.  On Monday I will be looking at replacing the refrigerator here.  The landlord should be doing this, but is not going to and I am tired of losing food in that crappy freezer.  If I find one I can afford, I will take it with me when I move, if I move.

I am also going to look for a few new pieces of clothing.  I do not have any warm weather clothes, just all the stuff I wear year-round.  I would like some short sleeved tops, although I suspect that I will not be willing to spend the money.  Maybe I will do this.  Maybe not. 

I am hoping to find something social to do next week.  I really would like to have a personal life, you know, doing something more than working.  I am thinking to start small.  Walk downtown and have a cup of coffee or lunch or something.  Maybe I will just sit in the square (yes, how quaint we are here), read and watch people.  Maybe someone I know will wander past.  Maybe I will walk down to the beach and sit on the rocks.  Maybe I will walk down the block and look at the house I would like to buy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Still Tuesday, but without the S&M

salad with avocado and tomato, vinaigrette
It upset my stomach, but no more than that.  Whew.

small taco salad, iceberg lettuce (my favorite, but not nutritious enough), a couple of black olives, some sour cream, a miniscule amount of taco-seasoned ground beef and lots of hot salsa.
amazing coffee
roll, with cinnamon butter, which tasted like there was some sugar in there, too.

small steak, I accidentally ate a piece of the fat and it was delicious.  Like, really yummy.  I planned to have half of it for lunch tomorrow, but it was so good that I ate the whole thing.

Long day, which included a lunch I did not want to have.  Sometimes it is easier to give in and give up.  My friend simply has to eat whilst we are out.  I understand all that.  I seem to be her single remaining friend in this city, heck, the state.

She told me that her daughter finally shared the reason that she drove her back here two weeks ago.  The family was going camping last weekend and they did not want her alone in the house.  So, the logical thing was to:
- Not tell her why she had to pack and get in the car.
- Bring her back here, where she would be alone in her own house, as she always is.

I am not judging, but that is totally fucked up.

The whole family is coming to the big city south of us for a baseball game.  Her daughter told her that if they have time, they will might stop by for a visit.  Not all that bad, it is just that it seems like a taunt.  Just saying.

Our visit to the aging agency was nice.  One of the women who works there recognized my voice (I do not know exactly how to process that) because I took one of her classes a few years ago and she not only caught my voice in the hallway, but she remembered my name.  She looked familiar because I can remember faces more easily than names. 

The actual meeting was awkward.  I suspect that the man leading it was new, as in brand new.  He was nice, but he spent at least a quarter of the hour explaining every single program and resource they offer or know about.  Every single one.

With the help of the woman part of the team held it all together and we managed to wrestle out the information that will help my friend, especially regarding affordable transportation for those times when she has appointments when I am working.  Plus, we had that lunch beforehand.  Then grocery shopping.  For someone who did not need anything, I came home with a big bag of fruit and meat.

Then, when I went to bring the car around, it would not start again after we loaded all of the stuff in the trunk.  I had to get all of my friend's food back into a cart and fool around until the poor thing would start.  I think between the heat, 90sF, the air conditioning on high and who know what can upset a car, I must have flooded the carburetor.  Or, something.

Then home for my friend and I was so exhausted from the heat that I apologized to the undone laundry, came home and immediately spent the next few minutes in the shower.  Even my brain was hot.  I sweated through all of my clothing, and with laundry not done, I cannot find anything light enough to wear at work tomorrow.  I really do work in this tiny bat cave that does not have any air circulation.  I have a small fan.  Yeah.

So, work tomorrow and Friday.  Then on Sunday and not again until the following Sunday.

I am going to clean and organize my flabby butt off.  I have a grant to write.  I need time to be able to get to the post office when it is open, well, how dumb is it would help anything to go there when it is closed, but you know what I mean.  I have not had even one day in the past three weeks when I was not working or volunteering during all of the post hours.  Man.

I am planning on at least one day helping my friend find and interview at another agency that offers exchanges of services provided by and provided to seniors.  Not what I had planned, but it has to be done and all of this is helping me to not be so afraid for her.  Today she was nearly fifteen minutes late coming out of her house (she does not want me to come to the door for her) and I was going to give it the full fifteen minutes before I went to see if she had fallen and could not get up. 

Bed, book, charge phones, sleep and a nice day at work when I get up.  Nice.  My life is really nice.

S, M and Tuesday

Sunday was a mess. 
leftover steak

1/4 cup of the leftover guacamole

big cup of homemade nut mix

nothing; I was too tired when I got home at 11:30 p.m. and went straight to bed.

nothing; chose sleep instead

grilled American and mozzarella cheese, tomato and bacon, on marbled rye sandwich
small order of sweet potato fries
6 jalapeno poppers; I tore the cream cheese tops off and plucked the pepper halves from the breading, and then ate one of the torn-off cheese and breading pieces, too.

Between therapy and the art class, I returned a phone call from my doctor's office.  It was the results of my tests last week.  The results are not good.  I have to experiment with some stupid statin drug.  I have never, ever, ever had a single blip on my cholesterol levels. My blood glucose results are really bad.  Something else was not great, but I cannot remember what it is.  They think I have celiac disease and I am going to allow that test when I go back in October to test again for how the statin med is working.

Granted, it is barely three weeks since I started eating better, although when thinking about the testing results, nothing I have been doing could have even a potential effect on any of the problem areas.

So, in true J form, I mood altered with lunch.  Frankly, there is only an Eastern European and a sports themed restaurants within walking distance, and the sports place was the easy choice.  I ordered the sandwich and then, with hardly a pause, added the fries and poppers, which I intended to share when I walked back, but my lunch companions did not want any.  Yummy, but bad for me, big-picture wise.

half of a steak

Bummed out from the phone call and stupid lunch, I stopped at the discount market to get vegetables and they had t-bone steak on sale for $4.00 a pound.  I bought two, came home and cooked them.  They are like mush, and do not taste all that great.  They are in the refrigerator and I will probably chop them up and toss in a pan with vegetables, may make a curry.

Looking back, I had barely one meal on Sunday and hardly more on Monday.  

Today I had a salad with tomato and avocado and I feel tummy-troubled, but that might be because I am upset about this whole food mess.  Someone at one of my jobs keeps trying to convince me to get one of the bullet machines and chop stuff into a smoothie.  I would probably use it a couple of times, and unless I gave it away, it would sit around somewhere, just mocking me in its expensive and pompous manner until I gave it away.  Sounds like an exercise in heartbreak and regret to me.

I wanted to laze around today.  Instead I am taking my older friend to lunch and then to a meeting with an aging specialist to plan some being safe classes and find other resources that might allow her to stay in her home.  We will stop for groceries on the way home and then I have to get to the laundromat.  Clean bedding is calling my name.

I just got off the phone with her and we have to do something.  The we is her and me.  I am simply the person who takes her where she wants to go, but this morning's telephone conversation reminded me that I am her only social contact in this city.  All of her friends have moved away or are dead.  The sweet desperation in her voice when trying to keep me on the phone is something that I would like to see turned around.  My preference is that she would have to end her conversations with me because she had other things to do.  I am tired.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


I need a sticky postie thing to keep track.

a couple of dried apricots

1/2 cup of potato salad

1 cup of my own trail mix (roasted and salted cashews, dried apricots, raw slivered almonds)
10 cherries

So sad.  Just plain sad.  First of all I forgot that I am avoiding potatoes and some of the stuff that goes in it.  Like commercial mayonnaise, sweet pickles, something else that I cannot remember right now.  That lapse might be worth it because even though it was on the sweet side and I prefer a less saucy and more savory potato salad, it was delicious.  And, I was glad to have it, not having anticipated how long my day would be.

Today was also a long day at the shelter.  Well, I guess since it is almost 1:00 a.m. on Sunday, that would be yesterday.  Anyway, lots of drama, a family conflict (resident and her sister), the sons of another resident going missing.  I found them and they were safe, but, crap, what a mess, especially as the mother did not go looking for them and I had them sitting in the office for more than a half hour, just waiting to see if she would at least start trying to find where the hell they were.  So many challenging circumstances for our women.  More than we have had in a long time, which, in shelter years, is not all that long.  Yep.

However, two women, one of whom as two really nice sons, pitched in and worked their asses off today.  I do not swear at work, so I have to make up for it here.  The woman with the sons cleaned better, more thoroughly than anyone else in the house.  Like ever.  The last time I witnessed that level of cleaning was when I lived there and the person who did that high quality of a job was me.  Yes.  Yes, it was.

Then, we had our fresh food delivery today; we have them every two weeks, and it costs right around $500.00 each time.  It also costs a good hour of really intense and heavy work, getting everything sorted, frozen, refrigerated and put into the dry pantry, as well as stocking two big places in the office.  Those four folk just stepping right up and helped me get that stuff done is short order, well, that short hour. 

I like to reward that kind of effort, especially when it is accompanied by the happiness some people have in being helpful for the good of all of the house.  So, I asked each of them, independently, what they missed from their other life now that they are at our shelter.

The mom knew exactly what she missed.  Eye liner.  Is that not insane, that the one thing that could make her life nicer is a measly eye liner. 

The younger son would not tell me what he missed, but I see him drawing on the blackboard in the children's room, and I asked if he liked art.  Mom said yes, that he did and I asked him what he liked to do.  Draw.  Paint.  Stuff like that.

The older son would not say, either, so I finally told him, shy guy that he is, that if he did not tell me I was still going to get him something and that it might as well be something he would like.  Shyly, he told me earrings.  I asked what kind and he said little ones.  Studs?  I guess.  I corralled his mom later and she was feeling weird about all of this and we talked about how part of my mission there was not only doing the job, but making sure that I was able to be personal when it was appropriate to do so.  Then she told me that he likes a certain kind of square earring.  O.K., baby, more info.  I had to pry every bit of this out of her, but eventually she told me where to go and to say, "I wanted those square earrings that all the boys are wearing."  I went, it worked and the cost was so minor and I bought him a pair of the good Sony ear buds at the pharmacy where I got the stuff for his mom.

Younger son got a really nice and big art bin that was on sale and within my budget.  Older son got the earrings and ear buds.  He was so surprised that I found what he likes, so I had to share that his mother helped me.  He later came down to model them for me.  I cannot remember when I did something like this and it gave me such pleasure.  Little things can mean more than anyone can express.  Their family had to leave without anything and this little thing worked for him.  I feel blessed and humbled by the whole thing.

I found the best ever eyeliner for mom and at the check-out there were the most wonderful nail polishes and she likes nail polish (I am not sure that I really get the whole nail polish thing) and I found two colors that I know she likes and a bottle of top coat. 

The fourth person, another woman, finally told me that she missed her jewelry.  Another simple thing.  I am taking a bunch of the jewelry I have made and she can choose what she likes.  But, she has to wait until tomorrow because I had gone shopping for the other things, realized that I had left my phones at the shelter and since I had to return there, gave out the other stuff.

And, when I came back then, the 2nd shift advocate was not feeling well and I sent her home and stayed until about an hour ago.  So, I had no opportunity to go home for my home-made stuff.

I work again tomorrow, 2nd shift this time, so scheduled so that I can go to church in the morning, but it is kind of clear that I will not be getting up for the service.  Off to wash my face, scrub my teeth and read myself to sleep.  A shower will have to wait until morning...or early afternoon...depending on when I wake up.

Today was not a good eating day, but in my defense, I did not have access to the kind of food I needed.  I have some guac and celery left over for tomorrow and I have a nice tomato and bag of salad to take, and maybe a can of that mushy tuna that I love.  I have meat for breakfast/brunch/whatever.

I am still full of wonder that I am so happy now.  It hardly seems possible, and at the same time it feels so right and like the kind of life I have now is manageable and enduring.  It also hardly seems possible that I made it through to happiness.  Just wonderful.  I know that I have earned this now-new life and it is equally nice that I have earned the right and means to live it as fully, interestingly, carefully and abundantly as I am doing. 

I work next week and then have another week off, except for my shelter job.  Nice. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

a dozen days

3 ounces of leftover steak from last night, what was left on the bone.

Nothing.  I was at work and could not leave the lab.

6 ounces of broiled cod
3 cups of roasted vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, onions, red & green bell peppers)
salad, with red onion and lemon wedges
best decaf coffee ever

The older woman for whom I provide care has returned from that other state where her family lives.  This woman, who is a dear friend, deserves her own post and I will try to do that tomorrow night after work/shelter.  Anyway, I drove to her house and we went out for dinner (the only way that I know she eats relatively well) and then we went grocery shopping for her, another way to monitor what she eats.  She can no longer drive and we are meeting next week with our county's aging specialists to gather resources for her so that she can stay independent for as long as possible.


It is insane how delicious and insanely inexpensive cherries are this year.  I shopped for a few vegetables and fruit and a small on-sale steak and 2 liter bottles of diet white soda when I took my friend shopping.  I have cherries left to take for lunch at work tomorrow, along with guacamole, celery, pickled vegetables and a plum.

I made a serious effort to eat more today.  Instead of carbs (totally amazing home made chewy rolls, as good as home cooked baked potatoes and a bread pudding to completely knock your socks off) at that restaurant, my friend's favorite,  I asked for, and received, an extra portion of the roasted vegetables.  They are very simply roasted in the oven with a little olive oil, a toss of salt, no other seasonings, and are so good. 

We eat there as often as she likes and have never, ever, ever had a bad anything, not even anything mediocre.  Everything is made from scratch, and fresh several times over the day.  My fish was not removed from refrigeration and cooked until I ordered it.  My friend often has duck, but tonight ordered her second favorite, ribs.  They are covered with their own BBQ sauce only after having spent the entire afternoon slowly roasting until the meat is tender enough to eat with just a fork.  Frankly, if I had the resources, I would eat there every week.  That is how good the food is, and the people are really nice, too.
It has been a long day, finally ending at 8 p.m. and Mr. Mercedes, Kermit the hero and I are going to bed.  Five comes awfully early.

And, how is it possible for Vincent D'Onofrio to be so cute.  I have such a crush on him.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Day elevenith

Nothing.  I was fasting for blood tests.  I sort of forgot about it, had dinner at 8:00 last night and woke hungry and almost immediately aware that I had to wait until at least 11:00 a.m.

really good coffee

After my med appointment and tests I went to the bank, just to make sure I had the amount of money I thought was in my checkbook.  There was.  Cool, so I treated myself to lunch at the diner down the street.  It was a small, expensive and kind of measly bowl of stuff.  But, it filled me up and I went to do laundry.

Whilst waiting for wash-rinse-repeat-dry to finish, I had a couple of pieces of dried mango, the last of the stuff I bought last week, along with two squares of 90% cocoa chocolate.  It was fabulous.

slab of beef

This time I ate the whole steak and again was not hungry for anything else.

This still looks like not enough food, but I am really satisfied by what I am eating.  Really, who would have thought that I would begin to enjoy meat so quickly, every day and all that.  I have a couple of pieces of very lean sirloin in the freezer, some cod fillets and lots of salad in the refrigerator, as well as a nice cantaloupe on the counter, because I read something on Yahoo! about the foods that you should not refrigerate because it messes with the antioxidants.  Or something.  Half of that melon will be breakfast before I go to work.

I also bought two more turkey thighs and will roast them tomorrow night for dinner and lunch at work on Saturday. 

Did you know that hot dogs cost as much as nice steak?  Well, they do.  I was going over the receipt for the last shopping trip and, having never actually looked at the shelf price of the hot dogs, I was surprised to find that I could buy real steak for the same price.  Yikes.  I was checking out the ingredients, which are quite healthy, by the way, and never thought to figure out what the cost would be.  I have yet to eat any of them, concentrating on the slab-o-beef, but will take some to work on Sunday.

I just read again what I ate, and it does not seem all that much.  Regardless, it was enough to make me feel well fed.

Oh, and whilst I had no intention of weighing myself, they did so at the clinic today and despite my best efforts I looked at the display on the scale.  So, I will have some idea of what my body mass will make of this new eating.

And, because it was laundry day, two weeks of laundry, and I did not have any clean clothes left, I put on a shirt that I cannot wear because it is too tight.  I have no idea if how it fit me, comfortably and quite loose, is because of the past week and a half, but the darn thing was just fine.  Go figure.

Nothing weird happened today.  That is weird.

Did you know that if you yawn a lot, as I have been doing for the last hour, it means that your brain is too warm?  Really?  Now, I guess that is the weird thing for today, even if it is probably incorrect.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

10th Day of healthier eating

2 eggs scrambled in such a wee amount of butter that you could not even see it, but it kept the eggs from sticking to the pan

5 ounce can of mushy tuna in oil
2 tablespoons vinaigrette

slab of beefsteak

I might be getting accustomed to eating eggs.  They did not go through me for 4 hours.  All time best.  I have to be able to eat them.

I found a can of some kind of tuna to put on my salad.  It was actually yummy, and I wish that I had thought about using the oil from the can of tuna as the salad dressing.  I am thinking that some black pepper would have been enough seasoning. 

Shortly after eating lunch, breakfast made its exit. 

After work I went to shop at one of the pricier markets.  I was just too tired to wrangle food out of either of the discount markets.  So, spent way too much money for a week's worth of food.  Just a shame.  I came home, cooked the meat and was too tired to cook any vegetables (like it would be so hard to pour a bag of frozen stuff into a pan with some water and let it boil, but it really was too much).  I could have opened a bag of salad, but was too tired to do that either.  So, cherries was my side dish.  They are still beautiful and delicious and at $1.40 a pound, not to be resisted.

Work today was full of mystery.  O.K., not mystery, but I get tired of saying that it was interesting.  My first client is a very nice person, but is not the teeniest bit interested in doing any of the work, and comes in all scattered and I had to make ten...count ' calls to straighten out the mess.  I have shared that since there is reporting of how successful and how much work is being done to work on skills, that the next time we have an appointment, I will not be doing the typing.  I am going to sit there and advise and support.  Hope there is another appointment.

A woman wandered into the library, having been at a vocational ministry that is at the church I attend.  One of the librarians called me over and since the next appointment was forty minutes away, I invited her to work with me right away.  Oh, she had stopped in because one of the other people at the ministry office told her about me.

We started working and she spent a lot of time weeping.  No, I did not make her cry!  What happens is that by the time a person finds there way to our library they are fairly discouraged, not only because of the stress of job searching and not having enough money and all that, but they have not often been treated respectfully by the agencies and centers that proceeded the library visit.

The next appointment did not show up, so we kept working and she left with complete documents, several copies and she will be returning to begin working independently at the job lab. 

It was really nice.

After lunch, our business manager came to ask me for help finding resources for one of the library employees.   The person in need of help is someone that has been seeking me out and visiting my bat cave to talk, and I have been worried about him for some time, as have other employees.  I called my best therapy resource and arranged for him to receive free services, then let our director and the biz manager know what I had done.  I have to say that seeing how everyone there comes together to help each other.  They are what a good work place is supposed to be.  No drama, no competition, just care and support of one another to do the work there.

And, even though I know that I am an outsider, volunteer and all, when they asked me for resources that they knew I could provide, well, I felt like part of the team.  In more than five years, even though I have found my way and forged friendships and a good working relationship with the librarians, this feeling of belonging has never happened to me.  I quite like it.  Should it never happen again, that would be fine, well, not fine, but I have today to hold dear.  I really do quite like it.

I see my internist tomorrow and will be having all kinds of expensive tests for which I do not have the money, but I have been putting this off for nearly a year and it has to be done.  I seem to have a lot of has to be done stuff in my life lately.

On a lighter note, I received my bank statement yesterday, fetched it from the mail box this morning and looked at it during lunchtime.  My rent check for July and August had not been cashed.  I sent it to my landlord a month ago.  Yes, I like paying my bills ahead as much as possible.  I called her and asked if she received it and she told me that she had.  I asked if she had processed it and she said that she had.  I explained about the bank statement and she then said that I had not sent it, but I could hear her going through some papers.  We talked about gardening and tomatoes and how everything seems to be too much work as we get older, and she found my check.  It was still in the envelope, she opened it and said, "Well, there it is.  July and August."  She is so cute, and she found the unopened envelope of one of the other tenants. 

So, my checkbook is balanced, I have just enough money to cover another six weeks of expenses and regular bills, have two made out to drop at the post office tomorrow and hope the grocery money holds out.  I am going to stop lending money to people.  It is that they ask to borrow, but it is not lending to me because it is my expectation that if you are in such financial distress that you need to borrow money from a friend that it is going to be impossible to repay.  Borrowing fills a little hole that can never be properly filled and to pay the money back means that it simply re-creates that same hole.  I think of lending as gifts.  If I cannot afford to let it eventually be a gift situation, that means that I cannot give the money in the first place.  If I consider it a gift on my part, then I never have to be concerned about being getting it back.

Icky doctor visit, laundry and a stop at the bank.  Gosh, I have such a fascinating life.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I wanted to find out if I could post from my phone

It seems that I can.

Healthier eating - Day 9

As though I care any more what day it is.

I am hungry.  I am not accustomed to eating meat and, you know, the whole process of shopping, deciding, hauling it home and eventually cooking it.  Not working.

I took an overnight shift for another advocate, so no cooking yesterday, as I was therapizing, grouping and sleeping.  The shift went well, I met the new women and accomplished so much.  I missed having the house hopping, but all of that quiet was divine for catching up on everything.  When we passed the shift baton this morning, I was asked to do a special in-house project and received a telephone call from one of the upper staff.  She wants me to help coordinate an art show with pieces done by survivors of domestic abuse. This is not going to be easy.

The first reason is that this staff person wants to hold it in the evening at a bar/restaurant, which is really a bar with a couple of tables, although they do make good food, at least they did the one time I was there six years ago.

The problem is that many women are reluctant, if not downright afraid of being outdoors at night.  The second issue is that most of them are either using alcohol and other drugs or are in recovery.  They are all fragile, most particularly those who are trying so hard to stay clean and sober.

So, she is willing to forget about the bar, but still has the desire to hold it at night, at a gallery or some other venue, and she wants the work to be available for sale.  I am not an expert in any of this, but I have juried and curated many exhibits and shows, and this needs to be decided right now, in order for there to be a decent turn-out of people who are willing to support the ideas and willing to spend money.  She want the show/exhibit to be in October.  Got to start now.

Another aspect that I do not want to handle over the telephone (we are texting...gosh, me sending texts, just like a big girl), is that there will be a significant number of women that I might be able to convince to participate, but, hell, we the survivors are vulnerable and that is going to keep many women away from the whole thing.

I mean, think of it.  The shelter sponsors an art show.  Women are convinced to make something and be willing to show it publicly, and then are expected to be there.

That is like exhibiting them for the curiosity and opinions of strangers.

I am thinking that it is a basically good idea, but that the women should not have to self-identify if they do not want to do so.  The staff person has walked the border of exploitation for some of her other projects.  Two that come to mind are bringing in a church group and making the women bake cookies with them.  I might have been the only person who thought that might not work, as our women are finally in a safe place and some of them felt like they were being paraded just to make some church ladies feel like they are doing something wonderful.

The second one is that a local sports group held a fund-raiser-game for the shelter, then brought the money and some desserts to the shelter so that the women could cook a meal to thank them.  That actually is a nice idea, but the staff person's menu ideas were expensive and she thought that the money and/or food was going to magically appear or something.

There are more, but those are the two most recent.  Now, I do not want to be a debbie-downer or a crank or a killjoy or a bitch.  Really.  But, if you want to do something, perhaps, and this is just one of my insane and crazy-bitch ideas, but how about including the women in the shelter in brainstorming and planning what they would be comfortable doing?

No, I guess that is too radical.  Also, way too much work, all that business of being sensitive to what our women are experiencing and what they just survived to be able to come to us.

I really do sound like a bitch.  Totally.  I mean, I have that art program that I run at that social service agency.  I have all of the other stuff I do at the library and at the shelter for enrichment and I so really and truly support anything that helps not only our women and their children, but that brings some kind of money through the door.  That money problem just nibbles and snaps at your heels; you never know when the next money-sucking thing is going to go wrong in that building.  We have been reduced to rationing things like coffee and eggs for crying out loud.

I never complain about this stuff, but it drives me insane.  So, I will do my best to find a gallery that will stay open late for one night.  One turned me down this afternoon, and it was a good friend of mine.  Sigh.  I will find a gallery that will be willing to donate the time and expense of extra hours and maybe allowing the work to hang for a few weeks.  Shit.  I am going to be owing a whole bunch of people a whole bunch of favors.

What the heck did I eat today?

I think it was a big salad when I got home this morning.  Or, maybe nothing or something else.  I simply cannot remember

big salad
chunk of liver sausage

snack pack of chunky peanut butter

Not enough.  You know, when I am going about having my day, it seems fine, but seeing it on the page here it looks crazy.  I can fix this, or just start fibbing lying about eating more.  I just want to be as clear in mind and intent and practice as I am about being committed to eating more cleanly, which mean a pretty much permanent farewell to breads, grain, beans and that stuff.  Tons and tons of refined carbohydrates made up nearly my entire diet.

I would be so tempted to go back to eating that way, except that I am already feeling better.  Aside from the fruit thing, my digestive system seems to be working better.  I am less tired and sleepy and have not taken a nap this entire time

Today's saddest story is that I never got to cook the meats I bought on Saturday, because of that unusual schedule and all of the out-of-schedule sleeping I have been doing.  I am heartbroken about having to toss that in the trash for pick up tomorrow morning.  Plus, that stuff was supposed to create leftovers that I could take for lunch at work tomorrow.   I have salad stuff.  Maybe there is a can of tuna around.

I had to go look, and I do have a can to toss into the salad, plus a can of artichoke hearts in water, and I am eating a little pack of crunchy peanut butter with a spoon.

This will all work out.  It is a new habit to develop, just like everything else.  Oooooh, peanut butter via a spoon is gaggy.  Ack...hack...hack...erp.  Another habit to develop.

What an angsty day, including the fly that snuck into the house this morning.  Although, I do have to say that it is nice, very nice, to have ordinary problems.  Bitching over.  And, out.  Snore.

Healthier eating - Day...something

It is too early to post, but I am pretty sure that I did not do anything yesterday. 


3 healthy hot dogs - they really do exist
2 small, but outstanding tomatoes

3 more hot dogs

I worked third shift yesterday, and just got home two hours ago.  So, I had planned on eating out for lunch until I realized that I had to go home and sleep.

I had the salad and tomatoes and a couple of dill pickles.  I was still hungry (and not sleepy), went to the refrigerator to look for something easy and found that package of healthy hot dogs that I bought on Sunday.  I had three of them, with lots more pickles and two antihistamines. 

I went to bed, read for a while and fell asleep.  I managed to stay in bed until 10:00 p.m., but kept waking up, like five or six times.  Finally got up refreshed, washed up, troweled on some makeup and went to work.

I stayed for an extra hour or so to haul a really bad donation out to the trash.  Some of the advocates hate to refuse any donations, but most of what we get is the trashy left-overs from a rummage sale and no one wants any of that stuff and we do not have any place to store stuff even if it was not a pile-o-crap.  More work for us and the city to take this stuff on garbage day, but I guess the person who donates can legitimately take a deduction on their taxes.  It is a messy business all around.

My plan was to eat something (the other little turkey thigh, so gooooood) and then go do the laundry I had planned on doing yesterday afternoon until I realized that I needed the sleep to be able to work all night more than clean BGPs.

Now, having just finished that meat, I am tired and am going to bed.  Thank goodness I have one set of clean clothing and some clean BGPs for work tomorrow.  At least I have breakfast out of the way.  I am feeling great, but I have to find a way to eat more food.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Healthier eating - Day 7 I think

Yeah, it is the seventh day, which is kind of interesting, now that I am typing this, today is the seventh day, the one on which God rested.  At least that was his diary said. 

And, it is my seventh day of trying to get healthier.

And, I went to church this morning.

Cool, hey?

On the the menu.


I chose sleep instead of food, knowing that I would stay for the hospitality stuff after services and that I would be able to have only coffee.  They do provide things like cookies and kringle and other cheap and carby stuff.  Which is totally cool, as I have enjoyed many of cheap cookie there.

3 ribs of celery
1/4 cup of guacamole, half of a small container from the market near to the dollar store that I went to after I filled the gas tank after services and hospitality were over.

a handful of Ranier cherries
5 pieces of dried mango
4 turkey necks

So, I did get up and go to church.  No sleeping in for me today because I had bad dream after bad dream, at least six of them.  You know the kind where you wake up, know that it was just a dream because you woke yourself out of the dream because it was so icky.  I have been having icky dreams for some months now, but they stopped last weekend and I thought it might be a premature response to not eating carbs.  Like, there was some digestive or neurological side effect from eating all that lovely bread, oats and sweet potato starch noodles.

Church was nice, but that pastor must be scraping the bottom of his sermon barrel.  Today's chiding was that he wanted people to sit closer to eat other, that moving to the forward pews would be more enriching and more holy for us.  His words, not mine.  I am not bothered or shamed by this stuff, and I always use it to help me think about why the heck (really want to say hell) I even notice the things he says, much less think about them.

But, I do.  I go there looking for connection and meaning.  I have shared with my spiritual adviser many times that I cannot see myself falling back into complete belief, the kind of faithful living or practice that is so comforting for most people.  My critical thinking skill have grown as a result of that other life and my now-new life and how I am managing and all that.  So, turning that off really is not an option.  That kind of sweet faith is not going to work for me.

But, I want to believe.  I want that so much.  So, I go to church when schedule and health permit and sit there, paying attention, looking for any bit of anything that will help and enlighten me, help me move closer to belief and faith and that self-assured acceptance.

Today was a bit more special because I wanted to experience some connection to all of the head-stuff from last week.  That did not happen, but there was a reading that struck me.  Pretty significantly, too.

It was about living an earthly life as opposed to a spiritual life. 

The earthly life is toxic and it is death.  It is inevitable that we live in the real world (whatever that means, just like normal, ordinary...).  If we did not, there would be no church to attend, no people running a church. 

The spiritual life is accepting God as the everything.  You know the way that is.  The spiritual life is, well, it is life, both here on the earthly plane and in heaven.  But, you must be clear that heaven is not what we believe it to be, as I learned in the other sermon following the reading.  Pastor used a pop-culture/film reference for what heaven is not, and, frankly, writing this, the real heaven, how it is, just leaked out of my brain.

There was also a new banner up front, in the neighborhood of the altar that had Saint Luke sewn onto it, below an appliquéd figure.  I asked Pastor what the symbolism meant, having waited until everyone had moved into the hospitality room and it was was the two of us left in the church part.

He told me that he did not know, but he would try to explain what he did know.  The appliqué turned out to be an oxen, which is connected to St. Luke, but Pastor did not know why, only that it was.  I asked what the shape above it was, if it was an elongated star shape and what that might mean.  Pastor told me that they were wings, and, gosh, they were.  He told me that the winged ox was St. Luke's thing.  The ox on the banner also had a solid red halo thing around its head.  I told Pastor that from where I especially like sitting, that it had looked like a masked ninja holding a shield. 

I think that pretty much ended me for him.  I said that I was going to research it, and I am going to because there might be something in all that for me.

Anyway, he escaped me when a man walked up and I went, sat with some people I know and had my cup of coffee.  The woman who wanted me to transport her to and from work in the wee hours was there and I asked how the job at McDonald's was going and she told me that it was not for her, that is was way too difficult and the pace was too fast and she felt overwhelmed.  Should she again mention that wee-morning-me-driving job again, I will offer the same week or two until she makes nice with someone else who can give her rides.

Then there was this thing with this guy, but that is a long story and for another time.

Next, I went to the dollar store to find a bowl large enough to make the meatloaf, and I picked up some office-type things I need for some of my jobs and then went to get cauliflower to make the potato-less potato, kale and hot sausage soup that I plan to make tomorrow night. 

I have to stop going into markets.  I am kind of loving all of this fruit (the Ranier cherries), and $15.00 poorer, I left.  Ate my lunch in the car and came home.  I have the stuff I need to make that towel and will finish it tomorrow at the laundromat.

I roasted those turkey necks, which were absolutely delicious, as well as being a food that you have to eat in private, roasted the two turkey thighs that were on sale and got back to work. 

The guac was so good; they make it fresh there a couple of times a day.  Crazy, huh?  But, it did not have the jalapenos on the ingredient list.  I am thinking that it might have been a new person who chose bell peppers by mistake.  Guacamole would make a really great lunch for work days, so I guess I will be visiting the market again fairly soon.  I am going to eat myself into the poorhouse, or at the very least out on the street.

Tomorrow is therapy, group and laundry, with some sewing thrown in.  It already sounds like a good day, which, really, is any day when the big girl panties get washed.

Oh, and I walked a bit today.  It was mostly because there were no parking spaces near the church, but, hey, walking is walking.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Healthier eating - Day 6 -with other life stuff

As soon as I start exercising, as in actually moving in a way that uses my actual body, as opposed to the minimal amount of movement that simply gets me from place to place, I want to change this recording of the days to Healthier living.  But, that day is not here yet.  I do not see it happening this week or the next, but you just never know about these things.  Yeah.  Right.

2 eggs, over-easy
6 slices of bacon
2 mugs of regular coffee

I met my friends at one of their favorite restaurants.  I do not meet them often enough to have a favorite of my own, so deferring to the rest of them is fine, as I cannot remember any of the places, except for George Webb, and care only about seeing them, not where it is.

This place charges a bit extra for substitutions, which I totally get, so I just ordered the least expensive menu choice and gave my hash browns and raisin toast to the others.  I did eat the two, over-easy eggs and the three strips of bacon and the extra three that I ordered.  The bacon was perfect and the coffee was divine.

The company was even better.  These women like me, as in really like me.  Two of them love me and I pretty much love all of them.  When I left that other life they were as shocked as everyone else, and they stood by and supported me even when I was unable to share any of it.  It is impossible to keep those kinds of secrets for decades and then be able to share the truth, even when it is a a bit more safe to do so.

Anyway, I made it part of the way home before I had to stop and, well, you know, southern hemisphere thing.

a third of a small chicken half
1 cup roasted vegetables
cherries, a whole bunch

I stopped at an upper-scale market on the way home.  Well, what happened is that I also stopped at a craft store because I am participating in this swap thing, just received my swap partner's stuff to me and just cannot send her purchased stuff.  That meant I had to stop and buy the parts to make something to send to her.  She is also getting a bunch of crafting items, because she sent me the most lovely and abundant gifts.  Puts me and my slacker ways to shame.

Anyway, I had made it almost to home after the crafting store and realized that I did not have my phone.  I had used it to go on-line for one of the store's coupons (saved $10.00, baby!).  I called that phone with my disposable phone that I keep for clients to use, twice.  It rang and went to voice mail, which was kind of nice because I was not entirely sure that I was dialing the right number for my missing phone.  Then, I used that other phone to call 411 to get the number for the store.

I am digressing here, but my phone carrier charges quite enough for their service, completely aside from the sad fact that I was an exceptionally bad consumer when I bought it, and before I could get to the part where I could ask (a relative term, as there is no actual person on the other end, just an algorithm) for the store's number and I had to wait and listen to a commercial for an insurance company.  I guess that is what keeps the 411 system free.

So, I called the crafty store and they had my phone, and a long trip back to fetch it and then starting home again, several hours had passed and I was hungry.

No more drive-through food for me and I started to think about waiting until I got home to eat or stopping at some market and buying stuff I could eat out of hand.  My tummy won, especially since I have not been eating enough calories this week and I was afraid that I was messing with my appetite too much and would not want to eat when I finally got home.

So, I stopped at my first favorite market.  Up-scale and all that, but they often have the most amazing sales and significantly lower prices on fruits and vegetables.  Plus, they have a dozen or more stations in the produce department where you can sample delicious things.  The cantaloupe was yummy, but I already have too much fruit at home, southern hemisphere and all that jazz.

I could not find a single pork sausage product that did not have sugars in it.  Even the homemade stuff in their meat counter has a bit of sugar.  Man.  So, I did what any normal person would do and just bought some of the sugary stuff... NO, I did not.  I bought two pounds of insanely inexpensive ground pork to make my own sausage.  Since I was not going to make links, just bulk sausage is easy to make.

In a shopping mood, because this store makes me feel so comfortable and welcome to shop there, I wandered around.  Bought, tomatoes, cherries, curly kale (wanted Racinto, but it was too pricey), some dried mangoes (just the mango, no other ingredients), the pork, some spices, and I have to stop shopping!!!!!  I will eat all of this food, but I have to stop going to the store.  Lordy.

On the way home I decided that making patties for the freezer from the ground beef I bought yesterday sounded just plain awful for when it came time to thaw and eat them.  I am going to use the lovely Italian spices that I bought, toss it and a couple of eggs into the ground pork and beef and make a big ole meatloaf.  Sauté celery, onion and garlic, let it cool a bit, put the ground meats into a big bowl, crack a few eggs on top, toss in the seasonings, top off with a drained can of chopped tomatoes, get my hands in there and it becomes perfectly appropriate meatloaf.  Despite my love of breads and crackers, none of them have ever made it into my meatloaves because, well, because that is the way I roll.  The only acceptable filler is the eggs, to hold it all together.

Meatloaf sounds so much better than making sausage and having to endure eating all of those ground beef patties.  Eventually.  I could eat my meatloaf every day, for every meal, and have often done just that.  Problem solved.

After shopping, I sat in the car and ate the roasted vegetables (there were not any potatoes or carrots in the mix to tempt me), the wing and a chunk of the breast of the chicken.  Lunch accomplished with a decent amount of nutrition, more than 100 calories and I ate some of the cherries on the way home.  Despite all of the driving, it was a nice day so far.

The rest of the half chicken, the last of the cherries, and I was too full to have any salad.  I have to say that these cheap cherries have been the highlight of my week.  Kind of small (which probable explains the low price), but sweet, with the perfect measure of tangyness.

Now, exhausted after trekking around all day, I am heading off to bed to read and go to sleep.  My plan for tomorrow is the organize more of the craft crap I have, go to church in the morning and stay around for the hospitality thing they have after services.

It was a full day of wonderfulness.  Nice.  Although, I have been thinking about old George and the quote I remembered for yesterday.

I cannot stop wondering what I would be willing to do, what I would sacrifice, how much I would be willing to suffer in the short term in order to benefit my future.  I need to have someone to discuss this with.  It will probably end up in therapy, but that is not the kind of dialogue I want to have.

On top of that, on the final leg of my journey home, I was listening to public radio.  It was the Radio Lab program, one that they purchase for playing on the local station.  One of the topics was morality and it was very interesting.  Some of the stuff I had heard/read before, but the cohesiveness of the entire program just rocked.

It has added another layer, I guess more of a dimension to the thoughts that hold my interest this week.   You know, there is no randomness in the Universe, so it should be interesting to hear what tomorrow morning's sermon is about.  Yeah.

I am giving the link to the Radio Lab program from today so that I can easily find it again.
Radio Lab

Something is coming along here.  Not sure what it is, but I am rarely wrong about this sort of thing and it is best for me to be paying attention.

One more thought, and it is a line from a movie I watched this evening.  I am sure that I am misquoting, but I have the essence, because it poked me in the nose when I heard it.

We will not be bound by tragedy, for what we have in the future is based on what we do today.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Healthier eating - Day 5

Salad, vinaigrette.

1 ounce of chocolate.

Watermelon and turkey bacon jerky.
Wow, was that jerky good!  I bought this maybe six months ago, forgot about it and would totally buy it again.  It is another food that I can take along with me.

Turkey leg, roasted, kind of on the small size.
Salad, vinaigrette.

I worked a 6-hour day at the library.  It is a drop-in lab and I cannot even take a bathroom break unless one of the security guards passes by and watches the room for me.

I am beginning to feel really full after eating and for hours.  But, just a casual look at these posts informs me that I might not be eating enough calories.  I vowed, promised, well, just kind of thought about it, that I was not going to count calories or weigh myself.  I do not have a scale, but I do know how to count and it is so tempting to keep a casual record of approximate daily calories.

However, I am going to resist.  I remember dieting one time, amongst many, many times of dieting, being all right for a while and and then slowly gaining all of the weight back again.  Usually weighing more than when I started.  So, no more of that counting and weighing insanity.  It has not worked before and there is no reason to expect that it will make any positive difference now.

I am feeling fine, though.  No tiredness today, not even thinking about a nap.  I shopped again today, a week since last time. 

I bought an English roast, whatever that is, will have to Google it.  I will slice some against the grain for fast broiling and freeze the rest in slices and little chunks for future meals.  70% lean ground beef was on sale for $2.00/pound/US, so I got a few pounds of that.  I will be making that into patties for the freezer.  I also bought two small turkey legs, and had one for dinner tonight.

I had forgotten how much more yummy turkey is than chicken.  I know that part of the taste of food is because I do not buy organic, but turkey will be more of what I buy than any other kind of meat. 

I looked at other beef cuts.  Too expensive.  Pork chops, the long, thin ones were affordable, but the way they look.  Too great of an ewwwww factor.

Lots of salad ingredients, watermelon (the biggish seedless ones for $2.99 and cherries (on sale, but not all that nice).  I wanted grapefruit, but it was too expensive, as were any of the kinds of oranges.  Same thing for apples and other fruits.  But, that is fine, because if I have extra money I can stop mid-week for more.

I bought four bags of frozen Brussels sprouts and two of chopped broccoli.

That is it.  This is expensive and I am hoping that I will stop freaking-out when the cashier rings the total.  For this week and next, just those minimal items came to over $100.00, which is 25% more than I usually spend.  Yikes.  I am hoping to stretch all of the ground meat and the roast for at least ten meals.  The turkey legs are just three meals, one leg tonight and the other chopped up for two stir-fry meals.

I was afraid of my southern hemisphere response, so I did not have any eggs today, but it is clear that if I want to get the same amount of protein benefit as I did as a vegan, eggs have to be part of what I eat.  I forgot to hard cook a few for experimenting with that, so I will try to do it this weekend.

I cannot increase my food budget like this.  It is stressing me so much, but I have to give this a chance and the only way to do that is to be strong about refined carbs.  It was difficult to resist buying any today, and the weird thing is that I finished shopping in such a short time because I went to only three sections of the store, produce, meat and frozen stuff.

Well, off to bed.  I want to get up early and meet my old friends for coffee, but not breakfast because without the carbs, there is not anything to order that will not make me feel sick.  Maybe I will have a big plate of bacon and maybe they will take mercy on me and throw a salad together.

Be strong, J, go long and sing a song.

I need a new quote to become my brain creature, as I keep thinking about the lie one.

O.K.  George Burns, the American comic actor, said "I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate."

Does that count if being a success at something you hate also pays insanely well?  Because, you know, I would be willing to work at a heinous job for a short while if they threw a whole bunch of money at me to be there and be miserable.  Just a short while, until I built up some savings, then I would dump that job in a heartbeat. 

Nice fantasy, as that is never going to happen.  I used to pray for abundance, believing that praying for lots of money was just plain rude.  And, guess what?  Prayer works, because I am filled to the gills and beyond with abundance of all kinds. 

Totally great family and friends. 
Seriously meaningful work of the kind that feels more like play than work should. 
I have a great place to live, in a not-too-bad city.
I have enough money to pay my bills, although I am not factoring in the new food expenses quite yet.
I have access to easy transportation. 
I sleep exceedingly well and wake refreshed, almost always before the alarm goes off.
I have clean water at my fingertips for drinking and bathing and laundry.

More importantly (and is it not always the way) I am safe here, at least as safe as anyone can be these days.

I am one seriously lucky person.