"Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous." ~Anais Nin

01 October 2017

Movement: a Post in 8 Acts

via Giphy
First: Happy October everyone!!!  This really is the best month.  Cool nights, warm (but not hot) days.  No one looks at me funny when I display my witchy accessories.  Halloween.  It's all just fabulous.

Second: As of today I've gone four full weeks without a cigarette.  I'm super excited about it!  Seriously.  I've been trying to quit smoking for years and I've never been this long without before.  I won't say I've kicked my addiction, but I'm pretty sure I can refrain from here on out.  Yay!

Third: Still no luck on the job front.  Hiss!  I continue to rethink my desire for a real job.  I mean, I need one.  Desperately.  But as job after job passes me by, I become more and more convinced that it's never going to happen.  So I need another option for making a living.  So I need to start actively pursuing other options for making a living.  It's going to be hard and I'm terrified that I'm going to fail, but what other options do I have?  And until I succeed in my "other option" I need to continue applying for real jobs.  Blah.  I hate that life's so complicated.

Fourth: Moving the odds on the job front in my favor a bit is the fact that my local county library system is opening up a new branch and will have LOTS of jobs open for application at the end of the year.  Also working those odds is the fact that the city library for which I work will be having a number of full time jobs open up at the end of the year due to retirements.  Possibilities abound!

Fifth: Despite the fact that I just ate nachos made by my younger brother, this month I'm focusing on cleaning up my diet.  I really want to feed myself a mostly plant-based diet of minimally processed foods, you know?  I feel better when I do.  Plus, I want to lose some weight.*  I'm also thinking of starting intermittent fasting for spiritual purposes, but I haven't decided on that yet.

Sixth: I've decided to go deeper into my spiritual and magical practices.  Actually, I've been working on this for the past few months and I've come to something of a crossroads.  Now it's time for me to take the next step** and start actively becoming who I want to be.  So I'm taking a greater, more active*** hand in my life and recovering much that I've lost to depression these past almost two decades.  I will no longer sit on the sidelines of my own life.

Seven:  Even though I'm basically broke because my uvula thing last month caused me to lose nearly a week's worth of work and thus a week's worth of pay, I managed to come into some spending money today so I purchased the Samhain Ritual Vault and some Flying Ointment from Skelton Key Shop.  I'm pretty excited about it, and already have plans for use.  The bath bombs in the Vault won't do me any good since I don't have a tub, so I'll gift them to friends that do.  But everything else will come in very handy.  I'd like to subscribe to Moon Box as my two best friends also subscribe to it, but I'm not confident I can afford it right now.  Maybe next month.

Eight: My memoir writing class starts this Tuesday!  I'm prepared.  Mostly.  I'm excited.  Also extra hours mean extra pay in November.****


*Okay, I want to lose a significant amount of weight, but "some" will do to start.
**This is the overall theme to my life right now.
***I guess the keyword here is "active"
****Yeah, I only get paid once a month.  Have I not mentioned that before?

06 September 2017

Uvula


First, I thought you'd enjoy the song.  I know I am.

Second, I got my computer issues worked out.  Turns out I needed a new cord.  The cheapest option.  Made cheaper by the Apple Store employee who helped me and replaced my cord for free due to the fact the cord that broke was relatively new.  How new, you ask?  Well, as I told the employee: "I don't know, I think I bought it last year."

Actually, I would have purchased a new cord.  I gave him my credit card and everything.  But his little hand-held credit card scanner died just as he was inserting the card.  He went to the back to get a new one.  Came back with a new scanner.  Fiddled around with it, then hemmed and hawed over something in front of me for a while.  Went into the back again.  Came back with a different box.  Had me sign a thing. and gave me a new cord.  Yay!

My computer just needs to last through me getting a full time job and paying off some debts.  Then I can get a new one.  Pray for me.

Third, normally I'd be at work right now.  Normally I'd be just one the front desk at the library, and looking forward to (1) a chance to sit down and play on the internet for a bit, and (2) interacting with my regular Wednesday night patrons.  I'd also be thinking of all the things I'd have to do when I got off desk at 7:00 and able to go back to my desk to do more of the work for which I was hired.  Normally, I'd be doing this.

However . . .

Man, I'm sick as fuck.  We're not really sure what I have.  Something akin to Strep Throat, but I tested negative for Strep.  At least on the rapid test.  But whatever it is, it's annoying as fuck.

Seriously.

This is not an illness that makes me think I'm dying.  I'm not in a lot of pain.  I'm not feeling particularly miserable (except boredom).  I'm stuffed up.  My throat hurts.  A little sore in the joints, but not too bad.  None of that is really bothering me.  It's cold stuff, you know?  Expected when you're sick, and not as bad as it feels like.

What's driving me crazy is that my uvula is swollen.  I can feel that little fucker drooping on the back of my tongue.  It's AWFUL.  So awful.  I feel like I'm going to choke on the damn thing.  It's hard to breathe, difficult to swallow, and feels really weird to lay down on my back (then I can feel it on the back of my throat).  But maybe the worst—though I didn't think this earlier today—is that I'm on a freaking liquid diet until it goes back to normal.

Now, I'm not exactly hungry per se, but I really, really, really want solid food.  I was not prepared, mentally, for this fast.  I want solid food.  I keep having to pee, and I have to "eat" like every two hours to keep from being ravishingly hungry.  I keep thinking of burgers or pizza or pasta or something that I can chew.  Something that will fill my belly.

It doesn't help much that my period's coming up and I'm always a bit anemic and craving red meat beforehand.

I'm so hungry.

I'm so bored.

I'm so hungry!

I'm so, so hungry.

I also want a cigarette, but that's another matter.  One that's haunted me since Monday.  (Only one day late).

I took a steroid to reduce the swelling, and an antibiotic for infection, and an order of a liquid diet until I can properly swallow without choking, and another order to skip work again tomorrow because I'll still be contagious.  And all I really want to do is eat and be around people.

This sucks.

Oh well, I'm going to watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy and try to convince my mom to buy me ice cream.  Wish me luck and a speedy recovery!

I really, really, really, really, REALLY, rRrEEeeAAAllYYYY want to eat tomorrow.

01 September 2017

Mercury in retrograde strikes!

Colors of Mercury 
Image Credit: NASA / JHU Applied Physics Lab / Carnegie Inst. Washington
Usually I don't notice the affects of a retrograde Mercury.  So much so, in fact, that I've been fairly skeptical of just how much impact the stars and planets have on our lives.  I just haven't seen much value in the study of astrology.  I'm less skeptical now.

You see, I'm writing this post on my kindle fire because my laptop is no longer taking a charge.  Yay!  As of yesterday my laptop battery is at 70% and, well, like I mentioned earlier, not charging.  I've an appointment to take it in on Tuesday and I'm really hoping that whatever is wrong with it is a relatively easy (and cheap!) fix.  I'd be writing on my parent's computer, but it died a couple of weeks ago (at the beginning of this retrograde, actually).  Double yay!

Hey, at least I still have my phone and my kindle.

Still, this sucks.  I really can't afford to get a new computer until I find a new job, and though my mom has basically offered to purchase a new computer for me I am just not comfortable having her do that.  She's old, she feeds me, and right now she's letting me live in her house for free (well, for access to my Netflix subscription, but you get the picture).  I'm a grown-ass woman and shouldn't have to rely on Mama for everything.  I mean, I do, of course, because no matter how grown I am I'm still broke as hell, but I don't like having to rely on her largess.  Here's hoping (1) my computer is cheaply fixable, and (2) I find that elusive full time job soon.  I really hate being such a burden.

As right now I have nothing better to do (it's really annoying trying to navigate the interwebs on my kindle and I've been trying to cut back on my phone time), I've been thinking about the details of my life.  Trying to find small changes I can make to it to improve it.  Well, that and looking at my previously broken vows and promises to myself, my friends and family, and the gods and spirits that I honor and occasionally make promises to.  Promises that, at the time, I fully intend to keep.  Unfortunately, that rarely works out.  I don't really know what happens, but somewhere in the middle of whatever it is I'm doing with those aforementioned vows and promises my attention gets lost and those promises get broken.  It's silly and stupid and careless of me, but it's also very, very human.  I mean, how many of us keep our New Years' resolutions?

That's what I thought.

Anyway, it turns out that most of my broken promises are things that I really, really want to do.  You know?  They're actions that would improve my life and maybe make me like myself a little more.  And a lot of it is simply stepping up things that I'm already doing or trying to do.  It's just s matter of taking those things a bit more seriously.

So I thought I'd do something like a "boot camp" for the month of September, and maybe jump start some of my longer term goals.  To that end, here's what I'm doing for the next 30 days:

  • Quitting smoking on the 3rd.  I actually picked the 3rd to do this weeks ago when I decided to finally and for real quit smoking.  It works out best for me because Labor Day gives me three days off work in a row, and I know from past experience that the first three days are the days when I'm most irritable and not fit to be around other humans.  This way I'm only going to be around family, and I'll be able to retreat to my bedroom when I find them completely maddening (which I will).
  • Yoga every day for at least 10 minutes.  Right now, as poor of shape as I'm in, I think 10 minutes is probably the most I can do.  My friend Leanne and I are participating in a challenge of some kind that she found on Instagram.  I promised her I would do this so I will.  Besides, I rather like yoga.
  • Walking every day.  This I actually started in July and managed to do almost every day for about a month (barring inclement weather, of course), until a series of storms drove me inside and I didn't pick it up again.  I was actually considering throwing in some jogging to get more of a work out, before ruining everything by sitting on my ass for the last several weeks.  So, I'm starting over from the beginning.
  • Finding an exercise that I can do indoors to replace walking when the weather is terrible, and adding it to my daily routine anyway.  I'm hoping to make whatever I land on for this a regular addition sometime around the middle of the month.  I'm thinking maybe 30 minutes of cardio step, since I have a step I got a few years ago.  It's time again to get some use from it.
  • Daily meditation, at least 10-15 minutes, to clear and organize my thoughts.
  • Daily language study.  I am determined to learn Irish.  Determined enough that I study on a fairly regular (though not daily) basis anyway.  I'm stepping up my studies!  If this goes well and I think I can handle it, I'm going to pick back up with Mandarin Chinese in October too!
  • Eating a healthier diet made up of real food that I cook/prepare myself.  Lately (as in the last several months/years) I've been eating nothing but highly processed crap.  It's ridiculous!  I'm not going to worry about calories or fat or carbs or anything like that, but I am making a commitment to eat more vegetables and fruits and food I prepare myself.  I'm also going to be watching portion control since I WAY overeat.  I do want to lose weight.  I am going to lose weight.  Plus, I've noticed that I think better (more clear, and less depressive) when I eat a healthier, more balanced diet.
  • Journalling.  Every day.  At least a page.
  • Properly cleaning my teeth every night.  I do this on a fairly regular basis anyway, and of course I brush my teeth every morning as well.  My "proper cleaning" includes brushing, flossing, and mouth wash.  Right now I sometimes go weeks without doing all three.  That's got to stop.  I am going to floss and use mouth wash every night this month.  I'm fairly certain I have 3 cavities right now, and I can't afford ANY until I get that elusive full time job and have dental insurance again.  I'm determined that my teeth don't get any worse until then.  (Another reason to cut back the sugar and nutritionally barren crap food.)
  • Weekly offerings and prayers.
  • Weekly tarot readings.  Did ya'll know I've been reading tarot for nearly 27 years?  I've let my practice fall to the wayside, mostly, I think, due to depression, but I've been feeling the need to pick it back up.  So I am.
  • Weekly and daily rituals.  Larger and small, respectively.
  • Practical magic. Just to help with my odds.
  • Write.  It's what I actually want to do with my life (career-wise) anyway.
  • And I have a loose goal of applying for 30 new jobs, but that really depends on the jobs that open up, you know?  Still, I need to apply for a significant number of jobs, even if I'm unsure of the exact number.  When I get my computer fixed I'll rebuild the database I destroyed in a fit of pique a few years ago as I closed on 1000 jobs applied for and denied me.

So that's it.  So far.  That's my list of stuff to do this month.  My little things to make my life better.  It's a nice mix of a continuation of things I've been doing, things I've been planning to do, and things I used to do and have wanted to pick back up.  I think they're small and doable and not overwhelming.

Wish me luck!

04 August 2017

Tell Your Story, Man

The Adults (my great grandparents): Joseph and Sopia.  The children: Sophie, Katherine "Kitty", Anna, Mary, Barbara, Zora, Daniel (my grandfather), Mildred, Josephine, and Frances "Vinny."  Not featured: Elizabeth "Betty" who was not yet born.  Based on my estimated age of the eldest daughter, Sophie, who was born in 1904, I think this photo was taken in 1920 or thereabouts.
For the most part I find people to be interesting.  For the most part.  I think everyone has a story to tell about themselves and their lives.  This is the type of history that I enjoy: the history of people, the personal, the relatable.  The stories of my family.  The stories of your family.  Stories.

In that vein, I'm developing a memoir writing program at my library.  The program will run every Tuesday night in October, with four weeks of writing and storytelling assistance, and one final week of filming one of the stories the participants have written.  I'm pretty excited about it, and I really, really hope this program is successful because I'd like to see it expanded.  I have dreams of creating a regular podcast or web series around the program, and running the classes through much of the year.

Oh!  And can you imagine a book?  I can.  I think it would be nifty.

My program planning is mostly finished.  The only things left for me to do are the final touches: creating handouts, working out which of the myriad of topics we'll focus on, and figuring out how to use the freaking green screen at the library.  I'm working mostly from Lois Daniel's How to Write Your Own Life Story, and incredibly helpful book on memoir writing, which I love.  And I'm having a really great time figuring out the how of this, going over some of my old writing assignments from yesteryear, remembering the styles and encouragements of my teachers, mentors, and professors.  I'd forgotten, I think, how much I enjoy the business of writing—I love it more than anything.

Which brings me to myself and my writing.  I have really been sadly neglecting this hard-won skill.  I mean, yeah, I have a natural talent for language use and storytelling, but that gets me nowhere if I don't actually work at it, and I used to work at it.  Now, I'm in a state of atrophy, but I'm not so far gone.  I just have to remember, and remember to work.  So I guess that's what I'm going to do.

At one point I wanted to make writing my career, and you know what?  I still do.  It's time for me to actually start seriously pursuing that career.  No excuses.  What does that mean for this blog?  Not sure.  Because I want to actually sell what I'm writing, I'll not be posting it here.  Most publishers want first rights, you know?  But I will post some stuff (and maybe more often), and I'll try to keep you apprised of what's happening.  The two people I know who actually read this blog sometimes complain that I don't update it enough, so I suppose that has to change.  (I don't know how my suspicious number of French readers feel about anything, I just know that I'm getting an oddly large number of hits from France.)

So that's my plan.  I'll keep you posted on my library program and my writing progress and whatever else I feel like blogging about (because, really, this blog's about me).  Below is my list of possible memoir topics, and, um, I'll let you know as I figure more out.

Oh! And I almost forgot: I'm still looking for a new job.  As much as I now enjoy the library, it still isn't the place for me.  I've got no room to grow.  And I'd really like to have relatively normal hours—and full time hours with all the benefits that come with those (medical, dental, retirement).  So, if I find a job before October?  I'll take it.  I plan on leaving enough notes that one of my coworkers can step in.  Or, if I can swing it—and this is my preference—I'll still teach this October class after my regular workday.  It'd be nice if the library will still pay my regular hourly wage for it, but I'm not expecting that.  If I have another job to pay the bills, I can volunteer.

On to the list!

Possible memoir topics include:

  • Birth
  • Childhood
  • Parents & Grandparents
  • Accomplishments
  • Where were you (significant historical events)
  • Religion
  • Relatives
  • Romance
  • Turning Points
  • Children
  • Technology
  • Holidays
  • Politics
  • Pets and Animals
  • Traditions
  • Immigration
  • Memorable Moments
  • Places
  • Failures
  • Jobs
  • Creative Arts (how music, theater, dance, movies, paintings, etc) affect your life
  • Hobbies
  • Wars
  • Fashion
  • Teachers (in school and out of it)
  • Food
  • Lessons (that you learned or that you have to teach)
  • Natural Disasters
  • Et cetera, et cetera

12 July 2017

Heat

by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
I do not like the summertime.  No, that's not precisely true.  I like the green and growing things, fireflies, the sounds of crickets that sneak through my window at night.  I like seeing the birds that gather in my neighborhood, the squirrels, the foxes, and other wildlife that venture into my suburban neighborhood (truth, they do that in all seasons).  I like the fruit and vegetables, garden-grown, which are much easier to access and that actually taste like something.  I like most of the aspects of the summertime.

I don't like the heat.

The last two days it's hit triple digits here on the eastern end of Kansas.  It was 101ºF (or 38ºC) today.  One-Hundred-and-Freaking-One Degrees Fahrenheit!  So early in the summer too.  This does not bode well for August, that's for damn sure.

It's exhausting, this heat.  And here it comes with a humidity that seems to suck the moisture from your bones and throw it in the air.  It's hard to breathe.  It's hard to move.  It's hard to think.

I don't do well in such heat, and long for the summers of my youth when 90ºF seemed stifling.  I would not want to live anywhere hotter.  And feel sorry for those that do.

Air conditioning helps, but in some ways it makes it worse too.  The house smells . . . different.  We can't open up the windows and air it out.  Of course, we don't do that much anyway.  My father hates nature and can't tolerate anything that reminds him of it, even a gentle breeze.  I know, it's weird, but what do you expect from a man who hates music?  He worships the television, though.

It's strange here in the summertime.  The air is wet, it's like walking through soup, but the ground is dry and cracking.  If I had a garden maybe it'd be better.  I'd have a reason to water on the regular, and mulch to keep the soil from drying out too much.  Maybe next year.  I need to start it soon.  Sooner than soon.

In other news:

Another disappointment on the job front.  It's farcical at this point, really.  Now I'm hearing things like, "You haven't had a full time job in years!" as reasons for the joylessness of my search.  Well, yeah, because no one will freaking hire me!!!  Whatever.  I'll try again tomorrow.  As always.

I've been negligent in my correspondences.  A letter writer by nature and preference, I've fallen behind and have lost a letter I began to my best friend weeks ago.  Sorry, Leanne!  I'll catch up.  I promise.

My allergy pills are useless this summer.  That could be because allergens are more prolific, or the St. John's Wort I take to manage my depression is interfering with them (which is one of the side effects of St. John's Wort), or simply because I've been taking them too long (which is one of the side effects of being me).  Whatever, I'll deal.  At this point my mental health is more important to me than my physical comfort, so there's no way I'll stop the herbal help right now.  OF COURSE it could be that my allergies aren't all that worse at all, but I've had a sinus infection.  After the horrible experience I had last week, literally not being able to breathe through my nose, and having the inside of my face feel incredibly, painfully swollen, I'm guessing it's the latter.  It's cleared up–for now–but I'm determined to succeed in quitting smoking to better my chancing of avoiding such a feeling in the future.  Wish me luck!

Except for the few days in which I could barely breath—seriously, it was awful—I've started meditating daily.  It's nice.  It's something I need to keep up.  I have to be very careful because I have a tendency to lose interest in things, or get distracted, or get frustrated and just give up.  Which is probably why I have at least a dozen novels in various stages of completion, but none–not one!–even close to being done.  I've got to change that, get better, focus.  Hoping regular meditation will help.  Plus it just takes the edge off life.

'Bye for now!

04 July 2017

Toil and Trouble

By cjohnson7 from Rochester, Minnesota (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
I suppose it would be appropriate, since it is July 4th, to talk about my country, but I am so thoroughly freaked out by the politics and the malignant nationalism (read: white nationalism) that I find I don't have much to say.  I don't understand the attitudes of people who don't believe in a living minimum wage, or health care for all, or rights for anyone who is not a rich, white, cisgendered, heterosexual, Christian man.  Those people scare me.  They scare me more than anything.  And they especially scare me because so many of them have power—as in actual governmental power.  Nor do I understand the folk that voted these fuckbuckets into that power.  The lies they must tell themselves.

So though it is the 4th, I will not talk about how much I love my country, because I cannot.  I am both disappointed in and frightened of (and for!) my country at this time, and, at this time, I'm not sure my feelings will ever be repaired.

Instead, I think I'll simply go on talking about myself and my life.

Let's get on with it, shall we?

Actually, things are not that bad.  I mean, yeah, things are objectively horrible, but I'm in a pretty good place right now.  I'm now been taking St. John's Wort for three months, and I can feel a marked change in my outlook and my ability to handle problems.  This is good, because I keep having problems (e.g. my phone horribleness last week, and my continued inability to get a job).  Whereas before the St. John's Wort I'd be a panicked wreck for at least a week after having to buy a new phone, with it I just bought the damn phone and adjusted my budget for the coming months.  And, yes, I do mean months.  It'll take me at least two months to absorb the cost and get back to normal, even with the extra hours I was lucky enough to be offered for the month of July.  Oh, well.

Also, I'm now able to do more than one thing a day.  Huzzah!

However, I'm now noticing all the things I've left undone for the last decade or so.  I don't know how much is just gone, ruined beyond repair by my neglect, but I'm hoping to save a lot of it.  Now, I'm not talking material possessions here–though there is some of that too–but the more ephemeral connections, strengths, and skills.  I'm having to relearn things I once knew, things that once came naturally to me.  It's frustrating work, made more difficult because I'm still struggling in literally every other aspect of my life.

It's terrible hard work rebuilding when you don't have solid ground to build on, you know?  My life is so unstable still, but I have to do something.  I have to try to build, to create some semblance of life.  I can't just sit around waiting to die, but it seems that I've forgotten how to move.  Mostly, I'm trying to focus on finding my way out of this hole I've dug myself.  It's easier now, and I'm thanking the St. John's Wort for that, but it's still hard.  I can't allow myself to think of the dreams I used to have which are lost now.  That's still enough to break me.

On a positive note, I had a job interview last week.  I couldn't say how it went.  I'll be very disappointed if I don't get this job, though.  It's in my field, and something I could very much enjoy.  I find I have to stop myself from saying, "I doubt I'll get this job."  Which I suppose is a bad sign.  But when in the last 6 (SIX!!!) years have I had luck with jobs?   I'm afraid that if I allow my hopes to rise and I don't get the job I'll be crushed.  However, I know that if I remain pessimistic and am offered the job I'll be pleasantly surprised.  I would so much rather be pleasantly surprised.

25 June 2017

Incommunicado

By Biblioteca de la Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias del Trabajo Universidad de Sevilla [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia
My phone is broken.  Like, broken broken.  I'm not even able to turn it on.  I have a new phone on order, but I likely be without phone service for about a week.  This wouldn't be such a big deal, except I have something like a dozen active resumés and job applications out there.  Not that I think I'll get a call from one of the offices or libraries to which I've applied—history has shown otherwise—but it could happen!  So:

ACK!  ACK ACK ACK!!!!!

It's no big deal.  It's a very big deal.  Well, it's highly inconvenient at any rate.  And I didn't need the added expense.  Seriously, I just got my credit card down to a manageable amount, and have been fantasizing about paying it off entirely within the coming month.  AND I have taxes on my car due shortly.  AND insurance.

Oh, how I wish that my phone could have held out a little longer!

It's fine.  I'm fine.  I'm annoyed, but I'm fine.

I was a late adopter of cell phones—let alone smart phones—I can go without for a bit.  It's still surprising how much I rely on the damn thing for everyday life.  It keeps my schedule, my contacts, my passwords, my life!  Now I have to go back to the way things were before I broke down and got the damn thing in the first place—relying on my memory!  Or my paper planner and address book.  Whichever.

Maybe this is a good thing.  Maybe I can use this time to break at least part of my addiction to technology.  I've actually been thinking about getting rid of my phone for a while now.  Not seriously, of course.  Just in that way we think of the mythological simpler past, you know.  I don't particularly like my life being dictated by technological connectivity after all, but must needs and all that.

So for the next week I'll be living life like it's the year 2010.  I've got my eReader, my car, and my computer to meet my tech needs, and my parents landline if anyone needs to get a hold of me.  Yikes!  Wish me luck.