Friday, December 24, 2010

chatty cathy revelations

my daughter and i went into the card store a few days ago in search of the perfect ornament for someone special. one of the traditions in our family is to give an ornament to each other every year. my mother started this tradition and i've continued it to the point that when my children leave their respective nests to build their own elsewhere, they will have at least one large box of ornaments (perhaps two). and of course, half the fun is in the choosing of the ornament -- something special to represent each distinct personality. every year when i decorate my tree and pull out my ornaments from others, i am reminded of the year they were given, the person who gave it and the special place each person holds in my heart.

so as we were looking through the ornaments at the store, i happened upon a chatty cathy doll ornament complete with a string to pull to make her talk and was suddenly transported back in time to when i got my chatty cathy doll and what eventually happened to her. i know that hallmark has done an excellent job of recreating toys from my past (barbie, radio flyer wagons, lionel trains, madame alexander dolls, gumby, to name a few), but it was a surprise to see chatty.

she had been one of my favorites as a child because she would talk to me -- sometimes when no one else would. face it, as a parent i've learned how difficult it is to keep several balls in the air simultaneously and still give a child the amount of attention they deserve or need. so i understand better now why sometimes my parents couldn't pay attention when i thought they needed to. but as a child u just start to think that maybe there is something wrong with u and perhaps ur just a figment of someone's vivid imagination -- well, at least that's what i did. so chatty became my confidant. i told her stuff i didn't tell anyone else. and she responded -- ok, she responded with canned responses but when ur 5 or 6 that doesn't really make a difference.

probably one of the saddest days as a child was when she got broken and we won't even discuss it because its not pretty. but her leg was broken off and her chatter box stopped processing the phrases correctly and she was reduced to little more than gibberish... it was devastating to realize that i wouldn't be able to have conversations with her anymore when she would respond in some coherent manner -- even if it was only with canned responses. and so she got relegated to the toy box with the plastic cushioned seat and all the circus animals on the outside and i grew up not giving her a whole lot of thought through the years because as i got older my mom became my best friend and the one i could talk to about anything.

until the day i saw the chatty cathy ornament and realized that i was missing my old "friend". missing ... something .... i figure i've been missing something for a while now. i miss my mom ... as i always do at this time of year ... i miss talking to her about things that are going on in my life. i have other friends and as my daughter reminded me yesterday when we chatted briefly about me perhaps moving, that i can make friends easily. but the thing is, i would miss my old friends. i would miss the easy way we chat about things, how there is never any judgement. that advice is given gently. support and encouragement come naturally and isn't forced. i can be who i'm supposed to be with no mask to hide the "sins of the past". that all takes time and energy to build that trust with someone. do i have that in me to do again? to redo my life for what feels like the umpteenth time.

my daughter said she's pretty "flexible" and "wouldn't mind a change". but she's young and can adapt easily (as she has proven by going off to college and settling in so readily) -- as i did so many years ago. i'm not so sure i can now. sometimes i'm scared by what is ahead. i have friends who have travelled all over the world to countries i can't even fathom myself going to, and i realize that i'm stuck in my need to have things planned out. that's why now, this period of time in my life, is so frightening to me -- because there is no plan, i can't see how the pieces will come together and it scares me and the only thing that keeps me grounded is papa god -- as he always has these past 6+ years. still, i long for the simple time of being a child, not having to think too much about how to make a go of it, not many worries in my life and playing with chatty cathy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

addendum to the pothole story

very very early this morning as i was laying in bed, i was talking with papa god and was thanking him for all the blessings he gives me, but i was struggling financially and he knows this so its not like i'm telling him anything he doesn't already know, but i just needed to say it out loud. and could he please direct me to the job i'm supposed to have so i can apply for it (coz quite honestly applying for all these other jobs and either hearing nothing or being rejected after an interview is starting to wear me down). and like always, i thanked papa god for loving me so much to take care of me and how much i love him and ended by reciting the lord's prayer. my conversations with papa r sometimes short and to the point ... no real need to drag it out with a bunch of flowery speech coz he knows it all and just wants us to have the conversation with him in the first place.... and when i was done i laid there and tried to think of things i had that might be worth something that i could maybe sell to help me out of this mess (the list was VERY short). but as i fell back asleep i distinctly felt like i was supposed to trust papa god to take care of this one ...

so if u have read the previous note on potholes, u know that i had a "little" car issue. well, i've been waiting to hear back from the insurance company about my car but this morning the phone rang and it was lonny from gerrish honda and he said, "your car is all done and ready to be picked up". and i said, "ok, so how much do i owe?" thinking that i would need to wait to hear from the insurance company to pay for it. to which he replied, "its all paid for." I said, "excuse me -- by whom? how did that happen?" to which he replied, "I'm just supposed to tell u that God loves u".

i immediately called amy because she had said she would give me the money when she got her child support check, and i had told her no, but amy sometimes doesn't listen and goes ahead and does what amy wants without thinking twice about it. but amy swears that it wasn't her -- that for once she listened to what i said. did my towing angel come to my rescue again? did the methodist church pay for it? did one of my friends who read my testimony about the events of that day pay for it? idk -- but i want to thank them for their generosity and caring. they r truly angels on this earth and its awesome testimony to the power of papa god and how much he loves all of us that he would take care of the financial car problems of one seemingly insignificant person by bringing so many angels into the mix.

angel on earth -- whoever u are -- thank u for stepping out in papa god's word and helping me. i know that papa god will bless u mightily for taking care of the "least of these" and blessing me in this way. blessings ....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

note to self: avoid the potholes ...

u may ask y the title. even if u don't ask y -- i'll share my experiences from yesterday ... bear with me -- it has a happy ending ...

i was on my way to work -- which i do twice a week for about 2.5 hours -- i work with a small autistic boy and his mom. its not much, but it helps to put gas in the car and milk in the fridge so i'm not complaining at all and very grateful for it. i tend to be an "early bird". if i have to be somewhere i end up leaving a lot earlier than i need to and then take my time getting there and yesterday was no exception. turns out it was a good thing i did leave early because what happened ended up leaving me stranded and unable to get to work -- thus, necessitating the need to call for back up.

at any rate, its about a 7 mile drive from my house to this little boy's house and when i was within a couple of blocks i heard this huge bang and then scraping of metal on pavement and figured i had blown a tire, which came off the rim. luckily, i was on a small town street and only doing about 25 so i was able to pull over quickly. i got out of the car and when i saw what had happened, i have to admit (ashamedly) that i said, "What the f**k!" -- and i was right in front of a montessori school yard full of children. but this was one of those times when the f-bomb was almost certainly warranted as my tire on the front passenger side was sitting 90 degrees in the wheel well. and completely off the axle. it was an interesting, albeit confusing site.

as i stood there and thought about who i could or should call first, i started to shake and cry -- for lots reasons ... first of all i thought about all the recent long distance trips i had made to my daughter's college -- either to go get her or take her home or take a friend to visit ... imagine if this had happened during one of those interstate trips. as a friend aptly put it -- i would be hamburger along the side of the road. second i thought of the almost $1,000 engine work i had had done not more than a month ago and wondered it if was all for naught -- would the car be drivable, would i have the money to even have it fixed. how was i going to get it anywhere to have it fixed, i don't have AAA -- can't afford it -- and certainly can't afford to pay someone to tow it. and thirdly, no car means no job -- even if it is only two afternoons a week -- its something. plus, i still have the remnants of one car payment left to pay. so its not like its altogether mine yet.

first i called a neighbor to come and get me, then i called my son who lives just up the street (but who, unfortunately was on his way to class and couldn't stay), and then i just stood there crying and saying, "papa god must love me a lot because i could be dead". (yes, sometimes in the moment i can be a bit dramatic but in this instance it could be true.)

now all of this happened in front of the church i used to go to a long time ago. and out of this church came a man i did not know and he asked if i had towing on my insurance and i said i didn't know -- because at that precise moment i didn't know much of anything i was so upset. and he said if i didn't that he would take care of it with a credit card (note: this sort of stuff happens to me sometimes -- i chalk it up to papa god coz what else could it possibly be that strangers run to help me in this way). he stayed with me the entire time and followed us all over to the dealership and indeed, did pay the entire towing bill ($212). after a little while, my ex pastor came out and she gave me a hug and stayed with me and when her little daughter got off the school bus and saw me crying, she handed me the kleenex she keeps in her backpack for occasions when she gets a nosebleed and kept telling me it would all be okay. angels sometimes come in human form -- in case u didn't know this.

so i'm waiting at the dealership to find out the verdict and am told that the ball joint sheered off and they have never ever seen this on a honda and certainly not on a CRV (which is what i have). and i'm just left standing there saying -- well, isn't this just the way my life path goes??? ha ha and did i hit a pothole or something and well, rn't there just a ton of potholes all over the area i drive on a regular basis and yes i did and well... u know .... i try to avoid them, but obviously i'm failing in this regard. turns out i will need a new ball joint and a new axle because it bent the axle when it broke and then they will have to do a front end alignment and we're looking at $540. i say, "i don't have any money" -- which is partially true -- i have exactly $46 in my account right now -- so i do have SOME money but certainly not enough to fix the car. and my neighbor (who has graciously come to pick me up and had the gas to do so because that very morning someone had given her $20 for gas -- yet another papa god thing) asks if they can store the car till i have the money and she'll drive me to my work, etc. whereupon the service guy says, "well, u bought the car, from us didn't u, so that entitles u to a free loaner." yes, another papa god intervention. and hands me the keys to a much newer version of my car only in white with all the bells and whistles.

and in the midst of all of this, my daughter calls me from school concerned, because evidently her brother called her father (my ex) and he called her and told her. another god intervening moment ....

and it turns out that perhaps this might all be covered by my insurance since i hit a pothole and sheered off the ball joint ... and i have ppl offering to help me foot the bill for the repairs if it doesn't. and when the census taker came to my door in the middle of a phone conversation with the person who backed me up at work (who offered to swap days with me so i wouldn't lose my hours this week -- yep, u guessed it -- papa god), i started talking about how papa god had intervened and he was amazed. so i saw an opening and shared my faith story with him. to which he said, "that is amazing and i'm so glad u shared that with me because i've had a not great day and that story is just so uplifting." (yep, papa god)

so even in the midst of the crummiest things, papa god steps in and rearranges things and makes it a blessing. because i was blessed on many levels by many ppl yesterday... more than i can even count. and it awes me just how much papa god loves me to take care of me as he does. and i could boo-hoo (and i have) about how lousy my life circumstances r right now -- but in the end it all comes around to the fact that papa god loves me and takes care of all my needs -- and who could ask for more than that???

Sunday, October 17, 2010

nothing i can do ....

some things in life u just can't do anything about. they just have to run their course and nothing u can say or do will make a difference. right now today is one of those times and the feelings that my daughter is experiencing at the sudden death of her beloved cat, Charlie, is one of those things ....

yesterday morning my ex called. i wasn't expecting him to call me and by the tone in his voice i could tell that there was something serious going on. i almost dreaded what he was about to say. he said that there had been a tragedy at his house that morning. i knew it wasn't our son james because he would have been more upset than he was, so i figured it had to be one of the two cats we had.

maki -- our older cat -- is a tiger kitty. we got him at the local humane society. he's talkative and likes to be held and petted and take over ur lap or ur bed. he's loyal. the time i was having issues with my inner ear he would lay on the bed with me and when i got up for something he would follow me there and back. he didn't want to leave my side. from what i hear, he's still that way, but i don't get to see him much at all now that sammy has gone off to college. he's older than charlie by a couple of years, so obviously my first thought was of maki.

charlie was very much sammy's cat. she picked her out at the humane society. we brought her home and she cried and cried or hid. i told sammy if she kept it up we might have to take her back because obviously she wasn't fitting in well with maki and our family. but soon she let it be known that she was the boss. she would chase maki around and around the apt. until he would jump up on the counter to get away from her. she, however, was not much of a jumper. she had a bit of a pudge... but she was a sweet little calico girl and sammy taught her how to raise her paw for treats or just to be petted. charlie was the second thought ...

and of course, with that thought came, oh my, sammy's at college, she doesn't know, how will this affect her.... her father wanted to go down today and tell her face to face. i thought it was better to bring her home and tell her here and let her spend the rest of the weekend here surrounded by the ppl who love her and could support her during her grieving rather than being left alone in a dorm room. since she had expressed a desire to come home this weekend, but had been unable to because of a school commitment in the early afternoon, i had an excuse to call her and tell her i was going to come and get her and bring her home. her father made me promise not to tell her -- he wanted to tell her -- face to face. so i picked up my excited and happy child, knowing all the while that soon her world would be shattered and sad...

as we got close to home, i told her she should call her dad, which she did, and he told her over the phone (something he'd said he didn't want to do) while i was driving. the ability to comfort her was hindered by the need to keep the car on the road and blink my own tears out of my eyes. she said she wasn't there to hold her and she just wanted to hold her (as i knew she might), but her beloved kitty was at the vet's and would not be able to seen until monday at the earliest but she needed to go back to school today and wouldn't be back till thurs. so it would be a long time and she wouldn't be the same after all that time. we got to the apartment. we sat and talked about charlie. she looked for photos of charlie. i found photos i had taken and emailed them to her. we talked about what she wanted to do now. bring her home and bury her, have her cremated, etc. did she still want to see her, maybe it would be better to remember her as she was. then she called her father and he came over. and we discussed what should be done now.

she wanted to watch a happy movie but while we waited for Princess Diaries to come on, she switched the channel and there was cats 101. she decided to watch it and we would discuss the similarities to or differences from charlie and maki. and what about maki? even though he fought with charlie -- they had their moments when they would nuzzle each other's faces or lick each other. he had been walking around the house looking for charlie, probably wondering where she had disappeared to because she liked to hide. probably thinking that she had done a damn good job of hiding this time since he couldn't find her. how much did he understand??? would he miss her??

today sammy went to her father's for the first time and broke down. i expected it -- she would look around for her kitty and it would sink in that she wasn't there. it was just a reminder that she had died. i remember this feeling when my mom died. i remember thinking, it was all a bad dream and i would walk through the door and she would greet me and kiss me and hug me and tell me how silly i had been to believe that she could die. of course, she didn't greet me and there was no reassurance. she was very much gone and it was so evident when i walked through the door. sammy was feeling that today. and i couldn't stay to comfort her because i had to go to work. and would it matter if i had stayed because what can i say to take away the pain she is feeling right now?? what can i do to make her feel better?? nothing. and all i can do is pray for her and be here if she wants to talk or cry or watch some movie to cheer her up. it won't make the pain of loss any less. so its truly one of those times when i can do nothing ...

RIP charlie girl ... u will be greatly missed ...

Monday, September 6, 2010

letting go of the stuff

my daughter came home from college for the the labor day weekend. it was great having her here. she helped to finish moving the last bits from the old apartment and then helped me to clean it and get it ready for the inspection on tuesday. she leaves today to go back to college.

it seems like a lot of the stuff in our lives is an "adventure". a couple of days before i went to get her, my exhaust system decided to develop a hole in it that is making for an interesting drive. it sounds more like a race car or a souped muscle car than the sedate little CRV i'd like it to be. obviously, there is no money to fix that right now ... so i have to live with it. but it made the 1.5 hour drive (one way) to get my daughter and the drive back with her loud. we turned up the radio and talked a bit louder in order to hear each other. and the stares from the ppl standing on the street in the city she's at were a little unnerving. it reminded me though that there were times when i would hear someone's loud exhaust and think, u really should midasize that. i wonder if ppl think that about me now when i drive by.

the new apartment is "coming along". its finding a place for everything that is difficult. and yesterday i went to make scalloped potatoes for lunch and realized that i had sold the only pan i had that would accommodate them... oh well ... i improvised and we did just fine.

the other thing i did yesterday was to put away the huge portraits of my ancestors in their gilded (but flaking) frames. however, in the process of doing so i ripped a hole in one of them. two of these pictures don't have the glass any more -- probably a good thing knowing me with glass items -- which would have protected this picture had it been present. at first i was like, i hate my life, and then i was like, well, i didn't really like their picture anyhow coz they looked mean. plus, what little i knew about them said that i wouldn't have liked them in real life anyhow ... so what did it matter.

but it got me to thinking about all the stuff i've carted around from place to place that has little to no meaning to me -- like these portraits. who are these ppl?? what were their lives like. idk a lot about them and honestly, i'm tired of carting this stuff around. is this how ppl's old tintype photos end up in boxes at antique markets??? relatives just get tired of hauling around photos of ppl they don't know and have no one else to pass it on to who is even the least little bit interested???

its difficult for me to say this because i am a scrapbooker and i had a store dedicated to that for years and told ppl how precious these things were. and now here i am confessing how much it bothers me to have to move my own dead relatives' portraits from apt. to apt. -- especially when each consecutive apartment gets smaller.

a friend came over last friday while i was cleaning and sorting and she commented on all the little pictures i have scattered all over my house of my immediate family and how at some point she was going to inherit this very same sort of thing from her mother and she was not relishing the idea. i feel sorry for my kids when i die -- they'll have to deal with all this stuff.

if this move has taught me anything at all, it has taught me that i need to start letting go. but where do i do that. with my great grandmother's blue willow china, the old portraits, the new photos. that's my problem ...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

two women + strong emotional bond + separation = blubbering

my daughter and i spent the better part of the last two days packing boxes, moving them three doors down, and unpacking them. our nerves have been frayed beyond belief. we just spent the last hour or so packing the car to take her to college and not everything fit and she had to call her dad who came over and got some of the stuff. tomorrow will be a difficult day if today's emotional breakdowns r any indication ... who's idea was this college thing anyhow. surely tearing children away from their parents at such a tender age is not a good thing -- well, probably not for the parents. i'm a mess ... and just to be sure -- i'm taking a box of kleenex with me in the car because i know the ride home tomorrow will be very hard ...

Friday, August 27, 2010

a state of flux ....

so today i went to the housing office and asked if the new apt. was done and could i have the key so we could move in the daughter's things and as much other stuff as we could. it was and i ended up with key in hand. my daughter starting moving her things and a couple of neighbors and their children helped me with some of the other things. we managed to get quite a bit of stuff moved -- although there is still a lot more to go.

it was hard though coz all i kept thinking was, i don't get to spend the time with my daughter and its sad coz she goes off to college on sunday and then who knows how long it will be till i get to see her. idk. i guess i should be happy because she got so much done today and its stuff i won't have to try and "guess" at (which books go where, etc.). but still ....

the old apt. looks weird and the new one doesn't seem quite 'right' yet coz it doesn't have all its pieces. plus, all the preplanning i did for where the furniture would go at the icovia space planner site didn't quite work out the way i had planned so we had to make some adjustments already. i don't know what this means for the rest of the stuff that gets moved this week ... so keep ur fingers crossed that it goes well. i just want to be settled so i can "get on with my life" ...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

cha cha cha changes ....

i've decided that this blog is becoming less about my business and more about my transitions ... so i've changed the name of the blog and a few other things and i hope u'll bear with me in this venture. i'll still have the ads for the business (although right now my artfire and etsy shops are on vacation till i get settled again). so yeah .... thanks to the faithful who keep hanging in there with me ....

skirt folds ....

its almost 8 am. i've been up since just a few minutes before 5 when the "stay overnight boyfriend" of one of the neighbors down the complex fired up his motorcycle -- which is probably the loudest motorcycle on the planet if u were to have asked me at 5am.

i should be packing up the apartment. they have started to clean the other one that i'm moving into -- which means it won't be long now. but i'm waiting on my daughter to finish packing up her room and using the boxes she wants before i start the rest of it because i know it will be hard to find boxes in the sizes she needs in the short time we have left together.

i'm also procrastinating a bit in the hope that some deserving person who needs only a 2 bdrm will come along and they will move them in rather than me. that's wishful thinking on my part, but whatever. my neighbors (in this particular building) don't want me to move. we were all comrades in arms when the issue of renovations came up so there is this bond that they feel is being torn apart because i'm moving into the next building over (where most of the ppl were content to let the renovations happen without much argument -- although it didn't stop them from riding our coat tails to the hotel).

i'm still trying to adjust to the fact that my daughter is going away to college and i'll be alone while living in a new apartment. i don't mind the new apartment so much -- its an opportunity to rearrange furniture -- but doing it on the heels of sending the child away is just too much stress for one person. then there is the issue with the ex. he was making noises that my vacation ends with her today and that he should have her tonight and tomorrow -- even though she isn't finished packing. i basically said he'd had 17 days with her and if i got 17 days with her that takes us right up to when she leaves and that he hadn't given me this same opportunity when the son had left for college. he didn't respond. he doesn't know what to say when confronted with his own goofy vacation math. of course, i'm letting him have her because quite frankly, i'm tired of the fighting and glad that after this i won't have to any more. she can make her own choices and verbalize them just fine ...

i also need to find a regular job, with regular hours, and regular pay, and hopefully benefits. but i think this won't materialize until after the move because there is just too much on my plate right now. and i'm ever thankful that papa god is carrying me through all of this because i would probably be a real mess (institutionalization comes to mind) if he didn't. and its wonderful to be able to keep coming back to that when the messies come running at me. its like a little child who is at once curious and frightened and will take a step forward and then run back to hide behind the safety of their mother's skirt folds. idk what i'd do without papa god in my life ... i don't even want to think about it ...

Monday, August 23, 2010

leaning on the everlasting arms ....

so the daughter is leaving for college on sunday and she's in the midst of packing up stuff to take. then she has to pack up the rest of her belongings because at some point after i drop her at college, the housing authority is moving me to a smaller (2bdrm vs 3bdrm) apartment.

there's a lot going on in my life right now and i have to keep telling myself that papa god has me in the palm of his hand. if i don't do this, i will surely fall apart and i can't have that.

the last week or so things have not been great. i had these expectations for the vacation with son and daughter and of course, most of them were not fulfilled. as a matter of fact, a lot of stuff fell apart royally that i'm not sure can be mended, unless papa god takes control of it.

then we come back (and that's a whole other story in itself that i would prefer not to delve too deeply into), and i have to deal with not only packing up and moving my daughter to college, but packing up my entire apartment to downsize. its not without some really weighty emotions.

see my daughter has only ever lived two places in her lifetime. one was the apartment where her father and i moved into when i was pregnant with her and where he still resides, and the apartment that we currently live in where i moved after the divorce 6 years ago. so for her its like, "i'm going to college and when i come home it will be to some place i don't recognize". for me its like, "u go away to college and while ur gone, i'm left in an unfamiliar apartment all by myself". i become an empty nester in a new nest -- and its not even of my choosing -- either of them ....

at the end of the month i lose child support and will be living on the $75 a week i make doing respite care with an autistic boy. obviously, that will have to change and i'll have to find a real job -- something i have been seeking for a while and which has been unsuccessful.

now things seem at their worst -- i mean, i've possibly lost one child (son) through miscommunication and clashing of personalities and i'm about to "lose" another to college life -- i suddenly feel like the old spinster lady -- childless and alone. and i'm about to become poorer than dirt -- if that's possible and i'm going to have to pack and move my stuff to a new place. my ex husband is taking some of my vacation time -- the last before she goes away --with my daughter because he thinks he can even though he's already had more than his fair share of vacation with her earlier this summer and once again, i'm letting him. so its now when i need papa god's grace and comforting arms to hold me.

last night my neighbor came over and was basically trying the "snap the heck out of it" tactics on me and i finally said to her, "u know, i'm allowed to grieve -- a lot of this stuff just happened in the last week. i'm pretty sure papa god would allow me time to grieve. its not a prerequisite of being a christian that we're supposed to be 'holding it together' 24/7." i'm sure it didn't make her very happy, but that's the reality of it. just because we're christians doesn't mean that things will be wonderful all the time -- as a matter of fact it might be worse since the enemy will do all he can to turn us away from god. but we don't have to pretend that we're "fine" when we're not and we don't have to wear a smiling mask to cover up whatever pain is inside us. god loves us through all of it and the more real and genuine we can be the less surprises others will have when things don't seem to be going wonderful for them.

so yeah, i'm leaning big time on papa god right now and i'll keep leaning on him. because we're in a relationship -- he knows me and loves me and wants to take care of me. and i'm going to let him. there's not a whole lot i can do on my own -- and right now, i don't want to do any of this without him.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Charm City Cakes and Baltimore ...

so yesterday was not a good day. it started off with me getting into my son's new car and accidently hitting his arm and spilling some soda in the cup holder. then the kids and i drove to baltimore to go to the baltimore museum of art. i have to admit that part of what happened was my fault for not double checking to see when the museum was actually open. it is, just for general info, not open on mondays or tuesdays -- but who would think that it would be closed both days. but i digress.

because it was tuesday the museum was closed. which we didn't find out until after we'd parked and gone in -- and unfortunately, when u park in their lot, u get a ticket and then u have to pay to get out of their lot. so $6 later we decided to walk the .4 mile to Charm City Cakes -- which is, if ur not familiar, the place chronicled in the TV show Ace of Cakes. its a favorite of mine. we didn't see anyone from the show and couldn't look in the windows even because they were covered in black plastic (boo hiss), but we did manage to take photos of us standing outside of it.

of course it was hotter than blazes and the walk basically took a lot out of this 54 yo woman and when we got back to the car, the son got on his iphone to see what other things we might do. see the museum was free -- and since i don't have a lot of money and will have even less come sept. 1, it seemed like a good idea, which it would have been had the museum been open or i had done my homework.

at any rate, son said that most of the free or inexpensive things to do looked boring or stupid. so we called my dad (who didn't answer the phone) to see if he had any other suggestions. then we went to the nearest wendy's for lunch -- which happened to be in a really crummy part of baltimore -- so the kids got to see places that maybe they wouldn't have ordinarily. and then dad called and he said that other than inner harbor he couldn't think of anything.

so we went to inner harbor -- where the parking was outrageous (and tiny little spots) and walked to the actual harbor. we had dissed the idea of going to the aquarium (at $30 a pop -- well, i said i would pay it but the kids nixed the idea since they know i have no money) and walked around to this funky art museum -- which costs half as much to get in. however, at this point, i was too exhausted from the heat to make it the whole way and crashed on the bench. the kids (who, let's face it -- rn't really kids anymore at 22 and 18) decided they really didn't want to see the museum and so we walked back around to urban outfitters (which is where my daughter wanted to stop at).

it was cooler in the mall and i was able to buy three bottles of water at $1.60 a pop (and that didn't include tax) and talk to the nice guy about the fact that he should put an "a" in Donte's special since it was as hot as hell outside. he laughed and said that was a good one. i also got to sit on the marble edging to the stairs -- which was nice and cold. we went to a store that had charm city cakes mugs, etc. and other cheesy baltimore memorabilia and purchased some stuff to bring home and then walked back to parking lot, paid $13 for the parking and left to come home.

of course, we got stuck in some going home from work traffic. that makes for an interesting drive when ur tired and hot. and none of this would have been smooth had it not been for the navigation capabilities of my son's iphone -- so for that i'm very grateful. no getting lost -- like we did when we went to philly years ago. but i tried to make the best of a really crummy situation and failed miserably. i'm sure my kids will remember this as probably one of the worst (if not the worst) vacations they ever had with me. and the son will probably forego vacationing with me ever again.

the thing is that when i go on vacation i don't HAVE to do anything or go anywhere special. i could be content just sitting and relaxing and enjoying whoever else happens to be there. there was a time (when the kids were smaller) when we felt this need to take them to all sorts of places and do all sorts of things. but i don't have the money for that any more -- haven't for a while -- and so i can't keep it up. perhaps its my fault for setting a precedence with them for the need to go and do all those years before the divorce. i try to make the time happy, but frankly, they want to go and do and r bored otherwise. sitting and talking with their grandfather and hearing his stories of growing up don't hold the attention like say shopping or sight-seeing would.

i'm not perfect in this vacation planning stuff. sometimes i just run out of ideas -- esp. when the issue of money is concerned. i'd love to take them to ireland or disney world or whatever, but i know its not gonna happen. i just don't have it. and the fact of the matter is that as i get older, its getting harder and harder to keep up with them physically when we do go places. i thought i was going to pass out yesterday from the heat and the distance, etc. so yeah .... i just don't know. perfect vacations r becoming a thing of the past... and maybe its time for that because they r both going in their own directions now and soon won't want to do the joint vacation thing. it was nice while it lasted ...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

the heat, books, travel .... dreaming .....

its hot here -- like 95+ with just about as much humidity. we're in the middle of a heat wave and i chose (purposely) not to put the A/C in the apartment this year. the housing authority charges an additional $20 a month (per A/C unit) to do this. that was $20 extra a month that i don't have. but that's only part of it -- the other part is that i don't understand the increase -- they say its for the increase in electrical usage. but see, i take issue with this because we have electric (yeah, i know, don't get me started on this either) heat -- which, obviously, is not being used at all during the summer. and our appliances (stove) r electric, and we're running them less in the summer because of the temperatures. at any rate, my feeling is that since we're not using electricity for the heat, we can't possibly be using $20 more a month for electricity for the A/C -- but whatever. so we're running 9 fans -- now u tell me -- what is using more electricity than my nine fans?? certainly NOT my new A/C unit which was rated highly for less consumption of electricity ... but whatever....

at any rate, its not the A/C -- or lack thereof, that i wish to expound on today. when its hot, i tend to not do much moving around. i mean, literally, i could lay in bed the entire day reading. which is sort of what i did this morning. i've been working on this book (eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert) for a couple of weeks now, and today i finished it. i've read one other book by her and liked it, and then i saw that this one was being made into a movie -- with julia roberts -- so i figured i better read the book before hollyweird (as my father likes to call it) ruins it totally (which, if ur avid reader of books that then get turned into movies u'll understand).

so, this morning i didn't really have anything to do or anywhere to go (like i do this afternoon) and i decided to go back to bed with one of the nine fans blowing over me and finish the book (i was like 2/3 of the way finished already). and finish it, i did. and now i wonder just how badly hollyweird will botch the movie making.

when i read books like this one, i think about how when i was younger i wanted to be a novelist and journalist and travel around the world and write and have all sorts of wonderful experiences that would be fodder for my next novel. obviously, if u look at my life, this is NOT what happened. i never got to travel (truly, the one time my passport got stamped was because i begged some crossing guard in canada to stamp it, even though he insisted that it was not necessary since i was an american -- and that was 20 some years ago before 9/11). i mean i've been across the US (flying or driving it doesn't matter) and i've seen lots of interesting places when moving from PA to NJ back to PA to TX to NH to NY to FL and back to NH -- and i have made a point to try and check out all the local bits of interest when we've lived in all those places. but its not the same as going to italy, india or bali -- at least not in my mind -- which were all the places that Liz went to in this book.

most of her travel was an attempt to "find herself" and to become one with her creator. i know who i am in papa god's eyes. that doesn't always translate well into who i am in my own eyes -- if u understand what i'm saying. and i certainly don't need to travel to far away places to discover who i am -- but it would be nice to travel just the same.

my daughter and i have two piggy banks that we put our change into. one is strictly quarters and the other is dimes. we return all our cans (and those of our friends who know we do this) that we can for 5 cents each and that money usually goes into the piggies -- although lately its gone into the gas tank more than into the piggies. i digress -- we have said that this money is our "go to Ireland" money. meaning that some day when there is enough there, we will travel to Ireland -- the land of my ancestors (well some of them) and visit the O'Dougherty (no, they don't spell it like that over there but who cares) castle in Buncrana, Ireland. somehow, i don't see this ever happening ... i could yet be proved wrong, but it seems like most of the time when it comes to dreams or desires of my heart, they don't materialize in quite the fashion i had imagined. and no, i won't go into all the details of past desires.

so i can live vicariously through the adventures of ppl like Liz in books that have been written and imagine what it would be like to travel there, live there, love there. on a super hot summer day -- its the best way to spend the time!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

rainy day graduation ...

my daughter's high school graduation is today -- well this evening actually -- and it looks like its going to be a rainy one.

one thing you have to know is that the high school that she goes to does not have an auditorium. until we came here, i had never heard of such a thing. all three high schools that i attended have their own auditorium and when i graduated from the third one, it was in the auditorium. my brother graduated from high school in an auditorium as well. so the fact that this school didn't have an auditorium was just so foreign to me.

for drama plays and musicals and any awards ceremonies they always used the local opera house, but its not big enough to accommodate all the ppl who come for a graduation. its barely large enough to accommodate the graduates and their parents, let alone all the family and friends who would come to a graduation.

so the high school sets up two places for graduation -- the gym and the football field. obviously, everybody prays that the weather holds so that the graduation can be held on the football field because it can hold so many more ppl -- thus, lots of friends and family can come and watch the ceremonies. however, if its a rainy day, they will move the ceremony indoors into the gym -- which then means that each graduate is given 4 tickets for their family members. this might be ok if there were not a lot of siblings or two sets of grandparents and u know in this day and age of divorce, there r lots of mixed families so then we have step parents, etc. even in our own family -- four tickets means that her father, me, and her brother and grandfather r for sure, but her grandfather's girlfriend has to stay behind. although ppl might want to come, they can't and those that can get to sit on backless bleachers for 2 hours listening to speeches and waiting for the opportunity to see their loved one receive their diploma.

so here we are. graduation day. the kids r at the high school right now rehearsing outside in the rain and cold just in case that the rain breaks and the ceremony can be held on the field. they had the inside rehearsal yesterday when the weather was really nice, which left me scratching my head and saying, why didn't you do the outside rehearsal on a day when the weather was nice so the kids were not standing around in the cold and wet and have the inside rehearsal on the rainy day, but then i'm not the principal, so that's not my decision to make .... and of course, the forecast for tomorrow is sun ... so you know there's this part of me that thinks -- just postpone it a day ... but they won't because they hold this huge project graduation party for the grads from 10pm to 4am of the evening of graduation ... so yeah, postponement won't happen...

this aside, i have to say that the school goes through this EVERY year at graduation time. 4 years ago when my son graduated it was the same deal -- and we sat in the spitting rain for 2 hours because ppl wanted to make sure they could accommodate all the family and friends who had showed up for the ceremony and that was ok -- not great, but at least everybody could come. so knowing that at least for the last four years (and i'm guessing more years prior to 2006) they have had to deal with this very same issue -- it kinda makes u wonder -- how come they haven't made moves to try and fix this issue?

all i know is that my daughter -- my baby -- will be graduating tonight and i will either be sitting with the ex, my son, my father and his girlfriend in the rain and cold trying to protect my digital camera so that it will still function when the time comes to get pics of her walking in and getting her diploma or we'll be sitting on hard backless bleachers in the gym with one less person (the girlfriend) and hoping that we're near an end to even get any sort of picture at all... it should be interesting, but either way -- my baby is graduating .... and that is cause for celebration no matter what mother nature throws at us ....

Saturday, June 5, 2010

good all the time ...

sometimes life just sucks. but papa god is always good and always faithful.

i keep telling myself this whenever anything radical or depressing happens in my life. because i need to be reminded that the crummy stuff doesn't come from papa.

my daughter is about to graduate -- in 5 days exactly. there has been a lot of "upheaval" in the house because of it. my father and his girlfriend r coming. i need to completely hull out my bedroom so they can sleep in there, and hull out the spare room so i can sleep in there and basically, there is no place to hull this stuff to, not to mention all the stressors that go along with having company in the apartment. -- especially when they come with their own demands and idiosyncrasies. the area around the building looks more like a war zone than a decent living area. i have no money for food or gas or even the $19 that my daughter needs for her cap and gown, let alone to throw her a graduation party and if i could throw a party, where would i hold it and who could come without upsetting certain ppl's days. there r issues surrounding where the ex will be and when since my father doesn't want to be around him (after all, he did break his daughter's heart -- blah blah blah) and that is putting pressure on me to try and keep three people happy (my father, my daughter, and my ex -- in precisely that order even though i'd rather not keep the ex happy and the daughter really should be first). i've been through something similar 4 years ago when my son graduated, so this isn't totally unfamiliar territory, but how many balls do i have to keep in the air to keep everybody (possibly including myself) happy??

some where in this messy mix is me -- oh wait, no, i'm not in the mix because all my life i've jumped through hoops to try and keep other ppl happy (much like i suppose my mom did) while realizing that my happiness wasn't very important in the grand scheme of things.

yesterday someone reminded me that i need to speak up -- to not let ppl walk all over me. but do i really? i mean what good does it do to tell ppl exactly what's on in ur mind? i tried that with the ex -- it got me nowhere except into the brick wall he put up -- and that was in our marriage and subsequent divorce. face it, some ppl just don't give a darn if ur miserable or not as long as their happiness is intact -- so what good does it do to tell them ur miserable.

unfortunately, i've never been very good at hiding my feelings. basically i did try that for years and occasionally it would all tumble out of the closet and lie there on the floor in a big ugly mess -- months of miserableness that had been hidden away because someone else couldn't deal with the reality of it -- it wasn't pretty. so when i got word (through a prophet) from papa god that i should take off the masks and come out of the closet (so to speak) and let ppl see the real me, i had three immediate thoughts. the first was, nobody wants to see the real me -- it ain't pretty. and the second was, i don't know how to do that. and the third was why should i bother when nobody else cares?

i've learned a lot since that word was given, and i'm probably more vocal and open now with my feelings at the time they r happening -- which may or may not be a good thing -- i'm still debating that. another thing i've learned is that sometimes it doesn't matter what ur feeling or what u say ur feeling, the other person really doesn't care (actually, i learned this during my marriage but its still an important aspect of this whole "feeling/relationship" thing), and u have to be open to the prospect that you can share it all and get no reaction at the other end and be ok with that (which is the part i have taken some strides in). and probably the most important thing i've learned is that even if no one else cares, what ur feeling matters and the one being (besides yourself) that it matters most to is papa god. so no matter what kind of reaction (or non-reaction) u get from anyone else, u can be sure that papa god is cradling u in his arms and feeling for u.

so back to my original statement -- sometimes life just sucks -- but papa god is always good and always faithful. and this is one reason why i want him with me all the time. because he is the one constant i can rely on. if i need a listening ear, his is always ready. a shoulder to cry on, his is strong. a confident for my heartfelt emotions, he is there. someone to give me comfort and guidance and wisdom in all situations and tell me what i need to hear. he validates me and what i'm feeling. what more can i ask for? he gives me what no human on earth can give me -- and i feel loved because he is in my life. and when the sucky stuff happens -- i can get through it because i know he's got my back. i might be miserable and crying and letting it all hang out, but i know i can pull it back together when it really matters because he's there and hanging onto me. i need him and i can't imagine how i would ever get through it all without him.

Monday, May 24, 2010

how one becomes a hoader ....

i have always believed that the minute i throw something out because i thought i wouldn't need it or hadn't used it in eons, i will suddenly need it. and today i proved that point. a little while ago, i gave away a bag of stuffing. i didn't think i would need it. figured i was past the pillow making and/or stuffed toy making stage of my life. so i gave it away. i had used a smidgeon of it to make a muffin shaped lion for my daughter and figured that was the end of that.

but said daughter has been chatting about owls a lot lately. this is significant for a few reasons. first of all, her grandmother (my mom) who passed away 22 years ago this june, loved owls. anything with owls. so i had this plethora of owl items in my house that my father basically told me to get rid of after she died and i couldn't bring myself to throw away because they were my mom's. this was probably the beginning of my semi-hoarder stage. at any rate, i kept the ones that had a huge sentimental attachment, and gave a few of the others to a then friend (who was like a sister to me) but who later turned on me during my divorce (go figure). so the fact that said daughter, who bears her grandmother's name as her middle name, and who i wanted so desperately to have the same sort of relationship with as my mom, likes owls is to me -- some sort of sign.

so after i made the little muffin lion (he wasn't supposed to be a muffin -- he was supposed to be an egg cozy but something was off in the pattern and he ended up being too big), i started looking for owl cozies (i never did find one) or little amigurumi (which literally translated means little knitted or crocheted stuffed doll or something close to that) owl that i could make her for graduation. after all, owls r a big symbol of graduation and becoming wise, etc.

i found a pattern and put it aside thinking it wouldn't take long. amigurumi animals r usually pretty small and don't take even a full ball of yarn most of the time. the other day in my cleaning, i found the pattern and decided to start on it. thinking i could probably finish it quickly. then i read the pattern -- 10.5 inches high. right, well, then ... let's get to work.

it hasn't taken me all that long, although its hard on the eyesight as its all done in single crochet with an F hook -- so old eyes have a tough time with that. but now here i am needing to stuff this 10.5 inch high thing and i have no stuffing. and i'm kicking myself for having given it away, because its not cheap stuff. and i have enough plastic shopping bags that i could stuff it with that, but then it would make crunching noises when she cuddled it and she would hate that, so it wouldn't be a very fond reminder of her mom when she's away at college.

now i've proved my point about not throwing things away because eventually u will need them and then what will u do?? of course, proving my point doesn't help me at all with the lack of stuffing issue -- so off to joann's i go ....

***************
UPDATE: I actually found a bag of stuffing in the closet of the spare bedroom -- so was saved from buying one at Joann's. however, i had to go there to buy eyes to finish the owl. and here's the finished product!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

motel living ....

regardless of what ppl tell u, motel/hotel (i still don't know the difference) living is NOT fun. sure, its nice to have clean towels delivered everyday but the cheaper hotels and motels have gone with the "throw the towel on the floor and we'll give u a clean one, but hang it up and its ur's till hell freezes over" philosophy in order to conserve energy (the maid's and the earth's simultaneously). contrary to popular belief, although i might well be on my way to hoarder-hood, i'm not a slob and no amount of wanting a new towel will entice me to throw a towel on the floor. they don't change the sheets on a daily basis anymore either -- or even remake ur bed for u. if u don't make ur bed, forget about it, it will not be made when u come back later. its all about conserving water (and pay for housekeeping services i imagine-- if they don't do it, they don't get paid for the time). i get it because honestly, do u put up clean towels every day at ur house? we wash our's every three days. my theory was (and still is) that ur drying off a clean body, so how dirty can the towel get? its not a big deal and if it helps to save the environment by using less water, i'm all for it. i just wish the towels weren't white ....

when i lamented to some friends that we were going to a motel for a period of time as yet undetermined, they were curious as to y i was not exceedingly happy about this prospect -- after all, complimentary breakfast and clean towels every day were worth it -- right? however, they didn't count on the "hey not every day at this place" theory, plus they didn't see all the inconvenience that living in a hotel can cause in one's daily routine.

so, here's just a smidgen of what happens while living in a motel. first of all, u have to plan meals that can be microwaved (if ur poor like we r and can't afford to even eat out at McD's dollar menu every night -- that still cost us over $10 the one and only night we did it). yes, breakfast is complimentary, but if ur not a real breakfast person (which, let's face it, someone who picks at a small bowl of DRY honey nut cheerios really isn't), then it seems like a gargantuan waste. a better meal to be complimentary might well be dinner for someone like my daughter and i. luckily for me, my ex-husband works some nights and offered up his stove when he was working so i can actually make real meals and not that heavily processed junk they tout as TV dinners. but we do like the waffles and the eggs and the bacon (or sausage) that is offered, so we eat it figuring that it will stave off hunger till supper time.

now to go along with the microwave cooking u will inevitably have to do, u then have to bring things to cook in -- which means glass or plastic, and things to eat off of like plates and forks and knives and spoons and cups. and of course, when ur me, u bring the real deal so that u can wash and not throw out, which then means bringing tea towels to lay or dry things with and dish washing supplies. and, of course, there are still things u can't cook in a microwave (ground beef or chicken naming a few) so then the creativity becomes about what u can make without having those meats in it.

then there's the whole where am i gonna do laundry thing and when ur poor, coin operated laundromats just don't cut it -- plus, there is the whole issue of i use all free products when i do laundry due to allergies, and some ppl don't, so am i washing in a machine that someone just put a ton of smelly stuff in and therefore, my things will be unwearable. again, luckily the ex said i could use his machine. i'm hoping i don't have to because he has one of those high-end front loaders and i know they don't use the same detergents as my old top loader and well, who wants to be responsible for messing up someone else's washing machine?

add to this the need for a computer and printer (for the daughter who's a senior and has a bunch of end-of-school year work to do). and if i'm gonna be stuck in a motel room every day for over a week, then i need to have projects to work on -- so i had to bring some yarn for crocheting and some scrapping supplies to work on said daughter's graduation scrapbook. and taking into account that i'm not "allowed" to go back to my apartment for anything, we must make sure we have enough of everything!

clothes, hair dryers, toothbrushes, shampoos, soaps, all those little personal items don't even begin to scratch the surface of what we needed to bring to this motel.

still, it wouldn't be so bad if it weren't so cold in the room (the blower runs ALL the time, but the temperature vascillates between really cold and warm), or the beds weren't so soft, which practically guarantees waking up with a stiff back when ur way over the hill and things r stiff under the best of conditions. we have a TV that doesn't turn itself off (like our's does -- don't ask) although the channels r much more limited than what we have at home. we have internet -- which is a tad slower than our's, but still its internet and if i didn't know the difference it wouldn't matter much. and there r two beds so that i can sprawl and not wake up the daughter -- although sleeping and living in the same small room presents its own challenges for her (i snore, i chew too loudly, there's nowhere to go to get a break from me -- except the bathroom , i'm sure the list is of historic proportions). i can't blame her -- she's a teen. this is her last year, last month, last few weeks of high school. she shouldn't have to be displaced during this period of her life -- but this is the hand that we've been dealt and she knows our lives have not been perfect. that which does not kill us makes us stronger -- right?

so lest u think this is just another one of my complaining sessions, its not. i'm just trying to make a point that motel/hotel living is not the glamourous thing that ppl make it out to be. we're making the best of a not perfect situation -- something we've learned to do quite well over the past 6 years. someday we will look back at this experience and marvel at it, maybe even laugh a little. and the best part is that it was another hurdle we jumped successfully. with each new hurdle we learn and grow. its all part of the great big plan....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

spools of thread ....

i have this antique coats and clarks spool cabinet that had been my mom's. its made from oak, consisting of two drawers, and has coats o.n.t. and spool cotton painted in black over what appears to be gold leafing on the two drawers -- sort of like the one in the photo. one of the drawers has a little square wooden tray and the other drawer has wooden dividers so that the spools of thread can be organized neatly. its really a neat little cabinet and i've used it for years, especially when i had my sewing business.

the problem with this cabinet is that the drawer with the dividers is really too small for today's spools of thread, unless u buy the guttermann thread -- of which i only have a few. you see, in the days when this cabinet was made, thread came on small wooden spools. i have a few of them from an old sewing box my grandma had -- and they fit quite nicely in the drawer. but the ones of today are huge and don't fit at all. so i ended up putting many of my spools into one of those plastic shoe box containers -- which, if u know anything about sewing and thread and fabric, is not good for them -- but that's where they are. and while cleaning out the kitchen to have them rip apart my wall -- i found that box of thread under the cedar hope chest of my mom's. i guess i had forgotten where i put it.

a couple of weeks ago i was looking for a particular color of thread to fix something and i couldn't find what i was looking for and yet, i knew that i had at one time owned that color of thread. it was frustrating. but this is what happens when u live in a tiny apartment and come to it complete with all ur belongings, and some belongings of those who have come and gone before u. its just the nature of the beast. u don't have room for everything, yet u have a hard time parting with things and so u find whatever nook or cranny where it will fit that u think u might remember where it is when u need it. which, of course, doesn't happen. and thus it was with the thread when i needed it.

but back to the thread cabinet. i got to thinking about the fact that if the spools of thread of today were the same size as the ones of yesterday that i wouldn't have had an issue finding the color i wanted because i would have known exactly where it was in the first place. so i'm blaming the thread companies. i mean truly -- who needs that much of one color of thread. 250 or 300 yards of it. even if ur sewing a complete garment u probably won't use all of it. then ur stuck with this huge spool with a little thread on it and u don't want to throw it out because what if u get a rip in the thing u just created and need to fix it?

so now u have this dilemma about where to store this huge spool of thread and granted, not everybody has a spool cabinet like i do, and they will resort to putting the spool somewhere where they hope they will be able to find it (like i did), when they need it.

so when did the need for larger spools of thread come into play. i mean truly, think about the size of the garments that ladies used to wear -- yards and yards and yards of fabric and intricately sewn bodices and sleeves with delicate lace or elaborate beads attached to them -- all needing to be sewn on by hand. surely they must have gone through a lot of spools of thread for one garment when u consider the size of the spools. as dresses got shorter and less intricate handwork was involved, surely the size of the spool of thread should have gotten smaller -- not larger.

i don't have an answer for this. i haven't researched it enough to know the answer. i just find it frustrating that my lovely antique oak spool cabinet is practically going to waste because the drawer that is meant to house my spools, doesn't accommodate the size of today's spools...

Monday, May 3, 2010

packing -- yuck!

i need packing boxes....

for the third time since the 5.5 years i have lived in this apartment, i am having to pack up all the stuff in the kitchen.

what u need to know about me is that i absolutely hate packing and unpacking stuff. i have moved so many times in my life so far that i really don't want to move stuff any more. when i was a kid we moved three times. then i moved out of my home and into my brother's in texas. while in texas i moved three more times. then i moved up to NH to get married and we moved shortly before the wedding (two more times). then the now ex got a job in buffalo and we moved again. then he lost the job and we moved to PA with my folks until he got a job in Florida. we were there a year and he lost that job and we moved back to NH. then i got pregnant and we moved again, and then he lost his job with the college so we had to move out of college housing and into a regular apartment. then i got pregnant with our second child and we moved into the duplex where he still lives and then we had the divorce and i moved here.

and since i've been here i have had to pack up the entire kitchen and put it into the livingroom right before a trip to a family reunion in PA (that was 2 years after i moved in). then three summers ago i had to pack up the entire contents of my apartment so they could drag it out onto the lawn for two days and redo the floors. and now i'm packing stuff up so that it doesn't get filled with fiberglass and the smells of foam insulation -- although idk how i will keep boxed things like cereal and mac and cheese, etc. from not smelling like foam since it will probably permeate the entire apartment but whatever.

so now i am on the hunt for boxes. and even this irritates me because i can't afford to go and buy really nice moving boxes from the u-haul place and even if i could, i would hate to put them in the recycling when i was done with them because in all probability i'll need them again. but i really don't have anywhere to store them. plus, when i pack up the kitchen, i really don't have anywhere to store that stuff either.

yes, it is going to be a big inconvenience in my life because when they move me to the hotel, i'm going to have to take all my product with me, all my yarns, my computer, printer, packing supplies for shipping product, etc. and that doesn't include all the food and clothing and laundry detergents, etc. that i'll have to take. it won't be pretty.

do i sound whiney and complainy -- well -- i am. and i admit that i don't like change very much. i don't like sleeping in a bed that's not mine (and might well have bed bugs since that seems to be the "thing" now), on sheets that haven't been washed in perfume/dye free detergent. or using towels that are too small to dry anything. or not having a stove to cook on and needing to buy frozen dinners and eat them. or drinking water that hasn't been put through a brita filter. yep, i'm spoiled rotten i suppose.

u just get into a routine and its easy to stay there and not want to deviate from it. that's pretty much who i am ... and it appears that i'm stuck there. so whining and complaining seem to be the order of the day when it comes to having to pack up and move out.... so please forgive me ... its a disruption that wasn't necessary and the timing couldn't have been worse for my daughter since its the end of her senior year. but then what i have had to say has had little effect on the "management". so we forge ahead -- as uncomfortable and inconvenient as it is...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

impossible dream


yesterday was a really tough day for me in a lot of ways -- which i won't go into because quite frankly who needs to hear anymore of my junk ...

i got to thinking last night that i'm not just dreaming an impossible dream -- i'm living it. sometimes it feels like nothing is ever smooth (i'm sure something is, but i never really feel like the majority of my life is smooth). and i look at around at other ppl and they seem so relaxed and things just seem to flow for them -- and i have to admit that a lot of them r non-believers in papa god. and then i say, "hmmm what is wrong with this picture?"

well, what's wrong with it is that papa god never promised that things would be easy. as a matter of fact, it was pretty much a guarantee that if u were a believer, things might well be really hard a lot of the time -- because if ur doing something right for papa god, the enemy is going to be at u from all sides trying to sway u to his side.

so when things get hard around here (and i'm talking what feels like unbearably hard), i tend to stop and re-evaluate and go, yep, that's the enemy, i must be doing something right. and with papa god's help and guidance, things rn't always impossible -- as a matter of fact they r very possible. so i'll keep fighting the fight here for the neighbors' rights no matter how hopeless it might seem on the outside ... because some day i hope that the world can see that its easier to get along in life if we try to communicate and understand each other and not put ourselves above others ....

Friday, April 30, 2010

childish behavior ...

more and more i'm amazed at the childish behavior of some of the ppl in subsidized housing -- heck, the world. there, i just said it.

so u know we've been fighting with "management" over the fact that they want to come in and rip out fiberglass insulation and spray in smelly toxic foam insulation in the kitchen walls. and we've been trying to get them to understand that this is a health hazard for a lot of folks -- not just with the fiberglass, but with the foam insulation as well. but some of the residents rn't able to comprehend what they read, so, for some, this seems stupid and ridiculous.

at any rate, the live-in boyfriend, who isn't on the lease (so they don't have to pay rent on his income i imagine) of the person in apt. #1 is doing the job (along with another guy -- neither of which is entirely qualified but whatever). but the tenant in apt. #1 is ticked off at us -- obviously coz if the job gets shut down then her boyfriend loses his job -- duh -- i get that. and so she's been going around and telling ppl how ridiculous and stupid we're being and that if it doesn't bother her it won't bother us and blah blah blah. of course, she and her live-in boyfriend both smoke so i'm sure their sense of smell is shot to u know where.

the other day the management came and asked those of us with chemical sensitivities and allergies and health issues to visit one of the apt. that had been foamed. we chose to visit an apt. adjacent to the foamed ones, but that had not been done and the smell gave three of us migraines, a third person was made dizzy and two ppl were sick to their stomachs from it. the woman living there was having issues with her asthma and couldn't breathe out of her nose. so we said we wanted to be moved out while the work is being done.

by this time, the newspapers had gotten wind of it and were on it and, of course, it wasn't at all favorable to us "stupid" people in subsidized housing, but it wasn't all that favorable to the management either. and evidently the fact that this was even happening and that the city inspectors were being called in on a regular basis and the city councilmen/women were being contacted infuriated the lady in #1 -- who still thinks we're being stupid and ridiculous even though the city found the work to be shoddy and not done correctly.

but the lady in #1 now won't let us into her stupid apartment to see what the smell is like several days after the fact to see when we might be able to return. i get that she's upset, and i get why she is upset. and i can't change her opinion of me and the others who were making waves about this. i can only forgive her for not even trying to see our side and move forward, because it doesn't hurt her one bit.

however, some of the ppl in this development have a nasty habit of doing things to ppl's cars/belongings, etc. when they r mad at them and its a ridiculous childish way to behave. of course, i expect no less because i see how they scream and yell at each other when they are mad. so yeah .... for now we'll take the high road. we didn't let them antagonize us at the meeting last night with their snippy little remarks. i am sure they were expecting fireworks. they didn't happen because everybody from our side -- took the high road -- and i'm so proud of them for doing so!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

goodbye trees ....

well, its official. they started tearing down all the ash trees in the housing development i live in. idk. and the bushes r coming out today. its looking a lot like a war zone here with the siding off all the buildings and insulation exposed and trucks and diggers all over the place. i just want to cry.

i had asked if we could ball the bushes that were still in great shape (the one outside my door is very much alive and thriving and a home for the birds), but i was told no. i don't understand any of it. but we've tried fighting it and we just get smacked back down to the hole where they think we belong.

as for the nonsense in the kitchens -- that is going full steam ahead as well. the state asbestos guy was here yesterday and even though he said that he hadn't seen any actual paperwork saying that the asbestos tests came back negative he didn't have any reason not to believe that the tests hadn't been done. and he couldn't help us with regard to the foam insulation causing health issues or the possibility of lead because it wasn't his "department". when pressed for who we should contact he said, "i can't really say." he did all of this in front of the reporter from the local paper.

of course in the midst of all this i am having my own little mini-meltdown and still trying to keep my eyes on papa god. only he can save us. tomorrow some friends r coming over to bless my apt. i have asked if they would consider blessing the whole building because my neighbors have asked. this surprised me because some of them rn't christians or rn't practicing christians -- but u never know. it can't hurt.

i don't want to move -- i really can't afford to move anywhere at this point since i don't have a job and no savings to speak of. but i was in tears this morning at the thought of losing the bushes and trees. i wonder -- is papa god crying too over the destruction we cause to his earth?

Monday, April 26, 2010

job hunting for who?

just so u know, this is not going to be one of those self-help kind of blogs. i have no advice to give on the subject of job hunting, and after reading more than a few of them myself, i sincerely feel it has been "done to death".

so, as most of u know, i've been on a job hunt for some time now. sometimes i didn't even get to the interview stage, sometimes i never even got a letter saying thanks for ur interest, sometimes i did get to the interview stage, and times when i thought i had the job, i would find out it was given to someone else. never knowing y, i keep searching for ways to "improve" myself. i read all the online stuff that says what u should and shouldn't do when u prepare ur resume, go to the interview, etc. today it was "9 Ways to Ensure You Don't Get the Job". how much good is this doing me?? idk

one of the things they said not to do is not to smile too much -- don't be a gloomy gus either, but don't smile too much coz it makes u look like a nut case and overly eager for the job. what???? so what is too much and is my too much more or less than ur too much? and if u don't want to see my gloomy than should i wear a fake smile that is probably too much of a smile and make me see overly eager? give me a break .... i smile because i'm happy ... its got nothing to do with how badly i want the job. this kind of stuff just isn't helpful because from one interviewer to the next u will get differing opinions on what is too much or not enough. honestly, i am NOT a mind reader to know who would think its too much and who would think its not enough.

all these "self-help" aids on line can drive a person batty. do this and don't do this, say this and don't say that, wear this and don't wear that, put this in ur resume and don't put that. change things from what they really r to something they might be but probably rn't to ensure u get the interview/job. and whatever u do -- don't be urself. huh???

it doesn't help matters any that for years and years and years i swallowed who i really was to "please mankind" only to be miserable, and now that i've discovered and really like who i am, i'm being forced to push it into man's mold just so i can get a job. can't anyone hire me just on the basis of who i am with the plethora of experience i have, and not their expectations of who i should be??? just let me be me!! please!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

skimming the surface....

my neighbor just showed up at my door with a 169-page report in her hand entitled: EPA Guidelines for Asbestos NESHAP Demolition and Renovation Inspection Procedures. she ran it off on her computer. she said she wants me to "read" it before the EPA inspector comes today or at the very least before they start proposed work on our subsidized housing units on monday. she's got to be kidding. she said she gave it to me because i'm a "fast" reader. uh huh ....

here's the scoop. they r attempting to make our apartments more energy efficient. last spring/summer/fall they had two workmen (i use this term loosely) remove insulation from the outsides of the buildings. we had fiberglass insulation flying everywhere. they didn't roll up or bag the stuff, they just threw it in open dumpsters. ppl were getting sick in the buildings (me included -- at one point i thought i had tuberculosis for the gunk i was continually coughing up). several children had pneumonia (in the middle of the summer) and had to be hospitalized. still the head of the housing authority thinks there is "no correlation to any of this). we're still finding fiberglass insulation in the bushes that they are about to remove, and they have yet to cover up the insulation they put on the outside walls -- so our apartments were quite chilly this past winter. we're talking 5 buildings with a total of 30 apartments ranging from tiny 2br to 4br units.

so about a month ago we got a notice from the office saying that they were going to take out the bushes and trees and dig four foot trenches around the buildings, put foam insulation around the foundations. i have an issue with this but it is secondary to the issues i have with the other proposed renovation where they come into my kitchen, cut a hole in the wall and remove the fiberglass insulation only to spray in foam insulation which, according to the notice, will cause problems with breathing for a "little while". after seeing the half-u-know-what job that was done on the outside by these "workmen" -- i have no confidence that the job will done correctly or safely. beyond this, both my daughter and i have allergies and asthma that will most certainly be irritated by the whole process. there r pregnant women and families with small children here and basically we can't seem to get anyone to agree on how this procedure should be done safely so as not to endanger the health of the residents. and some of the ppl here just don't seem to care -- because either they are unaware of the dangers of flying fiberglass fibers or the foam -- or they have just resigned themselves to the fact that they don't own the place and have no say in anything that goes on here.

so some of us have been attempting to educate ppl, get in touch with city, state, and federal agencies that should be able to help us and we're getting nowhere fast. its like nobody wants to take any sort of responsibility here. they could put the insulation on the outside but the head doesn't want to cover up the brick facade because it gives "character" to the building --- never mind that he's having them rip out all the bushes and trees to dig the trenches and don't they give "character" as well. or the fact that we won't be able to use our kitchens for four days (how does he propose that poor ppl feed themselves during that time frame). or that we won't have use of one of the two fire exits and at some point the trench digging will cross with the insulation removal and we might not have use of a front and back door (stuck either in or out).

i'm all for energy saving measures -- don't get me wrong. i'm a big tree hugger. but i believe there r other ways that could save energy here -- like taking out 30 something year old huge hot water tanks and installing tankless ones or giving us new stoves that have ovens that don't take 45 minutes to get up to temperature -- or insulating on the outside of the walls. the head's big contention is that the cost of electricity for each apartment per year is $900 -- and our heat is electric -- so i'm thinking that's really not such a bad cost at all for all the electric we have here -- but whatever. i have more issues with the dumping of fiberglass insulation as is (without sealing it up) into the landfills, but even more than that, knowing that this stuff NEVER breaks down in soil or water makes me think its BAD to do this from that standpoint. let alone all the health issues that will come from removing old stuff and putting in foam that is filled with who knows what.

so my neighbor brings me this report and says read this and i'm like -- skim would be more like it. skim and highlight. and basically what i've just told u here is just skimming the surface of what has happened, is happening, and is about to happen in the lives of the ppl who live in subsidized housing. and some ppl think of this as an "entitlement" ....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

scholarships and such ...

today is thursday. there are approximately (counting today) 4 days left to my daughter's spring break from school. i've been sick for 7 days. u can imagine how boring this would be for her. but she's been working on scholarship applications for college. one scholarship i gave her is like 19 pages (or something like that) long. but if she got it, it would be for all four years and might well get her a decent education without having to go into debt up the wahzoo.

this one is so labor intensive though and they wanna know if she worked (she didn't) and if she didn't y not (because her mom felt it would be better for her to concentrate her efforts on her homework and grades while she was in school so that maybe she would qualify for scholarships). but now she's thinking she should get a job this summer and i don't have an issue with this except that wherever she gets a job, i'll have to drive her to and from because she doesn't have her license (and doesn't intend to get it) or a car (gees, we can barely afford the 2001 we have) and can't drive mine (coz its standard transmission and she only does automatic), and when she gets the job, because she's 18 now, she'll have to give 30% (more really and that's another bone of contention here) to the housing authority towards the rent. which in my view sucks coz she's still a kid in school and shouldn't have to give it. but whatever.

at any rate she had to write down any "special financial circumstances". so she wrote about how we live in subsidized housing coz her mom's a loser and got divorced and can't find a job. well, no she didn't EXACTLY say that -- but in a nutshell that's what it amounts to. she's a great kid and i love her bunches and i want her to go to school and get to do all the things she wants to do because i never got to do what i wanted (except the get married and have kids part and even that got messed up -- but whatever). and i want her to get to go to school and not come out owing her life to some stupid bank somewhere -- because nobody should have to start out their life like that -- bad enough u end up there.

yesterday we went to wally world for toilet paper and milk -- coz we're poor and its the cheapest place in town to get these things. and then to BJs and while we were, there she was talking about saving and how she remembered this friend of here's in elementary school saying she already had $5,000 for college. i told her that was coz somebody had given it to her and who does my kid know that would just up and give them $5,000 for college. then she starts in on how she should have saved all her money over the years and never bought anyone any presents (like for xmas and birthdays and mother/father days) and how she should never have bought herself anything she ever wanted and i'm like -- give me a break! all this crap is making my kid want to be a miser and i've lived with one of them and they rn't fun at all.

so i got to thinking that maybe i'm too far to the other direction and maybe its my fault that she only has $500 (from savings bonds my dad gave her over the years) and nothing more to show for it. and maybe i should have let her work even though her grades would have suffered i'm sure, because even though she didn't work her grades still were not high enough to qualify her for some grand financial aid package at either of the two schools she applied and was accepted to. her art is beautiful and she's an amazingly well-round and well-grounded young woman. she's got a great head on her shoulders and she's a wonderful role model to her peers and others. but did i do wrong by her because i give and give and give and give till it hurts me. i mean, my philosophy has always been that i can't take it with me when i die so y not use it now (of course, now i'm paying off debts so u know it can go too far sometimes).

idk. maybe i didn't do right by her and maybe i should have given her more of a "miserly" speech and not been so giving of my time, money, self over the years so that she wouldn't have seen that modeled and would have saved saved saved. i could "what-if" this to death i suppose. but right now she needs to get lots of scholarships (and this big one she's working on would be a nice one), so i'm just praying that the ppl who go over these scholarships actually see that its her mom who is the loser and not her and give her the shot she needs to go to school -- even if it isn't the college i thought she should go to ....

Monday, April 19, 2010

back up!


i've been having an issue with my mouse. first of all u have to know that i don't buy top of the line when it comes to this stuff because sooner or later its gonna blow and i'll be out a wad and will be faced with buying another one. now having said that, i have bluetooth on my laptop for a mouse, so i bought a bluetooth mouse. and its white like my laptop, so it matches (like that is really important in the whole grand scheme of things). but its not from apple -- its from idk who - but it cost me like $20 compared to what apple charges (and we won't even go there).

now as mice go, i am pretty hard on them -- or at least the ppl in this house r hard on them. the last bluetooth one i had went belly up because my daughter spilled juice all over it (and tried to hide the fact, but i'm smarter than she thinks i am and knew it and just waited to see if she would ever own up to it -- which she eventually did and was totally surprised that i knew it was her fault). but even the ordinary every day kind of mice i tend to squash like a -- well -- mouse. so this is like the third one for this particular laptop -- which i've had for two years come june. so u kinda get the picture -- right?

so this mouse doesn't want to click right any more -- and i don't mean right-click -- i mean it just refuses to click sometimes even though its right on what its supposed to click on. and i just have to keep punching the clicker till it makes up its mind to do it. which is pretty annoying, if i do say so myself coz it just slows down the whole "click here" process. and at first i thought it was because the batteries were dying but then i went through a whole string of new batteries and its still doing it, so i'm thinking its probably gonna go belly up soon and i'll have to pony up some cash for one. but it won't be high on the priority list as i need to have the snow tires removed on my car and get the oil changed, etc.

but this morning i was working away uploading stuff to etsy and getting really frustrated with the whole "i'm not going to click now" issue, when suddenly i started hearing this clicking noise coming from the lower left hand section of my laptop. which, if any of u have ever had a hard drive die -- u know this could potentially be the click of death in HD terms. i went into panic mode and decided i needed to back up everything. in the world of bina -- that means like 8,000 photos, and 5,000 bits of music in itunes and a gazillion other bits of information (including all the quicken files, letters to everybody and his brother, all the chats worth saving, and all my blogs and writings). this process is cumbersome and slow and honestly, i'd rather have my teeth drilled without novacaine than do it, but its necessary in the world of computers.

so i did it and we won't talk about how much space i eradicated from my handy-dandy little firelite smarkdisk 100GB pocket drive. but let's just suffice to say that it doesn't even begin to include all the shareware that is on my computer -- and over an hour and a half later we're still copying bits of music and idk what else. when i started the process i still had 80GB left on the drive, now i have 25GB -- so that should tell u something!!

now i've had hard drives fail in the past. we had several fail on the three PC computers we had in our store and backing stuff up is really important and we should all do it often -- but i haven't done it in full since may of 2008 right before i bought my current computer. so u can well imagine just how much additional information i've added in that amount of time. and part of my problem with stuff on my computer is pretty much like stuff that comes into my apartment -- idk when to stop or how or what to get rid of and when. so whatever is on there, just gets transferred and who wants to go through all that stuff anyhow???

i keep thinking about this show that's become popular called "hoarders". could i be considered a hoarder when it comes to my computer??? oh dear ....

crazy vacation chain of thought ...

my daughter and i stayed at a friend's house for three days (two nights) house/puppy sitting. we've done this before and its usually been for a week. but this time it was only three days, so we decided not to sleep in the king sized bed but sleep out in the livingroom on the sofa and various other chairs. actually, i decided this because i didn't want to have to strip the king-sized bed, wash the sheets and struggle to remake the king-sized bed. i did say that it was king-sized, didn't i? lol

we always like these little getaways from the every day. its like having our own home -- for a week. the interesting thing is that right now with all the stuff that is happening at our subsidized living quarters, this little "vacation" was a Papa God gift!

unfortunately, i got sick -- sore throat and fever. it was enough to make me uncomfortable and wishing for my own bed and sleep. so when i got home last night i figured i could sleep in today -- since we're on school vacation. that didn't happen because they r doing construction work (well, actually its destruction work) and the diggers were out there bright and early at 7am making a ruckus and shaking the earth. i'm not a sound sleeper -- so, i didn't get to sleep in.

with all the mess that is going (and about to go on) here, it makes me wish for a place of my own. a place i could call my home. i can't call this place my home. when i was talking to my brother about all the stuff that was/is about to happen here he suggested that i either move to texas or to PA to be nearer my dad. he called it "home". i wrote back and said, "you don't get it. i don't have a home -- anywhere". and that, in a tiny neat little nutshell, is the problem.

i'm stuck in my "entitlement" (as i have started to call it) because i don't make enough money to live anywhere other than the streets. i'm stuck bowing to whatever they want to do here (like ripping out old fiberglass insulation in tiny little kitchens without taking proper precautions and injecting cancer causing formaldehyde foam into its place). and i can't get them to not do it. i tried calling the city inspectors, the department of health and human services and the EPA (which obviously never listen to their messages because they never call me back). its like that song in the musical 1776 -- is anybody there? does anybody care? i'm pretty sure the answer is NO.

one of the city health inspectors said something along the lines of if u owned ur own place and wanted to have this done u'd have to put up with this. and, of course, my two-fold response is -- first of all i wouldn't be stupid enough to replace fiberglass with foam and second of all, if it was absolutely necessary (ie, mold), i would make dang sure that whoever i chose to do the work was certified to do it -- not just a friend of a friend of a friend -- if u know what i mean.

but i digress because really this whole point of this blog is that i have no home. i have no place to call mine. and there r lots of ppl who r in the same boat i am. my daughter recently had to fill out an application for a scholarship (which was run through the housing authority). the main question was "how has living in subsidized housing impacted your life". her feeling was that it hadn't -- either negatively or positively. because when we moved in here i explained to her that we were no better or worse than the ppl who lived here (even though some of them were dealing drugs and sleeping with each other's spouses -- no, i didn't actually say that), and that this was a roof over our heads -- that what made home was family. she asked me what she should write -- i only said, "do u want the scholarship?"

so now having said that home is where family is -- y don't i feel like i have a "home". one could make the case that its because i'm not with my brother and my dad and my kids 24/7 -- and maybe i'm nostalgic for the time in history when families didn't travel so far away for jobs and lives and sometimes even lived generations together in the same place. but its more than that. i do have a "life" here -- i have built a life here in this cold, sometimes unfriendly state, that my now ex dragged me back to over 24 years ago. i have made friends and have a church group, and there is support in many ways -- not talking financial here but more along the lines of emotional and spiritual.

so i ask the question again -- y don't i feel at "home" here -- y don't i feel like i have what it is i really believe is a home. i feel so displaced sometimes. like its not where i'm supposed to be. and will i know where i'm supposed to be when i get there or will i feel just as uneasy there as here. and yes, these thoughts have come up before -- but i think now more than ever i'm standing at the crossroads wondering which way am i supposed to go. and thinking too that i need to make the right choice this time and not screw it up like i have so many times in the past.

yes, one crazy strange little "vacation" started a whole chain of thought that can't even be truly formalized. is anybody there? does anybody care? does anybody see what i see?