Posted in cats, depression, Christmas, community, homeless, storage, friends, disability

12/14: Christmas cards?

So, being homeless and depressed, I can’t really decorate or celebrate the way I’d prefer. While begging for money to help cover storage isn’t beneath me at the moment (other expenses and not as many tasks rolling in so far), I would love little thing: Christmas cards. If you don’t want your address and such be known, just “self address” it (use my p.o. box, etc as the return address as well as the receiving address). 

Getting in the spirit is tough when your life is in limbo. Not to mention stressful.

(Not my legal surname below, but the cards will get there.)

So, if you’re so inclined:

Amanda Wolfe

P.O. Box 2113

Portland, OR 97208

Yes, I’m broadcasting that. It’s one of thousands of boxes in Portland. And still a few hundred or so in that zip code alone. I usually have my box number up somewhere online anyway, so no biggie. Not a home or work address. 

And if people were so inclined to send something from my Amazon wishlist or Portia’s list, I’m cool with that. I should say I don’t need socks, but Heat Holders are a freaking Godsend for my poor “always cold” feet. 

I just love the idea of getting cards. 

~A

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Posted in C-PTSD, chronic pain, crowdfunding, depression, disability, health, homeless, insomnia, life, peace, PTSD, storage, urgent

12/13: ask? 

Storage: not sure if I’ll have anywhere near enough for December. Not getting as many tasks as last month. Any help to keep it up would be vastly appreciated. 

A Peace Offering: I can’t go into details, but there’s something I want to do that I’d like to do before Christmas, but between storage and such, I can’t place the order I need to in time and also save up for storage. It isn’t wildly expensive, but add it to storage (302 + late fees), and I really don’t have the funds. 

This has been the suckiest year on record for me… and that says a lot as I’ve never had any one really good year. I’m trying, but shit is holding me down. 

Anywhoooo…

This late night begging/rambling brought to you by pain meds at 1am.

~A

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, chronic pain, depression, disability, health, life, Personal, poetry, PTSD, writing

12/13: The Mime

(This was started almost a month ago. Since then, I’ve figured out some things regarding my C-PTSD and how connected everything else is to it. I also have a bit of mime training… hence the reference.)

¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤

The fight in me lays dormant.
Screams muffled by tears.
The fog closes in around me.
Turning me invisible to those
Who pass me by.
Pain slows me down
To a crawl.
I am wrapped so
Tightly
I can barely breathe.
The fog steals my
Every breath.
I cry out
Help me
But no one can hear.
I slam my fists on the walls that
Keep me
Prisoner.
I open my mouth,
Crying for help.
I am the mime in the invisible box.
Let me out
I can no longer
Breathe.

~A

Posted in birthdays, chronic pain, depression, disability, family, friends, grief, health, life, medical, music, Personal, Science Fiction and Fantasy, society, writing

11/27: Dad, #NaNoWriMo, and Life

So, today is my dad’s birthday. If he had lived, he’d be 91. I had all these ideas for honoring him today, things I was going to do on the anniversary of his passing, but then decided to do them today. Namely, I was going to go to Ace Hardware and the music store to get some sheet music. Those things primarily because going to Ace was a tradition when I was a kid. I followed my dad everywhere. Especially when working on the house and getting supplies for working on it.

The music store because he was so excited when I said I wanted to save up for a piano. He really wanted me to get back to my music. He died before he saw me get my piano, but getting some sheet music would be fitting.

But coming out of Safeway, my knee gave out and is still hurting an hour or so later, so I need to do as little walking as possible the rest of the day. I figure the honoring will be in doing the two tasks I have that are finishing items the clients couldn’t do. And writing. No matter what we talked about, he always asked about my writing. If I had stalled, he always told me to never give up, to never stop writing because I was too good at it.

This year, for NaNoWriMo, I’m struggling. Maybe it’s from the stress of my current life situation, but it’s been difficult. I can still do it, but it’s going to take a lot of work the next few days. Right now, I’m sitting in a Starbucks downtown with a couple more hours to kill before I head to my other task today. Oh, and a knee that’s swearing at me for existing. I need a gym membership but can’t afford it. I know there isn’t much they can do for my knee. I need to strengthen my leg muscles, especially my thighs where the muscles/tendons connect to my kneecaps.

But enough medical/health crap…

Back to writing and general stuff…

~A

Posted in activism, anxiety, community, depression, faith, family, friends, grief, homeless, housing, life, poetry, society, urgent, writing

11/18: Feeling Broken

Something happened today.
Something that ripped me to pieces.
I want to believe there are humans
Who understand what being
HUMAN
Is like.
What being
HOMELESS
Is like.
My day was okay.
Except one brief moment.
That formed a black cloud
Over my head.
My soul is soaked through.
My heart and mind
Need to be wrung out.
The cloud weighed me down.
I wonder now.
Who among us
Has compassion?
A safe place for a woman and her cat?
When the world buckles underneath you,
Who do you turn to when it makes you fall?
When the help you need the most is not the help family can give you?
Where do you go?
When you scream for help, but there is
None to be found.
~A.
November 2017

Posted in anxiety, creativity, disability, grief, individuality, nanowrimo, writing

11/15: Whooooaaa, We’re Halfway There… #nanowrimo

It’s the evening of the 15th. November, and thus NaNoWriMo, is half over.

I’m not.

Now, I’m not super worried. Granted I have a lot of other things on my plate as well, but this is also not out of the ordinary for me. I’m sitting at just under 11,500 words. Out of 50,000. Back in 2006, I was in the same position. I woke up on the 16th with only 11,500 words. I’ll write more tonight so I’ll be past that, but still, this is the precedent. This, as crazy as it seems, is normal. I’ve only ever finished before the 30th twice in the 12 years I’ve finished. Twice. 2005 and … a few years ago. I can’t remember which one. Probably 2012 or 2013. I gave myself a reward to aim for if I finished before the 30th: treating myself to a movie. I finished on the 29th.

2005 was my first year. I was living in Chicago, unemployed and bored. I finally remembered NaNoWriMo before it was over (in October, before it started), signed up and off I went writing a comic fantasy that has yet to be completed or edited to any reasonable degree. I finished on the 27th or 28th that year. I’m usually at less than 25K by this point in the month. It’s when the 16th rolls around that things start clicking and I get lots of words down.

Things started to pick up last night. Especially with the YA story. The cats tale is being shy. Mausi is stalled and going much slower. But this is how it is when you’re rebelling and are working on three stories instead of one longer one. Jumping back and forth between tales is challenging (especially when one is strictly 1st person, the second is 3rd person limited, and the third one is 3rd omniscient), but where one may pull out ahead (the YA tale) and the others trail, at some point, the YA tale may pause and one of the other two will jump in and keep me going.

Of my roughest years, 2006 and then 2009 and 2014 rank high. In 2006, I charged along and woke up the final day to needing 11,500 to get to 50K. Yes, the year I had a mere 11,500 in the first half of the month. I did it. I hit 50K that evening. In 2009, after swearing up, down, backwards, forwards and blindfolded that I’d never had a repeat of 2006, I woke up on the final day to needing 16,000 words. Oof!

But I did it.

In 2014, my dad passed away early in the month, so my mind was on a million things at once. I knew he wouldn’t want me to stop, so I didn’t. I remember reaching 25K on Thanksgiving, with a week remaining. I struggled to tell the story. It didn’t help that right around 25K, the tale I was telling stopped cold. I took a step back, walked around the house I grew up in (that’s the week I was down there), and remembered an idea I’d had about that series: having one book tell the intertwined back stories of the founders of the Sanctuary. I’d already started with one. So I wrote down names of the other elders and started telling each of their histories. Eventually, I’m going to intertwine them and tell the founding of the Sanctuary chronologically. That will be a massive undertaking.

I have days where I get 300 words and others where I get 2000+.

Now the pressure is on. I know I can do this. There is no “I give up” button.

Watch this space for updates.

~A

PS: I did way too much walking yesterday and have been down for the count today. My back was none too happy with me this morning. Sciatica radiating down from my hip to my knee.

Posted in chronic pain, community, disability, health, homeless, life, medical

11/15: Back Down

Recent pic of Portia begging for a tortilla chip. No, they are not cat food. (Didn’t give one to her)

I’ve lived with sciatica over half my life now. I know when I can “power through it” and when I need to stop and rest. Today is rest. I was on the NB yellow line MAX train that couldn’t continue because of the stabbing on a SB yellow line MAX a few stop north of where I was. The stabbing happened at the Denver stop, but the assailant jumped on the SB train and was apprehended at the Rosa Parks stop. My stop. I was two stops south. There were police, etc at the RP stop. Instead of waiting for the bus bridge to show up, I hoofed it. I regret that now. I didn’t have a lot on me, but that much walking, on top of what I’d already done earlier, my back said, “NOPE! Not gonna do anything today.”

I had an off-book job with a return client set for today. But my back -more precisely my sciatica- said otherwise. If it’s just hitting one spot, such as my hip, I can adapt and work through it. Today, however, the pain is up around a 7 on the scale and it’s radiating down to my knee. 

No bueno.

So, pain meds and rest. Rescheduled for tomorrow. There isn’t much else that can be done for my back and the sciatica. I would like to join a gym and work on the machines to strengthen my back muscles. I proved that I can get the slipped discs back in place with work on the machines. I did that over 20 years ago. Slipped the same discs at 17. I continued to dance and started lifting weights and by 22, the discs were no longer out of whack. 

Sciatica is still there and always will be, but I know I can bring the pain levels and recurrence of severe days like today down… I did it before, I can do it again. No space to dance, but if I can find a close-in gym that’s really affordable, I need to carve out some of my meager income and go.
For now, I rest. My back has informed me that I need to do this. I listen.

~A

Posted in cats, chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, disability, friends, health, homeless, housing, life, medical, Personal, storage

11/12: Pain, Storage, and Life

This has been a weird, wild, crazy, fucked up year. One lesson I’ve learned is to not the universe… because it will come right back and smack you down… hard. I am, reluctantly, asking for a teeny bit of help. I don’t expect miracles.

I make as much as possible from tasks, but as anyone else in the ‘gig economy’ can tell you, it could be booming one week and dry the next. Two weeks ago, I had a handful of tasks. They paid out, I took care of a few bills, but have come up short for storage.

I also want to get ahead of the game for December. I have some empty boxes and a few items to take down to storage, but can’t get in right now due to November not being paid up yet. I may have a task tomorrow, but no confirmation yet. No one task will cover my expenses. Right now I owe 320 or so. I may have half that, but not sure.

Honestly, I’m not sure how much longer I can keep doing furniture assembly with how my back is getting. I have good moments, but the bad moments are getting bigger and more painful. I feel like they missed a lot when I re-injured it in 2012. They only x-rayed my tailbone and the few vertebra above it (which is how I know I re-injured the discs), but there’s pain that doesn’t fit with slipped discs and sciatica. I just want answers.

The pain limits my ability to go on tasks. I’m in the middle of one where I’m just feeding the client’s cat. The walking and bus rides there are back have me down for the count when I get back here to the house.

As for where I’m living… trust me, I’d much prefer to be in my own place, no roommates, no nothing… me and my cat. And eventually a second cat again. But I need steady work first. I met with my VR counselor and she gave me the link for the housing lists. One problem with these: they’re always full and they aren’t always accepting names. This is for low income housing, which is a rare thing here, although more here than other metro regions. In other areas it was either Section 8 or market rate. Here there’s Sec 8, Low Income (subsidized), and market rate. But the lists for Sec 8 are 4-6 years long and low income is nearly as bad.

We will see how things go. Back to stuff…

~A

 

Posted in dreams, faith, family, grad school, grief, individuality, life, Personal, storage, writing

2017: Dear Dad

Three years. I miss you. I always will. It hasn’t been an easy three years. I’ve struggled with grad school, finding work, and am now homeless. I know what you would say if we could talk on the phone. “Hang in there.” “You’ll sort it out.” That’s how you were.

The day I’m actually writing this (11/7) is the anniversary of the day I last talked to you on the phone. I called you in the morning before heading off to OryCon. I insisted on figuring out a way to get down to CA to see you for Christmas. One more visit. You said to not worry if I couldn’t… that we’d have phone calls and it was okay with you. You asked how my finances were doing and I said I’d be okay, but January might be tight. You said you’d see what you could do to help.

But you never were able to. And I wasn’t going to get one more Christmas with you.

That next evening, while I was at OryCon having dinner with friends, you passed away. We were notified the next morning. I had just finished my morning shift at the store (unlike you, I’ll never be a morning person) and checked my messages.

My world -the one where you were my lifeline, my cheerleader, my rock- turned upside down. I was just finishing up my first semester of grad school. Finally making progress in my life. I had my cheerleader a phone call away. And then you were gone.

I want, more than anything right now, to be able to pick up the phone and hear your voice. Knowing what you would say isn’t enough. Hearing them from you would mean the world to me.

You always joked that it was up to me and Bud to get the rest of the family into heaven. I always responded with, “Dad, it doesn’t work that way.”

“Oh, I’m sure you two will figure it out.”

Honestly, knowing you as I do, I don’t think you had any problems getting through those gates. Bud joined you a few months later. I’m sure the two of you are sitting on a bench somewhere, watching over me and everyone else.

Still want to hear your voice, though.

Tomorrow, I’ll see about picking up some sheet music. You were so excited about me getting back to my music. And maybe hit Ace Hardware. Not the same one you took me to as a kid, but my favorite one here in Portland. Maybe I’ll find solace in going places and getting things you would want for me. I can’t go play my piano. It’s in storage and needs an outlet. I told you I’d get an electric one.

I miss you. Always will. But I’m going to do my best to live my life as you would want me to live it. No holding back. Never settle and never give up on my dreams.

~A

Posted in activism, bigotry, bugaboos, community, faith, homeless, life, society

11/7: Humans aren’t always Humane

Humans are strange critters. Granted, the homeless man probably shouldn’t have been begging ON the MAX, but nevertheless, he was. This woman across from me though… she had this air about her that screamed “I’m a churchgoing conservative” … I know the type all too well. He stopped and asked her. Her response?
“What are you asking ME for?”
Here’s what I take issue with: You can (and should) be polite to all people, no matter where they are in life. Many of us are one or two paychecks away from being where this man is… hell, where -I- am. Homeless. Not enough people realize this is very much their reality as well. We are all made of the same starstuff. Her response could have been much better. Even a simple, “Sorry, I don’t have any cash” is enough. I rarely have cash on me, and when I do, it’s usually for something specific. If I do have ‘spare’ cash, I will give it. Because I know what it feels like to ask for help.
I imagine that woman on the train today has never had to ask for help. I pity her more than the homeless man. If she is a churchgoing “Christian,” I don’t think Jesus would be too pleased with her behavior. His teachings were few, but enough to get the general idea.
Love, not hate. 
Not a difficult concept, really. But it doesn’t seem to get through to enough people. I’m not going to get all preachy or anything right now. I just wonder about people like that woman today. If she were in his shoes, even for a while, maybe… just maybe, she would come out the other end of that experience a better Christian. For those who consider themselves people of faith, especially Christians, how would your God react if they saw you treating someone this way?
~A