Posted in birthdays, community, creativity, depression, dreams, faith, friends, health, individuality, life, medical, Personal, semicolon

10/2: Birthday Post

So, today was/is my birthday. I have never been ashamed of my age. I celebrate each birthday. The main reason is simply because I’ve had far too many episodes in my life where I almost didn’t make it to the next day.

Today, I turned 45.

I also turned 9.

Nine years ago, I was in the hospital fighting this nasty infection called Cellulitis. It’s essentially a Staph infection (there are many types) that comes in through a primary infected wound (in my case, my left ear piercing decided that, after 20 years, it really didn’t like nickel or some other metal) and settles just under the skin. For me, it settled at the base of my neck on my right side

I was sent to the hospital on September 26th with a white blood cell count that was somewhere hovering around the moon. After tests, pre-dawn blood draws, massive doses of the antibiotic Vancomycin, a mild case of pneumonia, and a bunch of things… I was discharged mid-afternoon on October 2nd… my birthday. My 36th birthday to be exact.

So, to grasp how bad shit was, there are three stages of Cellulitis:

  1. redness and swelling in and around the affected area, pain and stiffness, fever in many cases.
  2. if there are lymph nodes in the area, they absorb some of the infection and swell up. the fever tends to peak and then break (I hit 103.2 or so, then 24 hours later, no fever). My lymph nodes were the size of ping-pong balls when I walked into the ER on the 26th. They shouldn’t get that big. Really.
  3. From the lymph nodes, the infection starts to spread, called ‘going septic.’ I could feel it going up my neck to my brain and across to my heart. If it had hit either, I would not be alive today.

I was in 3rd stage.

There. Is. No. Fourth. Stage.

Unless, as I like to joke, you count a body bag as a stage.

So, I almost fucking died. Not an experience I’d like to ever repeat. Until I’m old and grey. I never want Cellulitis again… ever. It is NOT a fun experience.

As I was deemed well enough to leave the hospital on my actual birthday, I celebrate not only the number of years since I showed up on this planet, but the number of years since I had a second chance.

I keep asking for gift certificates to the LEGO store, but no one ever does it… LEGO and IKEA.

But for that one year… I got the gift of a second chance. I’m doing my best to not waste it.

One lesson I learned from that experience is this:

No matter how cliche it seems, you really never know how long you have. You may not wake up tomorrow. So stop hesitating. Go back to school for that degree you’ve always wanted. Save up for that “bucket list” vacation. Make shit happen. Want to learn to paint? DO IT! Volunteer with an animal rescue? Do it. What else? The way I see it is that as long as it isn’t illegal, so way out of the boundaries of morality, or has a surefire risk of death, go for it. Step out of your comfort zone and “learn to fly!” If you’re fortunate to make it to “old age,” the goal is to be able to sit in your rocking chair and look back at your life and have as few regrets as possible. Instead of “I wish I had done ________” you can say, “I did this and it was an incredible experience.”

~A

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Posted in bugaboos, community, creativity, dreams, faith, feminism, gender, health, life, Personal, poetry, society, tattoo

9/22: When I am Old…

I’ll be turning 45 in a little over a week, and I read an article earlier today about older beautiful women which prompted me to make the status in the image above on FB.

When I am old
I will dye my hair purple.
But probably only the mohawk. 
I'll be proud to be grey.
When I grow old
I will say 
FUCK!
As loud as I damn well 
Please.
Growing old is 
NOT
For wimps.
I am not a wimp
Therefore,
I WILL grow old. 
I will wear bright colors.
And mismatched socks.
And no matter what
I'll still say SHIT a lot.
I will be the old lady
With the NERF gun pointed
At the kids crossing my yard.
But have cookies and soda for them
When they return to apologize.
They say to grow old gracefully.
I will grow old
However I damn well please.
Likely raising Hell 
My dress flapping in the breeze. 
I will be the one
Others gossip about.
Without a care in the world
Refusing to bow out.
With my purple mohawk 
And greying sides,
Wrinkled tattoos and
Still watching the tides.
I'll eat what I want
And do as I please.
For no one can take
My freedom from me.

~APA 2017

Posted in creativity, crowdfunding, dreams, emergency, eviction, friends, grad school, life, Personal, storage, transitions, urgent

9/21: post 1: 12 hours before auction #crowdfunding 

Just for safety sake, let’s go with 11am as the deadline. Could things change? Maybe. I’m trying to BEAT the auction, not bid in it. 

What it will cost: $1025+ lock purchase

What I have: $609(as I was typing this, a donation came in. I now have 709)

What it would coat to replace what is replaceable: at least $15,000, bare minimum. 

After this save, I have school funds coming in that can cover the next few months. It just isn’t going to show in time for this week. I just need a little more help. I’m not perfect. I screw up a lot of things. See you when dawn breaks. Maybe a miracle will happen while I’m trying to sleep.

~A

Posted in anxiety, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, dreams, emergency, grad school, homeless, job hunting, life, Personal, poetry, semicolon, storage, urgent, writing

9/8: Stand Still

(#crowdfunding as usual. I wasn’t intending to post a poem, but the words and the image in my mind wouldn’t go away. This is how I feel right now. Unedited. Unsure.)

Brace myself.
The wind may come
Unexpectedly.
Knocking me down.
Frozen.
Stuck.
I cannot turn around.
Things to do but nothing
Propels me
Forward.
One path blocked.
I look down another seemingly
Open path.
So many hurdles
Hidden.
The fog keeps them a secret.
Another path.
Alas, too steep to climb.
Another washed out.
Where do I go?
I stand still.
Unsure of my path.
At a
Standstill.

~A

Posted in creativity, crowdfunding, depression, dreams, emergency, empath life, faith, life, poetry, storage, urgent

9/6: The Flame

It holds fast,
One lonely flame
Surrounded by giants.
Guardians of peace.
It keeps alive to fulfill
The wishes whispered
Into its flame.
Its purpose is served.
Quiet prayers
Words meant for
No one but
The Powers that be.
And as the flickering of the flame
Signifies the dying of its light,
The slow death of one
Inspires
Another to awaken
To life.

~APA

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, cats, crowdfunding, depression, dreams, emergency, friends, grief, homeless, housing, job hunting, life, Personal, storage, urgent

8/30: Past, Present, and Future… (#crowdfunding, of course)

I am not the same person I was five years ago. Ten years. Twenty years.

Have I gotten stronger? In some ways, yes. Other ways, not really.

I’m still not a totally confident person. I have goals and dreams and working on accomplishing things even I never expected of myself twenty years ago. When I was 18, I considered becoming an attorney. Then I looked at the amount of schooling and didn’t think I could do it. I thought there was NO way I could do anything remotely like that.

Yet, here I am finishing up my Master’s in Library Science, specializing in Archives. And looking at hopefully going to Germany for a second graduate degree. Am I crazy? Yeah, probably a bit. But it expands on the Archives education and is something I love. While not law school, making it this far is pretty fucking awesome for the kid who wasn’t expected to finish high school.

I still have a LOT of challenges ahead of me. Getting work so I can get my own place again and no longer be homeless. Healing the scars of C-PTSD. Saving money to get to Germany. And many other things…

One thing they encouraged us to do while in school was to network and be active in the ALA, OLA (Oregon Library Association), and SAA (Society of American Archivists). Well, I had to let my dues lapse and I’ve yet to be able to afford any conferences. I’ve been flying under the networking radar for this field. I hate that, but it’s how things played out for me.

My journey has been one of many ups and downs, and I honestly don’t expect that to change as I move forward with my life. I’ve learned to not plan ahead too far. Shit happens. Such as an eviction and becoming homeless. Life will play out as it should.

I do what I can, even though it never seems to be enough. And it sucks. But this is why I try to reach out to others and not isolate myself too much.

~A

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, cats, chronic pain, crowdfunding, depression, dreams, empath life, health, housing, job hunting, life, Personal, PTSD, storage

8/24: Future Housing (and #crowdfunding still)

(and also still #crowdfunding like a madwoman)

Because of various reasons, I’m back to looking at apartments with a modest market rate budget… not knowing what kind of job I’ll get, how much I’ll be making, etc. As soon as I’m able, I need to move out of my current temporary space and back into something of my own. There are a number of reasons for this, but I’ll leave most of that alone here.

I am very much a solitary person. Introvert, borderline anti-social at times… Me and my cat. And my stuff.

I have friends in the area who have made suggestions for neighborhoods. I appreciate these suggestions, but there are reasons… the top one being my mental and emotional health.

So, here’s one scenario:

Ideal job location: Downtown or very close in, on MAX or Streetcar line.

To go with this ideal job locale, I need to find a studio apartment that is in a moderate range for market rate apartments. The $800-$1200 range is where I’m looking. That, for close in, is at the low end of market rate buildings.

The factors that play into this decision:

  • Anxiety on public transit.
    • Partly from my C-PTSD and not wanting any form of touch around men if I can help it.
    • General “Empath who can’t block worth shit” issues. Crowded trains and buses are a problem for me.
  • Disabilities.
    • Walking 1/2 a mile to a bus stop that may not even have a bench is a problem. Staying close to a MAX or streetcar stop is ideal for my physical disabilities.
  • Travel Times.
    • In order for me to be able to balance work and possibly finishing school and doing other things such as my writing and all, a short commute is my goal. Working on artistic things will also help my anxiety. Finishing school will be a HUGE load off my back.
  • I also have to look at newer buildings… built within the past 10-15 years, preferably. Why? I’m allergic to mold. My asthma is bad enough, dammit. Older buildings are a risk.

Another idea that friends have bandied about is the idea of getting a room in a house with friends or others… My response is a huge, fat NO.

Of the handful of roommate/houseguest (either me as the guest, like right now, or having a temporary houseguest) situations I’ve had over the years, only ONE was without tension or conflict. Hell, that psychotic bitch in Chicago still owes me the $1000 she said she was going to (even had a written contract as to such… never fucking happened… but it’s too long ago and 2000 miles away for me to track her sorry ass down and take her to court). Any time I’m living under the same roof as others, save for one temporary experience, shit goes wrong, tempers flare, etc, etc.

As an Empath, I need to be able to close my front door, turn on some music, and be able to move about my space, from bedroom to kitchen to bathroom to living room space, freely. And Portia needs to be able to be with me in all those spaces. Right now, she has problems as she can’t come to the kitchen with me… same for the bathroom… Anyone who has pets knows how they love following you to the toilet. Must be there with you at all times. Without a second cat to keep her company, she’s Velcro-Kitty for me. I must be in her line of sight at nearly all times. When I leave this room, she waits by the door for me to return.


So, I’m looking at places. I have a few ‘bookmarked’ on the Apartments .com website… my top pick doesn’t have floorplans on their website or on the above-named site. I need floorplans.

Now to just get a decent job.


Alternate scenario: Say, I get a job out in Hillsboro. Then, I’ll either deal with a longer commute, but a reverse one, living close in and working out there… or I’ll find a place out there and again stick to the “live close to work” principle. I’d still prefer working downtown.


Yes, there is tension in my current situation. One half of the couple wants this room back to get it prepped for winter (the hot tub needs to be fixed… yes, I’m living in the ‘spa’ room in the house). I’d love to be out of here by my birthday, as I mentioned in my earlier post… but that would take a helluva miracle right now. I’m working on it.


And yes, I still need funds to get storage caught up.

~A

Posted in anxiety, artsy stuff, cats, community, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, dreams, emergency, eviction, faith, friends, grad school, homeless, job hunting, life, Personal, poverty line, PTSD, semicolon, storage, urgent, writing

8/22: Wishes and Goals and #crowdfunding

(Crowdfunding plea… time is running out… and now onto your irregularly scheduled post)

If you had asked me a year ago where I would be right now, I’d tell you I’d be on my way to Germany, or already there settling in for a stint working on a second graduate degree. Not homeless, staying at a friend’s place, short one cat, trying to save my belongings in storage.

I wouldn’t believe you if you told me that’s where I’d be right now. But here I am. My degree is on hold, waiting for my appeal to eliminate the tuition and fees owed from Spring term when I dropped out due to the eviction and other stressors. The eviction, losing JoJo, the constant frustration of job hunting and trying to find funds for storage and basic supplies like cat food and litter (I’ve now created a separate Amazon wishlist for Portia’s supplies)… it’s all taken a massive toll on me.

I do sometimes feel like I’m screaming into a void… asking for help… applying for jobs… trying to do pretty much anything. It does feel like there’s no one out there listening. I wish I could get confirmation that people are hearing me… seeing me… and trying their best to help. Very few people on FB are sharing the campaign… which is frustrating at best.

Now my goal is for Fall of 2018 for Germany. But there are so many other little things… well, little compared to moving to Germany, that is.

  • Being able to go to #GeekGirlCon in Seattle again (and having enough funds to buy stuff and have fun)
  • Having a decent job where I can then have money in savings as well as being able to pay debts and move into a new place of my very own. I appreciate my friends for putting me up… but I really do need my own space…
  • Take a few road trips that I’ve been putting off due to a lack of funds and car.
    • John Day Fossil Beds and the Painted Hills…
    • Crater Lake
    • CA Redwoods (not just passing through)

Those are a few things. I’ve also been itching to go to Alpenfest out in NE Oregon… also have enough money together to get my passport and apply for my second citizenship for Switzerland… yes, I’m eligible due to a straight paternal line dating back to the early 1600’s (as well as one lady was able to track)

I also wanted to get my next book out, get the anthology going, write more, art more, etc…

But eviction stopped me in my tracks.

It stopped me from functioning. From living. From finishing school. It dragged me deeper into the abyss of depression. My anxiety is worse. My C-PTSD is a royal bitch… to where I cringe even touching someone on the train.

I’m doing better for now… but that abyss still has a pretty good hold on me. I’m taking Celexa… but even that only gets me so far. I need to make improvements. Will they solve everything? No. But they will help.

The frustration of needing more cat food and litter and Bast Only Knows, a covered litter box for Portia (she’s trying to dig into the earth’s core, I swear… and litter goes everywhere). If it were possible to keep things more local for her supplies by someone buying a Mud Bay gift card or something… they just opened another one this past weekend and it’s a couple of MAX stops away. I know a lot of folks hate Amazon. Her food is cheaper at MB than on Amazon. I’m not kidding.

I’m sitting here in a quiet house, petsitting the house feline (she really does like me… even lets me pet her head, which she rarely lets anyone do… she was abused early on before they adopted her), as well as having Portia around… just wish they’d get along.

Here’s her Amazon wishlist... in case anyone feels up to helping… although storage also still needs help. I can’t risk losing everything I own.

I’m just… well, if you’ve ever been anywhere near the kind of situation I’m in this year, you might understand how I feel. Everything is up in the air. The loss of any control of my life is maddening.

Some friends call me brave… I’m just mucking through life… barely holding on. I may smile or even laugh at things… but inside, I’m screaming.

~A