Posted in anxiety, community, crowdfunding, emergency, family, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, Personal, society, storage, urgent

7/31: Random Snafus, Monday Part Deux

[write something witty here]

*thud*

Today has thoroughly drained my ass… I had a chore this morning (and one this evening), and then got accused of theft*, then had a task which went sideways**, then therapy, then meeting my caseworker… I just finished fixing and eating dinner… and at 8, the other chore round.

* I’m one of those weirdos out here who has never stolen anything, not even a penny from a till I was in charge of. Never shoplifted, nothing. So when one of the other residents accused me of stealing a 3rd person’s bottle of bleach from the laundry room, I was a bit upset and confused. Granted, not like the women here KNOW I’ve never stolen anything, but still it was strange. Besides, I have my own damn bleach. It just pissed me off that someone would make an assumption and accuse me.

** I had two tall cabinets to assemble and put in place in a little nook in a kitchen. Which ended up being 1/8 of an inch too narrow. AN EIGHTH OF A FUCKING INCH!!! Yeah, it sucked. Left it half done because she wanted to talk it over with her husband.

So, that’s my day in a large nutshell.

Living in a shelter requires some trust, but it has to be earned. Very few here have earned it, and many have lost any chance of earning it by repeated backstabbing and lies.

One of those lies has been thoroughly debunked. One of my ice packs was stolen out of the bag in the freezer. The person who was with me when I found out said one of the RA’s took it and gave to my friend who is outside. Her time was up here and she had to leave. I asked the friend and she showed me her cooler. Nope. Not in there. I knew the story was fishy. She couldn’t tell me WHICH RA took it. A week goes by and I find it in a shelf above the bag… further proof she was lying. So, someone “borrowed” it and finally returned it.

I’ve had other things stolen, mostly food. And then the accusation this morning. What is so frustrating about it is that they know how I feel about theft. If you own it and make reparations, fine. But just not acknowledging that you have sticky fingers? Nope.


I’ve applied for more work… hopefully something bubbles up to the surface soon. My time here at the shelter is tentative. I talked with the building manager today and we’re going to take it week by week. There is no other shelter in this system that has this setup.

I’m looking at apartments, even those in market rate buildings. Not cheap, but I need to keep looking for places. I’d MUCH prefer to have my own apartment all to myself, but living in an off-campus student building with roommates would be okay.

There may be a poem coming later…

As usual, I desperately need the help saving storage. It’s likely scheduled for auction in August and I’ll definitely need the full amount this time. No partial allowed. More on that tomorrow.

~A

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Posted in anxiety, artsy stuff, auction, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, dreams, emergency, family, life, poetry, storage, urgent, writing

7/30: The Sanctity of Space

The Sanctity of Space
[Poem about what I’m going to lose if I don’t raise the funds. I have a task tomorrow that will put a bit into the ‘kitty’, but not a lot.]


The sanctity of space
The collections of memories
The baubles of comfort.

Stashed out of reach
From
The Collector of Time.

Seeking peace amidst
The flurry of madness.
Afraid to lose.

That which is attached to
History and future.
Slipping away.

The tendrils of commerce gripping
The hope of dreams past and
Yet to come.

Ornaments of family gone.
Held in grief and love.
Pain yet released.

The paraphernalia of memories
Not forgotten
If only for the tangible itself.

Dreams returning to life.
Passions on hold
Hidden behind lock and key.


~A

[Yes, help is still needed. Badly. Unless a miracle happens, I don’t see a chance of getting storage caught up before August 1st. I’ll find out when auction is and go from there.]

Posted in baking, crowdfunding, emergency, family, life, storage, urgent

7/28: Cookie experiment

[ #Crowdfunding: Share me!! Need to pay a vet bill and try to get caught up on storage!]

Anyone who knows how to cook and bake knows one core rule: Cooking is open to “on the fly” experimentation, while baking? Baking is a science.

But if you’re like me, living in a homeless shelter without all your normal supplies on hand, you have to break this rule.

Now, the shortbread I just made turned out… interesting. Why? Because I experimented. I threw the usual components (butter, flour, and sugar) of shortbread together and combined. But I wanted to add some extracts. Anyone who makes shortbread knows it’s a dry mixture. I added some milk. Did I measure it? No. Eyeballed it. I needed just enough to get everything blended. Maybe 1/4 cup at most. Probably less.

An inexperienced cook/baker would probably have a problem doing this. I’ve been baking since I was about 6, mostly helping my mom back then, but I learned to bake from scratch using real ingredients. No Easy-Bake Oven for me.

My mom and I had plenty of differences, and I certainly can’t say we loved each other, as she was pretty much a mortal enemy of mine and her “love” for me consisted of telling me I was worthless and stupid and at 9, telling me they really only wanted two kids and I wasn’t meant to be. If that’s love, I don’t want it. We never truly made peace. Then she showed signs of Alzheimer’s by the time I was 30, so peace was never to be. One hazard people don’t think of with becoming a parent at a later age.

But despite our fights and all, she taught me to cook and bake (and use a sewing machine, but I learned even more when I moved to Portland) like a pro. She wasn’t always patient, but we still made it through our baking sessions without making a huge mess.

I was able to make Nestle chocolate sauce for ice cream on my own before I was seven. Small double boiler saucepan, 1 cup semisweet chips, enough Karo light syrup to cover them, then a small can of evaporated milk once the chips were melted. Pour into a jar and done! I’ve made it so many times that, even though I haven’t made it in at least 20 years, I can still remember it like it was yesterday.

So, shortbread. It turned out interesting. Baked in one big piece in a small pan. Came out chewy in the middle. Could be worse. Could be inedible.

One lesson I learned years ago: never, EVER, use margarine for shortbread. Butter or die.

~A

Posted in crowdfunding, depression, empath life, faith, family, grief, homeless, homelessness, life, observations, storage, urgent, writing

7/27: The Little Things Attached to Grief

Sitting here in my room with freshly popped popcorn (not supposed to have food in our rooms, but several of us -especially the loners- do, so no biggie), reflecting on things.I recently posted about getting back to my creative writing as an outlet for my anger and frustration here at the shelter.

If my father were still here, he never would have let me stop. Granted, he also never would have let me get evicted and be homeless. Losing him in 2014 was a massive blow to me. I’ve written, sure, but I haven’t had that regular nudge like he did in our phone calls.

“Are you still writing?”

“Kinda. I mean, I haven’t worked on anything lately.”

“Amanda, you’re too good at it to give up.”

I found it extremely difficult to write during NaNoWriMo last year. I can see how being homeless has been increasingly difficult to allow myself to write again.

Read that last line again: to allow myself to write again. 

Yeah. I haven’t been writing because real life has been sucking my soul dry. My therapist said (paraphrased) that you can’t run on an empty tank. You need to fill your soul with things you love so you can handle the things you don’t. 

So, as hard as it is to deal with the real world, I give myself permission to write again.

My dad would have insisted.

Another thing attached to my grief is a towel.

A towel, you ask?

Yes, a towel. After he passed away, I asked my sister to leave some bedding and stuff so I can stay at the house for a week to help with things. She left one blanket, a set of old sheets, and a beach towel. In the nearly four years since that trip down there, I haven’t used any other towel for drying off after a shower. I have towels. Plenty of them. Well, most are in storage, but yeah. And here I’ve been using a beach towel with bleached out holes along one side. There isn’t any major sentimental value to it as in childhood memories, but I can’t let it go.

It may not be attached to childhood memories, but it is one of the few things I can link to the house. To my last days in the house. To walking through the house and remembering events and accidents and games and growing up. To sifting through what remained and claiming what I could.

But, why a towel? I don’t know, honestly. I have a few other things of his, such as the pewter pin that commemorated the launch and commission of the sub he was on in WWII (USS Mero), but a towel?

It’s One of Those Random Little Things Attached to Grief.

~A

Posted in anxiety, bugaboos, C-PTSD, chronic pain, depression, disability, dogs, family, health, homeless, homelessness, life, PTSD

7/4: Snafus

I’ve gotten bitchier of late. Snapping at people, many here at the shelter. Being argumentative with some. S asked me what’s gotten into me lately. I know and yet, I don’t know. Frustrated with my situation; being/feeling constantly stuck, taken advantage of, gaslighted (gaslit?); never seemingly able to get myself caught up to where I need to be.

Working on shit and maybe getting close to handling certain aspects of my life, then something comes along and sets me back. The incident* on the bus being the latest.

I posted a couple days ago that my life feels like one snafu after another. A second thought regarding that keeps passing through my mind. That of, “I AM a snafu.” But I’ve never written it down or said it out loud until this post. I kept pushing it aside.

Why?

Because it lends credence to what my mother told me when I was 9: that I wasn’t meant to happen. They (she) only wanted 2 kids and I was 3rd. In her eyes, I was a mistake.

So, I kept dismissing it. But with everything going on, it keeps coming back and tapping me on my shoulder.

Where am I going with this? Not one damn clue. Just needed to let it bubble to the surface and hope for the best. May e now that I’ve released that phrase to the world, maybe it won’t keep at me.

* yesterday, on 7/3, I was on the bus heading to my appt when some asshole turnes left in front of the bus. The driver slammed on his brakes and avoided collision, but my head hit the “well padded” hip of the woman two seats to my left (priority seating center facing seats). My brain got a bit jostled, but no clear signs of a concussion. And my neck is sore. These are no surprise. Reported to Trimet via Twitter. I don’t blame the bus driver at all. The asshole in the car? Them, I blame. If anyone were to get a lawsuit handed to them, it would be that asshole, not Trimet. It would’ve sucked, but a part of me kinda wishes we had hit the car.

Well, the dogs on our floor are all going berserk over the fireworks outside. My head still hurts, so I’m gonna take my meds and get more rest.

~A

Posted in activism, anxiety, asexuality, bugaboos, C-PTSD, chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, dogs, eviction, family, homeless, homelessness, LGBTQIA Pride, life, PTSD, society, storage, urgent

6/24/18: #PTSD, #Bullying, #Asexual #Pride, and #crowdfunding

Being here in the shelter sets my PTSD off in ways it doesn’t in my usual ways. Loud voices, doors slamming. Most of my triggers are related more to men and crowds, so being on transit during commute times is hell for me. But being in a building with all women with behaviors I haven’t seen since high school and raging estrogen flares… I’m reminded of how rare friendships with women are for me. I get along with some here, but many are wired in a way that makes my PTSD bubble to the surface.

I pull away from people in general when this hits. Add pain to the mix and I get snippy and my sarcasm level goes up.

I think I’ve done enough back and forth with doctors at the clinic. I made the semi-crack that I should call the patient advocate office. Then I decided that maybe I will. I don’t know if any good will come of it. I’ve had both my GP and the doctor filling in for her (she’s on a personal leave) reject the idea of getting anything more than x-rays. The pain that’s been most prevalent lately has been soft tissue damage from the fall down the stairs (well, bouncing) 5 1/2 years ago. I had my knees up with my feet against one wall to try to stop my descent as I bounced down the stairs. Soft tissue damage doesn’t show on x-rays.

Back to the shelter here. We had some bullying here several weeks back. I defended the person who was being bullied and was thus made a target as well. So, two days ago, one of the bullies was gossiping to a newer resident about the stuff from weeks ago, as well as subtle snark toward another. I walked past them in the hallway. I brushed it off, hoping it was a one-off moment.

Later that evening, I heard another resident pulling the same gossip crap, bashing the woman from weeks ago, to the same recipient. I hesitated a moment, but then turned back around and reported both incidents to the RA’s here.

Yesterday morning, I heard that same recipient tell the first gossip that they didn’t want to hear anything more. My guess is that she was told to not participate in it. Here, gossip is frowned upon and against the “good neighbor” policy.

Fast forward a few hours. One of the RA’s knocks on my door and says there are some residents who have complained that the litterbox smells. All the way down the hall. I use the Tidycats Breeze system for her. While the pellets are overdue for a change, her box isn’t that bad. I think the cat food smells worse. She’s mostly eating wet food right now due to needing meds. I’ve since heard from one other resident that no, she can’t smell it. Some of the dogs have issues of their own and have a habit of peeing on their dog beds. And their doors were open while mine wasn’t for the vast majority of the day (save for opening it to go to and from the bathroom).

I put two and two together and realized it’s the bullies getting their hackles back up. They don’t like being called out for their bad behavior. I’ll keep calling them on it. Bullying and gossip have no place in a respectable society. Yes, I know, I’m talking about a homeless shelter, but it applies. If you want to be respected, you have to work on respecting others.


One of the other situations here is one person who has this negative energy and has some kind of burning desire to be the center of attention. An Energy Vampire. She has triggered my PTSD in ways I didn’t think of. I grew up with a similar person. Always trying to outdo me in “how bad my day was” and other things. Always negative. This person is even worse. She has managed, within two weeks, to alienate or piss off almost everyone on our floor. That’s skill, man… not a GOOD skill, but a skill. Oof.


PRIDE!!

So, I’ve always been open about my sexuality. I am Aromantic Asexual. That basically means I don’t experience any romantic or sexual attraction.

Once more for those in the back:

Aromantic Asexual: I don’t experience romantic or sexual attraction.

It has nothing to do with the act of sex, the libido, etc. Just attraction.

Now, I’m also a sexual assault survivor, so the act of sex is kind of ‘meh’ to me. Some Aces (asexuals) enjoy sex with their partners, some have libidos, some don’t want any kind of touch… the array of possibilities is endless with us.

Do I find some men attractive? Yup. *cough*Tom Hiddleston*cough* … but it’s more of an aesthetic attraction. Oh, and several of the men Verillas uses for their models… oof. Very good looking men. Oh, and I want most of the stuff they offer for women.

For more information on Asexuality, go here: AVEN Wiki.

I’m not ashamed or afraid of representing who and what I am. If not for my PTSD and anxiety, I’d have gone to Pride here last weekend. Because of my PTSD, I have a difficult time with any kind of touch (the Energy Vampire mentioned above touched my shoulder and I had a hard time staying calm while I explained that I cannot handle touch and that not everyone wants that and she needs to ask permission before ANY touch).


I’ve been looking at dog breeds as potential ideas for a service dog. I’ve gone from Dobermans and Rotties to Tervurens and Groenedael’s. Saw a Terv weeks ago here and just fell in love. We shall see…


It’s been a rough week. And now I’m down to a bit under four days to raise what I need for storage. I have about $300 coming in from two tasks last week, but I still need help getting at least half of $1300 before noon on Thursday the 28th. I really should get more than half, but I know that might be difficult.

Any and all help via PayPal is immensely appreciated.

Posted in activism, anxiety, bigotry, bugaboos, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, empath life, family, friends, homeless, homelessness, individuality, life, observations, storage, urgent

6/13/18: Humans All (and #crowdfunding)

Still looking for help for storage. Auction is 6/28, so I do have a bit more of a cushion than I thought. Precedent has been that auction is mid-month, so I was going by that. So far, work this month has been sparse. Any help you can give… whether it’s donating or even just sharing. Everything helps.


I’ve posted in the past about being homeless and being human and all that. The recent story about the jogger (asshole) in Oakland who took a local homeless man’s belongings and tossed them into Lake Merritt. The jogger has been arrested for taking the phone of a guy who spotted him the next day. Hopefully more charges will be filed against him for what he did to the homeless man’s belongings.

This reminded me of recent discussions on our local NextDoor for my old neighborhood. Some people were vehemently complaining about the homeless population while others were doing what they could to calm them down and help them see reason. In one of of these threads, I outed myself as being a former neighbor who is now living in a shelter due to an eviction.

This is the thing: no matter whether we live in a tent, a shelter, a house, apartment, or a high-rise condo, we are ALL human beings who will end up in the proverbial pine box (some will choose burial, others cremation, even others various other methods that have emerged). Where we live and how much we do or don’t have won’t matter in the long run.

If you have all the trappings of success, they could vanish next week. If your belongings fit in a storage unit or a shopping cart, you could have a windfall next month and things could improve.

Or it could all end in an instant without any change.

None of us truly know where our lives will take us. Only where we’ve been. We can have all the grand plans and ideas written down somewhere, but it’s all a matter of chance, with some choice tossed in. I learned long ago to not plan too far ahead. The rug got pulled out from under me and plans changed frequently.

I changed as well. Every instance in my life that made me change direction in some way changed me. I am nowhere near the person I was 25 years ago. Hell, 10 years ago. I’m not the same as I was last week. I learn as I live. Each day holds at least one lesson. Sometimes one I have to keep learning (don’t get me started on foodstuffs).

But back to the topic in general.

No matter where we stand in society, we are all the same. Yes, there are differences. Education, disabilities, income, housed/unhoused, skin color, eye color, career choices, etc… we are each unique in our humanity. But strip away those differences and our human-ness is a common link.

I think some -far too many- tend to forget this. Like the people in my old neighborhood bashing homeless people. The differences are merely on the surface of who we are. They forget that they could easily end up homeless like me in an instant (well, maybe longer, but given a tragic incident and draining of savings and loss of job… you get the idea).

No one is perfect. No one is above another. Money doesn’t make one superior, despite what that person may think of themselves.

I may expand more on this as I go… for now, this is my observation.

Posted in activism, anxiety, bigotry, bugaboos, community, crowdfunding, depression, faith, family, homeless, homelessness, housing, individuality, life, observations, peace, poverty line, society, storage

5/17: Assume Nothing… It Gets You Nowhere (& #crowdfunding)

Dear Bast, my life right now has become Hollaback Girl.

Let me explain. I’m listening to a mix of popular songs on my iTunes. Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani started playing as I opened this page to write. This part especially.

“I heard that you were talking shit
And you didn’t think that I would hear it
People hear you talking like that, getting everybody fired up
So I’m ready to attack, gonna lead the pack
Gonna get a touchdown, gonna take you out
That’s right, put your pom-poms down, getting everybody fired up.”

This part. This is me here at the shelter. We have a bullying problem here and I know some of them are playing me, being nice to me but still talking shit about my friend behind her back. Sometimes including me in the gossip bullshit. Last week, I stepped up. She had left the room and they continued to gang up and acting like the “cheerleaders” or popular kids, picking on the loners. I asked them, politely at first, to chill out, calm down… you name it. Then they got on my ass. Yeah… no. They were reported, warned to stop the behavior. A week later, they’ve returned to talking shit, making up rumors, etc.

I talked to the person at the desk about what they were doing this morning. She basically told me they have to be told while it’s happening (I had something to go to, so I didn’t have the time, but they were talking shit about her again).

The behavior here of women who are technically middle-aged adults is that of childish, cliquish spoiled brats. The Mean Girls.

I have tried to understand this behavior. I was always the outcast kid. The loner. The weirdo. The one who preferred books and music to parties and hanging out with the girls. Hell, I didn’t even have a first date until my senior year and he wasn’t even in high school (odd story, but he was really a perfect gentleman).

I see it also on NextDoor with people from my old neighborhood being angry, childish jerks about the homeless. We don’t have enough resources even for those who want them. But the anger and entitlement puzzles me. When empathy is brought up, they respond with, “well, empathy is all well and good, but they still do …” They give this attitude that it’s the city’s fault when it’s society’s fault.

I’ve been talking to my therapist about some of this. Damn near everything I bring up circles back to two things that oppose each other in some way: Wanting acceptance as an independent, unique person in society AND finding and wanting a stronger community.

Look to what we consider third world countries. Multiple generations living under the same roof; the elder women of the community work together to care for each other and others in the local community.

We don’t do that here. Far from it, in fact. We move away and have our own homes and many raise their kids and enlist strangers to help them. The sense of community is gone. Too many don’t know their own neighbors. Not knowing leads to fear of those who live next door. Who knows what that guy down the street does for a living. There’s a black kid walking down the sidewalk… a Muslim family moving in across the way… and because no one wants to build the community and meet their neighbors, fear stirs up… police are called on the black kid… rumors start stirring that maybe that Muslim family is really a terrorist cell.

And no one steps out of the pack of hungry hyenas to TALK to the black kid… to the Muslim family.

Assumptions are made. With those assumptions, innocent lives are endangered. Even killed.

If we all took the time to listen and learn and build community with -everyone- around us: rich, poor, housed, homeless, men, women, straight, LGBTQIA+, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, black, white, brown… maybe -just maybe- we can stop the fear mongering and hate. Communication is absolute key. Is this simplistic? Maybe. But it’s a basic concept that I think our society has forgotten.

But I’m just over in my little corner in my room in a homeless shelter with my cat. Watching the world set itself on fire.

~A

PS: Yes, I’m still crowdfunding. I’ve been playing catch up on other things and still need help with storage. I want to get it caught up before the end of May.

Posted in dreams, family, grief, insomnia, life, music, observations, writing

Dammit, Brain!

(Ignore the fact I chose a pic of Portia, it’s 3:40am now…)

Dammit, Brain, it’s 3am. And you decide to dream about a random chance to meet Marilyn Manson. You aren’t even a fan. Stop doing random shit Brain and go back to sleep like you should.

So, because I can’t get back to sleep, I decided to look up Marilyn Manson and see why he comes up. Read part of a rather odd interview. And below is what I found.

Now I think I may understand why my brain did what it did. I read an article on MM. He lost his mother and then his father, whom he was really close to. And in the dream, we take a pic and then I mention that I’m just here by happenstance. He said he felt the need to come over, even though I wasn’t seeking him out. I briefly mention losing both parents and then being homeless, but bouncing back. And he gives me a hug.

There’s a common thread in our real lives. Both of us are “adult orphans” … and after his dad died, he knew his dad wouldn’t let him take time to grieve as he was super supportive and a fighter. When my dad died, I was in the middlenof NaNoWriMo and, despite everyone saying it would be okay if I didn’t do it that year (2014), I knew he wouldn’t want me to stop writing. So I didn’t.

Something about that… I didn’t know that about MM until I just looked it up. Subconscious is trying to say something…

~A

Posted in dreams, family, grief, insomnia, life, music, observations, writing

Dammit, Brain!

(Ignore the fact I chose a pic of Portia, it’s 3:40am now…)

Dammit, Brain, it’s 3am. And you decide to dream about a random chance to meet Marilyn Manson. You aren’t even a fan. Stop doing random shit Brain and go back to sleep like you should.

So, because I can’t get back to sleep, I decided to look up Marilyn Manson and see why he comes up. Read part of a rather odd interview. And below is what I found.

Now I think I may understand why my brain did what it did. I read an article on MM. He lost his mother and then his father, whom he was really close to. And in the dream, we take a pic and then I mention that I’m just here by happenstance. He said he felt the need to come over, even though I wasn’t seeking him out. I briefly mention losing both parents and then being homeless, but bouncing back. And he gives me a hug.

There’s a common thread in our real lives. Both of us are “adult orphans” … and after his dad died, he knew his dad wouldn’t let him take time to grieve as he was super supportive and a fighter. When my dad died, I was in the middlenof NaNoWriMo and, despite everyone saying it would be okay if I didn’t do it that year (2014), I knew he wouldn’t want me to stop writing. So I didn’t.

Something about that… I didn’t know that about MM until I just looked it up. Subconscious is trying to say something…

~A