Posted in artsy stuff, cats, creativity, crowdfunding, emergency, eviction, grief, Personal, storage, urgent

9/10: Deadlines, #crowdfunding, and @Chewy

#CROWDFUNDING: It turns out that the auction is on the 21st, not the 15th. I had guessed the 15th because when I’ve gone through this before, it was always the 15th or as close to it as possible. But this time, it’s the 21st (which is a Thursday, so I find it odd, but okay). So I have a SMIDGE more time, but not really by much. If the two people whom I’ve talked to do send what they say they’ll be able to send, I’ll have roughly 500 between them and what I have in my accounts.

So I’m roughly halfway there. If I get more TR work this week, I’ll have a little more, but unless I get a really big job or two, it won’t cover me the rest of the way.


A few months back, I got a call from the manager of my former apartment building that a package was there. It was “kind of urgent” and since I didn’t live there anymore, I technically shouldn’t have packages sent there. I didn’t know what it was, so I sent off to go pick it up. It was a 1-800-Flowers delivery from Chewy, the pet supply website. I had talked to a CS person there a couple weeks before and had mentioned I lost JoJo to congestive heart failure in the midst of my eviction. The flowers were a beautiful arrangement in a vase.

So, I’m still (obviously) unemployed and money is tight, so I haven’t been able to order my normal stuff from them. On Friday, I got a call from Fedex that they had a package that couldn’t be delivered to my PO Box. I was going bonkers trying to figure out if this package was something I’d ordered (interview clothes) or something from my wishlist that maybe someone sent… I had them route it to a local store that is now a pick-up location for Fedex. Picked it up today. A small metallic blue bubble wrap package.

From Chewy.

Inside was a card: wp-image-1885802957

And two 6×6 paintings. JoJo

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And Portia.

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If you want to inspire customer loyalty, it’s stuff like this… hell, even the flowers were more than enough… to make a customer for life.

Showing compassion and caring for a customer is how customer service should be done. I know, as that’s my own philosophy from working in retail. Go above and beyond, help and show that you care about what you’re doing. This is something that’s hard to find in bigger companies. It’s all about the numbers and speed anymore, not about making sure your customers walk out the door wanting to keep doing business with you. Instilling loyalty through caring and compassion is something missing in retail anymore. I’m glad to see Chewy doing good.

~A

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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 chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, depression, family, friends, grief, health, life, Personal, storage

7/29: Paying It Forward & Other Things…

Storage: Yeah… still need a little help with storage. The ongoing task I’m doing won’t pay the first round in time, so it’ll help for August, but not July. I’ll tally up and see what exactly I need tomorrow. But payment has to be in by 6pm tomorrow Pacific Time. (I’ve had to use some for food, as I ran out of FS funds, but I’m guessing between 60-100 or so, once you add in the late fees.)

Shit… I need cat litter soon… like SOON. Also, cans of food for her. I swear, if I could have a public wishlist on Chewy, I would. But I talked to them and they don’t have anything like that.

Paying It Forward: After friends, and even a few strangers, stepped up to help me get my stuff packed up and into storage during my eviction, I felt I needed to pay it forward in some way. I don’t always have the emotional or physical strength to do a lot. But helping a friend move between units in a retirement building was manageable. I spent yesterday and today helping move stuff and some furniture between floors. Most of what’s going into the new place is done. Still a few things to get done and moved down, but maintenance will be able to help.

We all have limitations. Some of us have good days where our limitations don’t affect us as much (although what we do on those good days may lead to some ugly days shortly after). This weekend has been a pair of those good days for me. It’s funny to me that I look at my own belongings and be mentally paralyzed… meaning I look at it and just don’t know how to tackle it. But then I look at someone elses’ things and I’m all, “okay, so this can go here, and we can load that, and go ahead and put that on there. No, that won’t fit that way…” you get the idea.

My friend I helped this weekend has Fibromyalgia among other health issues. Her limitations are far greater than mine. I certainly have my days where even fixing dinner and sitting upright is a challenge, but give me a task and a tight deadline and I’m in a mindset of “pain? what pain? oh, THAT pain… nah… I’ll deal with it later.” I am sore right now. That’s what happens. And besides, those desks weren’t that heavy. Once the drawers were out, they were pretty light. I can deal with the aftereffects. Helping someone move from one studio to another in a short time is worth the pain I’ll have.

Losing People: I’ve faced my own mortality on more than one occasion. It sucks. But I’m not afraid of it. Others are. Something I’ve never understood. It is inevitable, so why fear it? A friend and former coworker passed away recently. She wasn’t a young woman, but not pushing 100 either. She passed away quietly in her sleep. Losing friends and family over the years -of all ages- is something I ponder on. Everyone has their own way of doing things. My parents were “no fuss” types (even though I still want to have the ceremony and have their ashes interred in a military cemetery as my dad was a WWII Vet. It’s just a matter of getting them from a certain person in the family. Long, ugly story). Then there are others who do various celebrations of life and a funeral and all sorts of rituals.

What matters to me is to remember my mortality. And then celebrate the fact I’m still alive, despite staring death in the face. I may not always seem like I’m celebrating, but I am grateful to be able to wake up every day. Sometimes, that’s enough.

~A

Posted in faith, family, friends, grief, life, music, Personal, semicolon

7/27: The Dance

“I could have missed the pain… but I’d’ve had to miss the dance.” ~Garth Brooks’ The Dance.

Sums up so much. I always felt the song was more than just about a romance. And I was right. I see it right now as a good summation of my life to this point. We live our lives not knowing where it will take us.

We experience joy.

We experience pain.

We lose people we love… and people we wish we could talk to one last time. We get caught up in existing. Then, one day, we find regret. I’ve always sworn I wouldn’t regret what I’ve done in my life (only a few of the people I’ve done those things with). But as I inch ever closer to my 45th birthday, I do see some regrets. One biggie is not dropping everything in the world to see my dad sooner… before he died the day after I last talked to him. I was so damn caught up in helping at a local convention and then, as I was sitting there, enjoying an evening with friends, my dad passed away 600 miles away. I should have gone down there sooner.

But I live with that regret.

The lesson from that is to never, ever take anything for granted. Not a single person in your life. Not a moment to stop and admire the clouds in the sky… the green of the leaves on a tree… a flower blooming early. Stop what you’re doing, take a step back. Look around you.

Funny how Brooks’ song comes back around (via an article and video where a cancer survivor went to his concert) into my life. I got into listening to country music in the 90’s. I remember listening to this song back then. Oh, how life gives new perspective on a song you loved in your youth.

I don’t regret my experiences. I don’t regret the pain. That pain taught me to appreciate my life… good and bad. To take each day and live.

~A

Posted in cats, crowdfunding, depression, friends, grief, homeless, life, Personal, semicolon, storage, transitions

7/27: More shamelessness and reflection…

I’m edging closer to having what’s needed for storage, but due to late fees, I need a bit over 300… I’m at about 230 right now (ran out of food stamps and needed a few things… and a few cans of cat food for Portia… which food stamps don’t cover). If I can get the rest of it together, I can run down there tomorrow and pay it up (two different cards, etc). I really don’t want it snowballing into next month. Then it gets out of control.

As for reflection… I’ve had a rough couple of days with frustration levels and pain and … well, you know. I saw my therapist today. I read her the venting text and then we talked about it and how it sums everything up. She also noted that no matter how shitty things get, I find humor.

This comes from years of dealing with abuse and such that I had to find things to keep me going. As my mother later started to wither from her Alzheimer’s, I got my dad into the same mindset. Find the humor in the situation. Whenever and wherever possible. If you can’t find it in the messy situation, find something else that makes you smile or feel good to balance out the mess. We had many bad moments with her disease… as is the way with Alzheimer’s, but we had amusing things to look back on, such as the Marshmallow Incident and how she lost her license (thankfully no one got hurt). I have some OLD blog posts from before I started this one that I may dig up and schedule on here so that they’re here as well.

So, yeah, I do my best to balance the shittiness of how things have been this year. And whether it’s listening to music, or watching Portia be an absolute dork of a cat, or laughing at some memory… it all works. I love telling stories. I get animated when I really get into it.

No matter how bad things get… remember to live and laugh.

~A

Posted in animal advocacy, cats, empath life, family, friends, grief, nature, Personal

7/21: The Passing of Pets

A friend of mine is giving one of her cats a final day worthy of a king. I wish I’d had that chance with JoJo… and with Jack. But when they both died, I just didn’t have enough time to do that for them. JoJo would have been gone before morning, so I made the choice to free her of her pain from CHF. Jack’s kidneys were shutting down. Acute Renal Failure. I made that choice as well, back in 2010. There was no guarantee of a good life if I had opted for the surgery. Even if I could have afforded the expensive surgery. I was inconsolable both times. But I knew it was the right thing to do. To not let them suffer.

My friend’s cat has cancer. Several masses in his abdomen. In the time she’s had him, she has done everything in her power to show him love. He was scared. He knows love now. And he will pass on tomorrow being loved.

I know people who don’t have pets, don’t want pets, and don’t consider them ‘part of a family’ …. they’re “just” animals. I kinda feel sorry for those people. For me and many others, our pets are the closest thing we have to unconditional love. I’ve had many periods where I’ve contemplated suicide, even in the last couple of years, and my cats have been what has saved me… what pulled me out from that thinking.

We create a bond with our pets. Well some of us do. I know people who have pets and don’t grasp the concept of creating a bond and meeting the animal halfway in creating that bond. They also say, “it’s just a cat/dog…”

We bring these animals into our lives, share our space with them, give and receive love with them. We know we will (usually) outlive them. As an Empath, at the beginning of the year I knew JoJo wasn’t going to survive 2017. I had this distinct feeling I would lose her before too long. A month later, I made the decision to relieve her of the pain of fluid in her chest cavity crushing her lungs, causing pain. I wish she had stayed around longer, but I knew it was time.

Those of us who bond with our pets know when compassion beats the desire to keep them around for our own sake. It’s a bitch of a decision, but when they’re in pain, it’s a decision we have to make.

My heart, with my own loss this year, goes out to my friend with her cat, Ghost. Jack and JoJo are waiting for him at the Rainbow Bridge. Along with all of those cats and dogs we’ve lost. They’re waiting for him… and ultimately for us one day to join them, pain free.

~A

Posted in anxiety, community, crowdfunding, empath life, family, friends, grief, life, Personal, storage, urgent

7/15: Panic Attacks, Cat Food, and Storage…

Cat food first. Don’t ask. I don’t need dry food for Portia or anything. She has that. I also have some cans. But she’s been getting canned for dinner the last few days and is now barely eating her kibble.

Brat.

Not like it’s some cheap kibble either… Granted, the canned food (and the squash baby food I’m mixing in with it for… reasons. And yes, this is a vet-approved method) is helping her and I’m sure it’s pretty tasty stuff… but I can’t afford a lot of it. I wish. Maybe once I’m working I can go with more canned food.


Storage: I’m now halfway through the month and haven’t gotten enough to pay them. I don’t want to resort to begging, but I’m trying to keep this from getting backed up… I’ll have roughly half, but nowhere near enough. PP is the only method I’m using at this point, if anyone is so inclined to help. I need to get interview shoes and stuff out of there sooner rather than later.


Panic Attacks: I’ve been doing pretty good lately. Mostly general mood shit getting to me when I’m on transit (being an Empath who can’t block sucks ass). But then last night happened. My heart rate shot up, my chest tightened, and I was having difficulty breathing. All of this basically out of nowhere. When this kind of thing happens like this, it usually means something has happened to someone I’m connected to, such as family. I have yet to see anything come down from any cousins, so I don’t know if anyone has died. But considering most of my remaining aunts and uncles are in their late 80’s and 90’s, this is an inevitable thing to happen.

So this was one time I really needed my inhalers. Problem? They were in a bag of first aid supplies I’d left at Gearcon, but were safe with my friends who run it. Thankfully they’re night owls, so they found the bag and ran it over to me at nearly midnight. I am thankful for good friends. I can say that once I dug my inhalers out and took a couple of puffs from each, I was able to breathe much better. Between them and the valium I took, I was able to come back down from the attack.


I was going to talk about relationships… but I think that needs to be a separate post… if you’re curious about it, look up the recent articles about why Sherman Alexie has canceled the rest of his book tour. Familial relationships are hard to write or talk about… and the article I read on his situation reminded me a LOT about my relationship with my own mother who died in 2013 from End-stage Alzheimer’s. I may compose my thoughts and write on that later.

~A

Posted in anxiety, chronic pain, community, depression, domestic abuse, dreams, empath life, eviction, faith, feminism, grief, history, LGBTQIA Pride, life, peace, Personal, PTSD, sexual assault

7/4: Open Book

After our internet came back up (finally), I was musing on a conversation I had over the weekend. I am very open about who I am, where I’ve been, what I’ve done, what I’ve been through.

What I’ve survived.

So I wrote a short post.

And then I decided to turn it into word art. Found an image that fit (and could use) and added the words to become the featured image above.

I am a survivor of a lot of life stuff. I share much of that history… my experiences and lessons learned…  with anyone who wishes to listen.

My life is my journey. This blog gives me a voice to share that journey.

… and so it continues.

~Amanda

Posted in cats, depression, dragon, grief, Personal

6/21: Dragon’s Cat

Portia is pushing 12 years now. I’m using her “gotcha day” as her birthday, since I adopted her at roughly 5 years of age (they said 4-5, but I have no clue so I’m going with 5) on October 30th, 2010. Which means she’ll be 12 this year. I chose her partly for wanting a dilute tortie, but also her personality was more social than JoJo ever would be (she was very much a one-human cat and was scared of other humans).

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I mention further down that she likely has Maine Coon in her. I say this because of her mane and then the short fur, and then the varied fur on the rest of her.

She’s always been a bit goofy… not the brightest feline on the planet, but gorgeous, floofy, silly, and friendly. Not the “in your face” friendly, but enough of an attention-hog that she will take it from damn near anyone.

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Hey YOU! You there!

Then she gets her “zoomies” or Elevenses, or whatever you might call them. Usually after a meal. Well, today, she’s full up and knocking things over. Almost broke her food dish in a failed attempt to make a u-turn from the bathroom to the hot tub cover where her food and water are (and the turboscratcher, which is getting a lot of use today). Failed only because the piece of carpet she dug her claws into to gain traction and jump wasn’t exactly attached to the flood (it’s a scrap and the floor is tile). Same piece of carpet nearly got flipped earlier this morning during another round.

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Her Turboscratcher. She LOVES this thing. 

She also has her lovey moments. Especially ever since JoJo died in February, she’s been my sleeping buddy. She was before, but not as clingy. Now a night (or the next morning) doesn’t go by without her taking a nap on top of me. Usually my chest, but if I’m on my side, she’s discovered she can perch from my shoulder to my hip (yes, she’s a sizable cat).

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On my chest. To be fair, this was in the apartment and I was sitting, but still. She has to be touching me or near me (with me in her sight line). 

She has a face that can melt hearts, eyes that change colors, a squeak that informs me of her mischief, an innocence that belies her years, and a heart of gold that has eased the blow of losing her older (adopted) sister. She likely has some Maine Coon in her, from the way her fur is. She’s roughly 14 pounds… which makes things interesting when she wants to sprawl all over me and my bladder is a bit full. She hates being groomed and will give me many -MANY- warning bites.

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Her mat trimming haircut from April 2016. In order to get to the mats, I had to trim rather haphazardly. It looks like a 3 year old found the scissors, but ultimately, I think she liked having less fur during the summer as it grew back. This took me over a month to get all the mats. Yes, go ahead and laugh. I’m still giggling over it over a year later.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. She will need a companion in the form of another cat once I get work again. We’ll see who chooses me when that time comes. A black cat? A Siamese? A Tuxie? Who will be that new friend for Portia? We’ll have to wait to get into our own place again before that happens.

~Dragon