Posted in adoption, anxiety, C-PTSD, cats, community, depression, disability, family, food, food cravings, health, housing, job hunting, life, nanowrimo, poverty line, PTSD, storage, urgent, writing

10/31: FOOD! (and a bit o’begging) and #NaNoWriMo

(trigger warning: talk of suicidal ideation and PTSD further down) Pardon the wonky spacing…

Here’s hoping that since I was able to log into my EBT account to check my balance, that it’s been reinstated. I tried logging in over the weekend on my phone and it said it couldn’t access the account. Just now, I was able to on the CB. Tomorrow is the day I get to see if they’ve changed my amount.

I haven’t gotten any letters (picked up mail yesterday). I definitely need those food stamps right now. If anyone has every seen my fridge/freezer and pantry from before the eviction, you’d understand why the barren landscape of the fridge and freezer (and somewhat barrenness of the cabinets I have now) is so daunting.

I’ve almost always had frozen meat of different kinds, as well as veggies and other things… and the only things in the freezer right now are a wedge of local bleu cheese and the packs of Dorot minced garlic and basil. And a couple of ice packs. No ice cube trays to make ice. No chicken, no nothing. The fridge usually has cheese and sauces and lots of other things… not right now. So, food stamps for November are SUPER important. I need to restock. Badly.


I was raised to have a full pantry and fridge/freezer (although my mother took that to excess with a second full sized freezer crammed to the hilt). This was so that if one couldn’t go to the store, we could still pull from what we had and make dinner or whatever. I’m not a huge fan of frozen veggies anymore, but I’ll gladly still stock some up for backup needs.
Frozen chicken breasts and pork chops… stew beef… you name it. A frozen dinner or two on occasion (Amy’s Rice Mac and Cheese is amazing and awesome comfort food). A container or two of crumbled hard cheeses in the freezer… Feta and Bleu usually. Grated Parm… all in the freezer. Yes, you can freeze them. I LOVE making scrambles with some of the cheese sprinkled in at the last minute… 

So, here’s hoping my food money got reinstated.


I’ve pretty much given up asking this one friend of mine for help. This person has told me that if I need something, to ask. Period. I did. A month ago. They said they’d help a week later… I checked in then… had to wait… and then wait… I know this person is dealing with a lot, hence why I’ve decided to no longer ask.

My only thing is that this month has SUCKED for tasks, which have been my only income for two years. All while trying to find steady employment I’m physically capable of. But this month has seen ONE task, one cancellation fee, and less than $200 in income. And that has gone to nudging my checking account back up to ZERO (thanks to the cell phone I need in order to run the app for getting tasks). So, I’ve had no usable income this month.

A month ago, when I got storage caught up before auction, I thought I’d have another decent month, so I didn’t worry so much about October. Then my app for getting tasks stayed silent. I had one cancel, one was fraudulent, and then the one I did get.

Another that was supposed to be today, but I don’t have the tools on my to mount things to concrete (better drill than what I have… which i have in storage, but can’t get to, and masonry drill bits, which I don’t have at all), so the whole thing, including assembly, got cancelled. Last night. Mind you, it wouldn’t have counted as October income anyway, as the billing would take a couple of days to process.

So, I need help just to get October paid. Then I can get in there and get tools out (if I can FIND the damn things) and my mattress and other stuff so I don’t look like I’m squatting in my own apartment.


Yesterday was Portia’s Gotcha Day Anniversary. 10/30/2010 is the day I adopted her. Eight years later, she’s saved me from suicide and getting stabby toward male humans who don’t understand personal space on transit (PTSD from sexual assault sucks when you’re on transit). We almost had a vet visit due to a couple of hotspots on her skin (that’s the one main health issue with her: sensitive skin and stomach). But no money, denied for CareCredit, and waiting for PAW Team to call back (it takes time to get an appt with them) all ended up with me just keeping an eye on her for now. They’re likely from stress-grooming, so my friend is going to hand off a partial bottle of CBD oil for pet use and I’ll try that in her wet food (which I need more of soon. See her wishlist on Amazon… if someone was so inclined).

My girl is now roughly 13… they said she was 4-5 when I adopted her. But no one really knows exactly how old she is. I’ve been saying she’s 12 for about 2 years now. So, I’ll finally bump it up to 13. Still a guess, though.

IMG_20180328_210201_131.jpg


Tomorrow is November 1st. The start of NaNoWriMo. This will be my 13th year straight. It’ll be fun and challenging, but I’m game. This year I have two ideas that I’m going to combine into one SF story. I also have a couple of backup tales if my characters take a break and don’t want to talk for a bit.

~A

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Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, chronic pain, community, creativity, depression, disability, faith, family, friends, grief, health, homelessness, job hunting, life, poverty line, PTSD, society, storage, transitions, urgent, writing

10/27: Creativity and Storage

It’s now been a week in the new place. I also still don’t have access to storage so I can get my mattress and stuff out. I was depending on one person who said they’d help, but hasn’t so far.

Tasks are slowly picking up. I had one yesterday and have another one tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, those two will only get me closer to $0 in my checking account as I’m about $260 in the red. If I’d had work throughout the month, I wouldn’t be in this predicament.

So, I’m asking. It’s only one month’s rent plus late fees ($305 plus about 40 or so), and using PayPal will keep it from getting sucked into the checking account (I did finally deactivate the GFM).

It wouldn’t bother me so much if it weren’t for my back. I’m sleeping on the floor with very little cushion. I’m now getting numbness along my right side (the side I keep re-injuring), which isn’t good.

The sooner I can get into storage and get things out, the sooner I can move the rest of it into a smaller unit again. Which means less storage rent. My goal will be to go from the 8×20 unit down to a 9×10. It’s about half the price.


Now that that’s all out of the way…

I finally heard from the one place I might be doing that internship/job (the place doesn’t pay me, SE Works/state does). I like the place. They’re an arts organization that focuses on making arts education available to all, among other things. I’m hopeful.

Right now, my focus in on getting my life back on track, but I also can’t forget what drives and heals me: creativity. With that, I am happy to say that I will be doing NaNoWriMo for the 13th year running. I’ve done and won all previous 12 years. Last year, I was a mess, though. I admit that. I ended up piecing together my 50K words from various half-finished stories. This year, I have two small ideas that are going to be expanded into one larger tale. I haven’t decided if it’s going to be fully off-world SciFi or Post-Apocalyptic Earth… not yet. It doesn’t wholly change the story much. In the snippet I wrote earlier this year, I do reference a poison gas that was used in WWI (Mustard Gas), but it could still be referenced similarly in an off-world story. Just maybe the planet they’re on is one humans colonized and shit went sideways.

Who knows… I’ll let the characters determine that part. I know that Post-Apoc stories are a HUGE thing right now. It would be very easy to make this PA.

My writing has stalled in some aspects the last two years or so. Four years ago, my dad died, and he was my biggest fan and cheerleader. A month ago, I lost another cheerleader, my friend Connie, to cancer. She was always in awe of how I came up with the adventures and random shit my characters ended up doing. So this year is for Connie. I’ll make sure they get into a decent amount of mayhem.

Now that I’m coming out of homelessness, I can stop being on constant alert… hyper-vigilant mode. That’s from a combination of homelessness and PTSD. It’ll take some time to fully come out of it.

I think writing this tale in November will help pull me back into life again. Where I don’t have to keep looking over my shoulder.

~A

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, community, creativity, depression, disability, dreams, empath life, friends, health, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, medical, PTSD

10/4: Never Enough

This week has been filled with lots of ups and downs. On Tuesday, I filled out the paperwork for doing a WEX job (I’ll explain that further down), as well as the application for housing rental assistance with Human Solutions. Today, things tumbled down.

I received the decision for disability in the mail. Despite everything sounding like the judge was going to find in favor of me, she didn’t. I’ve spent the past two hours trying to read the decision. As best as I can decipher, it boils down to one thing: I’m not disabled enough. I’ll call my attorney in the morning and figure out what’s next. Right now, I’m dealing with the other thing from today.

I returned to the shelter to be hand delivered another write-up for not having everything in bags for the bag-up. Thing is, what I did leave out is stuff that’s been left out during previous ones. On top of that, this is supposedly my 10th total write-up. The previous two were supposed to be removed from my list. Apparently, they weren’t. So with my total write-up, I got a one night exclusion. I packed a few things, set some extra kibble down for Portia, and walked out the door before 3pm, which was my deadline for leaving the premises. I didn’t do a good enough job.

I was able to get in to see my doc about this skin issue behind my ears, and she checked it for signs of a fungal infection (something several friends suggested). Negative, so she prescribed some anti-inflammatory ointment, which I’ll pick up tomorrow.

Really, I will get to the positive stuff… I just need to get this crap off my chest.

I am exhausted. Tired. Tired of not being enough of any one thing to qualify for something. Tired of running in circles putting my life back together only to come back around to the crack in that circle and stumble and fall… again. Tired of not being able-bodied enough. Tired of not being disabled enough. Tired of not being demure enough. Tired of not being outspoken enough. Tired of not being homeless enough (yes, that’s been brought up). But also, tired of not being stable/housed enough.

I feel, at times like this, that I am not so much running in that cracked circle, but that I am standing in the middle of it, constricted by expectations of society and their rules, as it spins around me, wrapping me tighter and tighter.

I am not enough. 

But I should be. 

The WEX job is a temporary set-up where that agency pays $12/hour for 240 hours of the client (like me) to work for a company or nonprofit in the field they wish to work in to gain experience and see if they really want to do that work. So, I may work in the accounting department of CCC, or, if they don’t have the space for me, doing various things including some accounting training, at a local nonprofit that deals with performance arts in the community.

The other thing: Human Solutions. They will cover rent and deposit for an apartment for four months with a WEX job and up to six months while in school. Now, after the four months with the job, I will be able to apply for an extension. I don’t know how long that extension will be, but it will help.

The hard part will be now that I have had the denial for disability, that extra money to live on isn’t going to be there. Which sucks.

I also won’t be able to get my service dog puppy to start training (was looking at using some of the lump sum check for that, but no check).

Again, I’ll call the lawyer’s office in the morning and see what the next step is.

And yes, even with all the housing stuff moving forward (yes, I found a place. a small studio, but it’ll work), I still feel that circle tightening around me.

I never feel like I’m doing enough.

~A

Posted in activism, anxiety, auction, bugaboos, C-PTSD, community, conformity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, eviction, faith, family, friends, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, Personal, poverty line, PTSD, society, storage, transitions, urgent

9/25: Forced Gratitude (& #crowdfunding #urgent)

[#crowdfunding plea at bottom this time. two days left before auction. see the bottom of this post]

Over the weekend, I lashed out in frustration and PTSD-related anger at the agency that runs the shelter I’m in. Yesterday, I got a verbal lashing about it from the person who runs this building. The words that stuck with me the most were about gratitude. That I should be grateful they’ve let me stay longer than the normal length of time.

Gratitude first: No one should be told they HAVE to be grateful for something. Am I grateful? Yes. Should that equate to forced silence and obeisance? No. I’ve spent most of my life allowing people to walk all over me and tell me how to act (did I follow their rules every time? No, but that’s a whole other post). If living here has taught me one thing, it’s to not be silent when shit goes sideways.

Am I grateful? Yes. Should I play the nice little quiet obedient resident who shows her gratitude by not speaking up? No. Fuck that noise. I will be loud. I will be vocal. I will NOT be silenced because my voice and words make someone uncomfortable. The crap I had tweeted about was painful. Triggered my PTSD as well as anxiety, and I know I wasn’t the only one who was having a hard time with it.

The person who chided me for “not being grateful” wasn’t here. Her weekend was disturbed every so slightly by phone calls. Mine and the others here? Much more.

Once I’m out of here and my time being homeless is over, I will be able to recap the things I see as wrong and right about our systems here in the Rose City.

One thing I will address now, though, is the intended length of time they think is adequate for us to find housing. Four Months.

Now, if you have a job and just need to be somewhere to save up and get back on your feet, fine. Also, if you’re looking for work that is along the lines of grocery, retail, food service, and doesn’t require long application processes, this can work.

But what about those like me? Those with disabilities and/or advanced education who need to work in other environments? The 4 month concept is flawed. Many white collar jobs take much longer to get through the process. And if you need to rework your resume or switch career paths, 4 months is definitely nowhere near enough.

I was told I should be more grateful that they’ve let me stay longer than the 4 months.

Forced Gratitude is not real gratitude. No one should demand it. Ever.

~A

#crowdfunding: I’m moving closer to needing access to my belongings. I’m just over the halfway point for paying off storage, but I need help. Auction is on Thursday at noon. I’ll have roughly $900 by the time the rest of what’s in the GFM and my own income clears. I need about $1400. Before noon on Thursday the 27th. Please spread the word. Thank you. I am grateful for all the help I can get. Real gratitude. Not forced.

Posted in auction, C-PTSD, crowdfunding, depression, emergency, friends, homeless, homelessness, job hunting, life, PTSD, storage, urgent

8/19: Managing the Unsteadiness #crowdfunding

I’m going to paste the new text for my GFM below. If anyone has any ideas on how to make it better, or categories to put it in (I changed it to community, but still not sure that’s the best fit), please feel free to leave a comment (moderated) and let me know ideas. Also, if you can share the campaign, even as is, I’d appreciate it. Most days, I feel like I’m talking to a blank wall.


Portia, my cat and ESA, and I have been homeless for a year and a half. I stayed with friends for much of the first year and then moved into a local shelter where we could have our own room. Their idea is to get women through and out the system into housing within four months.

Well, I need steady income and I don’t have it. I’m in my 5th month and going week-to-week. We could be booted any week now. No other shelter in the area has this kind of setup where we have our own room.

I’ve been waiting on the results of my disability hearing as well as applying for work I can physically do. I can’t handle long transit commutes and I can’t do anything where I’m standing for longer than half an hour. That knocks all retail and other “‘hey, interview is tomorrow’ right after submitting the application” out of the possibilities. I

am now working with CCC (Central City Concern) for training for bookkeeping work and anything else that comes with it, but it still takes time. They do help with housing and such as well.

But why am I talking about housing? Because more than half of what’s in my storage unit is household stuff. My mattress, bedding, sewing machine and piano. As well as a lot of smaller things that, while I could replace them, it would cost a lot to replace everything.

It would cost more than what I owe on storage to replace everything I need and use that’s in there. The rest of what’s in there is “backstock” of supplies for sewing and such. Those can be moved back to a much smaller (and cheaper) storage unit once I get a place again.

I also have the vet bill, which is small compared to what’s needed for storage.

Any and all funds raised will go toward storage and the vet bill.


I’ve been given another week here at the shelter. Working with CCC doesn’t seem to faze the building manager here. One thing myself and another woman here who is over the four months have noticed: the manager says she hears us. That she’s listening, but in reality, she has every single resident in one category and doesn’t grasp that not everyone fits in that neat little box she envisions.

Hopefully I can stick it out until things fall into place. One of the RA’s here told me “you can’t stay here forever,” which -believe me- I do NOT want. This place is toxic and is not helping my PTSD or my general sanity and health.

I had a few rambling ideas for posts the last few days, but now that I’m able to sit down and write? Nothing. The ideas will come back at some point. Until then…

~A

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, chronic pain, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, health, homeless, homelessness, housing, insomnia, job hunting, life, observations, PTSD, storage, urgent

8/11: Brain Battle: Real Life vs. Creativity

Another crazy week of running around to appointments and tasks and stuff. Emphasis on appointments.

Still need help with storage and such. One thing I realize is that once I get a place lined up and have the money to move, I want to have access to my stuff in storage because then I won’t have to repurchase things like kitchen supplies and bathroom stuff, and a mattress, etc. I’ll HAVE all of that. No bed frame, but I do want to get a MALM bed with storage from IKEA because if I move into a small studio, I’ll need ALL the storage I can get.

But it would be best if I retain everything I already have and use that as much as possible. I’ll gradually go through what’s left and sell/toss what I don’t use (or are sewing/crafting supplies).


Trying to find a balance between real life and my creativity isn’t easy when your waking moments are filled with appointments, a bag-up of belongings here at the shelter, PTSD triggers, chronic pain & fatigue, and people telling you to make a few dozen phone calls and you’re not good using the phone. Also: applying for jobs, eating moderately healthy (yeah, that didn’t work so well this week), and trying to sleep when your brain insists on running Worst Case Scenarios at random intervals during the night.


I’m in Month Five here. Technically, they want you through the system in four months. But I need stable income to get into something. Income I don’t have. I’m working on it.

Except one thing:

I don’t know if I can handle a full time job anymore. The past two weeks of being busy and running around M-F each week has drained me to the point where I feel like my mood has dipped back down and depression is hanging over me. I’m fucking exhausted. I still haven’t put my stuff from bag-up away. I have no energy to do anything. It sucks. I know it’ll turn around, but how to deal with it until it does? Not sure.


Gonna sign off for now. I’ll be back… I always am.

~A

Posted in adoption, anxiety, C-PTSD, cats, crowdfunding, depression, dogs, housing, life, PTSD, storage, urgent

8/6: Guilty Pleasure: Looking at Adoptable Dogs

[this started as FB status, hence the lines closer together]

With the idea that I’ll be moving on sooner rather than later, and hopefully into my own place, I’ve been looking at potential second pets. Namely, dogs. It’s a huge step, honestly. I haven’t had a dog since I was 15. Eventually, I want a dog I can train in not only obedience but as a PTSD dog. With help, of course. I certainly have my ideal breeds, but I may start with a rescue dog to get reacquainted with having a dog at all. 

Looking at local dogs on petfinder. Found a couple of cuties. Obviously, I’m nowhere near ready. But one advantage of getting a dog, other than training for PTSD, is that she would help with depression and anxiety. Both being aspects of my PTSD. And yes, I keep saying “she” because I’d prefer a girl dog.

 

But I also know that dogs are a whole other ballgame from having cats. Not even taking into account greater food intake and needing to be walked, there’s obedience training and other necessities. Something being here at the shelter has taught me is an absolute must. A well-trained dog goes a LONG way in pretty much everything. Especially being a good neighbor.

Here at the shelter, I’ve seen separation anxiety, breaking out of ‘jail,’ aggression toward dogs and humans, etc. I want to make sure any dog I have in my life can handle being around cats who may not like her, other dogs when out and about, and people in general.


So, I’m looking at dogs. I will never bitch about the price of purebreds I’ve been looking at (which are averaging $1200 to $1600). Yes, it’s more, but when rescue dog adoption fees are in the $300 to $600 range… urf! 

The breeds I’m looking at at German Shepherds (easier to find in rescue here) and two of the Belgian Shepherd breeds: Tervurens and Groenendaels. Those are my ideals for a service dog. And I’d definitely get a roughly 12 to 16 week old puppy so I can start obedience training from the start and then around a year old, start working on service training. 


I’m just kinda seeing what’s out there right now. I’ll know when I’m ready for a dog. I hope.

~A

Posted in anxiety, bugaboos, C-PTSD, crowdfunding, depression, domestic abuse, emergency, empath life, homeless, homelessness, life, observations, society, storage, urgent

7/24: burned out

Burned out.
Torn up.
Tired of all of it.
Sick of the hate.
The pettiness.
The lies.
Why do humans do this?
Why the hate?
The judgement.
The condemnation.
We are no better than those around us.
Yet…

Many think they are.
No.
We are different from each other, but no better.
The pine box will be the same
No matter who or
What
You
Are.

I just had a run-in with one of the bullies here at the shelter. I wrote the above poem a few days ago, but it’s how I see things right now.

People don’t seem to realize that others do see how they treat people. Some of us watch, observe them. We hear the things they say when they don’t think anyone is listening.

Hear them trash someone who is unable to defend themselves. Then gaslighting me saying I said something and I didn’t. It’s exhausting dealing with people who don’t get that their behavior is bad. I snapped. I slightly regret doing that.

Being an empath who can’t block worth shit in a building full of unstable women is not something I’d wish on anyone.

I’ve hit my breaking point.

~A

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, cats, chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, health, homeless, homelessness, housing, job hunting, life, medical, music, Personal, poverty line, PTSD, society, storage, urgent

7/18: Updatessss…..

Lots of fur has been flying in my life of late.

Quick aside: Yes, still need help getting storage caught up. Really need to get it caught up for once and for all. Then I can deal with each month as I go. I just finished a four day run of tasks, but a chunk of that income will go to keeping my cell phone alive as I need it for that work. (They just called as well. I said I’d get some funds at the start of the month and then ended up using them for other stuff… so yeah… help?)

People are always amazed at my hourly rates for Taskrabbit. I inevitably get the “man, you should be rolling in dough” when I’m not. I can go 2 weeks without a task and then, like the last few days, get slammed with several. I had four tasks in four days, during a heatwave. Only one place had A/C. Today is my self-mandated rest day.

So, here’s the other stuff happening of late:

Housing: I don’t remember if I mentioned it before, but I got to the top of the waitlist for an SRO in North Portland. Problem #1: I still can’t afford the rent on it. Problem #2: My alarm bells for my PTSD went off when I was up there to fill out the application. As it’s a co-ed building with people of all ages and many disabled, there were many there who made me feel uncomfortable.

Also included in housing: I’ve been given a two-week extension here at the shelter, instead of the usual month-long extension. I’m at 4 months, which is the preferred length of stay, but I need steady income and safe housing. I don’t really have either at the moment.

Disability: I talked with the legal assistant who works with my attorney today. My case is now in the review stage. She said it could be 30-90 days before the judgment is made. Then another 60+ days before the brief is written.

Now, if I get a favorable decision, I can go ahead with General Assistance (meeting to apply for it next month), which can help with rent, etc until disability kicks in.

In all likelihood, I may not see funds until Christmas at this rate. If I get a favorable decision.

Shelter Life: Even with everything else going on, I have the added stress of living in this shelter. Anyone who wonders why many homeless people get bitter and angry, come stay here for a few months. With resources stretched thinner than month-old roadkill and people who can’t afford decent housing, it’s rough here. If one were to compare the lot of us, I have some of the highest education of residents, yet here I am. Extensive education doesn’t keep one from being homeless. It’s just a longer fall to the bottom.

Being disabled in a multitude of ways also makes it difficult to find work. I can’t just apply for anything and everything. I can’t stand for very long, sitting for more than 2 hours is painful as well. Due to my vocal cord issue, I can have difficulty on the phone for extended periods. My voice just cuts out. For being trained as a singer, that alone hurts. I miss singing.

There’s been a lot of fighting and arguing around here. The bullies are still around and being as asshole-ish as ever. One difference is that the main one knows not to directly mess with me. I’ve stood up to her a few times now, very loudly and publicly, so she harasses others instead.

Portia: We had some health issues last week where she threw up every bit of food and a hairball (she mats, almost never gets hairballs) for two days straight. Took her to Dove Lewis and have a bill to pay now. That night, she threw up what I eventually found out was bile. Only the once, thankfully. I took her to see her normal vet the next day (who comped the visit). She did a physical exam (I can’t afford bloodwork and all just yet) and found no major issues like an obstruction or full bladder. Her teeth and gums looked good as well. Despite her age (12) and sensitive skin/stomach, she’s pretty damn healthy.

Housing Option: While I’m aware that the big thing is affordability, I also need to get into someplace that’s more… normal. I’m at the point where sharing a kitchen and bathroom with a few people is reasonable to me (as opposed to sharing with 20 other women, some of whom don’t grasp the concept of cleaning up after themselves). There may still be spaces available at University Pointe which is unofficial housing for PSU. Not as cheap as an SRO, but I’d be sharing with no more than 3 other people. Much more manageable.

Job Hunting: As mentioned above, finding work within my parameters isn’t easy. Getting interviews is even more difficult. I can’t just apply to warehouse/factory/retail/fast food jobs. My back and my PTSD would never let me get very far. I used to love working retail, but re-injuring my back 5 1/2 years ago and then again last December (I should probably never leave my home that month) has made returning to it nearly impossible. I tried using a stool at my last retail job, but it pressed against my sciatic nerve, so I had to stop. My irritability from my PTSD doesn’t help. I’ve gotten worse at being around others. So, limited facetime in a job is best.

So, where does that leave me?

Not many options. But I’m trying.


Yes, I have my days where getting up and doing stuff just feels impossible. Days when hopelessness overwhelms me. I’m doing what I can to fight it, to stay positive, but is isn’t easy.

But this is my life in a nutshell at this moment. I may start another YouCaring just because… or GFM. I don’t really like either one. But this would cover vet bills, initial cost of pet insurance, and storage… I’ll keep y’all informed.

~A