Blog Archives

Audacity

2016 07 30 Reading Room

On the top floor of the library downtown, there is a wonderfully sun-lit corner set aside for a casual reading room. It offers a stunning view of the water and the entire marina and barrier islands. Facing one large picture window is a love seat where anyone who likes can relax as long as they want, enjoying the view and the quiet atmosphere.

Recently, I visited and took a seat away from the windows but where I was able to still enjoy a good view. I settled in with my Kindle and was knee-deep into a gripping story when a woman across from me (who had only sat down a few minutes prior) started clucking her tongue and sighing exasperatedly over the sound of a happy toddler just chatting to himself. He and his father were quietly enjoying the prime seating at the picture window and the toddler was, in my opinion, being exceptionally well-behaved. I glanced up and saw her glaring at the pair, scowling, then looking over to me as if she expected me to say something. After a few more minutes of her huffing, what she did next just blew my mind.

This woman – and because this story does have to do with racism and classism, I may mention she was Caucasian and very much a New Yorker and somewhat well-off – picked herself up and marched right over to the man – a local black southerner – and leaned right down in his face, asking him how much longer he planned on sitting there. I couldn’t hear his response but she said to him, “I’m not telling you what to do, but as you can see, this is a beautiful spot to sit and it is here for all the patrons of the library to enjoy, so you and your boy need to go downstairs or find somewhere else to sit because other people will want to sit here and you’ve been here long enough.”

Whoa.

Mind you, there were several seats available in the area, all with a view, and no one was waiting for a seat. The woman had only been there for five minutes when she decided the black family wasn’t good enough to use the seat. After hearing what she said to him, all I could do was utter a shocked sound and watch in horror as the man actually politely got up, packed his son back into his stroller, and left. I felt horrible for them, but I didn’t know what to say!

The woman then went to sit back down in her seat – not the window seat! – and about 30 seconds later got back up and came over to me. I was shocked when she placed her magazine and her hand on my lap and leaned in only inches from my face and asked me, “Were you laughing at me or with me?” I just shook my head and said, “You have balls.”

“What does that mean,” she asked. I calmly looked up at her, leaning back so as to feel a little less claustrophobic, and told her, “I was laughing at the audacity you have to think you have some God-given right to tell perfect strangers what to do. Those people had every right to be in that seat, they weren’t disturbing anyone, and you had NO right to walk up to him and tell them to leave! You don’t own this place and you have no authority over anyone here!”

She. Was. Shocked.

I was just disgusted. She scoffed at me and stormed off. Good. I’d wanted to slap her however my words appeared to have stung just as well. As soon as she left, the man and his son came back and he and I shared a smile and a look of understanding and sympathy as he took the window seat back and went about his business spending time with his son in these beautiful surroundings. People like that woman are a poison in our sea of tranquility and I hope for even a brief moment she realized that her intolerance will not be tolerated.

Weekend Art Project

While skimming through Pinterest recently, my daughter and I came across a project that looked fun and inexpensive so we thought we’d give it a try. It utilizes heavy art paper, a lot of crayons, white glue, scrap paper, and painter’s tape. 12715686_10153753304735660_3061785048652222276_n

Start the project by applying a thick layer of glue where you want the crayons positioned, then set the crayons into the glue. It will take several hours for this to dry, so just lay it flat for a while (we let it sit overnight).

Next, cut out a shape you’d like to have centered in the color splash (or several, or even none). It’s important to use painter’s tape because the hot blow dryer will not melt the adhesive (trust me, other types of tape failed). Tape around the edges of the shape, then trim it to shape and place on the canvas under the drip line.

With a blow dryer, melt the crayons and let the wax run down over the entire canvas. You’ll need to hover over a section until you get a good amount running down then aim the blow dryer to spread it out.

The wax will dry in a few minutes so when you’ve covered the canvas, peel up the taped-on shape while it is still wet. If you wait until it dries, it will tend to pop and crack off. Try using different color combinations and shapes and get creative!

Darkest before the dawn

I just wanted to send up a prayer request for protection these next two days from a person I have the displeasure of living with. I won’t go into the details out of respect for the privacy of all the people I live with but the son has had a lot of demons to fight and every time he has let them win. Tonight is no different as he seeks to make the most it if his last two days here by the use of chemicals. He was OK for a week or so but the quiet has come to an end and he is again tormenting and threatening everyone in the house. He is capable of anything in this state and I am always scared to be here when he’s like this because he has gotten violent with me. So please, keep me in your intentions this weekend and pray for the safety and peace of all in this household.

Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray and do thou, O prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who walk through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

ISO: Stability

Bear with me as I reflect on some out of the way things here, like the connection between Daytona and God.  I’m still unsure which led me to which, but here I am, borderline homeless in Daytona (defined soon) and wondering why after such fervent prayer, life keeps throwing me one backhand after another just trying to knock me down – which, admittedly, it has a few times in the past five months – and keep me from getting back up.

After losing my job in January 2013 due to the death of the owner of the company and subsequent company closure, I spend the next 8 months looking desperately for work that would pay enough to cover my basic expenses: rent, utilities, transportation, food… I’d taken a couple temp jobs in that time frame because they were all that were offered, but it was still nowhere near enough to cover even rent.  After my tax return had run out, rent of course fell behind.  I had given up numerous comforts (if you can consider a proper diet and asthma/heart medication comforts) in order to start paying a little over each week on my rent to catch up.  By August, I was essentially destitute. Knowing I couldn’t continue to pay rent, I gave my landlord 2 weeks notice and moved in with the man next door for a couple weeks.  That turned out to be a nightmare, as he was an ex felon and was extremely controlling and cruel.  He was also just plain disgusting as a person.  His treatment of me made living there unbearable and so I got out before I got into a situation that I wouldn’t be able to escape.

In September, someone I used to date back in 2010 contacted me from Daytona and offered to let me move in there.  It took a lot of very difficult decision making as this would put me 3 hours away from my daughter of whom I have shared custody.  Seeing her 4 days a week would then mean seeing her only once every 4-8 weeks due to miles, gas, funds, etc.  Without work and without a place to live however, I had to make the decision to relocate to try to get back on my feet.  You may as well have ripped my heart out of my chest and taken my last breath away because that’s what it felt like as I started heading to Daytona without my baby girl.  There was no work, unemployment had run out, my tax return and savings had run out, and I was without shelter.  What else could I do?

I get to Daytona and just as I arrive at the house, I find out the water has been shut off.  Not a good omen.  Ex is scrambling to find the funds and we are out of water for days.  It goes ok after that for a couple months, I learn my way around town but never quite feel welcomed. These people have a completely different set of ethics (or lack thereof) from the way I am.  I find work within a week of arriving, but instead of being helped to get on my feet as was promised, I end up financially supporting a household of seven people, sometimes in full, on bills, food, gas, cigarettes, personal supplies, household supplies… The ex… he makes a decent sum of money, netting far more than I ever have in a month, but spends it all as soon as it comes in. As many times as I asked him to sit down and create a household budget with me, he changed the subject. Soon, the money I was making was running out, leaving me with nothing at the end of the week for having to support everyone but myself.  That’s December, about the time his whole personality changed.  He began to withdraw, to push me away, then one of his own exes came back into his life. He stopped coming to bed, started staying up all night on the phone with her, spent nights out (taking personal supplies that made it obvious it was a planned “sleepover”), and started becoming emotionally abusive. Then mentally abusive, eventually moving into screaming, cussing, threatening and being all out vicious toward me.  At that point, I was scared as I’d been through this before and each time it only escalated. This man was becoming completely unraveled and was getting progressively and rapidly worse.

Come January, he’d left me for the third time.  The final time he broke up with me, he did so online without telling me, then told me finally and had the nerve to immediately ask me for gas money. Upon refusing to give it to him because – well – he’d just left me, he threw me out, first with 30 days notice, then with 3 days notice.  I came and went, sleeping where I could but the room he had just haphazardly thrown my few remaining belongings into was unlivable – it is a storage room, full of junk and mold, there is no door, no privacy, no bed, only a bare box spring, and a filthy couch that made me sick to sleep on one night. I felt like an unwanted dog being banished to a filthy kennel, only I think he’d have treated a dog better than he was treating me.

My dad being my angel, he ended up providing a clean, safe place while I looked feverishly for a roommate but Friday will be my last night there.  In the interim, a woman I’ve known for several years and used to work with ended up offering a room to me with her in Sebastian. We talked about it, sorted out the details, and I was to move in with her this coming Saturday, the 8th.  Trusting that my friend was acting honorably, I gave my daughter the good news that I would only be 45 minutes from her now instead of the impossible 3 hours and that I’d get to see her every week like normal again.  She was ecstatic, as was I as we miss each other terribly.  Well I don’t know what happened, but 3 days before I was supposed to move in with her, I noticed she’d deleted me from Facebook.  I called, no answer. I texted, no response. An hour later, I tried to go to her page to message her and it turns out she had blocked me.  There was NO warning or reason as to any of this.  I left her several voice mails yesterday and still no response, so my dearest William sent her a message on my behalf asking her what was going on and still has not heard back. 

Still have no idea why a friend of several years who so happily offered to have me move in with her, saying I’d done so much for her over the years, would – without any warning – delete me from Facebook, block me, refuse to answer her phone, return a text or a voice mail.  Why would someone do that? She knew what I had at stake. She knew I’d already told my daughter that I was moving back to the area, she even offered to come up to Daytona to help me bring some of my things down. The last conversation we had, she gave me the new address and we were making plans for the move this coming Saturday. It was all a go and she said she was happy to help, that I owed her nothing.  I would really love to know what is behind all this, why someone who was always so sweet would out of the blue do this to me.  Does anyone have any insight to offer as to why someone would do that?

So thank God I did not turn in my resignation at work, as I would have had to do had this move gone through.  Something stopped me from doing it, “Just in case.”  I returned to my search for a roommate and happened to call on a listing last night for a room for rent in the area… a little more than I was budgeting, but I will have to work something out if it goes through.  I spoke with the homeowner last night for a solid hour and she was very friendly, an older lady, who really seemed to resonate with me.  In exchange for helping her around the house, she offered to drop the deposit and pay for half the internet that I would be transferring over. I will be meeting with her tonight and am praying to God that everything works out and I can move in Saturday.  At this point, I have no other options so if anyone reading this would please join me in that prayer that I find a place to move into this Saturday, between my faith and your intercession, God can do some amazing things.

The other question bothering me so much is why does God continue to test my faith by allowing me to come into worse and worse situations?  I mean I have lost everything over the past 18 months, including access to my child who is the single most important person in my life.  I’d go as far as to say she IS my life.  Every time I have prayed on this, I have received the same answer:  “I do this to draw you nearer to me.  If you see that I can raise you from nothing, then you will have everything.”  But how much more pain and loss can I take?  I realize God knows my limits, but life has become unbearable far too often, especially in the past five months. In RCIA, they discuss depth of faith often.  It’s so difficult to have faith when all you’re doing is futile even down to your most basic needs being stripped away and the longer it takes to get an answer – or see a miracle – the further that faith sinks.  This becomes a vicious cycle as God detests the lack of faith and puts the person in an even lower situation, pressing the faith to return.  It’s a Catch 22 – how does it stop?  As life – and faith – elude me, I will leave off here, hoping some answers come in the way of a safe place to live with my meeting of this seemingly nice woman tonight.  Thank you for listening, and please – keep me in your prayers.

 

Daily Prompt: Simply The Best

This post is in response to: Daily Prompt: Simply the Best | http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/daily-prompt-best/

Where do you do your best thinking?

My mind is one of those that always seems to be going non-stop, even when I’m trying to get to sleep (sometimes especially then).  To make it all make sense takes special focus.  It takes actual pen and paper to chart out those processes, expand them, tie them together, and condense them in an organized, easy to tend manner.  While thoughts on everything from finances to short story ideas come in a mudslide, my key to gaining this coveted organization is sensory deprivation – or as close as I can get to achieving that.

This state of thought can rarely be achieved at home. With seven or more people in the house at any given time, there is rarely any quiet, much less a time of few to no distractions.  Our back yard provides a very temporary haven to sort things out as we have a large fire pit set far enough back that household cacophony does not reach.  It does seem though that every time I retreat to the fire pit for some brain-time, soon someone realizes I am back there and comes to hang out, the rest following shortly after they’ve realized the first is missing.

Alternately, beautiful shorelines are all around me.  Be it a small lake, a creek, river, or beachside, there is always somewhere I can go if I have the gas to get there.  The area around the library is one of my favourite places to sit and sort. If one view becomes monotonous, another is only a couple minutes’ walk away.  People don’t bother you much out there, aside from the expected nod, smile and “good morning!” as they pass you walking.  Being surrounded by natural scenes allows my mind to pause, take in the simplest of sounds, sights and smells, and stop long enough to think on paper, one topic at a time.  Nature gives me the space I need for my body and soul to just breathe and just that in itself helps everything fall into order.  Oddly, the darker, rainier, stormier it is, the more creative the thoughts become.  Until of course every hair on my body starts to tingle, then my only thought is “Lightning – Shelter!” *winks*

The only time it becomes impossible to think straight is when I am under extreme stress, and I have had my share of that.  When depression starts to creep in over the things causing stress, there is no place or situation that seems to help me think.  In fact, thinking when I am feeling depressed is something I try to avoid because it tends to begin a downward spiral which only ends badly unless by some miracle something happens to pull me out of it.  Likewise, I try like hell to avoid making decisions or plans under pressure.  Those are the ones we tend to regret the most.

So nature, every bit my thinking box, especially when the calming energy of water surrounds me.  Your turn – Where do YOU do your best thinking?

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a beautiful morning! Even though I had the chance to sleep in today, my internal clock still roused me at exactly 6 a.m. on this frigid Thanksgiving morning. With my phone dead, I couldn’t immediately see what the temperature was outside but even though it was a snuggly 70 degrees in our bedroom, my bones still felt that cold air nipping at the windows and trying to seep through wherever it could. Getting myself into a couple layers (and mind you I’ve lived in Florida my entire life, layering is not something that comes natural to me), I crept outside so as not to wake anyone else for whom getting up before dawn on a holiday may seem… foreign.  WOW the air went right through me. Right over my bare feet (told you, I’m a Floridian) and up my too-big jeans (one who’s lost a lot of weight).  No problem seeing my breath! I slipped into my car to plug my phone in and when it came up, Weatherbug displayed 35F with a “Feels Like” temp of 31F!  

This arctic blast was unexpected even to the weather sources apparently as the last I checked, the low was only supposed to be in the low 50s. Nevertheless, I do love a nice brisk morning, and this morning is being met much like any other with a hot cup of tea on the porch watching the sun come up – regardless of my shivering as though shoes finally did make it onto my feet, I kinda forgot socks.

Oh – and if you need a place to watch the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade live online – click here!

http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/livenow?id=8894246

So what am I thankful for?  These apply to every day, not only today.  In no particular order…

I’m thankful that my best friend was able to hold some of my belongings for a couple months until I could return to retrieve them – those belongings included my leather jacket – the ONLY warm thing I own – which I was able to get just in time for the cold weather.  I’m also thankful that he was able to help me in obtaining my asthma medications.  Having just gotten out of the hospital with pneumonia and a partially collapsed lung, I ended up also picking up a common cold virus which has got my sinuses, throat and chest a whole new mess, causing even more breathing problems!  

I’m thankful that for the first time in a decade, I am finally able to spend Thanksgiving with family (even if it isn’t my family).  I’m thankful that Tim is back in my life and that I have been welcomed into his family and am a part of it.  I’m thankful for all the children – mine and my future steps – who make the holidays what they are, a time for togetherness and tradition with a little magic and mayhem stirred into the mix.  Even though my daughter can’t be with us today specifically, she will be with us the next few days and who says Thanksgiving only has to last one day?  It’s a 4-day weekend!  I would happily re-write the common calendar just for her 🙂

I’m thankful for my father who has been an immense support to me on every level through this year of financial and emotional isolation and hardship.  My dad is the one person I can go to with anything without fear of being judged or preached at. He simply cares and he is my rock. I love you dad ❤

I’m thankful worlds over for my love Tim who, despite our rough past, remained firm in his love for me and provided me with everything that was missing from my life. From the basic to the paramount, he has done whatever it took to make sure I was taken care of, even when it became a struggle for all involved while always drilling into my head that it WILL get better. Now, we are on our way to things getting much better and really coming together. He’s given me food and shelter, he’s given me faith, family and most of all love. ALL of these things had been missing this year, some for much longer. Sometimes I don’t know how to show him how much he means to me and the words themselves often escape me, but I try. I’d be content to spend the rest of my life showing him how much he means.

I’m thankful that I have a home to come home to; that a severe health issue was able to be treated; for good nurses at the hospital who made me comfortable and less panicked when for days on end I was struggling to breathe and not responding to medications; for having even a small income even though it still isn’t enough to live on, at least it’s work; for my daughter having a full understanding of my life’s situation and being patient through some very difficult transitions that needed to be made to get me back on my feet so that I could properly care for both myself AND her.

There are many more things that I’m thankful for, but these are the ones that stand out most for me today.  On that note, it is time for me to start preparing my cold dishes for this afternoon. Pie prep was negated this year after Tim was gung-ho over making lemon meringue pie from scratch, then got suddenly “lazy” (his term, not mine) upon giving in to the temptation of a ready to eat key lime pie (which of course required the purchase of a pumpkin pie to go with it). That’s alright, dressing up the turkey is all on him and I’m just thankful (!) that this year – also the first in MANY – I don’t have to get my Thanksgiving dinner from a church or charity. It’s a blessing to actually have food in the house and there have been far too many times over the years, especially this last year, that there simply has not been any. 

I hope all of you reading this have a very happy Thanksgiving with those you love. 

Challenges never cease

Yesterday, I was looking forward to making the trip 2 1/2 hours south to go pick up my daughter who I haven’t seen in far too long. We miss each other terribly but its been nearly impossible to get up the money to get there as far behind as everything had fallen. Well, the thrill of having my daughter back has been taken away from me yet again as I have been in the hospital since Wednesday with a very sudden onset of right lower lobe pneumonia. I have been unresponsive to most of the breathing treatments, antibiotics and steroids that they have been pumping me with. I was in such respiratory distress yesterday that the doctor strongly suggested intubating me for 48 hours and waking me up after 2 days of ICU treatment. Of course I fought it tooth and nail. He diagnosed me with COPD. My blood pressure upon arrival was stroke level 236/120. My blood sugar is running in the 200’s so I’m shooting insulin three times a day. I’m an unholy trifecta of health problems right now. I had been praying for healing but certainly did not have to go through all this to achieve it. I think I was hoping for more of a miracle than missed child, missed work, missed home. I just hope to God my daughter understands that my being away is not by choice, that I want us together but that I am still financially destitute and severely ill. I still, after all the treatment, cannot get out of bed without taking ten minutes to catch my breath. I don’t know how long I will be in hospital, but I need to start responding NOW to treatment.

PerBlog September 10, 2013

Hello, friends.  Please bear with me while I vent.  Maybe you can even relate a thing or two to your own experiences and silently lend support with a shake of the head and a sighed, “Been there…”

So yesterday was a MONDAY.  It was a Monday to the extent that I tweeted an exasperated:

 

Image

 

It took no less than a half hour to get my sleep-through-a-nuclear-annihilation child out of bed in the morning. No matter how early she is sent to bed, every Monday morning is still a battle, some worse than others.  We ended up running late in getting her back to her dad’s house but after we’d left, it came to realization that she’d forgotten her notebook of homework so we had to turn around and get it.  

I barely skidded into work on time and no sooner did I sit down at my desk to log into the phone did my team leader come by, “I’m sorry, I have to send you home to change.”  What the?  See, during the summer, the dress code is pretty lax, with shorts and hats allowed in the call center.  Friday however, apparently an e-mail had gone out notifying staff that we had corporate company coming this week and were on a “business casual” dress code – no shorts, jeans, hats, etc.  This notice went out at 4:45 p.m. on Friday – my shift ends at 4:30.  Brilliant.  Trying not to miss *too* much time, I lead-footed it home and ended up getting stuck waiting for one of the Tropicana trains that snakes slowly across several intersections in the neighborhood, leaving no way around it.  I get home, I change, RUSH back to work, log in 32 minutes late and start having trouble breathing.

Rummaging through my purse, I cannot find my inhaler (I have chronic asthma) – Ok, I’m thinking, I’m going to drop dead at my desk.  Calls are pouring in, I’m trying not to sound like a pervert breathing heavily on the phone and trying to basically meditate myself out of this asthma attack between calls.  I make it through to lunch and call the pharmacy who has been trying to reach my doctor for an inhaler refill for two weeks now.  They still haven’t gotten a response but the pharmacist offers to try calling her directly to get an emergency refill.  I only made it until 2:30 when I could no longer talk on the phone and had to flag down my team leader to tell her I needed to go get a breathing treatment.  She said I could leave but would have one “occurrence” against me.  This is essentially their writing me up.  We are not allowed any time off for anything, period.  Screw it.  Breathing is kind of important.  I drive myself to the hospital and decide to take one last look through my purse, dumping the entire contents out onto the passenger seat.  Wouldn’t you know it, there stuck in the *lining* of my bag is my inhaler.  I contemplated going in for a treatment anyway because by then the asthma attack was so bad the inhaler wasn’t working fast enough but I eventually did get it under control.  As I was pulling out of the hospital parking lot, I get a call from the pharmacy that my prescription is in.  Of course, the price of it ended up being too much for me to afford this week so I would have been screwed anyway.  

The majority of my bad day ended there thankfully. I did leave out one bit that I didn’t think needed to be aired here, but still… yesterday was one of those, “Enough already!” moments when I just wanted to break down and cry and be held.  But of course crying would only give me a headache and there is no one to hold me anyway, so I just kept pushing through it all begging for it to end.  Anyway… signing it off here, writing off yesterday as just another day in hell and waiting to see what kind of mood the roommate is in once he wakes up.  Then again, with him just staggering out of the bedroom, my asking him, “How you feeling?” and his response being a sinister, “Don’t. Talk….” I can see how this night is going to go.

 

Desperate Times (Please Share And Help)

Dear Readers, do you feel like being someone’s angel today? Please share everywhere that you can, and please donate if you’re able.  Every little bit helps and it will help put a family in a safe place to live.

Here is the link: http://www.gofundme.com/40gc88

Thank you and God Bless…

Daily Prompt Writing: The Nomadic Life

From the Daily Prompt: Rolling Stone

If you could live a nomadic life, would you? Where would you go? How would you decide? What would life be like without a “home base”?”

This has always been a bit of a dream of mine, to live just to live, to enjoy experiences in life that aren’t possible within the constraints of a lease, a day job, shared custody and other limiting factors.  For a 40 year old who treasures new sights and experiences, meeting different people, photographing different areas and being immersed in different cultures, it must be said that I have gotten very few opportunities in life to do any of this.  The extent of my travels has been through the Carolinas, The Bahamas and Mexico.  All instances were limited by time and money and only left me wanting more.  To live as a nomad would still require some sort of stability – ironic, I know.  This means I would not want to live as a beggar but rather be able to earn a little money no matter where I went in order to remain self-sufficient (and fed!).  More than likely, I would take on some kind of art or craft and sell my talents at various events and festivals across the country, throughout the year. Part of those crafts could be hand-penned original inspirational poetry on parchment, ready to frame in someone’s study or bedroom.  Ideally, I would have a small RV in which I could keep my scant belongings and a bicycle to use for travel throughout the area of the moment.  I would of course need to remain tech savvy – Internet access would be vital as it is to nearly everyone today.  I would likely gather information on upcoming events and places to go from the web in order to keep short-term plans in order.  This would allow me to remain a wanderlust but one who would not be caught off guard by not having a place to park, sleep or sell crafts.  I wouldn’t say that there would be no “home base.”  I would have my RV – wherever it took me would be home.  The whole of the continental USA would be my home!  The beautiful thing about the Internet is that it brings people together no matter where they are, so losing touch with family and friends would not be an issue.  It would be a simple life, free of undue clutter, free of the feeling of being cooped up and held captive by societal constraints.  As a Sagittarius, this sort of nomadic life would be what my soul has always craved.  I am determined to one day see this to fruition.