Sunday, February 27, 2011

Book miniReviews - Library books

As is suggested in the title, all three of these books came from the library, so no money changed hands anywhere.

Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts:  I actually read about this on a book blog a couple of weeks ago, and it sounded so good that I had to go find it on our next trip to the library.  The heroine, Lucky, is smart and funny, and though she has her moments of introspection, she has a healthy self-esteem.  Her family and friend connections, as well as the Las Vegas setting, make for some amusing situations.  She's a quick thinker and handles her responsibilities at the casino solidly.  Two thumbs up.  My only problem with this book?  In two different places, the word discreet was replaced by discrete.  Those words do NOT mean the same thing.  One passage that I thought was especially funny?  "Truth be told, I'd been feeling an attraction to almost any male who could walk and talk without drooling on himself.  I realized I was in trouble when the gardener, who was married with eight kids and knew four words of English - one of them being "fuck" (which he used with relish) - started looking hot to me."  As a woman of a certain age, I resemble that remark.  Every Spring.  Thank goodness for ironclad self-control.  lol  Of note:  The Big Boss is never referred to by his actual name until nearly the end of the book, during a series of scenes in the hospital.

Undead and Unfinished by MaryJanice Davidson:  This book was a big ball of WTF for me.  I kept waiting for a point to be made.  It wasn't.  The ending, for anyone who's read others of this particular series, was a huge WTF? and kinda turned me off reading any of the rest of it.  One glaring oddity:  Satan talks about an interaction with Jesus, where he'd declined to join her, saying, "Yes indeed.  He told me he'd pray for me.  He quoted Scripture to me; how dull."  This struck me as totally off because when Jesus was alive, assuming he was a person alive about 2000 years ago, the Scriptures, as such, had not been written, so how could he quote them?  I think that's the kind of question that made them ask me to stop going to church when I was a teenager.  lol

The Penalty Box by Deirdre Martin:  Another in a series of friends and family members in NYC getting involved with hockey players.  This time, it's Paul van Dorn, who was a peripheral character in an earlier book, getting involved with Katie Fisher, a girl from high school.  This was an enjoyable book, with plenty of hockey references, as well as visits with prominent characters from previous books.  Ms. Martin does do characters very well.  Thumbs up.  Disappointments - mistakes that should have been caught by an editor - a reference to something carrying cache, which should have been cachet.  Cache, as far as I can remember is a computer term, and has nothing to do with something giving a young boy a little lift in his peers' eyes.  Another was a glaring improper use of the past tense of the word "lay."  A third reference was to an addict's litany of terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad things about herself, used to illicit sympathy.  Obviously, that should have been elicit.   And, the resolution to the relationship came in the last three to five pages of the book and was entirely too easy.  I love you.  I love you, too.  Let's live happily ever after.  Gag me.  Maybe she's planning to use the next few steps in Paul and Katie's relationship in her next book (if it's not already out), and so didn't want to spoil it, but it was a total letdown of an ending.

Wanna Get Lucky?
Undead and Unfinished (Queen Betsy, Book 9)
The Penalty Box (New York Blades)

In the interests of full disclosure, if  you click on the links and buy anything at Amazon, I'll get a wee bit of credit.  If you are going to buy something at Amazon, I'd sure appreciate the help, and if you're not, that's cool, too.

Book nonReviews

Sorry.  I'm so far behind on books that I am going to go simple here.

Wages of Sin, Grave Sins, Bound by Sin, all by Jenna Maclaine (purchased off my Amazon wishlist with xmas money):  First three books in the Cin Craven series.  Good books.  Interesting heroine.  Believable. Thumbs up for all three.

Silent Truth by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Dianna Love (purchased from Amazon with xmas money): A Bad Agency novel.  Honestly, even after reading the back of the book, I can't remember what the book was about.  I enjoyed it, so I'll give it a thumbs up.

Thief of Hearts by Christopher Golden (gift from C.G. when I was on his Street Team): This is a young adult novel, and YA is not usually my cup of tea, but when I was done with this one, I wanted to go straight to the library to see if there were more in this setting.  That's two thumbs up in my book (no pun intended).  College girl works as a morgue assistant and goes to school full-time.  College so far has been by turns fantastic and traumatic.  There were a couple of moments where I was sure I knew what was going to happen, and one I was right, the other I was so wrong.  I've yet to read a C.G. book I didn't enjoy, regardless of the genre.

Montana Mavericks by Susan Mallery, Bronwyn Williams and Carolyn Davidson (from a box of books I've had a long time, so purchased somewhere and somewhen):  Three historical shorts about three male Kincaid relatives in Whitehorn, Montana.  I read the whole book, but it didn't really hit me anywhere.  The heroines were not quite independent enough for me - Even for a historical setting, these ladies were too aware of their "places" as women.   I'm not a big fan of historical to begin with, though I've read some really fantastic historical romances, but this one didn't really leave me wanting to know more about modern-day Whitehorn.  No thumbs at all, up or down.

Death in Holy Orders by P.D. James:  murder mystery set in a theological college on the harsh eastern coast of England.  Interesting characters, interesting twists, and some romantic undertones between a couple of the characters.  There were a smattering of English terms I couldn't figure out, even from context, but I just kept reading.  I don't think those few terms kept me from enjoying the book.  This was in a box of books I've had a long time, so again, purchased somewhere and somewhen.  Thumb and a half up.

Wages of Sin (Cin Craven, Book 1)
Grave Sins (Cin Craven, Book 2)
Bound By Sin (Cin Craven)
Silent Truth (Bad Agency)
Thief of Hearts: A Body of Evidence Thriller #2
Montana Mavericks: Big Sky Grooms
Death in Holy Orders (Adam Dalgliesh Mystery Series #11)

In the interests of full disclosure, if  you click on the links and buy anything at Amazon, I'll get a wee bit of credit.  If you are going to buy something at Amazon, I'd sure appreciate the help, and if you're not, that's cool, too.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday, Wednesday

Got through the screening process for my county's MHMR, and went to the local office today to finish the screener and see what services I could be offered.

The office was closed, not just today, but all week.  When they reopen, they will only be open on Friday.

I need help, y'all.  Really badly, I need help.  How am I supposed to try to fix myself if the services I need are not there when I go to them?

Besides all that, for whatever reason, today is a bad day.  I just can't get defunked.

Maybe I'm just thinking too much about not having a place to live in a couple of months.  Something always works out, you know?  It has all of my adult life.  But in the meantime, while I don't know HOW it's going to work out, I worry.  Constantly.

Got another one

Got another one of those emails from my mom today. 

After reading it, I wondered again if she really thinks I'm so stupid that I don't know what needs to be done to get ready to move by the end of April.

Oh, and apparently sending me birthday money gives her government over said money.  I took myself and Mrs Potatohead out to dinner one night.  We got cheap appetizers for meals and free guacamole.  We had a good time getting out of the house.  It didn't cost us much.  Nonetheless, my thank you note raised her ire and I was informed that I need to stop going out to eat so much.

I wonder what I did in a previous life that I'm paying for now?  No use wondering when she'll realize what she's doing.

I do have a lot to do to get ready.  So much stuff to get rid of.  >sigh<

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Observations

These higher thread-count sheets really are better.  Soooo comfortable!

Baby's smile when he looks at me makes my day!

Homemade hamburgers are 1000% percent better-tasting than bought somewhere else, but cooking them at home is so not better.  Ugh. 

Trash multiplies like bunnies or dust.  It needs to be taken out every day.  I wish everyone believed that, particularly the everyone who lived in this apartment.  :)

Baby Potatohead is as ticklish as his father.  >evil grin<

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I am so annoyed!

I remembered something I needed to do, and opened a web page to search for the links, but by the time the page opened, some milliseconds later, I couldn't remember what it was I needed to do.  Gah!!!!!!

How am I supposed to get stuff done if I can't even remember it long enough to write it down, so I can remember to do it?

Got some things done yesterday

Sort of.  lol

I was awake a good part of the daylight hours yesterday, which is quite a switch from what has been the norm, lately.  I am, at 0751 on Saturday, still awake, from yesterday, so I'm less than hopeful that Saturday will be an awake during daylight kind of day.

I checked the mail, and got out of the house to use a coupon, because Mrs. Potatohead was still asleep and I was soooooo hungry.  I'd left it too late, and was unable to find any place open (that wasn't fast food), even on a Friday night.  Bummer.

I managed to forget the package I needed to mail, so it will have to go out today.

I spent a good bit of time in Mrs Potatohead's room, sorting laundry according to whom it belongs.  I think that'll make it easier to grab a basket or two and head to the in-laws for some quality laundry time.  That was quite some pile of laundry.  Five baskets worth, and two pillowcases full, not including the larger blanket items that Baby Potatohead has spit up on, or otherwise graced with his presence.  :D

Vacillated between listing my George Foreman grill on eBay or just freecycling it, and ended up freecycling it.  The new owner is supposed to come pick up the grill this morning, in about an hour.  I will be happy to have one more thing out of my house.

So many things run through my head - sell this thing? or freecycle it?  Package these items together by color and purpose, or just get rid of each thing individually?  I have so much stuff, and I'm feeling more overwhelmed every day by the prospect of divesting myself of nearly all my worldly goods by the end of April.   Doing it virtually unassisted makes me want to run away.

Time just flies.  In a smidge over 30 days, Mr Potatohead graduates from Air Force Basic Military Training, and in very short order, Mrs and Baby will join him at his new location.  I must have many of my belongings given away or sold by then, as I'll have no place to live at the end of April - family has been helping since June, and they are not willing to help when it's just me, so I must vacate the premises.  That's actually more than a little terrifying, and so I try to avoid thinking about what I will do when I have to leave this apartment.  Ignoring things has never really worked before, but I keep trying it, anyway.

I did find a job listed that sounds about perfect, and though I'm not confident that I can physically handle the stress of working, I'm applying anyway.  I can hope that if I am offered the position, they would be willing to make some accommodations for my increasing physical infirmity.  I would be indescribably glad to have some regular income, and it might make finding a room to let or some other roof-over-my-head easier.  I mean, who wants a moocher on their couch for months on end, right?

I'm hoping that I can manage to stay awake long enough to get Mrs and Baby and some laundry over to the in-laws, so that we can nap our way through a couple of loads of laundry, and come back with some clean clothes.  Clean sheets, in particular, feel so good, don't they?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Five Love Languages

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts

Gary Chapman alleges that there are Five Love Languages: Words of Affirmation; Quality Time; Gifts; Acts of Service; Physical Touch.

There's plenty of information on the web about how to find your love language, or your significant other's, or your child's.  I'm going to talk about mine, and give some examples.  In reality, there are aspects of all five languages that are a part of my personality.

One of my major love languages is Physical Touch.  It's a language that not many people speak to me, in part because I'm isolated, and in part because I'm kind of stand-offish.  Yes, I am a living dichotomy.  I'm not really, though, because I don't want total strangers speaking this language of love.  Some of my favorite moments: a former male roommate used to put my head in his lap and play with my hair.  There was no sexual component, no expectation, he just liked playing with my hair.  I loved it, and I miss him every time I think about him, because he touched me, all the time, without any message behind it.  A hug, a hand on my shoulder, sitting with our feet touching on the couch, simple things that expressed a world of meaning to me.  Physical Touch is one of the reasons I LOVE babies of all kinds.  They love to be touched, for the most part.  Humans, puppies, kittens, goats, rabbits, whatever they are, they like being touched or stroked.  I can give them that, without any subconscious worry about what they're going to think about what I want (which is nothing), though as much as I give, I'm taking, too, because they're touching me without meaning anything except, "I'm glad to be alive and I like you right now, whoever you are."

Some of the deepest roots of my depression are entwined with the lack of physical touch, at least physical touch without something behind it.  In today's society, and I'm going back my whole life, so 46 years, touching someone is rife with unspoken meaning and expectation, whether or not we want it to be (though this was less true in the heyday of the 60s).  Very few of us manage to "speak" to each other without subtext involved.  When it's not perfused with unspoken meaning, it's superficial, which says a whole other thing.  The simple act of holding hands becomes a commitment, rather than a simple statement of belonging to the human race or moral support.

Another major love language for me is Acts of Service.  I get much more of this, because it's much simpler than touching for most people.  Have you ever performed a Random Act of Kindness?  Then you gave someone an Act of Service.  When someone holds the door for me, it tells me that he values me as a human being (his actual intent makes no difference to me).  Offering me a seat in a crowded waiting room is another example.  When Mrs Potatohead was younger, she would sit behind me and check my back for spots or pimples and take care of them.  It sounds silly, but it told me she loved me.  A friend likes for her toes to be pulled, because it was something her mother used to do for her.  So while an Act of Service can be something big and overt, like serving in a soup kitchen, for me it's the smaller, everyday acts of kindness that mean the most.

It's also the smaller, everyday acts that raise my ire the most when a simple Thank You does not follow - like the person who walks through the door I'm holding without even looking at me or acknowledging me in anyway.  What, your life is going to go spiraling down the toilet because you stopped to say Thank You to an old lady?  Brat. I'm not actually sure if I think it's just a lack of manners, or if it's because many of these simple things physically hurt for me to do, but it's ingrained in me to do them because a polite and courteous person does them.  Sometimes I want to just let the door go and watch the look on their face when it hits them in the nose.  I don't, though, because a mannerly person doesn't stoop to the level of others.  I have higher expectations of myself.

Gifts mean a lot to me, and I'm not talking about GIFTS, like little blue boxes or money.  Those are fine gifts, but they're not as meaningful to me as the small ones.  A card in the mail just to say hi, when email is so much easier and faster, means that you thought of me.  Bringing me a handful of coke bottle tops with codes means that you thought of me specifically, and not just at the moment of bringing me the gift, but several times over the course of a week or month or however long, and it actually means more to me than if you were to send me a check for $1000 every month.  Yes, the money would be useful, but it would be meaningless.  That sounds wrong, but I'm not sure I can clarify the thought.  When I ask a question and you don't know the answer, but do some research and come back a week or so later when I didn't even know you were looking, that's a gift to me.

Quality Time and Words of Affirmation are less important to me.  Quality time is something I shared with my mother, for instance.  We could be simply sitting in the same room, reading our individual books, drinking our carbonated beverages (or boxed wine, in her case), with occasional desultory conversation or sharing a quote from the book, and pass hours that way.  To us, that was quality time, where watching TV or going to the zoo was not really.  Quality Time, given to me, means that you went out of your way to come see me or meet me somewhere, and we just spend time together - splashing the kids in the pool, going through boxes of clothing to go away, taking a nap together.  I know, I'm boring.  lol  Quality Time with Mrs Potatohead is sitting at a table somewhere, eating a meal with me.  She never has understood (and I've never articulated it) why this means so much to me.


Words of Affirmation are probably least important, because I learned early in my life that the words themselves meant nothing if the action behind them was the opposite.  "I love you" became something that I didn't believe, because a person's actions said quite the opposite to me.  "You're doing a great job," when coupled with the suggestion that I train someone else to do my job, or take a cut in pay, was baffling until I learned not to listen to what people said, but what they did.  I tend not to take what anyone has to say at face value.  I believe them when they do what they say they will do, and not a minute before.  Sometimes, this creates problems when people mean what they say and I don't believe them, or when someone I have come to believe actually doesn't mean what they say this time. 


On the other hand, if I take the time to give someone a compliment, it takes me far out of my comfort zone, so it really does come from the heart.  If I tell someone she has beautiful skin or that her dress is very flattering or that he's doing a great job teaching his kids manners, I'm not fishing for some kind of response other than perhaps to make someone's day a little brighter.  I didn't really start doing this until after my mother died, and the first two or three dozen times, I would actually tear up and have trouble getting the words out.   I'm certain that more than one of my recipients of Words of Affirmation thought I was a total nutjob.  They weren't far off the mark, but that's beside the point.


Learning to communicate with someone in their Love Languages, not just communicating to them, but also "listening" to how they communicate to you, can make a dynamic difference in your interpersonal relationships.  What Love Languages do you speak?

Yesterday...I had a little breakdown

Despite my best efforts, I did not get to sleep before 9AM on Friday morning, and slept until about 4:30PM.   I set my alarm, but I don't remember hearing it go off.

Immediately upon waking and checking the clock, I knew I'd slept too late to get to the post office or to the bank or to the county tax office for my car tags.  Another day, wasted.

I went to the kitchen because I was hungry, and decided on something easy - mac n cheese.  As soon as it was done, I took a bowl to Mrs. Potatohead, whose immediate response was, "I'm not hungry."  For a split second, I was just thinking, I don't really care if you're hungry or not, I spent half an hour in the kitchen cooking, and you're going to eat this whether you like it or not, you ungrateful little snot.  The thought passed, but its embers of anger remained.

Back to the kitchen to get my own food.  Of course, being OCD, I must wash the dishes first, so that I don't have to come back and do them later.  I'm not really sure if that's OCD or laziness.  lol  I finish washing the pot (those damn noodles were sticky yesterday, despite a touch of oil in the water to keep them from sticking.  Reaching over to put the clean pot on the stove, I find a roach ambling along.  I kill it, but it kills my brain's appetite.  My body's still hungry, but my brain will not let me eat now.  I couldn't even finish my root beer, because I couldn't see into the can.  I mean, I have no way of knowing where that roach has been while I've been turned the other direction doing dishes.  Maybe it walked in my mac n cheese.  Dump the Clorox wipe into the trash.  Take the trash out the front door.  Put the mac n cheese into the fridge, even though I'll probably never eat it now.

Walk back toward my bedroom, well on my way to crying, and Mrs Potatohead comes out, asks me what's wrong.

Putting it all into words today, it just sounds silly, but yesterday, it really wasn't.  I cried about being in pain, and cooking food I now couldn't eat even though I was hungry, and not being able to pay the bills on my own, and not being able to do anything with my left arm without hurting it more, not being able to get out of the house and do anything, because nearly everything costs money I don't have, and I don't even remember what all else.  I told Mrs Potatohead the only thing going right for me was being gramma.  I was in such a bad place yesterday, though, that I didn't even want to hold the baby, for fear I would poison him with my depression.

Since being off all my meds, these breakdowns happen all too often for me.  I've never been an outwardly emotional kind of gal (I learned early that any emotion someone could see was an emotion someone could use against me), and not being able to control myself in front of people (even when that people is only my daughter) is humiliating to me.  (so, why am I blogging about it, you might ask)

During my little episode, I wondered how I was going to function without someone to help me dress, and get things out of the cabinet that I can't reach with my left arm being wonky, or lift something that is just too heavy for me anymore. 

Today, I'm still worried about those things, but they seem much smaller.  Yes, I cannot dress myself without help - and yes, it's just that I can't do my own bra.  The rest I have continued to be able to manage myself.  Yes, I cannot carry anything through the house without stumbling or nearly falling, so I just walk more slowly.

I read an email from someone the other day who talked about how much energy it takes just to roll over in bed, much less get out of bed and do something.  I can totally relate.  It's demoralizing.  And the physical inabilities are bad enough without adding depression on top of them.  At this point, for her and for me, it's all a vicious circle, with disability and depression feeding each other, so that I wonder if I'll ever get back my ability to function in the real world, and if I don't, how long can I keep living this way without really breaking?

As for why I'm sharing this, I guess I'm writing this, imagining that I'm writing in a journal no one will ever read until after I'm gone, and also hoping that what I say will let someone know that they are not alone in their struggles.  Maybe my struggles are not exactly like yours, but maybe there's some kernel that you can take with you into your day to make it better.  And maybe, I'm writing this as a form of prayer, asking the universe to help me tame this monkey on my back.  Maybe I just like to hear myself talk.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I know I've gotten old when....

my birthday greeting from my father is an email at 1500, rather than a phone call at 0730. 

He was in Huntsville AL this week doing something work-related.  I'm sure that's why he didn't call his eldest daughter on her birthday.  lol

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Weird stuff happening

Today, I've been having trouble typing.  I've been typing since I was 15 or so (around 30 years), and though I failed typing in high school, I generally type 65-75 words per minute with near 100% accuracy once I started typing on a regular basis. 

What's been coming up on the screen today, though, is not what I've been thinking and telling my fingers to type.  To make matters worse, I'm having to wait for the computer to finish typing something, so if I think I've made a mistake, I have to wait as much as 5 or 6 seconds to see if I did, and then fix it.  It's messing with my speed and making it hard to get things out of my head an onto "paper."

Maybe I'm just having a bad typing day.  It's also been pretty cold, so maybe my fingers are just not cooperating.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Movie: The Pacifier

Another movie review from 2005.

My daughter and I saw this movie last night.  We decided to check out the dollar movie after work and supper and were originally going to see Miss Congeniality 2. Unfortunately, that one didn't start until nearly an hour after we got there, and so we decided on The Pacifier instead.  (on a side note, I saw MC2 at a later date, and thought it pretty well sucked)

It has Vin Diesel (best known for xXx and The Chronicles of Riddick) and Lauren Graham (from Gilmore Girls and Bad Santa), plus Raymond's older brother Robert (sorry, can't remember the actor's name) in a love-to-hate role.

I had cramps from hell when we sat down and was desperately hoping that the movie would at least be distracting so that I'd stop thinking about it, but really, wasn't holding out much hope.

Imagine my surprise to find myself laughing out loud more than a few times, at the antics of Vin Diesel pretending (very well) to be a SpecOps Lieutenant relegated to babysitting duty because of a National Security situation.  His character had no previous experience with children and his overreaction to normal childhood happenings were definitely behind some of the laughs.  His lack of experience, though, also made him more able to handle other things because of a lack of preconceived notions.

I enjoyed this one immensely and daughter and I plan to add it to our library when it comes out on DVD. (we did indeed do this)

There is some violence and there might be some ass or damn, but it's a Disney movie, so it's pretty tame language-wise.  There is one Disneyfied kissus interruptus and a completed kiss toward the end.  And, of course, it has a Disney happily ever after ending.

Movie: Constantine

Yes, I know this movie is way old news.  lol   It's a review I wrote in 2005.

This movie got chosen for two reasons:  It stars Keanu Reeves and it's rated R.  There were other movies I wanted to see more, but the whole point of the evening was to pick something I could see that my daughter couldn't.  I love my brother.  :D  This is the first movie we've each seen in the theater since Troy, which coincidentally, we saw together.  We decided last night that Brad Pitt liked his own ass better than either of us did.

It was dark and confusing and had pretty girly boobies nearly falling out of a shirt, and I liked it.  Not the greatest movie I ever saw, but worth the $6.50 I paid for a student ticket.  It's worth at least a trip to the dollar movie, in my opinion.  It'll definitely play much better on the big screen than as a rental.

If you're not a Keanu fan, don't bother, because he's his trademark self in this movie.  Personally, I love the little almost-smile he has and he uses it a couple of times in this movie.  My brother and I both sighed.  We also both enjoyed the single shot of Constantine with his shirt open.

Rachel Weisz is the female lead and duals as the female lead character's twin sister.  She's very pretty.  Heee!  I just looked her up on IMDB and she and Keanu were together in a little movie I watched a lot of years ago called Chain Reaction.

I had never heard of the comic Constantine, so I don't have any means of knowing whether or not the movie followed the comics.  It's a typical good v evil story, from the point of view of someone not quite either.  Some really interesting imagery related to the peripheral characters, and a lot of untypical casting choices, I thought.

If you're not a bug person, there are at least a half-dozen scenes where you'll be squeaked.

Thus do I review a movie, by telling you whether or not I liked it, without actually telling you anything about the movie's plot.

Things don't always go the way they should

I'm human, like almost everybody who reads this blog.  All four of you.  lol  This post may be long and a bit of a pity party, so I won't blame you if you stop reading before the end.  I did say I was writing this blog mostly for myself, right?  :D

I've been unemployed a long time, and that in itself is discouraging.  Since I've been unemployed, my health has worsened, and that is also discouraging.

Last year, I started the year out with high hopes that this would be the year that I made big changes in my life - decluttering being at the tippy-top of my list.  Continuing to see my doctor regularly, getting my disability approved and starting my daughter's senior year of high school were up there, too.

I made pretty good progress on the declutter thing, right up until about April, when things went to hell in a handbasket.  My daughter was pregnant, and her boyfriend's "guardian" was PUSHING for them to get married, "right this very minute" practically.  Once someone actually explained the reasons for his big rush, I understood.  I might have been, probably would have been, much less resistant to the whole idea had he had the courtesy to sit down and tell me these things himself.  But, he's a my-way-or-the-highway kind of guy and neither likes nor trusts me and never felt the need to explain a single thing to me, no matter how politely I asked.  The dislike and lack of trust is mutual.

So, I'm derailed right in the middle of my great declutter momentum by the plans to get my daughter married.  Again, I was resistant, because she's my only daughter and I wanted some effing say in how her wedding went.  I did not get much - I think I put my foot down on the precise location of the ceremony itself in the park.  On the plus side, I did get to actually go to it, so I guess I should have counted myself lucky.

Along about June, maybe even right toward the end of the Great Wedding Debacle of 2010 (my debacle, not the wedding's), I get notice from my landlady/roommate that we have to be out of the house by the end of June.  I'm all freaked out by this, because, as I said above, I have been unemployed for a while (it'll be three whole entire years on March 5, less than a month from now) and Miss Not-Potatohead-yet is getting married, and Mr Potatohead's parents are leaving the state and, and, and, and.  My parents kindly and generously offered to help me out with an apartment and all expenses thereto for a period not to exceed one year.  Did I mention kind?  Or generous?   This was not normal behavior for my family, so I was astounded and amazedly grateful.  I said Thank You aloud as often as I appropriately could, and offered to help with whatever little things needed doing, since I was unemployed and had nothing better to do.  They were Not Interested.  I don't know how else to express gratitude other than saying it or showing it.

Kindness and generosity in my family sometimes comes with strings.  In this case, I had to live in the complex my mom had picked out, and in order to stay on budget, could not have an apartment with washer/dryer connections.  Have you ever had to keep a baby clothed without a washer or dryer?  But I digress.  We're not there yet.  We also had to move a month earlier than I planned, and move into an apartment on the third floor.  I could have waited two weeks and gotten on the second floor, but mom said that was just too long.

So here I am, with a very pregnant daughter and a pretty immobile self, moving into an apartment on the third floor of a complex that my mom insisted on.  We get a big old truck full of stuff moved and I try to get started on the declutter thing.  It's not going well, but neither is it going poorly.  BabyDaddy finishes his senior year stuff and turns 18.  He moves over here with us (originally, he was going to move with us when we did, not three months later).  My kid works on finishing high school through a special self-paced program for at-risk students, so that she can be done with high school before the baby enters the big, wide world.  She does extremely well, much to my only-slightly surprised delight, though is not quite finished in time for Baby Potatohead to make his appearance.

Early in September, my former landlady/roommate tells me the house has sold, and the remainder of my stuff must be out by the end of September.  Since I had no money, she paid for the U-Haul and paid Mr Potatohead and my neighbor to do the heavy lifting.

Once Baby Potatohead enters the world, everything changes, as everyone who's ever had a child can tell you.  Other Gramma comes to visit for a few days, and we share the snuggling with baby duties, so that the parents can get some sleep. 

Life goes on.  The baby grows.  I try my hardest to leave the kids alone, to allow them the time and space to become a family in their own right.  That's seriously difficult when we're all living in the same two-bedroom apartment.  And when the laundry piles up and starts to smell bad.  And when no one in the place does dishes but me.

I am beginning to make progress again on my decluttering, with Mr Potatohead's assistance.  Frequently, he gets a wild hair while the rest of the house is sleeping, and I wake up to a living room that has been totally rearranged, most of the time so it's easier to navigate and harder to trip over your own two feet.  Time passes and Mr Potatohead's entrance into the Air Force draws nearer and nearer.  I start making lists of things that need to be done, so that once we're a man down (the strongest man, of course), we girls and Baby Potatohead can still get things done without our wee strong man to lift and carry.

The last week before Mr Potatohead left went by in a rush.  All of a sudden, it was the night before.  I knew that he had to be at the MEPS center by noon and to the hotel by 2000.  Just as I'm getting ready to go to bed, Mrs Potatohead tells me that we're leaving for the MEPS center by 0830.  Um, what?  Apparently, they have a few places they need to go before going to downtown Dallas, and they neglected to tell me about any of them before that very moment.  The trip downtown was not a joy.  I spent eight hours that day, sitting in a car and doing nothing else.  I was in so damn much pain when I got home that even though I was practically starving, I couldn't eat. 

So, Mr Potatohead is now gone to Lackland for Basic Military Training.  He'll be there until about the end of March, when he will then begin Air Force Technical Training, aka Tech School.  By the end of April, I will be living alone, a good four months before I ever thought I would, since Mrs Potatohead will still not be 18 yet.

During this entire time, my mom has been oh, so, generously paying the rent and the other utilities (not my cell phone bill), and mentioning to me at every opportunity how much she's spending and what she's putting off because she can't afford to do it while I'm being taken care of (she calls it my free ride).  I mentioned the strings before, right?  Well, with mom, this is one of those strings.  I have to put up with her constant haranguing about my lack of responsibility, my lack of respect, my lack of gratitude, my lack of any decent qualities whatsoever, and do it all with a smile on my face.  She doesn't believe I'm disabled.  I mean, she's 15 years older than I am, and she's not disabled, is she?  I'm fat, and that's why I can't get around.  I'm a slob, and a never-ending disgrace to the family.  And, I'm a terrible mom, because I can't even provide for my own child, much less the additions to the family.  OK, mom, I get it.  I'm a loser, might as well kill me.  I just wanna smack her sometimes and say, "Hello?  Did it ever occur to you to encourage me, or tell me even one thing I'm doing right?"  I mustn't do that, though, because it would be, yes, disrespectful.  And, apparently, she never hears a single Thank You, ever.

So, back to where I started this entry.  lol

I don't have a job.  I look for jobs, but I know my physical limitations.  Yes, I could get a job at Blockbuster, but how long would I have it when I can't stand on my feet for two hours, much less eight?  I couldn't begin to survive a shift at McDonald's or Arby's or someplace like that.  Am I giving myself excuses?  Should I try it anyway?  I just don't know.  Besides that, in three years, and hundreds of applications and resumes sent out, I've gotten two in-person interviews, and two phone interviews doing the sort of thing I was doing before I was laid off.  Logically, I don't see how that could possibly be my fault, but the other part of me is sure that somehow I'm responsible for the lack of response to my applications and resumes.  I mean, I'm applying to jobs minutes after they're posted.  I'm applying to jobs in retail, for crying out loud.  I don't think I can do any better than that.  Maybe I should be "pounding the pavement" as my father says.  It seems to me, though, that I can only look for a job so many hours of the day.  Beyond that, I believe I have to do something that will actually bring in money, not just waste gas money I don't have and use up clean clothes that can't be washed without, again, using money I don't have (we are not allowed to do laundry at my parents' house) or piling everybody and everything into the car and going to the in-laws.  And hoping they're not home.  I like them just fine, but it's awkward to sit in someone's house for hours reading a book or doing whatever on the laptop.  Some people feel the need to interact with other people when they're in the same room.  It's when I'm at their house forcing myself to talk when I'd rather be doing almost anything else that I miss my mother the most.  She and I could sit someplace and read and drink our drinks and chat occasionally, and be perfectly happy with the time we spent together.

I am very limited as to what I can lift, even more so lately, with my elbow acting up.  Picking up a book hurts like mad, so you can imagine me picking up a pan full of food, or a box of anything, or a basket of laundry.  Do you know how hard it is to function without using your left arm?  I never imagined it would be so difficult to get up, or sit down, or pull the covers up, or take my clothes off, or God forbid, hook my bra, even before my left arm started hurting so badly.  Yes, I cannot actually get dressed by myself.  Does that suck, or what?  How am I supposed to go on job interviews (should I actually get one) when I can't dress myself?  Even more to the point, how am I supposed to do that once the Potatoheads are all gone on to wherever Tech School is located?  There's a confidence-builder, let me tell you.  Some people might be able to get by with forgoing the bra under their clothes and still look professional.  I am NOT one of them.  I keep imagining the interview question about the weird flaps on the back of my blouse, and the looks from the people who figure it out without asking.  On Monday, I did try to get dressed a different way, but I couldn't even get my left arm through the strap, and hurt my elbow so badly trying that I had to get Mrs Potatohead to help me take the damn thing off.  I never made it out of the house that day.

During the last month, my mom has made it plain that she is done with my loser self, and will not help me any more (boy, that was the fastest year ever).  I stress her out, and I am not the only person on the planet with problems, and the world does not revolve around me, and she has reached the point that my lack of respect and lack of gratitude have gotten on her last nerve.  She doesn't care whether or not I can take care of my financial obligations, so long as none of my inability affects her credit (she co-signed for my electricity and my lease even though she was paying the bills).  When all this started in June, the idea was that they would help for a year, max, and maybe would continue to help if I actually got a job and was >trying< to help myself.  Obviously, since I don't have a job, I haven't been looking hard enough, because there are Help Wanted signs everywhere, for god's sake.  Now, it's down to some paraphrase of "it's been seven months and that's bloody long enough, and don't call me, I'll call you, but I never actually will because I really don't like you much, so bugger off."  My most recent email told me that when the Potatoheads are gone, she'll pay the "break-the-lease" fee and hopes that I have a plan for getting out of this apartment, because I DO have to get out of this apartment, even if I can pay the bills, because she doesn't want her name on anything related to me, and she guesses I'm in a real pickle.   I can hear her cackling nastily.

I haven't gone this long without paid work since I started working at age 15.  That fact is demeaning enough to my self-esteem without any special help from my mom.

As for decluttering, I have a hard time distributing things once I've sorted through them.  When I have to get up every time I've decided what to do with something, it seriously interferes with my momentum, especially since getting up requires about two minutes of me ungracefully maneuvering, or me calling someone to come help me get up.  I'm having trouble getting away from the idea that I should sleep at night and work on decluttering during the day.   This is especially troublesome because I can't remember the last time I actually slept before 4 in the morning.  Right now, it's 6 AM where I am, and I've been up all night.  I need to organize the stuff I have listed online, but where?  I can't find a clear space to put a shelf, even if I had a clear shelf to put somewhere.  I am getting so frustrated with all of it.

I get wild hairs to cook up something, then can't find stuff in the kitchen, because the roaches have made me really resistant to putting anything in the cupboards.  I'm obsessed with washing everything as soon as that it gets dirty, because leaving it sit for even a few minutes might attract more of those nasty critters, not that I don't wash things again before I use them, because who knows whether or not a roach has crawled on it while it was sitting there drying?  Most of our packaged food, except the cans, is in the freezer, because at least the bugs can't get in that.  And if you think they can't get in bags or boxes, think again, baby!

I have so much stuff to give away that I don't have anywhere to put it until someone comes to get it.  I would like to organize it in some way so that I can have a little giveaway/apartment sale so that it goes to happy new homes.   Even when I list things on the local not-freecycle lists, I only get good responses about 30% of the time.  I have good stuff to give away, man, why don't people want it?

I'm horribly afraid that I won't get it all done, and something will happen and Mrs Potatohead will have to deal with all this the way I had to deal with my mother's crap eight years ago (and am still dealing with it). 

Without healthcare and therefore without meds, all my health issues are going untreated, and except for my blood sugar, which I can check as often as I want, I have no idea where any of my lab levels are, whether lacking medication is helping or hurting.  I do know that I hurt a lot worse, and have more trouble sitting or walking or doing much of anything.  My blood sugar is fine, since my diabetes problem is hypoglycemia, rather than hyper.  As long as I eat five or six times a day, I'm usually fine.

I have signed up for as many of the survey things as I can, though I make very little money doing it.  Some of these women who refer me make hundreds of dollars every month doing these things, and I just wonder how much time they're spending at it, because I don't have that much time to just sit and hit disqualify after disqualify after disqualify.  Now that I think about it, I am probably just in a weird demographic that no one is actually interested in or selling to.  That'd be pretty funny, though not haha funny. 

Points of encouragement:  I'm selling pretty steadily on Amazon since I started listing there.  I made enough in December to pay January's bills, but not enough in January to even pay one February bill.  Slow but steady.  I do need it to speed up some and become a little more steady.   God knows I have enough stuff to sell to keep it up for months yet.

I've had a friend offer to pay my cell phone bill, which is so far behind the phone is turned off.  I'm trying to swallow my pride and decide that it would be OK to let someone not related to me help me with what, to me, is a large amount of money.

Baby Potatohead is a joy to be around, and is really a very good baby.  His mama is lucky he doesn't take after her.  lol

Mr Potatohead is surviving Basic OK.  Mrs Potatohead has gotten two phone calls,  one post card and one letter (not a real letter, but a packet of information).  We're looking forward to the arrival, any day now, of the first real letter, which is apparently 14 pages long.

Last week, I got some leads for places that are actually hiring, right here in the area.  Once the weather stops blowing down from the Arctic Circle, I'll get out and go see some people.  I'll even hope.  For a little while.

If you've read this far, you deserve a prize.  What would you like?  I have thousands of books.....oooh, and rocks, too.  I have pretty rocks.  :D

Monday, February 7, 2011

It's been an ice cube, y'all!

No, not really.

We have had four or five days in a row with sub-freezing temps and lots of precipitation.  Though I spent four years in Missouri and can drive in this stuff, I chose to stay off the road, so that the other Texans, some of whom you'd think had never even SEEN snow on TV, would not kill me.  Therefore, I am still alive.

I've spent a lot of time reading, and playing with the grandbaby, and perusing pictures on AFWingMOMs' Facebook page.  If you know of anyone who has a relative in Basic Military Training at Lackland, tell them about AFWingMOMs, so that maybe they can see a picture or two of their loved one.  AFWingMoms also has a web page that is not on Facebook, so there are two places to look, and to give and get support while a loved one is gone for two months.  (It's almost like they disappear from the face of the planet, particularly if they don't write or call.)  There are also discussion topics for what to bring to graduation and what NOT to do while on base.  lol

I had several things listed on eBay, since they are doing their free listing thing, but only a pair of pants sold, and so far, I have not gotten paid for them.  I hate it when they don't pay for days, and I'm just about ready to report them for nonpayment, and then they pay and wonder what's taking me so long to get the damn thing out to them.  Brats.

Tomorrow is another Monday, lucky me.  I will try to get to those book reviews I still have to do.  Sheesh.  Just can't seem to make myself write them up.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Things that remind me of home...

A quote from a book:

"But the rules said that you didn't talk back to your parents, even when you were thirty-one years old, even when they were being rude and completely unreasonable."

Yes, I was reared with such rules.  Yes, I am 45 years old and still tend not to talk back to my mom.  I'm still afraid she's going to smack me across the face if she doesn't like what I say.  And the last time she smacked me, we had some Words.

Book nonReview: Books I've read but won't be reviewing

The vast majority of these books came from boxes I purchased at either the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Educational Foundation's annual Book Sale, or at a San Antonio Public Library's book discard sale.  Either way, I paid for them.  :D

If you ever get a chance to be in the DFW area in February, try to time your trip to coincide with the CFB Book Sale.  It is supremely well-organized, and SO easy to find books to your liking.  And, cheap, especially if you go on Sunday, or buy a box (last I heard, $10 for a copier box full of books).  It's generally been held in an empty Old Navy location, right off highway 190.  It is worth the trip.  cfbisd.edu can be found on the web, and from there, you can find the Educational Foundation.

Harlequin SuperRomance
The Third Mrs Mitchell - +
The Ballad of Dixon Bell - +
Both of these were written by Lynette Kent and set in the At the Carolina Diner series.

Temptation/Desire
How To Be the Perfect Girlfriend - ++    (Heather MacAllister)
Cowboy's Million-Dollar Secret - +   (Emilie Rose)

Romantic Suspense (fka Intrigue)
Dark Reunion - ++
This was written by Justine Davis and is part of the Redstone Incorporated series (of which I want to read more).

MIRA
Small Town Christmas by Debbie Macomber
Promise, Texas - ++
Gold River, Alaska - meh, mediocre to bad (I wish I could say different, but I just can't and be honest about it)

Zebra
Silver Bells (anthology)
Silver Bells by Fern Michaels - +
Dear Santa by Joann Ross - ++
Christmas Past by Mary Burton - +
Mulberry Park Christmas by Judy Duarte - +

Mystery Ink
Blood Money by William Kritlow - I read about 20 pages before I gave up.  This is Christian fiction, less than mediocre writing.  I think all the references to God are supposed to make the reader overlook the fact that the book kinda sucks.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Little Update

Power's "rolling" here in DFW.  When the power's out, of course, I can't do much of anything, as cold as it is right now.

I've got some more books to review, and some other stuff to talk about, but right now, I'm getting back under the warm blankie.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Looking to swap

Or, I'm happy to be gifted with this:  Fisher and Paykel HC385 humidifying chamber for my CPAP.  Mine is about four years old; since I no longer have health insurance, I don't get a new one every year.

If you know someone who might have one of these that they do not use, I'd be thrilled to give it a new home.