Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Headaches of a different kind....

Today is Wednesday and I have just realized that I have not seen either one of my children since Sunday. Yes, we all still live in the same tiny two bedroom apartment. But I am leaving for my first job before 7:00AM and then coming home from my second job at 11:00PM or later. I have seen my 5 year old asleep a few times, but I haven't laid eyes on my 14 year old since Sunday. I did talk to her on the phone once.

There is a part of me that is wondering if $40,000 a year is worth this. I am thinking it is not. However, I know there is no future in my present career or job and part of me is just hoping my manager at Starbucks is not kidding when she says she is going to train me in July to be a shift manager. ($40,000/year is not a typo. That's what I am making from BOTH jobs. Ooops, I just did the math; it's actually $37,800.)

On a brighter note, our Al-Anon group decided to go with my idea of adding another meeting. I asked for a Step Meeting on Thursday nights, and that is what is going to happen on May 13 and thereafter. This makes me very happy.

Tonight I am going to get to go to a meeting, and then go home and look at my children for a couple of hours. Tomorrow I am planning on going into work later, around 8am instead of before 7, and hopefully I will get some good sleep tonight. I'm not even reading anymore. Too tired, and if I pick up a book I am asleep before I can finish a page.

I'm also feeling old due to being in the midst of a fibro flare the past few days.

Thanks for listening to the whine. I will try to have better cheese next time.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day!

I really love Earth Day. Christmas gives me the blues, and most other family-oriented holidays in general are just depressing. However, Earth Day (and Halloween, of course) is the type of holiday I can get behind.

Earth Day came about as an idea from Gaylord Nelson, a senator. The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, when I was about 7 months old. (I'm sure my parents had no idea about it; my dad is an ex-Marine sharpshooter whose idea of environmentalism is hunting, and my mother prides herself on having been above all hippy-like ideas, including saving the planet, in the 60s.)

Here's Nelson's take on the history of Earth Day (his own words taken from the EnviroLink website):

Actually, the idea for Earth Day evolved over a period of seven years starting in 1962. For several years, it had been troubling me that the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country. Finally, in November 1962, an idea occurred to me that was, I thought, a virtual cinch to put the environment into the political "limelight" once and for all. The idea was to persuade President Kennedy to give visibility to this issue by going on a national conservation tour. I flew to Washington to discuss the proposal with Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who liked the idea. So did the President. The President began his five-day, eleven-state conservation tour in September 1963. For many reasons the tour did not succeed in putting the issue onto the national political agenda. However, it was the germ of the idea that ultimately flowered into Earth Day.

I continued to speak on environmental issues to a variety of audiences in some twenty-five states. All across the country, evidence of environmental degradation was appearing everywhere, and everyone noticed except the political establishment. The environmental issue simply was not to be found on the nation's political agenda. The people were concerned, but the politicians were not.

After President Kennedy's tour, I still hoped for some idea that would thrust the environment into the political mainstream. Six years would pass before the idea that became Earth Day occurred to me while on a conservation speaking tour out West in the summer of 1969. At the time, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, called "teach-ins," had spread to college campuses all across the nation. Suddenly, the idea occurred to me - why not organize a huge grassroots protest over what was happening to our environment?

I was satisfied that if we could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into the environmental cause, we could generate a demonstration that would force this issue onto the political agenda. It was a big gamble, but worth a try.

At a conference in Seattle in September 1969, I announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate. The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes, and air - and they did so with spectacular exuberance. For the next four months, two members of my Senate staff, Linda Billings and John Heritage, managed Earth Day affairs out of my Senate office.

Five months before Earth Day, on Sunday, November 30, 1969, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the astonishing proliferation of environmental events:

"Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national day of observance of environmental being planned for next spring...when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned...."

It was obvious that we were headed for a spectacular success on Earth Day. It was also obvious that grassroots activities had ballooned beyond the capacity of my U.S. Senate office staff to keep up with the telephone calls, paper work, inquiries, etc. In mid-January, three months before Earth Day, John Gardner, Founder of Common Cause, provided temporary space for a Washington, D.C. headquarters. I staffed the office with college students and selected Denis Hayes as coordinator of activities.

Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.

Many people are not aware that I took the photo that graces the title of this blog. That same day I took several others as well.

So in honor of Earth Day, I leave you with another photo I took of a tree that bloomed in the spring at my old house. If I could go back there without crying, I am sure I would see it blooming even now.

Respect our planet. It's the only one we have.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Random thoughts

Living with an alcoholic is never easy. Last night I finished working a 12 hour shift at my primary job, and had to go for a brief store meeting at Starbucks, my second job. I explained to my alcoholic that the meeting would be finished at 7pm. However, he called me at 6:50pm asking where I am and what were my plans for dinner. Due to his slurring words, loud voice, and the fact that he was calling when he knew I should not be taking calls, I was pretty sure he was drunk.

My mind went, I am ashamed to admit, to its usual place. I started to formulate a big old resentment and started doing that pissed off, snippy self dialog in my head. Instead of enjoying meeting the rest of the team I work with, I was nursing that ugly resentment.

However, my usual Monday night Al-Anon meeting was almost half over. I drove the mile or so to the meeting, parked illegally (sorry, will make amends later), and rushed upstairs to catch the last 25 minutes of the meeting, and felt SO MUCH BETTER because of it.

I take heart in the fact that I may not always go to the right place in my head, but I do know better how to handle it.

Today has been an off day however. I was up 5 times last night with stomach illness, and have felt off and out of sorts all day because of it. I am working at my office now, and until 5:50pm or so, then going home, because I don't have it in me to work a 15 hour day today.

I knew doing both jobs was not going to be easy. But instead of panicking, I am going to just survive one day at a time. Just get through today, and let tomorrow be tomorrow's job.

Until tomorrow, dear reader. Sweet dreams.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A case of the Mondays, and no way to empty the case but to live through it...

I am not a fan of Mondays. They come along and ruin a perfectly good weekend. This weekend was not perfect, but Saturday was pretty good, and I finished the 4th Dexter book last night, so all in all... it beats working.

This weekend and today have convinced me even more that I need to find work in the area of my first degree, English. I am so burned out with disabilities and human services, I find myself becoming more and more jaded by the day. At this moment, I am work, slugging through piles and piles of papers, which seem to never end. Today the administrative assistant that I hired begins working, so I am looking forward to training her and giving this mess over to her. A part of me feels as if I am dumping the work on someone else, but I cannot do everything, or even the majority of everything, so I am coming to peace with the idea quite quickly.

There's not much time for blogging this morning, as I have some paperwork of my own to generate. Our new policy states that I will complete the summaries for the month before by the 20th, and tomorrow is the 20th. I will also be working at Starbucks tomorrow, so that will impact my ability to get it all done too.

So, until later.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday and the living is easy?

Today was a busy day. I took the girls to the grocery, and then to Starbuck's (through the drive-through, we had cold groceries to get home). And then I took them to the library, where they stayed while I went to my Saturday morning Al-Anon meeting downtown. And then I picked the girls up, and we went home and went swimming at the indoor pool at my apartment complex. While swimming, Tara put on a pair of water wings and SWAM ALONE for the first time, so that was rather exciting!
We then went to Cove Springs, a park in Frankfort, and hiked a couple of the trails. It was all good fun, and I got the picture below too - a picture of one of the trails with the redbuds blooming. I love the redbud trees; they are one of the most beautiful things about living in Kentucky in April.

Of course, having this much fun today means that I am going to have to clean house and work in the office for a long time tomorrow. I am trying not to be bitter about that.

On a lighter note, I have been craving the smell of coffee all day, and for this reason actually missed working at Starbuck's today. I guess this means I like my job!

Tonight I am at a friend's house, just a brief walk from my place, and using my laptop on her Internet. I so miss having internet at home. I think I am going to have to pay to have it reconnected when I get paid from BOTH my jobs on Friday. I am also going to get a French press and some decent coffee. I have at least the foresight to already own a grinder...

During the meeting today the topic was "Facing Reality." This was a really good topic for me, and later, probably tomorrow I will post what I wrote during the meeting. (Yes, I wrote during the meeting. It was apparent the leader of the meeting, who is a strong Alateen supporter, despite the fact we have NO Alateens showing up for any meetings, was going to go on at length about how we all need to support Alateen. In fact, the meeting did not even start until 30 minutes into the meeting, when the first reading was done. I decided there were people there who needed to talk and share more than I do, and so I wrote my share in my notebook. I did this more so I could process it later, actually, and hoping that it will help me later to think more about it. ) I decided to put into practice today that my reality could be pleasant, and I decide to make the best of today. Instead of bemoaning the fact I have 3 kids instead of my own two to take care of on my first weekend off in months, I decided to do something enjoyable with them. It was a good practice for me.

So here's hoping everyone's day is or was as pleasant as mine. If not, here's for tomorrow.

Friday, April 16, 2010

TGIF... more words, and maybe a poem?

Today I did a shift of training at Starbucks. Then I came to the office and walked into a meeting, and had to do more negotiating and problem solving on my feet. Now the office is empty and I am left to try to clean the mess and get myself organized.

I find an interesting phenomenon - how easily it is to switch my gears from newly hired, bottom of the totem pole trainee to coming in and being management at the other job. I almost prefer the trainee role... it doesn't hurt that everyone is being patient and doing an excellent job of teaching me, so the learning is relatively painless.

Now I am back in the office and looking at so many piles of paper I could lose my mind. On Monday the filing person/administrative assistant I hired is starting, so I am hoping by the end of next week I will be able to find things again without trying to pull a muscle in my back or brain.

The other delicious thing is that I am broke this weekend, but I AM OFF FROM BOTH JOBS!!!! I'm not really sure what I am going to do with two days off, as it has not happened in so long. Like, in over 8 months. But I feel sure I can do something. Sleeping in on Sunday is the first thing I really have planned. I'll let the rest of the weekend unfold as it will. I am sure it will be over far too soon.

Well, it is something like Fiction Friday, but I have nothing prepared. So here's a spot (composed on the spot!) poem:

There's nothing like you
Thank god.
I mean, really,
Would you ask for another?
So in love with your own voice,
Until it grates like cheese over my shattered nerves?
Or pontificating,
Flashes - or is it flushes -
Of brilliance shared for us,
The unwashed masses.
We thank you,
Not so much.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Some musings on "fairness"

Yesterday I was not in a very good frame of mind. It was my younger daughter's fifth birthday and some family and friends were coming over to have cake and ice cream and open gifts. I had to make a late afternoon run to meet with a new client in another city. While on the way there, I got a call from the husband saying the 5 year old's guinea pig was dying. The guests were to due to arrive at any minute. So I continued on, met with my client, and then came home. By the time I got home, the guinea pig was dead and all the guests had arrived. We didn't tell Tara, but after everyone else left, Tara asked about Sammy (the guinea pig). I told her about the situation. She and I cried for a while, and then went to bed.

This morning I mused over the situation. How sad it is that I can't protect her from disappointment and grief, and that it had to happen on her birthday, a day she had been looking forward to.

Life is full of disappointments.

I was told that if I worked hard and got an education, my life would be better.
Someone lied.

Everything I was taught growing up was based on the basic message or premise that I am intrinsically not good enough - that I must earn self esteem, love and the esteem of others by my actions, or by my possessions, cachet, or some external construct.

In reality, this is probably the most damaging thing about being me.

Now I want to make sure I don't sell this line of crap to my children, polluting their chances at true self worth....

Just some musings. I'll write more later when I've thought more about it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Five years ago today...

I gave birth at 4:06 in the afternoon to a spirited little girl. She is the light of my life. When things have been the darkest for me, especially in the last year, she has been the only reason I have persevered. So for today, Happy Birthday, Tara. Thank you for being my daughter.

She was named after Tara, the female Buddha, goddess of compassion.

May you have a happy and serene life, and always remember you are loved.

A tribute to Dixie Carter

Dixie Carter passed away on Saturday after a battle with endometrial cancer. May her Southern glory live on, forever.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday afternoon spells "nap."

I am working both my jobs today, so I am daydreaming about going home and taking a nap for the next oh, let's say 20 hours. Unfortunately, that is not a possibility. I am here until around 10pm, and then I get to go home and start cleaning. Tomorrow I am only working the first job, and then Thursday and Friday I work both jobs again. I am only scheduled 4 hours a day at the coffee shop, but my original job is at least 60 hours a week, so this may get a bit crazy, or at least creative.

In my visits to others' blogs this afternoon I was struck by the others' feeling the same way I have lately - overextended. Tired. Transitioned out.

I'm worn out. Wish there was some entertaining witticism here, but there's not. Maybe tomorrow...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday morning has 6 more minutes in it....

I am happy to report. Mondays are rough. Simply because the hallowed sacredness that is the weekend has passed again, not to return for another five days, and I have to come back and look at the same piles of papers that I left bitterly on Friday.

Today began well overall. I finished reading the third Dexter novel (if you haven't had the pleasure, check out the entire series, three in paperback, the last one only in hardback still.... Jeff Lindsay is the author, and I've enjoyed reading his work.), and hit the grocery store to buy a loaf of bread for fixings for lunch here at the office for the week. Homemade pimento cheese from their deli - need I say more? Or is pimento cheese simply a Southern phenomenon? I then came to the office and cleared my desk into piles of tasks for the day. And my office phone and cell phone have been quieter than in ages...

This past weekend I started my job at Starbuck's. Yes, that is the hallowed place I have been hired. And yes, I actually like it. The people are nice, the coffee is actually good, and I am actually learning something new. Something that does not involve what I have been doing for the last 20+ years, so it is refreshing too.

Last week I hired a part-time assistant. I will be sharing her with the rest of the management team, and she doesn't start until next week, but I am so looking forward to having someone else file all these damn papers and get them off my desk.
I am also having her deal with the phones and the other silliness that interrupts me a thousand times a day so I can be more efficient during the time I am here, and hopefully go back to working closer to 40 hours a week here instead of 60 or 70. I don't think this will be the key to making my life perfect or anything, but I do think it is a step in the right direction to making life a bit more sane for me.

It's been almost a week since I've been to a meeting, but I am doing well. Last night I got a call from a fellow Al-Anon, and it did me good to listen. Lots of the talking I did do was in the form of asking questions, and it felt good to listen and not have all the answers. When I did share, it was small snippets of what I try to do in my own life and home.

Well, off to my desk and the 2 inches of papers on it. A great improvement from last week's mountain but still lots to do. Monday afternoon, here I come.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday morning....

This morning began rather harried as I had to chauffeur St Timothy of the Dirty Drawers to work earlier than usual. I went in to wake up Tara and get her ready to go and she had covered herself from head to foot in some kind of oily black residue. She wouldn't tell me the origin of the mess, but it took me about 15 minutes to get it off her face, hands and torso so she would be presentable for public viewing. I then dropped off St Timmy and proceeded to the gas station, as my tire was flat for the third time in as many days. As I was reinflating the tire, I checked my email on my cell phone - ever the multitasker - and found that most of the paperwork I emailed yesterday to a person was now being asked for in hard copy by the same person. So I turned around, took Tara to the office with me, and proceeded to make copies and make sure all documentation was complete AGAIN. I was told by staff they were coming to the office to drop off more paperwork, and that they would pick up the tomes I have now assembled. As I have been working this morning, Tara has fallen asleep on the floor of my office, and I am hoping she will nap until lunch, at which time I will take her home and go back to washing the dishes that amassed yesterday while I was at work.

Tomorrow I go to see about a training and work schedule for the new job. I am hoping to be able to balance both jobs in my life. I am pretty sure that I will have to cut out several - hopefully not all - of my Al-Anon meetings. I hope I can make it through.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Why is it over 90 degrees in my office?

I mean, really. It is almost bearable in the rest of the office here. But my office, it is always about 20 degrees hotter than anywhere else....

Today has been a typical spring day of thunderstorms here in KY. The temperature has been about 80 degrees F. And I've been in the office most of the day, so I'm looking forward to going over the bridge here downtown and going to an Al-Anon meeting. Living with an active alcoholic, I need the meetings as I can fit them into my world.

Also I received a phone call today and I got the job I applied for last week. I am going in Wednesday and going to see how I can combine it with my job that I am working right now. I may go back to being an independent contractor at the job I have now. I am not sure.... I think I can do both. Or die trying... Usually I do this about once a year. I panic about the money so then go get two full-time jobs and then work myself to death for a few months, until I pass out. Or get sick. Or have a mini-breakdown.

Let's hope this time it works out. Something's got to give.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Just an April Fool

Only time for a short blog today.

Last night I met with my sponsor and we went over my 6th and 7th Step writings so I can forge ahead to my 8th Step.

Of course, the person on the top of my 8th Step List is ME.

So at the moment I am wondering how to make amends to myself. This should be an interesting process....

Also, today is Good Friday. There's still just enough Catholic girl in me to note this, and to want to go somewhere quiet and reflect this afternoon until 3PM or so...

The day is just beginning, and yet....