Monday, June 30, 2014


What an odd start to the week. I'm totally zoned out for some reason. I called in sick. I've got some kind of stomach bug. Grumpy stomach all day and frequent potty breaks. Not a lot of fun but it hasn't been too terrible. I've done a lot of reading of blogs and articles. Finally decided I should post something on my own blog but found my mind is just mush for some reason. I feel like someone cut the mooring line and I'm adrift on an isolated sea waiting for someone to come along and tow me back to shore.

Tomorrow begins the July 2014 Camp NanoWriMo. I'm rather excited but this mush brain is not a good sign. I am hoping that the Mibbit online write-ins are going to be well attended and helpful. They were last November.

My son and his wife came on over the weekend to pick up Sarah for the summer. Although I enjoyed seeing them and getting to hear him preach for the first time on Saturday night, it was also a sad time as I will not see my Sarah for five weeks. I'm sure I'll be fine but already, my day is dimmer and the summer seems a bit less interesting. By the time she returns, school will be starting and I'll only see her as time permits.

I've been doing laundry today as well. I didn't do any over the weekend becasue of company. At this way I'll have all bedding and towels washed before the writing starts and I won't have to worry about it.

I'm still worried about the looming retirement. Things are going to get very tight. But I'm hoping it won't be as bad as my imagination. Things seldom are but it is those outside of seldom that has me worried.

Posts about Camp activity will be on Writing My Life Away so I can keep things straight. Ofen have to remind myself "personal journal", "writing blog", "praise blog" so I can keep it straight. I'd just as soon lump it all together but for some reason, it doesn't work well. Just as well. But this blog thing is out of control. At least I'm writing all manner of stuff.

Going now. I'm going to check on some other forms of employment for September. Don't want to go back to work anywhere until mid September. That gives me time to relax, recover, and recoup.

Be careful outside. It is 92 here and that's just the temp, not the heat index.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

I've never won anything. Really. Not anything of any value. Oh, sure, I've got those BOGO coupons or discount coupons from businesses. I don't count those as prizes so much as fish hooks. So, when I got a message yesterday that I'd actually won something, I was a little bit skeptical. There are no free lunches, not in  my world.

If you look to the left, you'll see a packed bag. No, I'm not taking a trip, at least, not yet. Maybe soon. This is a emergency preparedness kit I won from our local power company, Vectren. It contains all kinds of really cool things. There was a weather radio, which is already set up in my living room. Other items inclued a floatable flashlight with a dead battery. (See, I told you.) There is a small battery operated fan (I haven't checked those batteris),  three games (UNO, checkers, and chess) in case the power is out and you can't watch t.v., manual can opener, a large jug of water and two small bottles of water, two packages of Wet Ones wipes, a small first aide kit, ligher and scented candle. There might have been something else but I can't remember off hand.

What I really like is this very large tote that it all came in. That thing is really nice! If that was all they gave away it would have been totally cool to me. I need to empty it and really check it out but last night when I was looking at the bag I said, "Maybe this means I'm going to be traveling."

Now, if someone will just call about that free trip to the Gulf Coast.....

Monday, June 23, 2014

Steroid to Heaven

It is amazing what a difference a couple of little white pills make. I saw my rhuematologist on Thursday and she put me on steroids for the next three weeks. Within 24 hours the swelling in my hands and pain in all my joints had radically begun to ease. I could actually bend my fingers again without feeling like they were encased in plastic. Most of my pain is gone, with only minor twinges. Even my neck is much better.

It was suggested by the surgeon's PA, whom I saw on Monday for a follow up to my previous visit, that I may have occipital neuralgia. There was talk of an ocipital block (a shot in the back of my head, where a bundle of nerves exit your skull on either side of your spine). It didn't sound appealing to me. However, I'm at a point that radical measure must be taken. It isn't off the table.

For the moment, I'm improving so I'll just go with that. I still have neck pain in certain positions but I'm able, thanks to the physical therapist, to help that with exercises. I fear the pain will be with me forever. Too much wrong in my neck to correct.

Work is worse than ever. I'm not able to do any of my work. We're all doing the work of the admissions office. It won't matter soon because we will be two months behind as of July 1.

I'm sitting around trying to figure out what to do. I have turned in all my retirment paperwork and plan on giving my notice the last week of July. Originally my plan was to stay through August 15 but honestly, I don't want to stay. I'm angry they've put me in this position. I like my job, when I cna do my job. But they've piled on extra duties to the point I can't cope, and I have coped exceedingly well for 15 years, thank you and three different supervisors and 4 executive directors. So, this isn't me. My work load is unreasonable and the word is that this will continue till the end of the year.

The DIC (duffus in charge) says when my coworker retires in August he can give the remaining three case managers 500 cases each and that'll take care of the problem. The problem being a department that had 6 case managers when he started will be down to 3. He thinks he can get a couple of part time people to do the support work. That'd be good if he ever told the truth. The support people will be pulled off our roster and charged with doing duties for Admissions, inspections, and front desk duty. We'll get very little help if the past support staff was any indication. I never had help, ever, in the years I've been here to do my "second" job of landlord training, file set up and managing. So, no thank you.

But I'm scared to death. We're talking $1000 a month in lost income. Plus the medical benefits that will cost me an additionaly $250 a month to cover. So, anyone who thinks this is exciting has a twisted sense of humor. This won't be fun once it is done. I did the math this weekend. I'll be able to cover standard housing costs = house payment, lights, water, and gas out of the retirement from my job. From my widow's pension I will have to cover medical $250 mo.), food, house and car insurance, internet, and a phone. My house phone is through my internet. I'm thinking the cell phone will be gone. That's a luxury. I have a big concern about things that might break down or need repair to the house. There's no money for that and won't be. I'll need to find some kind of work. I was looking for jobs online and if I drove a truck I could start tomorrow. But that's pretty much it. None of the jobs pay much above minimum wage and are things I'll never get hired to do and probably couldn't do anyway with my physical issues.

Sooooo, aside from the depressing financial issues related to quitting my job, I feel functional.  The magic of steroids has kicked in. I'm hoping the short temper I had last time I took them doesn't appear but oh well. Fire me. I do believe the snarky symptom is in full swing.

"There's a feeling I get when I look to the west,
And my spirit is crying for leaving."
Stairway to Heaven, Led Zeppelin

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

One Step, Two Step

Once in the Atlanta International Airport I remember seeing someone going the wrong way on the automatic pedestrian walkways. The weren't making good progress.

There's no point in pretending. Some days are just going to be that kind of day.  You know, where you think you're doing great only to find, at the end of the day that you were moving backward all the time.

I have some personal matters to take care of and I simply don't have the time to do it. I can't get time off for anything except doctor's appointments. Today it struck me that everything seems to be working against me in accomplishing something positive. I'm taking two steps back for every one I take forward. 

Tonight I simply crashed when I realized I had two things that simply must be completed this week and tomorrow is Thursday. I need to be where there is a phone and I can talk without someone eavesdropping on my calls. I am across the hall from the supervisor and if I close my door, even a little, he will barge in without knocking. I don't know what he thinks I'm going to be doing but there have been a few times when I really wish I'd had my skirt up adjusting my pantyhose. I'd have a case then for sexual harassment because he does it frequently. We've caught him several times eavesdropping on conversations when he came down a hallway and stood around the corner of a room. 

What did you say? Oh, yes, he is.

Anyway, I'm feeling a bit hopeless about everything. I know that I'll feel better when the weekend arrives but I'm hoping that the weather won't punish me for it. It has done so every weekend for the last month or so. Hands are a bit better today but I'm putting something on them every four hours. I can't keep loading my system on this stuff. 

I sat and watched t.v. all evening. Totally wasted my time. I'm tired and feeling very stressed. I don't have an outlet for that. A few times I thought about writing. Once I went out and walked around looking at the plants in the back yard and wondered what I was thinking. I don't know. I like planting things and growing things. Once started I tend to go overboard. If I don't get some trellises up by the weekend, I'm going to have a mass of vines all over the place. The stuff is growing at an astounding rate.

I think I've got some sun sensitivity going on. I haven't really gotten blistered but I keep getting bright red and one of the side effects of metholtrexate is sun sensitivity. I'm not a happy camper. Everything I enjoy is being slowly taken away from me and it is very, very frustrating. 

I'm headed to bed now. I just decided to stop the depressing post and get some sleep. I'm tired and that's probably why I'm bummed. That and the fact that I have stuff I must get done yesterday!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Dream a Little Dream... Tell Me What It Means
To be honest, I feel mentally and emotionally better today than I have in a few weeks. Not sure why. I had a dream last night that could be the reason my spirits are up. I dreamed I had a handbag full of money. I have no idea where it came from and I knew I wouldn't have a job.

Yes, I know its funny. I'm laughing, too. But I can see it even now, a stack of bills, sitting neatly and orderly in my handbag. There was $1000. At least, I think it was $1000. That's the figure I had in my head.

No, I do not run around with $1000 in my handbag. If you ask anyone who knows me they will tell you I never have cash. Ever. I keep fifty cents in the car for the shopping carts at Aldi's and Ruler's. That's my cash. I might have a hand full of pennies for the children's penny march on Sundays but actual money, bills, dead presidents? Never. So, seeing a stack of money in my handbag is highly amusing, especially that amount. That's hysterical. But there it was, a neat stack of bills totaling $1000.

I have no idea where the money came from, where I was, nor why I had it. I feel like someone gave me the money but I didn't see someone give it to me. As in all dreams, it just was there.

At some point in my dream I was in my car with a blond woman sitting next to me. I didn't know her. I've never seen her before. She had this really bright smile and happy look on her face and you could feel the happiness from her.

I don't know where she came from or why she was in the car with me but she got out of the passenger seat and started to walk away on the driver's side. I called to her I think, because she turned back to the car and leaned over to look into the open driver's window. She just had such happy face, beaming at me.

I was distressed and I think I was sobbing. I said, "It is just so horrible. I can't take it anymore. I told God if he wasn't gone by July 1st that I just couldn't stay. I can't stand it anymore. I hate that I have to leave and he gets to keep his job."

She grinned at me, tilted her head to one side and laughed. "Just you wait," she said. "Just you wait." She winked at me and walked away.

That was the end of my dream. At least, it is all I remember. Such a weird dream.

Anyone do dreams?


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Cutting, Pinching, Planning

This was the view from my lounge chair on the patio late this afternoon around 4 or 5 p.m. I'd been there for most of the day. I have Sarah for the weekend because her mom is sick and we didn't get up in time for church. She was disappointed and so was I but I was lucky to get up at all. Once breakfast was over and we read a bit of the Bible, we headed out back and there we stayed, she all over the  place, talking non-stop while I lay in a chair and tried not to move more than necessary.

My back is killing me and I've had leg cramps off and on all day. I cut the yard yesterday, well the back yard. Mike did the front and the weed trimming. We also dug out the flower bed. I will be putting in the flowers this week. I'm itching to get to that. However, setting up the bed nearly did me in.

We had to do more than dig out the bed. That was actually fairly easy. The ground was soft from all the rain. Mike dug out the area and put the dirt in my John Deere wheel barrow and Sarah and I shifted the dirt around, removing grass and breaking it up. My sister, Phyllis showed up to help. She shouldn't have but I was glad she did. We had to pull the lattice off the front and clean out small trees that were growing under the porch, take the staples out and clean the lattice. We lay a ground cover under there to prevent a return of the growth. We rehung the cleaned and bleached lattice on nails so it will be much easier to remove should we need to do so. Then, we put the dirt back in the bed and added edging stones. It looks nice. The price... lots of pain and exhaustion by the time we were done. We broke the wheelbarrow but I think I can repair it. It is plastic and the bolts broke through the holes. I think if I buy large washers and some longer screws we can repair it and get a couple more years out of it. I got it free last year. Now I know why.

The end result of Saturday was that I was nearly dead by the time I got to bed. I'm still having some pain and swelling in my hands from the RA but all the rest is simply the result of using muscles too long dormant. My lower back has been a problem for years because my core is simply not strong enough. Last week it was Latissimus Dorsi that were complaining and this week it is my lumbar region. My legs aren't happy either.

I've got to start wearing tanning lotion. I don't tan well as I tend to freckle. Always did but at least I don't get sunburned much anymore, well, only mildly. But I'm getting a lot more sun these days and it helps my mood. My levels were over the limit and my doctor stopped all my Vitamin D supplements. That's the first time in nearly 7 years that I've been off D.

I've had a great couple of weekends in some ways. It is rewarding to see things come together here at the house. I love working outside and doing things. I just don't often feel well and I have to have help with things I want to do myself. And there is nothing like asking people who don't really want to help you to help. It's frustrating and I usually just let things go because of that. But for a few weeks now I've really got some things pulled together and it feels nice. All but the part where I feel like I've been run over by a bus. That's not so good.

Tomorrow I got back to work and I wish I could have more time at home. However, this weekend I've finally realized that I don't have many choices about the course my life takes. I never did have many choices to start with but now there are virtually none. I can stay at this job and have the money I need to continue to live securely as long as the job last. Or I can leave, tighten my belt, and maybe enjoy what life I have left to me.

When someone as close as a spouse dies you are faced with how very tenuous life really is and how very fast it can end. You try and make the most of it by going forward but every step cost you. For a long time I didn't much care one way or the other except other people relied on me for help. I couldn't lie down and die. So I went to work in an environment that has become increasingly toxic. If you look at the blogs there was a point about three years ago when it seemed I was making my way out of that dark pit into which Death had tossed me. At some point, something happened and suddenly I'm was in worse shape than I was when Jerry died. I can truthfully say I have never, ever been as sick in my life as I have been in the last two years. And it isn't over. I don't know if it will ever be better again.

I kept counting the dollar cost of leaving this job and taking my retirement. It will be a cut of  more than 50%. Think about that for a second. I won't mention my salary here but think about your own income. This month you have your normal income. Next month, you get 50% of it and from now own that is what you live on. Could you do it?

I'm sick of the graft, the favoritism, and the outright fraud. If you had any idea how much of it is going on both inside your government and by those receiving government assistance, you'd be horrified. It really is worse than you think. The money pours out of the federal coffers at a rate I can't begin to explain and into the hands of the most undeserving people I've ever met. They have created some of the most elaborate methods to lie and cheat that you'd not believe me if I told you.

Then you have those in charge who actually tell people how to cheat the system. Don't think it isn't happening. It is. All over this country. And I'm tired of it. I'm tired of being told I'm harsh when I make a decision to terminate assistance from a lying, cheating, fraud and told, "I'd do the same thing" by those in charge. I'm tired of being ridiculed because I refuse to accept that attitude or excuse the guilty. I'm tired of being made to feel like I've committed a crime when I when I refuse to accept as fact something the PTB say is true when I know for a fact it isn't. I'm sick of managers who "bend the rules" to suit their own agendas. I've worked in this environment for 15+ years and it wasn't like this when I started. The last 10 years I have seen it escalate to the point that I'm horrified that so many people are thieves and liars. I'm disgusted by management that is no better than the lying thieves getting the assistance.

Can I live off half the income I've been living on for the last 5 years? I think, if I don't try, I'll die anyway, a lot sooner. So, I've spent the last several days considering my options and the most attractive option is that I might live longer and happier if I quit, even if I have to pinch pennies and cut coupons. I might be able to get another job but looking around here, it is doubtful. I can't plan on it. I can't plan on anything.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Price of Fame

For the first time since I started this blog in 2005 I've had to turn on word verification. I'm getting slammed with spam from dummies from overseas with commercial sites. They're pretending to be reading the blog and commenting on my wonderful content and excellent layout. All have badly worded comments that are obviously from a translation and probably being sent by bots.

First, I'm not stupid. I don't have anything approaching wonderful content. It is a personal journal that gets comments mostly from people I've been acquainted with in some way for years. While I do like the visual aspect of my blog, again, it isn't typical nor earth shaking. So, obviously, the dopes sending the lunch meat can't even program their bots to fool anyone. What a waste of time.

Just like the canned counterpart, spam stinks, tastes nasty, and is more or less meat parts trying to pass for steak. So, I've turned on the word verification feature and you'll have to type in a bunch of numbers or letters and submit if you comment, making it more difficult and frustrating for some to leave a comment.

Ah, the price of fame. Suddenly, I'm worth spamming. Who knew.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Through the Wringer and Out Back

Today is not a good day. I'll just tell you up front. Sometime during the night I went through a wringer washer and every joint is screaming in pain today. Many of you won't remember wringer washers but believe it or not it revolutionized laundry for the common housewife and rumor has it that it broke a few arms in the process. Let me just tell you, it is painful.

As I type this I hear heavy thunder which tells me another round is coming. I've called my RA doctor several times but no one answers the phone. You have to leave a message. I did but since she isn't even in but a few days a week, I have no idea when someone will get back to me. So, this isn't going to improve soon.

Before my journey through said wringer, the weekend was productive as far as getting the yard in shape. I still don't have my flowers out and at this point, I'm not sure when I will... if I will. The weather has turned rather, well, not exactly nasty but repeatedly wet at inconvenient times. However, we have a couple of raised beds with stuff planted. My sister and I are doing this together and we eat different things; it became apparent when we shopped for stuff to plant. I don't do yellow squash but like zucchini. I don't do okra but she does. I don't do eggplant but she does. We ran into difficulty finding things we really wanted that we both liked.

Also, it seems that everyone in Indiana eats huge quantities of tomatoes because they had hundreds of plants of a half dozen varieties. Since tomatoes give me acid reflux I don't do those either, although I do like them. We did buy one of the low acid variety and maybe I can have a few BLT's or just a plain old tomato sandwich. Love those. 

We got a couple of blackberry vines but probably won't see berries in quantity until next spring. I don't care. Sarah is going to pick blackberries. Never heard of cultivating the things until I came here and there are no dirt roads where you can just stroll along and eat them right off the vine until you bust. 

 We bought some seeds but it is rather late to start those but what the hay, we did anyway. Maybe we'll have three different varieties of beans. I was flabbergasted at what they didn't sell here. Not turnip, collard, or mustard seeds. 

And wonder of wonders, I bought a fig tree! Yes I did. This is another thing I have missed. You can't find a fig tree here to save you. I grew up eating fresh figs. Mama made jelly and preserves. I just want them fresh. I know that these things may never get big enough before I die to get more than a few figs but I'm good with that. 

I went to bed 11 a.m. and dozed for about two hours. I simply couldn't take it anymore and had to get my hands under the covers and warm. I wasn't really cold but I just didn't know what else to do. It helped marginally. When I got up, I wasn't feeling a whole lot better. I've not been able to do anything today but sit and read and stare at the rain falling.

The rain continues to fall in spurts but very heavy ones and the air is nice and cool. I am slightly better at 6:30 p.m. than I was at noon, when I began this post. I'm headed to the kitchen for some chili and then to the bathroom for a hot shower. 

My doctor's office never did call me back. I don't suppose it matters. Hands still hurt and burn. Nothing they can do for me. It would be nice to ask though.