Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Clock and The Calendar

They're tyrants.

But they can be hacked into bits and laid out for their families to find. 

Dropping the George RRRRRRR Martin analogy, I'll just say that it helps to parse out your day when you're adrift in a darkling sea.  Set yourself a schedule. 

I like typing sites, because my typing has never been great and it's kind of soothing to practice.  I force myself to go to free computer learning sites to fill in my blanks; decades of radio saw me working on the air while the free computer labs were given by the various corps I worked for.  I did not have time to take the classes, so there are gaping maws in my fluency and I'm trying to patch them up.

This while I'm trying to be gentle with myself so I can heal right now.  And then, to a call center job.  I should try to find one that pays a little more.  But I'll take what I can get for now, after a few more weeks.  Once I've got a job my UI disappears, and why not ride on that while I can and get a good break before I'm back on the chain gang? 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Do Overs

Despite the ear infection and sore throat, I was able to enjoy a nice epiphany this morning.

Call center jobs are fairly plentiful.

That's a revelation because I don't have to be on my feet, I can employ my dazzling charm and phone manner and compulsive attention to detail, and some of those jobs even pay 15 bucks an hour...which is only a dollar less than I made on the air.

This is called HOPE.

Starting with that kind of job, I can take Adobe N and other CompuSoft classes and others at Denver Free University and actually get to the business of starting over.

Nobody talks about the practical business of starting over in terms of sequence.  There is a sequence.  You don't pop the truck into fifth gear before putting the key in the ignition.  Wait-do people use keys now? Does manual transmission exist anymore?  My 14 year truck and I want to know...

When you start over, you start at the bottom.  This is the natural order of the universe, according to every flight of stairs outside of Hogwart's.  Starting over means starting from the beginning.  I need an entry level position, I need to do it well and then I need to move up from there.

It's just more stairs.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Twistin' the Night Away

I sleep like a food processor on Pulse anyway, but presently it's more like Puree.

It's not that my job prospects are overwhelming in scope; the field has been pre-narrowed, you could say.  For my pleasure.


Anyway, it got to me a bit last week.  I relived my horrid academic experience of failure upon failure, which I tend to do when the stakes are high.  If I wasn't me, I'd make fun of that.

Wait, I SHOULD make fun of that.  *scribbles note*

At this point it's unthinkable to go back to school, even if I still had the Batman lunchbox.  I have debt, bad teeth and a vehicle that will only make it another year, possibly two. Even if the cost of reeducation was paid for, I need to work.

Being without a degree in a meritocracy, I'm pretty much only qualified to do the thing I've been doing for 26 years.  I'm of the certain age that can limit my prospects a bit in mainstream media (Shut UP.  I've heard the "Don't sell yourself short!" chorus to DEATH).  Studios stand empty all over town and beyond as radio dances its final death spirals.  And I am tired of talking to myself alone in a room anyway.  I do that at home.

And in the truck.


I thought about being a 911 dispatcher.  I could train for it.  But the migraines are even more severe and more unpredictable in the winter.  I can't be hurling into the office waste basket when somebody's baby is choking on the other end of the line.  And even after the migraine pain is gone the hangover lingers, turning words into cats and making the acts of speech and comprehension like herding them, and my vision becomes kaleidoscopic.  I can handle this when I can revoice a track several times, but in an emergency I'm afraid my thwacked comprehension could endanger somebody.

At this juncture I would not be able to do any landscaping.  In fact, I can't be on my feet much at all.  They're banged up from wearing high heels for decades and I'm so heavy right now that a two mile walk makes me limp for a couple days.  Waitressing is out, as is barista-ing or even a nice factory floor job at Coors where I could sing about Hossenpepper Incorporated after my shift.  I don't think you're allowed to sing that if you're not skipping.

The not-for-profit universe looks promising because it's primarily a sit-down job, lives aren't usually hanging in the balance, and I have a lot of the "soft skills" that could be useful, like communication, an understanding of events and promotional campaigns on multiple platforms and the ability to bounce around between departments to facilitate and manage projects and freak people out just enough to keep them entertained.  I have NO IDEA of the actual likelihood of this happening.

But I figure, hey, who really needs credibility?  Not even Presidential candidates need THAT.  And you know The Donald isn't losing any sleep.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Don't Touch People

It's a bad habit.  Certain little moments make me cringe like a spider on the stove.

I touch people.

I'm not a disgusting perv or a smothering mommy-type.  I just tend to touch my fingertips on a sleeve or an arm. It startles some people.  It puts others off as if I've farted on them.  It's a violation of many people's boundaries.

I used to be much more allergic to touch.  My parents were pretty mainstream Yanks, and Yanks will actively avoid touching people as if a casual touch could lead to a big blazing red letter A stitched into their epidermis.  I had the same hesitations before I left Rangeley, Maine.

Then I met lots of other people in a big, wide world.  The first time I got hugged by a friend was a revelation.  I've hugged many, many people and there's a pretty open social contract for that now.  But the casual tap of fingertips on wrist is not in the contract.  More people than not will recoil, or stop themselves from recoiling, which makes me wince at 4:00 in the morning.  Well, it's ONE of the things that makes me wince at 4:00 in the morning.

How do I cure myself of this?

I'll picture that poor little lost spider on the stove-lost in a hostile territory.  Human beings feel that way a great deal of the time, since we are a species that often turns on our own.  Some people are not safe company for other people.  We all have to have boundaries.  And I've got to draw the line.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Job Ride

It's like any whining, rattling ride at the fair you strap yourself into, your pulse pounding and stomach fluttering.  It's the job search.

This time I strap myself in without the overwhelming greed for the brass ring.  I don't need to stand up on a shuddering machine at 150 miles an hour and try to grab any rigged "prize".  I want to land where there's a good spot for me.

I want progress in meaningful work, ideally, but in lieu of that a paycheck that doesn't cost me my health or my soul. I'd love to have a desk, a title and a bit of respect-but I won't do it if it makes me hate life.

There are costs I won't pay, this time.  I won't bear any abuse.  I won't overwork to my own detriment or stay in a toxic environment.

If that means driving a shuttle bus for a mundane cause, if it means simple phone work or something else "menial" but I get to keep my healthy nervous system and have a life, then I won't balk. I've got nothing to prove to anybody.

I've got hopes, of course.  But I'm ready for the rough parts.  It won't be my first ride and I won't throw up this time.  I'll keep my fingers and toes in, keep my seat belt on tight and scream when I need to.  But this time I know I'll land on the ground and even if I do a dizzy stumble at first, I'll recover.   I will walk straight again.

It's just a ride.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Other People's Words

I've made my living with my voice for most of my life.  Not just the sound emissions from my vocal chords, but my very means of self-expression.  That's another meaning of the word voice:  to express.

My voice has been sold many, many times.

I just heard from a friend who told me about possible voice jobs, and my immediate visceral reaction was "NO!"

What I actually said was, "Thank you for thinking of me,".  But my entire body screamed, "NO!  NONONONONONOFUCKNO!"

I'm no longer interested in making my voice the conduit for other people's words.

That's nearly over now.  And it needs to be over.

A Messy Yard

I used to be a little bit neat.

Just a bit, though...certain things on hangers and in rows and other things usually wiped off and swept clean most of the time.

I grew up in rural Maine and spent lots of time in the woods. Then I spent nearly all my free time for years backpacking in the desert in the Four Corners area.  For years I washed pans and myself using only 1 cup of water, packed out my poop and went literally weeks without a full shower.

I also saw LOTS of back country that was not swept or tended or landscaped, but being untamed it was vast and mysterious and so beautiful that it sucked most of the tidy from my soul.  Tidy seemed not only less important than ever, not only trivial and pretentious, but insulting to nature herself.

I grow weeds. I don't let them all rampage. But I do cultivate dandelions and lamb's quarters and wild sunflowers.  I knock down the mallow, but I leave the bindweed alone.  Bindweed only flourishes when you pull it, and the roots can reach as deep as 30 feet; it brings deep minerals into the top soil.  Sunflowers break up this tough Colorado soil and aerate it.  Lamb's quarters when striplings are tasty in omelets, and dandelions feed early bees and other beneficials.  I also plant wildflowers between my crops.

So, though I have garden beds and water and weed and I cultivate pumpkins and beans and tomatoes and other known vegetables, I keep weeds.  I protect them.  They provide diversity, strengthening the local ecosystem and feeding bees, of which especially now we can never have too many.

My yard is teeming with bees and wasps and butterflies and goldfinches and chickadees and doves and crows and magpies and blackbirds and sparrows and mice and snakes and spiders and beetles and grasshoppers and slugs and squirrels and hawks.  The wild threads are woven throughout.  It's a diverse home for plant life.  It's a happy place for lots and lots of wildlife to feed, find water and shelter, and to rest safely.

But it's not neat.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


School started, the tomatoes are heavy on the vine and for too many days and nights, you didn't come home.

Intraspecies affection is forever unrequited-it's like the agony of the first crush, yet also like the love of a child, that vicious devotion that makes people fight off mountain lions and alligators, bare-handed, to save their dogs.

This is a burning heartache, but despite conventions I remain devoted to your wildness and your happiness. I watched you perched atop the eight foot wooden fence-the one you scaled with liquid ease, a mere speed bump between you and where you wanted to be-tall and magnificent and proud as any king of beasts, surveying your domain.  I watched you stalking prey in the garden and the fields, free as you were meant to be, living the purest realization of your creaturehood, the truth of your feline nature, and realized that keeping you from it was a far crueler thing than keeping you safe from it.

The moments I had with you at night, laid out across my chest and belly with your cheek jammed against mine, your whiskers twitching in my nostrils, your purr making my teeth rattle, your little heart pumping an inch from mine, were infused with magic and a half-giggling, half-weeping thrill.  I worshiped you like a groupie does a lead singer, lost in fruitless devotion and shadowed with the knowledge that you might not come back ever again.  I lavished you with the priciest and tastiest food, dragged you to the vet, kept your various perches and sleeping nests the way you liked them.  I always asked you to come to sleep with me and we did well, snuggling but not crowding each other.  We had agreements, and we kept them.

If the vet hadn't told me about your breed, that Maine Coon cats sometimes show up in his office with patches of their own coats torn out from the sheer frustration of indoor life, I would be punishing myself even more now.  After our own busted-out window screens, endless attempts to keep the sliding glass door secured and the application of earplugs and blasting sound machines to drown out hours of yowling, I gave in. I would again.


I won't do this again; any cat I have from now on will be strictly an indoor cat.  And of course I have a searing regret that I will carry to the end of my days.  But I will not regret that I gave you as much of your freedom as you asked me for.  I won't regret that I respected your need to be who you really were.  It felt right then, and despite suffering on both our parts, it feels right still.

You and I understood each other, and you and I were able, for a time, to love each other.  Part of that love was allowing you to make dangerous choices.  I will live with that.