Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fading Dreams?

Is it wrong to give up on dreams? Not giving up, exactly, but trying to reorient my mind to match the circumstances. Okay, giving up.
Which dreams? You may well ask. Not my core dream of getting published, that is still full-steam ahead. But the idea of a dream job. The hope of getting out of my dead end job, that could very well fall out from underneath me at any time. The dream of getting into a secure job with good benefits and better pay. A job that pays me enough to survive on, and maybe even get ahead a little. I think my hopes of a better job have tanked aong with the economy. Is it really so bad? I'm not sure, I haven't quite made up my mind.
On the plus side: I work easy hours, have weekends off, know the personalities of those around me and know how to manage them well, decent medical insurance, the pay doesn't totally suck.
On the down side: It is a dead-end job with a floundering company, the pay isn't quite enough to live on, I am surrounded by emotional vampires, the recession/depression has hit our industry particulary hard so the bosses and all the customers are black-holes of any positive energies, and worst of all it bores me out of my mind.
But as I whine about my job I have friends losing theirs. Many friends have lost their jobs and/or taken pay cuts. And there are so few jobs to be found. I know I should be thankful to have a job, and I am. But why is it I can't make myself feel any enthusiasm about it? Oh yeah, it has a lot to do with the emotional vampire issue mentioned earlier. I have spent the better part of the last two plus years shoring up the morale of those around me; bosses, coworker and customers. I spend so much emotional energy trying to talk people off of the ledge that I have very little positive energy left for my own sanity and psyche. And then I feel guilty because I have no desire to socialize outside of work. I can't help that, all of my daily ration of social is used and overused at work to the point that I run on a social deficit.
So this brings me back to my initial question, is it wrong to give up on dreams? Am I really giving up? Maybe I am just falling back and regrouping in a effort to cling to what little sanity I have remaining. The continual rejection of the job market has felt like one bitch-slap after another. I try to pull myself up, only to be continually knocked back down. Maybe, just maybe, if I take some of the energy I am wasting on the futile and perpetually disappointing job search and focus that energy on positive, creative outlets I may be able to regain some of my marginal sanity and balance.
To this end, I am looking into creative, alternative income sources. Namely ETSY. I think I will return to toymaking, at least on a part time scale. Just enough to bring in a few extra dollars to make up the gap between salary and rising cost of living. It is a positive, creative expenditure of energy that will generate it's own positive energy as well. A self-sustained, perpetual motion, energy generator.
Now to just find the time....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Achy Head, Wasted Day

There are days when it doesn't pay to get out of bed. This was one of those days. The dogs woke me at 8am, even though I had explained the night before that as the alpha bitch of the pack, I am entitled to sleep in on saturdays until at least 9. But no. They did not listen. Head throbbing I staggered out of bed, wrapped up in my nappy polar fleece bathrobe, and stumbled to the back door to let them out. Then I lay back down for a few minutes until they all came, boisterously, back into the house. I managed to get back out of bed just long enough to close the back door, use the bathroom, and then my pounding skull made the decision for me: back to bed. I even opted to shut the dogs out of the room, an unprecedented move, in order sleep until my head was cooperating.
Nearly 2 hours later, my head still throbbing, I realized that sleep was not going to cure this particularly pervasive and insistent headache. Time for drugs and caffiene. Naproxin sodium and fresh coffee should do the trick. Should. Didn't. So maybe a healthy breakfast. I start cooking some oatmeal in milk and water. Halfway through the cooking I realize the milk is curdling and rising to the top. I sniff the newly purchased gallon, it smells... off. Not sour, not rotten, just "off." Fuck. I decide to forge ahead, let the oats keep cooking. Turns out they don't taste bad once all the good shit is added. But so much for the brand new gallon of milk, and now I am milk-less for the weekend unless I make another, unwanted, trip to the store.
And so my day goes. Head harassing me, I try to start projects, but I can't make my brain stay on track. I finally give up trying and hope that a nap may help. 2 hours later, well rested, but head still pounding I get back up. More coffee, more drugs: aspirin, acetominophin, naproxin sodium. Maybe a healthy meal? Nope.
I go online, I need silk and silk paint for banners. I make my selections, get all the way up to the last click of the mouse and I hesitate, remembering that I'm kinda broke. I check the bank account, if I buy the silk I won't have enough to pay my phone bill. Damn. I escape out of the shopping cart without finalizing the sale. My head is still pounding, and now the tension across my shouilders threatens to peel my scalp off of my skull.
Okay, time to go a little natural: feverfew and tea. Head still pounding but now my stomach is churning. Time for Pepto. I really want a glass of milk, but the milk is "off." Damn.
I decide that maybe fresh air is the way to go. So out into the woods with the dogs. The cool, humid air does smell good, and the excercise does make my body feel a little better. Until I slip in the mud and without thinking grab the barbed wire fence next to me. The puncture wound in my finger leaves a dripping trail of blood that a city slicker could have followed. The blood flows freely, no doubt aided by my intake of blood thinning pain relievers. Oh well, what's a little more blood loss after the worst menstrual cycle ever as well as my regular Red Cross donation. Blood, who needs it?
Back to the house, feeling a little better. Stomach still churning, I throw up a little in the back of my throat. I really need a glass of milk. Fine, dammit. Load the dogs into the van, head to the store. I want one of those headache patches too. Standing in the pain reliever aisle, scouring the shelves for the patch I know has to be there when the clueless couple parks their cart between me and my objective. Can't they see that I am standing there, looking directly at the shelves they have now effectively blocked, while they idiotically discuss cold medications. Damn. I give up. I wasn't finding the damn patch anyway. Milk. That's all I came for. I do grab the cheapest bottle of ibuprofin, I haven't put that into my system yet.
So now, I have put almost every over the counter product I can think of into my system, my head is feeling a little better, but my stomach feels delicate. And the caffiene and naps have me wide awake at nearly midnight. I do need to get some sleep, in the hopes that my head may allow me to get shit done tomorrow. I don't have a lot of spare time, and to waste it feeling like a simpering whinebag just pisses me off.
Enough of the Pity Party. Time to try for some sleep in anticipation of a productive day tomorrow.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How Do They Know?

Thursday night, no sign of Elliot. Elliot, the toe-sucking tomcat. Of course he would go missing tonight of all nights. What is so special about tonight you might ask? Nothing really. It is tomorrow morning that hoilds special significance for Mr Fluffynutterkins. Tomorrow he will be permanently seperated from that which most males hold most dear. Yes, tomorrow he is to be neutered.
I have never understood how animals know that they have a date with destiny and will choose to forego dinner and a warm place to sleep in order to avoid it at all costs. There is often talk of animals predicting earthquakes, seizures and storms. But what is never discussed is there ability to predict medical visits.
So, it is now 9-1/2 hours until I am supposed to cram him into his tiny blue carrier and haul his smellybutt to the doctor, and he is nowhere to be seen. Maybe he thought it was suspicious that I was calling him in to dinner. I never do that. Damn, I had tried so hard to avoid tipping my hand, I should have known better than to break routine.
I have avoided any mention of the pending testicular removal. I haven't even whispered a hint to the dogs, even though I am sure they would find glee in the situation. I went so far as to avoid making the appointment over the phone in case of possible wire tapping. I stopped at the clinic on my way home from work, only spent a few minutes there, and so I wasn't even late getting home. I don't know where I slipped up, but these damn animals have resources we as humans can't even imagine.
For all I kow, I talk in my sleep. One careless word and the cat is out of the bag, so to speak... though I want the bags out of the cat.
I know it would be to no avail to try and convince him that it will be for his own good. No more fighting, no more late nights, he can legitimately sit around the house and be fat and lazy. What's not to love about that? But try to convince any male that he would be better off surrendering his stones and you will be met with cold resistance.
For now, I just have to hope that Elliot will decide to put in a showing so I won't embarrass myself by having to call the vet and tell them a story they have heard a thousand times before, "I don't know how, but he just knew."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Insomnia or Mania?

Two weeks. Two solid weeks of not enough sleep. It's not that I'm not trying. I am doing everything in my power to try for a solid 6-1/2 hours of sleep at night, but the brain and body are not cooperating. I try to get to bed at a reasonable hour, but there is never enough time in my evenings to get everything done. So maybe it is midnight before I am turning of the lamp and pulling the down comforter up under my chin. But that gives me a solid 6 hours before the alarm clicks on to Mornings with Greg and the John Stewart Minute. 6 hours. But here is where the brain decides to step in and rearrange the plan. I have been waking up at 5:30. Five-fucking-thirty. I had hoped that the time change might help, but no, still waking up at five-fucking-thirty. And I have to admit, it is making me just a tad ragged. Last night I decided to set the alarm for 6;45 and skip the morning cardio, figuring at this point that sleep was more important than a workout. So, what happens? I wake up at five-fucking-thirty. I had time for cardio and to clean my living room. Yesterday it was the kitchen. At least the house is benefitting.
Okay, 5-1/2 hours. I could get by on 5-1/2 hours. But here is where my body decided to join the brain in this plot to take over my psyche. The traitorous body wakes me up at 4am to pee.  Yeah, I'm at that age where I have to get up in the middle of the night to pee. Fuck. I guess I could cut out the late glass of warm milk. Yeah, I drink a glass of warm milk with a little vanilla at night, it's supposed to help me fall asleep. What? Yeah, I'm at that age where I drink warm milk in the evening and get up in the middle of the night to pee, and I can still kick your ass (age and treachery beats youth and enthusiasm every time... you wanna run for it? Then you will prove that scared as shit runs faster than mad as hell... but then, I won't chase you that hard, too much work and I am too old and wise for that, I will just throw something at your legs, knock you down, and THEN kick your ass... back to that age and treachery thing...).
So, with my meager 5-1/2 hours cut down to 5 hours by my all-too-predictable bodily functions, it goes without saying that I am feeling a bit sleep deprived, but functioning remarkably well regardless.
The question is Insomnia or Mania? Am I finally slipping into the long absent Manic mode? I can only hope, since I have spent a long winter in the ying to that yang. Depression isn't so bad, my friends and family have learned to (mostly) leave me alone in the winter. It is best to leave the hibernating bear alone, do not poke it with a stick or throw things into the cave, it will end badly. Very badly.
So, Insomnia or Mania? Mania with the accompanying energy/creativity/bon vivant? Or Insomnia with the inevitable hallucinations/irritablity/delusions? The random, sporadic ramblings of this post could point either way, only time will tell. For tonight, I have lifted weights to the point of exhaustion, had chicken for dinner and avoided the lure of the television in the hopes that endorphins, tryptophan and relaxation may be the key to a normal night's sleep. One can hope.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Artistic Temperament? Or Batshit Crazy?

There are days when random, meaningless thoughts seem to ricochet around the inside of my skull causing so much static and echo that I can't focus. Today would be one of those days. It is odd how lack of sleep and a few thoughtless remarks can send my brain into a tailspin. I would love to be unaffected by those around me, to be able to armor myself against negative influences (whether intentional or not). The more I need my emotional strength, the more affected I am by what goes on around me. It is like being hypersensitive to noise, unable to shut out the background chaos or ignore the voices that seem like shouting in my ears. Solitude is my white noise, my escape from overstimulation.
Now, alone, in my squat little house, the rain pounding the windows and the wind wailing under the eaves, I begin to settle down. To rein in the torrential thoughts and feelings that can send me skittering wildly through the rocky landscape of my hyperactive emotions. If only I could find a means to harness the energies attached to the wild side of my emotions, to bottle it, to save it for times of great need, to put on the pantry shelf with my tomatoes and peaches. And like tomatoes and peaches, that energy is hard to find, and very expensive at this time of year, so it is shameful when someone breaks the jar and spills it recklessly.
People wonder why I keep to myself through the dark days of winter, accuse me of being antisocial, temperamental, or worse "silly." But it is to carefully guard my energies from those who would bleed it off of me, or unknowingly spill it through harsh words or careless acts. I like to think of it as "Artistic Temperament" and leave it at that. After all, isn't every artist entitled to the solitude of their studio or studies? And Artistic Temperament sounds so much better than Batshit Crazy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring? Not yet. Not yet.

Today, I actually believed that spring may have been flirting with me like the coy, mature woman who knows that she will eventually, willingly give of herself... but not yet. Not yet.  Trillium appear like a flash of lace, crocuses like a hint of bold lipstick. The breeze like a soft, warm touch with just the barest hint of a cool demeanor.  She flirts, shows just a brief hint of her skills then slips away into the cold of the night. Will I see her again tomorrow? Or will she stay away for days on end, taunting me with her diffidence?
She is skilled at the game of creating want and need. Building desire with her absence until despair is just around the corner, and then she will approach me again, taunting me with a hint of her perfume; Hyacinth, Jonquil, Daphne. The sweet, delicate fragrances of cherry blossom and new grass. Wafting on a soft breeze that follows a morning rain, warmed by the sun breaking through the canopy of cumulus clouds.
I see her colors just beginning dust the trees. Bright green haze seen out of the corner of my eye, but hiding from my direct gaze. She is such a flirt, offering herself, then hiding away as if to remind me, "Not yet. Not yet."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sometimes Optimism Works, Sometimes It Is A Pain In The Ass

I am the eternal optimist. Even in my deepest depressions there is a part of me that knows it will get better. The downside of this is that it puts me in the position of being the chronic cheerleader/therapist. I am the one that always looks for the silver lining, the one who tries to convince my fellows that even though all looks gloomy, pointless and despairing, that there is a positive to be found. It is a pain in the ass. It is exhausting being the one voice of reason and optimism when all those around me are bemoaning their condition, and acting like deer in the headlights.
I won't let our economic situation turn me into another naysaying piece of roadkill. But damn, I wish I got paid for my therapist work, or at least had the body of a cheerleader.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bootstraps Getting a Helluva Workout

I am more resilient than I usually give myself credit for. Another weekend passes and another let down. Drove an hour to look at a house I was very excited about just to discover that 2 of the neighbors look like potential tweakers. Not my idea of a safe environment. Oh well, at least this time I did the rejecting. I'm not sure why I continue my real estate self flagellation. I'm not pre-approved, don't make much money, and my job is tenuous at best. But still I persevere because I don't know what else to do.
Then today, I got another politely worded rejection email from a potential job. I had high hopes for this one, I would have been good at it. But once again I am rejected before even making the interview round. Am I delusional to think I can be hired out of the tight sphere of my current job field? I am good at what I do, and the skills would easily transfer to any office position. I think so anyway.
This brings me to my current state of mind. Do I keep plugging away, getting rejection after rejection, obviously NOT having what they are looking for in these basic, entry level office jobs? Or do I try and change directions? Again. My whole reason for pursuing government jobs within the criminal justice/code enforcement realm was to try and break free of the banality of sales and office work. But would it really be any different. Same job different office? What is the definition of insanity? Repeating the same action over and over, hoping for a different outcome? Is that what I am doing?
Regardless of the insanity of my actions, whether it be the self flagellation, or continuing to pursue jobs that the government obviously does not think I am qualified for, I managed to end the day on a decently high note. I refuse to let myself be beaten down by my circumstances. I won't let myself stop having some small scrap of a dream, despite the multitude of let downs I have faced over the last few years.
A friend told me that I am overdue to have the Luck Dam break, and I am. Long overdue. I have spent so much of the last few years either waiting for others to fulfill promises, or reaching out just to be slapped down. I keep pulling myself up by the proverbial bootstraps and attempting to carry on. I dust myself off of the debris of the latest fall, hold my head up and move forward. That is until something or someone tries to knock me back down a notch. But I refuse to give up on myself and my dreams, schemes and plans.
Tonight is a good night to write, and dream.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Goals, Unreasonable and Otherwise

Goals. We set them as the gold standard. The high bar to to strive for personal best and success. I often set myself with impossible goals; Retire at 50 (yeah, like THAT will happen, seeing as how I'm now 49), the perfect life, the perfectly restored vintage home on many acres, the new car, a stable full of motorcycles. I guess these are more realistically the "if I won the lottery" dreams than actual goals.
So where do I stand on goals? I have set myself a few, one being to work on my writing every day. Not so unrealistic, until another goal intrudes: a home with acreage. The dilemma? I have found such a home, it is cheap (for a reason, I'm sure) therefore affordable for me on my own, single income. Why is that a problem, you might ask. Because my brain is now firing on all cylinders with the vague, vain hope that I might actually be able to buy a home of my own. Again, you may wonder why that is a problem. The problem is that with the dream/fantasy of my own home, that is ALL I can think of. It drives any other thoughts from my mind. I can't even focus on the simple tasks. All I can think of is The House. Hell, I've even picked out paint and I haven't seen the place in real life yet.
Now, I try repeatedly to force myself back to reality. I haven't seen the place yet, but will at 2pm today. I am not approved for the loan yet, so that could crush my dreams. There may already be another offer on the home, which is why it was pulled off the market after 24 hours the last time it was listed. I worry that I am setting myself up for another cataclysmic Fail, with a capital F. I get so excited and then get knocked back to earth, and it gets harder to pick myself up each time. I can't help it, it is the way my brain operates. But I have to keep trying.
I do wish I could get my brain to settle down though, I'm afraid it will stay stuck in high gear until it burns itself out. Not to mention how exhausting it all is. I just need to get through today, see the house, make an offer and take my chances that everything will go through all right. Yes, I'm a bit of a gambler and don't mind leaping before I look. Some day, that is liable to damage me beyod repair, but I have to think "but not today."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More Goals....

Never one to sit on my ass and wait for death, I've been formulating/reformulating The Plan. Yes, in capital letters: The Plan. Often, I find that when despair and dejection seem to have a firm hold on my psyche all I need to do to loosen the painful grip, is to come up with a legitimate Plan. This gives me a new path, or repaves an old one. Gives me a course of action. Lets me act instead of react. And these are definitely times that call for action more than reaction. I want to call the shots, not be the one ducking the shots.
As I pull myself up by the proverbial bootstraps, dust the gravel from my ass and bandage any new road-rash, I peer up a newly paved path. Yes, it is repaved. It isn't a new path, but one I have been trying to traverse, and have been sliding off into the ditch over and over. Okay, maybe not a full-blown, smooth as glass, repaving. But at least I am going to try and fill in the potholes and sweep away loose gravel.
The Plan, as I see it, still revolves around finishing the novella. I am fully cognizant of the fact that I most likely will not make much, if any, money off of this venture. But it has become a point of pride. I will finish the damned thing and see it in print and on eBook before another winter locks me in it's frigid, suffocating grasp. So, to this end I will write something every day, even if it is just changing a few salient words. I will work every day.
The next phase of The Plan invloves continuing to blog. A writer's blog. More random ramblings, but maybe a little more PC and "for public eyes". This may involve deleting some of my posts here (now done), so be it.
There is also the need to create a webpage. It will have a link to my blog, or possibly a blog section of its own. It will have excerpts from current and upcoming works. It will have a bio. And I think it could very well be home to: "The Madcap Adventures of Geezer and Bean," an offshoot from the current novella. Why this particular piece of fiction? Because I think the characters have the most potential for further misadventure.
So: Write, Blog, Webpage.
Oh yeah, and PUBLISH. Gotta publish.
My writing and my health are all that I feel I have some control over right now, so that is where I will focus my energies. It makes more sense to spend energy where it will be useful, instead of wasting energy on the dead-end aspects of my life that I have no control over and which only pile on the stress.
The Plan. I can do it. Myself. Solo. I have myself, I need no one else.

Dead End Street?

There are days, like today, when I feel like my life is a series of dead end streets.  I try so very hard to keep moving forward, swim against the current, find alternate paths, but every route I take seems to slam me up against a wall.  I have brick marks on my forehead at this point. There have been so many attempts and faliures this year, it is hard to keep picking myself up and trying again. Days like today, and too many lately, I wonder if I should just give up, sit back and let fate do with me what she will. Life feels out of my control.
Job: do I just ride this one out until it is gone? Stay put with no hopes or aspirations for anything else? The stress at work from watching my boss slowly give in to inertia and depression is a tangible force that makes me nauseated. The tension that builds in my shoulders and neck feels like it will peel my scalp off of my skull. It takes me at least thirty minutes of pounding down a forested path before the stress is reduced enough that I can again form coherent thoughts. Is this any way to live? Do I have a choice? Not at the moment.
I know I will keep trying to find viable alternatives to slow death by inertia. I wish I had no restraints to prevent me from widening my scope. No such luck. Keep pounding down the path, bouncing off the brick wall, falling on my ass, picking myself up, and trying the next fork in the road. Alone. Solo. I have myself, I need no one else.