No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Just. Keep. Swimming.

Often times I seek out change. I'm hard wired that way, I like variety and alternate views.
Other times, change seeks me.

I try to go with the flow and accept whatever change may take place, and remind myself that every change that has occurred in my life, no matter how hotly contested by me at the moment, has always, eventually, become the very best thing that could have happened, in the long run. 
I try. 
And that's really all I can do. 

I have two big changes facing me right now, and they were both presented to me on Tuesday. One I'm super excited about, the other has me gut wrenched and nervous. 

First, the company that I've been freelancing for has asked me to take on a full time role as managing client accounts and providing training, instruction, support, and assistance to our clients and their end users who are using our software.

I'm super stoked and slightly terrified, but more than anything, I'm grateful that I've been handed this opportunity to do the stuff that I love to do, and to do it for a company that I really enjoy working with. Learning the software well enough to teach it to end users is scary for me, but my boss insists she has "full confidence" in my ability. I'm glad someone does.

The other change is of the more sinister-seeming variety. It seems that we may be forced into making a move abruptly, in the very near future. There's a possibility that our landlord is selling the house we rent, and with that, a possibility that we will be forced to vacate. Nothing is set in stone, so I may be freaking out over nothing...then again, I like to be prepared for the worst.

We've rented here for almost five years now, and have never been late on the rent, not even once. That stands in our favor. But, we lost our house a little over five years ago, when we surrendered the deed in lieu of foreclosure, and that still plagues our credit rating just as badly as if we had let them actually foreclose. It was difficult finding someone to rent to us with two large dogs and less than ideal credit, and I expect it will be difficult again this time. But just as that situation of losing our house was so difficult to go through, once we landed here and found this house and she got her new job, we looked back on all of that and said, yeah, losing that house in Tennessee was the best thing that could have happened to us. We're here, we love it here, and we're happier. I also suspect that this move, if it happens, will be much the same.

I applied for a mortgage loan, but I got denied. My credit score is 15 points lower than the minimum required. My poor decisions earlier in life, my relatively recent disability, my student loans, and being self-employed for the last several years as a freelance agent have all put a damper on my credit rating. It takes time to rebuild credit ratings, and apparently time is not something we have a lot of right now. I'm more than a little bit stressed over it all, but I know that whatever happens, eventually we'll look back on it as having been the best thing that could have happened. There's a million rental properties in this city, and I'm confident we'll find something...but I'm not confident we can find something as awesome as this house has been, in as short of a time frame as it appears we may be given.

But, again, nothing is concrete yet, so all I can do is keep my head down and Just. Keep. Swimming.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Fuck you, cancer!

My friend, my former neighbor, my confidant and my gardening, cooking, and shopping buddy passed away Wednesday morning. She was only 50 years old. 50.

She was much too young, much too vibrant and full of joy to be taken from us. When I was sad, Maritza could always find a way to make me happy about again. When I was angry, she helped me find the humor. When I needed a hug, she was there with as many as it took, giving them freely and often.
The world has lost one of the most beautiful, caring, loving spirits that has ever been known. She was quick witted, funny, and nurturing to everyone and everything in her presence. She never encountered an animal she couldn't help or a person she couldn't comfort. She was one of my very best friends in this crazy, wild world, and she will be missed terribly. To meet Maritza was to love Maritza. If you ever met her, you know what I mean, it was impossible not to find yourself surrounded by her love.

Be free, my dear, sweet friend. I love you!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Made for TV Election Cycles

i·ro·ny - /ˈīrənē/ - noun -
When you look at Facebook and you see that the same people who have posted this meme, also posted memes that say that we need to refuse refugees and that all Muslims are terrorists.

It's getting really, really gross out there. People are all Trumped up on rhetoric and vitriol, and they are steaming mad at everyone and anyone who looks different than they do.

I had a discussion over the weekend with an older gentleman who started talking Trump. He was saying that Trump really understands Americans, and that he speaks to what everyday Americans are thinking. He ranted about how Trump is right to want to ban all Muslims from the country, stating that this is a Christian nation. He agreed that Trump's wanting Muslims to carry ID was pointless, stating, "We already know they're Muslims by their turbans!" And dismissed my recant that not all people who wear turbans are Muslim, and that not all Muslims are terrorists who believe that they have to kill infidels. My objection was waved away like a pesky fly.
I tried to be respectful in my dissent, he's my elder and a much respected person, so I simply countered that I don't think that Trump speaks to average American's sentiment. I don't. I think he speaks to some American's sentiment, true, but they are the fringe. I think that he speaks to the lowest common denominator, and that what he connects with in those people is their fear, and that fear, being promoted and flamed, creates the hatred that we're seeing, which, in my opinion is what drives the anti-American sentiment of so many people when all they see are the Trumped up hate mongers as representative of who we are and what we believe.
I said that I hoped for our society sake that Trump's stated opinions and ideas are not representative of what the average American carries in their heart of hearts. Because if what he exhibits in any way represents the hearts and souls of the typical American, then we're definitely a doomed nation.

I think that we noticed in each other that neither would bend in our views of Mr. Trump, and so eventually he let it go, no longer trying to entice me into further debate.

I have no time for debating Trump's legitimacy, just as I have no time to debate the legitimacy of rainbow winged unicorns living in my backyard. I need to concentrate on things that matter, things that help, things that nurture the better good, the higher perspective, and the common core of loving one's neighbor and of first, doing no harm.

I think that we need to step away from the made for TV election coverage, and look at the real issues and the people who are actually trying to accomplish something more meaningful than spiking their ratings and getting poll bumps from spewing hate and anger.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Vision Bucket List

Image from Huffington Post
I'm just putting this out and into the universe because that's the only way I know to manifest the things I truly want: Speak them. Dream them. Envision them. And very often, they will come.

New addition to my Vision Bucket List: See the Alaskan Northern Lights.

My cousin and her husband live in Alaska, and they are always posting the most beautiful pictures of the lights on Facebook. I can't imagine what it must be like to be able to look up in your backyard and see that. Plus, there's all the stars in the sky with their photos. Oh, the stars! I haven't ever seen so many stars in the sky. I think that possibly, I'd even be able to see them out there. I can't really see any stars in the sky here anymore. I really miss seeing them. That's one of those things you don't realize how much you take it for granted, until it's gone. I knew it would happen, I braced for it, but still, I miss seeing the stars in the sky. There's just not enough contrast here, with the city lights so close by. Even when The Wifester sees them, I still can't, not usually. I'll only see like one or two, vaguely, while she's seeing a dozen. But I bet I can see them in the Alaskan sky. Possibly in the Arizona desert, too. But I'm running out of time before I won't be able to, even there.

So there it is, Universe. Let's make this happen.

Monday, November 23, 2015

ISO Gainful Employment

So I still haven't heard from the people about that job that I really, really wanted. I'm pretty much making the assumption now that they have decided on someone else. I'm happy for the person who got it, but I'm disappointed, to say the least. I really wanted that one. I would have been the perfect person to fill that role, I believe that with all of my heart and soul.

If it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be, and so I have to let it go now.

I keep looking for something else to do, something to fill my time, allow me to utilize some of my skills, and hopefully earn a living. It's frustrating, looking for work when so many jobs that match your skill set require you to have a valid driver's license and clear driving record. It's hard to explain that while I can't drive, I can certainly take a cab or an uber or catch a ride and that once there, I can find my way to the computer or workstation in need of help. They look at that white cane and they assume that I can't see anything.
They assume a lot of things.

There has to be a company out there who is willing to hire someone with low vision to do a job that is more fulfilling than being a customer service agent. Something better than being a punching bag meant to take all the hits aimed at the company, and that pays better than a minimum wage pittance.
I am capable of so much more!
I yearn to do so much more!
I will do SO much more!

Fulfillment. That's all anyone is seeking in life, right? Fulfillment to some may be a call center job, taking the punches for the corporate heads, and making just enough money to get by. If that's fulfillment to you, then by all means, that's your thing and do it with gusto.

For some people, fulfillment isn't achieved until they have become the best of the best at whatever it is. And that's great for those people who have that kind of drive. Go for it! Set new records, give the rest of us a higher bar to aim for. We all need motivation to improve from time to time, so your unequaled passion to be the best serves us all. But don't let it stop you from appreciating all you've done.

For me, I'm somewhere in between. I don't need to be the best. But I don't want to accept the lowest hanging fruit, either. I need to feel good about the work that I do. I need to feel like I've been helpful in some way. I need to feel like what I've done today made a real and measurable difference in someone's life. I need to improve the world around me, and to help other people find happiness and fulfillment.

I don't get any of those things from the work I currently do.
I really need to find something better, but each time I try, it circles back to me walking in to that interview with my white cane in hand, and them immediately making the judgement call that I will not work out for that job. I can't be the only person stuck in this cycle. Surely not, since blind and visually impaired people are the most unemployed and underemployed demographic of the American workforce population.

So I guess my ticket to fulfillment is going to be in finding a way to change that.
Sounds easy enough!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Can I get a side of rage with that hypocrisy?

The thing is, after all the years that I spent working in retail, and working in nursing homes with elderly folk who are very set in their ways, thinking back, all those holidays spent either behind a cash register or bathing elderly people, the only times I ever got yelled at, like seriously yelled and sometimes even cussed at over a holiday greeting was when I said "Happy Holidays" to someone who wanted me to have said "Merry Christmas" instead.

But the thing is, when you work with the general public, you can't just assume that everyone is celebrating Christmas. Because they aren't. People are celebrating a ton of various holidays during the November through December months. No one ever told me not to say Merry Christmas. I just realized one day that it seemed silly to wish a Christian holiday greeting to my coworker who was Hindu. It's like wishing a happy birthday to someone when it's not their birthday.  I worked along side people from every corner of this globe. I worked with people of every race and just about every religion you can name. And out of all those people I worked with or encountered, not one of them ever yelled at me or angrily insisted that I wish a Happy Hanukkah. No one ever screamed at me to wish them a Merry Solstice. Some people replied to my Happy Holidays with a, "And a Merry Christmas to you." or with, "Happy Kwanzaa!" or with, "Happy Hanukkah!" I even got some "Season's Greetings!" and  few silly "Bah-humbugs" thrown my way. Generally though, most people, be they Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, or what have you, always returned the kind greeting with another kind greeting. I did have a lady once say, "Well, I'm an Athiest, so I don't celebrate any holidays, but thank you, and have a wonderful season yourself!" But she wasn't mad or berating or yelling. She was actually quite pleasant.

But there was those few who would turn bright red, heads looking like they were about to explode, rage filling their eyes as spittle flew from their jowls when they spun around to shoot expletives at me, ranting and raging, "This is CHRISTMAS GODDAMMIT! FUCKING SAY MERRY GODDAMMNED CHRISTMAS!" That actually happened on the sales floor at K-Mart one year, it had to be the early 90's. It happened several times over quite few years, actually. But I remember this specific chick like it happened yesterday. I think her head may have actually spun around a full 360 degrees.

Another time that stands out in my memory was a gentleman at the nursing home who spent his days devotedly reading bible verses to his wife, who was my patient. He had been a Baptist minister prior to her stroke, and now spent his time berating us for not seeing to her needs quite to his satisfaction.  I can still see his face clearly, too. And hear his voice. He didn't realize that I was the daughter of a Mexican woman. He didn't know that my grandma was an immigrant. And he didn't hold back on telling me all about how he refused to stop at McDonald's for coffee anymore because all they had working there was "those god damned wetback spicks." I bit my tongue and smiled and nodded and bathed his wife trying not to listen to the garbage he spewed. It was my job, and that's what I was paid to do. So I did. Besides, his foul mouth and bad attitude was no reason not to take care of his poor wife. Anyways, the first Christmas that I cared for his wife, I remember walking into her room that day saying, "Happy Holi..." and he jumped in, "You better not say that god damned holiday bull shit! It's CHRISTMAS, god dammit! What in the hell has this world come to? I can't get a god damned Merry CHRISTMAS around here?"

So, when I hear all this talk about the b.s. of being politically correct, it always gets me to thinking about all the people I encountered on Thanksgiving day in the retail stores or nursing homes, on Black Friday sales days, the Christmas eve shoppers...on all those pre-holidays shopping days in those stores, behind those registers, out on the sales floors, and at my patient's bedsides... Not once can I remember anyone going ape shit crazy quite like the folks who did because someone failed to say "Christmas." Yet, it always seems to be that very same crowd, the ones who want everyone to say "Christmas" and are so deeply, mortally offended by anything other than a "Merry Christmas" who are the ones that are fussing and complaining about other people getting offended too easily.

Funny how that works.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

I just want to be able to buy socks when I need them. Is that asking too much?

So my paycheck today was thirty three dollars and some change. And that's for two weeks. Sadly, that was a bit of a relief, since the previous paycheck, for the prior two weeks was four dollars and some change.

In case you think you may be reading that wrong, let me put it this way:

Last check= $4.00. This check= $33.00. 
No typo. You're seeing that right.

Apparently, my employer thinks that I'm not supposed to be smart enough to connect the dots and realize that the company's "record profits" are directly related to the new contracts they have with outsourced call centers in the Philippines, where employees make a fraction of my few cents above minimum wage salary. But I am.
And I'm not supposed to be smart enough to make the connection between my cut in scheduled hours, and the increased scheduled hours of the outsourced employees.
But I am.
And I'm not supposed to know that when their server is down and I can't log into their VPN to do my job, that it's a problem on their side, not mine. So I'm just supposed to say OK when they tell me that although I was working with their IT people for 4 hours out of my 6 hour shift, I won't get paid for those four hours because that issue is considered my issue, not theirs.
But I do know better.
So I'm just supposed to see my plastic Happy 1 Year Anniversary ID badge lanyard that came 4 months after my 1 year anniversary and think, "Oh boy! My company appreciates and respects me." But I don't. Thirty four dollar pay check for two weeks. I'd quit this job, but I really need that thirty four dollars. Even if it is only thirty four dollars.

I guess it really is asking too much that an employed person in this country, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, shouldn't have to save up spare change for 6 months in a desperate attempt to be able to afford to buy socks before winter hits. But that is the sad reality of this place in time. I'm lucky to have The Wifester. What would I do all on my own with income like this?