The Sad and the Happy

30 06 2011

1. I’ve been having random anxiety attacks this week. They are not about anything serious, but sometimes they are in the middle of the night, interfering with my sleep (which, in turn, interferes with my ability to handle them like a sane person) and the sheer amount of them is tiring. Like a bunch of preschool bullies ganging up on me. Except anxiety attacks and not small children. So that much less cute. Also that much less creepy if you happen to live in a horror movie.

2. My son has been getting hives again this week. In the middle of the night. He’s had mysterious hives twice before in his life, both incidences occurring during the summer months. The last time was two summers ago, but I always wondered if they’d come back. We never found a cause and it’s frustrating and a little scary and so very sad to watch him feel so miserable.

3. Add those two items together and count me too tired to have to deal with:

4. Lots of “growth” in my life right now. I put growth in quotes, not because it’s untrue, but because it feels more like “shit” at the moment and somehow that made it seem like it deserved sarcasm.

5. Also lots of judgement in my life right now. I don’t know why it’s wearing on me so much right now, but I just can’t tolerate people making judgments about other people right now and it makes me mad and sad and bitchy and it makes me open my big fat mouth and try to nicely tell people to STFU. And I don’t know why it feels so personal right now, perhaps because as I move farther into low-income status I feel more judged myself. It may also be that as I move farther into my work with SOAM and TIAW I see more sides to more stories and I feel hurt for people who might not have the same opportunities as other people, and it pisses me off when people get all snobby about the choices others make. Either way, added to everything else, it’s drained me this week.

6. PMS. Need I say more?

Now that I’ve vented all that, here’s some recent Happy:

Happy Thing: Reading Harry Potter to Margie

Happy Thing: Jacarandas in Bloom

Happy Thing: Quietly Enjoying the Beach While The Kids Play

Happy Thing: FANCY ASS Mochas in a FANCY ASS Chocolate Shop


Motherfrakking Vogons

29 06 2011

Earlier this year, I got all excited about how I was going to write a post about how applying for food stamps was a freaking DREAM compared to when I had to apply for Medi-Cal nine years ago. See, because back in the dark ages they had this policy where you showed up in person like the ancient people of 15 and more years ago. In. Person. It was torture. And – I swear I am not making this up* – we waited in that room for FIVE HOURS. To get an appointment.

But 2011 is awesome in so very many ways. And one of those ways is that the government figured out how to use the internet at some point in the last nine years. So all I had to do to apply for food stamps was spend about 30 minutes online filling out a form and sending scans of my info in. They called me back the next day and within a week and only an additional 20 minutes spent at the office itself to sign papers and get my fancy ATM-looking card, I was finished. It was awesome.

More awesome? All the places that take food stamps. Which is pretty much everywhere. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods – even Costco! And while WIC didn’t work well for my family all those years ago (I think there have been some good changes to the program, but I really don’t know) due to all the dairy and processed foods, food stamps allow me to buy all sorts of awesome, organic, gluten-free, whole and healthy foods. It’s awesome.

And I know some people feel ashamed at needing help, but I don’t feel ashamed about being low income – I’m certainly not cheating the system, I’m just trying to live. (Admittedly, help feels more awkward coming from friends or family than from a faceless government.) I’m pretty strongly Democrat in this way – I think the government should act as a parent to its people by supporting them when necessary. (I think there should also be a choice to how much the government requires of its people who are receiving help – and also those who aren’t, but that’s a different subject entirely.)

So things were going along swimmingly until Matt Lauer screwed up my life. I won’t repeat the Week o’ Thursdays I wrote about in that post, but suffice it to say that it was really, really difficult to wade through that giant, stinking pile of bureaucracy. But it was all smoothed over and Life was OK again.

And then I got a letter. This letter stated clearly that since my income had changed, therefore my monthly allowance had changed from $42.23 to $42.23. That’s not the actual amount I get, just some geeky numbers thrown in as an example to show you what the letter looked like. Yeah. They actually spent time, money and resources on that, not to mention postage. A few weeks later I got another letter in the mail. This letter stated that if my income ever goes above $______ I need to alert the County within 10 days. Unlike my first example in which I changed the facts to protect my privacy a bit on the interwebz, this time I changed NOTHING. Yeah. They sent me a letter with absolutely zero helpful information in it. Now I don’t mind paying taxes at all, but I really generally prefer they go to more important things like teachers or roads or fire departments. But that’s crazy. Or, more correctly: it’s crazy when Vogons are in charge. Which is clearly what’s going on here.

And, of course, I still can never get through. I try to be patient because with all the budget cuts and the terrible economy it means that more people need more help and there are less people to help them. I feel more sad than anything when I’m unable to get through. Sad for the state of things.

And just a little bit afraid that they might try to read me poetry.

*To borrow a phrase from the Wise Dave Barry.


27 06 2011

It’s so funny how The Universe works. I’ve been living the same essential situation over and over again recently in various forms and events, each time with different people involved – sometimes just as a witness and not an active participant at all. But at the core, they have such striking similarities. One element involved is my own sense of self being nurtured (or, sometimes, simply shocked into awakeness) and guided through a period of growth. My sense of what is right and wrong. My sense of being able to see when I am less than in control of a situation I am involved in. My sense of gaining control in a firm and loving and open-minded way. And you know what? Growth hurts. It’s really damn painful.

But one thing that just keeps coming up over and over again is the tendency our society has to keep Ugly Shit private. I just can’t be so sure that’s the right thing to do. I feel like we are meant to be surrounded by our fellow women in times of trial. I feel like we need each other around for support, to offer guidance and advice and other points of view, to witness things that are being said. Guidance and support speak for themselves, but I want to add in that I think having a witness is so important to keeping people careful of the emotions involved, and also simply in keeping things moving along. A witness, even just sitting quietly, helps to keep Shit from getting stagnant.

Of course none of this flies because it makes people feel uncomfortable and we still have this leftover Victorian etiquette shit where we daren’t make people uncomfortable. The thing is, though, is that Life is often really fucking uncomfortable. Physically and emotionally. And so when people complain about things being said publicly making then feel uncomfortable, I kind of want to scream, “TOO DAMN BAD!”

Society has steered us so wrong in so many places, and I can’t help but wonder if this is one of those things. By shoving us into privacy we lose out on the chance to connect more fully with our fellow women. We miss out on the opportunity to LEARN from each other. We really, deeply hurt ourselves by not allowing ourselves to be that open in front of our friends, our sisters. It makes my heart ache for all the loss we bring upon ourselves.

I am curious to hear what you think on this. Is there an angle I’m not seeing here? I keep running this all through in my mind but I keep coming back to this: Working through Shit publicly, surrounded by loving people, seems so much more desirable to me, even if it is uncomfortable. The alternative, as far as I can see, is surface-comfort, but so much more loss at deeper levels.

7 Days: Day 7 (Blue Canary in the Outlet by the Light Switch)

24 06 2011

7 Days: Day 7 (Blue Canary in the Outlet by the Light Switch)

Who watches over yo-ou!

I have had a very TMBG day. First, my blue canary arrived in my mailbox. And then! Then I was informed I am going to see the band when they come to town this November! *squeee!*

So, I stayed up late and took this picture after midnight so now I can go to bed happy and watched over by my only friend, not my only friend. Well, except he’s in the bathroom and I won’t be. So there is a flaw in this plan.

If I’m rambling nonsense, I’ll just remind you about the bit where it’s after midnight.

7 Days: Day 6 (Captain Jack Sparrow Says Hey)

23 06 2011

7 Days: Day 6 (Captain Jack Sparrow Says Hey)

Lego hair + my finger + a ball point pen = silliness for you, my blog-reading friends.

7 Days: Day 5 (Overexposed) (Not DEAD)

22 06 2011

7 Days: Day 5 (Overexposed)

Overexposed against a while wall. Maybe not the most creative idea, but it’s the best I had. I even put on lipstick for you people. You’re welcome.

Only then Summer made me think I looked dead and I had to clarify that I looked artistic and that’s totally different. And now I may or may not be creeped out by my own photo. (Hint: I am.)

And THEN I noticed I look very beard-y in this photo, thanks to the flash. Which amuses me slightly. But only slightly. In any case, this photo is falling out of favor quickly.

And here’s another picture I took today. Just a hint of posts to come!

Happy Thing: Carving Stamps

7 Days: Day 4 (Solstice)

21 06 2011

7 Days: Day 4 (Solstice)

As per tradition, we went to the beach tonight to celebrate the Summer Solstice. Unfortunately none of our usual friends could join us this time so it was just me and the kiddos, but we used that as a chance to drive less far so we wound up at Imperial Beach whose motto is – I swear – IB is OK. Not great! or awesome! or fantastic!. Just OK. Then again, the whole town’s slogan is The most southwesterly city in the continental US! Which is, well, kind of a ghetto claim to fame. Honestly, they should really consider hiring better PR people.

Anyway, we had a lovely evening. Please forgive my blinding legs. I think they just reflect sun rather than absorbing any for a potential tan.

Happy Solstice, everyone!