The Current Status Quo

Yesterday, just about the time I had amped myself up to call that yahoo in personnel at my last job, the doorbell rang.  Guess what.  Yep.  My last paycheck.  A mere pittance, as all of them were.  However, money is worth more in the hand than in the mail.  Still no income tax refund yet.    Still no word from the unemployment benefits people as to whether my claim has been accepted or not.

I put in some applications and got a couple of nibbles.  Time will tell.  Later I will submit a claim to the unemployment people, requesting benefits for the past two weeks.  They don’t pay you for the first week.

It’s windy today.  In fact, we’re under a wind advisory:  SOUTHWEST SUSTAINED WINDS FROM 25 TO 35 MPH (40-56 kph)  WITH GUSTS TO 55 MPH (88 kph).  The sky is dirty with dust.  Right now, at 6:30 in the evening, it’s 70 F/21 C.  Supposed to be in the 70’s F/20’s C tomorrow and Thursday, too, and not so windy, but it looks like another front is blowing through on Friday dropping the temperature back to 60 F/16 C, with a high of 54 F/12 C predicted for Saturday.

Maybe next week the weather will permit me to get out in the yard some.  The beds need cleaning out.  The roses need the dead wood cut off, and they need to be cut back.  The honeysuckle needs cutting back severely and its trellises reset.   The trees need pruning and those stupid “tree of heaven” (Ailanthus altissima) seedlings need to be killed.  It’ll take poison to to get rid of them.  I plan to cut them off, drill a hole down into the heart wood and drip the herbicide into it. hopefully, that will do the trick.  I don’t think I’m going to have any irises bloom this year, mostly due to lack of water, naturally occuring and otherwise.

I washed my hair in the shower this morning.  I always let it dry in the air.  It will ringlet if left to its own devices, except for the “grey” hair, which is rather straight and coarser.  While in the shower I thought up two good scenes for a story I’m writing on.  Once I was done, I dried off, wrapped my hair in a towel, skittered across the hall, booted up my computer and got them down while they were still fresh in my mind.  I should have taken the robe that hangs on the back of my bedroom door, but I wasn’t thinking about what I wasn’t wearing.  Got a little chilly there toward the end, but I got them down.

Had the last of my chili casserole for lunch, with some ciabatta rolls buttered and toasted under the broiler, and raspberry yogurt for dessert.  I’ll have a bowl of Kashi shreaded wheat with almond milk for supper, and tomorrow I’ll make some tuna salad.

In the glow before sunrise, a small flock of mourning doves roosts on the wires, their silhouettes like antique quarter notes as they write the score for a strange dawn melody.


They are wild things, words.  If you chase them, they race away like hares and vanish down a hole.  They are cats who never come when you call them.   But as it is with all wild things, if you are still, and quiet, and patient, they will creep forth and venture close, and eat from your hand.   Wise to keep a crust of joy and a morsel of delight tucked away in your pocket at all times.

Busy Saturday

My friend has gotten the fence fixed, and Friday the yard guys totally cleaned up the yard, including the piles of branches by the eastern fence.  They also blew all the leaves off my front flower bed.  Now bare dirt is exposed, and whatever watering I do, most of it will evaporate. I may have to break down and get a bag of mulch — assuming I can find a job.

Still no sign of my paycheck or my income tax refund.  Still no job.  Monday I’m calling that jerk in HR at my old job and yank his chain about my paycheck.   I also need to call the social services lady at the VA and see what social services are available.

Going back on the higher dose of my medication is starting to work.  Saturday was a busy day.  I washed, dried, folded and put away two loads of clothes and washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.  I cooked some egg noodles and combined them with two cans of Wolf Brand Home Style Chili to make a chili casserole. (And I actually cleaned up the dishes after each dish instead of just letting them sit for later.)  I had a big old blop of the chili casserole on two pieces of toasted English toasting bread with Sargento Mexican Four Cheeses sprinkled on top and melted.

About the English toasting bread, I don’t know where they get the “English,” but as for the toasting, the slices are thinner than “regular” bread, about 1/4 inch thick instead of 1/2 inch. The bread also has a fine grain to it, so it toasts crisper.  I like crisp toast.  I like to let it cool before I spread on the margarine so the margarine doesn’t melt.  If I wanted the margarine melted, I’d make “gooshy toast,” i.e., spread bread with margarine and put it under the broiler.   Different strokes for different folks. (So on and so on and sku be du be du be. . . )

After I made the chili casserole, I made some of that cranberry Jello mousse thing like I made for Christmas, which uses a package of cranberry flavored Jello, a small tub of Cool Whip and a can of whole berry cranberry sauce.  (dissolve the Jello in 1-1/2 cup boiling water, mix in Cool Whip then mix in the cranberry sauce, pour into a dish and refrigerate until set.)  I have to use the hand mixer and it’s a challenge to keep it from slinging stuff all over everywhere when I’m blending the Cool Whip and cranberry sauce into the Jello, but it’s tangy and good.  I had some for dessert after lunch today.  I think later on in the week, after I’ve finished the chili casserole, I might make some tuna salad.

Saturday morning, I finished All the Windwracked Stars, by Elizabeth Bear.  Elizabeth Bear is number 2 on my top ten favorite authors.  I love the way she uses words, and the way her prose reads.  Her stories suck you in and won’t let you go.  Saturday evening, I finished The Moor, the next in the Mary Russell series by Laurie R. King.  I really like her Mary Russell character and I like the dynamic she sets up between Mary Russell and her husband.  I want to read some of her other books.  I may end up having to get them in dead tree editions (used paperbacks) as the Kindle edition are pricey.

My BFF is coming over later tonight for a TV night.  We have new episodes of Merlin, and NCIS to watch, and we’ll probably squeeze in a couple of Warehouse 13 episodes.

Still Hanging Fire

I’ve been listening to my Rhapsody playlist of Zero Ohms‘ music, acutely aware that there are other CD’s of his out there that I have not heard and cannot afford to acquire.  If you like your ambient more on the melodic side, you should check out his stuff.  If you like Jonn Serrie, you’ll like Zero Ohms.

Spent the day catching up on my blog, comics and webcomics reading, and ran across an interesting pattern for a cap.  Although I love them, I have problems with the way ski cap/watch cap type caps fit on my head, and I have to wear them way down on my forehead to keep them on.  I might try this Gaussian cap.  I like the way the flaps go down over the ears.  I’ll be interested to see how easy it is to keep on.

Same song, umpteenth verse, I need to get my office in shape.  I’m thinking about crocheted snowflake ornaments.  It would be great to do it at one of my work tables, where I could have the pattern book open in front of me, and my magnifying light that clamps onto the table edge.  It’s a big table, and there would be plenty of room for the Squeezebox, and a plug to plug it into.  I’ve already got a drawer full of cotton crochet thread and all the hooks I need.  They don’t take long to do.  Then I have to put some cling wrap down on my ironing board, peg out the snowflakes with pins and soak them in stiff stuff so they’ll dry stiff.  I’ll need to pick up a roll of very narrow white satin ribbon for the hanger loops.  I use crochet motifs from some reprinted pattern books from the 1930’s and 1940’s like you use to make table cloths, bedspreads, etc.  Not every kind of motif will work, and of those that will, some I can use as written, and some I have to modify.   I’ll be sure to post pictures.  They go real fast.  You can knock a couple off in the evening after supper.  I promised a set to my most favorite author in the whole world, and I need to get busy.

No news on the job front.  And no news on whether my application for unemployment benefits has been accepted or not.  Also no sign of my last paycheck from my old job or my income tax refund.

Where Is A Sugar Daddy When You Need One?

My Valentine’s present this year was to be let go from my job.  It was startling, but not all that much of a surprise  We kept running out of work, and it was only a matter of time until the other shoe dropped.  For me it dropped last Tuesday.  If my hands were 20 years younger, I could get a job as a medical transcriptionist in a New York minute.  I’ve been in the field for over 25 years.  But they aren’t, and the other job in that field that I’m very qualified for is quality assurance/editing, and those jobs are scarce on the ground, and getting scarcer.  Evidently, these eagle ears and the head full of knowledge and experience that backs them up are bootless without the ability to type a gazillion words a minute for eight hours a day, five days a week.

I’m wondering, and not for the first time, if it is worth it at this stage of the game to transfer over to medical coding.  I could probably pass the certification test without having to take courses — if I could afford to take it.  But on the other hand, Texas’ minimum wage is $7.25/hour, and I could work 20-30 hours a week at the Whataburger and probably make as much, or more, than I had been making lately in my former job.  I wouldn’t mind working three days a week if I could bring in about $500-$600 a month.  It would get me out of the house and give me some exercise, especially since I live close enough that if my shift was during the daylight hours, I could walk to and from work.  I’ve filed for unemployment, but don’t know yet if I’ll qualify.  Next week, I need to meet with the social services lady at the VA and see what resources are out there.

However, I’ve more or less landed on my feet.  My pantry and freezer are full, I just opened a big bag of cat food, I’ve got almost 60 lbs of cat litter, and my rent and bills are paid through the first of March.  Between my last paycheck, my tax refund, and the monthly benefit payment I get at the end of the month, I’ll have March pretty well covered, too.  All in all, things could be a lot worse.

I tend to be a pragmatist.  When something like this happens, I work out what I need to do, then set about doing it.  I’m not a worrier; I don’t borrow trouble.  One day at a time and sufficient unto that day is the evil thereof is how I roll.  Since I’m not spending time working at the moment, I can spend that time doing other things I need/want to do.

<Warning:  Carnivorous content follows>  Thursday when I went to the store to get AA batteries, margarine, and yogurt, I treated myself to a loaf of ciabatta bread, and a pound of brisket from Market Street, a local grocery/delicatessen store.  I froze half the brisket, but I’ve been shamelessly enjoying the other half.  This morning for breakfast, I made three brisket on ciabatta sandwiches and had a cup of cherry yogurt.  Serious nums.  <End carnivorous content.>

As I was making the sandwiches, I was thinking about dresses; particularly, something like a djellaba, but with wrist length straight sleeves, a slit neck, with the body of the dress falling straight from the shoulder to just above the floor, but with more of a flared, A-line shape.  I was wishing I had some; plushy Velour, thick cotton flannel, and microfleece for winter, gauzy cotton with short or belled sleeves for summer.  Once I got a pattern worked out, they’d be ridiculously easy to sew and very comfortable.  They’d be pretty cheap to make too.

I was also thinking about slippers with a sole cut out of some fairly thick leather with small holes punched all around the edge and then the upper part crocheted onto the sole using heavy cotton thread for summer, and fuzzy thicker yarn for winter, with the upper part more sock like.  If the sole was of thick enough leather, when the top became frayed or soiled, you could just cut it off the sole, and crochet on another top, over and over again, until the sole wore through.  You could make a pair in an evening. The hardest part would be punching the holes, but you can get metal hole punches for that.  I have some hemp yarn.  I may try a summer pair.  I’ve got some leather, and the benefits of my experience with my sock feet,  which are holding up quite well.   Also recycled silk sari yarn is available from Darn Good Yarn that would make some great ones.

My apologies to my blog friends.  I’ve fallen behind in my blog reading.  Tomorrow is a business holiday here in the US (“Presidents’ Day“).  Maybe I’ll take the day and catch up on my blog reading.


Seining For the Moon

I woke up a while ago thinking about a character, and a scene involving that character.  She is the eldest of a set of triplets.  Female triplets keep turning up among the Kind (as in “kindred”), echos of the triple goddess.  One set of triplets I’ve drawn from the Gaelic Morrigan.  Another set has evolved from the Norse Norns.  But the particular triplets I was thinking about when I woke up were patched together from the Slavic star twins, the Zorya Zorya Utrennyaya, the Morning Star, the opener of the gates; and Zorya Vechernyayathe Evening Star, the closer of the gates, who are the daughters of the sun god Dažbog.  The third sister was the brainchild of Neil Gaiman, who apparently is hardwired into the Jungian collective unconscious.  He somehow knew the twins should have been triplets, and added Zorya Polunochnaya—the Midnight Star.  It was my character based on her that I was thinking of, whose companion is half eagle, and whose son is half wolf.  She is a Cassandra like figure who is able to see the possible futures that branch off from each moment.  Her gift is so strong that she cannot not see, and her world is a schizophrenic mishmash of the real and the possible.  One of the other characters describes her:  “She’s constantly weaving back and forth across the veil between the worlds.  It’s like trying to carry on a conversation with somebody who’s talking on the phone to somebody else at the same time.  After a while you realize there’s a rhythm to it and you begin to figure out when she’s not talking to you.”  Naturally, she lives high up in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania.

The darker variation on the “triple goddess” maiden-mother-crone/new moon-full moon-old moon/Artemis-Demeter-Hekate trope, is what you might call the Kali variation (although Kali is not associated with the moon):  old-moon, dark moon, new moon.  The dark moon that eats the old moon and gives birth to the new moon.   That would be the moon trope that goes with my dark Zorya.  Her sisters are light haired with pale eyes and pale complexions, but her hair is a night black mass of ringlets.  Her eyes are so dark it is difficult to tell which is iris and which is pupil.  I was hunting up some Gypsy music to put me inside the roaring whirlwind of fire and darkness where she lives when I found this:

I don’t know what’s scarier:  How young these guys are, or how good they are.

The Voice of the Place

In the previous post, I mentioned Harry Connick, Jr.’s mother-in-law.  I hope you followed the link and got a good look at her remarkable body of work.   She was born in and grew up in the town I’ve spent the lion’s share of my life in.  We attended the same high school (although not at the same time).  I have lived near and worked next to the park named for her grandfather, James B. Maxey.  Her father, Homer Maxey, was one of the movers and shakers hereabouts.

Maxey Park Looking Toward Covenant Medical Center- Lakeside, Photo © 2009 Neringa's Corner

As I was listening to her talk, I was thinking about how the “voice” of this little big town out in the middle of the flatlands has left its imprint on hers.   She sounds like  “a local girl.”  She chooses her words from a familiar vocabulary and uses them in familiar ways.  Her speech has familiar rhythms, the familiar flattened vowels, the familiar slightly nasal twang that comes from having to talk against the wind.  She speaks a little bit faster than most of us do.  But that old familiar drawl is still there.  I’d like to hear her granddaughters speak.  New Orleans with a soupçon of West Texas would be an interesting verbal mix.