You don’t get to dictate!

Aha, I bet that caught your attention, eh?  I’ve been wanting to say something about what I’ve observed lately on some Facebook pages.  I belong to some pages which are created by the pet-parents of some special needs dogs.  One woman in particular has an Etsy shop, in which she creates and sells jewelry.  I’ve seen her jewelry and she is a very talented woman.  She sells her items at a great price, and sometimes she just does auctions.  Now, this woman isn’t hiding the fact she sells her things in order to raise funds to take care of her little dog, who again, is special needs.

Not long ago, some people were giving her grief.  By that I mean, actively telling her she’s robbing people of their money and how dare she use that money for her pet.

Okay, excuse me? I find that in incredibly bad taste.  When you buy something, it’s none of your business what the person you bought the item or service from uses that money for.  You received your product or service, it’s an even exchange.  That’s it, end of story.

Do you tell Pfizer what to do with the money they get from Viagra?  No!  You got your boner, so go on your way.

Do you tell Krispy Kreme how to spend the money from all those glazed donuts you buy?  No!  You got your sugar rush now go on your way.

The fact that this woman sells her jewelry to pay for her dogs care is none of anyone’s business!  Yes, if she just came out and asked for money and didn’t give anything in return, I could see that you might say, “Okay you are asking me for charity, you better be using this money for what you say it’s for.”  But no, she’s selling something, and you are getting something really beautiful.

This bothers me to high heaven, that people continually think they get to dictate what others do.

You don’t!  Live your life and leave everyone else to live theirs.

Hopeless…

Have you ever had one of those days when you just feel like there is nothing left to be happy about? Nothing to look forward to?

Yeah, I’m having one of those days. I’ve just had it. For 11 months I’ve been looking for a job. I have one thankfully, but I’ve gone from making a decent salary to living on $216 less a month than I was at the end of 2010, and $500 less than I was making at the end of 2009.

I’ve cut back on every aspect of my life, and am continually trying to cut here and there and still I’m behind on everything. My car payment, my car insurance, my power bill, my cell phone bill, everything. I thought I’d be able to have at least some money after I got paid to at least make it to my next paycheck without any issues, but this morning I had to take Tatiana to the vet. I’m pretty sure she’s got a UTI, at least I hope that’s all she has. So now, what I WAS going to pay has to wait another 2 weeks. Even then, I still may not be able to catch up, because the end of the month is always my worst time because that’s when my rent is due, and that takes a huge chunk of my pay.

I feel like there’s never going to be a point where I can just feel some relief. Everyone is going about their life, doing things, moving on. I’m here, running in place. I feel like a tire in mud, just spinning and spinning and going nowhere. All I have to show for my work is a deeper hole and mud caked rims.

I sit and wonder what I’ve done wrong in my life? I feel like I’m being punished for something. Maybe I haven’t been as good a person as I could have been. If it wasn’t for my pets and my dad, I think I’d just get in my car and disappear.

All I want to do is work, and take care of my pets and be happy. I want to make enough money so that I can pay my bills, and maybe even have a little left over to sock away into a savings account. I’m not asking to win the lottery, I don’t want a free ride, just some peace of mind. Is that too much to ask?

Tired, angry and just plain confused.

Some of you on Facebook and Pets4Life know what I’ve been dealing with the last few days. This past Wednesday, I finally caught a kitty I’ve been feeding for about 4-5 months. It had been the only time she came close enough to me to allow me to try and grab her, and grab her I did.

I was so happy that day. I’d finally caught this kitten, who two times before I had thought she had died, only to have her appear a few days after. My happiness however was short lived, as I had taken her to the vet and they informed me she was FeLV positive. FeLV is a disease only cats that live outdoors catch, and it can be quite bad. Cats with this should not live in the same homes as cats that do not, in case anyone reading this doesn’t know, I have 5 cats already.

Thankfully, I was forwarded some information and decided to request that the vet send out for what is called a Viral Isolation test. It’s more conclusive than the test done at the vet’s office, which can read false positive 50% of the time. I’m currently waiting for the vets office to contact me with a price, and I’m hoping it’s something affordable. I won’t divulge what I already spent getting this girl vetted already.

She’s incredibly sweet. A little odd for a feral cat, and I do think she’s a born feral, but her behavior shows otherwise. Anyway, it really doesn’t matter, because nothing can be done about that. She is currently in my upstairs bathroom. I have to keep her away from my gang, because not only are they all free of this disease, since they are indoor cats they have never been vaccinated for it, because there was no need for them to be.

Last night, I just lost it. I sat in the bathroom with her, saying a couple prayers over her, some I had found online for sick animals. She’s so incredibly thin. I don’t even want to describe just how thin she is. Yet she is starved for contact. She allowed me to hold her, she looked at me, meowed, reached out her paws and touched my face and licked my tears. This little cat has come in and out of my life so many times these past 5 months. I have to think there is a reason for that. I want to think it’s because I’m the one who can help her. I don’t want to believe I’m the one she is to die with, not now. In 15 or 20 years okay, but not now. I hold out hope. I am grasping at the final straws with dear life and with a desperation I have never felt before. Something good has to happen, it has to, it just does.

I’m angry that she didn’t allow me to catch her sooner because she may not have been this sick. I’m angry that I don’t have a large enough apartment that I can keep another cat comfortably and indefinitely away from the others. I’m angry at the irresponsible humans that allowed her to be born. And I’m angry because I don’t have the power to make her well, if she truly is stricken with this. I’ve emailed and called several organizations, only to be told they cannot help me and take her in. So if she is indeed ill, I don’t want to think about what I may have to do.

I have so many supportive friends online. I’m lucky for that. To have a place where you can just let go of everything to people who understand is priceless. But, I wish I had that in real life. In real life, I do not have the understanding or support for this kind of thing and I need that so badly now. I need a shoulder to cry on and arms to wrap around me to tell me it’s going to be okay.

Keep this girl in your thoughts and prayers. She need a miracle very badly.

The Search goes on.

My job search continues. I’ve been actively looking for another job since the last week of October of 2010, and actively sending out my resume and just applying online for jobs on a daily/weekly basis since then. For all that, I’ve had a total of 4 actual interviews. To say it’s tough out there in the job market is putting it mildly. I was lucky enough to have a friend help me get my resume looking quite impressive, Thank you once again, Crystal.

I’ve been concentrating my focus on institutions, like colleges/universities and hospitals, as well as city government jobs. These are places that are still impacted by a bad economy, but not as much, and they usually offer good benefits. The private sector, not so much. A private sector job will usually offer you little to a decent salary and the same when it comes to benefits such as health insurance and retirement (401K, pension, etc…)

I’m in a sticky place. I make a certain amount, that if I go below that, it would be very hard on me financially, therefore I need a job that will contribute fully to my health insurance. That’s just the way it is. Right now, after I pay all of my necessities, rent, car payment, car insurance, utilities, cable, cell phone (the last two I’ve adjusted several times to the lowest possible plans), I have about $400 left over (the gang and Sofie’s food is added into the necessities). This has to buy my food for the month, put gas in my car and it has to pay for my asthma medication. I have two medications. My Advair which costs $250 and Xopenex which is basically used as a 4-6 hour and emergency inhaler, it’s about $60. I’ll give you one guess which one I wind up buying 75% of the time. So, if I accepted a job paying me less money it would be hard, but doable, IF I didn’t have to pay anything toward my insurance.

But, if I accepted a job that paid me less and I had to contribute toward insurance, or even offered to pay me the same salary and I had to contribute toward insurance, I’d still be worse off than I am now. I have a pre-existing condition. That means, when I get insurance, no insurance company, let me repeat that, NO insurance company will cover anything having to do with my asthma for 12 months. I’ll have insurance, but the one thing I really need for it to cover, my medications, I would be responsible to pay full price for, for 12 months. There is no getting around that. So you can see why it would be a necessity for me to have to find something that at the very least, pays for my insurance fully, or pays me enough so that if I did have to cover a portion, I’d have that extra pay to do that with.

I know my situation isn’t unique. There are a lot of people out there with the same problem. Yes, I’m miserable where I am. Yes, I want to move on. I can’t stand my boss anymore and I’m incredibly unhappy with my job and my position. But, I have the advantage of actually having a job while I look for something better. Because of that, I have to keep telling myself to be patient and wait for something that will give me what I need and not have to continue struggling.

So, here I sit. In my tiny office, updating my blog. Chumming the job sites with my resume, hoping to get a bite from the big one. Hoping to find something I can be at the very least moderately happy with. One very positive thing is at least I’m getting experience with the interviews. With each interview I’m more confident. I take what I feel I didn’t do well from one interview and improve on that. I remember the questions I didn’t know how to answer at the time and find within myself the answer I should have given. I think that’s a good thing.

I feel so defeated today.

There are days that make me feel like disappearing from the world. Today is one of those days.

I’ve been feeding some of the strays where I live for several months. For maybe about 2 or 3 months there has been this little calico cat coming to the stairwell where I leave the food. She can’t be more than 8 or 9 months old and was the smallest little girl. She was always the first one waiting in the morning and in the afternoon. Friday morning I noticed she wasn’t there, then Saturday and Sunday. I dreaded it, but knew something must have happened. This morning, it was confirmed by the maintenance man where I live he’d found her in the pool. I suspect she got into something. I’ve noticed cars with anti-freeze/coolant under their cars. It’s getting hot here and no doubt cars using their ac and sometimes coolant leaks, and I wonder if maybe she got into some and perhaps tried drinking water after.

It’s hit me very hard this little one’s death. She meowed at me last week, for the first time. I half felt she was angry at me for being late with her food. I kept wondering if maybe I could squeeze one more into the apartment. But I know I can’t. I pray daily that God or whoever is up there watching us, helps me and I can find the means to get myself a little house. One with a yard or better still, a screened porch. I’d take those strays with me and give them a safe place to live.

I wish I could have done more, wish I could do more.

I feel like crawling away and not knowing anything about anyone or anything. I’m tired of hurting. I think sometimes I feel too much, but then I’m afraid of not feeling enough.

Christ, the last thing I needed was to have this little cat die. First, Coconut passed away, then I almost lost Sofie after her spay, and now my little calico stray. Right now, I feel like I could cry for days and still not feel relief. My heart hurts.

All I can do is brush myself off and keep going. That’s all I ever do, brush away the tears and keep going. Where am I going though? Right now it seems nowhere and I wonder if that will ever change.

New Year and some hopeful thoughts.

It seems like 2011 got here so quickly, yet there were moments during 2010 where I felt like the year would never end. I felt 2010 was just so disappointing. Let’s break it down:

Work – I’m thrilled to even have a job considering half the country is unemployed. Yet I really despise my job. I work in a two person office, me and my boss who is the owner of the company. Yeah, no advancement opportunities there. I used to get my salary and a monthly bonus. As of February my bonus was gone. So basically, I consider that a salary cut, since that extra bonus was really helping me financially. My boss had been promising me he was going to set up a 401K, he’s been promising me for the last 3 years, but of course he blamed the continuing financial breakdown of the country, so that’s been nixed. I still have no insurance. I had a discounted plan, not really insurance I was paying for but I could no longer afford it so that had to go. As the year moved on, we began losing clients. We began the year with around 25 clients, and now we are down to about 10. My boss says he’s looking for business, but he’s not as good a sales person as he seems to think. I’m so incredibly miserable, at the end of October I began to actively search for another job. In November, I found out that my salary was yet again going to be cut. My boss mentioned this salary cut along with cutting back some of my hours. I hope he remembers that, because it’s unbearably slow at work. While spending all day on the internet sounds cool, the novelty wears off really fast.

Social life – I should probably skip this one because there’s not anything happening here. I decided to give the internet dating thing a try in 2010 and it tanked miserably. I met so many strange people. I found most men who contacted me didn’t bother to read my profile. I realized that after one guy sent me a message that sounded promising, but after we talked on the phone and he told me he was allergic to cats. I asked him if he’d read my profile, he said yes but I can’t help but wonder what he thought I was going to do with my cats if we hit it off. I met one guy who loved cats, and had 3 of his own. He was utterly creepy though, since every time I asked him about his job he kept telling me it ws confidential and couldn’t tell me. He just gave me the creeps. So after a while, I decided to just put the online thing on the back-burner.

Health – I’m the heaviest I’ve EVER been in my life. I hadn’t been on a scale in months, but in December I got a nasty case of the shingles and had to go to an urgent care. They had a scale. Let’s just say looking at the reading made me numb enough to not care about the pain I felt from the shingles for a few minutes. I’ve got a used treadmill, which I plan on getting my fat ass on this year! I’m also going on my third year as a vegetarian, and quite happy still. 2010 kicked my ass to the very end, as I cut a chunk of my pinky off making a vegetarian lasagna on Christmas eve.

But I don’t want you to think things were all bad. My dad was finally able to fully retire and enjoy some time off. His wife is still a douche-bag, some things don’t change. My brother is well and so are his kids. My friends are all well and I consider myself incredibly lucky to have their support.

Some of the things I want to do creatively this year is write more, use my blog more, get the gangs blog going, and figure out what I can sell on Etsy.

And finally, I can’t end a post like this without mentioning the 5 loves of my life, my cats known collectively by all as The Gang. I am incredibly blessed that they are all healthy and hopefully happy. My hopes and dreams are to keep them this way for many many more years to come. I hope to one day be able to either have the means to buy a small home with a patio I can screen so that I can build them a little cat area for them to enjoy the outdoors safely. And I’d also love to take the 4 cats I’m currently feeding who live outside in this condo complex. I could build a cat fence, and they would live in my backyard safely. I don’t know if that will happen this year, but it’s a dream I am working toward.

2011, you better be nice!

Odds and ends.

After living in Miami for almost 30 years (holy shit), I can safely say, I hate hot weather. But I don’t hate it as much as hot weather AND humidity.  Not that I’m packing my bags and getting ready to move up to where I’ll be shoveling snow for several months in the winter.  Although, it might actually be the one way I’ll get off my ass and do anything remotely close to exercise.

It’s 95 degrees outside right now.  Thanks to the humidity though it feels like 104!  Sure I’m inside now, but that walk from my car to my apartment when I get home is going to feel like I’ve stepped into the mouth of hell.

Thankfully, my air-conditioner is working.   I was going to have it replaced, but it turns out that the quick fix the repair guy made last week should last at least until the end of the year.  I hope so.  I’m not looking forward to another night in a hot apartment!

I had to take my girl Czarina to the vet last week.  She had some tummy issues and when the vet looked in her mouth, she had a little ulcer.  So he sent me home with some meds and I saw him again on Saturday for Czari’s follow up appointment.  I really miss the gang’s usual vet, but I like this guy.  I think he’s going to work out really well for my gang.  He’s nice, seems very open to natural foods and didn’t push the crappy food they sell on me.  He also didn’t charge me for the follow-up, so yay!

As for my social life.   It’s looking pretty bleak right now.  I keep getting emails and “winks” from this one site I’m on, but I can’t open the emails unless I’m a member.  Sorry, I’m not going to pay $25 for a months subscription just to see who’s emailing me.  Unfortunately, the free sites don’t seem to be offering much either.  Oh well.

I really shouldn’t care.  Either way, right now all I care about is keeping myself above water.   The business is there but my boss hasn’t found any new clients.  The man hasn’t brought in a new client in almost 2 fucking years!  At first, he was just ignoring the whole thing.  Concentrating on his stupid job as a commissioner and running around with his girlfriend.  He finally woke up last year around the time the economy took a shit.  Great timing huh?  All I can do is try to put money aside and hope the bottom doesn’t fall out from under us.

I need a nap.  If I knew for sure my boss wasn’t coming back, I’d totally lay down and take a little snooze.  The last time he caught me on the floor snoozing I used the excuse of not feeling well because I had my period.  I don’t think that will work twice. 🙂

You're never where you thought you'd be.

I say this because, at least for me, I never actually thought I’d be living my life the way I am.

As a child, I always thought I’d be like my parents.  I’d grow up, get married have some kids and be happy.  As I grew older, I realized things don’t always work out as you would like them to as a child.

My mother was diagnosed with cancer when I was around 10 or 11.  From then until she died our lives revolved around trying to make her better and comfortable.  So much so, we moved from Michigan to Florida, because in Florida she would have someone to spend time with her while my father worked.  I will forever be thankful to my aunt for making that possible.

When my mother died, things were difficult for a while, and my father and I were constantly at odds.  After I graduated, I decided I wanted to be a photographer.  I went to the community college and took art and photography classes.  In high school and college, I was a very good artist.  I loved to draw.  And at the end of my semester in photography, my teacher said I had a bright future ahead of me if I continued.

I went to community college for about 2 years on and off, but I needed to work, to help my father with bills.  So, I dropped out.  My dreams changed, and I thought I can always go back to school.  I then met Tony, at the time he was the first and only boyfriend I had ever had.  To this day our three and a half years remains the longest relationship I’ve ever had with a guy, and looking back now, it really ended six months into our being together.

Still, I wanted to marry him and have kids.  When things ended between us, he left me and moved back to Gainesville.  It was during this time Hurricane Andrew blew into Miami, and I wound up living with my aunt.  My car flooded, and all of my artwork and photo’s I’d taken were damaged and lost.  I never really drew again.  For several months, I pined for Tony.  Always making plans to move to Gainesville.  I’d even ordered several newspapers from the area to look at the job situation.  I visited him during Thanksgiving and spent over $300 on Christmas presents for him.  On New Years I finally realized, my wheels were just spinning, and nothing would ever, could ever come of us.  So, I moved on.

My brother was married, my dad had remarried, my cousins were married, everyone in my family was married.  My brother and cousins began to have kids and I was happy and excited because I thought my turn would come soon.  It was when I was about 35 that I really realized having kids may not happen.  At 41 I knew for sure kids were not in my future.  I no longer have the patience or desire to give that much of myself.  That and I would not have a child as a single woman.  Not that I have a problem with being single and having kids, but I know how hard it is for single mothers.  It’s hard enough for me to support myself now, I can’t even imagine having to support a child also.  Sure I’d probably have help from my dad, but he’s retired and it would not be fair to burden him and his wife with having to take care of my kids or even help me monetarily.

So, my dreams have changed.  I thought by this time in my life, I’d be married with 2 or 3 kids.  I’m fine with not having children.  For a long time, I mourned the kids I would never have, but now I’m okay with it.  I have my beautiful cats, whom I absolutely love and spoil to no end.  Those little furry four-legged creatures are my kids, and I have no problem saying so.  I adore them.  As for marriage, well I still would like that.  At the very least, I’d like to meet someone who I can share interests with, do fun things with, and enjoy life with.

I sit here at work and wonder how to go about getting to the point of not dreading coming to work.  I know, it’s time for me to go but, that’s easier said than done.  I would not be able to support myself right now if I changed jobs.  For now, I stay here.  But, I”m keeping my eyes open.

Sure I wish there were some things in my life that were different.  Like, my mother still being alive, or my having kept up my pursuit of photography, or even if I hadn’t met Tony.  But because those things happened, I have met the people I know today.  Every relationship I have, be it in person or over the internet I would not have, if anything in my life had not been the way it was.

No, I’m not where I thought I’d be, but I am where I am supposed to be.

For now…:)