Tag Archive: friends

Updates

I just heard that the performance I am to give in a few weeks in Dillsboro, NC was under-promoted, so there will likely only be a few people there. I’ll go anyhow, I love to play places.

I have a housefilk to attend this Saturday at Larry Kirby’s house in St. Matthews, SC. I will be taking Nan with me, picking her up on the way. If all goes well, she will also spend next week at my apartment.

Everything is going smoothly for Atomacon in Charleston, SC. I will have a lot of fun there.  And I hope to find the money soon to go to GAFilk in January, have offered to pay a fair amount on the hotel room this year. I do this just for fun, nobody pays me to go and I don’t get any special concert other than the Twofer. If you’re a filker, missing GAFilk is a mistake.

Work is going fine, and I am certain my help is appreciated by my coworkers, manager, and the guys we support. I have learned that SocSec intends to cut off my SSDI in a couple years if I keep the job (or have another one) until the end of my “3 Year Extended Trial Work Period”, leaving me just short by 3 years or so from getting SocSec Retirement. I think I have things in line to where I can work enough hours to replace most of the lost income and not need the rest of it. Who knows what will happen by then?

Hugs,

Me

Not Doing So Well

I’ve been melting down, or nearly so, for the past couple weeks. Everything is going well, but it’s not. I’m not letting myself be affected by stress, but I am. Apparently I am doing a good job of isolating stress from what I’m doing, and a poor job of dumping the stress or destressing so it’s building up.

The past couple days at work I have been nearly useless. The guys have not been doing well at all. There is still a lot of turmoil, getting staff in to cover slots instead of getting back to some kind of normal, and that always distresses the guys. But it’s getting to me, instead of my usual way of letting it flow over me.

The stresses have been: Death of car, dealing with my mother to get me home and then replace car, performance itself (although mitigated by how well I did), all the stuff going on at work (manager’s death, loss of staff, reaction of guys), the extra hours I worked to make up my missed time, information on my disability (which might end in 2 years, the way I read the law — and they don’t say explicitly anywhere what happens at the end of what they are now calling the “3-year extended trial work period”). And then the death of Robin Williams. That especially hit me because of all the potential suicides I’ve stopped, and the knowledge that he had stopped a few himself.

So how do I destress? I have people I can tell the problems to, but it doesn’t go away. I have nobody I can hold. Meditation has never worked for me, although I give it another try every few weeks/months/years.

OK, there is your 5 minutes of angst. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Hugs,
Me

Recovery

With my mother’s help, I have a new vehicle. It’s a 2006 Chevy Cobalt with 88,500 miles on it. Paid $5990 plus tax and license. So I got back to work Thursday.

Then I worked day shift AND my regular shift Friday. Day shift Sunday. Extra hours Monday. And more hours Tuesday including working by myself all shift, which should not happen, with the promise of Wednesday off to rest. A lot of this is because my manager’s mother passed away, and he needed more time away to deal with it, as is fully understandable, so I pulled my weight as a member of the team. But I’ve worked at least 42 hours this past 7 days, maybe 45, and I have been feeling overworked at my normal 25.

So then my manager got back today, and asked me to work. I had to tell him no. Instead, I went to take a computer desk back to an ex (had to disassemble it, and reassemble it at her apartment), pick up my computer (which died last Wednesday night, seems to have been a memory chip going bad), and then spend a few hours getting my checkbook spreadsheet caught up. (I haven’t worked on it since I left for Confluence, when I found that their mobile app lets me view, but not edit, my spreadsheets.)

I think I’m caught up. I had some money left over and put it in savings just in case my paycheck is shorter than expected (this next paycheck includes 4 days off out of my usual 10, again for Confluence and the car trouble). I needed $50 of that savings to balance a payment due to be taken out tomorrow. But I think I’m on track again. And ZohoDocs tells me that they are working very hard on their mobile apps so that this does not happen again.

I have been very lucky. I have had things to do, friends to do them with, and the help I needed when things broke down. I now have to spend the next 18-24 months getting on top of things so that I won’t need to ask for help when the next crisis occurs.

Hugs,
Me

After Confluence

I barely made it to Confluence, and even more barely made it home. My car decided to dump its antifreeze in the middle of West Virginia, and, while I got some water in it almost in time, it was smoking like a fill-in-the-blank by the time I got to the first rest area in Pennsylvania. I called Sandy, and waited for her to get to me (coming in from Detroit, and she wasn’t nearly as close as she thought she was so I waited about 3 hours). I put 2 quarts of oil in Vanessa and refilled the water, and drove all the way to the hotel.

I did my best to ignore the problems, and performed my concert. I haven’t listened to the recording, but my gut feeling is that it was as good a show as I have done. There were about 30 people in the audience, and I sold 3 CDs afterwards — not bad, selling music to 10% of my audience.  I went to bed Friday night instead of going to the open filk, much as I wanted to. I had a great time for the rest of the weekend, and paid no attention to the crisis until it was time to act.

One friend at the after-party called her co-worker, whose husband works at Meineke about 2 miles from the convention hotel. I managed to drive the van there, where he confirmed that the head gasket was shot, and that it would be about 5 days and $1000 to fix. I had to get home, both to keep my job and to make sure my cats were all right, so I arranged for him to keep the van at Meineke and drive me to a car rental place. All this time I was on and off the phone with my mother, who did quite a bit to help me out. I had to walk to a second car rental place (I was dropped off, and the first place did not do out-of-town rentals), but it was arranged and I just barely had enough money to rent the car. I drove home in a new Ford Fiesta.

I had to take the Fiesta back to Enterprise by 9 this morning, and they gave me a ride home. I checked the local used car place, which was of no help whatever, and then my neighbor offered to drive me to Rutledge to look at used cars at the dealerships there. We found one that would do nicely, although it has rather high mileage for its age. He said he would drive me to a friend’s used car lot tomorrow, and if we found something better or significantly cheaper we would get that (Mom is on board with this).

I am extremely proud of myself. At no time did I melt down, start screaming at anybody, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the convention and made new friends (and strengthened older ones). I took the crisis one step at a time, and I lost no sleep. I could not have done this 15 years ago.

I have many friends to thank and have done so, privately and/or on Facebook. I believe I made a good impression on the concom and increased my stock as a convention guest.

I should be back to work tomorrow or Thursday. And they really need me.

Hugs,
Me

Jitters

Got two more days of work before I hit the road for Pittsburgh. Don’t really have the money to make it work “right”, so I’m driving at night and taking naps. I don’t have to be in Pittsburgh until at least noon Friday but there is no way to wait to leave at a time which would get me there, and I wouldn’t be able to sleep. So I leave after work tomorrow night, and stop at all the rest areas and take a nap… the trick part will be getting off I-81 at the right time to grab US19 and take it up to I-79, which is not only a shortcut but avoids all the toll roads.

At present, my money is literally being flushed down the toilet. I have a toilet which runs constantly. My landlord looked at it, tried to fix it, gave up and bought a new one but hasn’t had time to install it yet. I got my water bill, and I’m using the water of a family of four (and being charged accordingly). That’s not as bad as stories I’ve heard, but any dollar I can save makes it easier to live here…

Back to Confluence… I get a 90-minute concert, which, according to open mic standards, means 18 songs. Yeah, some of mine are bloody long, so many only 15 or 16. I’m trying to get that many ready for prime time… and every time I make a list of what might work, I remember another one. I think I’ll just fly by the seat of my pants. There will be at least three people I know at the convention (sadly, not including Blind Lemming Chiffon), one of whom knows my repertoire pretty well, so I have someone to bounce ideas off when I get there.

Back to life. I have sold my laptop. It will pay off most of the remaining debt I incurred acquiring it. My desktop, partially a gift of my old friend John Noggle, is fully up and running (Windows 7), and my relationship with a laptop running Windows 8 was going rapidly downhill from a low start. I have an Android KitKat phone and a decent Android tablet, don’t need so much technology and need less debt. I could have gotten a little more for it, but the buyer is a friend (one already mentioned in the Confluence paragraph) so I don’t have to mail it or deliver it special. Nobody in my income class needs as much technology, or as much debt, as I current have.

OK, that’s enough for now. Wish me luck!

Hugs,
Me

What are you doing?

I keep posting things on my Facebook page to help people. Not all the help being offered is appreciated by all my friends, but is usually objected to by someone it was not meant for. So Facebook is becoming less and less of a tool, and more of a slash and burn defense mechanism.  I am not ready to quit FB just yet. I did announce today that I’m not going to repost any stories on gun violence, don’t know what good that will do either way but it’s messing up my chi, so to speak.

So I was just wondering. What are you doing? How are you helping things move forward in the world?

I’ve done some things I’m beyond “not proud of”, but have done my best to put them behind me and move forward. Not everyone wants me to do that, as though my living in my past will make them a better person. I don’t buy that for a second.

But if we’re talking past, I have a pretty good one, and the closer you look to the present, the better it looks (outside of poor choices in relationships, but even then my purpose or intention was to help).

2005 – Co-founded Asheville Homeless Network, still the nation’s only standalone Membership Organization for the homeless. Not for people working WITH the homeless, not for raising funds to trickle down TO the homeless, but the homeless population itself. I managed to get full 501(c)(3) status for it, in almost record time according to lawyers I’ve spoken with, and did all the paperwork and followup myself. Still active under other leadership, but I ran it myself for 5 years.

2006 – started back to knitting, first scarves and then hats. A lot of my yarn has been donated, people hear what I’m doing with the hats (donating them to poor and homeless people, probably over 95% of them) and remember that bag of yarn they have that they’ve never used. I buy a lot of yarn. Just ask JoAnn Fabrics’ website. At this point, I’ve given away over 1,000 hats to grateful people and organizations, and I’m still going.

Somewhere around there I became a co-founder of Asheville Radical Mental Health Collective, a support organization that does not judge you based on your treatment choices but supports your right to make those choices. This includes (a hard one) illegal drug usage, or no “medications” at all, but also includes choices to follow your doctors’ advice.

2012 – Worked for 6 months at a Social Security payee firm, helping handle finances for people with drug, alcohol, or mental health issues who could not handle their own. I also completely rewrote the company website. At minimum wage.

2013 – Was hired as a Direct Services Professional, working 5 hours a day in a home for two disabled individuals. Some of the work is easy, some of it is not. A lot of it is just getting through, when behavior of my guy has to be tolerated and my job becomes one of not harming himself, me, my co-worker, or the other guy in the house. I still have this job.

And I’m still knitting. And I’m still trying to lead a dialogue online about making the country better by moving forward.

Which includes my membership in Justice Party USA. This is the only party with an ethical platform — social, environmental, and economic justice, freedom based on respect of all individuals and the world we live in. It may not work. People are afraid of third-party activism, afraid it will take votes away from the “good” oligarchs and so get the “bad” oligarchs elected. But I believe in voting my conscience, and I wish I could give everyone in America a wake-up call to where they would vote theirs.  Vote YOUR best interests, not those of the 84 people (or whatever the pathetically small number is) who own America and the media outlets. Reject negative politics in all forms from all sides.

 

My friends have mentioned that my blog does not take any stands, or settle on any issue. There are too many issues to pick one. But the first and foremost is, take care of myself. Make myself the best person I can be. Expose lies, reveal under-exposed reality, urge people to become the best person THEY can become. I know lots of them are better than me, or further along or better-equipped, but that’s no reason for me to give up on myself. I find people in need of help and try my best to help them see how they can better themselves, not by giving them a blueprint or putting myself forward as an example but by showing them it can be done, and it’s hard work. It’s hard work doing it, it’s hard work helping others respect themselves and others, it’s hard work writing blogs so few will even read, but it has to be done. For me. If it helps you, I would be happy to claim a mitzvah when it is offered, but this isn’t about Look At Me, it’s about Look At Yourself (and if you don’t like what you see, fix it).

I expect people who have been listening to my music have seen this trend. OK, I also have a wicked sense of humor, and it’s not exactly what people expect. Mis-wired brains and missing puzzle pieces, ya know.

 

Guess that’s enough rant for now.

 

Hugs,

Me

Adding it up

Still most of my friends have not been able to comment. Leave me email with the username you want and a temporary password (must be moderately strong for WordPress to accept it) and I’ll set you up.

Been treading water. I had to tell my cousin I wanted to go to Pittsburgh by myself, that hurt both of us but I had to stand on my own at the first con anyone ever invited me to as a paid musical guest. I got all my bills paid, got two things on my Needs List, and have $19 left over… well, $17, just remembered eBay had to take their monthly fees for the paltry amount of stuff I’ve managed to sell.

I keep saying I’m doing fine on my own, but I’ve had three visitors stay for 3-7 days since moving here in March and they all feed me. I needed that at first, but the last week of food did me in. I’m gaining weight again, 222 with clothing yesterday so at least 10 pounds gained.

Let me tell the Universe: I AM HERE IN THIS APARTMENT TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF. I AM THANKFUL FOR THE HELP, CARING, AND LOVE SHOWN BY MY FRIENDS BUT I CAN’T WORK ON THINGS WHEN I’M BUSY HELPING OR BEING HELPED BY OTHERS. Please back off now, I think I have the situation under control. And yes, I know that last one was completely my own fault.

Now if I could be strong enough that a friend calls me needing a place to stay and I say NO. Don’t know if I’m ready for that to happen.

I am looking for more outlets for my knit caps, hopefully local to Eastern Tennessee. I’ve donated quite a few to KARM, some have been given to individuals I met on the bus (and I’m not riding the bus now), and a very few to outlying shelters in Jefferson City and Morristown. Oh, and quite a few to my own Family, Earth’s Web. If you know of anything, especially groups helping the homeless who are NOT affiliated with a specific religious group (secular or other-than-Christian preferred). I really don’t think FoxNews viewers would be helped significantly by having warmer brains.

Speaking of which, it seems that the Justice Party USA in Tennessee has been crawling along quite slowly. I’ve volunteered to do just about anything except make phone calls, and haven’t heard. There are a few posts on Facebook. In terms of networking, we’re doing as well as a communist cell — nobody knows who anyone else is.

Enough for now.

Hugs,
Me

Quiet Here

I’ve been quiet lately. I’ve had a few visitors, a lot of contact with family and friends, am coming up on my One Year anniversary at work, and am just being as organic in living as I can manage.

I fixed a computer for a co-worker, and have spent several hours upgrading my own computer’s operating system; it was Ubuntu Karmic Koala when I got it, it is now Trusty Tahr (WHAT IS A TAHR???), that’s up upgrade through 9 versions.

I’m working on performing a couple new songs.

A friend got me access to Netflix, so my computer speakers are now on my TV (no clue how to get sound from the notebook computer to the TV speakers), which means I need speakers for the desktop computer.

Still having some difficulties when something goes wrong which was not expected. Some of that is normal. Asperger’s support group came up with an outing this month, and there is no way I can afford it so no support group until next month.

Guess that’s it. I’m happy, solitary, and still moving forward.

Hugs,
Me

Moss by Blind Lemming

I was asked to send a bio for use at one of the conventions I’ve been invited to play at. I jotted down something I wasn’t happy with. I turned to people who know me, and my old friend Blind Lemming Chiffon, a Denver-area musician, wrote the following. Thanks, Lem.

*****

Five years before the first Moon landing, in a place few people speak of (otherwise known as California), Moss began playing songs and writing guitars. In 1981, we had a Worldcon in Denver, where Kathy Mar discovered filk, and a few months later, I went to my first MileHiCon. Ted Sturgeon was the GoH, and I remember filking in the con suite with Moss and Kathy (who had a band in which Moss was keyboardist, an odd thing in itself as he does not play keyboards). At the 1982 MileHiCon and in subsequent years, I remember filking with Moss, Kathy, Anne Prather, and many others, as we outgrew the con suite, and even had music guests a few times. Moss and I haunted open mikes from Denver to Boulder, and he introduced myself and others to the tunes of Stan Rogers. He also acquainted me with much music that has stayed with me to this day, from Klezmer to Uncle Bonsai to Rory Block. Once we were stuck in a blizzard in a VW microbus on a lonely Colorado mountain road on the way home from Colorado Mountain Con in Vail (sadly, Ted Sturgeon’s last con) and we got out to put chains on the tires. I think when you’ve helped someone put on chains in a blizzard on a desolate mountain, it gives you a right to call them “friend.” Moss is my friend.

In 1990, Moss left Colorado for Detroit, and became “the filker to be named later in the Marty Burke trade” (Tim Ryan’s phrase). It was right about then he began writing filk songs (as opposed to the more broad category, “songs”) and hanging out with folks like Tom Smith, Tim Ryan, Steve Macdonald, Dave Alway, John Philbus and . . . so many. I shared a room with Moss at my first two filk cons, OVFF in 1992 and 1993. Great times. After Detroit, he moved around like a radar blip, hither and thither, but never yon. His current residence is in Blaine, TN, just outside Knoxville.

I’ll say this much about the songs Moss writes: you need to hear them. He’s quite a talented writer, if not as prolific as I’d like him to be. Still, he’s done 3 songbooks, and his album is available on Bandcamp . I’m not sure whether his accomplishments as a writer are in spite of or because of his lifelong struggle with disability, perhaps a combination of both. He’s very open about his disability and has written extensively about it in his blog.

In recent years, I’ve encouraged him to get himself to the Raleigh NASFiC, and to GAFiLK, where I’ve watched him thrive in filk circles and make many friends in the community.

If I could trade my own singing voice for someone else’s, Moss is someone whose voice I wouldn’t mind having. Whether singing his own songs or from his extensive repertoire, he has an ability to bring the songs alive and make them his own that is something I hope you will enjoy as much as I do.

– Blind Lemming Chiffon

[Moss’ CD is available at http://mordewis.bandcamp.com, titled “All the Love”, only $10 including bonus cuts, and some day to be a real physical CD; all Moss’ song lyrics and some recordings may be found at his website, http://peacefulhippo.info]

Belt tightening

Well, I keep filling in the blanks (which should be ? not _) on my spreadsheet. Things are awfully tight. I have friends all over offering support, some of whom have even mailed me care packages. I have a list of not-expensive things for which there is just no room… unless I stop doing something I have committed myself to do, and even that would only free up $150 per month.

The good news is, there are things which go away if I keep paying on them. $85 of the $150 would go away after 14 months. (I really can’t wait that long, and have asked the person I’m helping to find another source of help, either take the payment over or find another item.)  The rest of it I’m only committed to through December. Another $137 goes away next April. (By “goes away”, I mean “I stop having to spend it”, by completing the commitment.) But that still makes for lean times until December. I have only $80 per month for food (not including $20 for pet food). I may or may not have money (depending on the month) for my supplements.

On the good news side, someone gave me a Mr. Beer kit, and I’ve bottled my first of two batches, so I won’t be buying beer for a while (the batch is not ready for two weeks, and I won’t start the second batch until then unless I can get more bottles). I am also not that much of a drinker, so this really does not impact my budget, just keeps me from spending what is left over, if anything, on beer for a while. Better beer, better prices. Papa John’s. Oops, strike that…

My website transfer is complete, and I can now be found online at http://peacefulhippo.info. NOTE: I WILL BE MOVING THIS BLOG TO THE WEBSITE, probably pretty soon, so watch for it.

Hugs,
Me