Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday morning

Ziggy woke me up before 6 today, concerned about something going on outside.  It may have been the trash collectors, though she usually pays them no mind.

How does she decide what is danger and what is not?  I have no idea.

We're going to try to go to the vet today for her annual check-up, though I may consider canceling if she spins out in worry.  She is such a sensitive soul which she masks with belligerence.

So anyway, getting me up early has me seeing an absolutely gorgeous sunrise.  'Tis the season - when we finally get cooler weather here, it's often spectacular.

Along with the cooler weather comes less humidity, which makes my skin very unhappy.  As soon as the air is dry at all, the skin on the bottom of my nose peels.  Badly.  It's quite embarrassing.  Other places too, but that's the one that is most visible.

Apparently I am a fool to think that I'll be able to live in a desert or tundra again because my skin adores this air moisture.

It's Friday.  Thank goodness.  But, there's a party tonight I'm supposed to go to and I'm not sure about that.  It's people I'm very fond of, but ... leave the house?  In the evening?  And no, taking the dog isn't an option, as this friend has a dog - a now cranky beast who would have no patience with Ziggy.  It's funny that this is a friend of mine - he's ... well, there are a few friends from law school that people have no idea how I can be friends with them, but let's just say - there are quite a few redneck Louisiana white boys who are really good people.  Just because you talk a certain way and do steroids and drink heavily and drive a big truck and carry a gun and make bad jokes - that doesn't mean you're racist or sexist necessarily.  So I give people a chance.  Sometimes.

I also have zero tolerance for bullshit and I think I'm going to fire my professor off my dissertation committee.  She's really moody and immature - which makes no sense, as she's nearly my age, but I'm at about saturation point with her; I was tolerant of her snapping at me because I don't care, but then a classmate was complaining to me about how she always interrupts the classmate and I started to pay attention to that and it's true - the teacher is in love with the sound of her own voice and unable to have a class discussion, and I find that boring - when I bring up examples of things she's saying that apply to other situations - the heart of grad studies - she dismisses them because she just wants to tell her examples over and over and over.  It's also perhaps an anthropology vs. sociology approach to the world.  I deliberately chose this class because I felt that I had better training in anthro and wanted more soc - but now I'm recalling that I chose an anthro focus because I don't like most sociologists and how they approach the world.  I need to better figure out how to articulate that, but it sort of boils down to - anthropologists say: "Hm, that's curious, I want to look at that and make sense of that," and sociologists say: "OK, here is an explanation for that and I am right."  I'm not that interested in developing iron-clad rules of human behavior (which I think is laughable with our limited abilities now) and every time she throws that down I can think of a million exceptions or other ways to frame it.  I'm more about the curiosity, the looking closely at things and wondering about them and theorizing than I am in saying: I have all the answers and you are ignorant lay people.

So now I know.

OH, Ziggy was upset about a water line break up front.  There's quite a mess - lots of water flowing.  Looks like the chickens got a bit flooded as they're all perched.  I know I'm self-congratulatory, but I do think my chickens are pretty happy.  They do love the big branch in there to perch on, the pallet lean-to, the bugs in the grass, the regularity of feeding, the safety from predators, etc.

So I'd best go take care of them.  Get ready for the day.  I have to haul a bunch of shit around - shit that is not mine.  This is annoying.  Oh well.  I am fortunate to have an employee who is very helpful and upbeat - she is an airhead and I have to break her tasks into discrete bits - but she's a good sport.  She's also technology cursed - whatever she touches breaks.  It makes things challenging.

Poor Ziggy, struggling to feel safe in the scary world.  She's barking at the neighbor man now.

I better get a move on with taking a shower before they come to repair and turn off the water main.  They were just around the corner replacing a bunch of pipes so I wonder if they did something to mess up our street.  Though, the first thing I did as a resident here was call the water company to fix a break in front of my house, so apparently it's just all faulty.  and this neighborhood was developed in the 40s and 50s, so not that old.  We just don't do infrastructure well here.  I'll be surprised if they fix the leak today - they are most likely to appear on holidays and weekends, when I think they probably get overtime.  For me, they appeared on Mardi Gras day to rip up in front of my house.

OK, moving along with this day.  It's Friday morning, the universe is abundant, and I will remain that person who goes out of her way to recycle.  (I almost threw away a few boxes of things at work yesterday, but instead I brought them home to recycle.  It is really aggravating to not have real recycling options at work, but at least I do at home.)

I just gave Ziggy some CBD oil to take the edge off her anxiety, and she's now staring at the door like she's stoned.  I'm pretty sure she can't get stoned from it but maybe she's finding a mellow.  Poor girl.  All she really wants in life is to sit between my feet, leaning against my knee.  

ETA:  holy fuck, this leak has taken out asphalt.  The big chunk of the street is gone in front of my neighbor's house now.  Washed away.  Crazy.  Somewhat related: when I first bought the house I had to have the sewerage pipe fixed on my side of the water line, and when they finished the work they said the water was too clay-ey to replace it exactly, so I've been dealing with bizarre holes appearing in my yard ever since.  I keep throwing stuff down there to fill it up, but it's this hungry underground beast.  I need to deal with a couple incidents of it.  IT's pretty close to the house, which makes me nervous in terms of foundation issues - but on the scale of things that make me nervous, this qualifies as a "rarely think about it" kind of thing. 

We are built on swamp land and it wouldn't surprise me if it wasn't prepped properly.  So yeah, if my house falls into a giant sinkhole - well, hope the insurance covers it, and mostly I hope that the hound and I get out safe. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Starting yesterday, some friends have been posting on Facebook, asking for prayers for their friend who had suffered a horrible tragedy.  These are all social justice warriors who don't overstate, so I wondered.

And then I connected the dots.

Their mutual friend has worked at a number of non-profits and is now working for the mayor attempting to improve a nearby city.  And she was at work when her husband called the police, because he had murdered their 18-month-old daughter.  He had stabbed her repeatedly to make her bleed to death, but she kept crying.  In his arms.  For hours.  And so he suffocated her.

He said that God made him do it, that he wanted the State of Louisiana to kill him so he could be resurrected.

What this woman must be going through is beyond what I can imagine. 

I can't stop thinking about this.  What could make somebody do this? 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

newest obsession

The friends who watched Ziggy are heading out tomorrow to check out some RVs.  They're taking their retirement very seriously.

And then I drove past an RV lot with these adorable teardrop campers.

nuCamp RV | T@B Teardrop Camper

Is that not adorable?  And inside has what I need - well this one may be the one only with a bed inside, but the others have bed and seating and a bit more room.  Kitchens are inside or outside.  AC included, though solar powering that would be tricky - the other things can be.  Propane for the stovetop and water heater, a shower and toilet inside.

Here's a typical exchange: "So, they all have TVs.  What's up with that?"  "They used to make them without but then they realized everybody wanted a TV."  "I've never owned a TV.  Why would I want one when camping?"  Seriously!

I like the containment - I could put the dog in there and she'd be secure, even if we were at a campground with others.  I can run the AC when plugged in or with a generator.  I just have to come to terms with the reality that as long as I live in the South, I'm going to need AC to feel comfortable.  I anticipate this will be even more true when I hit menopause.  Plus, setting up and breaking camp isn't that much fun - how much more delightful to just close the door, get into the pickup and go.

Plus ... evacuation.  Y'all, evacuation.  This was a really bad season and it's made me think even more about things like how to survive when your city falls apart.  How better than with a camping trailer?  We could go literally anywhere in style, especially with a generator and water container and extra propane.

Travels with Ziggy.

I know I'm romanticizing just about everything in this scene.

But they're still nice little campers.

I'm on a seven year plan.  Hopefully my student loans will be disposed of then and if I rigorously make double payments on both properties they should be about paid off.  So no new $25K in debt.  Though I may have to do that with a vehicle - my truck is 16 years old and counting. 

double take

I need to memorialize this so I don't forget.

Today in a meeting with the upcoming board president and outsiders, he said: "[Gringa] was hired to be [my job.]  And because of how things were, she's really had to be everything.  And she's done a great job."

Wait, WHAT? 

too much

I've traveled for work and the venue gave me a goddamn suite which is probably larger than my house.  It's huge.  It has four TVs.  The bathroom - which is four separate areas - is about as large as my studio apartment. 

It's way too much.

And now I'm in a king bed and it's WAAY too much.  It's unpleasantly so.

And I realize that I don't live a simple life because that's all I can afford (to meet financial goals) - it's also what I want. I like less.

I have a bunch of miles with United that I want to use up but (a) I don't travel much, and (b) I don't prefer to fly United, and (c) often they don't have availability for when I want to use them.   They have a catalog of products I can purchase instead and in theory this sounds great, but as I spend time looking at the options - it's not just a matter of free, it's a matter of stuff.  I don't want more stuff.  Sure, I could probably use both a blender and a waffle maker, but ... it's more stuff.  I have a small kitchen and not a lot of storage, which makes me almost averse to these things.

But it's more.  I have packed up and moved everything I own SO many times.  There are a number of things I have to keep - tax and house purchase records, etc.  Things that I want to keep - my favorite old towels I've had 15 years and are threadbare, etc.  There are practical things to keep - pretty much everything else. 

Part too of this simplicity is that I know that I can lose everything in an instant.  Hurricanes, fires, oh my. 

And also: fancy doesn't impress me.  Never has.  Functionality is where it's at. 

Now I'm going to take a shower in an overly fancy shower, and then pack to leave.  After meetings and a long damn drive, I'll get my simple dog and we'll go back to my simple house and we will be happy. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

soft and hard

Yesterday I went to pick up some papaya starts from a woman who is a Facebook friend, who is a social justice activist that inspires me.

What I had forgotten - because we did meet once in person briefly some years ago - is how she exudes love.  She is a religious person, having committed herself to her faith, and she is one of those who doesn't do it to be hypocritical or judgmental, but out of love. 

From the warm smile she gave when I entered to the kindness with which we talked instructions through and she was grateful for my chickens' eggs, she brought me into her kindness aura. 

When I say she is soft, I mean that in no disparaging way.  I mean, she has no sharp edges.  If somebody were to be upset with her, she would reach out with kindness and love to find a solution. 

She is truly inspiring and I want to be around her more. 

At the same time, I will never be her.  It's not just my atheism, it's that I have a different tactic.  For all the love and kindness she has, I have forcefulness.  I stand up to bullies and I strongly reject bullshit.  I can be harsh and rough, resolute.  I am very much a Don't Fuck With Me kind of person.  And most people don't even try. 

The thing is: every movement needs people like her and people like me.  We need many different kinds of people to exercise passion in a number of ways.  

I have work to do.  I cannot be quiet.  And there are people who inspire me, such as her - from her activism to her beautiful garden, both of which she happily shares with me. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

paycheck turkey

Right now I'm looking at a bouquet of flowers delivered to me on order of somebody I helped out at work.

In a few days, I have to travel to a fancy resort where I will be wined and dined.  OK, not exactly.  I'm invited to "at least a glass of wine" and all my expenses are paid by not me.  I need to put air in my tires.  I've already plotted top shelf margaritas since I'm just walking to my room and not driving.

Holy fuck.  Maybe this isn't the worst job in the world. 

Neither of these things matter to me.  I'd rather use my own blow dryer and drink my own coffee - travel has never been much fun for me.  I like BEING other places, to stay.  Not to go through.  But this will be fine, I'll make it fun.

I just carved up my paycheck, as I do.  $500 to savings (for things like tuition and car insurance), pay off the credit card, student loan, put another principal payment on this house, pay electrical bill.  And that's all there is. I was putting my savings away to go to my Roth IRA but I just ran numbers and I think it would $700 advantageous to instead maximize my 401k, so I need to basically put all of the next two months salary into that account and live off the savings I have for the Roth, until next year.  Though, next year I am allowed to put another $6K into the 401k because of my age - but where do I find another $6,000?  When I no longer have to pay tuition I'll have some, so there's that.  Which means I need to really start studying to avoid dreams of canceling exams. 

And also that I want to dig into frugality more.  More to savings.  More to paying off the houses. 

I'm getting annoyed with owning the other house and the work that needs to be done on it.  Had a Facebook friend come look at it today and I think her prices will be way too high, but I do need to get things done. 

Maybe once I'm done with school I can find another income stream. Consulting? Urban farming?  I dunno.  But more money would be nice.