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Oct. 13th, 2014

Secret master librarians

LC I Week 3: Out of the Gutter

Things I have this week I didn't have last week:
- a house
- a job
- a boyfriend

Considering how close the kids and I have been to homelessness the last month, having our own place is a Big Thing right now. I found a nice little condo in a decent down-at-the-heels section of Athens, GA. Trust me, finding a 5 bedroom place in my affordability range was a challenge! But it's done, the deposit is paid and we'll be moving next week. This is such a relief! My daughter isn't very happy because she wanted to live at the beach. Here I've made sure she has a pool and eye candy. Seems like a fair trade to me.

I've picked up piece work. It's only $1/40 word article, but it's something. I made sure I could afford the condo on just child support and alimony, so every extra dollar I make is bonus. Hopefully this will get us through until I get more traditional employment. There are multiple openings at the local public library, and having a local address now should help with that.

And the last thing...
Anyone remember this post? Yeah, him. We discovered he felt he wasn't welcome in the family because of the lies and manipulation of my ex-husband. We also discovered that we still have the same chemistry we had 16 years ago. It's been a rather heady experience. He lives about an hour from my new place, so we're going to give this whole "committed relationship" thing a try and see what happens when we're not dealing with a sociopath intent on bringing us down.

A couple of my psychic friends have been very positive on all this. One keeps talking about cycles completing after a long delay. I'm taking that as a good omen.

He loves me. I love him. We're both experienced enough to know there's a hell of a lot of work involved.

And I'm sure there's someone reading this who's disappointed I didn't go all hot, heavy and dirty with this topic. Honestly, I thought keeping up with sudden change was more important. And to you I say Get your mind out of the gutter. You're blocking the light for us sewer dwellers!

ETA: if anyone feels like helping defray moving costs, please let me know and I'll send you my PayPal info. 3 moving trucks in 45 days is more than my meager finances can handle. Thank you!
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Oct. 5th, 2014

Secret master librarians

LCI Week 2: Crossing the Ts

So for about three weeks now I've been effectively homeless.

I was offered a contract librarian position out of state. I gave up my job, gave up my rental house and moved. There was a promise of reimbursement on the table, so I made sure to keep all the receipts and stay within that budget. My brother was kind enough to let me stay with him while I got settled.

The job offer was rescinded without explanation the day after I was scheduled to start.

Ever since, I've been living in my brother's spare room, with my two teens, the grandbaby and our three dogs. It's been a little cramped. I love my brother dearly and I greatly appreciate him being there as a safety net, but this really needs to change. Like now. His grandson is about to have surgery for a torn ACL and will need the room, since there aren't any steps in my brother's house.

My kids and I have to get out.

My brother hasn't said as much, but we all know it.

I've been looking for jobs, without success. If I ever need to write rejection letters again, I have a nice stockpile to draw from as inspiration. We're right outside DC, and the job market here just isn't good. Without a job, I can't afford a place to live.

With the child support and alimony I get, though, we could afford a place in a cheaper section of the country.

So tomorrow I'm going hoe to Georgia. I'll be looking for a house or townhouse we can rent for a decent rate, concentrating on the town where I did my undergrad schooling. I have so many cousins and kin in the area as is; I don't have to put down roots because they are already there. I won't be living high on the hog, but I will be able to support the kids and grandbaby while I look for work. A very dear friend of mine is willing to be a roommate, just in case I stil have problems with my seizures (I've had two in the last month). She and I have known each other for two decades, so hopefully this will work out.

If nothing else, being physically there will mean the job possibilities that have rejected me out of hand because of the relocation won't have that excuse any more. I can do seasonal retail work until a more permanent job comes through.

Now I just have to hope that I can find a landlord willing to rent to me on *just* the strength of the child support/alimony. And figure out how the hell I'm getting a moving truck of at least mattresses and clothes paid for and down to Georgia. And I've given myself a day and a half to get it all done.

Sometimes it's not a matter of deciding whether you are up for the challenge or not. Sometimes it's just a matter of doing what needs to be done.

Sep. 29th, 2014

Secret master librarians

LCI Week 1: In the Garden

Several years ago, I ran across plans for an all-black garden. Black foliage, black flowers, shining ebon in the sun. My little former-goth heart sang in delight. I have always loved things of darkness -- most of my dogs have been in shades of black.

Right now, I can't have a garden. I'm living at my brother's house while looking for work. Eventually, though, I'll have my own yard again. this time, it's going to be full of my dear dark plants and flowers.

It gives me something to work towards.

Sep. 23rd, 2014

Secret master librarians

(no subject)

So with the recent kerfluffle on FB with the names uproar, I'll be posting here some more again. That's good. I like the long-form journaling a lot more than reposting endless photos of Avenger jewelry and solstice memes. Hopefully a few people outside of the LJI crew will remember me. :)
Secret master librarians

(no subject)

Last Chance Idol. I'm in.

Aug. 26th, 2014

Secret master librarians

LJI Week 19: Kindling

I had a beginning and an ending today.

I interviewed for and was offered a new job. It means packing up an moving, yet again, but that has both good and bad sides. I'll miss my friends and co-workers here. I wont miss the crime or the "you're not from around here" ostracization of small towns. I really won't miss the family of the father of my grandson, a family that has made no effort to meet the child in the two months since he's been born, after doing everything possible to block placing the baby up for adoption.
grayson cute
I'm kind of glad for that. How could you not love that face?
We'll be in a much more open, diverse environment. The kids will have access to cultural institutions that just aren't available in rural Pennsylvania. They'll meet people who value education and personal growth for growth's sake. I think it will be a good move.

The other thing that happened today was my children's grandfather died. I haven't spoken to him for nearly two years, and we parted on bad terms. I still loved him. I knew his health was declining rapidly, but since the divorce I haven't been welcome in that family. I wish him peace in his transition.

Aug. 15th, 2014

Secret master librarians

LJI Week 18: Disinformation

A few years back, I was working in a public library near Ft Bragg, in North Carolina. We got our fair share of military folks in. One of the advantages of working the information desk was we had a view out the window of a car wash where the enlisted boys would come to polish their rides. Shirtless. What?! I'm a dirty old lady; never claimed otherwise.

The other half of our regular patronage were people from the community. Often, these would be lower income, less educated folks. Many were older, with little computer experience. I helped people sign up for their very first email accounts at least a couple of times a week.

One lady came to me at the desk just a few days after signing up for email. She was so excited -- turned out she had a long lost cousin who was actually an Ugandan prince. His country was in turmoil, and he needed her help to escape to the US. He was going to wire his fortune to her bank account until he escaped the country, and let her keep $2 million of it for helping him! She just needed my help in figuring out the routing number for her bank so she could send him her account information.

My heart sank for this woman. I recognized the scam. My gmail account filters out dozens of these attempts every month. I showed her the Snopes page debunking it. But she was convinced it was real. He had found her through a site that helped you trace your African origin. She insisted that since that site was reputable, he had to be the real thing. No one would ever try to con a poor woman in semi-rural North Carolina, right?

My job was to fill her information request, so I provided the bank's routing number. I warned her not to send the information. I told her that with those numbers, the scammer could and would empty her accounts.

A few weeks, later, she was back. How dare I let someone take all her money? How could I have allowed that to happen? She was convinced that since she used the library computers to communicate with the scammer, the library (and me personally, since I'd helped her) was behind for the scam and had stolen her money. Even worse, she thought we could get her money back.

I hope she learned not to trust scammers on the Internet after that. I wish I could have given her a wrong routing number, but my job is spreading correct information to patrons. If they choose to do something stupid with it, there's nothing I can do about that.

Aug. 12th, 2014

Secret master librarians

LJI Week 17: Scare Quotes

I went to Otakon this past weekend. For those who don't want to click the link (clickyclicky!), Otakon is the second-largest anime convention in the US, and has been running for over 20 years. If you have any interest in anime, manga, gaming, science fiction, fantasy or horror, Otakon has your people in abundance. The attendance cap this year was 35,000 people, and it was reached. People who wanted to buy a ticket late Saturday or Sunday were SOL.

I'm one of the freaks that cosplays at these conventions. This year, I did Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, Lucille Ball and Ice Queen from Adventure Time. Making the Ice Queen dress took about two months. The sewing machine is still on my dining room table, and wig heads are taking up the back windshield ledge of the car.

ice queen
Ice Queen and Ballet Princess Gunter

The down side of being in a crowded convention center with 35,000 of your closest fanatics is there is always SOMEONE who doesn't feel so good but doesn't want to lose out on the money already spent and then attends the con anyways. This anonymous SOMEONE is "patient zero" for the dreaded "Con Crud."

"Con Crud" this year is manifesting as a cough, sore throat, running nose and itchy eyes. That's much better than some outbreaks, like the Emerald City Comicon bout in 2012 that sidelined people for up to a week and appears to have been a flu variant. Hopefully the virus will clear it's way out of my system in a week or so and I can go back to wearing contacts and using mascara.

I've just spent three days with my kids and grandkid, enjoying a rich environment filled with the most fantastical outfits. We had fun as a family, indulged in quite a few flights of fancy about winning the lottery and being at a con every weekend, learned some new techniques for our own costume building, explored new-to-us anime options and generally had a blast. I even got to have dinner with our very own alycewilson, Kung Fu Panda (who is absolutely adorable) and the Gryphon. What's a week of being sick compared to that?

Aug. 4th, 2014

Secret master librarians

LJI Week 16: A terrible beauty has been born

It's no secret that I paid my way through college as an exotic dancer.

old me
That's me, back in the day. The picture is a crappy cellphone shot of a Glamour Shots photo from over 20 years ago. It's the only picture I still have from back then, courtesy of my former mother-in-law throwing away my photo albums during the divorce. Yes, I really did have the Distressed Poodle Perm. It was the early 90s; you had to be there.

Every day, I went to my classes. I socialized with my friends, played hands of Magic, rushed out papers, general college stuff. At work, though, I changed. I stopped being the shy, dorky, nerd gamer girl. Instead I became a smart, confidant sex goddess who bent men to her will. I teased and tantalized and manipulated men left and right. I danced under the name Faith. I told guys that the name Faith was because I was always faithful. It worked like a charm to open wallets.

I took a Women's Studies class while I was dancing. One of the girls went off on an "all sex workers are exploited" rant. I told her what I did for a living, and that if anyone was using people, it was me. That still holds true. In the club, I was the one in complete control of the interaction with a client. I was the one who walked away with an average of $400 each night, as well.

What I didn't say was that part of what I was doing on stage was reclaiming my sexuality. I am a rape survivor. The trauma of that had a pretty severe impact on me. I went in a depressive spiral, and more often than not I was at the bottom of a bottle trying to escape from my hatred of myself. When i started dancing, I was in a situation where I could be a sexual being in safety. The club had bouncers on staff whenever we were open. There was no chance of a customer forcing himself on me. the one time someone did try to touch me while I was on stage, the bouncer broke his fingers before escorting him out the door. I was escorted to my car every evening, and called in to let the club know I'd made it home safely. There are few places I've ever felt safer.

I miss the character I played when I went onto that stage. I miss her courage, her certainty that was beautiful, her strength and agility. I'm older now, maybe a little wiser. There are times when I'd still give anything to feel like Faith again.

LJ Idol
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Jul. 28th, 2014

Secret master librarians

LJI Week 15: Chekov's Gun

Have you ever tried Miracle Fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum)? I ordered some for our teen summer reading group a few weeks back.

When you let the tablet dissove in your mouth, it tastes kind of gross. After about a minute, though, something incredible happens. You stop tasting sour and taste sweet instead. Suddenly grapefruit tastes like candy. Sucking on a lemon wedge is like eating old Lemonheads candy -- the original stuff, not the modern version. Apple cider vinegar tastes like tart apple juice. It's amazing.

So when I had a room full of teenagers are handed this stuff, of course the boys get to challenging each other. They ate some pretty disgusting things, and loved all of it! The best part was the vinegar chugging contest. That's when they learned that gulping vinegar means it bypasses the portion of the taste buds altered by the fruit, and on hitting the back of the throat the full vinegar reaction kicks in. There were some mad dashes to the bathroom after that.

Summer reading is always a busy time for libraries. Here, anywhere from 40 to 120 kids will show up out of the blue one day a week. Sad thing is, most of those kids don't set foot in the library any other time of year. They get dropped off by their parents for the free babysitting service for the morning. The rest of the year we require parents to actually stay with their young children. When it's not convenient for the parents any more, the kids don't come.

Then the kids turn into teens, and they can come to the library on their own. Since the only exposure they've had to the library previously was in summer reading, they have no clue how to behave, If fun and games aren't presented to them, they go to talk loudly, running, playing hide-and-seek, destroying the library's plants, writing on the walls, generally disruptive behavior. Yes, I've seen teenagers do all these things in the last two months.

I'm all for having teens in the library. They desperately need a place to go where they can be safe, socialize and just be teens. There's also the small thing of every teen who comes in the door is a potential future donor for the library -- not a small thing for a non-profit who gets no tax funding from the communities we serve. I do wish they were slightly better behaved, though. I wish their parents had made sure they knew how to behave in a library.

Still, seeing their faces when I introduce them to a bit of small science magic -- like turning lemons sweet -- that makes up for a lot of bad behavior. Now I just need to find something else to keep them occupied.
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