Just Me, #14

(Remember, when I post Just Me, the picture I choose to post with it is something I like or that tells you something more about me. This is on my wish list!)

Good Evening Friends, Family, Fans, and Followers,

Another week gone by and now half of my precious two days off. I am very happy to be working, but it is exhausting work, truly. Today, I slept in until 8 AM only to wake up and discover that I had started my monthly cycle—the one thing in life that I completely loathe! I am so looking forward to menopause and it could not get here soon enough. Ok, I know, TMI.

Mary and I left around 9 o’clock to go to a moving sale. She got a couple of nice things and I also bought a few dime and quarter items, but it was not at all like I had expected. So, we decided we would go to a few more yard sales. We stopped by the house to unload the car and Cherie and Steven decided to join us. We went to a multi-family garage sale and it was a bit better. Everyone of us walked away with some new little treasure.

My treasure was a St. Anthony charm on a chain. St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost and found. I am not sure if any part of what I just typed should have been capitalized, as I am not Catholic, but all of my roommates have been raised Catholic and at their urging, I have called upon St. Anthony several times when something priceless or irreplaceable has been lost, and I am happy to say, he has not failed me yet. Too many great items and not enough cash rendered our journey a short one. However, just before our last stop, we stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts and had a very sweet treat, so that made it the best haul of the day!

When we returned home, we let Tallulah run out in the yard without her leash; a first since we got her a week and two days ago. We threw a ball for her for quite some time and were very pleased with the fact that she could be outside, could play in the yard, and could be trusted without a leash. But then a high school boy walked by and she gave chase. Tallulah has been through obedience school and usually comes, sits, and even pees on command, but this time, she failed to come as instructed. The kid was smart and just stomped his foot at her, which she backed away from, but once he started walking again, she would again chase him, barking wildly. I kept giving the command to come, but she would not heed.

My heart was pounding out of my chest. I had no idea what she was capable of. I finally got a hold of her collar and led her back into the house. Will she never be able to run freely in our very large yard and adjacent property? Will she have to go through more aggressive training? I don’t know, but for now, whenever we leave the confines of the house, she must be on a leash.

I also learned today that my Pappy has had a heart attack and is in the hospital. Apparently this happened a couple of days ago and tentatively he was to leave the hospital today and return home, but we haven’t heard the confirmation on that. I cried when I found out. I was taken aback a little at how very upset I was at the thought of possibly losing my Pappy. My aunt, and Pappy’s youngest of two daughters died when she was 25 in a horrible alcohol-related car crash. My Memaw died about a year later. Pappy has since remarried to Frances, a very lovely, kind, and caring woman who takes very good care of my Pappy. Pappy and Frances have been married 15-ish years—I believe. My mother, and Pappy’s only remaining child died three years ago this coming August. Too many deaths and it feels unfair. I do not want to lose my Pappy! Not yet. Tears are again rolling down my face. For now, I will remain most grateful that he has made it through and is going home. I will call him tomorrow and let him hear my voice telling him how much I love him.

I received an email a couple of days ago saying that adjustments had been made to my financial aid. Long story short (meaning I will not go through all I went through to try and find out exactly what that means), not only is there a cap on Pell Grants, but apparently there is also a limit to the amount of loans an undergraduate can take out. What I found out was that I am nearing that limit. What I have been unable to establish is, is this “nearing” before or after this year’s aid? Will I or will I not be able to continue with my classes this fall? If I can go this one more year, I will spend the entire year applying for any and all scholarships so that beyond this year, I will be able to continue until I am finished and have reached my educational goals. On the other hand, if I am not able to go this year, I will still pursue the scholarships, as I will not give up—I will finish one way or the other—but the snag will be that once I stop being enrolled for at least half-time, my grace period begins for the loans I have already accumulated. The bottom line of that is that within six months of the end of last semester, which occurred two months ago, I will have to begin paying back my loans. This also means that I only have four months remaining of my grace period. My estimated monthly payment will be in the neighborhood of about $400-$500. OUCH! Woe is me. Again, I ask you all to please keep your fingers crossed that I will indeed have one more year of aid.

As I have mentioned, I wanted to be able to fly my youngest son, Zachariah, out here for a visit before the end of summer. If I do end up gong to school in the fall, my books, and these are at Amazon’s lowest offered prices, will cost me $450 out-of-pocket. This means I cannot afford to fly Zachariah out. If I do not end up in school in August, I will fly him out right away because once my loan payments begin, it will be quite some time before I can afford to have him for a visit again. I guess I will have to wait until Monday when I can call the financial advisor at the main campus and find out where I stand. Either way, I win some and I lose some.

Whew! That is quite a load of very depressing news, but you know what? I have been through much worse. I have survived, conquered, and overcome so many worse things in my life and I have learned a lot, grown quite nicely, and am developing strength that even, at times, surprises me. I also love my life and love so many things about my life. These things, all of them, too shall pass, and in the end, I will stand a little taller and a lot stronger. So, as Jo Dee Messina would sing, bring on the rain!

I have rambled on long enough. Before writing this post, I posted some more of my drawings that I found among my things. I will now post this and then it will be time for me to go to bed and get some sleep. I am mentally, emotionally, and physically tired and drained. Once I have gotten the rest I need, I will awake in the morning and once I pour my second cup of coffee, I will begin working on the third part of Cherie’s story. If you have not read the first two parts, please do so. If you read nothing else on my blog at all, I beseech you to read Part 1 and Part 2 and return for the remaining parts of her story. It will touch you, outrage you, make you laugh, cry, cheer, and see things in a whole new perspective. If you are not encouraged and inspired by the story’s end, I would very much like to hear from you.

Thank you, all of you, for reading, commenting, liking, and supporting my blog and the blogs of others. Thank you also for writing, creating art, taking fantastic photos and posting a large variety of music. I love sharing with you and really enjoy all that you have to share with me. Have a fabulous weekend!

-Cindy

 

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Just Me, #13

Hello,

It is, once again, the weekend, and I have some time to blog. So far, since starting my job, I have been bombarding you with Billboard posts, leaving little, ok—no time—for any other posts. This weekend, i am going to do the reverse. I will post some good stuff and, if time permits, I will throw in a few Billboard one’s. Fortunately, there are only twelve more to go. I honestly cannot wait until I am done with them. It has not been turning out to be as exciting, interesting, and fun as I thought it would. Please forgive me and do not hold it against me.

I have already posted the colorful photographs I had taken with my camera before it broke. I have a few more pics from that camera I want to post, some of my early drawings that really motivated me to try to be artistic, and hopefully, I will be posting a Prelude to a future guest blogger in recovery.

But first, let me catch you up on some great things. First, last Saturday, I went to volunteer in my community at a food bank. It was very rewarding and I actually had a lot of fun. I spent the entire 3 hours with a sort of goofy perma-grin on my face. I put together boxes for large families, stocked the shelves of donated food items, and broke down cardboard boxes. You must know that I have been on the other side of the food bank many times in my life and I truly loved being a part of getting things together for other families in need, knowing how much relief it really can add to a household of hungry people. They only operate the first Saturday and the first Wednesday of the month. Since I have to work during the same hours on Wednesdays, I can only help out on the Saturday, so intend to continue to do so each and every month.

After the food bank, we went to the flea market, as I may have mentioned, and I brought only eight dollars with me, as it was all I had. They had a lot of really cool stuff and I did real well by controlling my impulse buying. I did come across a great deal I could not pass up. A man was selling his digital camera, a Nikon CoolPix 3200 for only $5. He said it worked, ran on double AA batteries, which were in the camera, and he turned it on for me. I thought it was worth the risk of $5 and bought the camera. When I got home, I put my photo card into it and it said that the photo card I had installed could not be used for this camera. Mary said she will buy me one that can be used, so stay tuned to find out if my bargain was a true bargain or if I got duped!

Jeremiah Smiling

Today is Jeremiah’s 20th birthday! I can hardly believe that I have been a mother for 20 years! I love and adore him so much and am deriving great pleasure from seeing how much he is growing and maturing and discovering life. He will attend his half-brother’s wedding on August 8th and then head off to Job Corps, finally, on August 14th. He is pretty excited about it and hope that he can follow this program with going to college full-time. I am so proud of my baby, I cannot even begin to tell you! And isn’t he such a handsome man too?

I will conclude this post with some very good and happy news and leave you with something to look forward to. We have decided to get a new puppy and between the three of us, have spent hours online looking for a puppy to adopt. Long story short, we found one! She is a rescue dog who has been re-homed to us. She had to leave her previous family when they learned that their precious two-year-old daughter was allergic to dogs. She is six months old, a Sheppard mix with a mostly blond coat. They believe that she is mixed with Terrier, but are unsure. Her family gave her the name, Madison, but Cherie has renamed her Tallulah Barkhead. She is very friendly, playful, and just loves people. I have taken a few pictures with my phone camera, but they did not turn out so well. Cherie has also taken some with her phone camera and they came out SO good! Once she posts them to her Facebook page, I will snag the best ones and post them here for al of you to see. She is absolutely beautiful and I love her so much already!

Ok, I must say to you, good day, as I have some other things I want to post and must also make some time to play with my new puppy and take her for a walk to explore. Have a wonderful day, weekend, and rest of the week. By the way, i will also take some time to catch up on comments and read some of y’alls most recent posts.

-Cindy

Just Me, #12

Hello Family, Friends, and Fans,

It’s just me again, here to fill you in on where I have been and what I have been doing. Did I mention I got a job? Well, I did, and I am working full-time plus. I work Monday through Friday, 5:30 AM to 2:00 PM, with weekends off. Minimum wage here in Pennsylvania is the same as the federal limit, which is $7.25/hr. When I was first hired, I started at $7.50/hr and by the third day I worked, I was given a raise and now make $8.00/hr. Starting on July 5th, I will be back to being able to pay all my bills myself and have money left over for contributing to the household I live in and hopefully have enough to fly my youngest son, Zachary, out for a visit this summer. After that comes my new camera, then a Dremel, and then who knows. It is a great feeling to have some financial freedom.

Other than being an assistant in a computer lab for about 15 hours a week while at Portland Community College (work-study), I have not worked for almost five years. Standing on my feet continuously for nine hours a day, five days in a row, has taken some getting used to. I have come home exhausted and sore and aching in places I forgot I had. Twice in two weeks I have come home from work, lie down on my bed and slept until the next morning when it was time to get up and start another day. At the end of this two weeks, I am down to just an ache in my lower back and I am hoping a week or two more will eliminate that as well. I cannot tell you what a relief it is to be working again!

So, that is why I have not been writing daily and why I may be cutting down to writing once a week, or at least one day a week; there may be several posts but occasionally, there may not be. I hope you will all understand and not forget about me.

Oh! I have also passed the driving test and am an officially licensed driver. Yea me! The next big accomplishment I must seek to complete is applying for State medical insurance, which now that I have a job, I will be able to obtain. I want to go in for a full physical because though I feel fine, there has been some concern, both my own and that of others, that I have been losing weight, possibly a bit too much. It may be nothing to be worried about. I have lost 30 pounds since I arrived in Pennsylvania a year ago, and if you think about it, that is less than a tenth of a pound a day, so really no big deal, right? I have been eating healthier and now that I am working, I am getting much more exercise than I have in quite some time. It just seems a bit weird to me because I have not reached this low weight since I have quit using drugs almost seven years ago. Ho-hum.

I have grown out of, or should I say shrunk out of my bathing suit from last summer, so I have not yet been to the pool. Cherie, just now, brought me a bathing suit that fits me very well. Yippee! Especially considering the weather over the next few days is going to be very hot and I have today and tomorrow off. Mary wants to go to the flea market today, which is also something I have been looking forward to doing, but Cherie has just told me she is not going. Maybe Mary and I will still go and maybe not. As soon as I post this, I will call and ask her. If we aren’t going, I will go to the pool where I will spend the entire day absorbing the color back into my too pale skin. I am also thinking of coloring my hair this weekend too. I have said before that I wanted to try purple this time, but the dye Cherie has is wicked and stains your skin for weeks afterward. Therefore, I am seriously considering doing the turquoise again, though I will not be bleaching my hair first to ensure a stark color, but just hoping my hair is light enough on its own that the turquoise will show. I have wanted to grow my hair long for such a long time and it is finally reaching the length I have wanted, but it is becoming so damaged that I may have to cut a few inches off, which is distressing me. I know how vain that is, but I consider my hair to be one of my best features. I guess I will have to do what has to be done and just accept it and know that it will look healthier and will grow back.

Moving on… I will work on posting more of my musical top hits from my birthday and will be adding a little something to them. I will also post the last of the pictures I have from my color series of photos. Since each of three colors has so few photos, I will post them in one blog. I have several other things I want to finish and post, but I do not want to overdo it. If I have the time and energy to get to them, I will, but I won’t stress myself out if I don’t.

Call me strange, but I miss school. Even with a full schedule with work and other life stuff, I am really looking forward to classes resuming in the fall. I still have two full months before they start and at times that feels like forever. This next semester I am taking all Psychology classes. Psych 105, Careers in Psychology, Psych 200, Statistics in Psychology, Psych 243, Well-Being and Positive Psychology, and Psych 256, Cognitive Psychology. Exciting, yes? Can you see why I am so anxious for the fall to get here and to get started? I know school is a lot of hard work, takes up a lot of time, and can cause a lot of stress, but it is one of my favorite things to do. I sometimes worry that when I graduate, and am no longer taking classes, I will miss it so much. Hopefully though, I will ease into a different kind of love when I begin doing my practicum and really get out there and start doing what I am going to school to do. More on this in a future Just Me.

Hmmm… What else? Have I mentioned that I finally finished reading Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown? I liked it, but it wasn’t as outstanding as I had believed it would be. It left me kind of disappointed. It may have been a much better book had I read it when it first came out in 1973, I think, but we have come so far that it just did not wow me as I had hoped. I have also been looking for the movie, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close at the library. They have a copy, but it has been checked out every time I have been there, so the last time I was at the library, I decided to inquire if there was a book that the movie was based on. Sure enough, there was and by the same title. The author is Jonathan Safran Foer, and I read the book last weekend in just two days. It was fantastic and I am now all the more eager to see the movie! I am not one to give book reviews, so you will just have to check the book out yourself, but I promise you, it is very good and well worth the read. I am currently reading Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow, but am only a few pages in. Again, the only time I have to read, or do anything else I want to and enjoy doing is the weekends, and there is only so much time in two days to do all that has to be done. Did I mention the nest few days are going to be super hot and that I will spend every second I can lying by the pool? The pool doesn’t open for another hour and a half, so I have time.

That being said, I better wrap this up so I can post the music videos and see if the flea market is in the cards for today. Though I wish I had more time to spend with all of you, writing, reading your posts, and commenting and returning comments, I just don’t with this job. I will do the best I can and be here as often as time allows. In the meantime, take care, keep writing, creating, and photographing, and know that I love all, or at least most of what I see when I see it.

Until next time…

-Cindy

Just Me, #11

My Guardian Angels
Cherie (left) and Mary (right)

Hi Everyone!

I have so much to tell you that I should not have waited so long to write this. I actually have a list here beside me, so I do not forget a single thing. For the few of you who glance at my Billboard posts (and thank you for that), you may have noticed I posted today’s and tomorrow’s yesterday. I want to push on ahead, as these posts are clearly killing my stats, but again, I must finish what I started, so they will continue. And for those of you who do not know yet, my camera broke. The first time I mentioned it was in a reply to a comment. El Guapo, the commenter, then gave me a couple of websites that would help me troubleshoot the problem I was having with the lens. I tried every suggestion, but it still is not working. Thank you El Guapo, for taking the time to help me out! To get it fixed will cost more than a brand new camera, so a new one is what I will get. Of course, it may take a while for me to save the funds to make the purchase, but I will get it as soon as I can.

The sun has been coming out and shining beautifully more and more, so I have spent a little time clearing out the weeds and fallen leaves from our peace garden. We took large rocks from the property and formed a peace symbol, planting some things around the inside border of the symbol. That was last year and we had a late start, as Cherie was still recovering from almost dying twice last summer; once in May and again in June. Severe respiratory troubles was the cause, and the reason she quit smoking. Cherie just celebrated one year smoke-free on June 5th. I am so proud of her! In case you are wondering, Cherie is my best friend and roommate. Mary, who I also write about and will at times in the future is Cherie’s partner of 12 years. They are both incredible women whom I love and adore. More about them in another post.

Though life is full fo things that cause stress, since taking a break from school, my stress has been on a much milder level. I still worry about bills and miss my kids, and at times, I wish I could go back to my previous medication, but I have been feeling really good lately and am learning some things about getting through those depressed days more quickly and with a little effort on my part. Oh! I have also finished one of the books I was trying to make time to read, Rubyfruit Jungle. It was a good book, but lacked a lot of what I had expected, so it left me a little disappointed. Since finishing that one, I have started reading The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger. It will be a rare occasion when I write a review on what I have read. This book may give way to one of those occasions, but it is too soon to tell.

The boys are still doing ok. Jeremy was to go into Job Corps on the 19th of this month, however, budget cuts has caused a delay of another possible two months. He is bummed about that, but has gone to stay with his father and step-mother in the meantime. They have bought him some clothes and a couple of pairs of new shoes and he has been seriously hitting the pavement looking for a job. Zachary is really growing up. He just turned 15 at the end of May and though we are thousands of miles apart, I am feeling closer to him than I ever have. His trust in me is growing and he is seeing that I am on his side and will be there for him in any way I can. He will be coming to visit me this summer and I cannot wait!

I have some very sad news, but will write about it in a separate post that I will hopefully publish today, but first I must verify a few of my facts. Until then, I also have good news too. Actually, several things. First, something that is important to me, is that after more than a year of my sister, Ginger, and I not talking, we are talking again! This makes me so happy! She is my only sibling and it is a very lonely world when we don’t talk. I sent Ginger an Easter card and she sent a text saying thank you and that it meant a lot to her. She had missed me too and was glad we were putting our differences behind us.

Ginger graduated high school a year early, went to college right away, and through her educational journey, she got married, and had two of her three kids. She passed the bar exam on her first attempt. Only 25% of those taking the bar exam pass it the first time around, so yeah, she is pretty damn smart. After working for the prosecutor’s office, and having her third and final child, she opened an office with one other lawyer and they were pretty successful for over five years. With the crash of the stock market, things began to get tight. A few more years and she finally had to close her office and return to the prosecutor’s office. Ginger gave her resignation last month and is in the process of opening her own web-based scrap-booking business. She has been all over the United States to countless scrap-booking conventions, and almost made it to Greece for the World Convention. Until now, it has always been her hobby and passion. I am so happy that Ginger is biting the bullet and attempting to venture out and turn her into a business and I believe she will thrive. As soon as her site is set up and ready for business, i will post the link on my blog and nag you all to click and check her talent out. 🙂

My second bit of good news is that tomorrow, I will be taking my driver’s test and getting my first driver’s license since 1998. Unbelievable, yes? I am so excited, and quite nervous to be honest, but I have practicing and hope to do well enough to pass. Originally, I let my license expire because I was such a wreck after my divorce, and I was by then with Sherry (my ex) who drove me anywhere I needed to go. Then, we were eventually without a car and I rode the bus or train, so a license wasn’t necessary. Yes, my license was suspended for six months at one point due to my drug addiction, but that has long been lifted. I continued to either ride the bus or let Sherry drive, so I never felt a need to get a license, until now. Cherie and Mary both have cars, so I will have a vehicle to use when I need it, or more often, when they need to go somewhere, I can and will help with the driving. With my current financial situation, I am in no hurry to get a car of my own. That will happen when it is meant to happen.

And now for the good news you have all been waiting for. Drum roll please… On Sunday at 10 AM, I will be starting my new job! Yes! I have been hired at Burger King. Hey, giggle all you want, it is a job and it pays a paycheck and I am perfectly content to be employed right now, even at Burger King. It is one of those jobs that I can go to, work, and then leave and not have to take home with me or worry about. I am now employed, can pay my bills, help with some of the bills here, and save up for Zach’s visit sooner than later. And, yes, of course, I will be making that camera purchase also! Yea me!!!

Ok, that is all I have for now, until I can post my sad news. Though the news is sad, the post will be filled with happy, so don’t get discouraged. Now, tell me, how are you doing?

Thank you all for your support and wonderful pictures and writings. Being here on my blog is one of my favorite places to be, and you all are part of the reason.

-Cindy

Memories of My First Car

Do you remember your first car? I do. There was a woman at the church I attended during the time I was in high school that had bought herself a new car and mentioned selling her old car. It was a 1984 Honda Civic hatchback and she was asking $800. I was 17 years old and I worked at Burger King which was on the other side of an avocado grove at the end of my street. I remember telling my mother about the car for sale and asked if she would buy it for me. I told her I would work on paying her back, and offered one half of each of my paychecks until it was paid off. My mom said that the only way she would do it was if I saved half of the cost of the car and gave it to her up front.

Great! Because I was still in high school, I could only work part-time and reaching $400. would take a while. I made $3.35 an hour back then and often worked less than 20 hours a week. I was worried that someone else would buy the car before I had accomplished my mother’s condition on our deal. But what else could I do? I worked and I saved and started to give up on getting there anytime soon. Though I really wanted the Honda, I figured if I missed out on that car, at least I could make the same deal with Mom on a different car.

One evening, when I was on break, I called my sister, Ginger, as I often did. We chatted about this and that—what time would I be home and what we would do when I got there—and then I told her that my break was over and I had to go. She screamed “Wait!” into the phone.

I was startled but replied, “Whaaat?”  

That is when Ginger said very quickly, “Mom bought you a car and it is in the drive way. Bye!” Before I could say a word, she hung up the phone. That was just like her! Tell me something important or unusual or surprising and then leave me hanging, knowing I would not be able to speak to her again for several hours. Yikes! Can you imagine all that was going through my head and the different sensations I felt in my stomach?

As soon as I clocked out, I ordered some dinner in a bag to go and I nearly ran home. As I came down my street, I could see it there in the driveway. The absolutely spectacular Honda! I couldn’t believe it. I went right into the house and could hear my mother’s voice coming from the dining room, “Did you see it?”

Of course I saw it! How could I miss it? As I rounded the corner, my mother had her arm raised in the air and a key ring dangling from her finger. I asked her how she possibly managed it as it had been nearly four months since I first told her about the car and was sure it had sold by now. My mother shocked me when she said, “I bought it the weekend after asked for it. I asked the girl to hang onto it for a bit, so she did. You have been working so hard and have given me almost three-quarters of what you owe me, so I decided not to torture you any longer. But you still owe me $120!”

“She sold it to you for $400?” I was thrilled, but what my mother next said to me would be something I would never forget. She said that she had paid $800. as was being asked. However, because I was going to school—and doing so well, and maintaining my job—and saving as she has taught me, and being involved in honest activities with the church—rather than going out drinking, like I had done before changing schools, she had made a decision. My mother decided to match me dollar for dollar on what I paid toward the car. She was so proud of me that she paid for half and I would pay for half, though I still owed $120. I gave her the balance on my next paycheck, leaving me no money for gas, so she filled my tank too.

This experience is among the first of many where I learned that if you work hard and live honestly, it will, and does, come back to you. I thanked my mother, grabbed my bag of food, and sat in my car eating and listening to the radio. The car was several years old, but it was beautiful and spotless. I wish I could describe what I felt while sitting in my first car for the first time. It is a feeling I had never felt before and have not felt again since. I will never forget that night!

The photo above (scanners are so cool!) is of me standing next to that car, wearing the peach lace dress I wore at my mother’s second wedding, and holding the cap and gown that I would wear later that evening at my high school graduation. Have I ever mentioned that I was the Valedictorian of my 1989 class? I not only gave a speech at the ceremony, but I also sang a solo. Can you believe that picture of me was taken 23 years ago???

This Is Weird

Writer’s block? Me? Sure, I have a hard time getting something started, but only because I am so worried about the first sentence not only grabbing the attention of the reader, but also to lead cleverly, but smoothly into all that is in my mind. I think that is somewhat common. Yes, I suppose writer’s block is also common from time to time, but in searching my memory from top to bottom, I have never encountered anything like this—until now.

I finally have the time to write and nothing comes to mind, but a blank slate. I have a list of topics sitting right here in front of me. I have tried quite a few of them, but nothing is coming to the page, but a bunch of garbled ramble. I remember with each one of these ideas, when I wrote them down, I had a thousand words, at least, hysterically trying to come out at once, but couldn’t write them then because I had school work that took priority. I have tried starting the first of a series of 32 posts I intend to write, ironically about the do’s and the don’ts of writing, but again, just a bunch of muddled mental mumbo-jumbo stiltedly comes from my finger tips to my keys, nothing I would ever post. I have tried the 7-minute story, something I have been wanting to do for a long time now, but have waited until I could do so with nothing else pressing and my mind relatively free to create. Nothing!

What is the 7-minute story? You have two choices to learn what this is. The first, wait until I actually write one, because no matter what, I am going to write at least one. I do not want to try to explain it now, since I am struggling to fit strings of words together. I do not want to do it an injustice…or you. Your second choice is to pop on over to Limebird Writers and look for the post entitled 7-minute story, which is where I found it, and read about it there. I think it is a great idea and could give a writer great potential, but unfortunately, today is not the day for me. Such a bummer!

I have also run out of photos to post. I could take some more, but it is getting ready to rain any minute and I am sort of dog-sitting. I am sure your next thought is that I could take her with me, yes? No. She is 12 years old and has hip dysplasia which means her back legs are essentially paralyzed. She can still hobble around, but I would need to walk on the road a ways to get some more shots and the asphalt would bloody her little back feet. I have not posted music in a while, so maybe I will try that next. I can usually muster up some connection or memory to accompany a song. We’ll see.

The other thing I have wanted to post is a memory blog about my oldest son, Jeremiah.  Quite some time ago, I wrote one about my youngest son, Zachary. If you didn’t get to read it and would like to, it is right here—My Little Boy. It is a lengthy post, and Jeremiah’s will be also. Other than the music, and unless something powerful hits my mind like a speed train and knocks me out of my chair, I think I will get started on Jeremiah’s, even if just jotting down all the different things I want to write about within it.

Whew! Until then, I will just let this writer’s block run its course. I am sure it will pass. It will, won’t it? It has to. Maybe it is a cue to do something else I have been meaning to do. For example, fill out these applications sitting on my desk, or the postcards I bought my boys last week, or just go take a bubble bath and read some of the two books I have yet to finish. Anyone, please stick with me and do not get discouraged. I am still right here and am not going anywhere. I am just stuck.

Just Me, #10

Hello One and All,

As you may have noticed, I have not posted in quite some time. School being the main reason, with depression being a very close second. I turned in my last and final paper for the semester on Friday, so I am finished with school until the start of the fall semester on August 27th. I am still levitating above the darkest depths of my depression and am hoping that getting back to my blog will help me to rise further above that. So, I am back!

For those of you who follow my blog, and read my posts, you may have noticed that my “Just Me” posts are where you can learn a lot about me on a personal level. This one will be no different. You will, of course, get the usual school update, kid update, and as of recently, the job hunt update. But this time, a little more… Keep reading. You’ll know it when you come to it.

I have missed writing, reading and responding to comments, reading your latest blog entries, and, well, I have missed a lot of you overall! I hope you have not given up on me. Once I post this, I will respond to all the comments that are still awaiting my attention. I do still have 3 or 4 awards left to post. I want to say that because of the amount of time that has gone by, I will take a pass, but instead, I will just say they will be awhile in coming. I do have a couple of different acknowledgement posts I want to write first, among other things.

I don’t want to say too much about my kids right now, but I do miss them terribly. Jeremy will be entering Job Corps any day now and I have been and still am hoping to have Zachary come to visit me sometime around his birthday, May 28th. However, in order for that to happen, I need to get a job first. I have come close, but nothing yet. More on that in a bit.

Penn State University—I love it, but it is both challenging and time-consuming, which are not bad things, but does make it difficult to strike a balance with other important things in my life; reading, writing, friends, and family, not in that order, but you get the idea. I worked hard this semester and do hope that it will pay off when the grades are posted. Add a little luck and a little prayer and I may have done better this semester than last. We’ll see. I will keep you posted.

I have applied at quite a few jobs, but then got really busy with school and have not applied recently. My intention is to begin focusing solely on job hunting beginning tomorrow. Of the ones I applied to, I did get called in for an interview with Wal-Mart. I had two interviews, then was called in for a job offer. I was offered, and accepted, a position in the deli, which had a starting pay of $8.80/hr, but because I had experience I was offered $9.20/hr. Next came the drug test and the background check. I, of course, passed the drug test, and I put down, honestly, what they would find in the background check. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have a criminal background. It is part of the damage caused by my drug use prior to getting clean.

There were two spots on the form for Wal-Mart, so I listed the most recent of three, and in spite of what I wrote down, they ran the check anyway. I figured that since they knew what they would see, they were only verifying what I had disclosed, and why would they do that if what I had listed would have kept me from the job, yes? I signed the form on a Tuesday, and the following Friday, when I hadn’t heard back, I called. I was told that for some reason my background check had not come back yet and that when it did, I would be called in for orientation. That was nine days ago and I have not received the call. I would have thought they would at least have sent me a letter or given me a call if there was a problem, but no. This does not mean that it is over, but I am not holding my breath. It is time to move on and keep applying elsewhere and hope for the best.

As for my criminal history, here it is. The most recent was in 2003, a misdemeanor assault charge that occurred from hitting my oldest son, Jeremy, when he was 10 years old. I was coming down, he was making noise, and believe me, it is one of the most horrific memories I carry with me daily. This is when my boys were taken from me and what led to me finally getting clean in 2005. I have one felony for drug possession in 2000. And the first, in 1999, a misdemeanor theft charge when I stole some earrings from JC Penney with the intention of using them to get more drugs. Really, I should be writing this is my Reflections of a Recovering Addict, but it is coming out here instead. Too much information? Maybe, but as I have always said, I have nothing to hide and by exposing this information, where I am and how far I have come is that much more noteworthy. Drugs can destroy your life in many ways. Drugs are death and recovery is life. It is just that simple.

As I write this, I have not been to my blog in quite some time, so I am going to wrap this up and logon. But first, one last little thing. For each of my Just Me posts, the pictures I choose to accompany them tell something about me also. For example, I love the beach and daisies are my favorite flower. Yellow is my favorite color and I enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles. Candles and clocks are two things I like to collect, and of course, I am proud of the school I go to and the achievements I have been honored with. Can you guess the significance of today’s picture?

Please keep me on your radar. There will be more to come.

-Cindy