The Almighty Dollar

Another snow storm means another morning I spent debating on weather or not I could financially handle taking a full day off of work. Considering a gas bill that needed paying next week that would take a large chunk of my already dwindling bank account, I decided I could at least afford a half day.

So I left my post at noon along with the only other coworker who showed up to work.

As I took the snow blower to the driveway I began to ponder the kind of society I’ve grown in. When did it become so important to risk your own life for little piece of green paper? Why is it we invest so much of ourselves in money that we are willing to risk ourselves for it? How have we sunk so low?

In the struggles of my faith I find myself reading my Bible more. Just trying to understand this broken place I’ve found myself. I understand now all those verses about how it’s hard for people with wealth to enter the kingdom of God and I ponder this frequently even in my lack. How we have come to replace most of our gods with money was really no mystery. It is what makes the world turn…and I’m doing so it is what controls people the most.

In a bartering system, kindness tends to prevail. Mainly because your reputation with others has a greater impact on your success. Your character. Your reliability. The quality of the service you provide. How generous and reasonable you are. All of it factors into your success and thus the success around you.

In a primarily monetary system, your character doesn’t matter as much if you have the wealth to excuse it.

Which is why the owner of our company comes down on us so hard for not coming into work. He pays us, and therefore excuses his behavior with the obligation that he owns us from 8am – 4:30pm. E accept this, and are hesitant and fearful to not comply because it means the money could run dry and we too cannot pay to excuse our own wants and needs.

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Running on E

Between each crisis I have been able to find small moments of calm, but as the weeks have gone on winter has done nothing but wear me down. Ice storm after ice storm makes the world a little colder, and in that cold I find a little darkness.

Still, the weeks bring combinations of pleasures and pains. Friends have been getting together and we have been building positive relationships with colorful people. People so colorful that they boggle the mind, and bring me to such laughter that I often come home beyond exhausted and in desperate need of recharging, but still longing for more exhausting nights just like it.

The truth is, the past few weeks have been a struggle. A struggle in patience. A struggle in spirit. A struggle in mind.

I’m going through the painful experience of a faith crisis, one that seems to leave me with more terrible questions than answers, and makes me feel more and more abandoned by God and desperate to stay in communication, but at a loss as to how. In a way it makes me feel a little crazy because all the emotions piling up are sort of a whirlwind of anger and fear. What does one do, when they lose faith, and how does one get it back if they miss it? Are you even allowed to miss it when it is lost? Have I really lost it at all?

I’ve been getting into more metaphysical stuff lately. A scary realm for me, yet I am no less drawn to it. It feels like a complete swing of opposition, and yet, I feel like God is so much apart of the mysteries of the universe that I cannot help but feel a little of what I’ve read can be supported by a Christian faith, and yet, some of it I find completely unconvincing. I don’t know weather to seek more information on such new things, or if I should just stop altogether and protect myself?

This all comes at a bad time too. While I have not had a huge crisis in my life I have had many small ones to deal with along the way that have just been that much more difficult as I’m dealing with the faith crisis….that and my husband is not good at dealing with any crisis, big or small, and has allowed the burden to fall on me more often than not. Which is exhausting. Little things like my husbands battery not starting, severe winter weather that keeps one home from work, and scuffles with coworkers that have bad attitudes have added only more to the deep tired I feel within me.

All of this I think directly correlates with my spiritual issues. I’m spiritually exhausted. I want to crawl in a hole in the ground and be planted there to rest until I’m recharged and renewed, or just sleep for eternity. I’m not sure which yet. It’s hard to say. I’m just so deeply depleted….of what I do not know, but it is so depleted that I feel like I’m falling apart.

Nothing to Do

“Do you know how many people killed themselves in the past few months? It’s because there is nothing to do around here!”

“What are you talking about? There’s tons to do around here!” I retorted shocked.

“Nope. Sorry.” He said condescendingly.

Firstly, people kill themselves because they are sick and dealing with complex mental health issues, not because they are bored. Seriously what kind of ignorant bullshit is that about?

Secondly, there really is tons to do around here. So many festivals in the summer. Year round farmers markets. An escape room shop. Museums. Tons of events at the Library. Nature trails that become beautiful ski trails in winter. Biking trails. The lake. All kinds of great restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. Wonderful little boutiques to visit and antique stores. Great public parks. An active Historical Society. A thriving artists guild. Tons of industry. Golfing. Live music events year round. A large gaming community. Tons of book clubs. Church events. Fish boils. All kinds of wonderful community events.

After a moment I began thinking about his interests and realized he had very few. At least, very few that he didn’t get burned out on after a week. So no wonder he was bored. It was because he was boring. Boring mostly because he demanded to be entertained instead of finding ways to entertain himself.

I volunteer on weekends. I own a small Business and work a full time one too. I do nothing but occupy myself by offering my time to others and being extremely active in what I find interesting. I throw myself into it because of my passion. Even though I am introverted, I force myself to be out there and active and making my community a better place. I believe in growing where I am planted, and right now, I’m here, and I love being here because it is never boring.

He’s not like that though. He’s a complainer. He’d rather have something to argue about rather than finding ways of making it better. It’s an unfortunate flaw in his personality, he’s so negative instead of seeing and responding to the positive. His attitude isn’t great, which makes his overall outlook pretty grim.

He’s also never lived anywhere else. I’ve been a few other places, and I missed being here. When I came back it was all brand new, and I realized what I had been missing about this place. It made me appreciate it again. It made me fall in love with the community I had left. It made me want to be here again, and glad to be.

Some people just can’t be pleased.

Flat Earth

So I have always suspected that people who follow the Flat Earth Movement do not actually believe the Earth is flat. I have always suspected that the Flat Earth Movement was always meant to be a satire. Much like the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It’s something that in an extreme way is actually protesting some kind of common mentality.

Or maybe they’re just stupid. I don’t know. I just have a really hard time thinking people could be that foolish since we’ve been in space and know.

Though honestly I cannot think of what they might be protesting if it is, in fact, a form of satirical protest. Other than a protest of placing blind faith in things. Could be a protest of media being the “ultimate resource” for current events knowledge but proves time and time again to be unreliable? Still, that goes back to the blind faith thing again, and if it is in protest of people putting blind faith in things…it could be in regards to anything from religion to politics to science to…well…everything.

Maybe it’s just one of those futile groups that wants to protest everything? Maybe that’s the point?

Or again, maybe they really are stupid.

Or maybe the movement doesn’t actually exists? Maybe it’s like what the media was doing to my generation back in middle school. It kept saying stuff like “The New Sex Party Trend…” or “Watch out for the new thing kids are doing at parties” none of which had actually happened or was reported to have happened. It was media making up news and giving a generation a bad wrap for something that never happened. So what if the Flat Earth Movement revival, is just the media making up fake news for the sake of drama?

I’m probably over thinking it, but I can’t help but wonder.

It Ended with Silence

The funny thing is, nothing about me has changed since the day I cut him out of my life. I am no less the self I was then, only now I have a little more experience under my belt, and hopefully I’m a little wiser. I hold no animosity, though I have plenty of reason to in our case.

Still he tries to have the last word. It’s been nearly two years, and he’s still trying.

Today he tried to contact me on Instagram, under a new account with a new alias. Nothing threatening, just the usual petty remarks about how I look or what a bitch he thinks I am. I deleted the nasty comment after taking a screen shot and saving it to a folder of potential harassment case material. I blocked him. Again. Probably the 3rd time now.

But today was different…

Today I wasn’t thrown into chaos by fear. Today I wasn’t worried about running into him in the street. Today I wasn’t afraid of seeing him. Today I wasn’t afraid of the next attempt to harass me. Today I recognized what all of this was…a show. A show he’s putting on for himself in hopes others will watch and be amazed, only to be disappointed when I refuse to retaliate. Because without my response, he isn’t a show at all. He’s just a man child crying out for attention and making a spectacle of himself. Or worse. He’s nothing if no one notices.

Retaliation means something to play at. Silence means there is nothing but the sounds of angry wails on deaf ears.

Some would say ending my friendship with him with silence was cruel. In his case, it was the only way. You cannot win with Narcissists. They will find ways of blaming you in their own mind and twisting it so they truly believe they are never to blame. So to be silent is the only way to keep him from having reason to retaliate, so if he does harass me, it is entirely of his own choosing.

I keep choosing silence every time he tries to contact me, because with silence I have chosen absolute rejection. When I choose not to retaliate, I ultimately reject his thoughts, his negativity, his bad energy, and his feelings…none of which I am obligated to take responsibility for since ending the friendship. I refuse to acknowledge them. I refuse to be a victim to them.

Still, I wish he would just move on. The only “crime” I committed was out growing him. That’s not a crime at all. As long as this continues I intend to retaliate with silence.

Christmas Plans

The day has been grey, and as I sit here at my laptop I can only be thankful to be indoors. The combination snow and rain is making my bones chill, even though my heat is on full blast and my cats are warmly tucked at my feet and behind my back as I type.┬áIt officially feels like winter now, as I can watch the sun sink a little earlier in the day. It’s only 4pm and nearly dark out, accompanied by clouds looking stern and cold through the water droplets on my window pane.

My husband and I set up our Christmas Trees last weekend. This year we set out only 3 instead of 4. Our little 3 ft white tree in the living room, our 2 ft frocked tree in the bedroom, and a 3 ft metal frame “tree” my husband keeps in the basement with the rest of his nerd ornaments. This year we have no travel plans and no required places to be. We’ve not committed to anything at all.

I’m actually looking forward to Christmas this year.

As I’ve posted in the past, I do not often like Christmas. I dislike the commercialism, even though I do enjoy shopping to a fault. I struggle between wanting things and wishing I didn’t want things, as I think most people my age do. We’re raised by TV and Internet to be consumers and then we we are adults, we realize we cannot afford to consume as much as we want, and more than half the time, we can’t even afford what we need. So while I love shopping, I shouldn’t, and while I would love to give Christmas Gifts to people I love, I usually can’t.

One of the remedies I have discussed in past posts has been to alternate Christmas gift giving between making handmade gifts, and giving gifts that support greater causes like Charities or a small family-owned business. By doing this, I find either I give something a little more thoughtful and custom made, or I’m giving a gift that gives back in some way or another. That way my family gets gifts, and my gift giving feels more meaningful than just buying the lasted gadget at a large corporation that doesn’t do that much for it’s community or the charities it claims to support. Plus, I leave with less buyers remorse than usual.

A few of the Charities I’ve given to and supported this year I posted in a previous blog post and have been supporting for a while either with my money or my time (or both).

Another reason I’ve been enjoying Christmas more this year, is because I’m doing more to celebrate. My husband and I are starting to formulate and investigate Christmas traditions, which we hadn’t done last year because we were only celebrating our first Christmas and didn’t quite know what the other thought about the holiday, much less what we thought about traditions. One of the traditions we decided on, that also works as a personal goal, is that we’ve decided to attend every Advent sermon at church this Advent season to help us reflect on not only the positivity we should feel for the season, but also the greatest Gift of all…The birth of Jesus Christ.

Another tradition my husband and I are starting this year, is we’re throwing a small Krampus celebration, where we have invited friends over on Dec. 5th (Krampusnacht) to watch the Dark Comedy Film based on the old lore of Krampus, the Christmas Demon. Apparently an old European tale of a demon who took care of the naughty children in a way that St. Nick didn’t (usually kidnapping and eating them). A little dark and ridiculous, but all the same a fun little something that we can look forward to every year.

What are your holiday plans? What traditions do you celebrate in the winter months?

A Confession: Failing

I was supposed to be a friend’s plus one at a wedding this evening. “Supposed to be” being the key term. Tonight, during a bought of freezing rain, my car slid a little and threw me into a panic attack induced by a car accident I had a few months ago, where my husband and I hydroplaned into a cement divider on the interstate going 70 mph. I was driving at the time and totaled the car.

The panic attack I had this evening forced me to pull into a parking lot to calm down, and when I did, I had to call my friend and tell her I was struggling to make it the 45 min drive to her place, and told her I had to flake out on her. She understood and told me to go home and stay safe.

I was really disappointed when I got home. Disappointed at how much the anxiety from my car accident made me fearful and prevented me from living my life. Before the accident I didn’t have issues with minor things like sliding. I knew how to control slide. I was able to push through them. I wasn’t paralyzed by them. But since the accident, I’m afraid to even drive in rain during the summers.

So I flake out on my friends and fail myself and them. I wish I knew how to get over it. How to not be afraid.

Panic

As I sat in the waiting room, I suddenly realized that I was the youngest person in the whole room, between the usual patients, some of whom I recognized from the same waitingroom several months prior. We must all be on similar schedule routines.

The scent of musk perfume was overwhelming as more patients entered the small room, which I suspected was once some kind of hospital room now converted. Probably the kind that had 2 patient beds and a curtain between them. The room felt smaller as walkers and wheelchairs piled in with their owners. An elderly gentleman and his wife sat near me, and while they were friendly and made small talk with me, I began to feel a slight sense of panic. The room was filling up, and I began to be uncomfortable in my own skin, suddenly realizing how many of the people there were probably on their last legs with the same disease I had.

I pushed it down. I had no reason to panic. There was plenty of space to walk and move. I wasn’t going to die from diabetic complications. That’s why I was here. To do everything I could to prevent that issue. Besides, people, especially the elderly, are nothing to be afraid of. This social anxiety thing had to stop. I swallowed hard and sighed. Breathing my way through it all.

Thankfully, moments later a nurse came in, and realizing how many people were in the room moved me into another room where I could comfortably take off my insulin pump and fill out paperwork. “This should do just fine until I can get you an exam room.” I looked around. The room I was in now had a table with chairs around it and an examination table in the corner, and I wondered why this room was never utilized as a typical exam room since it was already set for it.

I was glad for the moment to gather my head before seeing the doctor.

The doctor was positive about my progress. My organs were behaving normally. My A1C was high, 9.4, but was positively lower than my last one. I was exercising every day at least a half hour to an hour and while I had gained weight, she seemed positive about me losing it once I got my A1C down and ate more low carb.

For once in my life, I left the doctor feeling like I could actually make even more progress. My goal was to get my A1C down to a 7 in 6 months. I could do that. I knew I could do that. I just had to eat lower carb meals and exercise like I was. All manageable.

I’m going to do it.

Broken Heaters & Bathroom Remodels

On Monday morning, in the very early and dark hours, I awoke with a very cold nose touching mine. When I came to, I saw both my cats laying on me, and realized that my nose, was also very cold. Going to the thermostat I saw we had the heat set to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The thermostat indicated the actual temperature was just below 60, and sinking.

My heart sank with it.

My husband had the day off and dealt with it, and the repair man came over, fixed the unit, and left us with a $115 invoice to change a fuse. The next morning at 2:45am, I awoke to the house at nearly 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Snow on the ground and a high of 10 degrees Fahrenheit for the day.

This time I stayed home for a couple hours so my husband could go to work. The repair men replaced the entire control panel, slapped me with a $490 invoice, told me how my particular unit was “known for killing people,” and then left reminding me time and time again that my heater needed to be replaced, and really they only put a bandaid on the problem.

To be realistic, any heater can kill people either with Carbon Monoxide poisoning or by fire if old and broken enough, so that didn’t bother me as much as the anxiety of how we were going to pay for a new one as well as the repairs. I canceled plans with friends in anticipation. I stayed at home all week so I wasn’t tempted to buy anything I didn’t need. Between that and a bathroom remodel that we currently had going simultaneously, we were running out of money very quickly. Of course with property tax season just around the corner.

When the repairmen left I went to work, but between my own exhaustion from being up so early, the many projects, a mouse running around my office, and some coworkers who were having rough days and taking it out on others, it was too much for such a short time period. I came home that night to a warm home, and poured myself a cocktail to drive out the thoughts that reminded me how much heating a home really cost.

The bathroom remodel at least was going slowly but smoothly. We had a new toilet, a new floor, and the walls painted. The sink, cabinets (my father is making us), and the trim were the last items on the list, and they were stained and drying in my parents garage. We were going on week 4 of the project, but as long as I had a toilet and shower, I was happy. The kitchen sink was used for brushing teeth, and washing hands could happen in the bathtub or the kitchen. So nothing felt like it couldn’t be handled.

Just the stress was getting to me, having to live with things in a state of transition or disrepair. That and the money it was costing to complete both projects.

At the end of all the stress, I have to be thankful. Thankful I have heat. Thankful that the bathroom has a light at the end of the tunnel. Thankful that I at least have the money for what I need right now even if it I don’t have it for wants or Christmas gifts. Thankful for flexible work hours and my husband being willing to take care of things. Thankful for warm blankets during the struggle of staying warm. Thankful for repair men with 24 hour service. Thankful I have a house at all.

Creative and Poor

I purchased a font this past weekend at the Wayzgoose, and I’m so discouraged by what a hard time I’m having with the poster I want to make using it. Either I over ink or under ink and my paper jumps and I just can’t get a good print out of it to save my life.

Normally I don’t get so discouraged, but this week, having spent so much time seeing what other people do with their own creativity, especially in the letterpress world, I’ve become quite discouraged by my lack of equipment, time, and creativity.

My talents usually lie in being a bit of a wordsmith. Yet, I haven’t found my knack for translating that into some kind of appropriate format with letterpress. Which is ultimately my goal. Usually it’s because I never feel like I have enough. Not enough images. Not enough type. Not enough talent. If only I could make my own type, but alas, it is another resource that I simply have no money for. Depleted and discouraged by the font purchase, I worry that perhaps I was not worthy to work with such a lovely font.

If only I were better at woodcuts or something. If only I had more time. More money. More original ideas when I needed them. A bigger and better press. A bigger and better shop. More lead slugs. Less distractions.

I keep trying to remind myself that I really don’t have to be more, but it still feels so discouraging when I feel like every time I make a gain in an artistic direction and I have an idea…I don’t have the resources to execute that idea.

It’s difficult being creative and poor.

Ultimately I know if I had the funds and the practice I could make some really awesome stuff. I’d just need to really be willing to dedicate myself to the design and put in more effort to make something really great. But between my day job, my life as a home owner and wife, and my lack of funds and resources… being able to work on my letterpress has been difficult, and though I try not to be discouraged, I find more often than not I’m comparing myself to those who have quit their day jobs and just work on their presses as a livelihood. They come up with amazing work. So much more beautiful than I have the capacity for right now.

Most days, I laugh at myself for having the audacity to call myself a printer. I’m hardly a designer most days. It’s like my creativity has left me. I’m all dried up and discouraged that this hobby is so expensive, and yet has captivated me so deeply.