Oh, the Unmitigated Gall!

My resolution for 2020 was (is) to let the ickiness of 2019 be but a distant memory.  Fade away in my rearview, ickiness!  #byefelicia.  However, there are aspects of ’19 that will crop up, but that’s the nature of grief.  I have lovely new tenants moving in next month.  In fact, their moving has helped me to cope with my best friend’s imminent moving from ME to TN.  However, this post is NOT about that; I will likely elaborate in a future write-up.  So, my attitude for the past 30 days has been much improved; as I indicated in yesterday’s blurb, I’m hopeful.  My line of thought has been OKay, this is still hard right now, but think about what you have to look ahead to.

Having an empty rental for two years was a severe blow squared.  Just think, to lose that income for 24 months!  Also, to fix the damages the previous tenants left and to perform the updates that needed to be done . . . Well, both have left the crippling burden of (lots of) debt in addition to the normal debts: education loan payments, vehicle payments, food, etc.  Although most of my bills are late, and I have accumulated oodles of debt, I am able to see the dob of light at the end of the tunnel.  The rental is now (SO) gorgeous and entirely new bottom to top, top to bottom, with lovely new occupants on their way!

This morning, I opened up a credit card statement that I was not going to bother with.  I knew that my last purchase was heating oil for both “sides” of my house (my home and the rental portion).  Have you ever heard that voice in your mind, that thought that doesn’t quite belong to you?  Well, I’ve heard that subtle and disjointed whisper many times, and the one time I didn’t listen, I learned to always, always, ALWAYS listen.  I opened the CC statement, and it was very obviously . . . compromised.  The balance far exceeded what I knew to be the true balance.

Here’s the thing though . . .  Deep down (OKay, so not deep down – it was really only a surface thought), I know that I have never been out to California, and I have not been to New York since 2018, but I kind of sort of questioned my whereabouts for a brief moment.  The charges are all food purchases, mainly bakeries, out of CA and NY.  My first instinct was to raise my arms to the skies and ask, “WHHHYYYYY MEEEEEEE!!!!!!!????” but I did not, nor will I because the answer is, “Why not?”  There are X number of people each day, from all walks of life, that fall victim to someone else’s asshattery.  The likelihood that it was going to be me, at some point, was / is . . .  “pretty good.”  <~~~ As a crime analyst, that is indeed my professional opinion.  I also refuse to ask, “What next!?”  I’ve asked that question before, and there’s always an answer.  For example, in (what I thought would be) finishing the rental, there was flooding in the basement, which was never an issue before.  “What next!?” was asked, and a giant oak tree fell on the house.  That’s another story . . .

Note to self / future topics

  • Callie moving
  • The tale of the fallen oak and the mighty birch
  • Dogs

But I digress . . .

So, my credit card number was stolen and used to the tune of well over $1,000 dollars.  I assume all of these food purchases were online orders because I have the physical card in my possession.  Well, the shredder has the card in its belly – just a little snickety snackity to warm it up for the day’s feeding.  I called my CC company, and they were surprisingly helpful.  I have checked all of my other statements, accounts, etc., which I will continue to monitor closely, and all is well.  This situation could have been far worse, and I acknowledge that.  Currently, it’s at level annoyance.  My initial instinct was to panic, and I did to some degree – my hands were shaking while I was on the phone sorting this mess out.  Ultimately, I don’t have to pay for the fraudulent charges, the account has been closed, and someone (or someones) have full and happy bellies . . . probably full of cupcakes . . .

But seriously!?  How can you even enjoy eating your In N Out Burger meal, your bakery delights, all while opening your Etsy purchases?  Whoever you may be, you’re kind of a dick, but I know it could have been far worse so thank you for not being worse . . . you’re just the right amount of asshole – your mama must be so very proud.

 

 

Who Wants Happy Mail?

2019 was a brutal year, and I know that I am not alone in that sentiment.  I faced many a difficult situation, all of which were beyond my control, circumstances completely and utterly out of my hands.  In addition to these difficult situations, I was just not . . . ME.  I spent the last year (literally a year) spinning my wheels.  My creativity suffered, and as a result, I barely crafted, I barely wrote.  I ran in my races, but I wasn’t bursting with joy and pride when I crossed the finish line(s).  I ceased my gym rat behavior and my healthy food choices, and as a result, I gained a few pounds, which put my already chaotic mental state into another tailspin entirely.  Remnants of 2019 linger, but I am insistent that 2020 be better.  I am not one to celebrate New Year’s, but I woke up on January 1st weighing lighter, breathing easier, and feeling . . . hopeful.

29 days into this year, and I am already feeling more myself.  I have 100 miles on my soles, I’m creating a new and improved gym routine, and my eating is once again under control (no emotional eating, choices are better and appropriate, etc.).  I am hydrated.  I am sleeping.  I am not depressed.  I’m keeping up with household chores.  Mostly, I have once again honed in on my desire to make others smile, and I long to create happy mail.

I am conscious that I remain “behind” in responding to pen pal letters, I have postcards due out for Postcrossing, and I have deadlines to meet for swap-bot.  However, there are occasions when I feel inspired to write, to create, to send happy mail . . . but with no deadline, no guidelines or requirements, and no expectation from the recipient.  Therefore, I have created a Google form to assist me in just that (click below)!

HAPPY, HAPPY MAIL Y’ALL

The above link will direct you to said form – it is a request for basic information that will allow me to send happy mail your way.  With that being said, I should note that it’s not a promise or a guarantee – this is an I’ll do / try my best.  I will not notify you that postal bliss is journeying your way, it will just one day be there – SURPRISE!  I’ve requested to know likes and dislikes so I can tailor your mail experience the best I can.  Of note, there is no expectation to send me something in return.  If you would like to maybe one day receive a piece of mail from me, please take a moment to complete the above questionnaire.

Q: “Why the form?”

A: If I do not (already) know you via a site that features a detailed profile, I will not have to cyber stalk you to learn that your favorite color is chartreuse and that you’re afraid of jerboas.  If I do (already) know you via swap-bot, sendsomething, Postcrossing, etc., I won’t have to request your address (thus spoiling the surprise), nor will I have to scroll through days of information.

 

TL;DR: Sometimes, my creative juices floweth over, and I long to create mail art, an ATC, or write. When I am feeling particularly inspired, maybe you will be the recipient of some random, unexpected happy mail!

Commit To Blip

Between 0500 and 0700, my mind has been racing with a multitude of swirling and whirling thoughts.  Inside my mind, there is a cacophony of noise.  If I were to picture the inner workings of my mind in the style of a cartoon, the image would be comprised of disembodied words tangled in a tornado – just an absolute ruckus.

My Gma is going blind.  We (“we” = my family), not even a year ago, moved Gma into an apartment closer to Mum and I.  My parents and I live across the street from one another, and Nana’s apartment is only a mile or so away from either of our homes.  My Mum is now faced with the prospect of placing her.  We, as a family unit, were confident that Nana would thrive living alone and independently, especially where she has assistance with showers and housework, for a few hours, Monday – Friday.  Mum cooks meals, and I drop them off.  I pick up and wash the laundry, take the trash out as needed, and we stop in and visit as we can; I oftentimes pop in during a run.  Between my parents, myself, her hired help, and my Aunt Nancy, we have been able to work together to make this arrangement successful.  However, Nana is still currently alone for the majority of the time.  Gma’s 82 and has a smorgasbord of health issues; her losing her vision entirely will make it unsafe for her to continue living independently.  My heart goes out to my Gma, but my heart breaks for my Mum.  With all issues between my Gma and I aside, it’s my Mum’s mother, and I know it must be painful for Mum to experience her sole living parent’s decline in health, especially at this magnitude.  What makes it even more difficult for Mum is that she has been groomed, for (literally) the past 30 years, to feel guilty with any decision she makes, even when it is the best one for Gma.  “You only have one mother.”  Couple this statement with years of reminders from Nana that placing her will break her heart and kill her.  Pair those reminders with the promise that she will haunt my mother when she (Gma) dies.  My mind and heart are currently at odds and duking it out because characteristically, I’m a compassionate and sensitive person, but I am also filled with anger at the way my Mum has been set up to feel as though she has failed her parents.  I volcalized a painful yet truthful observation, indicating that if roles were reversed, Nana would place my Mum in a heartbeat and not think twice about it.  Nana placed her own mother, my Gramps, and two women she was POA for.  This outline of events is by no means an attempt to paint my Nana in a negative light because she has wonderful qualities too.  I have shared these dynamics as a means to pictate the complexities of an already difficult situation and decision to be made.

It was with aforementioned swirling and whirling thoughts that I idled in the Dunkin’ drive-thru this morning anxiously anticipating that blessed first sip of my iced, caramel swirl, black; the woman in front of me paid for my coffee.  Most days, because I witness and am exposed to the underbelly of society as a whole, I forget how poignant the gesture of a cup of coffee can truly be.  Now, I am not so jaded that I will claim that my faith in humanity has been restored due to a cup of java, for my faith in humanity has never been lost.  The world is indeed a brutal place to reside, but there does exist goodness, there are kindnesses.  Perhaps we spend so much time searching for the grand gestures, that we miss out on the small ones (and those add up!).  If you are reading this, do something kind today for someone else, no matter how small it may seem to you.  This morning, paying for a stranger’s cup of coffee was likely just a blip on that woman’s radar, but it wasn’t just a blip to me.  Her gesture made my heart swell, when mere moments before, I was arduously trying to calm my thoughts and keep my tears from spilling over.  Stop for the pedestrian trying to cross the street, let a car ahead of you in traffic, send happy mail to a stranger . . . the possibilities are infinite!  Seek the kindness you desire with not only open eyes but with an open heart.  In turn, sprinkle kindness around like glitter.  There is much truth in the adage, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  The universe will put those people, who need your kindness the most, in your path . . .

COMMIT TO BLIP

 

 

Ride With Me

“If you want to go and take a ride with me [. . .]” – Nelly

My department is perpetually understaffed, it is notoriously difficult to hire to capacity, and even when it would appear that all of the slots have been filled, someone a) drops out of the academy, b) gets injured and is out of work or on light duty for (what seems like) eons, c) quits, or d) retires.  By “department,” I mean the police department as a whole, not my department of analysis, which, BTW, is at its maximum capacity with its overworked, stressed, and under appreciated employee.  Yes, employee in the singular.  Me.  Just me.  There is one person providing crime data and analytics to not only the entire staff within my PD, but to outside agencies and individuals from all levels (municipal, state, federal, etc.) as well. Believe you me, just about every in-house individual needs something from me on a daily basis; these requests are in addition to the daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual reports and statistics that are expected from me.

The joke around here is that even after over six years, I have yet to be “broken.”  Am I jaded?  A bit.  I mean, I see some shit, and I’ve taken some shit.  You have not lived until you’ve had someone double your size, who you don’t even know, screaming at you to not look at them because they hate you, trying to get to you through bulletproof glass.  Note: “You have not lived until [ . . . ]” is purely for dramatic effect.  I am well aware that a plethora of people encounter far, far worse.  I just want to reiterate that I am a civilian employee so my interaction with this person was no more than giving them a smile as I walked by the lobby window.  I had even given them my last bottle of water to help calm them down when they first entered the lobby, clearly in distress.  Weeks later, I gave a lost dog my last bottle of water.  I think the dog was more appreciative . . .

I’m known around the station for being happy, for always smiling, for being bright, shiny and glittery, as well as easily amused.  I am also known as the office’s MacGyver, but that’s another story.  I’m referred to as “Happy Amy,” “Sunshine,” etc.  So, as I was writing in the above paragraph, the running joke is that even after many not so pleasant experiences, the amount of stress and pressure that I face daily, and the overall negative environment, I’m still all of those things I listed; to recapitulate: “for being happy, for always smiling, for being bright, shiny and glittery, as well as easily amused.”

Now that the background has been established . . .

A random individual strolled into the lobby yesterday morning and requested a ride-along with an officer.  I jokingly told an officer, who happened to be standing nearby, that it appeared he was about to be assigned a ride-along, to which he essentially replied, “NO.”  This is the same officer who, when I was a brandy new hire, retorted, “Great!” when I enthusiastically asked, “How’s it going today!?!”  I then overheard him tell a lunchroom full of people, “Actually, it’s been really shitty, but she’s just so nice, I didn’t have the heart to tell her.”

Continuing on . . .

After this officer said, “NO,” a colleague in the records department responded with, “Take Amy for a ride-along!”  The officer misunderstood this suggestion and stated, “YES!  Let people ride along with Amy . . . then everyone would want to work here; we’d have a line out the door!”  Not only was I amused, I was deeply flattered, for I truly do try to be a positive presence here.  This officer’s remark confirmed that for the most part, I’m successful in my attempts to bring some overt happy into our workplace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Twas I That Arted

I have alluded to but not provided much detail about my recent stint with driving the struggle bus.  Seriously, it’s been nearly a year of . . . “meh.”  Since November of 2018, I have just been unable to “get it together.”  I have written zero response letters to the pile of mail I have received from pen pals, I neglected Postcrossing until about a month ago, I have been completing only one or two swaps per month via swap-bot, I’ve traded a mere handful of patches, and I have run only 450 miles since January 1st.  I have so many projects that remain unfinished: the contents of a parcel I intended to mail in April remains unpackaged, a half completed quilt intended to be a house warming present is now for a home that is no longer new, so on and so forth.  Even my blog has been a victim of my neglect in that I have not written about my runs, for though my training has been subpar in comparison to past years, I have still been showing up to my races.  I think the only aspect of my life that has not suffered from my “meh” is my reading; my Goodreads goal for the year is 67 books, and I am currently at 54 read.  I have also been less “on top of” certain tasks at work as well, but I attribute (some of) that to a bit of head butting with a superior.  There was a period of time where I dreaded coming to work; I even interviewed for a position elsewhere, but I realized shortly into that meeting that the (new) position was not an ideal fit.

Over the past few weeks, I have started to feel better, more myself, and by “myself,” I mean more like the me of a year ago, before I got behind the wheel of the struggle bus and put the pedal to the metal.  I have even found some inspiration to create for the sake of creating.  The ATCs and postcards below are not for particular swaps and have no ulterior purpose; I just felt like . . . arting.  Approximately two weeks ago, I completed my fitness objective of earning my Fitbit goal daily for 30 days.  With two more races left this year, I have been longing to fall in love with running again.  This is not to imply that I no longer love the sport, but I have not been as dedicated to or excited by running as I once was . . . until I’m crossing the finish line.  Crossing a finish line inspires me to keep going, to keep trying until the next race, but then I do not maintain that desire . . . until the next finish line is fast(ish) approaching.  (I’m not fast).

A step in the right direction toward finding the (better version of) myself has been spending time in my craft room and workspace with no guidelines and no deadlines hanging over my head or stifling my creativity.  Below, for those of you who do not follow my Instagram account, are photos of some of the artist trading cards (ATCs) and postcards I have been making.

After my final runs of the 2019 “season,” I will compile the photos and thoughts I have been collecting and share them in one post.  September 28th is the Dempsey Challenge 10K and October 6th is the Maine (half) Marathon.  Anyone who wants to follow my progress during the latter race, as I traverse the 13-mile course, there’s an app for that!  Let me know of your interest, and I will provide you with the app name and my bib number.

In summary should you have chosen to skim-read . . .

I have been sucking, and I no longer want to suck.

The Gypsy

 

Potions

 

Henry

 

Freud

Note: I am well aware that the paper doll I chose for my Freud PC (postcard) is not Sigmund, but the doll looked similar enough, that I took some artistic liberties / poetic license and used it anyways.

Best Costume

MY Stint in MO

Mum and I travel together each year.  Last year and the year before, we went to New York City.  This year, we planned two short trips, one to Charleston, South Carolina in April and another to Branson, Missouri in September.  Unfortunately, the trip to South Carolina was canceled in order to move my Gma closer to us.  I have quite literally just returned from MO.  Well, not so much on the “literally” as I returned on the 15th, a day early, but I will get to that.

MO has some of the nicest people I have ever met.  Seriously, Missourians (is that correct?) are so kind, they are at that level of nice you see in movie portrayals.  I’ve heard from many that Maine people are some of the rudest they have ever encountered, but being a lifelong Mainer, I disagree.  However, I do know that Mainers have a way about them, and if you’re not “from here,” it can easily be interpreted as abrasive.

The travel to MO was very difficult on Mum, more so than we had anticipated.  I’d be lying if I claimed to not be exhausted from the travel day myself, and I don’t have the physical limitations and chronic pain that Mum does.  A very kind gentleman observed that we were disheveled, dazed af, and kind of . . . lost.  We flew into the Springfield airport, which was an hour away from our hotel in Branson.  The options were to rent a car or find a cab.  We quickly settled upon the taxi option because at that point, I was at such a level of tired, the car would have ended up in a ditch or as a ball of flaming wreckage within moments of pulling out of the car’s parking spot.  The aforementioned man clearly thought we were a bit nutty to take a cab for an hour instead of renting a car, but he could also see the exasperated desperation of two weary travelers who just want to be on their way, who just want to reach their final destination.

Jimmy, an equally delightful man, willingly and emphatically drove us from Springfield to Branson, and upon parting ways, he provided us with his phone number should we need him to pick us up for our return trip to the airport.  (Spoiler: Jimmy did indeed receive that SOS phone call).  We checked into the hotel close to midnight, but it felt even later considering the time change (from eastern to central OR an hour behind if you’re not familiar with my originating time zone).  I ate a Pop-Tart for dinner and went to bed immediately.  A Pop-Tart is not the recommended supper for a dieting woman, but there was no room service, and I did not want to wait upwards of an hour for delivery, assuming anything was open at that time of day . . . er, night.

Due to the lay of the land and essentially zero places to rest (benches, coffee shops, parks, etc.), we stuck close to the hotel Friday and Saturday.  Note: I am well aware that all of these things exist and are available (benches, coffee shops, parks, etc.), but when you travel with someone with pain and mobility issues, nearby has an entirely different definition than it does for a healthy person.  Please, no one get your undies in a bunch if you think I am insulting Branson, for I am not.  I’m merely attempting to convey / show the difficulties someone may face when these things aren’t within one’s immediate vicinity.

Anyways, it was Friday night that I inquired about changing our flight(s) and going home a day early.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my time with Mum – it was nice to “get away” as we have had some hard times on the homefront as of late.  However, I knew that if the travel home was going to be a repeat of getting there, I would need a day to rest in order to function for my return to work.  Boy, was I right!  I spent almost the entirety of yesterday in bed; I could not even muster the energy to drag myself into the shower.

Overall, I enjoyed my few days of vacation because Mum and I always make the best of our situation, but I do think we are much better suited for NYC (or vice versa) when we go away together.  In NY, there is an endless number of “things” to do, a plethora of places she can rest, and where I am familiar with the city, I can venture off if she needs to nap or take a day off from adventuring and doing.  Most applicable, the weather out this way is much more tolerable than it was in MO.  My body just does not adapt well to high temperatures, especially when it’s one million percent humidity.  Even the humidity in Maine, come August, is brutal and unbearable – hence why Beach to Beacon is such a struggle for me (though I did improve my B2B 10K time by 2 minutes this year!).

There’s an ongoing joke between myself and a friend / colleague that my hair is the barometer for the best candy making days.  Apparently, successful candy making depends on the humidity.  The bigger and frizzier my hair gets, the worse the day is for making candy.  I was not the only one in MO with frizzy hair, which made me wonder how / if anyone in Missouri makes fudge, ever.

Thanks to a swap-bot friend who lives in St. Louis, I was (somewhat) prepared for the heat and humidity.  Thanks to Google, I was aware that we were likely going to be “stuck” in one place with little to do.  Thanks to movies, I expected mid-westerners to be outgoing and (almost over the top) friendly.  Another note: I do not mean “over the top” in a negative way in this context; I am sincere as can be about the genuine kindness of strangers.

What I was NOT prepared for or expecting . . .

There was far more  blue eye shadow in MO than I could fathom.

 

 

 

 

Profile Pics

Pictures of humans and animals just are not the same, and not only because a human is obviously different than an animal, mind you.  You see, I was toying with changing my blog’s profile photo, but I hate just about every picture of myself that exists.  The photo I had selected to settle upon, because it’s “decent,” cuts into / off one of my eyes.  Apparently, we are all now expected to fit in a bubble.  Well, POP.  <~~That was my bubble bursting.   So, I have set my profile photo to one of my Radin until I am finally in a picture that is not only a suitable portrayal of myself but also fits within the circle that is meant to be representative of who I am (but I’m a square, damnit!).

The wetter / runnier Radin’s nose, the more mussed his hair, and the more annoyed his facial expression . . . the more adorable he looks!  THAT is how animals’ pictures are different than a human’s.  The runnier my nose, the more mussed my hair, and the more annoyed my facial expression?  Well, that just makes me look like a trainwreck with a bad case of resting bitch face AKA RBF!  Though both assertions are certainly accurate, that is not what the bubble was developed to depict!