Monday, August 19, 2013

The Happy Jar, Division & Conquering, and Other Stuff...

Ok, this was supposed to be posted on Sunday, 8/11, but then life happened.... What a difference a day makes (literally)! So, I am still going to post this, and I am working on the next post right now, which will (hopefully) be out so much sooner...

Grab a cup o' joe, and enjoy, loves!

The Happy Jar

It's Thursday and it's been a long and interesting week. I wanted to start, however, carrying over from my "Rant" post to talk about my Happy Jar. I appreciated Resa's comment about Gratitude Lists being very Zen-like (Thank you Resa!), but is it really Zen-like when you have to force yourself to write one to keep yourself from either going postal at work or having an anxiety attack? Probably not... but I never claimed to be the Dalai Lama (thankfully! I so could not handle that job!). In another effort to be more Zen-like, as well as to combat those bad depressing or highly anxious days, I created a Happy Jar. The idea floated around the Facebook interweb around the New Year's holiday (but of course!), and I immediately knew it was something I had to do. As I was in a relationship at the time, I created two: one for my relationship and one for my life (yes, the two were intertwined, but when you have are unhappy/arguing with your loved one, you need to be able to go straight to those things that you love them for and happy thoughts/memories with them in order to get perspective on the mad... you don't necessarily want to go through everything in life in the happy jar to do that. Or, I just make things complicated... yeah, I like the first explanation better - that's my story and I'm sticking to it, dammit! In an unrelated/related note: when the relationship ended - quite abruptly and unexpectedly and turned my heart inside out and upside down - I took the relationship happy jar (it actually was a box), loaded everything of his in it, and sealed it with duct tape. Like a lot of duct tape; bright green, because I got it at the 99cent store and I wasn't about to spend another dime on him. I put the reminders of our dates, his Superman tee I used as a nightshirt, postcards I had gotten him to make him a gift... all of it. Sealed it up. Put it in the bottom of a memory box - I don't have a hope chest, so I use Rubbermaid containers as memory boxes. I didn't want to burn it; I couldn't go back and undo the relationship or nor did I want to because I had learned from it; because it was the first time I had fallen in love with someone after my divorce, and it reminded me that occasionally, I was going to get my heart broken. Maybe one day, I'll take the whole thing (and the couple of other books I found that were also his) and go and drop it off on his door and leave a note telling him I was done holding onto those memories. Or not. But, I digress.... As Usual, lol).

Ok, all of the above aside, there are many many things in my Happy Jar. The purpose is simple: put those things, reminders, pieces of the world that make you happy, make your life worth living, make you smile inside the jar - doesn't matter what it is. When you have a bad day, you can empty out the jar and look at all the things in life that are good, which will inevitably lift your mood (it does). Without completely spilling the contents of my Happy Jar out on the interwebs (because the interwebs are so NOT ready for that!), here are but a few things that are in there:

* A note with "Sadie Kisses" written on it (Sadie is a French Bulldog who lives on my way to work and who loves to give me kisses in exchange for a little back scratching)
* Cards from my biodad and PUG Penpals
* A puffy cheetos bag (empty, of course)
* A packet of Taco Bell Mild Sauce
* Flamingo sunglasses (hot pink) with a plastic orange lei around them
* Matchbooks from all of the places I have gone to dinner with a very dear and special friend of mine (because our dinners are always awesome and amazing, looking at the simple matchbook is a quick reminder of them that always brings a smile to my face)
And last, but not least (that I'm telling, anyway):
* A postcard from a band (Phat Cat Swinger; local LA area band that rocks swing!) because one of my BFFs was awesome enough to kidnap me immediately after work and take me to go see them in a Concert in the Park (even though I slaughtered a pineapple can in her car and cuss like a sailor in front of her daughter - and yes, I'm working on it!!)

From the outside... Next to my Flamingo "vas" of flowers from my garden. =)
From the top of the jar, lid off (obviously!): you can see the matchbooks, etc, and that I definitely need to get a bigger jar!!!
Hopefully that gives you a little taste of what MY Happy Jar looks like. There are pictures that I need to print out (in wallet size, sillies!) to add to it, so that all of my happy's are there come New Year's Eve. It's actually getting too stuffed, and we still have 4 months to go in the year, so I may have to find a bigger container. The plan for New Year's Eve is going to be going through the Jar to remember, then load them into a ziploc baggie and label it 2013, then put it in a memory box. One of the brightest memories I have after my grandmother's devastating passing was going through her hope chest; it's been one of the most awesome things about helping Alice with her painting and carpeting project. For me, being able to see what someone's life was made of changes how you perceive that person - I think in a more well-rounded, whole person kind of way. And I would love to pass that on to my son and eventually, my nieces/nephews and grandkids. So they can one day see (via Hologram from their rooms on Space Station Earth) what it is that made me who I am and who I was. And hopefully get a better understanding of my life, for what ever it is by that time.

Yes, I often can/do attribute significant meaning to what would otherwise be a simple project. Other times, IDGAF. Depends on how the project hits me.

Division and Conquering... Kinda

Alrighty then... division and conquering. Well, that didn't exactly happen the way I think the three of us planned it, but regardless, we got shit done and got to spend some quality time hanging out together. Purple also got her eyebrows and toes done for free, as well as a make-up run through for her trip to Texas (Purple does not wear make-up often/ever. We had to throw out a lot of her make-up because it was too old, but we managed to find a make-up and hair look that is super simple and very low-key that she liked and her husband said made her, ahem, "screwable.") for her cousin's wedding. Ethel is the MU person out of the three of us, so she had the pleasure of doing Purple's eyebrows and make-up. I played with her hair and did her toes. And while all of that was going on, we did our verbal breakdown of the work sitch.

The Work Sitch...

Ahhhh, the work sitch. It's a very bad one for all three of us (who all work for the same Sad Company, and who are all have a problem with the Evil Bearded Twins, where EBT#2 is trying to get Purple and I fired -- actively trying to get us fired. Because of them, the work sitch is named Operation: Shaving the Beard. Because if we discuss this anywhere, we actually do have to code name it or else it ends up getting back to people-who-do-not-need-to-know and will result in us being threatened or written up (which has actually happened to both Purple and I). Anywho, we always compare notes because things that have happened at work start to make sense... Sad has continued to cut hours to the point where I work 2 days this week: Sunday and Saturday. It has come to the point where, if I don't work a weekend, I will lose 1/2 of two paychecks (we are paid weekly and Saturday ends the pay-period). So, in order for me to take the time off of work to go to my other BFFs baby shower in Nevada, I will either have to forfeit 1/2 of two paychecks or take all of my PTO in order to do so. Mind you, I have been there almost 2 years, and do multiple jobs, as well as have a completely open schedule at the moment. And yet, if I do not work weekends, I lose out. Purple is suffering restriction. Sad has a tendency to overwork their stockers as long as they can - giving them between 30 and 40 hours per week, up until they have to either cut back their hours or give that person a full-time position (I'm not sure if it's a California State Law or Federal Law, but apparently it goes something like this: when you work a part-time associate full-time hours - 30 or more - for "X" amount of weeks, you then have to either give that associate a full-time position and all that includes or you have to cut their hours back to part-time hours. I think the goal of the law is to keep companies from abusing part-time employees without giving them the benefits and perks of being a full-time employee, For Sad, however, this is how they end up abusing and burning out a lot of their employees because they do not want to give anyone a full-time position and all that entails because of costs. It sucks ass big time.). When they cut back the hours, they are cut to less than 29 hours, often more like 21 or 22 hours per week. And restriction lasts a minimum of 8 weeks, depending on the time of year. Sad is more likely to keep Purple on restriction until the end of October because November starts the retail holiday crunch season, and then it's all hands on deck (usually). They (Sad) do this to a select group of their employees - those they depend on the most to do the most work, like Purple, Ethel, and I. All three of us have asked for full-time positions, and all three of us have the schedules and work ethic to accommodate such, but Sad chooses to use the hours for full-time positions in over-hiring part-timers, who end up with shifts like mine and rarely over 4 hours per shift. The particular plan for the three of us getting together this day was to do a job search party... Ethel and I brought our laptops, and Purple had her desktop at her house (our go-to meeting place), and we figured we could divide the search engines amongst us, and hopefully finding and tackling prospects together. So did not happen. What did happen was a comprehensive discussion about Sad, what is going on, and other such things. Not all talk, though; I was reminded that (even though my Pharm Tech Certification is expired) I can still apply at a drug store as a cashier and was impressed by Ethel's experience from working in one (very good place to work and who takes care of their employees). I also thought about going back into waiting tables, which is what I did when I was in college (undergrad) and worked very well for me. Since I still am looking to going back to school, I need a flexible schedule that would be willing to work around school. Ethel has the opportunity to get into the cosmetics side of retail, especially since we have had to sell credit at Sad. Places like MAC expect you to have some kind of serious sales experience before they'll hire you as a cashier or stylist. She had also had an interview with the Corporate of CVS to be a Beauty Consultant, which is awesome. All three of us have applied at JCPenney's, although in three different departments. Purple had a development in her life that may not allow her to get away from Sad anytime soon, and we tried to brainstorm options for her so she could get out of Sad.

Nacho Libre... And My 2nd Job

Ethel ended up having to leave early to go to a family dinner hastily planned that morning, so Purple and I watched Nacho Libre while we ate dinner, then I went home because Purple had to work the next morning, and I also had to do some work when I got home. I have picked up a (kinda sorta maybe) 2nd job filling a medical supply order of tubes. These are the latex/cardboard tubes that they use in the ER (mainly) to cover the eye instrument they use to check for brain swelling. One part of the order calls for baggies of 100 tubes, unpackaged (normally, they are individually packed in a plastic wrapper; the order I fill is not). So I have to fill up quart size ziploc baggies with 100 of these tubes, and place the label on them with the Lot and Expiration Dates. These are gamma rayed prior to being sent to the ER, so I am comfortable doing them. Takes me about an hour to do about 35 of them and I make 50cents a baggie. My mom is in charge of the entire order, which has about 4 different set-ups of the same tubes. This one is mine to do to earn extra money.... which is fantastic. If it wasn't for this week's order, I would not have had enough to pay my phone bill. And hopefully, the order for the week after next will be a large one, because next Friday's paycheck will only be about $60. Originally, this was going to be my money to save up to go to Oregon to see the Monkeys, but with the hour cuts at Sad, right now, the money is supplementing my paycheck and bills. The only problem is that it is not consistent: right now, I can't do anything (neither can mom) because we do not have any tubes that are ready to be packaged (the tubes come separated - cardboard tubes and latex rubbers (yeah, yeah, I know... they look like finger condoms too, which doesn't help) that have to be put together. This is a very tedious and nimble fingered operation that mom has someone else she pays to do - I could not do this very well, I tried.), which means that I cannot be working on them at the moment. Which means I am not earning any extra money. *sigh*

It's Flamingo Time!!!

I worked out in the garden this week, pulling weeds out of the grass on at least 1/3 of the front yard, which is bueno. I planted honeydew melon seeds/sprouts (which smell like honeydew!! The plant smells like honeydew!!) and everything seems to be going gang busters. I had my first Moonflower blossom bloom! No purple tomatilloes yet, and I haven't been able to tell if the tomato plant has benefited from being in the ground vs. in a hanging basket. I also found more lawn flamingos, but I have to wait until I can afford them before I add them to my gardens (Flamingo Light String!!; Flamingo Coasters!!!; I NEED THESE FLAMINGO YARD STAKES!!!; And last, but by no means least, A FLAMINGO YARD FAMILY!!). I think the coasters would be awesome little planters for little things like Clover, Alyssum, or a Petunia or two. Moving on... I am off to "dope" Alice's plants for the month... I had the most hilarious voicemail from Alice telling me she had gotten the rose food and Epson salts and that she needed me to come over and "dope" her roses. So I went over and doped her roses... today, the rest of the gardens will be doped with Miracle-Gro. Which means I will also be Miracle-Gro'ing my garden this weekend. Hopefully, none of them will go into sports when they grow up... they wouldn't pass the drug tests. (Bad joke, I know, but this is my blog, so whatev's).

Nature's Water Park

We took the dogs up the Azusa Canyon in search of water to play in. It hasn't been terribly hot, but hot enough, and especially for Duke, who has a ton of fur which makes him always hot. Mind you, Duke is not a car dog nor is Coco a water dog. But, dammit, they're going to go in the water and cool off whether they like it or not!! It was, however, a saddening endeavor: we started out going to the San Gabriel River Trail, which we had gone to before and was a wonderful full and running river stream. The dogs loved it. When we got there and unloaded the dogs, we noticed that A LOT of the shaded picnic benches were gone, and as we came over the little hill, that there was NO WATER to be found in any part of the river bed. It was bone dry. I walked the kids because they needed the stretch (as did I) and to pee, then we reloaded back into the car. We headed up Azusa Canyon in search of water. Previously, we had stopped way below Crystal Lake, near North Fork, and let the dogs play in the water at a day use area. No such luck this time; we ended up at a day use area about 5 miles down from Crystal Lake, and it was like a moth to a flame - lots of people doing the same as we were. The water level was still low, but went up to about my knees. I threw Ms. Coco in the water (nicely!) and pulled Duke in by his harness. Once in, Duke was coolio; Coco scrambled up the nearest dry rock she could find. I let her go back to mom, but she was having a fit because she couldn't always see me and Duke when we were walking around. Had she had a path of dry rocks to stay on to "follow" Duke and I, she would have been much happier. As soon as Duke and I hit the water, the other peoples went out of it. I had him leashed, and a firm grip on it at that. But his size is intimidating. What's funny is, people think the little one (Coco) is going to be little Miss Sweet As Pie and the big one (Duke) is Scarier Than F88K. And that is backwards - Coco can be the BIGGEST little monster until she's decided she likes you. It's only if Duke gets a bad vibe from you that he will be aggressive - usually, he'll sniff you out, and give you a lick if he likes you; if not, he walks away. DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE BIG DOGS, PEOPLE!!! Most of the time, they are bigger teddy bears than the little ones are! Purple's Mastiff, Rajah, is the biggest baby on the planet (and a huge sweetheart who likes to fart, which is probably the most dangerous thing she does.). Anyhow... Once out of the water, Duke happened upon the smell of bear (according to mom, it was bear. It was probably multiple wilderness animal smells, plus people smells, plus other pet smells, but we'll go with bear for the sake of brevity.). As in, "The smell of Bear is strong, Duke-son." Unhappy that we were not going to hike up the mountain to find the bear, he got over it when we stopped at Taco Bell on the way home for lunch.  These are spoiled dogs. Collectively, the two of them were gifted about 1/2 of each of our meal orders. And initially, Duke turned his nose up!! S-P-O-I-L-E-D!!!!

Trying to be Civilized... 

WHILE we were eating, in the car, me in my cami and bathing suit, with two dogs, sitting in the parking lot under a shade tree, we noticed that they had a film crew at the Lowe's. Like a filming-a-commercial crew (which they probably were). (Lol, I actually paid attention to what my ex was talking about when he talked about work... lol. My brain holds way too much not-needed/never-wanted information...) I wanted to let Duke out of the car to go say hi to people while I watched the ensuing chaos, but alas, I was not allowed to. :-( Sometimes, being a good person sucks ass and is no fun at all.

I just realized that this has gone on for waaaaaaaaay too long, and I do apologize, my dear reader. I just got excited about writing again, and had things I needed to unload about.

Here are a couple of links to what I've been reading/checking out lately:

The Confessions of Thomas Quick: a look into Sweden's most notorious serial killer. Written for GQ, done quite well, it's 11 pages long.

Jane Catherine Lotter's Self Written Obituary: what would yours say?

Wage Comparisons: Sad would fall into the same area as Wendy's in this comparison. It's pathetic, and well, sad. Definitely contributes to the work sitch.

8 Vegetables You Can Easily Regrow: Personally done the green onions - just planted them in the ground to see what happens, but definitely easy and works (and = fresh veggies!). Working on the basil right now.

Indelicate Questions About Delicates by Kiss Me Deadly Lingerie's blog: hilarity and honesty for real world lingerie problems!!

And now I have cleaned off my open tabs that have been sitting on my browser for forever... yay!

My newest favorite thing in the whole wide world right now: FROZEN JELL-O. Yup, you read that right. Mixed Peach & Apricot (totally tastes of summer!!) and right now, working on a Watermelon/Cherry and Watermelon/Raspberry combos for this week's yum treat. TRUST ME ON THIS. And ya'll can thank me later. (Make it the same way you normally would; pour into Rubbermaid containers with screw-on lids, in individual serving size - picked these up at WallyWorld for less than $2.50 for 4 containers. Put in the freezer. That damn simple. Trust me.)
Freaking awesomesauce in a container!! Wait until it defrosts to slushiness, and it's perfect!!
Thanks for reading, be good at whatever it is you do, and have a cup of coffee for me!!

xoxo Desilu

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