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I’m Still Here

How many times have I said that? (I know, I know)

I’m not a Stephen  Sondheim fan (I recognize his genius, but his music doesn’t resonate with me).

It’s been 364 days since my last blog post. That was about how I felt since the death of my friend 15 years ago. I have sisters (more on them in a bit) but that was the loss of a soul sister. Given the number of blunders I’ve made in that time, I think I relied too heavily on her superior common sense and smarts for guidance and didn’t really work to develop my own.

2003 was a suck-ass year.

Followed by 2005.

So was 2008.

And 2015.

2018, too.

I self-diagnose as having situation depression. It manifests as a form of emotional paralysis: I don’t want to do anything. Everything is overwhelming. I just want to hibernate until things are better. I don’t want to be medicated because that won’t resolve the issues (and that goes for drugs and alcohol. They don’t solve the problem, so why bother?).  I can’t afford to go to a psychiatric hospital because I don’t have insurance or the means to pay for it (or a regular prescription. That shit’s expensive). And I don’t want to be on meds anyway. (Sort of a middle finger to Big Pharma)

I looked for an image for this post of a woman wrapped in chains to illustrate the point. However, the ones I found (including strait-jacket photos) were all a bit too BDSM to use. Yeah, no.

Lost a good-paying job in March. Managed to scramble, financially through most of the year, but found another job in September that pays 63% less. No, that was not a typo. Call center. White collar work, but not a living wage. I have never been so over-managed in the 34 years I’ve been a working adult. At any given time, at least 4 people can be monitoring a phone call located in Florida, New York, or Mumbai. The task does not play to my strengths: problem-solving. And my co-workers tell me it’s obvious to them that the manager does not like me. At all. However, I did win a 43″ Sharp smart TV at the Christmas party, so there’s that.

The way out…

In the time in between jobs, I SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED a course in Web Design and Program Development. Me. I learned HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, JavaScript, JQuery, some graphics work, PHP, and MySQL. The JavaScript and the PHP  haven’t stuck too well, but the coding community is extremely supportive, in terms of fora (plural of forum), chat rooms, and websites to learn/practice coding.  I made what I think is a kick-ass website for my final project (no, I’m not providing the link right now. It’s supposed to be uploaded to here somewhere, but we’ll see if I was successful). Starting wages for web development are still about half of what I was making in mortgage due diligence, but more than what I’m making now.  And I can create tools for folks to complete better, more accurate mortgage reviews.

I am standing in my own way in terms of lacking self-confidence. Potential employers will give you puzzles to code and I am too chickenshit to complete them. Practicing code on a website in order to refresh memory and boost confidence.

And, once again, I need to find a home. (And save my stuff in storage. Seriously. If anyone reading this has a spare $150,000, that’ll pay off all my debts and purchase a nice little condo for me with enough to move CA storage stuff to FL, furnish home, acquire two kitties).

I’ve been ready to throw in the towel for eternity for months. I’m serious.

This week, an old wound that I’ve been trying to heal by ignoring it has reopened. This is where my sisters come in. One of them posted an old photo of the two of them wearing hats from my grandmother. I remember when the picture was taken. In the posted photo, I was cropped out. I’m being erased from my family. And that broke my heart.

I imagine they would say this is all my fault due to issues I had with my mother, but 20 some years ago, I could see that the unity and bonding that my dad wanted so much for us wasn’t going to outlast him. I thought I had worked towards healing old wounds and rebuilding relationships, but I was wrong. Back in 2000, at my sister’s wedding, her co-workers challenged me when I said I was her sister. They pointed at my other sister and said, “No, that’s her sister over there!”

How nice. Of course, she has family pictures all over her houses, but I never saw myself in any of them. Granted, we had a bad relationship as kids. After I moved out, I discovered that she had broken some of my collection of horse statues (including Breyer collectibles which appreciate in value. Dumb fucking move). I don’t think it was accidental. Nor was cutting up my prom dress to make an 8th grade graduation dress without asking me (Thanks, Mom. You knew better). Her boyfriend/husband was not very friendly and the first time I saw her kids beyond being little babies, they thought it was great fun to hit me with duck decoys while their parents stood by and laughed. I should have known.

Of course, the usual comment that follows is “Well, you hold a grudge.” Actions speak louder than words. My words, your actions.

The cropped picture brought it all home. If you bitches wanted to hurt me, you fucking did it. Congratulations. I hope you’re happy with yourselves. You tried to trap me into moving home and being a caretaker for someone who disliked me only slightly less than you did.

Why was it decided that my life and happiness mattered less than yours?

Whatever. You can block me on Facebook, refuse to acknowledge my existence, not communicate with me unless you want something (which has been the case since we were teens. I only exist if I’m useful to you. The sad smile and tears with “We really should be closer” only comes out when the wine flows. I’m willing to be closer, just not on your terms). However, like science, whether you like it or not, I’m still your sister. Those were my parents. I don’t even know what you did with the bodies. NONE of you had the maturity, courage, or grace to reach to tell me my mother was dying, was dead, the date/time of the memorial, or even offer me the pictures of myself from the hall. I didn’t want money (this was a discussion I’d had with Mom several times. And Dad. Because he and I were both ATTORNEYS who had studied wealth transmission, we knew the best estate planning was to spend it all (including transfers) during your lifetime). All I wanted were the cross-stitch pictures I’d made for them, the photos of me as a baby and little girl, me with Ralph, my graduation pictures, the Fidelity publicity photo of me wearing a headset. That’s it. My stuff. Given the treatment years prior of my collectibles, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were tossed the first day of cleaning out the Rutland house. And I’m pretty sure I was lied to about them.

Anger is like  drinking poison and hoping it kills the other person. I have to forgive you for myself. I can also forgive you because you have to live with yourselves. I don’t.

I have been working on some short stories. I will finish those sumbitches if it kills me. Which is ironic because they’re supposed to be funny erotica, not Swedish death metal (shout-out to a friend). And not under my name. Someone I respect told me I need to focus and commit to something, then success will follow. Also commented that the comerotica (comedy + erotica. Portmanteau word. May catch on. May not) would be successful. I can do that.

And that’s the state of me right now.

Still here. The Iron Rose will bloom again.

 

 

For Love of Books and Florida, 2017

I had a blast. I had an assistant and let me tell you, that made a lot of difference. She could circulate and act as ambassador, chat up people who came to the table, help people one-click buy the e-books:

You can even shoot these codes on your computer screen!

The event planners, For the Love of Books and Alcohol, http://fortheloveofbooksandalcohol.com/    did an outstanding job with planning and execution. I would follow them anywhere and plan to do so (Boston in 2018 and Dublin 2019. Need to finish paying my table fees).

 

Let me share some pictures.

That’s me at the table

My banner. Goes up faster when 2 people work on it

I believe in truth in advertising.

 

In addition to the usual swag, the healing bracelet line I’m introducing, Wearable Magick, made its bow. One bracelet was pre-ordered and one was donated to a silent auction.

 

Contract me. I do special orders. ironrose1961@gmail.com

 

And I connected.

I’m the big blue blob on the left.

 

The QR codes from the previous post worked! I’ve gotten some more followers for both Susan and Monique.

 

I will be paying better attention to my readers (all 10 of you), newsletters, etc. The bottom line here is that it sparked my motivation. You will be hearing from me. And reading more stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding the Path Around Self-Created Obstacles

Prepping for For Love of Books and Florida on Saturday (Got your tickets?), working the day job, dealing with the boo boo foot…life has challenges.

The subtitle of this web space is “Finding Inner Strength.” As i see it, that includes overcoming obstacles of your own creation.

For instance, my lack of effective marketing for my books. All on me.

I’m rather pleased with myself tonight. I had 2 issues: bookmarks promoting my Susan Thatcher books that had no contact info and promotional items (chocolate lips) for Monique DeSoto that had no context. No contact info.

Enter QR Codes.

If you’re not familiar with the term, QRs are those boxy-looking abstract designs that you can scan and they’ll take you to a website or a coupon. One of these:

Susan Thatcher QR Amazon or this Monique DeSoto Facebook QR

Yes, they work. Try them.

With the purchase of Avery labels (8293 rounds), I was able to correct both issues – slap a label with a QR code onto the items.

Image may contain: food

Chocolate lips become a marketing tool.

Image may contain: jewelry Image may contain: food

Oh yeah, I made bracelets, too.

Mind you, I’ve been in a funk over the past few days. I haven’t made a lot of money at these signings (but they are fun and I make friends), some of the money that I’d set aside for it had to go to new brakes, my foot is bugging me; I wasn’t into it and was ready to stay home and eat the table fee as a sunk cost. However, with various friendly boots applied to my backside (and some well-timed praise for what I make, book and bracelet-wise), I found it within myself to string together those bracelets, go through extended nonsense with my printer to make those labels, and get out of my own way.

I feel better for having done so. I posted those pictures on the attendee group in Facebook and got an order for a bracelet. Those bookmarks have been bugging me; now they don’t. Scanning the code will take you to my Amazon page where you can buy books. The lips? That link will take you to Monique DeSoto’s Facebook page (and Monique got some inspiration for the next funnydirty short while in the shower).

A couple of Blackened Voodoo Lagers (by Dixie. If you’re not in Nawlins, Total Wine can help you) helped, too.

Sometimes, you need to grab yourself by the scruff and just do it, you know?

 

Luck is Where Preparation Meets Opportunity

No automatic alt text available.

These are samples of the bracelets I make and sell. So is this:

I need to raise some money. I need to raise some money in order to register my business with the state, get logos made, business cards.

I want to raise $500. $130 for registration costs, $205 for bank accounts, $245 for promotional (logo design, business cards, website updates).

I was going to start a GoFundMe. I decided against it.

I’m doing this to sell merchandise (books and beads). Okay, so I’ll sell the merchandise.

On the “Buy It Now” section, you can order autographed copies of my books. If you like the bracelets (those are for anti-anxiety, self-esteem, anti-migraine. I can make general healing with some drop-dead gorgeous amethyst and hematite). I can address your issues with stones.

And the dragon is cool. The dragon’s blood jasper inspires courage.

The bracelets? Right now, $50 for the single strand and $65 for the dragon (double strand), but I’m open to negotiation.

Yeah, you can buy the e-books for $1.99 and $.99, but I won’t get that money for 60 days.

Buy, share, buy some more.