Here is the chart we have all been waiting for, thanks, Liz K!

Now we survivors know which state to avoid, Massachusetts! And which states might look rather lucrative: Texas, Alabama, Tennessee. And a few others. Not surprising, West V and Georgia are also on the Awesome List.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/10/20/for-many-struggle-find-affordable-mental-health-care/AAK3aYmk89sRLicmTFpn6O/story.html

Scroll down and you’ll see which states have fewer shrinks! This is a truly useful list! This list comes from USC, and it’s “access to mental health providers.” This will show you where to escape to. When it comes down to it. I wonder if I can reprint it in my own book. Bet I can, with permission. Never mind it’s not exactly for the purpose they intended. Do I have to tell them? No.

Then and now

Around 2012 I was dying to leave Watertown. Can you blame me, after water deprivation. So I picked a place at random. Chattanooga. I tried finding places on Craiglist. Stupid? Yes.  I wasn’t having much luck. Still, from what I recall I went to church one day (remember that church?) and told a few people, “Hey, I’m moving to Chattanooga! I’m finally outa here!” No response. Nothing but a shrug.

Wow, no, “Gee, we’ll miss you.” Or even a “That’s too bad, aren’t you going to at least reconsider and give Watertown a chance?” Nothing like that. I knew in my heart that they were thinking, “Good riddance.”

So today I told my beloved coworker that I am quitting very soon as soon as one of these nibbles, the job applications I have put in, turns into a bite. Wow, she said to me, right away, “Don’t go.” I am touched beyond belief. Life is so different now, in this new world where I am a valued human being, not a thing, not a subhuman unwanted, not someone they would simply wish away, not someone they include but wish they didn’t have to, not some nuisance, but a real human being.

That is what anyone would want. To be valued as an equal. And in fact, what any human being rightfully deserves. Inherits simply by being human. It is a right we humans are born with and a right we retain throughout our lives. Nothing can take it away. Nothing. Not a psychiatrist and not a court order, and not some person on the internet who has decided some humans are “toxic.” Nothing.

Article in the Globe on Plantar Faciitis

Here is the article: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/10/19/welcome-plantar-fasciitis-nation/cSeEupijM5jvhfnugysRiP/story.html

I have had this. It was a very long time ago. I was 30 or so. I would suggest the following cure: Common Sense. Try it! It works wonders! By the way, I am running a road race today.

How about not wearing flip flops? How about going to a decent running specialty store and getting fitted for running shoes that actually fit instead of wearing overpriced shit from the trendy retailers that people think are stylish. Those “stylish” shoes are not good for your feet. Problem solved!

Now, for the harder part of life:

I did get the tiny job I applied for, but it will not pay the bills. It will pay some bills, but not many. Pocket change. I took the job because of the fun level, and because it will be good experience. Also, it will not take up many hours of my day.

Also, I am definitely quitting job #1. I woke up early today planning out my resignation letter/email, which I will happily post here once I send it off to them. They aren’t a bad company, but there need to be improvements and I am going to let them know exactly what I know they could have done better. I am not sure of my quit date. I would have stayed, but I can foresee that things are going downhill rapidly for all of us. I doubt there would have been any holiday bonuses since what they call a bonus is nothing but being put into a drawing to get a bonus, and that’s just maybe $35 or so. This kind of thing doesn’t even tempt me anymore. You have to read carefully….a drawing, a chance for a bonus, not a definite bonus as we had had before. (People don’t read though.)

Yes, it’s getting worse, and they pulled a fast one on us by replacing our contracts just when they knew if they didn’t, they’d lose us. They knew we would not renew in November, and that we were all looking for new positions, so before we could find other jobs they told us we were such great workers that they were sending a spankin’ new contract effective instantly. Oh and if we did not sign it we were canned. The new contract was effective for the next six months and required us to work more hours. They claimed it was because they loved us so much. Claimed.

Two weeks later they claimed that the company was now in danger of losing the arrangement altogether. Why? Because we workers suck, they say. And anyone who continues to suck would be removed immediately. Not those exact words.  They use the workplace lingo. These ongoing threats are not exactly comfortable and make for a negative and nasty work environment for us all.

Change the story, will you? What next? Tell us we’re great all over again? Butter us up into signing…what? More hours and lower pay again?

Yesterday I traded my hours because I was not obligated to work (on pretense that the HVAC guy was here and he has STILL not come!) and I spent the time applying for more jobs. Eight applications, one at the very last minute. I qualified for all of them and my resume looks decent now. I wouldn’t mind any of them, although two I believe (in afterthought) were not actually work-at-home  (maybe I misread the job description). They simply won’t write back. Maybe they’ll think I’m a nutcase. Oh……

Why you shouldn’t work for All4HR Business Solutions and why it’s a scam

I applied for this job working for them and was surprised to get contacted fairly quickly. I honestly thought it was a job like any other. I was called into an interview. I thought it was going to be an interview but it really wasn’t. It was kind of a “I’m going to tell you about the interface and be a klutz with Zoom for about 20 minutes” type presentation. I was surprised to learn that the presenter, who was, by the way, terrible at presenting, the CEO of the company. I asked myself, “How big IS this company, anyway, if they’re having the CEO, who is terrible at doing presentations, do the HR, recruiting, and also now, training, too? She also had the nerve to add, “This is not a scam.” Does this now reek of scam to you? It sure does to me.

If I owned a company, that is, if I had this one-person operation, then I would not be so grandiose to call myself the CEO. I would just say say, perhaps, owner. Or, if it were, LLC. Depending, because sometimes you have to make it an LLC, but I do not. I do happen to own my own business, but that’s kind of a minor point. I don’t have any employees unless you count Puzzle and I overpay her. Of course! She has a lifelong vacation, nonstop break, and food, well……she asks all the time. Did I tell you that recently she STOLE my homemade bread when I was out running a five-minute errand? I caught her at it! I should have filmed her. I didn’t even fire her that day. I gave her a raise, and after that, the bread rose. It is supposed to do that.

But back to All4HR. It is an agency where you work for “clients.” So the agency has you working for these “clients” and the clients determine the pay, but All4HR takes out of your paycheck. This is how much: 50 dollars a month, plus one dollar an hour. So they pay by the hour, but one dollar an hour less than the client actually pays. Plus…you get $50 a month less than you really do. You’d better put your thinking cap on about this one!

You do have to PAY for training, plus you do not get paid for the lengthy training sessions. My training was three weeks. I did not have to pay for that and it was six hours a day I believe. Much of it was not even worthwhile since it was wasted on people who couldn’t figure out how to log in or couldn’t remember that they’d signed a contract or didn’t know what a contract was or what a tax form was or had forgotten their passwords. They all survived and I do not know how. All4HR also requires that you pay for THEIR equipment. My company has you renting it. I pay a deposit and that is a reasonable fee. With All4HR you have to buy it and then what? You work there six months, realize it’s a scam, then what do you do with a Chromebox?

The worst part is that my company also has “clients.” We have the same client on our list that All4HR has on their list. Only we pay double what All4HR is paying for the same client. I believe anyone working for that client for All4HR will barely make minimum wage except during peak season. Several of the clients are paying well under minimum, like $6 an hour. Oddly, the CEO, April Halburton, didn’t even flinch when I point this out.

Folks, go pick up a job at the Dollar Whatever and work it till you can’t stand it anymore. You will make better money there than working for this scammer at All4HR. I went and signed into her interface and found out there are roughly six people in her company.  Yet when I went to the company reviews (maybe it was Indeed) there were all glowing five-star reviews talking about what a huge company it was, and talking about the great company culture, and the ones for Glassdoor were all taken down, oddly. Or maybe I am mixing these up. Now. all reviews from Indeed and Glassdoor have been taken down for All4HR, but her website is still up as if the company is “huge.” It is not. Something very fishy is going on here.

Step up to the plate!

I was going to say, “A lot on my plate,” but then I decided to re-word it to, “Step up to the plate” since I’m ready for this one. Please check out my YouTube at:

Meanwhile, I was nominated to an honorable women’s organization, which I will not name here. There are thousands of women’s organizations and yes, I did run it past the “scam test” since I had not heard of it before. It’s not an email scam. It’s real.

Thirdly, I have an interview for a second job this afternoon. Since my other interview for a second job which I did pursue briefly turned out to be a semi-scam due to very low pay, I am proceeding with caution on this one. That other job, if you did the math, paid under minimum and I am not sure it was legal in all locales, even as work-at-home or contracted. The HR person claimed you could work from “anywhere” which I doubt was true since many states have banned these WAH employers due to low wages. I did my homework and got out of it. I think that was over a month ago. Meanwhile I am still employed at my first job.

I have to sign up for hours at job#1 right after that. If I do not do this, that is, if I forget, which I have now done twice, it’s grab-as-you-can, which I do not like. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s inconvenient.

Then I have a teleconference at 7 for an hour.

I’m waiting for a call about a home for sale. These calls are sometimes a joke because the person who answers usually doesn’t know anything about the place. They keep asking you to repeat the address. You’ll never get the details you want. You have to pretend you’re serious.

I have a teleconference this afternoon for a half hour and one on Monday. I work Friday and the weekend. On Saturday I have a road race, a 5k. And today I really hope the guy comes to get my heat working. The landlord’s website is down but I think I can send them an email to remind them he’s scheduled to call me.

Two days ago I baked bread in the bread machine and I still have some of that. I love that there’s no salt in it. Reducing protein has been just the thing.

Puzzle snores all day even while I work. It was 35 degrees this morning and I think we’re turning the clocks soon. I always miss the time change (takes me till Thursday to figure it out usually!) but since I am among the employed and non-disabled now (was I ever dis-abled?) I absolutely cannot forget it this year.

 

An Ordinary Woman

Watertown, Massachusetts. Original incident March 2008. Reported to Watertown Police Department July 2012. This video describes the consequences. We all should consider whether we really feel comfortable going to our local police if we are crime victims, and what the consequences might be if we are not believed.

 

Toastmasters speech performed October 11, 2018, Pittsburgh, PA.

Damage to a high-end apartment vs trauma: Can you put a dollar amount on it?

Check this out:

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2018/10/09/steelers-Antonio-Brown-lawsuit-florida-threw-furniture-toddler/stories/201810090080

I am not sure you can access the story or the affidavit. Apparently Brown threw objects out of his window, traumatizing a 22-month old child who was walking with his grandfather many stories down below. Now they’re suing Brown since the little boy is traumatized, for $15,000. The apartment is also badly damaged. So the landlord is evicting Brown, and also suing him for $15,000.

Somehow, the eviction and landlord lawsuit seems plenty justified. Brown has not been a good tenant. I rent and I know what it means to be a good, responsible tenant and he has not exhibited good tenant behavior at all, rich and famous or not. Now the little boy’s parents are just trying to get money out of a rich person’s pockets, in my opinion. I’m traumatized by water deprivation. Am I going to get that much money from MGH?

You can’t really put a price tag on “pain and suffering.” The little boy didn’t lose his job and he wasn’t making money for the family nor supporting anyone. Unless they over-pamper him, he’ll get over it, especially since the trauma is surely being validated, not denied. If they send him to therapy and medicate him his life might as well be over very quickly. That would be beyond Brown’s responsibility. It would be the choice of the parents. Think on that one.

Three writing jobs handed to me

All this was done passively, that is, I didn’t have to do anything out of the ordinary (like fill out grueling applications and fake a resume) to get these positions.

One day I received an email stating that I had been chosen for the Yelp Elite Squad. I didn’t know such a thing existed. This is actually a bigger deal than you might think. Why? Because now, my reviews carry more weight. I’m considered a credible and honest reviewer. I have reviewed “hospitals” and clinics. My reviews of MGH and Walden came up near or at the top of the pack. I plan to keep on doing this. The facilities can’t take down my reviews! Of course I have been sprinkling in some reviews of restaurants, grocery stores, and other businesses of interest.

I also received an email invitation about a blogging job. I never thought such a thing would happen since most of the time I have to go through all kinds of hoops (only to be ignored or turned down). I’ll be writing mostly on ECT. I am waiting to find out the guidelines so I can start.

The third is a journalism position. I’ll be writing local stories of interest. This will involve extensive “field research” prior to writing each article. I will be interviewing people and traveling places (on my days off), most of which I can get to by bus. I’m meeting some people this afternoon and possibly doing an interview.

Although none of these are paid positions, all of them further my career and boost my credibility. Credibility has been a crucial issue ever since the 2011 MGH incident. Many people (online) did not believe me, and I continue to get these accusations that what I say happened was “impossible.” (Of course! Not possible that cops could possibly break the law!) If any of you saw the commentary in the Globe you may have noticed the typical attitude I have had to deal with online. That is about how I was treated on Facebook, mostly by complete strangers, called psychotic, called paranoid, called disordered, and they had never met me and never spoken to me.

What has resulted is that I have a constant urge to go overboard proving myself, because I am so afraid of not being believed. I have to be careful and not do this at work. It is a matter of having a little self-restraint and doing a decent acting job.

If the boss says so, agree (and keep your fingers crossed behind your back)! I have my sly ways of getting my point across without sounding too much on the defensive. For instance, a supervisor gave me what I am sure were the wrong instructions yesterday. I asked her to override something but instead, she had me filling out a form. I knew I had to be careful and not argue. I told her that in the past things had been done differently, since I know all the other supervisors do the override. This one told me that this was the way things had always been done. I said nothing, thanked her and told her I would do as she said. I filled out a form for the customer. I did this with the sinking feeling that the form would be sent back with a note saying “Wrong department” or “Go look at the procedures because you are doing this wrong.” So I wrote right on the form that the supervisor (without naming her) had instructed me to fill out this form. This, of course, covers my butt. The worst thing that could happen would be that the form will be ineffective and I will have to do it all again. If that happens, I’d be calling the supervisors, getting one that knows how to do the override, and getting the customer the refund she deserves.

I’m guessing that this kind of thing is typical of just about every workplace. I have slowed down the applications for a second job at this point because I need time to do the writing jobs.

I’m awfully happy about how things are going. I am gaining a voice in the community, not a “marginalized voice” that is a euphemism for tokenism, but a real voice just like anyone else.

This is the way it should be for everyone, but it isn’t. Of course there are plenty of groups that claim they’re marginalized (middle aged white men…) but I see little basis for their claims. I never wanted to be shouting from some remote ghetto for unwanteds. I would rather be welcomed just like anyone else. It looks like that is just what is happening.

 

 

My first 10K! Then came home and signed up for another race!

It is hard to believe, but I did it. I was worried about rain because I figured that might make it slippery. This should not have been my main concern. I’ve run in rain before. I do get wet. It’s not any different from getting wet in the shower unless it’s freezing out.

I did not even think of the humidity, but I should have, because it was very close to 100%.  It rained overnight and was foggy when I picked up the Uber on the corner near my home. I waited outside a gas station. My initial plan was to wait inside the vestibule there, but it was freezing in there as it usually is, colder than outside. I believe the temp was 67 then.

I live far out from the city. It took three hair-raising attempts to get the Uber. It didn’t find a driver the first two times it tried, and timed out. Then it finally did find a driver. I was relieved, though, when finally the app said a driver was on the way.

Now this is odd….The driver texted me ahead of time, which is normal for Uber. Is it even close to normal to ask your passenger if the gas station sells alcohol? Then he asked me if alcohol was sold anywhere near my destination. What am I supposed to make of this? Yes, I did feel nervous at that point, but I reminded myself that I need to save my adrenaline for the race. If he had any alcohol on his breath I would have smelled it, but he did not, and he drove fine, not like a drunk person. I have heard stories, have you? As you can guess, I did not become a statistic on the way to my first 10K, and I was awfully glad that Uber came way out here when I needed it. I was the first to arrive!

Of course I was curious and asked if I was the oldest running the 10K. As it turned out, no. Next to oldest. Someone 68 was running. One of the people assisting at the race asked me, quietly (which was unnecessary in fact), how old I am. I have no qualms about telling people my age, mainly because much of my 50s sucked so bad that 60 now seems like a landmark celebration.

I schmoozed a little with the other runners. Suddenly, I realized that these were far more competitive runners than I am. Many had run marathons or half marathons. I wasn’t sure who was doing the 5k and who was doing the 10. Most of us were doing the 10. There were only 22 runners in all, including both races. Some had done this particular race before. Several admitted that this tiny race was a “practice race” for them. Most had fancy running clothes, too. I had on my yellow “Success is the Best Revenge” t-shirt. On the back it says, “Proud to be non-compliant.” I was wearing boxer shorts I get at the dollar store. I have a collection of those. That and “knock-off” shoes that I think are fake Nikes.

They explained the route to us very clearly and made sure we all understood. Each race had a different start point. The route followed along the river headed north, then, we turned around at a circle and went back again, passing the start point, then, at the end of the road we ran around a cone and came back. Then we ran the entire length of the road all over again, turned at the circle a second time and then back to the very end of the road and then, somewhere past the registration stand was a finish line.

We weren’t even paying attention when a blast sounded and off we went. I realized I had not started my music and knew I could not stop to get it going so I quickly tucked my headset inside my shirt so that it wouldn’t fly around. Within a minute it was very obvious to me that I had fallen impossibly behind the other runners, although I wasn’t too far from the other stragglers, not that you’d call them that. I told myself I should not be bothered by this and should keep running. I thought it was cool to be running on the gorgeous trail with no human being in sight for a while.

The humidity was still very thick. The air just seem very breathable at all. I realized I had done most of my runs in a climate-controlled gym. I always thought the gym was too warm for running, but now it seemed much, much hotter, especially in the sun. It was already over 70 degrees out. I kept reminding myself I needed to slow down and pace myself.

I was lucky, though. Much of the race was in the shade and seemed cool enough. I have this promise I make to myself that I will not run if it’s over 70 out. I have broken that promise before, but not many times. Today not only did I break it but ran in humidity that felt like the air was cotton.

A few others had already stopped running momentarily and took the time to walk a bit and then start up running again. I didn’t know I would have to do that…but I did. I didn’t want to at first, trying to slow my running further, and then I reminded myself that I really needed to walk for a few steps. I walked ten feet or so then started up running again, realizing that the humidity was throwing me for a loop.

I didn’t even look at the time until I’d run about 18 minutes, then later the half-hour mark passed. I was never quite sure of the mileage but that didn’t matter. I kept running and told myself that eventually I would finish. Occasionally I had to walk again, but always only about ten feet, then I broke right back into a run. I was relieved that I was not the only one lagging behind. I didn’t mind being last, not at all.

My time was 1:34:06. Yeah, embarrassing a little, but I am super proud that I did my first 10K.

Someone who was admin at the race drove me home even! I could feel it a little as I came into my front door. I walked Puzzle right away, and then told myself that shower was going to be great!

But…I stalled on that. I turned on the computer and there was an email reminder about a 5k on October 20th. I signed up immediately!

Then I took a shower and started my work day. I feel terrific and work has gone fine. How about you?