Working Again


I’ve had 4 weeks of training now, and so far I like my new job. The picture above is not of my lab, but gives an idea of what it’s like. We actually wear more gowning while we’re mixing up the drugs and other chemicals that go into making our pharmaceutical pills. Our outfits make us look like CDC guys in a sci-fi movie. We spend most of our time documenting, checking paperwork and cleaning. In an 8 hour shift, we spend only about 2-3 hours actually shifting and mixing the powders that go into making drugs such as Tylenol PM, Sudafed and Concerta.


Ok, here’s a picture of me and some my training group. I’m wearing a suit that’s a size too big, so I look like the biggest Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man in the group.

Concerta OROS Diagram 2

The way the extended-release tablets work is actually pretty interesting. After compressing 2 or 3 layers into the caplet, it’s coated with several layers that include a membrane layer, an identifying color, printing, and sometimes an additional drug layer. The outer drug layer gets digested and goes into the patient’s bloodstream first. Then the “push” component absorbs water and expands to push more drug out. Finally the middle part of the caplet is digested and goes into the patient’s bloodstream last.

[Never cut such caplets in half to get a lower dose because that will really screw up how they’re supposed to work.]

Anyway, everything is going pretty good lately. I have 4 days off for Christmas weekend, so I’m planning to go see the latest Star Wars movie. As a temp worker, I don’t get paid for days off though, so my paycheck for the next 2 weeks will be a little smaller than normal. I’m still struggling to pay off my debt to my landlady and others for the time being, so I’m still selling plasma for gas money.  My right arm is bruised and looks much like it did in this picture from a few months ago.


One nice thing this week was that every morning I woke up feeling relaxed, rested and safe. Driving to work for a swing shift was nice too, because I didn’t have too much traffic and didn’t have to worry that I might be late. I’ve been getting to work early every day, so I can spend about 20 minutes to half an hour reading instructional documents (SOPs and such). Friday my partner and I spent the whole day reading such documents, trying to get caught up after having actually done some hands-on work the days before. The building was less busy the Friday before Christmas, and I heard the echoing sound of someone singing a Christmas song far down the hall in the distance.

Happy Christmas & other winter holidays!


Another Short Update

Red Apple

I passed my background and previous employment check. Tomorrow I go for my pre-employment physical. I wish I could afford new glasses, so I can see better and not worry about the lenses popping out of the ones I’m wearing.

I still feel anxious and sick to my stomach, despite casting a good tarot reading for myself this morning. I still get waves of anxiety that make me think, “I feel like I’m dying”. I know I’m not dying. This is just how extreme anxiety feels sometimes.

Work at the phone bank job is going ok, but not good enough yet that I can relax.

I’m worried about working in Vacaville and either having a long commute or having to move again. It’s hard to find a decent private room in a house for $ 600/ month or less, especially one that’s dog-friendly.

How Do You Keep Your Balance?

balance - rocks.jpg

My second night back at the phone bank job went well. I’m losing some of my anxiety and hesitancy to ask for money when a potential donor says no right away.

I woke up feeling ok this morning. I sold plasma and got to see the end of the movie Passengers at the plasma center. I bought a few groceries – but spent too much on dog food that was marked down but still too expensive.

I still don’t feel safe most of the time. When I read my cards, I’ve had bad cards come up a few times, including the 10 of swords, which could mean someone planning to stab me in the back. I keep wondering if it’s my roommate. She said she was glad I worked things out with our landlady, but I have a hard time trusting her completely. We’ve got one of her friends living here now, taking over my landlady’s old room. Maybe she wants to get me out so she can have another of her friend’s here? She and her friends are all young and smoke weed for fun. I probably seem like an old fuddy-duddy. I think being witchy is not seen as a bonus for most people either. That probably either spooks people or makes them think I’m weird. I try to stay out of the way and in my room most of the time.

How can you tell when your intuition is good vs. just being paranoid?

The betrayal and abandonment I’ve already experienced in my life makes me hesitant to trust people. When my roommate throws out my food, puts her stuff on my bathroom shelf, or when I can’t find things, I immediately think she’s trying make me feel marginalized. When I find the things I misplaced though, I’m glad I didn’t say anything about it.

Am I misreading the vibe I keep getting that she doesn’t really want me here?

I’m not happy. I’m still scared. I still don’t feel safe.

Lately I keep wondering if I should move to Vacaville, to be close to my new job. I don’t have money to move though. I don’t even have enough for the rent I’m supposed to be paying where I’m living now.

The next payday will bring some money, but it probably won’t be enough. As long as my blood protein level stays up, I’ll be able to get some money for my plasma though.

I wish I could be feel safe and be safe.

Update – Short and Boring

I got the part-time, minimum wage phone bank job to help me get through until the production technician job comes through. Then I talked with my landlady on the phone. She understands that I’ll have some money pretty soon, so she’s fine with waiting until Nov. 16th, assuming that’s when I get my first paycheck for my current part-time minimum wage job.

Some of the pressure is off now for a couple weeks, but I still don’t feel safe and secure. I’m trying to keep control of my emotions. My tarot readings for myself are kind of all over the place, sometimes scaring me, sometimes reassuring me, & not as helpful as I’d like.

How My Writer Mind Works in a Lucid Dream

interior of bus

This is my dream from this morning. Note that when I use brackets [ ] this means I’m making commentary after I’ve woken and am recording the dream.


Vampire Hunter (a dream segment)

I’m on a bus with other people. I seem to be seeing this scene from the front of the bus, then switching between this perspective and that of a young woman sitting at a front seat. The central character is this young woman, athletic-looking, quiet and intense, dark hair, probably in a braid or short. She’s wearing a leather jacket and maybe matching leather pants. The jacket is dark reddish-brown, the color of dried blood. The bus is driving through a city. She sits at a front seat, opposite side to the driver. [This needs to be the driver’s side for a story.] There’s an older woman, a kid and a man on the bus too, maybe 3 or 4 other people besides her.

The bus stops to let on another passenger. He gets on at the center door instead of at the front. [This is on the driver’s side but would be opposite the driver in real life. The woman needs to be behind the driver in order to have the best view of him.] She watches him carefully. He’s youngish, tall and thin, wearing nondescript clothes, maybe a T-shirt – black, not white – and dark jeans. He’s white with short hair, looks dangerous, like a potential trouble-maker. The other passengers don’t pay much attention to him, but she does. She watches him intently.

He doesn’t seem to notice or care. He doesn’t leave the steps by the middle door as the doors close and the bus moves again. He looks toward the driver then changes his demeanor, like a predator about to strike. He looks like a vampire now, and is about to attack the closest passenger. He’s planning on killing everyone inside the bus and feeding on them. He’s part of an vampire gang. This is a world in which gangs of vampires have become a constant danger.

The woman quickly takes out a weapon and fires it at him. It’s not a gun, but fires a wooden or metal bolt into his chest. Then she leaps over to him and finishes him off. The other passengers are all panicking and screaming for a few minutes, then they’re in shock, then the driver is thanking the woman for saving them. She doesn’t stay around to wait for the police or other authorities. She gets off the bus and goes out of the city.

She goes to a camp outside of the city. The ground is flat, a clearing with oak trees around it and a few big boulders, like in the California foothills. There are other people here too. One is a man who is her friend and a fellow fighter. He has short blond hair and wears maybe a white T-shirt and jeans [and probably boots too]. There is a white awning over one area that could be a kitchen or other work area of some kind. There is also a small pen, man-sized. [It would have to metal to be strong enough.] There are also a couple of tents.

The woman goes over to the pen first. Is there a male captive in it? Maybe she puts a man in it? Maybe she didn’t kill the vampire on the bus and puts him in it?She says something to the man, who is angry and combative.

Then she goes to her friend and asks him how things are going. He says they’re going good and he invented something new for their fight. Maybe it’s a new kind of weapon?

[I’ve known since I first saw the vampire on the bus that she’s a vampire too, but nothing yet makes this obvious. Her friend the inventor is also a vampire. They’re part of a group that’s fighting the bad vampires who are attacking people. My point of view is partly as her, but keeps shifting to outside of her too.]

A middle aged or older woman has followed me up here. I keep thinking of her as my mother, but maybe she just reminds me of my mother? She doesn’t know that I’m a vampire, that some of us in this camp are vampires, and that we’ve been fighting the monster vampires. I’m going to have to tell her soon, but I want to wait until she can tell we’re the good guys. I tell her to stay away from the guy in the pen. She’s too curious for her own good and not careful enough. She doesn’t know yet how dangerous he is.

Now my consciousness moves out of the woman and I seem to be watching from the middle of the camp, at a spot where I can see all the characters. I say seeming to another woman, ” I love how I’m watching my characters and paying attention to what they say and don’t say. She hasn’t yet said anything to the woman about the captive guy being a vampire,…and that’s important.” I linger here at this perspective and wonder which character I’ll find myself inside next. I think I could enter the perspective of any of these people if I wanted, but right now I’m enjoying watching them and not actively directing them. I watch as the central character woman walks out of a small cave that functions as a shelter for their people, then down a short dirt path into the middle of the camp, a little ways in front of me. Then I feel myself back inside her.

I’m talking with my friend the inventor. I look at a mountain in the distance. [This is what I’d call a small mountain, not like the Sierras.] It’s brown like dry dirt and shaped kind of like an upturned tea cup, but a little pointier. My friend says the bad vampires are there on that mountain. I say, “But it’s diurnal.” I think maybe those vampires don’t go out during the day and only hunt at night. Yet we’re obviously out during the daylight even though we’re vampires. I’m trying to sort out how a “diurnal” mountain is important, because this seems important somehow. Did the attack on the bus happen at twilight? Do the other vampires hide inside a cave during the day? I’m starting to adjust the story so the other vampires are not active during the day, but this doesn’t really make sense and may not be necessary.

I wake at this point.




My Ancestor Altar (Soul Collage Cards)


My mother isn’t actually dead, but she’s not the person she used to be. Alzheimer’s has slowly eaten away at her brain for the last ten years, so now her mind is like that of an infant. As my Soul Collage card for Mom shows, ours was often a strained and difficult relationship, though we had some fun times too. I admired her for her independence, strength, resilience, humor and “joie de vive”.

My relationship with my father was better, despite him being married to another woman other than my mother and how he abandoned me after I graduated from collage. He looked after me after school when I was younger, helped me do my homework, read with me, taught me how to ride a bike and swing a bat. He taught me a love for science and logic, as well as for keeping an open mind about hidden creatures and paranormal phenomena. He gave me my allowance and bought me ice cream when I got good grades. He shared with me the poetry he wrote about fallen comrades in WWII. When he left, he gave me the items he’d kept in a safe deposit box while I was growing up, including a little poem he wrote about me as a small child.

I put a cup of coffee with lots of sugar and milk in it on my ancestor altar for him today. Next to that I put 3 butterscotch candies. He liked coffee candy too. Maybe because he grew up during the Great Depression, he learned to add as much cream and sugar into his coffee as he could? He had a harder childhood than my mother did, but she also had her share of hardships. He was named after an earlier sibling who had died in infancy.  He always hated that, because he felt like the “ghost” of that other child made it hard for him to be his own person when he was young. He used to do his homework in the local pool hall, because there was too much yelling and noise at home. He hung out at the local brothel and was sent to buy little necessities for the prostitutes, because they weren’t allowed on the proper side of town. He probably left home pretty young to make his way in the world. He never said much about his father, who I gather wasn’t very nice, but he loved his mother, who was probably kinder.

I used to have a few black and white pictures he gave me of himself as a baby, his mother, himself as a young man, and the house he was born in, but they were all lost when I became homeless last year. I have a few other pictures of him with me as a young child that I rescued from my mother’s house before the squatter took it over and changed the locks.

I have a picture of my sister and her boys on my altar. She has them to mourn her and think fondly of her. My father probably only has me.

I have a picture of my dear wolf-dog Tasha, my “fur-daughter”, who was the closest I’ll ever have to a child of my own.

These are the 3 passed-over relatives I think of most often, though I sometimes think of  my mother’s aunts and parents too. Her mother died when I was a baby, so I only know her from the stories my mother told about her.

Once she sent my mother out to pick a bucket full of cherries for a pie. My Mom thought she couldn’t fill the whole bucket, so she put dirt in the bottom and cherries on top. When my grandmother dumped the bucket out into the sink, my mother ran, thinking she’d get in trouble. My grandmother just laughed though, realizing my mother hadn’t meant any harm. My mother said her mother often cried, so I suspect she suffered from depression. She said she was thankful for her wonderful children though, so I imagine she was a pretty good mother.

My mother and my sister took their middle names from my grandmother. When I was born, my mother gave me my sister’s name for my middle name. My grandmother complained that I should have been named after her too, because a child is supposed to be named after their grandparents, not after their siblings. My mother laughed and said, “You already have 2 named after you.” I’m glad I was named after my sister, but I used to think that if I ever had a daughter, I would name her after my grandmother to continue her remembrance.

On my mother’s side of the family, I’ve always felt like the “throw-away child”. My mother put my sister’s and brother’s names on our great family tree,  but she never put mine on it. My mother used to tell me that she thought my father had a son by another woman, but he never spoke of any other children, so I think I was probably his only child and the end of his line.

I think he tries to look after me now, so I don’t feel quite so alone.

Running Out of Time?


I expect my landlady may show up tomorrow and try to hand me a 3 day notice. She sent a copy of one to my roommate to give me today, but if it’s dated for tomorrow, that’s probably not legal. I didn’t respond to her text notice last night, and I don’t think sending a text like that is legally binding anyway.

I  filled out online forms for my new job today, the one that doesn’t start until November 28. I also talked to a hiring manager who’s interested in hiring me for my old job at the company that’s now under new ownership. That would be closer and probably easier, if my old supervisor wouldn’t stop them from rehiring me.

Almost all the tarot readings I’ve done for myself or that others have done for me say everything’s going to be fine, Success is either here or right on the horizon, but I still need money that I don’t have. One guy did one reading for me with the 5 of Pentacles (Poverty and Suffering) in the future, but that card was pretty much the exception from the rest of the reading.

My roommate wants me to talk to our landlady and explain to her that I’m about to get a job and rent money. I feel like I want to hide from her until I have the money to hand to her.

The job in Vacaville scares me, mostly because the company is so strict, but also because the long drive might be hard on my car and the long hours might be hard on me.

Taking my old job seems easier, but every time I dreamt of going back there to work as a temp, the same management problems from before were still a problem. In my dreams, I always leave thinking I don’t have to work there anymore and it’s not my fault that they’re still so messed up. In “real life” people seem to be leaving that company like rats leaving a sinking ship, so I don’t think that’s actually a secure job either.

I wish I could get something NOW, to start Monday or sooner, so I can pay my rent and other expenses that will hit next week.

I sold plasma this morning and put $20 of that $25 into gas money. New California gas taxes hit tomorrow, so I wanted to fill up my tank today. I can get another $30 for selling more plasma on Friday or Saturday, but I can’t continually give twice a week, because my blood protein levels would drop too low.