Thursday, September 29, 2011

No, I'm not from here

The occasion: my first visit to a particular North Carolina Courthouse.  Bear in mind, the South does not use the same verbiage as the West so I'm walking around in a bit of a daze.  It's a new courthouse, real fancy.  Up ahead I spot 3 police officers lounging at a security checkpoint and then as I draw closer I see they are chatting with a seated cop.  The instant the notion flash into my brain I acted upon it.  (I was the only civilian in the area.)  Rushing down the hall towards them I leaped onto the mat at the center of the metal detector and tapped the top button on my shirt.  "Scotty, one to beam up!"

You know those officers were real nice.  The seated one appointed me an escort to show me around the courthouse.  I asked if that was Southern for "we're showing you to the parking lot; you're 86'd." 

Hold on, you know it's coming.  Those four officers looked at each other and yep, one asked "you ain't from around here, are you?" 

I love Southerners.  They tell me I talk funny.  If it wasn't for Jeff Foxworthy I wouldn't have a clue what some of them are saying.  For the record, when it comes to the State of Georgia if you're from the West Coast just give up now.  I've actually had a county tax clerk ask what language I was speaking.  At least I think that's what she asked. 

The scene: Domino's Pizza, paying for an order.  I swiped my debit card and the counter person asked for my billing zip code.  I told him it's 97526.  He asked what country that was.  (Read that again. Yep, you read it right the first time.) Then he said could tell from my accent I'm not from here.

The situation: completing a Current Owner [title] Exam for client.  The client had supplied a checklist of required documentation however I had no clue as to one of the items.  I called the county, Registrar of Deeds Office and by the time I got off the phone with them I was even more confused.  So rather than calling the client I hit the phonebook.  A real sweet ReMax agent put me thru to their legal office.  The attorney on the other end of the phone was polite enough to hear me out.  Laughing he asked "you aren't from here, are you?" 

The hair-pulling-I'm-going-to-scream frustration points: Southern courthouses have records dating back to when the king handed out land grants.  But none of them are standardized.  And it's not just a case of from one county to the next they use different terms - it's from one clerk to the next, in the same office and on the same day.  I end up having to ask a lot of questions.  The response always begins with "you aren't from around here, are ya?"

Footnote for those of you either in or acquainted with the title industry: while performing a search I discovered how many ways a reconveyance can be indexed.  Thankfully the guy only owned the one piece of property, bought less than 10 years ago.  Every 18 months or so he took out a Credit Line, small amount and then paid it off before taking out another.  The reconveyances were indexed as: Completion of Note; Cancellation of Lien; Satisfied Note; Cancelled; and Completion Deed.  The heading of each document boldly said "Reconveyance of Deed of Trust".  I love the South.  I had the opportunity to ask one of the clerks "wouldn't it be easier to just index these as Recons?"  She gave me the look; the look that says "you aren't from here, are you?"

That got you awake

I am told I have a blatant disregard for authority.  Hmm. I wonder where that notion came from?  Could be I stayed awake during that portion of government class covering the Bill of Rights - that all men (and women) are created equal.  Maybe it was from George Carlin.  More than likely it's because I get a huge kick out of the shock factor, which is another reason I'm the Evil Twin.
Tonight the question circling my head like an annoying mosquito is: who pays for crime scene cleanup?  A simple enough question that can be easily answered tomorrow when State Farm's office opens.  However, being me I am entertaining how to ask the question depending upon whether or not the agent who takes the call knows me.  For the sake of this blog, let's assume I call Judy tomorrow.  It would go something like this:

"Hey Judy, the cops have hauled a dead guy out of the house.  Who's gonna pay to cleanup this mess?  There's blood everywhere, splattered on the furniture and the carpet's ruined.  I'm covered, right?"

'That dead guy wouldn't happen to be related to you?  Are you calling from lockup?  Where's your dog?"  About this time Judy will notice caller ID displays a non-Oregon area code. "Are you on vacation?  Oh my god; you aren't home and someone was killed in the house?"

People's minds sort incoming bits by order of relevance to where their head is currently at, which does not directly translate to how well they were paying attention.  This is especially true when presenting a task related question to an on-the-clock professional.  The real trick is timing.  For example, Phoenix Airport 2007: armed TSA official has concluded scrutinizing my ID and boarding pass.  As he hands them back his eyes go to the endless line behind me.  "I'm good to go?"  He nods and jerks a thumb towards the next security check point.  His expression made me say it.  "Best damn forgery you've ever seen, huh?"  

One thousand one, one thousand two; around the twenty second mark his head snapped up.  I was trying so hard not to laugh, tears were rolling down my face.  The fact I wasn't led away in handcuffs merely means there wasn't any middle-age, white, overweight women on the terrorist watch list that day.

Since I left Oregon I wonder upon occasion who is keeping security awake at the Douglas County Courthouse.  The standard pre-search questions are: Do you have weapons of any kind - guns, knives or razor blades? Is there anything on your person or in your belongings that will cut or puncture me? 
Ok, please read the questions again.  Did the officer ask if you are in possession of a green and pink squeaky dinosaur? 

I had taken one of Holly's squeaky toys and mashed it under my laptop. You know that sound squeaky toys make when they "inhale"? I thought the deputy was going to pee his pants when he lifted up my laptop.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tommy vs Holly, part 2

(recap: Tommy is a large black cat; Holly is my dog, Boxer - Great Dane cross)

The yard is not fenced.  When Holly's keeping me company while I work or write she's on a forty foot long tether.  Holly figured out real quick that Tommy was not allowed outside and that he's darn good at slipping passed humans or working a door open. Should he make it out, she tattles on him whining and head butting me.  If I fail to immediately go fetch the cat or if he runs from me Holly takes matters into her own paws. 

At first Tommy was still leery enough of Holly that when faced with a bouncing Boxer he quickly retreated to the nearest door.  Then as he got braver and more determined to remain outside he foolishly got the notion he could outrun her.  Holly raced passed him, swung around and dropped her chest to the ground - and then barked in his face.  Nose to nose with the business end of a very big dog it's amazing that black cat didn't turn white.  The next few times Tommy escaped Holly planted herself in his path and woofed.  Then I either grabbed the cat or he beat feet back to the door.

But Tommy is persistent.  That Holly's won ribbons in Agility means nothing to him.  He's a cat.  He's positive he can outsmart her.  I warned him she's a Boxer; he just gave me that look. 

Tommy is persistent.  He made it outside and was proudly flaunting the fact strutting down the sidewalk.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw Holly's head come up.  She'd been stretched out on the grass dozing.  Now she's watching the cat.  Tommy randomly paused his stroll to sniff at grass and shrubs.  His tail fully erect, the tip twitching in delight.  Another six feet and he'll be beyond the dog's reach; he cast a look over his shoulder as if to say, ha, you've lost this time. 

There was a flash of blond streaking across the lawn.  The twang of the tether rope as Holly hit the end and let the laws of physics reverse her motion to bring her to a stop directly in front of the cat facing him.  Hunkering down she woofed ordering Tommy to return to the house.  Tommy tried making a break for it but a paw reached out and flattened him to the ground.  Another woof; Holly let him up.  And then she proceeded to dribble Tommy like a soccer ball between her front paws all the way to the front door.  Added to the poor cat's indignity was me laughing - he hid from us the rest of the day.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Peanut butter, pickles and twins

We are twins.  We have different biological parents.  We've known each other 36 years.  I am older by 14 months.  There is no mistaking that Kat is a Leo; her heart and personality is as big as a lion's.  Though my sign is Cancer, popular consensus says I'm Gemini perhaps due to my passive/aggressive nature. 

We are twins.  We are both the only female child in our families.  She is the oldest in her's; I'm the youngest in mine.  We were not raised in the same religion.  Kat's dad was an accountant; mine was an engineer.  Her mom taught middle school; mine was an artist.  Differences aside, major aspects of our lives run parallel.  Make no mistake about it - we are twins.

Kat is the Good Twin.  I am the Evil Twin.  How we gained that distinction was my mother's fault.  Undoubtedly it has more to say about my relationship with Mom.  Kat was seen as the good daughter who attended church, social functions and did her parent's proud through volunteer work.  I was the kid who kept to myself, usually stayed quiet but when I did speak up Mom had heart palpatations. 

(When we lived in Longivew WA, Mom and Dad were good friends with a pastor and his wife.  The scene: houseful of guests for brunch, table laden with food and the pastor was asked to say the blessing.  Twice before the prayed ended Dad kneed me in the leg to tell me to quit giggling.  Upon the final amen I hopped up and grabbed dishes from the table carrying them back to the kitchen.  When asked to explain my actions I said, "The church teaches God foresees our needs therefore He gave man the idea for microwaves because simply saying a short grace so the food doesn't get cold is beyond the abilities of Baptist preachers."  In my defence, "grace" lasted a ridiculus forty minutes.  Even the pastor's wife was trying to get him to wrap it up once he cleared the ten minute mark.)

Kat is the Good Twin.  She would not have said such things.  For the record, she would have remained quiet because she was within her father's strike zone.  I was confident Dad would not whack me in front of guests, most particularly the pastor.  I can live with being the Evil Twin.

Experts say that when living or closely working together female's monthly cycles tend to fall into synch.  A few years back Kat had a hystorictomy.  Now she hates me.  Once a month she gets bloating and mood swings coinciding with me starting a period.  Most of the time Kat finds this amusing, in her words "people get to deal with my irratibility but you get the mess.  I think that's fair." 

What's not fair is the months Kat gives into food cravings and then I get sick.  She's a vegitarian and I'm an omnivore.  However there are somethings I will not eat.  There are some food combinations that make me nauseaous just thinking about them on a good day.  Bad enough to be having the period from hell but my twin goes and gives in to a craving.  Oh my gosh I was sick; up all night and worrying poor Holly.  All because my twin ate a peanut butter and dill pickle sandwich! 

Tell me we're not twins.  Peanut butter and dill pickle - there has to be a law against that.  Isn't she lucky I'm not a kid person?  One more sandwich like that I'd be tempted to get pregnant just so Kat had morning sickness.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sheer Joy of Murder

One lesson age has taught me is that arguing is not worth either emotions or rise in blood pressure.  Think about it.  In how many arguments have you actually managed to change someones mind or alter their actions for the better?  Experience tells me most people argue when he or she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt they are wrong.  Personally, I'm not about to waste my breath when all they are looking for is justification of their actions or words. 

I am passive/aggressive and I love it.  While you are pissing me off I am plotting your demise.  Lucky for you I have a live and let live philosophy except in print, which is lucky for my readers.  There are some people I have killed off numerous times.  I've changed their names, gender and location so not to be monotonous.  One particular person has been murdered around fifty times; forty-eight scenes got deleted but I felt better having written them.  Some times all it takes is writing their name and hitting the delete key.  Think of it like Staples "Easy" button.  See, I can delete you!  Ha!  You are gone! 

Let's see a raise of hands - how many authors are asked by family or friends "will you put me in your book?"  Do you comply? 

Next question, raise your hand if: you've had a friend or family member beg to be the villain.  Has he or she given you suggestions as to who to bump off and how?  Would you like to read some of my email?  I get a huge kick out of this, maybe because I'm not on any of the lists, yet. 

In Done and Said I'm bumping off the neighbors.  Nothing personal; I barely know the ones that are dying.  It's just that I'm frustrated, they're within my field of vision and so they need to die.  This is the joy of being a writer.  I can expel my anxieties and frustrations in the most horrific manner and the cops won't be knocking on the door.  (Although for shits and giggles I do like the idea of Mr Pete glancing out the window to see the house surrounded by SWAT.) 

Being an ornery person, I also delight in responding to the question what are you doing with the perfectly honest answer "I'm plotting the death of a neighbor".  Oh, it's the look on their faces, the sudden intake of air and nervous stammer that thrills me to the soles of my feet.  My favorite to date - Donna's mom, who swallowed hard and asked how many neighbors I've killed.  I thought about it for a moment and then asked "in this neighborhood or altogether?"  Probably a good thing another neighbor interceded and told her I write novels.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tommy vs Holly, part 1

Tommy, aka Mr Tom, is a large all black cat with expressive green eyes.  He must be part Siamese for he can yowl pretty darn good.  Hence other nicknames that shall be omitted from my blog or I'll get a PG-13 rating due to language.  When Holly and I arrived in his home Tommy did not cower.  For the next three months he stomped and hissed, fluffed out his fur and arched his back like a Halloween cat doing his best to intimidate the largest dog he'd ever seen.  Holly ignored him. 

Now Tommy didn't take too well to being ignored.  He went on the offensive.  From on top of or from under furniture he attacked Holly batting her with a paw.  Since Tommy has been declawed Holly continued to ignore him.  Growing braver Tommy stalked her and if she turned and looked at him, he hissed and growled.  Holly didn't know what to make of his attitude but she was good and didn't respond in kind.  Gradually Tommy got up the nerve to get close to this foreign blond monster that had invaded his space.  If she was lying down Tommy would circle her sniffing delicately at an ear or paw. 

Then came the day Tommy had his fill of being ignored.  He marched straight up to Holly and batted her with both front paws.  I held my breath.  Holly is a Boxer.  She's well versed in delivering a one-two whacks.  One good swat from Holly and the cat would be flying.  Much to my surprise Holly, who did not grow up around cats, dropped to her belly and looked Tommy in the eye.  And then she woofed in his face.  That gave Tommy something to think about and while he was thinking - Holly licked him.  I half expected Holly to turn to me and say "he tastes like fish". 

Boxers come in two varieties: wet-mouth and dry-mouth (think drool).  Holly is a dry-mouth which in this instance was sort of a shame.  Still, the expression on Tommy's face when a huge tongue wiped his whole head and most of his upper body in one pass had me doubled over in laughter.  Poor Tommy; he just sat there stunned - so Holly licked him again.

Realization set in; every fiber of that cat's being recoiled in horror.  "I've been kissed by a dog!"  Tommy retreated to the laundry room and sat atop the washer for the next couple of hours scouring dog slobber from his fur. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Photography and Writing

Today I was struck by the parallels between photography and writing a novel.  Cameras and computers are abundantly available limited only by what you can afford.  Cell phones take pictures and posts to blogs.  If I felt like writing on a tiny keyboard and sending the pages to my computer, I'm sure there's an app for that or there'll be one soon.

Everyone has words in their head.  Everyone has a story to tell.  I have a camera.  I take pictures.

My cousin Jarod is a fabulous photographer.  I'm looking forward to the day I can have his photos, framed and hanging on the wall.  (I need a wall first; he'll give me the photos.)  One of my favorites is a forest scene, a bend in the road and patch of fog.  Anyone could have taken the picture.  But the beauty is in the composition, in the fact Jarod waited for the fog to reach a certain point and for the light to be just right so it evokes an emotion. 

Over on FaceBook, I always make a point to check out his picture of the day.  I've never been to New England.  Honestly I was never really interested in heading that direction until Jonathan and I became friends.  Often when I look at his pictures, particularly the black and white ones, a whole story composes in my head. 

Today I gained a new follower on Twitter who is also a fabulous photographer, Jean-Michel LeClercq. (check out his web site  I could shoot ten thousand frames and maybe, if I was really lucky, have one or two that might be on par with Jarod's, Jonathan's and Jean-Michel's artistry.  Clearly having the tools does not translate to talent. 

I write.  I like to think I'm talented and that readers will immerse themselves in the story.  When I wrote The Privacy Fence I made the conscious decision not to describe the characters.  I want the reader to interact with the story much like I interact with photographs. We live in a colorful world.  Our brains automatically assign color to black and white pictures based on our emotional response and that response comes from memories, good or bad.  With The Privacy Fence I want each reader to say "I know someone like this" and picture that person while they read.  Doing so personalizes the book, it's no longer just a story I'm telling that will be the same for each person who reads it. 

Thank you to those who enjoy and honed their craft.  Your masterful artistry inspires me to compose, to rethink and edit so that I might take my readers on a journey much like your pictures take me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dad's method of babysitting

My father was a mechanical design engineer.  He was about 40 when I was born many years after my siblings and the only girl.  Uniquely Dad hit upon a babysitting plan that amused both of us and indulged our curiosities.  We did factory tours.  Now come on; don't make a face and poo paw the notion.  Think about it for a minute.  He started us doing tours when I was young.  What kid wouldn't be fascinated by Pendalton Woolen Mills, or Boeing, or saltwater taffy making?  Think about all the moving parts.  Think free samples.  Even if I didn't understand what was going on, it was pretty cool.

When I was eight he got the great idea for us to tour the Bumble Bee Tuna cannery.  Pause here to sing the song - bum, bum, bumble bee; Bumble Bee Tuna.  As I recall it was a drizzly overcast day and the tour started on the docks.  For those of you who have never stepped foot in a fish processing plant please do the following in order to grasp the full sensory effect.  Get a whole mess of fish.  Shut all the doors and windows of your house.  Put all the fish boiling in pots on the stove, every burner.  Now multiply the smell factor by a thousand.  The word overwhelming fails to convey the aroma.

Meaning no disrespect to Bumble Bee Tuna for in all honestly it was a very, very clean facility.  But Dad's wonderful idea backfired.  I have not eaten tuna, or most fish since that tour.  It had nothing to do with watching them clean or cut up tuna.  Believe me; it's all about the smell.

As I grew older Dad was both surprised and delighted I wanted to continue our habit of taking factory tours  when visiting new cities, states or countries.  You have to understand, Dad was an engineer and he was a friendly, polite man.  Quite often the tours we got went above and beyond those given to the general public.  For example: northern Arizona, a brief conversation at the pumps led to an invitation to "come see our operation".  We followed this guy out into the desert to a silver mine. Turned out the guy was co-owner/foreman.  I was 14.  They asked if I was claustrophobic.  I said no but I'm scared shitless of elevators.  Next thing I knew I was being strapped in a harness and lowered down a [like a dumbwaiter] shaft.  Dad took the elevator with the guy.  Silver mines are interesting.  They wouldn't let me blow up anything - bummer.

The next day we got a behind the scene tour of Hoover Dam.  There at the dam I realized a main factor in us getting preferential treatment was it gave our guides a chance to brag.  They enjoyed their jobs.  They loved having the opportunity to share their workplace not only with a peer but with a kid who found it as wondrous as they did. 

Dad and I had a list of factories, of things we'd love to see how they're made.  Slowly but surely we were getting them checked off.  Which brings this story to my late twenties, Salem Oregon and the Agripac cannery.  Think the Diamond A food brand.  A sign said they give free tours.  The lady at the desk said they won't give one person a tour, I had to come back with a few friends.  So a couple days later I returned with a few friends.  Note: she did not specify how many constituted "a few".  At this point however she stated we needed to number no less than twenty-five.  I didn't know twenty-five people in Salem.

On my way out I spotted another sign.  They were hiring.  Being an ornery person I took personal time off work and applied at the cannery.  I got drug tested and had a physical.  I sat through safety courses.  Each step of the way I openly told them "I have no intention on working.  This is all about getting a tour."  When they issued my gear I told them.  When I got assigned a shift and team lead, I told them.  Apparently they didn't believe me.  I got put on the corn line to pull out rejects.  Yep, I drove them nuts.  Where do the good ears go?  What's over there?  What happens to the rejected ears?

The team lead wanted to bang her head, or mine, against a wall.  Whenever she wasn't hovering over my shoulder I took off to see what the next crew was doing or to get a look at another processing zone.  Repeatedly the team lead chased me down and declared my wages would be docked.  I just laughed and asked how they made cream corn.  Finally one of the supervisors clued in.  I wasn't there to work.  All I wanted was a tour.  I got a tour! 

Footnote: a while later I happened to be driving by the cannery and saw they'd put up a new sign.  "Free tours to groups of 25 or more". 

I'm sorry to say Dad died before we could check off the most desired factory tour from our list.  Maybe on my way back West I'll be able to stop off at the GE plant that makes locomotives.  Cross your fingers that they don't have a tour group limit.  There's no way I can bluff my way into employment there.  Do you think they'll believe I've come to buy a train?

Monday, September 5, 2011

what I make of it

Several years ago a friend presented me with the book "Heal Your Body" in which the author states physical ailments are the result of our subconscious thought pattern.  The premise made sense at the time and it still makes sense.  I agree that most my problems, psychological and physical stem from fear, or in the author's terms, from my deep-rooted insecurities.  To break the pattern the author suggests beginning with the mantra: I am protected by Devine Love.  I am always safe and secure.

While I can readily admit the mantra has been useful in seeing me through situations that felt overwhelming, I'm not sure how much progress I'm making towards truly addressing my subconscious issues.  Perhaps it's because I've yet to feel secure.  Those rare instances in my life in which security was on the horizon?  Well, let's just say it turned into a pipe dream like winning the lottery.

My life experience says people have ulterior motives therefore anything they say or do is to benefit them.  The problem is I want to believe there are those who honestly give a damn about someone else, about me.  I tend to look at relationships be they with friends or family as mutually equal.  I care about you; you care about me.  We help and support each other.  Over the course of my life I've met four people who share this same belief and put it into practice. 

The word envious doesn't really apply. I am bewildered by those who have people who love and care about them.  My experience, particularly with family members, says if they aren't profiting somehow, they aren't doing it.  Love come with a price tag.  Mom spoke the truth when she said the only reason she wanted a daughter was so said daughter, me, could take care of her.  I was a latchkey kid.  I had chores before school and a list waiting when I got home.  Saturday mornings I'd wake to an empty house - and a list.  If I failed to complete the chores or the quality of work didn't pass muster there would be punishment, a spanking and more chores.  By the time I was ten I could cook and iron.  Both tasks required me standing on an orange crate.  Mom did her own thing.  She was a budding artist.  Lord help me if she had to lay down her paintbrush or the book she was reading to come see what I was doing.  Heaven forbid she lend a hand, after all, what are daughters for?

At age 15 the State of Oregon granted emancipation and I found out what it was like to be homeless.  Incredibly I managed attending school everyday and maintained good grades.  Most nights I slept in my car.  Early in the morning a janitor would let me into the girl's locker room to shower.  Occasionally I stayed the night or a weekend at a friend's place though not often because their mothers were leery of my independence.  I strove to be very polite, to be a well-mannered guest.  Believe me, it was wonderful to just for a few brief hours feel like I belonged.  But it never lasted.  They were the family.  They had their priorities and I wasn't one of them.

The following year my parents moved back into the state and regained custody of me.  In hindsight, I should have ran away.  Which is worse: knowing you're homeless or being in a home in which you're not really a part of?  I was there for Mom's convenience.  Clearly she wished I came with an on / off switch like a vacuum cleaner.  Then she could keep me in the closet when not in use.  Nothing I did was good enough and she let me know it daily, repeatedly and if possible, publicly.  Right or wrong I took care of her until her death.

I have come to terms with my childhood and choices made as an adult.  I think my biggest fault is expecting people to treat me in the manner in which I treat them.  The day is what I make it.  I can indulge in selfishness, take my frustrations out on others or wallow in self-pity.  Personally I choose to be polite, to be helpful and to avoid confrontations, especially those that serve no purpose. 

While it's true I currently have a roof over my head I am and have been for two years technically homeless.  Being forced to rely on charity does not sit well with me.  But the day is what I make it.  I am doing my best to change the situation but there are things I have no control over.  Do I feel secure?  No.  Am I frustrated?  Yes.  Being homeless, accepting charity, means so much more than swallowing one's pride.  It means knowing at any given time circumstances can change depending upon someone else's whim.  It means remaining at a heightened level of vigilance for what was fine yesterday is unacceptable today and there will be no verbal notification of the change in rules.  Most of all it means knowing I don't belong, that I'm equal to a stray dog or cat.

Still, the day is what I make of it.  I could let the situation overwhelm me, which at times it has threatened to do, or I can keep striving to move forward.   I'm already homeless.  I've already lost most everything.  Daily I tell myself as long as I've got my dog, life is good.  What gets me down are the setbacks, the clients who don't pay on time or in full, or having to replace spendy items due to another's carelessness.  I'm working to improve my life.  Is it too much to wish that those who could make an impact to meet me part way?  Seems like any more all I get is told to wait and then put on ignore. 

I am a person with hopes and dreams and goals.  I wish my circumstance was different but it is what it is.  How does this make me of lesser value?  I work.  I put a lot of effort into building my company back from the ashes.  I take pride in the job I do, and I enjoy doing it.  I am not receiving any government handouts.  When I'm not focused on my business I write novels.  Frustratingly all I'm hearing from agents is "we like the book; please wait, we'll get back to you" or they love the book but it doesn't fit with the trend they're currently peddling so please try again later.  I guess being homeless also means I have all the time in the world to patiently wait for other people to remember they've left me hanging.  If I ran my business like that I wouldn't have one. 

There are days I want to scream "I am here.  Would someone please pay attention to me?"  What I'd give to ask a question and not be met with a blank stare, or "huh?" or "wait".  Being homeless has caused me reevaluate worth, self-worth and the worth of others.  Perhaps I've given up on the notion of security hence my new mantra:

"I am worthy of all that is good.  I willingly and graciously accept good things to come to me."  The day is what I make of it - and my day is going to be good.