Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Brokeback Mountain They Didn't Want You To See

I found this top-secret photo from one of Hollywood's darkest corners. Seems that Martin Scorcese had taken some liberties with Annie Proux's short story and turned it into a lesbian flick. After a poorly received test screening, producers decided to give the script to Ang Lee and return the gender and animals to their original intent. I think it was a wise move.

Anyway, I'm still juggling a double housesitting week. It is the zookeeping part of this that has me focused on alpacas today. The image to the left is, I think, about their wool. But it did get me thinking.... maybe I could do the housesit and fill my fridge.

But then, they are so cute:

Monday, March 27, 2006

Homeless Fish

In the spirit of my current zookeeper status (see post below), I have adopted a Betta from the homeless shelter. It was too difficult there to make certain that it was being cared for, so I brought him/her home.

Any ideas for a name?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Man O' Mystery Strikes Again

Many people are curious about the mystery shopping that is promoted in newspapers and online, so I thought I'd give a quick rundown of my own mystery shops as a glance into the work. I will also add a summary of my other online income sources.

Mystery Shopping
  • two eye glass stores: $16
  • credit card offer: $10
  • drug screening: $20
  • beauty store: $9 + $5 purchase
  • restaurant: $15 meal
  • 3 electronic displays: $30
  • amusement center: $10 + $70 in games and food
  • I may have a hotel stay this week.

  • Reading E-Mail Advertisements: $7.14

    Taking Online Surveys: $4

    Amazon Sales: none yet
    (This income is generated when you click on one of my book or music references and purchase it.)

    Google AdSense: $35.39
    (This income is generated when you click on any of the advertisements on my blog.)

    KEEP CLICKING! As you can see from above, your clicking on the ads on this site really does generate income. If you want to know more about the Google AdSense program, click the blue icon in the column to the right.

    In addition to my time shopping and being online, I'm working:
  • 15 hours a week doing the non-medical hospice care
  • 4-8 hours a week at the shelter
  • 5 hours a week as a representative for Whirlpool appliances at Costco.

  • The schedule--along with the most important daily time in the office building my practice--is obviously quite varied and keeps me busy.

    And finally, some other activity:
    As of today, I have sets of house keys to 5 homes other than my own. I'm currently house sitting for two of them. One has 7 alpacas, 1 llama, 5 cats, 3 dogs, 3 fish tanks and a gecko. The other has two cats and four chickens.

    I'm not sure if I'm a housesitter or zookeeper!

    Thursday, March 23, 2006

    Still Counting

    Since my earlier cockroach posting, the exterminator has visited. He sprayed something that he mysteriously eluded to as having been "made out of marigold flowers."

    32...the number of dead cockroaches I've picked up since the spraying.

    Wednesday, March 22, 2006

    Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief

    I told A Man, who is slightly hard of hearing, that my brother is studying to become a lawyer.

    "A liar?!" he exclaimed.

    Tuesday, March 21, 2006

    People Connections

    Funny, but not surprisingly, after my last post I learned of interesting connection. A Man's son was supervisor to Hannah, my godson's mother!

    During my shift for caring for A Man today, his son was talking about some work that he does with shelters. I asked if he happened to know Jeff, Hannah's husband and my good friend. He knew them both when they lived in Albuqueque and was even in their home to celebrate Hannah's graduation two years ago.

    The connection sealed further the growing enjoyment I'm experiencing in working in A Man's home.

    It's a small world, afterall.

    People. People Needing People.

    A Man really likes Barbra Streisand. We watch or listen to part of "The Concert" almost everyday.

    It's not just her song about the luckiest people in the world that has me thinking about family life and relationships these days. Those thougths are prompted more by my daily time in A Man's home and our daily routines together.

    I pick him up at 3 PM each weekday afternoon and we drive home to fix some hot tea. Then we sit at the kitchen table and drink together. Usually his grandson is home from school, doing homework, outside skateboarding or playing video games with his friends. After tea, we talk some more, play cards or watch part of "The Concert" on DVD. I fix dinner at 5 PM, following a menu on the fridge which is consistently planned out and well-rounded by A Man's daughter-in-law: a main item such as soup, sandwich or some other main dish, salad, bread and butter, sliced fruit and a glass of water.

    The rituals of home life remind me of my childhood. Not just that I was impacted by them, but that the whole family was affected by each other and each other's lives together.

    Daily life at home with others is something I haven't had now for over half of my life. I lived with family for 18 years, but at almost 40 now, I have been living alone for almost 22 years. (Wow! That's amazing to realize.)

    A friend commented the other day that as we grow older, our family consists of persons we choose, not necessarily of our nuclear family. That is true, but there is also something substantially different about the experience of chosen family whom I may see every week or so and that of having daily contact and negotiating life together with the same people living under the same roof.

    My life is directed by whatever choice I make at the moment. In making those choices, I seldom if ever have to consider things like putting dishes away for the next meal, getting up at a certain time to see someone off to work, getting home on time to drive someone to the store, or helping to set out flowers in the house so everyone can enjoy them. In fact, I can go a week or two without checking in with anyone. I have no real relational demands that exist outside of work obligations. There is no one to help mull over decisions in life, to vent emotions with, or to keep a simple daily structure in place. It can be quite freeing and a burden. It can be like a long, extended vacation of fun; and it can be overwhelming not to have that familial companionship to keep all of my personal concerns in perspective.

    A-Man's granddaughter is home on spring break from college this week. She has two other first-year college friends with her, so the house is filled with laughter and lots of activity. The plumbers were there yesterday at the same time as both granddaughter and her friends and grandson and his friend. It made my time clearing away dinner and doing the dishes more satisfying and meaningful, listening to all of the sounds of home life.

    Sunday, March 19, 2006

    Visiting Friends

    Friends arrived Friday from Tennessee: my friend Andy (from college), his wife, both his and her parents, and his brother and his wife. We visited my office, then traveled together to Santa Fe.

    We spent the night there and on Saturday enjoyed the sights and shops. We also commandeered a pub in which to watch the NCAA UT game. They are all traveling up to Colorado for a week of skiiing to celebrate Andy's 40th birthday.

    Wish I could have joined them for the rest of the week, but had to return to work at the shelter (last night and tonight), see a hypnotherapy client today, and take care of A Man throughout the week to come. And I will be housesitting for a week beginning this Friday.

    Where We're From

    I think it's fun to know where folks who read this blog are from:
    • Hawaii
    • California
    • New Mexico
    • Colorado
    • Minnesota
    • Wisconsin
    • Illinois
    • Indiana
    • Tennessee
    • Georgia
    • Massachusetts
    • New York
    • Virginia
    • Germany

    If you're reading and I missed your location, let me know.

    Friday, March 17, 2006

    This Cracks Me Up

    Um...why do you have to advertise this?

    (I took this photo in downtown ABQ.)

    Thursday, March 16, 2006

    Wisdom from the A Man

    "This country has set itself up real nice. So many relationships in it."

    Wednesday, March 15, 2006

    So Tell Me About Yourself

    I had what would be considered a date last night--if it had been with a man. Instead, I had coffee with a wonderful woman I met a couple of weeks ago at the mock jury.

    She had given me her number, which I lost. After a week of waiting, she called me and we made plans to have coffee together.

    I know the routine, but it doesn't get any easier: woman expresses interest; do I assume she is thinking possible date material and so tell her up front that I'm gay? Or is that too big of an assumption?

    I agreed to the coffee together, thinking that it would all work out and that we might still be friends.

    Even so, it was a long evening of figuring out, "When do I tell her?" I learned long ago not to go past the first evening assuming she could figure it out, only later to be seen as guilty of leading her on. So besides getting to know each other, such encounters are often a mutual monitoring of each other's signals. If my sexual orientation doesn't come up naturally, I only hope that by the time I do say, "I'm not wanting to make any assumptions, but I feel you should know that I'm gay," she already knows. You never know what reaction you'll get.

    It's awkward, to say the least, when my sexuality is not normally the center of my dinner conversation. Still, it did all work out and we will probably be friends.

    Tuesday, March 14, 2006


    Today I'm working on a mailing to advertise a Self-Hypnosis class that I will teach on March 26. I am waiting for the telephone to ring.

    Meanwhile, I have started my gig aiding a man with Alzheimer's (I'll call him "A Man"). I pick A Man up at 3 and stay with him until 6, fixing dinner and chatting. Yesterday, he observed that "New York is alot" and that the sky is "so full of blue." I have much to learn from him and enjoy his company.

    I was concerned that my car radio would bother him. Since the faceplate was stolen back in January, it hasn't worked. I have no way of turning it on or off, can't adjust the volume, nor change channels. Except that one night I really wanted it to work and when I touched it, it came on!

    Yesterday I was faced with the problem that it would be playing KUNM's "Freeform," possibly some rap music, and that would really be annoying to A Man. So I was out trying to figure out how to muffle the sound and when I touched it, it turned off! Now I have a quietly peaceful car in which to transport A Man.

    I don't think I'll touch it again for awhile.

    Monday, March 13, 2006

    This is the peacock whose mascot audition NBC rejected.

    Crows and Snow

    We had snow yesterday morning! Hooray. It was so beautiful. Of course, it was gone by noon, but some has stayed up on the mountain.

    In other weather news: the spring winds have begun to blow. They howl at 15-35 mph and usually last about a month. I love their adrenalin! Two nights ago, I found a cornstalk in my yard. It had to have blown over two miles to get here.

    Friday morning I found something more strange in the yard: a piece of a Cheetoh. I was thinking that someone must have been in the yard during the night since neither the wind could have blown it there, nor do I eat Cheetohs.

    Then a cackle overhead gave me the answer. Our winter murder of crows (I love phrases given to groups of things) is still terrorizing the neighborhood with their mischievous antics. I realized that one must have dropped the Cheetoh, perhaps trying to hit one of our chickens as it pecked unknowingly below.

    I watched Hitchcock’s “The Birds” to mark the occasion.

    The crows will stay until the Sandhill Cranes begin migrating again. Then we will officially be entering into summer.

    Saturday, March 11, 2006

    Maybe Not

    Perhaps I'm not supposed to make money. Maybe my job at the homeless shelter is actually practice for myself!

    Last night's overnight cancer patient was too sick and needed medical attention, so I did not get that job.

    I did meet with the Alzheimer's man; he is wonderful and that should be a very rewarding time. But I'm only needed there M-T-W, instead of all week.

    And the demonstration folks have still not sent me material for that work, so I've missed another Saturday of income from that job.

    So today I'll need to spend time figuring out how to rob from Peter to pay Paul.

    However, for the moment, I plan to avoid all of the financial stuff through friendly phone chats with friends.

    Friday, March 10, 2006

    Pieces of the Puzzle

    Barring that elusive call from Oprah and/or all of the silent donors, this is what I am doing myself to earn money and pay bills:
    • Working from 8 PM - 8 AM Friday nights, staying awake with a cancer patient

    • Working 10 AM - 3 PM Saturdays demonstrating Whirlpool washers at Costco

    • Working 5 PM - 9 PM Saturdays as a resident assistant at a homeless shelter

    • Working weekdays from 3 PM - 6 PM as caregiver to an Alzheimer's patient

    • Working at all other times to build my hypnotherapy practice

    Current Clients
    I had a 12-year old boy this week with ADD who was having difficulty in math. His hypnosis session was so much fun and he really felt progress. I am also currently working with a lady who plans to give birth naturally, one smoking cessation client and one weight management client.

    I am teaching a self-hypnosis class on the last Sunday of this month -- hope to get 10 people enrolled for that. Advertising dollars are needed, but I remain confident that the hypnotherapy work will continue to build.

    Wednesday, March 08, 2006

    Click Away!

    Remember that each time you click on an ad on this site, a penny or two trickles my way. Just like saving starving babies in a developing country, you will experience deep and satisfying joy!

    Tuesday, March 07, 2006

    Now I've Got It!

    Fact #1:
    I just got hired to be a Home Instead caregiver for seniors. That will be part-time and work around my hypnotherapy clients.

    Fact #2:
    Bob Dylan is playing in Albuquerque on April 11.

    Fact #3:
    Dylan will turn 65 on May 24th.

    ...So, I was just thinking that maybe I could get him as one of my assignments through Home Instead. Since Oprah has still not called, nor are the one-timers beating down my door, I figure that this may be the new way to go.

    Sunday, March 05, 2006

    For the Record

    I got 63% of the Academy Awards correct tonight.

    That's 185% better than George's 34% approval rating.

    Smoke of a Not-So-Distant Fire

    10,000 acres of land were scorched this past Wednesday in northeastern New Mexico. Wet seasons in 2004 and 2005 caused grass to grow; but the extreme dry spell we are now experiencing turned the grass into prime real estate for fire.
    • Between Nov.-Jan., we received only .14 inches of rainfall.

    • There is no snow pack.

    • Drought decreases trees' natural resistance to beetles.

    • The beetles infest the trees, which subsequently die--becoming even more fuel for fire.

    Today, the flowering trees are all in bloom. The sunny, 70+ degree weather is really nice.

    However, we fear a very serious fire season this year.

    (Photo: John McColgan)

    Thursday, March 02, 2006


    Ever wonder why cockroaches always die on their backs? Sure we know that, like turtles, they will die if they can't turn back over. But why do they land on their backs in the first place? Do they suddenly just flip over when it is their time to go, thinking quietly to themselves, "I woudn't want to be caught dead on my feet"?

    To find out the answer to this and 56 other questions about cockroaches, I discovered the Cockroach FAQ page. Great reading.

    Speaking of cockroaches, have you heard about the video and transcipt that gives yet more evidence of lies by Bush? Concerning Hurricane Katrina, "Bush declared four days after the storm, 'I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees' that gushed deadly flood waters into New Orleans. He later clarified, saying officials believed, wrongly, after the storm passed that the levees had survived. But the transcripts and video show there was plenty of talk about that possibility even before the storm...."

    Meanwhile, in New Mexico, the daytime temperatures are in the upper 60s to low 70s, so it feels like summer has officially begun. At least the cockroaches are out in full force and celebrating. We had a sprinkle of rain last evening. Less than 1/3". I guess that was our big winter storm this year. We anticipate an extremely bad season of fires this year. No doubt the cockroaches will survive, even those at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.