Sunday, August 16, 2015


As promised, here is a picture of our cat buddy and a picture of the minimalist space in my bedroom.
 The cat probably died shortly after we dropped him off at the shelter. A co-worker of mine originally from Nigeria said we were so kind because in her country no one would have touched the cat.  They would have assumed that the cat was a witch who was being punished.  She was dismissive of those sort of views.  But I am trained not to pick up money on the ground because it might have bad medicine on it. My husband has no problem picking up money.  My mom who was raised on the Mississippi Choctaw reservation tells me that people will trow money with medicine on it in people's yards and put medicine on other people's pets in order for bad things to happen to the pet's owner.  I wasn't thinking of that when I saw the cat.  I was thinking "Man I hope he dies soon because he looks bad."

I suppose the cat acted scary because he was so stiff he couldn't move properly.  I just saw he was scared and dying.  Even if this cat was a bad person/witch he was scared and dying.  Why wouldn't I help ease his pain?  Compassion.  I also used to feel sorry for Lucifer when hearing the story of Lucifer making some poor choices and getting kicked out.  I argued that God should have forgave Lucifer and the angels Lucifer deceived. I made my Sunday school teacher cry because she had no response.  

This is my minimalist space.  Oh my gosh, it is so hard keeping my space clutter free.  I am striving for this space to grow by 2016.  The whole wall, maybe.

I start school next week.  I am going for my 2nd master's.  MA in Library Science.  I am hoping this won't turn out to be my 3rd useless degree.  And I kinda wish I was interested in finance or teaching.  I was working on getting a alternative teaching certificate but 15 hours short of finishing the program I came to the conclusion that I didn't want to teach in a school system.  Plus I was not interested in taking the qualifying tests.

Texas Woman's University.  Its an online program and while I am glad for the convenience, I am sad that I will not be able to get involved with campus things.  More updates on that later.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Crash into me

I have an unpublished blog titled #41.  Dave Mathews Band. It amuses me finding song titles for the blog. It feels like I'm playing that game Apples to Apples though I will admit I picked the last blog title just because it had the word cat in it.

So, I have been fascinated with the tiny living movement. I've been telling David that we could buy a plot of land here in Plano and get a tiny house that runs on solar power. He, of course, is more practical...and blunt.  He pointed out that about 90% of the stuff in our overcrowded one bedroom apt is my stuff and all my stuff won't fit in a tiny house.

I'm still fascinated with the idea and with the idea of minimalist living. Minimalist living has always appealed to me but I have not even come close to living it.  I am tempted to try. This is me trying.

Step one: Organization and admitting I am a hoarder. I have too many books, papers, clothes, knick knacks, shoes, pens, dvds, stuffed toys, and bookcases.

Plan: *Purge all the stuff I have no deep attachment to plus some of David's stuff :) *Plan to get e-books for my all time favorite books
and of course I have a library card. *scan papers, old school papers onto a memory stick.

I have a plan and I can do this.  Live minimally. Maybe with small steps.  Little house here I come!!

--I'll admit its hard to part with somethings I have had for a while. I have had to stroke some things and say goodbye out loud  before I could let it go.  I'm reluctant to think of myself as sentimental about stuff but then again I haven't gone through my bag collection yet.

UPDATE: Well, I went home and looked at my stuff. Yeah, the minimalist lifestyle might be out of my grasp. Plus I looked up some minimalist living websites and decided that I like watching TV and listening to the radio...

I settled for one small section of my bedroom to be minimalist. Pics to come...

Monday, July 27, 2015

Cat Scratch Fever

I've changed my mind.  I'm not a bad blogger.  I was looking at the high number of drafts I have saved but haven't published.  I do have opinions and ideas and thoughts about lots of current events but after I rant or rave or get out my thoughts, I just get sad. About the events, about what I've said, about people in general and I just can't commit to publishing.

Well.  Last night/early this morning about 1:30 am we went out to try this pizza place that stayed open til 4:00 am.  We returned to find a little dirty kitty stretched out in the middle of the driveway of our parking garage.  He didn't move when we drove near him.  So we parked the car and went to see what happened.

He was a skinny feral cat that hissed when we got too close.  We tried to give him tuna and water but he wasn't interested. He didn't look like he had been hit by a car so we decided he was sick.  We found out there was no 24 place that would take animals and the animal shelter opened at 10 on Sunday so we managed to get him in a box and dragged him to the side so he wouldn't get run over.  

It was 5:00 am at this point. Concerned about fleas and cat illnesses, we left him in the garage with a note letting people know we would take care of him in the morning.

The next morning I went to check on him expecting him to have passed but he was still breathing.  And he was a little more rested and more spry than the few hours before.  As we stood there debating about moving the box and whether he would bite, a man stopped and asked what happened. We explained the situation and after looking in the box said he had seen the cat around for about a week.  The last couple of days the cat had been in a corner of the garage hissing at people. The garage has four levels and we live on the fourth level. The cat was on the second level which is why we wouldn't have seen him before.

We managed to get him and his box in the back seat of the car and took him to Plano Animal Shelter.  I was worried that they wouldn't care about a dirty sick feral cat but I was wrong. They talked to him and told him it would be alright.  Still we almost couldn't leave our little friend after all that but we knew he was feral so even if he got better we couldn't keep him. And as David said, we know he was probably put down.  He is not in pain anymore. Poor kitty. Sigh.

Folks, spay and neuter your pets.  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sunglasses at Night

I accept that I am a terrible blogger.

So, I like people in theory.  A friend once accused me of only liking people with high entertainment value.  I can't deny the truth of that though I would say that very few people make my friends list so everything and everyone is entertainment...

People is reality ruin my life experiences. They talk too loud at the movies, cut me off in traffic, and so forth.  I live my life trying to ignore people in reality while loving them in theory.  (I also accept that I am an ass...)

Don't get me wrong.  I like my friends.  I have a facebook page, a google+ page, a my space page (I think), a twitter account, and this blog but I am not a fan of sharing.  I guess I could be called a looker.  I like my privacy.  I like people not knowing what I am doing.  I'm guessing this is the product of growing up a preacher's kid.  Everyone was always in my business.  Then they give unasked for opinions, advice and ask awkward questions.  This is what I hate the most.

I have made those accounts to be hard to find me.  I once tried to find me so I could have someone friend me but even I couldn't find me on Facebook.  Then I got married and found out the husband doesn't care about privacy.  At all.  He has tried to curb his exhibitionist tendencies but one can find me through his Facebook page now.

Also when I got married, I neglected to google my new name before I changed it.
First: Jennifer
Middle: Louise Battiest
Last: Neal

So most often my name is listed as Jennifer L Neal.  Turns out there is another Jennifer L Neal, with the same birth date living in Texas. She is a little on the shady side and when potential employers look me up she comes too.

If employers look up my social security number things clear up but who knows if they do.

"You should just tell them." you say?  Do you know how crazy that sounds out loud in a job interview?  Options left are changing my name, which is hard to do in Texas and then they will think, "Oh she changed her name so we wouldn't know she is shady." Or I have to go public.  Go on all those accounts and put my full name and birth date and make it public.  Grrrr.

The husband assures me I am no one special (in a loving way) and no one is going to come looking for me to ask awkward questions, or give advice or opinions. Grrrr.

Ok, the rant is over.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Recap. Its a doozy. Or Just Long

I feel so guilty. Its February. At least it's February 2015 and not February 2016 J Right? 
I will confess these days I am easily distracted.  This week the weirdest illness had me down.  My head was sick but the rest of my body wasn't so it would not cooperate with the Sick Head.  The Sick Head said we need to rest so I can get better.  The Body said I don’t feel sick and I’m not sleepy. Why do I need to be in bed?

I’m not sure how I got better. I’m not sure I’m actually better. And I got distracted a couple days while writing that last paragraph.

Well, we all survived the wedding.  We got married at The Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks, OK. About two blocks from my mom’s house.  I wanted to get married in front of the Shark tank but the space was too small. So we put the cake table there instead. It was cool.  Every time we go see my mom we like to drive by the ‘scene of the crime’.

So, my job as a Church & Community Center Director/Church & Community Worker/local licensed pastor appointed to extension ministry ended Dec 2010.  I’m trying to word the following without badmouthing, blaming or any of that.  Due to lack of support of Conference Higher ups, I did not feel that I could continue with the ordination process. I think that is the nicest way to word that whole experience. If you have been though the ordination process then you know the hoops, the politics, and the idiocracy of the process.  

Every once in a while I think back on the process and wonder if maybe I didn't try hard enough.  Maybe I should have just jumped the hoops with my mouth closed. But then I think my experience in the years before.  Of being a US-2, working for the General Board of Global Ministries, and getting my Masters at Drew University.  I think I did my best to honest about me being me, I even jumped those dang hoops but the past experiences left me with little patience for the idiocracy.  

The whole thing felt like I was performing a complicated dance number in front of judges who weren't even watching.  My performance wasn't perfect but the person who wrote the Letter of Things to do to Improve also sat on the board of the extension ministry I worked at and had previously told me I was not allowed to do any of the things he wrote in the Letter of Things to do to Improve. 

I was simply at the point where I felt that I did not need that kind of nonsense in my life.  I had learned self care from previous experiences so I chose to walk away.  Walking away from the ordination process meant I was walking away from the kids in Clinton and walking away from the Church & Community Program.                                                                                                
They found someone to replace me at Clinton and I had been preparing the kids since I arrived that I would be leaving one day but assured them that someone else would come to be with them.  They took the news of me leaving well which makes me glad but it broke my heart having to leave them.

I moved to Texas. We decided that it would be easier for me to find a job in Texas then for David to find a job in Oklahoma plus his folks really needed us to be nearby.  We were wrong.  Having a BA in English and a Master in Divinity doesn't get you far especially if you don’t want to work with the church.  I applied for every kind of job around but no one was interested.    

There were several things I found out about myself in this journey of job hunting.  I had always thought of myself as a person that would do what needs to be done in order to survive.  But I’m not. And other people can tell.  I was at a job interview at Super Target and the manager was giving me the run down on a couple of job openings.  One was job in the Deli which included washing dishes and moving heavy things and one was working in a Starbucks area.  

Now I really didn't want to work in a Starbucks so I was leaning towards the deli. The guy looked at me a long time then said you don’t seem like you would be happy working in Deli. Maybe you should try the Starbucks area.

That irritated me. I can move things and do dishes. I took the Starbucks position and watched the deli crew to reassure myself that I could have done it.  Nope, the manager was correct. I wouldn't have been happy in Deli.  Of course I wasn't happy in Starbucks either.  I am a hard worker but what they did in Deli just looked like a beating to me.  I guess I am not a physically hard worker and I am disappointed in myself. Why can't I do it? I feel like an ass.

Now I do have high standards for myself in any job. My philosophy is that I come to work ready to work not make friends. Meaning I am not unfriendly but I get my work done before I lean on a counter and chatter with a coworker.  I was working with high school and college kids who though it was the best thing ever to work at Super Target Starbucks and…they did not feel the same way I do.  I was accused of being professional by one of them.  She meant it was an insult but it made me proud.  They were good coworkers they just didn't understand why I wanted to follow all the rules.

When the manager hired me he told me that the Target employees were like family.  It only took a few hours to see he meant the mostly white managers, department heads and employees were family.  The people who were not white were ignored.  I cringe every time I hear that at a job interview.  And I heard it a lot.  My husband gets annoyed sometimes because I mention things like that.  But I can't un-know or un-see things. More on that later.         

I stayed for about 7 months. I perfected a drink I called Hello Kitty that was a hit. Coconut and raspberry were involved and the drink itself was bight pink.  I am allergic to coconut so I never got to taste it but many coworkers who had never ordered from Starbucks came to order my Hello Kitty. J I also won Starbucks employee of the month.  I quit because...well I just didn't want to work there anymore.  

The other discovery.  I am a Gen Xer acting like a Millennial.  I left a job because I didn't like it. Well, I didn't have great expectations of the job and it was only meant to be a temp job til I found something I wanted to do.  But I left before I found the job I really wanted. Actually I left before I even found another job.

Now I am working for the First Baptist Church in Plano, Texas at their Weekday School. I am a preschool teacher. Of 3 year olds.  Not my dream job but I love my boss and co-workers. I feel cared for.  It has been the balm that my poor battered heart and soul sorely needed. Plus the kids are funny and their parents are laid back.  God has been good to me. 

That was a lot to plow through. I love how the wedding was merely 7 sentences. If I start, I could go on for days about the wedding. It will have to wait.  I’ll talk about the kids I work with now in the next post. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Stay Tuned...

Well, its been a while. But I feel like writing again. Blogging again. I honestly didn't expect that my blog would be here waiting for me. After a couple of days of trying to break into it (the email attached to it no longer exists), I am still undecided about what to say about the Break.

2012 - 2015. Well, I survived the wedding and got married. I moved to Texas and was job-less for about 4.5 months. Now I am working for the First Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, at their Weekday School. I am a preschool teacher.

 I'll be more forthcoming about each of those sentences but I just wanted to get in a few words instead of putting it off like I have been for the last week. So stay tuned for more wacky adventures.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I had a dream the other night. An evalution of a dream. I dreamed about being in a car. When I first had this dream I would dream that I was in the backseat of a moving car and there is no one driving. Later dreams have me diving to the front seat struggling to get in the drivers seat. The other night I dreamed I was driving from the front passenger's seat. I was calm when I realised that maybe the way I was driving wasn't safe. I calmly slid into the drivers seat and put on my seatbealt.

I understand that dreams like these usually represent a person's view of their life. Or somthing like that. I wouldn't have said that my life was outside of my control in my earlier days. I would have said that I was a leaf on the wind going where the wind blew, a strick in a stream going where the current took me...I guess my subconscience was saying something else.

I wouldn't say that I am calm about my life at the moment or that it is moving is a particular positive direction...jobwise. My subconscience is so damn positive and I am trying to hold on to that because when I am awake I look around at so many things unraveling around me I find it hard not to panic.

So I am finally driving. I have to think this is a good thing.
Personally, my life is moving forward in a positive way...but I tell you, this wedding stuff is insane. Our first venue fell through so my mom and I went to check out the second venue. The Oklahoma Aquarium. I'd be getting married in front of the shark viewing tank. I'm quite excited about this. David hasn't seen it but I am hoping he will be just as excited. We put down our deposit. Its cheaper than our first venue but I am still freaking out about everything.

You know, I'm not that kind of person who has been planning my wedding since I was 5. My aunt had to force me to buy wedding barbie when I was a child. I wanted horses. I've not dreamed about this day so I am getting stressed about the amount of freaking details and money that goes into one freaking day...but I am highly amused about getting married in front of sharks.