January 21, 2005
Next summer when it is time for me to refinance again to get a better interest rate and cash out some equity to build into the house, make sure I take up vigorous drinking first. One should never go through this experience without medication of some kind. While it's not as stressful as the first time (then, having a place to actually live was at stake, which upped the price of poker a bit), it's definitely a contender. Just when we thought things were in the home stretch, the broker company who ordered the appraisal got bitchy AGAIN about releasing it (they have agreed again, but it has not yet been released). Then the lender wanted more information and documentation on the business Eric was partnered in last year. Of course, his partner absconded with the business and pretty much dumped Eric cold, so that's hard to get. So far, they are happy with the business license, the partners' contractual agreement and the last pay stub, which was a bitch to find and its presence at all on my desk constitutes a miracle. Now we are in pursuit of a statement from Veteran Affairs attesting to Eric's current monthly pension (his original statement, the only one we have ever received, reflecting an amount of about $20 less per month is not doing it for them) and a statement from his current employer attesting that he has no intention of firing Eric. Also they needed canceled checks for every payment made on the second note on the mortgage, which, by another miracle, I already had or else they would have to be ordered (7-10 days). With any luck, this is the last of it. Personally, I am still focusing on a sign day of next Thursday or before. I refuse to be daunted on that until I am flat out told it can't happen. That's not here yet.
Of course, our main phone line is out (again) today, so I'm fairly out of touch. Blind and deaf faith, evidently. :)
We're down to about 6-8 inches of snow in the yard with lots and lots of bare patches. I am so thrilled to see so much of the ground. All of the sticky letters (address) peeled off our mailbox while it was buried, so we're anonymous now.
Looking out on my day, the world is my oyster. I'd rather the world be my pearl. An oyster is too ambiguous. There might be a pearl inside or there might be a slimy thing and nothing else. Give me the pearl straight out.
So today, the world is my pearl. It's almost 10am. Eric will be home in very late afternoon to early evening. Delena has a dance tonight, so she'll be out social butterflying. The house needs a bit of care, but no more than a half hour or so unless I clean the family room carpets, which I have been successfully putting off for a couple of weeks. I'm debating whether or not I can continue to put it off through the weekend. The turtle tank needs to be changed; a weekly, horrible, deplorable job. The washer is broken, so laundry is out unless it deems it's time to kick in again.
A nap is looking really good.
Today is probably the roughest diet day I've had in my whole diet having career, which seems to be devoting to losing and regaining the same 10 pounds 50-60 times. I'm craving like mad, which is odd since I haven't binged since last weekend when I really went mad. Still, I managed to lose an additional 2 pounds AND I am getting ready to start my period in the next few days when in theory, I should be weighing more. I feel lighter, which is nice. I am sure the cravings are from what serves as PMS for me, which is just insane carb cravings no matter how I'm eating or what my state of health happens to be.
Yep, a nap would be good.
A fire is going in the wood stove and finally the family room where my computer is feels comfy. It's nice outside, but this room and Delena's tend to be the last to catch the warmth because of its western exposure (and Delena's extreme northern exposure).
Look at that. Just a few paragraphs ago, it was 10am. Not it's 11:30. I swear, I blink my eyes and an hour is gone.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I plan to take Dylan to town tomorrow and rest on Sunday. Nothing is going to require my immediate attention that I know of, so I'm going to try and find some peace and rest.
Take care, all,
January 20, 2005
Continuing the movie idea, last night, we watched "Gothika," which was, I thought, extremely good. I haven't watched a really good horror flick in a while and this one was a really nice blend of paranormal and psychological horror. Good stuff.
An odd thing about living at this elevation: things kind of explode. :) Well, not quite, but almost. I grocery shop at one elevation level, which is about 2000 feet, then drive the groceries up to about 4200 feet. By the time we get up here, all of the chip bags and such are blown up like mylar balloons. The ice cream grows by about 20% or so and is working its way out of the cardboard cylinder (we're not talking meltage here, just growing). I don't really care about the physics of it, I just think it's interesting.
Yesterday, our broker called to say that the lender he's using for our loan won't accept the appraisal with Primestar's name on it (the ongoing problem... even though we paid for the appraisal, it is the legal property of whatever company ordered it and they refused to release it). Eric was having an extremely busy day at work with fire system tests all day, but he still managed to log in enough phone time (mostly with supervisors of supervisors) to get them to release the appraisal. We haven't heard from our broker since Primestar agreed to release it around 3pm yesterday, so we have no idea where things stand now or what kind of delay this created in the overall process. I am shooting for a signing day of Thursday (or sooner), so that's my whole focus. We are taking a higher interest rate, almost a full point, in order to avoid being locked into a 2 year contract. We're paying a considerable penalty with this loan for refinancing within 2 years of the original loan date and don't that to happen when we refinance again next year. We're going to spend the year upgrading the house and working on our credit report, then in a year, we can refinance at a much lower rate without paying the penalty. Our monthly mortgage will still be considerably less than what we're paying for mortgage now, plus all of the bills we'll be paying off, so we'll have a good bit more leeway each month. Right now, we make just enough to barely, barely get by and anything out of the ordinary (car repairs, Christmas, the broken washing machine I have right now) completely destroys us financially. In theory, I only have one more week of stress over this.
I've been doing my best not to worry and stress since they never, ever accomplish anything positive. I have complete faith it will all work out. I just want it to be finished. Neither Eric nor I have slept well in more than a week.
Last night, we actually went to bed at a decent time, but got into a discussion about a longgggg term problem we have in our interaction (one of those issues where no matter how many times you talk about it, it just doesn't get resolved) and that went on until around 1:30am. I don't know if we got much resolved (won't until the heat of the issues arises again, or doesn't), but we at least were able to get a better break down of the problem and understand the point of view of the other one a little better. I shut off my alarm this morning about 2 minutes before it was going to go off and as I did, Eric got out of bed without his alarm going off, so I doubt either of us slept very well (again).
I feel good today, however. Yesterday, not so much. I woke up feeling run down, crampy (not due for a few days yet) and headachey. That helped me to realize another wonderful benefit of all kids in school. When I'm sick, I can invest a couple of hours in getting kids out the door, then actually go to bed for 6 hours and veg. I cleaned a bit, just general pick up, when the kids left, wrote the journal entry and spent the rest of the day in bed, not doing a damned thing. I was only able to nap for about a half hour, but I think just being in bed did me good. I need to make up for yesterday in housecleaning today, but still, it won't take more than an hour or so to get things back on track again.
I'll call the post office and see if there is anything worth the 2 mile walk. Weather has been great lately, in the 60's yesterday. Eric grilled steaks for dinner (London broil was on sale for $1.99 a pound and with McCormick Meat Marinade, it is better than any restaurant steak I've ever had) and they were so good. That man would grill (and has) in a blizzard. We still have about a foot of snow on the main ground, although the trees are cleared out underneath from dripping and the driveway is fairly clear where the jeep has gone up and down. The snow on the ground is ice on top (Dylan and Nathan were 'skating' on the way down to the road to catch the bus this morning and Dylan fell pretty hard. They weren't getting that whole "walk in the jeep tracks" as a really good suggestion on Mom's part). I'd love for this snow to go away before more falls, just to have a few days of greenery. The trees are all finally free of the snow. It's just the main ground that is covered and of course, those massive, 6-10' snow banks left by the plow. Our mailbox is almost accessible, so with any luck, the mail ladies will be delivering again soon.
On Monday, Eric was off work (in construction, you don't work, you don't get paid), so that was a financial smack. I spent the day in our sheds. Eric has been wanting his ski boots since the snow first fell, so I started going through boxes. I found them, only to discovered that they'd been broken in the move. He was really bummed. Got that half of the shed (it's a small barn sort of thing divided by a wall down the middle) all situated, then I went to the other side, which is the Witchy shed. It's actually part storage bleed over and a place to put all my Witchy gear that doesn't fit in the house. That involves an unreasonable amount of candle holders (several shelves), goblets, decorations, herbs, oils and such. That part wasn't the bad part. It was getting to that part that was difficult. We had been putting all kinds of stuff in the middle of the floor until it was completely impassible. There is also a giant box of videos buried in the depths of the Witchy shed storage part. Inside the murky depths of that box was my VHS copy of "The Wizard of Oz." Delena has been festering to do "Dark Side of the Rainbow" ever since she heard about it, but digging out the video was a vital part of that. I did find it, so she should be off and running with that soon. After about 2 hours, it was back in usable state again. So introducing...
The old chair and stool are now on my front porch. I put an old aquarium on the stool, poured sand into it and put little figures and such in it. The chair is beside it. The old high chair is still in the Witchy Shed. The hanging pots are filled with small bags of herbs. Yep, that is a 10 foot maypole that gets hauled out and re-ribboned every Mayday for the dancing around it ritual. In the main picture of the Witchy shed that you see on the banner, note where the roof drops down and levels out. That's where the wall is that divides the two sheds. There is a separate door for the NotWitchy shed on the side to the right. I heart my Witchy shed. It glorifies the fact that I am a packrat who scours thrift stores for weird crap. :)
Speaking of which, I went to my very favorite thrift store, Nextime Thrift on Garfield and Madison in Sacramento, while I was on my wild tear on Sunday. The experience was extremely unsatisfactory. I couldn't find any good crap to buy.
Lord knows I have more than enough crap, but it is the rampant acquisition of crap that is the fun part.
OK, this is a decent sized baby:
Born in Salvador weighing 16 pounds, 7 ounces. Cesarean section, of course. Bet Mom felt lighter after that one. Click the picture for the full story, which isn't really much more.
It appears that time is rolling past and I need to invest that hour into aggressive, heart-felt, passionate house cleaning. It's what I live to do *sigh*. My day isn't completely unless I can inhale some fragrant Pine Sol and slide some scrubbing bubbles around a tub or ten.
Onward and upward!
January 19, 2005
So on to the conversation I was going to have yesterday before everything got all philosophical.
I've been on a movie roll lately, but not all are good reports. One of the downsides to all of this snow is that the larger mail trucks carrying the bulk mail (magazines, junk mail, etc) can't make it up the mountain to deliver. Sadly, it appears that Netflix envelopes also fall into the "bulk mail" category, but on Saturday, we got our bulk mail motherlode after weeks without it.
I got "Blue Collar Comedy Tour Rides Again," "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Saved." "Blue Collar Comedy Tour Rides Again," I did not feel was as good as the first one, but it was a worthy watch. I didn't feel as though I wanted to sue to get my lost 90 minutes or so back.
Not so with "Napoleon Dynamite." I was very geared up for it. The previews looked good. Joe gave it a sterling review. The beginning held promise when Napoleon put a He Man action figure on a string, threw it out the school bus window and dragged it behind. Despite my eagerness for it, that was about the only time I even giggled during the movie. I wanted to. I tried. But it just didn't happen. I thought it was just me, but when the credits rolled, Eric said, "That was the worst piece of shit I've ever seen." Of course, for Eric and his superlative personality (which I love in that "Big Fish" way), every movie he watches and doesn't like is the worst piece of shit he's ever seen. :) We had the same feeling with "Rushmore" (and a few others, which escape me at the moment) where it seemed lots and lots of people loved it and I/we just didn't get it. Oh, I know one. "Lost in Translation..." truly WAS for me. I would think I just don't do well with cerebral movies, but there is a movie that is now out of print called "Mindwalk" starring Liv Ulman that is completely cerebral and I do fine with it. In fact, I would LOVE to find a copy of it. It was JUST on Showtime the whole month of December and I found out about it on something like December 30th and it wasn't on again that month. >:< I could have TiVo'd that sucker like mad. How frustrating. I keep bidding on the VHS on ebay, but it always goes over $30 or so and I just can't justify spending that much money on a video, even one I really enjoy.
So nope, I don't know why "Napoleon Dynamite," "Rushmore" and "Lost in Translation" didn't work for me. My brain just isn't wired up that way, I guess. All three (plus those others I can't remember right now) fell flat.
I also, as a sidebar, don't enjoy movies that are set up to make me sad. "Sophie's Choice," "Terms of Endearment," "Old Yeller..." They all bring up emotions that I have no interest in generating in myself. I don't need to know about little children being killed, animals being tortured or such things. I just don't do them.
On Sunday, my day reminded me of a scene from a truly great film, "The Breakfast Club:"
Allison looks hurt and then resentful. Just to spite them, she dumps the contents of her bag onto the couch. Lots of stuff comes out.
Holy shit! What is all that stuff?
Do you always carry this much shit
in your bag?
Yeah...I always carry this much shit
...in my bag...You never know when
you may have to jam...
On Sunday, a foul mood Eric was nurturing on Saturday woke up all grown up into a truly evil, pain-in-the-ass, best-avoided-at-all-cost tantrum. I had to jam. I know he never, ever takes out bad moods on the kids (he's great about that), just on me, so I grabbed Delena and fled to Sacramento for the day.
For the first time in a long time, I was completely and totally irresponsible with our money and blew a huge wad on clothes for Delena, pizza (from Pizza HUT, ahhhhhhh) and a trip to the movies with lots of concession stand activity. I'm definitely feeling the financial effects and I'm struggling with the fallout from that (got a few hundred bucks I can borrow? *wink*wink*). I don't recommend doing it at all and it was a stupid thing for me to do just to feel better after Eric went on the attack (and boy, does that guy know where to thrust the sword - ow!). We had a great time though!
We went to see "Lemony Snickets, a Series of Unfortunate Events." I've heard the books are great and I have no doubt that they are. The story was wonderful (sad, but not to the point that I would boycott it), the acting was phenomenal, the lighting and costuming was great. Sadly, it too was not what I hoped for because the end just sort of trailed off in this ambiguous way. I realize it was only books 1-3 in a huge series and there are likely sequels to come, but there was no feeling whatsoever of completion to the movie. I hate that. I'm a firm believer that each movie should be an entity unto itself that can easily stand on its own in merit.
If I had seen "Kill Bill Vol 1" in the theater, I'd have been seriously pissed. Granted, the "Vol 1" is a big frickin hint, but still, it shouldn't just leave me hanging like that with no clue when (or if) Vol 2 will emerge. What if *I* really like Vol 1, but it tanks at the box office and I never get to see Vol 2 because the producers decide they took too much of a bath on Vol 1? Am I just fucked? Foul, I say! Most foul! Granted Vol 1 and Vol 2 were both outrageous successes and I got to finish the story, but what if...
I love the "Back to the Future" series, but #2 was pretty much a waste because it ended up being little more than a long trailer for #3, which didn't come out for a good long while. I could easily have died between those two movies and never known what happened.
I demand some form of resolution to the movies I watch, dammit. "Lemony Snickets" in no way did that. It was like they were freight training this movie toward a dynamic conclusion, then it just got quiet and went away.
I also hate movies where loose ends are left hanging all over the place. I've been told, "But LIFE isn't LIKE THAT!" Well, duh! That's why I want my MOVIES to be like that. I want them to make sense and to be resolved at the end BECAUSE my life never is. If life can't be assured, let my movies be!
[With apologies to my son, Joe, the film maker, who likely thinks I'm his worst case scenario movie goer by now]
We got good news from the refi guy yesterday. Looks like things are moving along well and if everything continues as it is now, he should have loan documents by Monday and we should be able to sign on Thursday. That would be perfect. Pray for that. I need that. pleasepleaseplease let it be that.
Thank the Goddess for Old Guy.
OH and check THIS out. Remember New Guy? After we talked to the people who recommended him to us and learned they still hadn't resolved their loan after starting it in OCTOBER, we made the definitive decision to work with Old Guy. New Guy called us after a few days to find out why we had not Fed Ex'd him all of our documents (and we weren't excited about sending our original documents by mail anyway). Eric thanked him for his time and told him we had decided not to do business with him. The guy started in on how he could get us a 6% interest rate and why wouldn't we want that and blah blah blah. Eric again calmly told him, "No thanks, we're not interested." The guy started in again, so Eric just hung up on him. He called back again, started his spiel and Eric said, "Look, I've told you plainly, we're not interested in doing business with you. Please do not call again." The guy went to another phone so it would be a number Eric didn't recognize and called him AGAIN, telling him, "Hey, this isn't how I make my money, you can't do this!!" and Eric told him if he called again, he would file a complaint with Primestar (the guy's company). So far, we haven't heard from him again. We never signed any documents with the guy, never met him and our only contact with him was by phone. Eric was still considering filing a complaint against him, but decided against it since everything is working out for us and it doesn't really matter in the long run. No sense in getting all vendetta-ish about it when there's happy energy to be had. Now if he calls again... (but it's been 3-4 days)
So to all appearances, Old Guy has us all tucked in and is telling us a really good bedtime story. I'm going to try and sleep until time to sign the papers and get the equity check (figuratively speaking on the sleep, of course). We will get even more definitive information today. (pleasepleaseplease)
All is peace and love. All is peace and love. All is peace and love.
Maybe I will just sleep all day. Worse things could happen. My house is all clean and most of the laundry is done. Sleep sounds good. :)
Have a great day!
PS: Fer crying out loud, take your B-12!
January 18, 2005
I have always loved this webset. It is so happy, whimsical, joyful. The pure, light-hearted innocence it portrays is where we all should striving to be. I read once something that really stuck with me. As mothers, we are the one who directly illustrate to our children the nature of the world around us. Is the world a joyous, happy place to be? A scary, oppressive, frightful place where we must be ever vigilant and paranoid? A manipulative, victimizing, sadistic place where we must forever be on guard for the next offense that is sure to come?
I determined in that moment that my children would see through me that the world is a sacred, joyful adventure filled with miracles, fun and excitement that is to be engaged head on as a direct participant. I looked around at how this simple premise of parent-based perception of the world was demonstrated as reality all around me. My oldest sons reflected my past view views and those of their father. He was a very controlling man, given to outbursts of anger when situations left his control. "Letting go and letting God" wasn't in his vocabulary or even in the realm of possibility. We did what we were told or we suffered the consequences and since we are all cursed (or blessed) with a bit of stubbornness in our nature, we often suffered the consequences. His methods of engaging the world were often unreasonable and extreme. Now I want to hurry to say that he and I have not been together for almost 9 years and his life and demeanor could very possibly be 180 degrees from what it used to be. Since we split up, he has had nothing to do with me and so I have no way of knowing how he is now. I only know how he was then and we were both locked in a dysfunctional, clumsy dance. We were both very damaged people who each played neatly into the dramas and challenges of the other. Away from that influence (which lasted almost 20 years), I know I have changed into a completely different person, so the distinct possibility exists that he too in completely different. As lame as it sounds, I just hope he is happy. He had wonderful attributes as a person, but our life together was volatile, extremely unpredictable and not good for anyone.
His controlling nature left me feeling completely incompetent on every level. The man would take absolutely nothing at my word. I could tell him I was just outside and the grass was green and the sky was blue and he would demand proof and a second and third opinion from a far more reliable source than myself. By the time the marriage was finally over, I was no more capable of independent though than of flying to the moon with peacock feathers. Anything I did on my own was suspect and he without a doubt would have a list of ways that I could have done it better, faster or smarter. I was immobilized in this world because I needed validation for nearly every move I made.
The only thing I ever did that had nothing to do with him was Craft. As our first divorce was looming (and I do believe Wicca was the final nail in the coffin that time), I discovered Wicca and it gave me a sense of inner strength. That was something that just would not wash with him, so our marriage quickly ended for a couple of years. When we remarried, I made it clear (among another couple of things) that it wasn't negotiable. It was part of who we were. Marriage #2 was doomed from the start, but I think we were both determined to give it a good try. We were at odds before the first few days was over. He was completely unhappy with the way I had prepared for our move to Idaho and promptly starting undoing all I'd done in favor of his own way. He was extremely upset to meet any kind of resistance to his taking charge of the situation. It was a mess. It didn't really get much better.
As I look at my older children functioning in society now, I see them engaging the world the way I did as I raised them. In their own ways, they are fearful of moving forward, terrified of rejection, cringing for the blow that is sure to come. I wish so fervently that I had given them a wider view of the world and shown them some positives amid the fear and the cowering. I wish I could go back and give them the tools to move confidently into the world and expect the best. Of course, you can't give what you don't have and I surely didn't have that.
When I read that comment about a parent's view creating the child's, I was at one of the lowest points in my life. Paul and I had just divorced the second time. I was working my ass off to provide for my four children as a single parent while Paul happily banged away at his brand new fiancée. I was exhausted all the time. I was making just enough money to never, ever make ends meet. We were living in a ghetto, Josh was drifting toward the gangs, David was lost in the shuffle and Joe was going insane watching Delena while I worked as many hours as possible. Joe, Delena and I (the other two boys stayed with their father to finish the school year) had just gone through seven weeks of homelessness, living with a friend who didn't really want us there in a tiny apartment while I frantically looked for a job. I was so excited to get even a crappy house in the ghetto and even more so to get my sons back. Still, the struggle was incredible and I still don't know how we made it through. I showed my children that the world was a battle and that inevitably, we would lose, but we would go down fighting. In their own way, each of my own sons is in battle with the world.
Not long after I read that comment and began processing it, I got Life Strategies by Dr Phil and it gave me a foundation to stand on. At first, I was disappointed because the book didn't seem to be offering me anything and then out of the blue, I was in tears. I started rewriting my history from a more objective perspective and as I did, I began to find more positive ways to engage the world and to find what I was looking for.
It has taken some time and more than once, I've had to "fake it til I could make it." I think the younger children I have now have a much healthier outlook on the world than did my first three children. I see it in how boldly, confidently and eagerly they engage life. Their core essence is one of happiness, even if Delena has a touch of petulance to her at times. She is twelve. It would be odd if she didn't. I've seen her emerge from an angry, strong-willed, demanding child to a fun, delightful, witty, intelligent young woman (who HATES to clean her room). I attribute that transition to the change in her environment. I think I caught her just in time for my own change in demeanor to give her a fighting chance. The little boys have never known a time when Mom wasn't a fun, joyful person. I'm grateful for that.
I hope that they are busy cultivating an enormous helping of self-esteem and self-confidence. I want them to truly believe that their own thoughts and ambitions have merit and that they can accomplish anything they truly want in this life.
They are set to grow up in a beautiful, safe place that is sacred and peaceful. The schools are good and the air is clean. My life now is a far cry from where it was all those years ago in that little ghetto house. Joe kept me grounded and refused to let me give up. I couldn't have made it to here without having him there cheering me on. It should have, by all rights, been the other way around.
Life is such a process and often, if we could see ourselves in a year or 5 years or 10 years we not only wouldn't understand, but likely wouldn't recognize ourselves. We can only be confident that although the world may be falling down around us, the world will surely turn again and again, always taking us to another place. It's a microcosm, really, the blink of an eye in the span of a whole lifetime.
When I was in that situation, I had a hard time wrapping my head around a concept of God. Things had seemed so bad for so long that it felt like they would never be right and how could a God with whom I'd worked so hard to establish a relationship allow all of that to happen? Unable to reach out to Deity, I clung to another idea of God. I decided that for me, the best I could offer was to consider GOD to be Grace, Objectivity and Dignity. G-O-D. When I couldn't bear the pain and the fear any more, I'd take a few deep breaths and tell myself that I had to find the way and the strength to go forward in my life gracefully, objectively and with dignity. I had to objectify my problems, externalizing myself from them and removing my emotional attachment. I had to triage and deal with the most pressing problems for today now and let the rest wait. Did we have lights today? Forget about the shut off notice for Friday, are they on TODAY? Do we have anything to eat today? One day at a time, one step at a time. Crawl into bed knowing that today is handle and tomorrow is a repository for miracles where anything and everything can happen. I have a little brown book, about 4" x4" that I would write in each night. One side was for thank you's and the other side was for prayers. You can bet the right side was often longer than the left. I was thankful for everything. Thank you for my children. Thank you for the lady at the light company working with me. Thank you for the potatoes I found under the sink. Thank you for the 2 hours of overtime. Thank you for my blankets. Thank you for my home... on and on. The other side was the long list of prayers. Gradually, they started to even out, then the thank you's were longer than the prayers. The first time that happened, I cried with joy.
As hard as it was and as cliché as it sounds, I am grateful for those times so that I am more deeply appreciative of where I am now. It was hard won, but it was worth it. After all I have experienced in my life, it is wonderful to think, "Ahh. Now, I rest." I have imagined this in my head for years and years and never imagined it could actually happen. I also didn't even know how to imagine it completely. I'm just grateful for it... every single day. I am convinced it all began when I decided I had to "be different" in this world for my kids. I didn't have a clue at the time that I would also be different for me and would be bringing in a whole new set of energies. It was through that beginning spark of transformation that faith and joy and confidence was born.
It all has to start from somewhere, from some moment of change where you decide to do things differently than you did yesterday.
And wow, I was going to write about my weekend. Where did all this come from?
To write, perchance to clean. OK, I'll clean.
PS: Hey, today, no matter what you're doing, take a moment and dance like that little girl at the top of the page. :) You'll be glad you did.