By Katrina Rasbold
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October 23, 2002
There is so much to tell! It's been an incredibly active week!! I need to tell you about the graveyard crawl and the job situation and the...oh Jeez, lemme just get started.
First, Eric and I decided that I couldn't take the cake decoration job because of having to be available to work 24 hours for scheduling. There was no feasible way we could arrange babysitting without a somewhat consistent schedule. We felt bad about letting that go, but trusted that something else would come up. It did!! Remember I told you that his new job that he loves pays just less than his previous job, which wasn't enough for us to get by on without supplementation? He was still looking around for a part time bartending job to fill in the blanks and was willing to work both jobs to get us safe again. Just before he got paid on Friday, he found out that "prevailing wage" (a minimum wage requirement for certain jobs which shifts from job site to job site even within the same company) is $7 more per hour than the wage at which he was hired. We weren't sure if that applied to people during their 90 day probationary period, if it applied to HIM or what. When he got paid on Friday, it was the higher amount!! He is installing electrical systems into a hospital that is being built, so he is going to be there for months and months, then they have lots of similar work lined up, so this job has tremendous security, he is very well liked and really enjoys the people with whom he works. He is still in "it's too good to be true" mode, but said that he really feels that his harvest has come in. :)
I was thinking that I told you guys The Truck Story, but panning down, I see that I may not have, so forgive me if I'm repeating myself. About a week and a half ago, this guy came up to the door to ask about Eric's truck that he has up for sale. He LOVES this truck and bought it a year ago to drive to work. Right after Eric lost his last job, almost three months ago, someone stole the truck and vandalized it. We got it back. It was parked only a block away. Someone broke the driver's side window, tried to hot wire it, but couldn't (Eric was, believe it or not, in the process of changing out the points and plugs, so it wouldn't start for them), so they rolled it down our hill and stripped it out under the hood. It's been sitting because we can't afford to get anything fixed, so Eric put it up for sale for about a third of what it's worth with tears in his eyes.
So this guy comes to the door to talk about the truck. I told him I don't know anything about the truck. I take care of the inside of the house and Eric takes care of the outside of the house. I suggested he call Eric at work. The guy then said that HE knew about the truck because he was the one who sold it to Eric. Long story short, this guy is a mobile mechanic and was sure that he could get the truck running and fixed for $100, which he was very pushy about me paying right then. (anyway) I had Eric talk to him and he confirmed that it's the guy who sold it to him and that he knows all about vehicles and can get the truck going. Since the bus is very unreliable, we took money from the rent fund and gave it to the guy to do it. He brought out parts (5 hours after we paid him), all but the window, and said he had to go get a couple of other things, then never came back. >:< Eric more than got $100 worth of parts out of the deal, but we paid to have a running truck. Eric has talked to he guy about 5-6 times in the past week and the guy always says he's on his way over and then doesn't show. Freakin tweakers, I swear. So Eric is spending his nights trying to put the truck together. Eric is a wonderful mechanic, but doesn't have much time for it. Yesterday, the clutch went out on the bus, so my ring money (I managed to get it all!!!) walked out the door and into NAPA auto parts. What a bummer THAT was!! We did get rent and utilities paid for the time being, so now it's just a matter of catching up on the other bills that were not paid for those months, getting the vehicles on the road, getting my RINGS back and then we will be doing great!! So THANKS again for all of the support and well wishes!! We are going to be just fine! Ahhhh. What a difference a month can make!! Eric and I are both very excited about how things are going and are grateful for all those angels!!
So that part is all good. :)
The graveyard crawl. Gosh, where to start!! Every year, my wonderful group of ladies and I go to a cemetery the full moon before Halloween and pay homage to the dead. It's a way of honoring the death of the old in our lives and to welcome in the winds of change and new life brought by the harvest. It also lets us honor our ancestors who have gone before us and to honor our own lives and consider what is left undone, what is holding us back and the tenaciousness of life itself.
It's also an opportunity to get really, really scared sometimes.
We've had some wonderful graveyard crawls over the year. In fact, they've all been great. This year, Georgia, our cemetery seeker, found one months in advance. It's about 30 minutes from here and was well worth the drive. Eric wasn't able to go because we didn't have a sitter and our pal, Leslie, had to work, so it was the four of us: Me, Georgia, Jen K and Jen F (who we call "the Jen collective"). The graveyard itself was fairly simple. It was in a very rural area (Eric would call it the California-Kentucky border) and right on the road. There was no church around, just the cemetery. In the very center of the cemetery was a wonderful pavilion, probably about 12'X12' with an opening at each of the four compass directions and a wonderful rooster weather vane on top. The stones were both upright and flat and not very old. I think the oldest was in the 1870's and the newest was last month. It's always very interesting to read the stones and work out some of their stories. One lady had been dead for about a 4-5 years and her grave area was particularly lush and rich with deeply green grass. Her name was Carole and her maiden name was, get ready, "Herbage." :) A couple in the corner had a patch of grass beside them that was bright, light green and in the shape of the California flag bear. One guy had a beloved wife buried on each side of him, a tiny stone for him and large stones for each of them. A family plot had a little nub of a stone about 10 inches tall with four sides, listing young children. There was a set of twin sons who died at 2 days, a daughter who died at 7 days, a son who died at 9 years and another son who died at 3. Looking around a the names, there were other children from the same family who had lived to adulthood and then died. No parents were there, but there was a large, plain, upright stone that said, "God's Will Be Done." We did our ritual to give homage and honor all of the things I mentioned above, communed with the energy there, then got ready to leave. It was getting dark quickly and the bright, full moon was riding high in the sky. There had been a hoard of birds, like guardians of the place, all around since we arrived. Georgia found a tiny little frog, about the size of a thumbnail, on one grave. Another had a yellow melon and three beer bottles (empty). Georgia and I noticed a huge pile at the back of the cemetery and went back to check it out. It was a huge pile of dirt and grass clippings. The clippings were obviously from the maintenance of the cemetery. It took us a bit to figure out that the giant mound of dirt was from years of accumulation of the part of a grave that the casket would take up. There were some silk flowers there, so I took them and then Georgia noticed a stone in the garbage pile. It was old, so old that the writing was no longer readable. Obviously, someone had traded out for a new one. We brushed off the dirt and potato bugs and determined that we must have it.
A hush had fallen over the graveyard, unlike the cries of the birds and the crickets from even 15 minutes before. We called the other girls over to discuss the idea, asked the place if they had any problems with us taking it and didn't feel any problems. We gathered around the 400 or so pound block of cement, each took a corner, which put us slightly closer than shoulder to shoulder, taking tiny little baby steps. By the time we got to the pavilion, we had to stop for a rest and it was really most sincerely dark. We set the stone down on one of the benches in the pavilion and took a breath. As soon as we stopped moving, we could feel how much the atmosphere of the place had changed since the sun had set. It was as though they tolerated us kindly during the day, but now we were on their time. I could see shades and shadows slipping around in the moonlight and although there was nothing overtly angry feeling, I felt as though we were someplace where we weren't supposed to be and we were being graciously told it was time to leave. I felt "someone" pass behind Georgia, who was to my right. She looked at me at the same time and I knew she'd felt it too. She's been with me the longest and we are wonderfully well tuned to one another in a way that only long time sister Witches can be. I called her last week..."What happened." "My cat died." I could feel a disturbance in the Georgia force. So when we locked eyes, I knew she'd also caught the drift. I said, "Does anyone get the feeling that we should have left about ten seconds ago?" Georgia said, "Yes and someone just walked behind me." (bingo) The Jens didn't feel anything so I had them feel behind Georgia and feel the air that was around them. Several degrees colder behind Georgia. "Time to go!" We picked up the stone again and began walking with it, just as a cold wind came up from behind me (the North). There had been breezes from the West earlier, but this was constant...strong. "Georgia, tell me you have a remote for your trunk." "No." "Jen, get the gate, get the gate!" "It's stuck." "Get the GATE!" Gate opened, we balanced the stone between three of us while Georgia unlocked the trunk. "CAR!!!!" A car topped the hill and someone got a look at four women dropping something very heavy into a trunk, slamming the trunk and jumping into the car, breathless. The gate slammed shut at the same time and we all jumped. We looked out at the cemetery and it had come alive. Milling about visiting one another now that we're off the grounds. No one was angry...just active because it's that time of year, that time of night and their home. We drove away quickly. On the way home, Georgia pointed out that we'd left so quickly that the bird shit made a backwards "L" on the window where it had been dripping down, then whizzzz! We talked about seizing the moment and how this is the way memories are made. :) What a great night.
So yes, I'm very happy and very exhilarated and slowly but surely, it's all coming together. Yeah, I'm bummed a bit about the ring thing, but as I said before, it will happen in God's time, not mine. At least I know the tide has turned and I can smell the scent of sweet, fresh air trickling in through an opening in this dark cave that has kept me safe during the storm. The wheel has turned and the winds of change are blowing and for that I am so grateful.
October 23, 2002
More is coming on a not so downer note, but first I want to share this:
Ah. Very cute and very funny. That silly old witch wasn't paying attention and flew into a tree! Ha. Ha. Ha. While walking my son to school today, there were 4 witches that just couldn't seem to navigate those brooms.
Yeah, all of you know that this is a bit of a sore spot with me. I'm going to share the following with you that was sent to me by a dear friend.
Each year they parade her about, the traditional
Halloween Witch. Misshapen green face, stringy scraps
of hair, and a toothless mouth beneath her deformed
nose. Gnarled knobby fingers twisted into a claw
protracting from a bent and twisted torso that lurches
about on wobbly legs.
Most think this abject image to be the creation of a
prejudiced mind or merely a Halloween caricature. I
disagree; I believe this to be how Witches were really
Consider that most Witches: were women, were abducted
in the night, and smuggled into dungeons or prisons
under the secrecy of darkness to be presented by light
of day as a confessed Witch.
Few if any saw a frightened normal looking woman being
dragged into a secret room filled with instruments of
torture, to be questioned until she confessed to
anything suggested to her and to give names or what
ever would stop the questions. Crowds saw the
aberration denounced to the world as a self-proclaimed
As the Witch was paraded through town en route to be
burned, hanged, drowned, stoned or disposed of in
various other forms of Christian love (created to free
and save her soul from her depraved body) all the
jeering crowds viewed were the results of hours of
torture. The face bruised and broken by countless
blows bore a hue of sickly green.
The once warm and loving smile gone replaced by a
grimace of broken teeth and torn gums that leers
beneath a battered disfigured nose. The disheveled
hair conceals bleeding gaps of torn scalp from whence
cruel hands had torn away the lovely tresses. Broken
twisted hands clutched the wagon for support;
fractured fingers with nails torn away locked like
groping claws to steady her broken body. All semblance
of humanity gone.
I revere this Halloween Crone and hold her sacred
above all. I honor her courage and listen to her
warnings of the dark side of man. Each year I shed
tears of respect when the mundane exhibit their symbol
of Christian love.
October 15, 2002
Whew! That's over! The interview went reasonably well, even though the guy kept me waiting for 15 minutes, which is my limit of waiting for anyone. (He barely made it under the cutoff). I don't know exactly what is going to happen. I'd give it a 50-50. They are interviewing a lot of people and were happy with me having had my own cake decorating business, but they frowned a bit at me not having any work experience for 5 years and for not having any supervisor contacts since all of my bosses were military people who have long since moved on.
The biggest problem is going to be arranging child care because they want their employees to be available for 24 hour scheduling, so I could be scheduled to work any time around the clock, plus I have to be willing to have the schedule change with only 24 hours notice. I honestly don't see how that is workable with both Eric and Josh working as well. I figure it was worth a shot, though.
Eric found out today that his rate of pay is supposedly going up, which will help quite a bit. Also, after we get the truck fixed and it's reliable, he can go out on service calls and also spend a week a month on the road, which will bring us up to making enough money to live on. Only the credit card companies are really screaming right now (and rightly so, it's been a couple of months), so we are getting in better shape every day. One step at a time, one dollar at a time.
I am beginning to believe that the whole point of self-mastery, if you want to call it that, is to experience really challenging circumstances, using each one as a lesson toward how not to let anything throw you off your spiritual center. The more firmly rooted you are in faith, the more peaceful you remain and when you are able to stay peaceful, it's easier to keep your head on straight and think rationally about the choices you make and the directions you want to take. I really hate to sound like a lecture, but I can't believe how well it works.
I've always been a person who gets panicked and hysterical and worries weeks and months in advance. Still, I'm having to ground myself from thinking about Delena's birthday next month, Christmas the month after that, Joe's birthday the month after that, that this is our last month to qualify for food stamps, that we owe a ton of companies money, that our car is going away...there's such a list that if I got started worrying about it, it would be a full time job. I have a lot of mantras that I use to keep me centered. One is, "In God's Time." I know that what is to happen will be for my greatest good, but it's not going to always happen on my schedule. Life is like a tapestry and sometimes, we can only see the few threads that we're holding, where God/The Universe/Everything can see the whole picture. Another one I use is, "Trust the Process." I believe that most things, like a tapestry, are intricately woven and we can't always see how one thread links with the next and with the next, going under here and over there to make The Big Picture. Maybe that's what happens when we die; we finally get to see the beautiful picture we were creating for all those years and what all those dips and turns we couldn't make sense of at the time were actually doing it.
I am not sure I'll ever know what today was about. I felt compelled to go, even though the babysitting seemed totally undoable. Maybe I had to be willing to sacrifice a different life to get back the one I want to keep.
Regardless, my house smells like feet and butts again, so I suppose I should attempt to clean it. Thank you for all of the good wishes and congrats you all sent today. :) We are so excited that everything seems to be working out and are eager to see where it goes from here. As soon as we manage to get rent paid on Friday, we'll breathe a lot easier.
By the way, some wonderful person sent me Pizza Hut gift certificates!! C'mon! Who was it? I thought it was my pal, Connie, but she's denying it! Whoever gifted us with those, the pizza was a WONDERFUL treat!! Nummy!
Thanks so much for two months worth of well wishes and love and encouragement. You have all really kept me going on this and have taught me the value of friends and support to staying sane. I could really feel all of you out there sending your prayers and good thoughts and that is something I can never thank all of you for enough.
Time to rid the house of the essence of feet and butts.
October 15, 2002
I'm going to be writing this really fast because I don't have much time, but want to catch everyone up. I'll write more a little later (I hope).
Things are changing very quickly and I'm trying hard to keep up. I guess such is the time of harvest, but it's somewhat breath-taking when it all happens at once.
First, Eric got a job. He's installing security systems into buildings that have just been built and he loves it. He hit it off right away with the people there and he's good at the work without being overtaxed by it. He very much needed to get out of the house and get his life going again. He is very happy with everything about this job. He doesn't get paid until two weeks from Friday (yikes!) but at least he will get paid and life will somewhat return to normal once we get caught up on the bills.
Our objectives now are to pay off the payday loans that have been swinging in the breeze and to make rent for October. Our property managers have been very patient with us. Our car goes away today or tomorrow and a guy showed up from nowhere who turned out to be the man who sold Eric his truck. He wondered why it was for sale and offered that he could fix all that the vandals had done to it and have it running "better than when I sold it to you" for $120. Turns out, he's a mobile mechanic with a friend who has a salvage yard. The $120 ate into our rent fund, but if the guy gets the truck running, Eric will have reliable transportation, which opens him up to doing service calls for his company, which gets him per diem, which gets us more working money, so it seems a good investment. The guy has been here working on it and Eric says he very much knows what he's doing, but he's not very reliable and seldom shows up when he says he will. (I hate that) Regardless, I think it will pan out well, then I can use the VW bus and call Eric if/when it breaks down. We are going to get slaughtered by a debt of a few thousand dollars, barring one of those miracles, when the new car sells and we have to make up the difference on the loan, but there is no way we can catch up on the amount owed to the finance company for the car and no way we can afford the payments and insurance on it. We'll have to pay another $140 to register the truck.
I have an interview in an hour and a half with Safeway, a grocery store here in the west. The job is part-time-full time and is as a cake decorator. I had my own cake decorating business when I was in England and have continued to do it once in a while since then and I'm actually quite good at it. The main concern is what to do with the kids since Eric is working and Josh is working. Josh's schedule is not consistent, so it's going to be interesting, but I figured the least I could do was to go to the interview. No since closing doors. I have seen too many home videos on the news to leave my kids with strangers, so we'll have to see what pans out.
I am also determined to get my wedding rings back. I hate to be so material, but I really miss them. A wonderful person from Texas sent me more than half of what I need to get them back and I have that squirreled away in an untouchable spot to add to a little at a time until I can have them back where they belong again.
The faith is really panning out as things are starting to move very quickly. I know it's all for greatest good and even if I can work for a little while, it will help us to get out of debt. I'm just going with the flow, keeping my hands and feet inside the car at all times and not standing up on the curves. Otherwise, I might get whacked in the face with a goose like Fabio.
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