By Katrina Rasbold
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October 8, 2002
OK, well, that was good. I came back from the school craving potato skins, my new comfort food. As I just said earlier, I'm on severe low carb to break the cravings and get out of the carb binge cycle. I think it was the firemen. I was doing OK until I got to the school and saw that the firemen were there to show the kids the truck and be all firemany and such. These firemen must have been hand-picked by the teachers. Rrroowwwllll. I immediately wished I'd had my digital camera with me so I could take a picture. These guys were breathtaking. That made me think about my weight and how there's a part of me that wishes I was fit and trim and not so fluffy so that they would at least look, even if I have no inclination to partake of such firemen delights (and I don't), it would be nice to not have that option ruled out just because I'm fat. Truthfully, I am extremely lucky that given my penchant for fine looking men, I have one who is patient with my weight problem, even though he would like things to be different.. So thinking about that all the way home made me crave comfort foods, so I thought of potato skins and realized I couldn't have any because the potatoes are so high carb. :( After stewing on that for a while, I began to feel really deprived, which isn't good, so I knew I had to do something or it was going to be a bad day. Sad that food can make or break a day, but if you haven't been there, you'd never understand. Anyway, I came up with the idea of making a pile of a bit of cheddar cheese, a bit of mozzarella cheese, some bacon bits and some green onion pieces, melting the mess under a broiler and eating the results with a spoon. It's like potato skins minus the potato. Total casualty is .8 grams of carbs. I am comfy. :)
I am also very lucky! My buddy Linda was thinking of me and sent me this beautiful little pig purse!
The back unzips and it is just darling. I mean, what further evidence of prosperity can there be? I've got the giant broom and now I've got my own happy little pig to fill up!! Linda put a beautiful silver angel with "prosperity" on the back inside and $20 to put toward the quest to conquer our situation! What a precious, dear, thoughtful person!! My friend, Kate, sold off some of her books and sent me the proceeds! It is still really strange for me to have people caring about me and seeing that in evidence so often lately! They say that you really find out who your friends are in the hard times and I've really seen that to be true. I've suffered alone and in silence so many times and so many ways over the years, always terrified of appearing weak or not wanting to burden others or being embarrassed of whatever has befallen me. I can't believe what a difference it has made this time to be public with what's going on and finding such support out there, even from total strangers. I really, sincerely and warmly want to thank everyone who has written and offered their support on so many different levels! The kindness of folks out there is just amazing.
The status at this point is that we got the month's food stamps yesterday (Yayyy!) and they even had some back amounts in there, so we are good to go on food for the month. I am determined that this will be our last month on food stamps and that next month, we will be well on the way back to some kind of normal life again and be self-sufficient. He has gotten a call back on the job installing security systems and we are waiting to see if maybe that one will pan out as we hope. With the car going away, taking its car payment and full coverage insurance with it as well, I *think* we can squeeze by on what he'd make at it. I need to find a way to bring in a few hundred more a month to be comfy, so I'm working on a few ideas. The trick is going to be coming up with enough to clear away the back log on bill that has accrued during his time off work so that once we are caught up, we can be frugal and go from there. One step at a time! Our landlord has agreed to wait until Eric's unemployment check comes this weekend for this month's rent. We have enough accumulated (one dollar at a time!) to go with his unemployment check to make rent for this month. Once the backed up bills are covered, we'll be fine. I have total faith that each of those bills will be worked out one dollar at a time, just like rent was. For now, we are secure in a place to live, we have food and the utilities are all covered for a month. That makes me feel truly blessed (I do miss my wedding rings, though...I think getting them from the pawn shop will be a priority once all of the actual needs are met). Slowly but surely, the harvest is coming in. Now, all I want to do is sleep and sleep and sleep. Must be the protein.
Well, I don't quite like this! I half-heartedly got on the scale this morning and adoing! It read 232!! That's the highest in recent history (240 the highest ever) and is higher than I was with any of my 6 pregnancies! Yikes!! Time for some affirmative action! I had already devoted to total low carb regimen, at least for a while. I need to re-break the carb addiction, get rid of the hot flashes and sleep better. If anyone is looking for a good article on Low Carb, this one appeared in Time magazine recently and is very good: http://www.lowcarb.ca/articlesb/article344.html I like the good, clean feeling I get from a low fat diet, but I get bad hot flashes and miss the deep sleep and grounded feeling from the low carb. All in all, low carb works better for me. I'm going to pretend the 232 is a fluke and I'll be back to my 226 set point very soon. Extra weight doesn't seem to fit on my body any better than weight loss and invariably, I drift right back to 226 WHICH, I am proud to say, I actually put on my new drivers license after years and years of keeping 180 on there. I hope I can honestly put a smaller weight on there when it's time for renewal in 2007 and think about back in the olden days when I was 226. I have pee strips, so I can monitor the ketosis rate. Yesterday, the only carb I had was the hamburger bun with dinner and today has been carb free. For me, I have to go cold turkey (and I've already lost the cravings, which usually takes 2-3 days) - no pun intended - to break the cycle of getting the carb highs and then bottoming out (literally). I'm also on diet sodas only and (yuk) water. Today is grocery day, so I can make sure I can get foods to support what I'm doing. What I will probably do is go Atkins induction for a couple of weeks, then go to Carb Addicts Diet, which is also very good.
Ha! I just realized that yesterday was my ex-husband's 44th birthday. Maybe that's why I've been dreaming about him lately. Really weird stuff, too. (Fortunately, they were not like the Joey Tribiani - "How you doin'" - dreams or I might be unable to ever sleep again). I also know that part of the reason I'm dreaming about him is that he and his wife are back in the country after two years in Turkey (she is active duty Air Force). I banished them there for a while (it just doesn't work to piss off a Witch, I'm tellin' ya) so I could get a break and sure enough, not long after I started having the dreams, I found out they were back in the states again. The thing is, no matter how much you forgive and how much you move on, when you've had that husband radar in place for 20 years (OK, we originally married 24 years ago), it might dull down with lack of use, but it just never goes away. What's funny is that the first dream that I had of him was that he and Natalie (his current wife) came to visit me and Eric and while I was in the kitchen working on dinner, Paul (the ex) came in and started talking to me and in the course of conversation, very casually exposed himself to me. (!) I was appropriately aghast both in the dream and out of it. The funny part is that now that he's back in the states, he is more "exposed" to me because it's easier for him to contact Josh, his son who still lives with me. Next, I dreamed that he came to visit me to tell me about some kind of psychological therapy he'd gotten (lord know that man needs it!) and that the therapist had suggested he talk to himself as another person and he'd given that person the name of "Carl" and Carl had told him that he'd been a really shitty person (Like Carl doesn't have the market on THAT secret...I could have broken that wisdom off to him years ago) and that he needed to make amends, so he cried and begged forgiveness and I tortured him until I was positive he was really sincere and "got it." Then I woke up and realized it was just a dream. It was kind of like waking up and realizing you really can't fly. Then I dreamed that he came to see me and didn't have any facial features and he handed me a bag and I looked in it and there were all of these real people noses and ears and lips and eyes all bloody and icky and when I looked up at him again, his head was a potato and he was begging me to reach into the gory bag and give him features again (ew). So anyway, Happy Birthday, Paul "Carl" Potato Head. Here is the most recent picture that I have of him for you to see. This was taken the last time I went back to Kentucky in 1995. It's me (proving why Katrina must never, ever have a perm), my Aunt Betty and Uncle Delmar (two of the coolest people on Earth) and Paul. Click to make it bigger. Paul is now greatly balding and much older and fatter (but aren't we all? sigh.) I do have to say that the last 7 years appear to have been much kinder to me and for that I am truly grateful.
More stuff coming as soon as I get Dylan to school.
October 4, 2002
New self resolutions have been made. Some are old and have just been revamped or reaffirmed. Inner reflection isn't really supposed to set in until Nov 1 when the last of the harvest has been put away, the fields burned for the year and the dark part of the year embraced, but I guess I made it early this time.
First, I'm absolutely never again going to sacrifice comfort for style. In actuality, I'm never again going to sacrifice comfort for much of anything. I'm not talking about mental comfort (I'm not sure when that is going to hit), but about physical comfort. Back when I was thin, I'd do about anything to look better. I always wore a control panty. Wore heels everywhere, even with pants. The only time I wore tennis shoes was when I was running. I wore every underwire bra ever made and kept everything well up where it belonged. I'd sit for hours to have my hair permed. I plucked and plucked until I'd removed every renegade, unauthorized hair. I dyed to cover the gray (OK, so that was up until last year). I affixed fake nails over the short nails that refused to withstand the punishment housework heaped on them.
After I got fat, the support panties became more aggressive. Because I was simultaneously aging, I had to dye more often let that gray show through. I made sure my hair was as good as it could get to detract from the bottom half of me, which was growing faster than I could keep up with it. I listen to my guru, Dr Phil, who assured me that I was setting up my life to accommodate the fat. If I just didn't buy bigger clothes, I'd get smaller out of necessity because if I didn't, I'd be naked and God knows THAT would be a horrible sight! So I let waistbands bite into my sides and control panties bite into my legs and wore a lot of blazers. I fully rebelled against the body I was growing and while I didn't actively hate it (how can you hate something that is so doggoned fun to play with - *boing*boing*slide*slide*wobble*wobble*??), I definitely did not appreciate it. It became a battle against the weight, against the fat. I was at war with my own body and sometimes I'd win and sometimes it'd take me right down. One of the best quotes I've heard in a while came through just this week from Sage, "There's a thin woman inside me, screaming to get out, but I can usually shut the bitch up with some chocolate." I know I have "issues" and that's why I am fat. I know there's some kind of immediate comfort thing going on that evidently can't be compensated in any other way and obviously overrides any desire I have to be thin. I'm not giving up, but I do refuse to engage in this "war" against my physical self any more. When someone goes to war with their mental self, they are usually labeled insane and stuffed away from society, so warring against the physical self can't be much healthier.
So I know there are fat issues there and I'm sure I can deal with them in time, in God's time, so to speak. In the meantime, when I am doing something good like exercise or water drinking, I'll think of it as doing something "for" my body instead of against the fat. I'm not even going to go all out assertive on doing things like that for my body right now. I've got to get my mind fixed first and right now, especially today, it's a little muddy.
It's not that life is really so bad. I mean, we do still have a house and that is a miracle in and of itself. We made September's rent and we're climbing toward October's. I'm grateful for all of the miracles that have come our way, but for some reason, since I opened my eyes at 5:30am this morning, I've felt disgruntled. I think I'm just done. Every 2 minutes today, one of the three kids has desperately needed something from me. It's like they're tag teaming. For the first time in forever, I'm just not in a kid mood. I'm in a day spa, soaking in mud, cucumbers on my eyes, listening to Yanni mood. I'm in a jacuzzi, cool night air, clear sky with stars and tons of liquor mood. I'm in a shopping all day until I lie back, totally spent in an expensive restaurant with one of my closest friends mood. I'm in a thunderstorm outside, scent of rain coming in the windows (the rain is blowing the other way), hot chocolate and writing in my journal mood. I'm just not in a Mommy mood because I don't feel as though I have one more drop to give to anyone. I'm going to have to pull it up from somewhere, because there's a good 4 hours before Eric will be back from Operation: Employment.
So I guess I'm back to whining. Eric has had job interviews lined up and the good car is going away, so my job hunt is at a standstill. I've already covered all of the job opportunities that are within walking distance of the house and that's exactly how far I can trust the VW bus to take me. Eric has a supply of tools in the bus and he can fix anything that happens on the fly, but I'm limited to putting in oil and gas, starting the thing and pushing on the accelerator.
Anyway, back to the clothes (as you can tell, I'm a little scattered today). I'm going to just enjoy living for the moment and not make a lot of demands on myself. I'm going to focus on learning to love this body that has safely delivered me 6 beautiful kidlets and has happily accepted all of the abuse I've heaped on it in the past 12-13 years without striking me down with a stroke or diabetes or a heart attack. There are about a hundred ways my body could have kicked my ass by now, but it has been very patient and forgiving with me, so I am going to do everything I can to make it comfortable and happy.
I think it all came together last week when I was job hunting and put on a pair of shoes that I'd purchased at the thrift shop some time back. They have low heels and a snappy, Witchy look and kicky little straps. My feet slid into them like they'd come home again and my legs instantly lost about 10 pounds each. It was glorious to be in heels again! After an hour, I was dying. My Achilles tendon was screaming in agony, my toes were cramped together, knitting angrily upon one another and my lower back was on fire. That was when I knew what I had to do.
Some time ago, I'd played around with ideas of how I wanted to dress. I love long, full, flowing, soft, lightweight stuff. I decided that before I put something on my body, I'd answer the question, "Can I sleep in this?" If I can't comfortably sleep in it, I'm not going to punish my body with it during my waking hours. I told myself that and took it about half seriously. From now on, though, if I can't sleep in it, I'm really not going to wear it. If it hurts me feet, I'm not going to wear it. No more pain. No more moderate discomfort. Earth shoes forever. Soft, cotton panties. Bras that don't bind my boobies in to weird, torpedo shapes. No more panty hose that chafe my thighs. No more hair dye. I earned every one of those grays. It's 100% comfort all the way. Period. I've already packed away any clothes and shoes that don't fit that bill. Life Law #1. Be comfy. Life is uncomfortable enough without having to add physical discomfort to the mix. I want to dress in a lovely, Witchy, Pagany flowing style 24/7. So that's the first resolution.
Next resolution. I've done crisis both ways, hysterics and hope. From now on, I'm going with hope. Until this most recent crisis, I've usually been the first one to break into hysterics and demand results immediately on any problem. If it wasn't immediately able to be resolved, I stayed hysterical until it was and hid from everyone I knew. I closeted myself from anyone who might see my weakness and anticipated the worst, secretly hoping to be surprised by something better than the worst. When things started to go downhill this time, I felt the panic coming on and knew that I just didn't have the strength for it. I had to scramble for something different to do and all I could think of was to give it all up to The Universe. In my opinion, whatever is going to happen is going to happen regardless of how we react. Stress and fear and worry and hysterics are so debilitating. Hope and joy and anticipation and gratitude are empowering and uplifting. If whatever will happen is going to happen anyway, I'd rather feel good along the way than miserable. When I'd start to feel the fear and doubt coming in, I'd read some of the letters I've gotten from people. I'd listen to Christian or Pagan music that makes me feel hopeful and empowered. I'd write in my journal and convince you and me both that everything was going to be fine. So when any of you are thinking that I'm somehow gifted or something because I've never doubted that the miracles were coming or that this is going to be just fine, please understand that it's not like that at all. It's nothing more than pure fatigue and total weariness. I just don't have the strength to do anything differently. The interesting thing is that while I acted the part and refused to accept differently, I've really come to believe it with all my heart. Talking it out to all of you and feeling your prayers and love around me every moment of every day was an incredible source of strength for me during this time.
Next resolution. Faith works. Prayer works. Regardless of what you call it, when people join their hearts and faith (no matter what that faith is in) together toward a common goal, they cross all boundaries of religious differences. It's as though the energy rises above any kind of labels and turns into a force unto itself that is powerful enough to channel healing energy and miracles toward that particular goal. I am so grateful for all of the ones I've received and for all of you who sent them my way. I've lived for weeks now surrounded by angels and hope and love.
Yesterday was the toughest day yet in all of this. While we got $125 closer to our goal of making rent tomorrow (hurray!!!), after spending the entire morning on the phone with VERY rude people from the customer service department of our phone and electricity companies, I was still unable to extend out the payments by even a day. I had truly hoped that they could wait just two more weeks until Eric's unemployment check shows up, but I ended up having to give them (combined) $385 of what we've accumulated to date. If we didn't pay the electric bill as much as we did, we would have had to pay the full bill plus reconnect and deposit when it came back on, which would have been almost $1000. The phone we have to have in case calls come in about jobs. I worked every angle and there was no way around it any more. The great news is that the Energy Assistance Program picked up a good portion of what was left of the bill (they just wouldn't pay anything until we paid a portion). So while we found a dollar 125 times, we lost 385 of them! That puts us at about 690 times right now. The other good news is that once I got past the really, really rude people at the two customer service places, I did get to some very kind and understanding supervisors who, although they couldn't do anything to help me, were decent about it.
Tomorrow is the big day. At least the essential utilities are paid now and rent is the big issue again. Since I know it's easier to have tenants than go through the process of evicting and getting new tenants, I'm going to hope that if the miracle doesn't come through in the next 24 hours (and I still believe it can!!), that the property managers will be willing to wait a little over a week to get the full rent. In God's time. That's when it'll all work out. Meanwhile, in Katrina's time, I intend to live a life of peace and comfort and joy until the verdict is in. The thing is, if things don't work out, the worst case is that I'm totally blindsided, I deal with whatever happens and look for the good stuff in it and freak out over the rest and I've saved all these weeks of energy! That way, I'll be rested up. ;)
A long time ago, when I was having a crisis of faith after the 2nd divorce, I came up with GOD as an acronym of Grace Objectivity and Dignity. I figured whether there was a God or Goddess (and I was too tired to acronym out "Goddess") or there was not, if I could only maintain those three things, I would be walking with God regardless. Gary Zukav says that when we are at our lowest points is when we are closest to God and in our holiest state because we have lost everything else. I think that's why some of my most abiding life lessons have come from the worst moments of my life. Some of them from my first divorce are here.
Anyway, now that I've stretched this post over about 6 hours, trying to piece together thoughts amidst the putting out of many small fires, I suppose I should actually try and get some housework done around here. For unknown reasons, my house smells like feet and butts and old food and I intend to find out why. The likely offender would be the tank of The Stupid Turtles. Do NOT, under any circumstances, fall victim to the lure of getting your child (or yourself - shudder) a semi-aquatic turtle. I didn't, but I have two. OK, I was in Idaho at a yard sale in 100 degree heat and here was this water turtle in a dry plastic tank that was so small, the turtle could not even turn around. The turtle was about the size of a person's full hand at the time. I felt sorry for him, so I paid $5 for him and at a yard sale further down the way, paid $20 for a giant aquarium for him to live in. Brought him home, waxed Decartes (I think it was Decartes) and called him "God." He was not Graceful, Objective nor Dignified. He wasn't even grateful. I suppose that's not generous enough to God, because overall, he's been a decent turtle, as turtles go. They are about as affectionate and fun as one would imagine a turtle to be (not at all). A few months later, a woman I worked with called to report that there was a water turtle in her yard and her husband was threatening to kill it if she didn't do something with it. I had her bring it over, which she did in a Fed Ex box. Sure enough, it was an aquatic turtle that some idiot had evidently just let go in the wild (in our part of Idaho, there was not a lake nor pond in sight). *sigh* I threw him in the tank with God and he was sufficiently freaked enough to run roughshod all over God, scaring the living hell out of him. New Turtle had to go into Turtle Jail (the tank God had come in) until he changed his religion, which he did in about a week. The New Turtle was christened "Q" (staying with the "turtles as omniscient beings" theme and being a NG Treker) they've lived happily together ever since (that was in 1995). Evidently, turtles are omniscient, completely stinky beings. In my humble opinion, they are horrible, smelly, pain in the ass pets who were never meant to live anywhere but a nasty pond. That being the case, they seek to aggressively turn any tank in which they reside into said nasty pond. When I got the internet, I hooked up with the American Turtle Association or some such turtle loving place that had a website detailing the care of water turtles as pets. I wrote to say that I was doing my best to take care of the turtles, but couldn't seem to keep ahead of the nast. The lady wrote back to say, "turtles are horrible, smelly, pain in the ass pets who were never meant to live anywhere but a nasty pond." Usually, if I change their water every 2-3 weeks, there's no smell. For the past week, they are sticky every other day. I don't know if they are purging themselves of some turtle impurities. I don't know if they are harboring some new turtle fungus (although it just smells like the same dank water that comes up when it's time to change them) or what. All I know is that the tank is really heavy and it's a pain to change them so often. I wouldn't even still have the damned things if I hadn't sworn to Joe that I'd keep them for him until he moves down here from Canada. Turtles suck. He wants to build turtle habitrails and all kinds of crap for them.
On the other hand, hermit crabs are great!! Delena got a tankful (another yard sale find at the beginning of summer) and they have just been a joy. There is almost NO maintenance to these things. You wet the sponges they drink from, you scatter their little crab cakes, change out their shell choice now and again and that's about it. Every week, you give the little guys a bath, which takes all of about 15 minutes for our 6. They're super interesting and a great pet for a preteen kid that you can't trust with anything else. Delena even bought a small hamster ball for them to tool around in.
So on that happy note, I'm going to go try and defunk my house of whatever is causing the stench, get my kids settled and look for a dollar until I find one about 700 times (I'd like an extra 10 to order some pizza - I've been craving it like mad for weeks - wink). I'm in a good place, even as whiney as I'm being today. Maybe it's just a delayed reaction since my heart is really telling me that this is almost over and that the light at the end of the tunnel might not even be a train.
I've been trying to get caught up on all of the e-mails I've gotten and I want to be sure and thank everyone who has written in with their support and offered their assistance and suggestions in so many ways. Every single time someone has reached out to me on this, it has been so appreciated. I really don't think I could have gotten through this without the love, support, prayers and donations that have come from my net friends. Without you, I would have felt so alone in this. You guys and the wonderful ladies in my Spiritual Group have kept me going through all of this and I can't thank you enough. You will all always be in my prayers and I am thankful for each and every one of you.
Please click on Uncle Sam or the smiley globe if you've already read Uncle Sam!!
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