Katrina's NonSoapy Journal

By Katrina Rasbold

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Sept 30, 2002

580!  (thanks, Wendy!!)  It's really happening!!

Sept 30, 2002

680 more to go!!  (thanks, Diane!)  Eric has gone now to pay the rent for September (YAYYYY!!!) and we've still got until Saturday to get the rent for October and ANYthing can happen in 5 days' time!!  I'm so excited!!  We WILL beat this yet and I have NO doubt that the job or jobs will be here in no time!  I found $20 in my purse that I SWEAR was not there yesterday!  I am beyond thrilled!

Sept 28, 2002

The current tab!!!

Eric had a yard sale today and made $50!!!!  Plus, a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful person (thanks, Kelli!!!!) sent us $40 in the mail that was to go toward the goal (not an EOS donation!!).  I also found $20 in my wallet that I guess I'd somehow forgotten about, so that means we are $110 closer to finding those 1000 $1 bills!!  So where does that put us?  Vicky's donation from yesterday had us at $960, so today, we are at only finding $1 850 times!!  The best news of ALL is that today's great news put us over the first hump, which is having enough to hand the landlords on Monday to let us stay in our home and then we've still got another 5 days after that to find the dollars for the next month, which is what I'm now working towards.  By the time November's rent is due, I am confident that Eric is going to have a fabulous job and it won't be a problem!  I get so excited when I can see everything all working out, a step at a time.  


Sept 28, 2002

In all of the madness, I forgot to tell you some important stuff!!

First, I am thrilled to report that the sex dreams have returned!!  That's right, the sex dreams have returned!! Having not had them in my LIFE before one blissful evening of passion shared with A Martinez, then those naughty Kratt Brothers from Zaboomafoo (and so many of you randy moms wrote in to say that I'm not the only one who has thought about a Kratt Sammich!) then Blake Gibbons.  Yes, it was a great August this year.  *sigh*  So I was afraid they were gone, but they kabam!!  I was shown last night that good things come to those who wait when:

   leblanc      Matt LeBlanc

JOEY TRIBIANI steps up  to the plate!!  Not Matt LeBlanc, mind you (whoever that is), but Joey Tribiani.  He's a really, really awesome kisser.  Makes me wonder if he had a sex dream about a middle-aged, poverty stricken fat mom in California.  I hope I was good.  (How YOU doin'?)

Secondly, day before yesterday, CRITICAL DAY, I got my special lucky pendant in the mail!!  I was so happy!  It's close enough to identical to work and only the stone in the center is slightly different.  Yayyy!!!!  Eric even pointed out that when I lost the pendant, we hadn't began our weird set of money and other problems yet, so maybe the pendant was a kind of reset button or something.  Hey, I'll take anything now!

I've been doing a lot of St Jude work (one of my favorites), Angel work (call down a thousand angels and ask them all to bring me a buck - smile) and a new Goddess I found called Nantosuelta.  She loves ravens (I had a thing with ravens last year), apples (I've been suddenly turning up applies like mad), little houses (I brought in our cool, zebra birdhouse to put on my Nantosuelta shrine.  The birds don't use it because they are afraid of the cats) and is the protector of the home.  She's Celtic/Gaelic.  She also hangs out with the Morrigan, who's one of my favorites, so she gets validation by association points.  When Katie gave me the kickass broom shown below, she also sent a huge, lovely basket of apples, so I stuck the house in the basket with the apples around it (the kids have plucked all of Nantosuelta's apples and chomped them, so I hope she's cool with that), put the beautiful stone the lady sent me yesterday beside it and colored a lovely feathered robin black with markers to make a raven for the top.  

nanto.jpg (55144 bytes)

To the far left is our basket of harvest brooms, to the near left is a little goddess candle holder that I use to burn small harvest candles and to the right is a green incense burner.  I also put an olive branch from one of our olive trees to symbolize peace over the little house so we can have "peace over our home."  On second thought, I might need to put one *IN* the house as well (smile).  The pretty purple stone is in front of the green burner, to the lower right of the basket.  Wow.  I can't believe my freebie Earthlink camera actually took a good shot!  LOL  That poor little bird looks like he's been on a long flight from Capistrano, doesn't he?  :)

Eric is outside mastering the yard sale right now.  Wish us luck!



Sept 27, 2002

FINALLY!!  I’ve been waiting all morning to get to the keyboard and give all of you an update. 

I took my rings in to the pawnshop yesterday.  Told them the story of my mother’s engagement ring.  Goes like this: 

My mom was married to my father for 26 years before he died of a heart attack at the age of 51.  A couple of years later, she married this Cajun Mormon truck driver by the name of GROVER EUGENE MILLER (“Grover Eugene Miller, GEM, the Big GEM, just call me The Big Gem”).  She was working at a truck stop cum diner out on Old Highway 60 called “The Dinner Bell” and when Grover got out of his rig and filled up the frame of that front door, the angels sang and the clouds parted and the sun glared and mom was a happy girl.  He walked back out with her heart jammed into his shirt pocket right next to his well-used handkerchief and a pack of Camels.  So they got married later that year and I only ended up meeting the man twice.  My Uncle Delmar, the family patriarch for about a million years (he’s the husband of my mom’s sister, Aunt Betty, who ended up Pissing Off – yes, the capital letters are warranted – Miss Nettie about the cow in the kitchen and we all know how THAT turned out, so it’s a wonder my Aunt Betty can still walk 30 years later), gave me reports from time to time.  His analysis was that Grover was overall a good guy, but he was a user and a grifter and about the last thing my mom needed.  Mom didn’t care.  She was in love.  So she and Grover were married in a family ceremony, as well as in the Mormon Temple down in Nashville.  Mom was wife #5, the first two having died under some sad circumstances (the first one was killed in a car wreck with their two little children and I can’t remember the second, equally as tragic death) and the last two were annulled wives for adultery or some other sort of travesty.  Anyway, he’d been able to retain his priesthood through the divorces because of the ill-doings of the wife.  Mom converted over to Mormonism from her Baptist faith and was happy as a little clam in the breast of a family-emphatic path.  I was happy for her, but I knew she missed her Lipton tea like mad and probably snuck it on the side.  

Grover always told me how much he loved me and I’d tell him that I appreciated how happy my mom was and that he loved her, but I didn’t know him and couldn’t love him because I didn’t know him beyond what he’d done for my mom and that it wasn’t personal, well, because it’s wasn’t personal.  He said that he knew I was jest like my mama (yikes!!!) and that bein’ th’ case an’ all, he LUUUUVVVED me.  I felt bad not knowing Grover enough to love him back or develop a careful watch on him like Uncle Delmar had done.  

There are lots of Big Gem stories to be told (my brothers and I called him The Muppet between ourselves because of the other Grover who’s a muppet and because of his larger than life empathic hand gestures), but the one I’m about to tell was about the ring.  Back to the ring. 

When I went back to Kentucky in 1995 (the last time was in 1986 when my dad died and then in 1985 before that), my mom was going through things to load me up with for the trip back (much to Paul’s disdain – my husbands have all hated my clutter) and in an act of love, gave me her wedding and engagement rings from my father.  Dad had picked up the engagement ring in Holland on his way to be in the US Army with Elvis.  They ended up sharing a hospital when my dad had some dread disease (as full of shit as he could be, it was probably his body rebelling with dysentery).  Dad was on ward with about 20 other guys and Elvis had the whole top floor of the hospital cleared out for his stay.  Even the army kowtowed to The King.  Anyway, Dad mailed the ring to a friend of his back home and asked him to take it to my mom and tell her he wanted her to marry him when he got home.  The friend chickened out and mailed the ring to my mom (who lived about ¼ mile from him) with a note that says, “Guy Allen wants to know if you’ll marry him.”  

Then I told the pawnbrokers (yes, picture the line forming behind me) about why the ring was now broken (see below, when The Muppet died from complications of Hepatitis B and Diabetes – how’s THAT for a killer disease cocktail??).  I told them about how Eric had surprised me with my beautiful engagement ring a year after we’d married and then two years after that, with the magnificent ring guard now before them for evaluation.  Ahhh.  Those were golden days.  Anyway, they looked over the rings and told me they would give me $100 for all three.  That’s roughly $10 per diamond.  They gave me $7 for 14 videos, so that means that since there are a total of 8 diamonds in the rings, by their logic, you can get a diamond for about, oh, let’s say 20 well used videos.  They’d better take care of my rings until I can get them back.  

So I limped back to Eric and we tried to sell a few things and by the end of the day, we were up to $800, give or take…still not enough.  We watched close of business on the last day come and go and figured that was it.  Big sigh.  He spoke with a lawyer who said that after the 3 day notice was over, we’d have about 3 weeks to get out of the house.  No way would we have enough money to find another place in 3 weeks, not to mention that we wouldn’t have enough for first, last and security deposit, not to mention we’d be without a referral from our current landlord, not to mention that no one is going to rent to us if neither of us have jobs.  Looks like it’s the bus for us.  Eric got The Glint in his eye of high adventure and I booted him in the ass and reminded him that a VW bus, particularly OUR VW bus is not geared for mountain driving and that the damned thing had left us stranded with burned out valves in Redding, almost to the top of a mountain, ON Memorial Day two years ago.  Back then, we managed to rent a U-Haul and tow that would drag it home.  With mountains to the North, South and East of Sacramento, we were fairly limited in where our great trek could take us.  THEN he got dismayed.  We went out away from the house to talk so that the kids wouldn’t pick up on stuff if the conversation got rowdy.  As we left, I prayed we’d have an answer of what to do by the time we returned.  Almost two hours later, we were on our way home with nothing but heavy hearts.  We were almost to our house when I looked at Eric and said, “Honey, the bottom line is that we just can’t leave.  Go give Ken [our property manager] the money.” 

He looked at me, reasonably perplexed, and said, “Well, Sweetie, that’s a great idea except that we don’t have the money.” 

“Give him a check.” 

“Oh, sure.  Let’s give him one of our starter checks [new bank] with the name penned in and tell him, ‘here’s the rent!’” 

I figured that we could pray the check didn’t clear until Monday, when we knew we’d have a few more days to find money, have a huge yard sale on Saturday, etc.   Eric said he was just going to call him and ask to talk to him about him.  I reminded him that we’d been trying to call the guy all day – on a critical day for us – and he’d not bothered to return our calls.  Eric said he would try again. 

When we got home, Eric called Ken and learned that Ken was very relieved that we could actually get him the money for September’s rent on Monday and assured Eric that if we could, he had no plans to evict us.  Granted, October is staring us in the face and the rent for THAT month has to be paid by the 5th, so we’re on a double whammy, BUT we are still in our house AND we have a stay of execution AND we WILL COME UP WITH THAT MONEY!! 

There are avenues from which it can come.  Eric is trying to sell his truck (the one that was vandalized, but someone MIGHT want it).  We’re having a yard sale.  Eric could get a bartending job with tips.  I could get a waitress job with tips…there are plenty of ways this rent could trickle in a few pennies at a time (and I’m catching every one!!).  I figure if there are 1000 avenues through which I can find even $1, that will cover all we need to secure our house until the first of November.  I am NOT going to worry about finding $1000.  I’m going to think about finding $1 in 1000 different ways.  J  How do you eat an elephant, baby?  One bite at a time.  

So THANK YOU for all of your love and support and suggestions and encouragement!!  It has been the wind beneath my wings through all of this and has really kept me going.

I have no doubt that this extension is the direct result of all the positive energy everyone has sent to us in so many different ways.  This just proves to me that love and well wishes and prayer are all powered by intent and connectivity with whatever we consider to be divine.  I’ve had wonderful people working with St Jude for me (my favorite saint), saying Novenas, praying, dancing, standing around me in a circle (thank you, you wonderful Ho’s!!!!!) sending me love and empowerment and so many other ways to label love and caring.  You guys did this for us and I know that it will bleed right into a successful closure of this situation on Monday, then again on or before the 5th and somewhere in all of that, Eric is going to get a fantastic job and everything will be wonderful. 

HOLY SHIT!!!  Josh just opened the door to go outside and there was a Fed Ex envelope on our outside chair WITH $40 IN IT AND A FANTASTIC LITTLE PURPLE STONE [the color of royalty and the highest and best!!!] FOR LUCK AND WHAT LOOKS LIKE A REALLY FANTASTIC LETTER!!!  [my eagle eyes just zeroed in on the words “ex-husband/dickhead” and I already know I’m going to like this person]. 

YAYYYYY!!!!  YAYYYYY!!!!  Only 960 more ways to discover!!!  God, I’m so happy I could float away!!  Instead, I’m going to float into the other room and get Dyl ready for school, then savor this letter. 

*sigh*  {Did I mention I’m so happy?  *cuddling my beautiful, soft little purple stone*} 

Thanks again for EVERYTHING! 



Sept 26, 2002

broom.jpg (38569 bytes)Cool thing!!  I forgot to tell all of you something that is very cool!  My friend, Katie, that I talk to every 6 weeks like clockwork, e-mailed me on Tuesday to say she had something for me...a harvest present.  Yayyy!!  I LOVE presents!  Eric stopped by to get it (he had a lot of errands to do and I could hardly wait for him to get home and when he did, he had this!!!  So click on it to make it bigger!!  This is a very giant Witchy broom, about 6 feet tall!!  It's sooo awesome!  What's particularly cool about it, and I don't know if Katie registered it or not, but the Broom is a very important symbol in our tradition.  We see it as the representation of the harvest because harvest in itself is the combined efforts of Human and God and Goddess.  They put the life into the seed and we plant, tend and harvest it. The broom represents manual labor (efforts of humans) and is long associated with the energy of the Witch (honoring the Goddess).  At the end of the agricultural year, we burn a broom (one of the little $2 decorative ones) to symbolize the burning off of the fields and the last of the harvest.  So just 3 days after the beginning of the second harvest, Katie gave me a GIANT, OVERSIZED broom!!  That tells me that the harvest is coming and it's a BIG one, so no matter what happens today or in the coming weeks, it's all propelling us toward our greatest good and will be just WONDERFUL!!  

Today feels really great and has since I first woke up.  I'm high as a kite from all of the wonderful, loving, supportive energy you've all been sending (I got every drop!!  Thanks so much!) and it means the world to me.  All of your prayers and hopes and good wishes and warm, loving, positive energy is right here with me and feels great!  

Time to gouge Eric's butt up out of bed and take off to the pawn shop!  I can feel the gears turning and the energy flowing!  As I got out of bed, the old Bible verse of, "THIS is the day The Lord hath made" was ringing in my ears and I knew it was a special, sacred (ha!  I just noticed that "sacred" is just a hair away from "scared"), glorious day and within it lies all of the potentials, all of the possibilities and all of the miracles.  

Thank you again for all of your letters and thoughts of good wishes and caring energy.  I'll let you know where it all lands!


Sept 25, 2002

I will do my best to get a more entertaining, less depressing, less whining NonSoapy post tomorrow.  Tonight, I must indulge.

I really can't believe it's come to this and I even refuse to believe that it's at this even now.  We got the three day notice to pay rent or quit day before yesterday, so tomorrow is the last day before we are pretty much locked in to losing our house.  I have until 5pm tomorrow to come up with about $1000.  If I could find $700, I could fill in the blanks with what is left from Eric's first unemployment check.  Eric took several of our best things around today to try and pawn or sell them:  His $4000 camera (he was offered $15), his guitars, my stereo, my treadmill, the almost new dishwasher we don't use and some things like that.  Amazingly, he went to 6-7 pawn shops and no one would give him anything except the $15 for the camera.  He was so sad.  He took everything and sat out on the lawn with it for the rest of the day, hoping someone would stop by a midweek yard sale.  Nothing.

Also, inexplicably, we got a notice saying that our food stamps have been reduced by about $280 for next month.  Our income has not changed and I can't get in touch with my case worker.  

Tomorrow, I'm going to take my engagement ring and ring guard to the pawn shop.  I should be able to get a bit for them and then I can get them back later.  I have my mom's engagement ring as well.  There's a cool story behind that one.  With my second marriage to Paul, he bought a really cheap 10K gold wedding band for me (believe me, in retrospect, it was appropriate).  I went to visit my mom and she gave me her wedding and engagement rings from when she was married to my father.  He'd been dead 10 years and she was married to my stepfather by then.  They fit, so I wore them through my second marriage to Paul.  I was sitting at my desk at the preschool one day and felt something snap on the back of my hand, looked down and saw a chunk of the back of my mother's engagement ring on the desk, popped right off of the ring.  I happened to look at the clock because it was almost time to take snacks in to the kids (10:30am).  I put the ring in my purse and didn't think much of it.  When I got home, my uncle called to tell me that my stepfather had died at 10:30 that morning.  I guess my mom had invested so much husband energy after wearing the first set of rings for 26 years that when her heart broke when Grover died, the ring broke too, 3000 miles away.

Anyway, if I can get a bit for the rings (the diamonds are all very nice), I might be able to pad the rent fund a bit.  I'll still have the plain band I got married with and that's the important one.  Eric asked me not to take my rings in and for him not to have to take in his guns.  Unfortunately, desperate times cause for desperate measures and his guns could serve far more use (as in hunting) than could my rings if push comes to shove.  

It is uncanny that neither Eric nor I have been able to get a job.  We've been taking turns spending the days looking and the one who isn't on the road looking, job hunts on the net.  Nothing.  We've applied for literally hundreds of jobs.  

I am willing to entertain the idea that we may have to give up the house.  I guess we'll know by this time tomorrow.  I remember claiming this house 2 years ago.  As soon as I walked in, I knew it was mine.  It welcomed me.  The problem is that there aren't any apartments renting for what we pay for this house, much less a house, much less first and last and deposits on a new place.  Nope.  If we lose this one, we will likely be nomads.  We have the VW bus, which sleeps 3 and the two boys can be on the floor in sleeping bags.  We can get rid of as much as possible and put the rest in storage until we can get a house.  I'm afraid it will be hard to get another house, because obviously, our current Property Manager isn't going to give us a sterling recommendation and Sacramento is very much a landlord's market and not a tenant's.  

I've wondered what we will do with our pets.  Try to find good homes for them, I guess.  Dixie is so old, we'd probably have to have her put down.  She is almost totally blind and wouldn't do well on the road or in new surroundings.  

I keep trying to imagine what living life on the road, so to speak, would be like and I guess I don't have a good point of reference.  I can glamorize it in my head, but I know it would be hard.  Not undoable by any means, but no day at the beach.  I guess it's as hard as we let it be.  

In fact, I keep trying to imagine that this is happening at all.  It feels so surreal.  Needless to say, I thought I'd be in a very different place at age 41.  

I have in no way lost faith.  I understand that we may lose our home, but I do trust that whatever happens is part of whatever process it is that guides us on our way in this life.  There has been so much in my life that I did not understand until it was in retrospect and I am going to presume this to be the same.  I know that if I fight The Process, I'll just end up getting in my own way, so all I can really do is keep trying doors and see which ones open.  I still believe there can be a way for this all to work out and just be a "near miss" (I still wonder why it's not a "near hit" and a "near miss" isn't a collision) that we'll shake our heads over later and wonder how we made it.  As long as we are all together and healthy, surely, surely there's nothing we can't get through.  

I'll keep ya posted.  For now, I'm just really, really tired, so I'm just going to pray and go to bed.  I've been sleeping so well lately that it's intoxicating and I have to get up early tomorrow.

If you can spare a prayer, light a candle, swing a cat or whatever it is you do, we'd really appreciate it.  Oddly, I'm really not afraid...just uneasy.  Eric is doing such a great job of holding it together and we've worked hard to keep one another upright.  This too shall pass, but only time will get us through it and out the other side.

Take care!

Sept 22, 2002
9:45 am

Thank God for Computers

No matter how bad things get, the video of  "Weapon of Choice" (download here) by Fat Boy Slim always, always makes me smile.  I first saw Christopher Walken dance in 1984-5 (can't remember which) when I was in England.  There was a gala on TV called "Night of 1000 Stars" (I know there is also a literacy campaign by the same name and I'm not sure if they are connected...it was a long time ago and I can barely recall what I had for breakfast and if you note the time of this entry, you'll see how truly sad that is) and there were literally 1000 stars presented in a 2-3 hour show.  They brought back the casts of lots and lots of old TV shows from the 50's, 60's and 70's, lots of older movie stars and lots of new ones.  That was the first time I ever saw Whoopie Goldberg and she did an incredible stand up routine that was outrageously funny.  There were so many other wonderful things going on.  I used to have it on video, but it was recorded in England, and things recorded there won't play in the states, so I lost it.  In it, Christopher Walken dances and lord, does he ever dance.  I've not seen a person defy gravity like that since Gene Kelley and Fred Astaire.  He was just...magic.  He's such a weird guy any way and he dances so inhumanely well that it makes him even more separated from the human race.  Mark and Brian (DJ's in LA) once said that the only person that scared them more than Christopher Walken in an interview was Michael Keaton.  :)  So go download that video and watch it with me!!!  I made Sage do it and he's so glad I did.

Speaking of literacy, I was reminded of a time (one of the many) that I made a complete ass of myself.  Fortunately, the audience was small.  Unfortunately, the audience had a long memory.  My first (and second, but not the third, as it turned out) husband and I were in a McDonald's drive through.  I saw on the menu "Picture menus available at the window" and went off an a big time rant about how, even at McDonalds, we encourage illiteracy.  In a country where education is assured and free to anyone who can step foot on the land, McDonalds would be corporate enough to pander down to those who don't even take the time to learn to read a menu.  I mean, how can you operate in a world without having a basic reading knowledge or expect that when you get to McDonalds, if you can't read the menu, you can ask for a picture menu and point to your Big Mac or Quarter Pounder and voila!  You just proved that you can get a meal in America without having to be bothered with something as troublesome as learning to read!  I mean, who is that sign for anyway?  If you can't read, you sure can't read the words "Picture menus available at the window," can you?  So why bother even HAVING the sign there?  That makes it even more sad because that means that SOMEONE ELSE has to TELL the illiterate person that, hey, they can go up to the window and ask for a PICTURE MENU if they can't READ even simple words!!  So Paul let me rant for a bit and then said, "Kathy (I hadn't grown into Katrina yet.  I had the name from birth, but didn't use it until I was 35), the picture menus are for people who are mute and can't use the drive through."  "Oh," I said.  "Nevermind."  

THAT reminded me of a time when Joe (my son) was really little, I guess about 4 because we were in New Mexico.  On the main drag of Alamogordo, I *think* on the corner of Indian Wells Road, there is a school for the blind and as we were pulling up to a stop light near it, Paul drifted over and trailed over some of the little white turtles (of which there are many in that spot) and the inevitable bududududdudump sounded.  Paul said, "Joe, do you know what those white bumps on the road are for?" thinking to teach him about people not paying attention and falling asleep at the wheel.  Joe, not to ever be outdone said, "Yes, it's so the blind people know where to turn to get to their school."  That's my boy.  :)

Can you tell I'm working hard to distract myself from reality here?

This just...sucks.  I'm holding on hard to the faith, but lately, there are times in the day when it feels like I'm holding on, but the faith is coated in oil.  Yesterday, Eric was carrying Nathan (the 3 year old) to his room, his back went out on him and he fell to the floor.  About 3 months ago, he picked up a piece of equipment, felt a pull in his back and after it was sore for a couple of days, he was fine.  Now, the same place totally gave out on him. He spent 4 hours at the ER and the doctor told him he had a herniated disk and shouldn't be lifting anything at all.  It's really been hurting him and of course, with this type of back injury, they won't give any pain medication because they're afraid if you aren't feeling the pain, you'll overdo and cause more damage.  This comes on top of him not sleeping for 5 days, finally sleeping on Friday and last night after a friend of ours brought over some kick ass sleeping pills AND having a bad sinus infection so he can't breathe.  He is just such a mess.  He can't breathe.  He can barely walk.  He is still exhausted.  I look at him and wonder if this is what I've done to the vibrant, confident, empowered young man that I married 5 years ago.  He has been looking SO hard for a job and he's so scared that we aren't going to be able to provide for the kids or stay in our house or keep the lights on.  I keep trying to stay focused on the present, when we have a house, have a car, have food, have lights etc, but it's getting harder and harder not to go to the dark places with him.  I know his fear and his feelings of helplessness are what are tearing him down physically.  Josh and I have both been looking for work as well with no luck.  It's so strange.  It's like we're in this little bubble that won't let any miracles in. I keep telling myself (and him) that it IS a miracle that we are still in a house.  It IS a miracle that Sage took over the site at just the right time.  It IS a miracle that we have food and electricity still.  He just needs another one.  A really big miracle that really shows him that everything is going to be just fine and that when you're down, cycles will take you back up again in time.  Since it's the time of harvest and I've had a feeling about this weekend for a while, I'm refusing to give up.  

The part that scares me most is my dad, who died in 1986.  Dad was a night watchman for the coal company in Owensboro, Kentucky (Green Coal Company, in fact).  When the coal company went on strike, dad lost his job and was out of work for a year.  When his unemployment benefits ran out after 6 months, they were extended for another 6 months.  He was 50 years old and was having a terrible time finding work.  He'd been a 20 year Master Technician with General Motors and was a fantastically gifted mechanic, but the shop he worked for closed and he got the night watchman's job which, with a union shop, almost doubled what he made as a mechanic and body man.  When the night watchman job was over, he tried to get back into the automotive field, but found that he was shut out.  While he'd been guarding coal tipples, cars had gone through the metamorphosis to computerized systems and he was way out of his league.  He couldn't get work anywhere.  The day before his benefits ran out, he called me.  I was in New Mexico, running late for a GYN appointment I'd waited about a month to get (we were short staffed at the AF clinic).  He started telling me how scared he was.  His unemployment was running out.  He couldn't get another extension.  He had no way to care of mom and my brothers.  I told him I'd call him back, that I had to get going.  The appointment ran late.  I got home and started dinner.  Got the kids settled.  Went to call dad and it was 8pm...too late to call someone in Central time zone.  I'd call him the next day.  There wasn't a next day.  Well, there was, just Daddy wasn't in it.  He had chest pains, they took him into the ER, did tests, noted some weird stuff going on, watched him overnight and were ready to do a heart catheterization the next day.  Before time for the heart cath, he sat up in bed, said, "My chest hurts" and fell back, dead before he hit the pillow.  His heart literally ruptured in his chest, a blow ventricle from 51 years of a high cholesterol diet.  The autopsy that reduced my dad (let's not get into the man who called me "Kitten" and tossed me into the air and carefully carved hair barrettes for me, then glued them onto old barrettes for me to wear) to a "51-year-old obese male Caucasian with graying, wiry hair" said that all blood vessels leading away from the heart were occluded by 98% or better.  It was a wonder he stayed alive as long as he did.  No one told me he was in the hospital until he'd died.  They thought he'd be going home the next day and he'd call me then.  What I knew is that my dad's heart had broken because he couldn't take care of his family any more.  I had blown him off the last time I spoke to him and never got to say good-bye.  

That's why it scares me to see Eric like this.  My grandmother still despises my mom because she had to bury her son.  She swears my mom killed him because she wasn't a good wife.  She put him in his grave with her demanding ways and sharp tone.  Although my mother-in-law doesn't know me (she lives in New Jersey and we live in California...they have visited twice), she definitely doesn't like me and most certainly (this one isn't speculation, it's straight from the source) blames me for Eric's current state.  She has always hated that Eric married someone older than he is who already had children.  She hated me for not working when Eric and I decided it was more important to have mom home as a stay at home mom for the kids than to have double income.  When Eric was working, we could definitely afford it, but when he's unemployed, obviously, we can't.   We've all, as I said, been looking for jobs, but the general consensus in his family is that if I'd been working all along instead of entertaining this selfish, lazy notion of staying home to take care of the kids, we'd have a back up income, Eric wouldn't be under so much stress and all would be well.  That places the blame for what's happening squarely on my shoulders.  For that, the in-laws despise me.  I have ruined their son's life, just as they predicted when we got married.  I mean, what else could an older woman want with a younger man other than someone to support her and take care of her kids?  I countered that if that was the case, I'd have married someone OLDER with MONEY instead of a poor airman.  Regardless, what they see is that before me, their son was carefree, happy and on the fast track to success.  After me, he's now saddled with 2 children of his own, an adopted 9-year-old and 3 grown stepchildren who come to him for advice, he's in debt, unemployed and about to get ousted from his house with no means to get another one.  He's scared, he's defeated and he doesn't know how he's going to take care of his family.  He feels like he can't get a break no matter where he turns, despite retraining into another field (so he has two very different job searches going on).  At least I'm taking his phone calls.  Still, it scares me.  I feel like a maneater.  The parallels between Daddy and Eric are just plain scary, so I want to talk about something else and not think about it any more.  Tra la!  Tra la!

Went to Pagan Pride Day yesterday, which should be renamed to Pagan Shame Day, we have decided.  What used to be a glorious event (in Sacramento, ours is the 2nd biggest Pagan Pride Day event in the nation) of beautiful smiling people in earth shoes and peasant skirts and kilts with drummers and workshops and handmade crafts by local artisans and little stands by local stores has become a freak show with overpriced Renn Faire crap and psychopaths who are thrilled to be out of the straitjacket for a while.  I actually watched a 300 pound woman with a platinum buzz cut (who was working a booth) stand up in full view of the world, unzip her cutoff shorts, drop them to her knees, reach into her men's fruit-of-the-loom briefs, do some scratching and rearranging, then pull her shorts back up, tuck her tiny (well, comparatively) tank top into the shorts, sniff her fingers, belch and plop back down again.  Eric suggested she was shifting her testicles.  My whole group, minus Leslie who was sick, was together and saw it and we could do little but gape and smack one another with the backs of our hands to make sure they were seeing it too.  We ended up huddled in a circle in the middle, just people watching.  Georgia suggested, "Maybe we should cast a circle for protection."  (hee hee).  It was fascination watching, but to look out on the field of "Pagans" (it reminded me of the Island of Misfit Toys) who were using Paganism as little more than a glorified outlet for their own excesses and to not have to ever think of self improvement in any way made me sad.  These, I thought, these are my people.  I'm starting to think I've got to get a new gig.  I left Christianity for a very good (and very similar, actually, if you squint) reason and I'm about ready to bail on these guys too.  To modify a "Men in Black" quote, "A Pagan is good, Pagans suck."  It was like someone called a white trash convention and the masses responded.   

I do wish I could be more like Sage or Gary Zukav or Deepok Chopra or Wayne Dyer and feel the inner connectedness that runs between us all and makes us as one beneath the skin, but I'm just not there yet.  I'm looking at these people and I'm thinking that 98% of them, I *DON'T* want to be one with, beneath the skin or anywhere else.  I want to be far away from them.

<-------The one bright point was this lady.  This is Janet Farrar, who is my favorite Witchy writer.  She's who I want to be when I grow up.  She's sooooo coool.  She was at the event, but not lecturing.  I have never seen her in person before, but I saw her from the back and recognized her.  "ERIC!!  It's HER!"  "Her who?"  "The only HER who's really here!!"  It was like the rest of the world went black and white and she was in Technicolor.  SHE is what I think of a Pagan being, not the ball-shifting behemoth with bad fashion sense.  I'm about to take off for a lecture (free!!!) she's giving, so there's a wonderful blessing in and of itself!  I'll let you know how wonderful it was!!

Thank you so much for being there for me to vent to so I don't have to dump all of my fears and weirdness onto Eric, who is already carrying a heavy enough load.  Talking to you guys lets me unload enough to take on some of his when I need to.  That means the world to me.


Sept 22, 2002


The lecture was about a billion times better than I even could have imagined!!  She and her new husband, Gavin Bone, are FABULOUS and absolutely the coolest people I've ever met.  If yesterday was, indeed, Pagan Shame Day, today, Sept 22 is officially Pagan Pride Day because she totally rejuvenated my pride in being Pagan.  I can't think of anyone else I could listen to for 2 hours and be entranced, not to mention agreeing with every word they said.  What a wonderful day this was!!  What a wonderful broad she is!  Even Eric was blown away by them and he's a really hard sell.  I'm blissful...and hungry!  Our dear friend, Erick, brought bags of groceries to us at the Pagan Pride Day festival.  Juices!  Whole wheat bread!  Potatoes!  Organic Peanut Butter!!  YUMMY!!!  Today was the total antithesis of yesterday and I feel most fulfilled.  What a nice way to start the week!  Yayyy!  Eric's back is even better!


Please click on Uncle Sam or the smiley globe if you've already read Uncle Sam!!


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July 2002 June 2002 April - May 2002 Mar 2002
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