Katrina Rasbold - Queen of It All



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March 12, 2008

I suwannee, I cannot seem to grab onto any kind of pattern in this life for anything.  Just when I think I have a really good feel for how things are supposed to go, the whole deal changes again.  It's about to wear my old ass out, I tell you.

So I gave up on the store idea and then out of the blue, I had this swarm of people show up perfectly willing to help me out with the fact that I simply could not be down there all the time.  Like I said, the thing is 45 minutes away and I wanted it just as much as I want my next breath right now, but I didn't dare go for buying a store if I did not have the people to run it.  So now with people lining up at my doorstep to help me work, I set out on my search for funding.  I mean, I only needed a paltry $60,000 or so!  So I started looking under every rock I could find and got just a whole big ol' ton of "NO!!" responses, most of whom were unwilling to even listen to my pitch once they found out that there was no real estate attached to the transfer, just the entity of Land of Awes (is that not a grand name or what??).  Finally, Wells Fargo took me seriously and set up a big ol' profile on me and on the store and started working through SBA to get me funded and I was trying hard not to be excited and to detach myself from whatever outcome presented, but the more this woman talked, the more confident I felt and pretty soon, it felt as though it was already a done deal, I just had to get the official word.  They said it would take 2 weeks or so, but here I am just 6 days in and they already called me up to tell me no.  *sigh*  In the interim, I had come up with so many good ideas for how to help the store turn a greater profit in the down times and now they are just going to languish into nothingness unless some kind of miracle presents itself.  Apparently, the SBA was not thrilled with the fact that I don't have tons of room on my credit cards and have a bankruptcy that is seconds from falling off (hits 10 years in November).  Without SBA backing, I have been told banks are just not interested, so I'm back to entertaining the unconventional ideas for how to do this (of which I have absolutely none).  Regardless, Viva Diva will move forward (the line of products I am developing with Jackie Lou for soy candles, beeswax candles, body cream, lotions and soaps, as well as Diva Bears) with us hanging out at swap meets and craft sales instead of inside a cool, fine store.  Meh.  Less overhead, less time.

I'm OK with the idea of giving it up.  I am just puzzled as to what purpose getting me excited about it actually served.  As the song says, "Well understand it all by and by."

In the interim, having spent a good 2 weeks with my desk in the back room and decent solitude while I transcribe, I am finding that I still hate doing it and I'm still awful at it and there's no way of telling whether the chicken or the egg came first on that one.  Yesterday, after feeling nudged by the Universe for a few days, I told myself to stop being such a prideful pussy and to pick up the phone and call my boss and admit that I suck at this and quit, which I did.  She agreed it was a good thing and said that in a few weeks, my company is going to start having punitive issues coming up for folks who are having a problem with transcribing and that's me, so it all worked out.  She talked me into staying on until the end of the next pay period (I was shooting for the end of this pay period - which is Friday), so an extra couple of weeks got hammered on.  I even included in the resignation letter that if there was any way I could get out sooner, I'd sure like to.  At this point, the 31st is my final day.  That's a big fat 12 more working days.  If I had my way, this equipment would already be packed up and on its way back to where ever it came from and I'd be done.  Worst case scenario is that I go back to being a kept woman again and don't get migraines from doctors who are unable to speak above a whispered mumble.  I was only averaging (literally) around $7.50 an hour.  I got a LOT better, but not better enough.  My big idea what that by having the courage to give up the job I really hate and not have that security, that my faith would impress The Universe, who would then see I was freed up to own a store.  Apparently, such is not the case *yet*.  If it never happens, I'm OK with that.  Maybe I was just supposed to flex the mental muscles a bit and dream of doing something different for awhile.  I'm not as disappointed as I thought I would be, but I'm also more disappointed than I expected, and I completely know that makes no sense, so just move along and don't think about it too much.

Since I am working that bright side all to hell, I am going to have more free time and that will be nice.  I feel like I have been tired for a long time, so as long as other things don't come along to take up all my time, maybe this summer will be more restful than the last one.

Knockity knock knock.

The diet and exercise is still going exceptionally well.  Still staying below 1800 calories a day, although I have not documented for a few days.  I feel as though I am in the groove, but will check in a day or so every week to make sure I am still on target.  We have worked out every day this week and really felt it today.  It was a real beating.  I am eager to get on the scale on Monday and see what I've lost.  I gained 2 pounds this week, but that was fully expected since we went full on hard into working out last week.  It doesn't worry me even a little bit. If the scale hasn't budged this coming week, I will drop down to 1500 calories a day for a while.  I am trying not to make it a strong life focus, but rather a life change that will continue on, so I don't analyze it a lot.  I just do it...every single minute of every single day.

So that's all I've got.  Life is...life.  Hope you are all doing well.

Be particular,

February 29, 2008

Things did not go as I expected and I have been processing and now it is time to update.

Even as I was writing my last entry, something did not feel right in the face of lots of things seeming to be just as they should be, so I started tappy tapping again to see what would float to the surface.  For those of you who do not know, EFT stands for "Emotional Freedom Technique" and is a procedure where you relax, go into a fairly meditative state and tap on certain energy touchpoints in your body while you meditate on the issues that concerns you.  The result is that you get a free flow of energy through your central meridians and it shakes loose retained emotions about the situation, as well as bits of information that you may know or intuit about the situation, but cannot access in your usual state for whatever reason.  When you are tapping, any impressions or thoughts that might float up (I think of it as "floating up" because it sort of turns your mind into a Magic 8 Ball, with the important difference being that you have no idea what's going to be written on the sides of that little pyramid inside it.  A minor thought or impression will float up into your head and you follow it through to another and another and another and pretty soon, you've got a whole series of insights about the situation you did not have when you started. 

This time, I started getting feelings about how I deal with failure and my own insecurities over the balance in my relationship.  There is a part of me that has always felt bad when I decide to spend money on myself (like the General Hospital Fan Weekend I go to every year) when my contribution to the family in financial terms is so minimal.  My retirement pension is not very much at all and I don't bring in very much money from the web design business.  It seems to run in a "feast or famine" style.  I do fully realize the value of being at home with my kids and what that gives both to me and to my family.  Still, it's nice to know that I am contributing financially at least as much as I am taking out for my own selfish pleasures. 

That all being the case, I had a long talk with Eric and the kids about how they feel my working as it stands now affects them personally and the family as a whole.  They were wonderfully candid and supportive and I appreciated that very much.  I realized that a lot of my catastrophic feelings over the job were inside my own head and did not really exist in the real world.  I also feel that some of them were reactionary to the stress of this time when Eric has not been working regularly while he waits for his business to start flowing as it will.  All along, I have maintained that I could not possibly ask for a better supervisor, a better company or better circumstances and the fact that this job was handed to me in such a bizarre and miraculous fashion left me feeling ungrateful to let it go after only 4 months.  Granted, it was 4 months of intense struggle and frustration, but I did not feel comfortable letting it go without at least trying to make some adjustments in my life to make it work instead of insisting that it work for me.  Delena had an incredible insight about my working time that I had not considered.  She pointed out that whether it is during the day on weekends or at night when I am working, my desk is in the family room and family room is where the family comes together to hang out.  Since it's hard for me to work with them in the room, they end up sequestering in their own rooms and they miss one another. 

The boys agreed that this was the case and otherwise did not seem to care one way or another.  Eric's only problem with it since I have changed to a night shift (he did not like the days being taken up when I worked 10-2) was seeing my frustration and dismay over how poorly I was doing. 

At this point, I had already sent in my resignation and spoken to my supervisor about it and while she did finally admit that I am the worst transcriptionist she has, she was really bummed I was leaving because they are desperate for trained medical transcriptionists and I at least am a warm, typing, medical-terminology-and-format-literate body who takes up a shift 4 days a week. 

Eric and I talked about it and I did tell him that I felt it would be easier for me if I had an area where I was not in the thick of family life while I tried to work, which would also help the family by giving them back the family room.  We decided that we would trade desks.  Since I pretty much live at my desk, it is not usually in a state of pristine cleanliness and that frustrates Eric a good bit because the family room is a show and tell place when people come over.  Here in Grizzly Flats, people do not much phone before dropping by.  The basic idea behind that is that once you're "in the club" community-wise, you're family and well, family doesn't call first. 

Eric has a HUUUGE wood desk in the laundry room/dog room that is off of the family room.  I had a Walmart L shaped desk with a hutch in the family room.  That is now reverse.  Eric ran phone lines to the back room so the fax machine and DSL modem would work and we spent Monday afternoon moving our stuff back and forth.  It ended up working out well.  I had already spoken to my supervisor on Friday (wow!  It has been a week already!) and she was overjoyed that I was staying.  I vowed that I was going to give it my best shot and really try to do a good job.

The laundry room has a heavy curtain I can use to sequester and I have definitely noticed a difference in the quality of my work now that I am more isolated from the family during my shift.  The attitude helps as well and I do not feel as challenged by the entire shift of work.  I feel competent for most of the shift, even though my speed is not what it should be, with usually only 1-2 reports that just kick my ass.  I figured out through the tapping that even though my income soon will not be a survival issue as it has been, I can take the money I make and move it over to a savings account for emergencies or special family fun things. 

I feel much better about the decision to do this than I did about the decision to quit the job and that is saying an awful lot because I was really happy at the thought of letting this go.  I have never quit something just because it was hard and I simply could not find peace with doing that now.  I am not saying that this job is going to stick with me forever, but it is something I needed to make friends with and do for my own self-satisfaction and not because we were desperate for the money.  Now that I know I can walk away, I feel a lot better about it and am dedicated to doing it.   If it doesn't work out and they have to let me go because I never got up to speed, then I will know I tried my best and did not give up.

I feel like I got my spirit back and that is important to me.

So much has happened in addition to that that I hardly know where to start.

I started a fairly regimented diet on Monday and I literally track every bite that goes into my mouth.  I am staying below 1800 a day religiously.  I will have worked out aggressively 3 days this week and expect that to flesh out into more next week.  I have not weighed, but I am pretty certain I've lost weight.  My intention is to lose 100 pounds by January 2nd of 2009.  I am truly tired of hauling this extra weight around and dealing with the restrictions (although I have to say, in my case, they have been only moderate) it imposes.  I no longer want to be described as "that fat woman over there."  I don't want to go to the doctor at some point and know the transcriptionist will be typing about an "obese white female" and mean ME.  I want to wear cute clothes and America just outright refuses to make pretty clothes for fat women.  I want my kids to see me do something amazing and this will be it.

My secondary goals for the year are to learn to bellydance and to learn to play the organ we have.  I've received good confirmation on all three of these goals and I am ready to make them into realities. 

Honestly, the diet has not been all that hard past the first 2 days.  I have been taking the most natural form of Hoodia supplement I can find.  I wanted something that did not have other additives in it other than what is needed to preserve the root inside the capsule and such.  I don't even remember to take it regularly.  I do not feel any side effects from it other than not being hungry all the time.  For the past few months, I never stop being hungry.  I will be leaving a restaurant where I can feel that my stomach is completely full and within a few minutes, I will be absolutely dying for something to eat.  I wanted to eat all the time and sometimes, would get shaky feeling if I did not get something to eat.  Since I started the diet and started taking the Hoodia, I feel full most of the time, which is really nice.  As I said, it was not that way for a couple of days and during that time, I pretty much wanted to pull up trees and chew on the bark if I had to to get something to eat.  Now, I'm in the zone.

I am drinking a lot of water and I went completely off of diet soda.  After hearing it for years, I finally got the information that artificial sweetener is bad for you explained in a way I could fully understand.  Basically, the pancreas lies dormant until the brain signals it that something sweet is coming and insulin is needed.  The pancreas then begins cranking out insulin to our bodies to deal with the coming rise in glucose levels in our bloodstream.  With artificial sweeteners, the brain can not distinguish that it is not sugar causing the sweet rush and still signals the pancreas to fire up the insulin.  The sugar never comes, the pancreas is working over time (since I drank diet soda all day long) and the glucose doesn't hit.  Not a happy body balance going on there and supposedly, this is one of the leading causes of pancreatic cancer.  Since the pancreas is a very porous and loose organ, cancer moves quickly through it (same with the ovaries, whereas uterine tissue, for instance, is quite dense).  I'm not having ANY of that.  As soon as I heard that, all artificial sweetener went away for me.  Sugar comes from a plant and is organic.  If I want soda, I will work the calories for a real soda into my daily diet budget.  No more chemical loading, either from outside (the artificial sweetener) or inside (the insulin with nowhere to go).  Almost immediately, a lot of bloating I had went down and I felt physically much better, whether it was power of suggestion or not (don't care).

I had a wonderful business opportunity come up that I believe I am regretfully going to have to let pass by.  My very favorite little boutique in town, Land of Awes, is for sale.  It is a costume rental shop and also has really cool used clothing, nice jewelry, incense, etc and I am telling you, this place has just the best juju ever.  I have spent the last week reviewing profit and loss statements and trying to factor out a way to do this.  The building itself is rented, but the landlords are reportedly quite cool and the rent is only $1 per square foot, which is ridiculously cheap for this area.  The entire business, including inventory, fixtures, a booth for Renn Faires and such, etc is only $69,000 out the door and the owner is willing to carry $19,000 of the note.  This is, of course, my dream, to run a little shop like this.

Those are the pros and the cons are a much longer list.  The drive is 40 minutes one way in good traffic.  The store is typically open 6 days a week.  The previous owner has not taken on employees and has run the shop herself.  The income of the shop is not really sufficient at this point to support salaried employees, but is a good income if the owner does all the work.  I am not really sold on the idea of driving up and down the hill to work 6 or even 5 days a week.  The cost of gas each day would be quite a consideration, not to mention wondering what I would do with the boys in the summer and after school.  Then comes the nerve-wracking venture of moving through the process of getting funded for the remaining $50,000.

All of that being the case, I am going to have to let this little pipe dream slip away and if it is meant to be, The Universe will bring it back to me in another time and another place.  I'm peaceful with that.

This week, it has seemed like every single day, I have to go to town for something which, of course, takes up the whole day and allows me to get exactly nothing else done.  I really want to clean my house and hide and write like mad.

Eric has finally, finally at long last gotten paid some of what was owed to him from the contracts he has worked.  It's enough to get us through this month and I am not looking far beyond that.  Evidently, the Air Force screwed up its billing process and did not pay the general contractor for months, so none of the sub-contractors were paid either.  To all accounts, that has now been sorted out and billing should be flowing as it is supposed to, meaning Eric should get paid again for the remainder of the job in a month or so.  That was one amazing ride since the first of December and although I cannot bring all of our bills completely current yet, I can get them all out of danger and we managed to keep the mortgage company happy through this process.  Eric and I both agree that next to losing each other or an immediate family member, losing our house would be what would most crush our very hearts.  There aren't enough words to express how much we love our home.

Look at that, would you?  I have taken up 45 minutes and all this space just to tell you that I am staying with my job, I'm on yet another diet, I'm not buying a store, I've gone to town a lot and Eric got paid.

Life is just weird, isn't it?  :)

February 20, 2008

Free at last, free at last.  Praise God Almighty, I am free at last.

I have spent almost 2/3 of February and a decent amount of January in just a gigantic funk and I didn't even get a lousy T-shirt after a lot of EFT tapping and meditating in my gobs of spare time (ha ha) and praying and thinking on it, I finally feel like I can see the sun even though it is cloudy and gray in Grizzly Flats this morning.  Whoo Lordy, I am so happy to feel my spirit in there singing away and blissy again, even though the tiff is still in there, sort of like the smell of burnt toast or popcorn hangs in the air long after to haul its smoldering carcass out to the outside trash.

Eric got paid by one of his accounts, just enough to make the house payment and keep it from getting sticky.  Meanwhile, we had the following conversation with a crack shot refinance specialist:

Him:  Well, you just send us your information and since we work with 80 bazillion lenders, there is no way we can't get you into a fixed rate and much better loan than you have now!

Me:  That's great, give me your fax number, but I can tell you straight out, the problem you are going to run into is that truly the only real estate movement this area saw in 2007 were bank sales at about 2/3 of the value of the property, so what's happening is that the only comps there are to pull are ones that do not reflect the actual value of the property.  That being the case, be prepared for the possibility that the value your appraisers are able to get on the house isn't even within grabbing distance of the amount of our loan."

Him:  Blah blah blah bazillion lenders, blah blah blah.


*Two Weeks Later*

Him:  I'm just blown away.  I've gone through about 20 appraisers and they just can't get anywhere near the value for your home that's above the amount you owe.

Me:  Really?  Well think of that!  Who knew?

People always, invariably, believe they know more about your circumstances than you do your own self.

Then my friend, Andrea, the exercise buddy, brings me over this bag of goo and tells me that it is "Friendship Bread" and leaves me with this whole page of instructions for how I have to take care of this bread for 10 DAYS.  I mean holy shit.  I've got to babysit bread for 10 days, mushing the bag and feeding the thing and mushing the bag and ultimately, on the final day, baking the crap and pulling out 3 other bags of the goo to inflict on other unsuspecting "friends."  Since Andrea and I all know the same people, she's already got them going on it, so I couldn't give my bread goo away if I tried.  So I put it out on the counter with the instructions and it became some kind of family project with the bag getting mushed and the air getting let out many times a day.  I told her that if they wanted to save a big ol' ton of money, instead of giving high schoolers those dolls that cry and pee and poop and everything, they ought to just hook them all up with bags of friendship bread.  At least then they could eat their young afterward. 

Yesterday was Day 10 and everyone hung around expectantly while Eric (yes, Eric, shut up) made the bread, only to find we had no big package of vanilla instant pudding as was required.  Being ever the efficient neighbor, he called Andrea and sure enough, she not only had some, but she would deliver it, which makes her kind of like a pusher, I think.  Bread was made, complete with a full cup of oil (I did not have applesauce in the house) and about 10 pounds of sugar and cinnamon.

Needless to say, I now have a brand new addiction and scarfed down two warmed pieces with butter last night while I was, ironically, watching The Biggest Loser.  I'll bet those guys wish they had some.  If they made Friendship Bread one of their challenges, the whole show would be doomed.

I could segue into this with the whole Biggest Loser thing, but meh, next bit...

Andrea has started coming over again to exercise since I was able to change my work schedule from 10am-2pm to 6-10pm, freeing up my days and taking up my nights.  She can't always do 5 days a week, but she can do a minimum of 3 and that's wonderful.  Yesterday was Yoga Tuesday and it felt really good, even though I've let myself go to the point that my warriors aren't as proud or brave because my arms start to ache.  I know from experience that within a couple of weeks, that will all be gone.

That definitely gets me back on track to lose 100 pounds by January 2 and also, I had Eric bring in the Gazelle and the treadmill from the shed for me to use on the other days.  Additionally, my friend Jackie Lou hooked me up with the absolutely perfectest belly dancing instructional DVD and I'm really excited about that.  I also learned that the reason I wasn't connecting well with the other DVDs I have of belly dance instruction is that they are Egyptian based and I am specifically drawn to Arab based, which is very different.  Score!  Since this is the time of the year when we are given confirmation or redirection of the goals we are choosing to plant, I take this as 100% Divine backing of my goals to lose the weight and learn to belly dance! 

I also got another major redirect that was such an act of faith that I have a really hard time talking about it.  I was better getting the hang of work to the point that truly, only about one report in 5-6 would really make me crazy.  Then came the idea of exercising with Andrea again, so I asked to have my shift moved and my supervisor excitedly agreed because nights are really busy for us.  What I was not considering is that nights would bring a whole different shift of doctors. It's rare that I get to type the same doctors as I did during the day.  Plus, night brings the TIRED and RUSHED doctors and here I am about to lose my mind again.  My speed is way, way down because I keep having to listen and listen and listen to (sometimes) get what is being said.  As if THAT isn't enough, my company has just set up their system by which you are assigned a score for your reports and the mistakes you make count against you, which makes sense, of course, but sometimes, I swear, it is just absolutely impossible for me to tell what is being said.  So as soon as you sign in to your next shift, all of your errors from the previous shift are right there staring you in your face, waiting to be reviewed.  The program is still working in its beta mode, so no points are being assessed yet.  It's currently just letting you know when you screwed up.  I typically have 4-5 reports that have errors in them, which is about 40-50%.  Not good, plus as I said, my speed is really low.

That means that when I'm working, not only am I trying like mad to understand what is being said, but I am also feeling the pressure of the clock.  By the time my 4 hour shift is over, I'm a nervous wreck.  I have tried to approach this from several angles:  By telling myself that people work all the time and that lots of people have jobs that suck and that you can't stop doing something just because it's hard and that it's just a matter of finding the flow of the dictator and that I will get better with time (it has been 4 months - sheesh!) and that I have an amazing, accommodating, so very understanding and supportive boss (I do).  That's my tough love approach.  Then I go into my *positive* approach and tell myself how capable I am and that every day I get better and better (I don't) and I even pray with gratitude over each incoming report as it downloads and over each shift as it begins.  When the shift ends, I say a prayer of thanks for the insight and training I received during that shift and for the money I will receive from it to buy food for my family.

Nothing works, nothing changes.

Finally, after Monday's shift ended (I am off on Tuesday and Wednesday), I sat in the hot tub with Eric and we had a long talk and out of that came my decision to quit my job as of Feb 29th.  Since Mercury was all set to go direct on Tuesday, I held off making any kind of final decision until then, but I woke up on Tuesday knowing it was done.  I sent out a letter of resignation to my supervisor, thanking her for all she'd done.  I have not heard back from her yet, but I know she gets swamped with emails, although one with the subject line of "resignation" might get her attention.

I thought about this a lot since Eric is having a hard time getting paid by his accounts and we have been using my money for groceries.  He has started his big project at Beale AFB and it is going well.  We found out yesterday after I decided to quit that they expect to have a check ready for him this Friday or next, so that's good.  Quitting on the 29th completes one more pay period for me and gives me a final paycheck on March 10th and I am confident by then that he will be able to be paid enough to get us caught up and out of crisis mode.

Letting go of the job was hard.  Any woman who does not have her own income and is supported by a man knows what a tremendously precarious situation that is.  This job fell into my lap like a blessing from Heaven and helped tremendously.  I was even able to get the woman who trained me to be a medical transcriptionist more than 16 years ago hired by the company.  Well, she got herself hired, I just told her about it.

As if to confirm my decision further, here is what my horoscope said today:

This Full Moon Eclipse is in Virgo, overwhelming you with complex emotions. Your feelings have been intensifying for the past few days, but now you must acknowledge what you feel in your heart, even if it creates additional problems. Although you cannot ignore the facts, things won't settle down until you surrender your irrational need for logic.

I was definitely using logic to keep the job because of course it makes sense that if the family is in financial crisis, everyone pitches in and does all they can and certainly does not turn away a good opportunity to make money that seems like it just was handed to you by God.  To me, those words nailed it that I did the right thing.

Doing this job has had a tremendous impact on my spirit and not in a good way.  It did teach me a lot about what all I appreciate in my life and I believe it taught my family that they miss me and what I do for the family when I am unavailable for 4 hours a day.  I had considered continuing to do it after Eric was solvent just to have a few hundred dollars more a month for fun money or savings, but for me, the cost is too high. 

Now, or rather after the 29th, I can pick up my life again and get back into my favorite job - web design - and write the CUSP book and learn to belly dance and play the organ and actually read books and loll about and eat.  Oh and exercise.  :)

I can feel the beginning of "life is good" and I am very excited about that.