Life Forensics:


Because the unexamined
life is not worth living


May 13, 2007

Happy Mothers Day!

Eric and I do not celebrate Mothers Day, Fathers Day or Valentine's Day, other than to send a gift to his mom.  I normally send flowers, but in a way (as much as I , myself, love to receive flowers), I prefer to send something that doesn't just disappear and go away in a week.  This time, I sent her a copy of hands down, my own very favorite book The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love and one of my favorite meditative CDs, Caroline Myss' Chakra Meditation Music.  I hope she enjoys them as much as I do.  We figured that we are just so ridiculous about throwing around affection and happy thoughts the rest of the year, we won't bother to cave to the Hallmark trap.  We might have the occasional moment where I don't understand what he's saying and he's not understanding what I'm saying (the whole Mars vs Venus thing - most of the time, if we are having trouble, it's more about how we're communicating - or not - than anything else), but for the most part, and I'm talking a good 99 and 44/100% of the time, we're pretty well aware of the prizes we both were able to take away from the midway of life.

I just listened to the SPQ books for about the 10th time or so.  Each time, they make me laugh.  I have some kind of primal joy in listening to them on audio CD in a "tell me a story" kind of way.  I could listen to her voice forever. 

My friend and I will be dusting off our version of the Queens, pulling out our rhinestone, catseye sunglasses, opera gloves, big red wings and tiaras for the Grizzly Flats Independence Day Parade.  We are having a bugger of a time finding red and white large sized sequin dresses.  I have a blue one, but the other girls are bereft.  Even ebay isn't coming through for us, so I am not sure what we will do to adjust.  We simply MUST wear red, white and blue for the parade.  Since we were the "Jingle Belles" at the Christmas parade, we have determined ourselves to be the "Liberty Belles" at this one.  Those who strive to be a Queen and just can't yet for whatever reason (mostly our own obstinacy) are known as "Wannabelles" and the older ladies who have taken us under their wings and played Mamas to us are called "Ma Belles."  

After the parade, we will all descend ravenously onto the school grounds for a community pot luck to delve into the deeelightful offerings the town folk bring for the spread.  We'll have games for the kids and several guest DJs spinning CDs for loud music, dancing and miscellaneous rough housing such as only we hillbillies can muster up.  We'll be havin a "hootenanny."  We'll wind up around 5pm so we can get the grounds all cleaned up and hurry downtown to watch the fireworks that night.

I had a great visit with Joe.  He was here for a week, which, of course, was not nearly long enough to do all we wanted to do and visit all we wanted to visit. 

I feel as though I ran to hell and back over the past couple of weeks.  The last month of school is always busy for everyone, I guess and this one has been a bear.  Last week was GFORCE's "Teacher Appreciation Week," so we spent the week doing things for the teachers.  On Monday, we cooked lunch and took it up to them, then watched the kids on the playground while they ate in peace.  Tuesday, they each got a book from the kids with pictures and letters reflecting what they appreciated most about their teacher.  Wednesday, they each got a gift basket of some of their favorite things (snacks, music, books, etc).  Thursday, they got a beach kit of a beach towel, water bottle, flip flops and such.  Friday, we brought up a home cooked dinner for each of them to reheat for supper that night, plus we had a pedicurist come in and pedicure them while they sipped on their favorite coffee house offering. 

Lord knows *I'd* love to be appreciated like that!

Thursday night was a presentation to the school board by the kids in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade (about 14 kids total) on energy sources.  They were taught power point (why can't someone come up with a better power point program than power point actually is?) and developed the presentation all on their own.  It was very cute and the kids did a great job.

Friday night was the preliminary planning meeting for Burger Nights this year.  For those who do not know, something that is unique (as nearly as I can tell) to Grizzly Flats (my beloved town) is that for about 12 weeks through the summer, the whole town has a party every Friday night called "Burger Night."  "The Committee" (which I thought sounded deliciously Shirley Jacksonesque and I am now tickled silly to be part of "The Committee") sets up about a million long tables and puts those hard, green resin lawn chairs around them.  The men fire up 4-5 grills while ladies dump out gallons of potato salad, green salad, watermelon, cantaloupe,  Maxine's special chili with lots of beans, Ruffles and Lays potato chips, lemonade, iced tea and cookies onto a buffet line.  Two people sell sodas and two people sell meals and two people give out paper plates with burger buns or hotdog buns on them and the whole town comes out to eat together.  You buy your dinner for $3 and no, the price isn't even going up this year.  An older gentleman named Lyle sits at a stereo and cranks out music from the night, everything from Shania Twain to Bert Kaempfert to The Weavers to Charlie Daniels.  You just never know what you're going to get out of Lyle music-wise, but I can assure you, it won't be any of that long-haired hippie music.

We all just love it and it's a big ol' ton of fun.  On the last night, Walt Tyler, the patriarch of our town, spends the previous 24 hours roasting a pig in a pit and all of the pulled meat comes to Burger Night, along with the pulled meat of a few roasted turkeys.  The Red Hat Ladies serve up ice cream sundaes and I mean to tell you, people come for miles around for THAT one.  You just haven't lived right until you have one of the pulled pork sandwiches from a Walt pig.

So there's that to look forward to.

Next Friday night is Bingo Night and it just keeps on getting more and more fun every month. 

Tomorrow, I am going hard core on calorie counting. is my favorite still.  I use their downloadable program.  I just keep on putting off doing it thinking that exercising 4-5 days a week is going to do more than it is.  It's done a LOT, don't get me wrong, but I've hit a point where I really do need to compound my efforts with reducing calories.  I've pretty much been burning off what I keep and keeping stable for a while now and cutting back on calories will give it the asskick it needs to get moving again. 

That being said, I'm nanoseconds away from starting my period and today, I have absolutely wanted to eat the entire world.  It's a compulsive, "If I don't eat this I am just going to die" thing.  I've tried to keep it overpowered, but it just keeps banging at the door again and again.

So I ate a whole lot.

But tomorrow is the big day and I will get with the program and finally start losing again.

Eric is cooking steaks on the grill tonight, which is one of my very favorite meals.  I have some big baking potatoes, so I'll make some baked potatoes and veggies to go with it and that will start the week off nicely.  With some leftover steak in the fridge, I can go low fat, high protein for the week, still staying under the 1800 calorie limit that I know will immediately cause me to knock off weight.  That seems to be the magic portal.  As soon as I spend a few days below 1800 calories, the weight starts to fall off. I just don't like to deprive myself of comfort eating, so it's really only been personal gratification that has continued to keep me from my goal.

I am definitely now more aware that it is much easier for me to add something to my life (exercising) than to take something away that I enjoy (comfort and recreational eating).

Truth be told, I'm just tired of messing around with this whole "change of life" thing and want to stop talking about it and start doing it.  Not that it will ever "be over" because it's a life change, but at least get to maintenance instead of getting there.

I don't have nearly as much planned for this week.  I have a GFORCE meeting on Wednesday and have to do the mail for Eric tomorrow.  He has a business meeting after his part of the mail, so Grizzly Flats falls to me.  I have been very lucky in that he has done the mail most days lately and I have been free to do other things.  This week, other than Monday, I hope to be free to do nothing or whatever I choose rather than things I need to do.  I have enjoyed my days off immensely. 

There is one major job he's bidding now (should know in the next 2 weeks if he got it) and if he is awarded the bid, he will give his 30 days' notice to the postal service.  It will be lovely to be out from under the obligation of working 6 days a week.  The job was an excellent bridge that allowed him time off in the afternoons to bid other jobs and such between working full time and being completely sustained under self-employment.  I will, however, not be sorry to see it go away.  There are definitely good things about it, but I look forward to having my life back again.

Speaking of life changes and such, the kids only have 2 weeks of school left, so I am shoring up for having kids mainlined until August 15th.  I will miss my time alone, but it will also be great not to have to get up at 5:45am to get Delena tucked onto the bus every morning.  Overall, my kids are wonderful about being independent and not clingy or needy, but I do so love the silence of a house with only ME in it.

The July trip is coming up so fast and I am so eager for it to get here.  I can feel that it's going to be just the best one yet. Last year's trip came at such a horrible time for me. Eric and I were going through a particularly rough patch and the money was just nonexistent.  Of COURSE, it turns out that June and July are our predicted complicated financial times THIS year as well.  >:<  Couldn't be AUGUST or maybe MAY and have things get BETTER in June.  >:<  I wish that one year I could go to this thing and just not worry about how much money it costs.  Yep, it's a lot and trust me, Eric has made his frowns well known around here that I spend so much money on a wholly selfish endeavor, but I really, really, really love going and (last year aside because that was just an aberration of nature that should never, ever be repeated) it changes me in a very positive way for the entire rest of the year. 

I am going to scrimp and save from now until then to make it happen, someway, somehow and just not look back after its done.  If he gets the critical job that I mentioned before, we'll be fine for the rest of the year.  He'll have an ongoing project that spans months and he'll be well paid for it.  He does not, however, expect to be paid for it IF he is awarded the bid until a few months from now.  The job he's getting ready to start will pay fine and take up about a month of his time, but he doesn't expect to get paid for that until when??  Around August or so.   >:<   I am quite certain all will be fine.  I am a master at moving and manipulating money around until it works.  I just need one of those old time miracles where a big wad of money falls out of the sky unexpectedly.  But then, I guess it's rare that a big wad of money falls out of the sky and you actually do expect it.  I know most of you know how this goes.  We've all been there from time to time... some of us more times than we want to think about without a good supply of liquor around.

Speaking of liquor, I did the unthinkable and had strawberry margaritas Friday night!  In fact, I had about 4 of them, but I didn't get a good buzz like I usually do.  Instead, I just got a headache and really edgy.  Might not bother doing that again.  I'm just not good at it at all.

This morning, I woke up again feeling out of sorts and discombobulated again, for about the 4th-5th morning out of this week, so I did what always works for me the best to get me reseated in myself and in spirit.  I went to and looked up a whole passel of old southern gospel videos and watched them.  I'm still watching them, in fact.  I just loving listening to The Gaithers, The Speers, Guy Penrod, Mark Lowry, George Younce, JD Sumner and especially, Sister Vestal Goodman.  There is nothing I love more than seeing the Spirit of God at work in someone, whether they are Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Pagan or Jewish.  The energy of God is so prevailing and intense that when someone opens up to it, regardless of the path they took to get there, you can just feel it radiating off of them.  I've never met another person in my whole life who shines with God's spirit like Sister Vestal does.  I just love her and I really felt the loss when she died.  To know that her beautiful voice and sparkling eyes were forever silenced and dimmed just felt like such a shame.  When I listen to this, I just can't believe that everything won't be OK, no matter what's happening.  Vestal is the closest thing I've ever had to a comforting, strong mom and I just love her to pieces.  My mom was such a dear woman, but like my dad, once we got to be teenagers and beyond, they just were completely clueless as to how to relate to us. 

Anyway, I'm so very grateful for a service like that lets me hear those songs again and see all those familiar faces from my childhood.  It's like wrapping up in a soft, warm blanket on a cold night.

I was listening to an interview with my above mentioned very favorite writer in the whole wide world, Jill Connor Browne, who wrote the Sweet Potato Queens books and in the context of the conversation, she happened to say (I'm paraphrasing, but it's very close), "The power of God will never lead to to a place where the grace of God is not sufficient to sustain you."

I got chills when I heard that because it is just so true.  Kathy, write that one down.  It's a keeper.

I feel so much better now, better seated in myself and ready for a wonderful week.  I did spend a good bit of the day in tears as I watched my youtubes.  If you don't cry with joy when you feel the spirit of God, you just ain't doing it right.

Oooh.  Here's another good one.  The woman in purple with dark hair they keep showing is Dottie Rambo (another of my loved ones) who wrote the song "Come Spring."

Time to go make the rest of dinner since Eric is about to throw some steaks on the grill. Here's to a peaceful, restful, nurturing week!

Be Particular,

May 4, 2007

How quickly the week has flown by!  It was a very nice and very productive week.  On Sunday, I woke up feelin fine after a good night of sleep, so I decided to get busy on my spring cleaning.  I stripped out the laundry/dog/storage room and got it all streamlined and nice.  I even managed create enough space in there to bring in the exercise equipment from the family room for storage.  Andrea and I primarily use the DVDs and walk outside, so the elliptical, the gazelle and the treadmill I use on my own when I'm supplementing.  After the laundry room was done, I cleared out the family room of all extraneous stuff and redid the furniture and knickknacks a bit.  That then extended all through the house over the next few days, so by the time I went to bed Tuesday night, I had shampooed carpets, cleaned closets and all kinds of work done.  On Wednesday, I mostly rested because I slept really crappy Tuesday night.  The menopausal night restlessness seems to be unpredictable. 

Yesterday morning, I headed out around 8am to go to the airport to pick up Joe, my son, who is visiting from Canada.  It was flawless.  I parked at the airport at 9:30 (which is really exceptionally great time!), his flight was due to land at 9:51, but by the time I got into the airport and took a potty break, he had already landed early.  His luggage was right there, so we grabbed it and were out in less than a half hour, including taking a smoke break for him.  >:< 

He wanted Long John Silvers, which they don't have in Canada and we don't have where I live, so I'd located one that was almost on the way home.  Because the airport went so well, we were early and had about a half hour to kill before the place opened, so we ducked into a thrift store that was nearby.  I found pants for Dylan's "Sutter's Fort" costume and Joe found a talking Kermit the Frog.  By then, it was time for fish and chips, so we ate lunch and headed home, stopping to pick up a few groceries, then off to Delena's school for "Parents On Campus" day.  We made it in time for her Computer Tech class and got to watch a movie on internet safety.  Because they did not have signed permission slips from the parents, they would show the intro to a story of some child predator who would stalk a child online, get personal information and then... fast forward to the next story.  It was most dissatisfying.

After that, I grabbed Delena and her best friend and up the mountain we went.  Last night was relaxing in the hot tub, frying chicken and making biscuits for dinner and watching an episode of Deadwood on DVD.  It was lovely.

Delena's high school drama department is putting on a showing of "Anything Goes"  and tonight, Joe, Eric and Delena are going to see it.  Delena and I went last Friday night and it was really quite good.  If Eric decides he isn't in the mood, then I will take them instead.

The weekend is a bit crowded, but should be quite nice.  Tomorrow, I deliver the mail, go to a flea market the local fire department is hosting, then our friend, Jennifer, comes up to visit.  We haven't seen her in weeks and she is leaving next week to go to Malaysia for a world child development conference.  We'll have a sweat tomorrow night and then Sunday, as nearly as I can tell ALLLL of the kids and grandkids will be here for a turkey dinner.  Joe goes back on Thursday, so we still have a good bit of visiting to do, although I know it will go by too fast.

It's quite cold out after having a very nice warm patch.  We are supposed to be back up into the 70's over the weekend, but this week, we've had cold rain and some frost.  I am eager to feel the warm again, but the rain is really doing our land some good.  It was a fairly dry winter compared to our usual goings on and we are anticipating a longer and more volatile than usual fire season, so any rain we can get is definitely good.  I just did not expect to have a fire in the woodstove in May.  Brrr!

This year, meaning since last Summer, has been an amazing year of lessons for me regarding friendships.  Some of them were very, very hard and many of them I've written out in previous journals. 

For so long, I completely kept to myself and rarely extended out into real friendships.  I've been hurt by giving into relationships with people more than I could afford to lose and then being really, truly hurt when the relationship ended.  I did not recognize until retrospect hit how much I had isolated myself from the rest of the world.  It was safer that way.  I never had to worry about anyone hurting me because I never invested anything into the relationships that I would be reluctant to lose. 

Over the past year or bit longer, I've been able to really examine the dynamics of friendships and how they affect different people.  I learned first hand, by having all kinds of different experiences, what does and doesn't work for me in friendships and it wasn't at all what I expected or what I had been doing before.  Some of you may remember a time back at the beginning of Winter when things were not going well with the GFORCE ladies.  I felt so out of sync with everyone and like I just didn't belong.  I was ready to walk away, feeling that was best for everyone concerned.  I mulled it over a lot and decided to stay and see it through instead of walking away, which is my usual way of doing things.

I've walked away from a lot of people in my time.  I spent so much of my life being disrespected and put down and talked over and treated as though I was insignificant, in addition to being really, really hurt, that I had decided no one would have the chance to do that again.  If someone was hurting me on a regular basis or otherwise, causing distress, I would just let them go, cut them off clean and keep on walking.

I'd been hurt too much and I didn't need it in my life, so the result is that a good many people didn't make the grade and the door was closed to them.  Of course, no one is perfect and people have bad days and make mistakes and so ultimately, almost no one lived up to my lofty standards of friendship.  I have two friends who have been there through thick and thin for many years and they have helped me through many difficult circumstances.

But back to the last year... The GFORCE ladies, by being right here in my community, right under my nose and impossible to avoid, taught me that part of being a real friend is getting through the tough times and still remaining invested enough to want to continue the friendship.  It's about not letting the worth of the person being defined by a difficult time period.  All five of us came out the other side even tighter as friends and for that I am really grateful.

Mind you, that being the case, I am still not inclined to keep in my life people who are hurtful and destructive and bitchy on an ongoing basis.  I also believe that there are plenty of time that people just are not a good fit as far as friendships go.  I am glad that I have had the experiences I've had in learning to stick it out and enjoy the positives in a relationship and letting that take precedence over the negatives.  But you know, if the negatives are bigger than the positives, you sometimes have to just let it go.

Oops!  Time to do the mail!  It should be a short postal tour today, then I'm off to grab a few groceries for the weekend.

I hope yours is just wonderful.

Be Particular,

PS:  Karen A, where the complete hell are you?

Name: Katrina Rasbold
Location: Grizzly Flats, California

I am a happily married broad of a particular age who lives in a rural mountain community on the edge of the El Dorado National Forest.  Grizzly Flats was once a thriving mining town (think "Deadwood"), but is now a quiet, remote town with a few hundred year-round residents and several city folks with a country home up here where they come to rough it a few times a year.  No more saloons or hotels or livery stables, just an unmanned fire station, a 2 room schoolhouse, a ranger station and a post office. 

It's heaven.

I am a writer and webmaster.  I am also a rural route mail carrier and a student of life and the world around us. 

I deeply honor all religions and whatever (harming none) path others use to reach God and their most sacred selves.  I completely reject the premise that there is one path/ one religion that "fits all" and is the "right" one.  Just as people speak in different languages to one another, I believe God also speaks to us in different languages.  God knows us well enough to understand that our spirits vibrate on different levels and must be accessed in different ways with different words and practices. 

Mike Rowe ("Dirty Jobs"):  "Are you a religious man?"

Septic Tank Cleaner:  "No, but I am a spiritual man."

April 16 - 25, 2007