Today's Diva Words:  "I'm only as strong as the caffeine I drink and the hairspray I use."

September 13, 2007

I have no idea why this thing won't come out of centered formatting (yes, I know how to use html), but we'll just go with it, OK?

The world just keeps on turning.

In a very  nice turnaround, I came home Tuesday afternoon to find a phone message from the woman who was helping me review my transcriptions who said that she wanted to tell me I did very well for someone whose experience was so old.  She said that when she just goes on vacation for a week or so, it takes her a bit to get back into it, so she couldn't imagine trying to test after more than 12 years.  She assured me I would do well and that the test was much, much harder that the job actually is.  I thought it was very sweet of her to do that.  I returned her call and let her know I had not heard anything at that time.

This morning, I got an email from the transcription company asking me to schedule a phone interview, so I have made it that far.  They said it would take up to 20 minutes.  I believe this is where they will either balk or not at how long it has been since I last did the job.  If I passed the practical part of the test, that might be enough to carry me through.  One would think the main point of question is whether or not I can do the work, which was either proven or not on the practical and the fact that they sent me on to the next level.  Should be interesting to see what happens!

I had to really consider all of the implications of taking on a (potential) task like this and honestly, it came up about 50/50 pro and con, so I figured if I pursued it and it didn't happen, it wasn't meant to be.  Right when I failed the first test and figured that was that, my neighbor offered to tutor me, give me some pointers and showed me updated formats, then I guess I passed the test.  I guess I'll find out where it goes from here when I have the phone interview on Monday.

I am admittedly nervous about working a part time (exhausting) job around site work and house work and remodeling, especially since I don't seem to be doing remarkably well at any of those other things lately.  The best thing I think I can do is to try.  I'll keep my head on straight about what all needs to be done by when, prioritize and either I can manage it or I can't.  Either way,  I'll be working hard and accomplishing a lot. 

Eric and I went to town yesterday.  I had to get my drivers license renewed (forgot that it expired a few days ago on my birthday) and the DMV happens to be across and down from The Home Depot, his Mecca.  He dropped me off and went over to order his building supplies for the sheds and to pick up a range hood and a pedestal sink for the bathroom.  I was done in about 45 minutes, pleased that they didn't ask me to retest.  I've had enough tests for the week, thank you.  He wasn't quite done checking out, so I started walking to where he was, took a wrong turn and ended up much further down the road from where I expected, but managed to get in a good half mile or so walk, which was nice.  I was happy that I didn't even feel winded afterward.  We then cruised WalMart for the remaining supplies needed for Phase 1. 

I got the first cupboard doors off and the cupboard painted the Black Bean color, only to find that while the microwave (taking up valuable counter space) was the right height and width to fit perfectly where I wanted it, it was too deep and couldn't sit well in the opening.  Rats.  This required some quick thinking, so I cleared out the cupboard over the oven.  Photo for reference:

At this point, both the cupboard over the range top and the cupboard over the oven have no doors and are painted Black Bean inside and out.  It looks pretty good, I think.  When the microwave did not fit over the range top, I put canisters up there.  The microwave is in the Bean Black open faced cupboard above the oven and looks pretty good.  I still need to touch up the paint in a few places.  Because a giant vent duct ran up through the cupboard above the range top, Eric replaced the hood you see with an identical one that is ventless.  I'm a little disappointed in it because it doesn't draw in very well at all, even on high.  The kitchen itself looks like ass right now because the trim is off, there are paint smears on the wallpaper and one of the wood beams on the ceiling is half painted the Black Bean color.  (I wanted to see how it was going to look)  We are still thinking toward putting the built in dishwasher (black face) under the range top, which will leave about a 6" gap to the left of it where I will likely have Eric build a cabinet space for cookie sheets or something.  The dishwasher front is going to stick out in front of where the counter ends a bit, which kind of sucks, but there really isn't any place else to realistically put it.

I got the paint for the parts of the kitchen that will not be vinyl tile (those go behind the stove) and was going to paint the living room and family room that color.  Showed Eric the color on the Sherwin-Williams mock up page.  He loved it.  Showed him the color on the color swatches.  He said it was fine.  Got 2 gallons of the stuff mixed up and he looked at the lady's paint thumbprint on the paint lid and said, "Hmm. Mental institution green, huh?"    The paint lady and I thought it looked like a nice, warm, welcoming sage color.

So now I'm off to try and drop ceilings and get my kitchen into some kind of usable condition, which it most certainly is not at this time.

I'll keep you posted!

Today's Diva Words:  "When you make your mark in the world, watch out for people carrying big erasers."

September 11, 2007

What a challenge the past couple of days have been!  As most of you know who follow my journal or have for a while, I am a person who watches for trends, personal trends, I'd say, and then studies them to see what messages they have or lessons they hold.  I love to learn from life, even when the lessons are painful. 

As I look back over the past several months, there is one particular trend that I see that is obviously trying to tell me something or it would not be recurring as it is.  That means I have to dissect it and figure out what it's all about.  I do that best when I'm journaling. 

Today, for me, was sort of the icon on the desktop of life that is the shortcut to the folder that holds this trend. 

Yesterday, I found out that I did not pass the transcriptionist test that I took on Friday.  (See Sept 7th entry)  I was a little surprised because I'd felt fairly confident about how I did on it.  My training is a solid 12 years old and has not been accessed at all during those 12 years.  It was just tucked away in my brain in its own little folder in the file cabinet of useless information that is stored up there (there's a good bit of it).  I didn't need medical transcriptionist information any more than I needed the phone number I had when growing up that no longer exists (502-275-4004) or my middle school locker combination (18-34-26).  It's all in that mental file cabinet.  Also, my transcriptionist training is exclusive to military hospitals, specifically George AFB and Edwards AFB.  Evidently, the military medical practices do things a good bit differently than do the civilian medical practices.  For instance, we were strictly taught to NEVER change what the doctor dictates.  We did not correct grammar or expand acronyms into full words or presume to add articles (a, an, the) if the doctor did not say them.  We were to transcribe precisely as the doctor dictated.  That's one of the little specialties in my training.  We had certain ways to do bullet statements, parentheses and all sorts of stuff.  A book called "Tongue and Quill" guided our every written word.

Now given that the last time I transcribed anything more intricate than a grocery list or a bill payment confirmation number was more than 12 years ago (March of '04 was when I last worked as a transcriptionist, so I guess we can make that 13.5 years instead of 12 - Evidently, I can't even get that right), I expected it to be challenging.  I took a lot of pre-tests online and reviewed my medical terminology for a day or so before I tested.  I was surprised at how much of it came back to me.  My biggest concern was the pharmacology because there are SO many new drugs on the market now and there was no way to prep for that part.

So here I was yesterday getting a very informal email informing me that I'd failed (not telling me what I failed or if I failed barely or miserably or what) and inviting me to re-test in another area.  I'd chosen "acute care" and they wanted me to try out "multi-specialty."  I figured there was no harm in trying, so I decided that after I finished exercising with Andrea, I'd turn off the ringer on the phone and get busy.

While we were out walking, we encountered the woman I know (also out for her walk) who works for this transcription company and had recommended me for testing.  She asked if I'd heard anything and I told her what was happening.  She said she'd be happy to come over and go over some of the dictations with me to see how I did.  I figured anything could help.  I did the four dictations in less than 2 hours, which was good pacing under the circumstances.  The phone rang off the hook and twice, it was the school, so I had to pick up (sick Delena).  Even though I had the ringer off, I could hear the upstairs phone ring and would invariably check the caller ID to see who it was. 

So when I was about done, I called and told her and she came over with her little dog, who is just such a sweetie.  To make a very long story short(er), she was fairly mortified by incredible ineptitude and elaborated extensively on how poorly trained I was, what a terrible speller I was (the testing program has an imbedded spell-checker and I'd used it!) and how she could easily see why I failed.  Two hours later, she finished reviewing my work and had taught me a good amount about what transcriptionists do and don't do, as well as how unforgivably and mortally ignorant I seem to be.  At one point, I believe she was informing her dog that she (the dog) could have done a better job on the transcriptions than I did.

Tests have been submitted and I suppose I will learn in the next few days how I did after her tutelage.  I kept telling myself that her intentions were good and feeling completely small for being so fragile that her words were tearing me up.   I want to be a stronger person than I was today.  I know I did my very best and tried harder at this than I have at anything in a long time and I hate that it was so hurtful to be told repeatedly how awful it was.  There were about 20 times in the 2 hours that I wanted to tell her to just go home, forget about it, I'm not cut out for this.  I didn't and with any luck, it helped me do a better job on the test.  If I fail, I will know it was not meant to be right now.  Either way, I did the best that I could do.

The bottom line is that a woman took 2 hours of her time to sit in my house and help me.  That is where I am keeping my focus.  She also taught me a number of things that will be extremely valuable if I do get this job.  Also, I know that if I do get this job, it will be because of her help.  If I don't, it will be in spite of her help.

Since June, I have had several incidents similar to this one, although this was the most extreme and specific.  In each situation, I was being told, either directly or indirectly, that hard work I'd done was not good enough.  In each case, the work ended up being, for the most part, a waste of my time.  I have looked back over those other situations and tried to find what good came of that time investment and there are a couple of tangents I could go off on in speculation, but over all, I am not yet seeing it.

[OK, OK, we go again.  This is getting unreal.  Nathan just this moment came in and asked me to make him a paper airplane.  I have been making paper airplanes since I was about 10.  So I make him a paper airplane, send it through it living room and it sails just fine.  He takes it outside and comes back in a few minutes later, telling me it ripped.  I told him I'd make him another one and he says, "That's OK.  I'll just get Dad to make one."  ??!!  Do you see what I mean???  This is the entire theme of my life right now!]

I figure there are a few places I can take this.  The bad place is to cave into the feelings I am getting from the tapes that keep playing unbidden in my head telling me not to bother trying anything or putting effort anywhere because it's all for nothing anyway.  I'm not good enough.  I'll never be good enough. I don't work hard enough.   I'm worthless.  No one is ever going to recognize how hard I try.  If they do think I'm good enough, they just don't know me well enough yet.  Why even get out of bed in the morning?  Nothing I do will be valuable or worthwhile.

Another place I can take it is to evaluate the Laws of Attraction and wonder if these are messages I am already sending to myself which are drawing in experiences that reflect and re-enforce those feelings.  I didn't think I felt that way about myself.  Although I do play at a positively sublime ego with the tiara and the Southern Diva attitude and such, if anything, I have always believed I could use more of a dose of self-esteem than a beating with the humility stick.  As of late (the past few years), I have considered myself to be fairly well balanced in that department, walking the line between humility and healthy self-esteem.  If I continue to believe this is the case, I must also embrace the idea that the Universe/God/Goddess is faulted and makes mistakes, which is incomprehensible to me.   These experiences are here to tell me something and I am the only one who can come up with the truths behind them.

Eric has brought up my seeming inability to balance out site work (does not further my family in any way other than to create a Happy Mama) with my housework, my inability to lose the excess weight, my inability to enjoy cleaning house for 7-8 hours a day with a smile and my constant whining about my lot in life (here I am doing it again, I guess).  I had never thought of myself as a whiner.  I'd felt good about my exercising and healthier food choices.  I was proud of how much better of a house keeper I am now than I was even a few years ago. 

A thread through these experiences seems to be the battle between the subjective and the objective; the power of perceptions.  I could always go the Stuart Smalley route of constantly affirming to myself that "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and doggone it, people like me!" all the while wearing a bad sweater with terrible hair.  *sigh* 

I can take the idea from these experiences that The Universe does not want me to become comfortable and complacent, although I can't imagine why because that's a perfectly lovely way to be. Probably because of the notion that if I remained comfortable and complacent for any amount of time, I'd likely stop challenging myself and stop growing.  It's a known fact that humans react much more quickly to pain than to pleasure, so it does seem to be a fairly consistent training tool and is a very effective way for The Universe to get a message across to us.  I just have to figure out what that message is or the lessons will continue repeating and repeating...

Not a good thing.

I always wanted to be one of those free-spirited people who just does her own thing and doesn't care what anyone thinks.  That's another direction I could take with this, the patented Diva, "You know what?  Fuck You!" approach, which doesn't really get you very far in life, I don't think, no matter how fun and effective it might be.  Are any of us really unaccountable to anyone?  In some ways, that seems like a lonely place to be...where no one cares what you do right or wrong.

At times like this, I have to bring myself back to self-truths that I know to be indisputable.  I know that I try hard to be a good person.  I know that I take a great deal of pride in the quality of my work, no matter what I happen to be doing. I know that I feel deeply wounded when someone tells me, objectively or subjectively, that what I have done is not good enough.  I know that I need to develop a harder outer shell and not react so viscerally to criticism.  I know I need to develop filters that let me dismiss another person's harsh/mean words in favor of the heart of what they are saying.  I know that I need to learn to take things less personally.  "Man up and stop being such a baby!" as they say.  I know that people and experiences are brought into our lives as part of an intricately woven process and purpose.  I know that all things work on a balance system in some way, even if that balance is not apparent to us.  It's all about give and take. 

I'm going to think on this a while longer, but I have a feeling, my answer is already here somewhere.  I'd muse further on it, but the primer on my ex-ventilation duct/flour/sugars/baking powder cupboard and future microwave hole is dry and I need to go Black Bean it.

Be particular,

Today's Diva Words:  "Stress is when you wake up screaming and realize you haven't fallen asleep yet."

September 9, 2007


Today was Nathan's birthday party in town.  I thought I'd be smart and have it at a pizza place and not have my house to clean up.  It's in the point of renovation where we're getting ready to launch and so there's all kinds of home improvement crap all over the place.

I'm tired already and I haven't even started. 

I got the laundry room all cleaned out and organized.  Got the kitchen all streamlined and organized.  Got the under-the-stairs-too-narrow-and-deep-to-use-for-anything closet cleaned out and organized, got one side of the shed cleaned out, gone through and organized and...stopped.  Guess I lost my flow. 

Starting this week, Eric is home with me on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, only working on Monday, Friday and Saturday.  I want to spend tomorrow getting the house more ready to begin the projects.  I want to take down the drywall from the ceiling first because a lot of what I have to do is affected by that.  It shouldn't take very long, I don't think.  That tells me a lot about the rest of what I have to do.

We found good ductless range hoods at Home Depot for about $80 and that lets me move the microwave into the cupboard like I wanted and free up the counter space.  I have my Black Bean paint, my Bard Red paint, my primer and I am ready to go.  I need to super clean and rearrange my room and Delena's room, plus do the other shed, plus try again to clean the godblessed carpet on the stairs, plus clean and arrange the boys' room.  I know I already told all of you this, but it's exciting to talk about it!

I can't believe it's finally happening, starting this week!  It's going to have to go hard and fast, so I expect I'll work my butt off on M, T, W and Th, then try to take rest days on Fri, Sat and Sun.  I don't want to get too burned out, plus I need site update days. 

For now, I'm off to clean up the house from the weekend and get ready for a very active and productive week!

Be particular,


Graphics by Cathie Designs