::Katrina Rasbold:  Queen of It All::


June 10, 2008

After a lot of meditating, praying and tapping, I was able to jettison or resolve most of my feelings of frustration, fear, anger and resentment that were around in my last entry, even though some other sources of those emotions reared their funky little heads.  It took a few days, but I am in a much better place now. 

My dear friend, Kathy, wrote a wonderful journal entry about the benefits of objectifying our feelings so that we can learn more about and from them and resolve the ones that are not creating positive energy within us.  I have always admired her amazing ability to find the holy and sacred in the situations that frustrate us the most.  That is ultimately my goal in those circumstances; it just takes me a while to get there sometimes.

Another past friend of mine, who was also named Cathey, interestingly enough, used to use the "IOB" method of problem solving:  "Identify, Objectify and Banish."  You first identify the root feeling you are having in any situation that is causing distress (Are you frightened?  If so, of what?  Are you feeling threatened?  If so, in what way?  Are you feeling personally diminished or disrespected?  etc).  Once you have traced the line back to the base feeling that is causing your distress, you then objectify it, removing yourself from the emotion of the situation and carefully observing it from all sides.  When the emotion is set aside, we can often see things much more clearly.  Believe me, this is a process that is highly beneficial, but takes years to get down pat.  Once you have objectified and studied the circumstances as well as the emotion, you banish the negative feelings and work with the positive that is left.

Here's an example of how I have used these techniques recently:

As I have mentioned, Eric has had a chronic problem with not being paid by his general contractor.  The main problem is one contractor who never pays when he says he is going to do so.  Often, it is because he, himself has not been paid and the whole trickle down effect of money isn't trickling to him, so it's not trickling to Eric and his other subcontractors.  While that is understandable, it's not good business and he's not particularly honest about it.  A result is that his credit is not good, which means that Eric cannot factor those invoices (get paid by another entity who, for a small fee, then waits until the contractor pays them instead of the contractor paying Eric).  The contractor is "unfactorable."  You do not know if a contractor is "factorable" when you begin work with them.  That doesn't come up until you are trying to get money from them.

Eric was unable to bid other jobs because he had to be on standby to go in and finish up the jobs that he was contractually obligated into by the guy who isn't paying.  He had to be ready to move as soon as the electricians had done their job enough that Eric could go in and do his.  If he was doing other work, there would be a chance that he would be unavailable when he had to move (and move quickly).  Since Eric is inevitably the last person to work on a particular job, the whole job gets held up until Eric is finished and since general contractors tend to underbid their time, they are usually already over their time allowance by the time Eric gets the call to get busy, so the pressure on him is pretty high to close out the job.

So anyway, all of his eggs were in this basket since his company is not big enough to have employees.  He does all of the work himself.

Now, the general contractor has put a "stop order" on the whole job, which means that no one does anything, including work or getting paid, until the pay issue with the owner is resolved.  So everything is on hold and once it eventually does start moving, it will move very, very fast.  This could be tomorrow or this could be in a year if it goes into lawsuits, which is very possible.

Meanwhile, we have barely enough money to live on for the rest of the month and then that's that.  Eric is aggressively exploring every option to fix the situation.  He has made 2 calls to go back to work, which is really stressful for him since he is a business owner himself and obligated into this work once the ball starts rolling again.  It also means he will be paying several hundred dollars a week on gasoline (and has to front that before a paycheck even hits) since we live so far away from where his work would be.  He has been mining like crazy and working on other ideas to come up with money as well.  I cannot fault him in his pursuit.  He has been anything but lax about finding avenues to explore to come up with money to get us through.

Last night, he finally cracked open the books to his business and showed me where we are financially and it was staggering.  The thought that after 3 more weeks, there is no money on which to live is pretty mind blowing.  Because of his intense efforts, there are several places where money could come in, but there are no assurances at all.

All that being the case, it became clear in a matter of seconds that I could not justify spending hundreds of dollars on a special trip for me and Delena to the GH Fan Club Weekend in July when our situation is this dire.  Whereas the last time I wrote, my concern was about being stressed over money when I went, now it has come to whether or not I was going to go at all.

I was instantly consumed with feelings of deprivation and loss and being forced by the world to sacrifice something I really did not want to give up.  It was ugly, that's for sure.  Eric never asked me not to go, but I did tell him that I understood it might not be able to happen and that I would work on finding peace with that.  He asked me to wait a week and see how things were then before deciding anything.  There was no reason why I couldn't do that.  The only time related issue on it was airline tickets and if it came to it, I could rent an economy car and drive down if the money showed up even a day before the events.  I knew if I gave into the emotions I was feeling, Eric would be extremely sad for me and take on the feelings of responsibility for the situation himself, which isn't fair at all since he has literally done everything within his power to make things different.

So there I was left with all of this fear and anger and resentment and nothing to do with it.

I started meditating and praying and tap, tap, tapping away, working to find the seeds of the feelings and to objectify the situation so that I could banish the negativity I was feeling. Negativity in my emotions makes me physically ill and I can't afford to let it sit around and eat at me.  I know some people who thrive on it, but I'm not one of them. 

I thought of how to our knowledge, we have both done all we can do to rectify the situation and here it sits.  I thought about how hard Eric has worked to take care of us and provide for us.  I thought about the other 6, count'em, SIX GH Fan Club Weekends I have attended and how much fun I had at them.  Those are memories that will never go away, whether I am able to go this time or not.  How greedy is it of me to just presume that no matter what, I'll be able to go every year?  Sometimes, it just might not be in the cards to happen.  If it doesn't happen, I'll be OK and I'll probably go next year.  I'll survive without many bruises on my spirit.

I thought about the sacrifice Eric is already making when he looks into the idea of going back to work for someone else after being a successful business owner for 2 years and how hard that is for him.  I thought about how we are all in place, moving around the chessboard in different directions for a purpose.  Maybe if he does have to go back to work for someone else for a while, he'll make some vital connection with a person who would line him up for even more work for his own business.  Maybe he'd meet someone who would serve another purpose in his life to put him on a track he needs to run for whatever reason.

Maybe there were reasons I could not see for why I was not supposed to go on my trip.  There are just too many variables for us to always understand, until we are looking in retrospect, why we are led to be in a certain place at a certain time or forced encouraged by the Universe to make choices we really do not want to make. 

All any of us can really do is move forward as we are guided to go, following our instincts and what life is showing us should be done rather than trying to dictate all aspects of our life all the time.  If I had my own wishes granted every time, I would still be in a dysfunctional marriage to a man who really didn't like me very much and with whom I had little or no common ground.  I would still be living in a suburb of Sacramento listening to traffic outside my window and police helicopters over my house at all hours. 

The last thing I wanted in my life was to move into the remote mountains and not have access to anything close to what could be called a "town."  In that case, I had no clue what was best for me or what would lift my spirit to its highest place.  The Universe had to take over and guide me, kicking and screaming, toward my own greatest good.

All I have to do to find peace is to look to my own past where I have been clearly shown that everything I didn't want to do and did anyway because it was right was what I needed most.  Why we are always so hesitant to trust and have faith in that idea, I don't know, especially when most of us have plenty of evidence to support the idea that if we listen to our spirits, we'll know what to do, even if it isn't what we want at the time.

Interestingly enough, I have also found that sometimes, all The Universe wants to see is our willingness to make a sacrifice and at the last second, does not demand the sacrifice itself.  It's sort of like the story of Abraham and Isaac in the Bible.  God demanded that Abraham make a human sacrifice of his very beloved son, Isaac.  Abraham was devastated that God would ask such a thing of him, especially since he and Sarah only had one son who had been conceived, miraculously, after Sarah had gone through menopause (which back then was around 25 or so).  (The Baha'i faith states that it was actually Abraham's other son - by his wife's handmaiden, Hagar - named Ishmael who was almost sacrificed).  God persisted, so Abraham went through with it and as the knife was coming down to end his son's life on God's command, an angel of the Lord appeared and stopped the knife.  God provided a ram for the sacrifice instead and all was peace and love again.  (Except for the ram, who had a particularly bad day).

I do believe that sometimes, God just wants to see if we are willing to do it.

I am finished feeling sorry for myself over this and I am open and ready to see what miracles lie in store.  A lot can happen in a week and even more in a month, so after the world turns a time or two (and Mercury goes direct on the 19th), life could be completely different than it is now.

In the meantime, I have choices of whether to spend my days in joyful gratitude for the fantastic experiences I have been granted in my life and the many more to come or wallow in self pity that one of them might not happen.

I choose to be happy and wait and see what The Universe brings.  If the end result is that I am to not take this trip, then it is what it is and I will trust that it is for my greatest good.

At one of the lowest times in my life, I determined that for me, GOD meant Grace, Objectivity and Dignity and it is important to me to maintain those qualities in my life more than I have been so far.   I am grateful for the lessons that tell me that I need to work on nurturing those aspects of my life and I intend to honor those lessons with action and not just words.

I've said it before and I still believe it:

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believed!

Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

June 6, 2008

I started to begin this entry with "Is Wayne Brady Going to Have to Choke a Bitch?"  just because my overall feeling is of frustration and dissatisfaction.

But then I thought that would be too negative, so I didn't.  I really do try to approach the world with a positive outlook and expect the best, but that falls fairly sour on the tongue when I feel like we just keep getting knocked down.

Same old, same old.  I think it's true that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  I have come to the assessment that unless you are already independently wealthy or have a huge line of credit from which you can draw, construction is an impossible profession.  Here Eric is with work he did months ago and still not getting paid.  The mortgage is in for June, which is a relief and there is a little in the bank to go on if I don't pay any bills, but here we are, sitting and waiting.  "The check's in the mail," "Oh wait, no it's  not, my bad," "We will definitely be paying you next week."  "No, seriously, next week we'll be paying you."  "Absolutely next week, no doubt."  Meanwhile, the weeks just add up and add up.  It's hard to believe he just stopped delivering the mail (and receiving a monthly paycheck) in December.  It feels as though we have been doing this forever.

I do try really hard not to appear discouraged about the money and the lack of any kind of security.  It doesn't help one thing and only serves to make Eric feel worse about something he already feels bad about.  He did the work in good faith and it's not as though he let us down.   His part was completed with flying colors and now we sit and wait for the general contractors to get around to paying their bills (us) so we can pay ours.  In fact, an electrician who is working on the same job as Eric called and asked him yesterday morning if he'd gotten paid yet.  So it's not just us and it's not just this one general contractor.  It's all across the business field.  He factored his last job after waiting for months to get paid, which means that he sent his invoice to a factoring company and they paid him in advance and then they are the ones who wait for the general contractor to pay.  Of course, there is a fee.  It's little more than a glorified payday loan with "payday" going directly to the lender.

What is really a downer is that the current general contractor is not "factorable" because his credit is so poor.  Of course, you don't find out things like that until you try and factor a job and you can't factor a job until you invoice the general contractor and you can't invoice the general contractor until you've already signed a contract and completed the job.  So it's a whole cart and horse thing. 

So yeah, here we sit with thousands of dollars owed to us and a good invoice and wait and wait and wait.

Eric and his partner have been mining their gold claims aggressively since dredging season opened the end of May, which mostly means putting on a wet suit and going underwater to dredge out literally tons of river bedrock to check for gold veins.  They have definitely found "color," but not hit a big strike yet. 

Meanwhile, my annual trip to the GH Fan Club Weekend is coming up in a little over a month and I do so wish there could be one year where I could do it and not feel as though I am financially raping the family and robbing from Peter to pay Maurice and basically yanking money out of my babies mouths to get to do it.  Mind you, that rarely keeps me from doing it.  One year, I stayed home at the last minute because we literally had no money, but every other year since I started EOS, I've gone and no, we never suffer any long term effects from it, but it's invariably stressful and the pangs of guilt start closing in on me.  I am trying not to think about it and to believe that it will take care of itself.  Not that history has given me any indication that such is the case.

I also have evidently grossly overestimated the sock monkey market and it's particularly disappointing because those little bastards are a pain in the ass to make and that's all I'm going to say about that.

Especially now, I am trying not to make any kind of assessment on anything because we are AGAIN in a stupid Mercury retrograde and won't be direct again until June 19th and won't be back on track again until some ridiculous time in July when Mercury gets back to where it was when it started going backward, that little piece of shit.  I hate that it's so damned predictable.  I'd believe it was a bunch of crap about the retrogrades except for the fact that I never, ever look ahead to when the retrogrades are going to fall.  I just let the damned things happen and then one day, I'll be scratching paint off the wall with my fingernails and writing things like "Is Wayne Brady Going to Have to Choke a Bitch" in my journal and then I'll think, "Hmmm.  I wonder if Mercury is in retrograde..." and I'll check a page on the net and sure enough, there it is.  Since Virgo and Gemini (I'm a Virgo) are both ruled by the planet Mercury, we really tend to get jerked around by the retrogrades.  Three time a year... three and a half weeks at a time.  Gah. 

Because forward motion is pretty much impossible during this time, I have always found that the best thing to do is to either go to bed and sleep it off (not really possible at this point in my life, sadly, although I do look forward to it in the future) or getting super busy and productive in a physical way, like doing a complete house cleaning or remaking the yard or cleaning the shed or some other horrible project.  Mind you, I can't do that for 3 1/2 weeks straight, but I can at least invest a day or two at a time into burning off the energy of frustration and feel as if things are changing even if they aren't.

It took me a lot of years to realize that I really don't thrive in chaos and clutter, so any time I am feeling particularly fragmented, I've found that it helps to get my environment in order, especially if it's in order and different in some way.  My house is not particular conducive to moving the furniture.  Everything pretty much fits where it fits and none anywhere else.  I did the repaint and redecorate last Fall and I'm still happy with how that turned out, so nothing can really be done there.  Mostly, I'm just cleaning out closets and my back work room and putting Winter clothes into storage and pulling out some of my bigger clothes to put into the swap meet on the 14th. 

Isn't this absolutely riveting for you to read?

We finally heard from Josh who left for boot camp on May 23rd and got an address for him that is about a yard long.  He has to do push ups whenever he gets mail, but he wants us to write to him anyway.  It's not been easy for him. Apparently, he wasn't much listening to the people who'd been in the military and tried to tell him what it would be like and set up his own expectations.  Adaptation has never really been his long suit and one of the backlashes to the military loosening their restrictions on who can come into service is that they are not all that eager to let you go once you've signed on the line.

My beans are growing exceptionally well.  I planted, back at Spring Equinox, Joy, Health, Love and Peace = 4 beans.  They grew up surprisingly well and fast and now they have about 6 beans on them and some more blooms from which the beans come, which is exciting. Usually, no matter how many beans I plant, I only get as many beans on the plants as the number of my goals that will manifest.  This means, based on experience, that I am going to be harvesting a lot more than I planted, which makes me a little giddy and thrilled.

The diet is going well.  I started exercise this week and promptly pulled a lateral muscle, so I'm going easy on that side.  I still have not done the belly dance work out, but it's on my list.

Today, for no reason whatsoever and despite all I wrote above, I have a really strong sense of anticipation, as though something big is about to happen.  I believe I will capitalize on that energy by lighting some goal candles and dedicating the energy of my work to that direction.  Who knows?  Maybe there can be some kind of turn-around when Mercury is in retrograde, especially since it is retrograde in the sign of Gemini, which is one fickle bitch of a sign.  With the duality of Gemini, you can never really tell what's real and what's not. It's like both sides of Alice's looking glass at once.

With that, I should stop hiding and putting off the work of the day and get to it.  I hope you forward progress is full steam ahead despite the pain in the ass astrological challenges.

Hugs & well, you know what my advice in all things always is...

Be Particular,


May 29, 2008

Hurray!  I've almost made it through the first week of summer vacation with flying colors.  The kids have been great, although Dylan and Nathan have started to pick at one another for the first time in their lives, no doubt a side effect of their rapidly approaching puberty.  Nathan has demanded his own room, so I told him to start building.  He did not.  Without tens of thousands of dollars lying around with nothing to do, I don't foresee building onto the house any time soon.  Other than that, life has been very slow paced and nice.  I can't testify enough to the healing abilities of sleep.  I feel so much better now that I am getting a minimum of 8 hours' sleep a night. 

No word from Josh, but I didn't really expect to hear from him until well into boot camp.  No word from his wife, but I hadn't thought I'd hear from her either. 

Slowly, but surely, I am making my way through the house, power cleaning room by room.  I am so very grateful I finally got my ass in gear and painted that last remaining cupboard.  It was so frustrating to have it right in front of me all the time as a symbol of my inability to complete any project.  Now it is done and looks so much nicer.

The only major cleaning I have left to do is Delena's room, which is on hold until she does a preliminary clean.  The rest of the house is down to basic maintenance, which has not been done well today, unfortunately. 

Eric's construction business has hit a low, so he has been out in the river, diving in his frogman suit, dredging for gold.  He has about 160 acres on the Cosumnes River of mining claims and his partner has a claim or 2 as well, so they have most of the river in this area.  His partner has decades of experience making a living through gold mining and they make a good team.  It's great to see him doing something he really loves that also can be profitable. 

I'm doing the same thing, just not making much money at it.  It's just not an economical time for people to blow money on sock monkeys and teddy bears.  The incense, however, is selling like mad!

The diet has its own momentum and is rolling along almost effortlessly.  Now that I have become accustomed to the portion control and times I can eat, it's on cruise control.  Every day, I feel thinner.  I'm ready for the exercise, but it just hasn't felt right yet, so I'm waiting until next week.  I'm not sure what's holding back, but I am still having progress without it, so I am following my instincts.  My bellydance workout DVD arrived yesterday and another will be here today.  That will be great fun.

We have gotten so very much needed rain in the past week, which is fantastic.  We never had our final snow of the year and quickly went into 90 degree temperatures, so the fire danger was high and the land was really thirsty.  For the past week, the temps have dipped well into the 50's and 60's and it has rained every day except for today.  Our little Grizzly Flats world is much, much happier now and the trees are practically singing out loud.

Sorry I am so boring lately.  Life has been blissfully quiet and I have very much enjoyed the slower pace.  It's rare to see me now and not find me smiling. 


May 22, 2008

Well, THAT week went by fast!

Here I am just 2 days away from the last day of school.  The kids are tremendously excited and I have to say, I am getting caught up in the positively blissful notion of sleeping in until 8-9am each morning.  Ahhh.

The plan is that after I wake up at my leisure, put on a pot of coffee for the mister and get fully awake, I will grab whatever kid is handy and go out walking for at least 30 minutes or so.  Walking is so...organic in terms of exercise and it's my least hated form of it (other than yoga).  I also have ordered this:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015FJYV0  (watch the movie included with the reviews)

Yeah, buhdee.

I'm totally going to do that.  It's an advance order, so I don't get it for a week yet. 

The diet is going well, just a day by day thing.  I actually got up to 1800 calorie yesterday, which is a good bit more than I normally eat now.  It's because I went to the movies and had some kettle corn.  I am meticulous about logging every bite I eat and work to stay below 1500 calories.

I do feel much better doing it.

As an aside, however, I am not convinced that the average person is fully aware of how much (in terms of volume, not frequency) they will poop if they significantly increase their fiber intake.  It is truly impressive.  That's all I've got to say about that.  (More green leafies, Shredded Wheat for breakfast)

I spent the past two days cleaning the kids' room, which sounds as though I was logging in major hours, but it was only 4 hours yesterday and 3 today.  Still, 7 hours is a good bit of time cleaning up messes you didn't make.  It is now sparkly and clean except for the carpet, which is not likely to ever look nice again.  In my opinion, kids and carpet just do not go together.  They aren't even allowed to eat or drink (other than water) in their room and the carpet is a mess. 

Slowly, but surely, I am moving through the rooms and getting them streamlined and nice.  It has been quite a feat to divide my time between site work, business work, spring cleaning and the basic home maintenance, but day by day, I've gotten it done.  The areas that are still awaiting a good cleaning really show that they've not been on top of the list, but I am confident that I will get to them within the next few days.

Tonight, Josh is in the hotel in Sacramento in preparation for a day of Army sign in tomorrow.  He will spend tomorrow night at the hotel with his wife and children and then leave out early Friday morning.  He will be gone for a minimum of 6 months for basic training and tech school and then will find out where he will be stationed.  It has been a real exercise in "letting go and letting God."  He is so completely determined to do this and so convinced that it is his only hope.  All I can do is stand back and watch and hope for the best.  I wish him well and of course, safety.  It has left me a bit raw and emotional at times, but it is what it is and there is really no practicality in grieving something you cannot stop that could actually go quite well, so I am investing my energy into this being a good thing for him and for his family.

Tomorrow night is the "End of the Year Celebration" for the boys' school.  Dylan will graduate from grade school and next year, move up to middle school.  He is singing a solo, plus performing Weird Al's "I Love Rocky Road" with 5 of his friends. What's funny about that is that when David was in the 2nd grade, he sang a solo of that very same song at a school program, which was around 23 years ago.

So that's really about it.  Life is good and Summer calls!

You just be particular, OK?


May 15, 2008

This week has been a "just do it" week where I have worked to accomplish some of those tasks that have been hanging over me for a long time, waiting to be prioritized and completed. 

About 7-8 months ago, I did the home makeover.  I completed it for under $1000 and got quite a lot done.  One thing I did was to take the doors off of my kitchen cupboards.  I was very hesitant to do so because it's what I consider to be quite unconventional and let's face it, those doors can hide a multitude of sins.  I left the lower cupboard doors on and removed the ones from the upper cupboards. 

I can tell you with absolutely assurance that I have no intention of ever living in a house with cupboard doors again.  It's great not to risk wonking my head on one all the time.  It encourages me to keep the cupboard contents straight and it makes putting dishes away so much faster.  I love it.

What I had not done, for reasons I cannot even remember, is paint the very inside of one last cupboard.  The outsides were off white (very bad in a kitchen, in my opinion, especially kitchens used by my hands) and the insides were still unfinished wood.  I painted them a color called Black Rose, which is pretty much what the name implies:  almost black with a hint of reddish purple to it.  The color was recommended to me by Carolyn, who got it from Sherwin Williams where it is called Black Bean.  It it a wonderful color that does a great job of looking classy and hiding dirt.  I can't remember why painting the inside of the last cupboard was delayed, but I do remember (in October or so) thinking that I would paint it the very next day.  As of the past two days, it's done, finally.  It looks wonderful and as is always the case with these things, I wonder why it took me so long to do it.

Cleaned out the fridge for the first time in months.  Sad, I know.  Got floors all mopped and went through my bajillion spices and packed away the ones I seldom use.  We have very little storage in our house, so I have to be frugal about what I keep out.  Slowly, but surely, the list is showing more cross offs than to do's.  I still have to clean the kids' rooms thoroughly and I am putting that off because it's always such amazing drudgery.  There isn't a job in the house I hate doing more than cleaning my kids' rooms, but I want to get them in a good place for summer so they can be easily maintained, so one day out of the next 8 (a week from tomorrow is the last day of school), I will suck it up and wade in, hoping to get most of it done before they get home because it's easier to just do it myself.  Delena's is the real challenge because her room is very small and she has a lot of cherished things... in her floor.

My desk and workroom needs to be re-organized again.  I have to work on the line of July 4th bears, some before Sunday when we go back to the Swap Meet again.  That is happy work, however.

In that vein of thought, another item on my list has been crossed off and that is the finalization of our Mountain Divaz website.  www.mountaindivaz.com

I have added extra monkeys and bears and put up the shopping carts.  We were really struggling with how to handle the shipping because we want it to be fair.  It's very different to ship 12 candles versus 12 boas and we want to stick to the flat rate Priority Mail boxes as much as possible.  I think we have finally come up with a plan that works.

So head on over and see what I've been doing.  :)

For now, I'm off to spend some time updating Grizzly Flats Online and working on today's laundry.

That weird, encompassing, peri-menopausal depression is trying to ease in and I am doing my best to ward it off, mostly by keeping busy.  Funny how our heads work.

Be Particular,



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