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03/01 Direct Link
Beagles are not water dogs. The first time I took Scooter to a lake and suggested she go for a swim, she gave me her “you’ve got to be kidding” look. Even left over pancake bites wouldn’t tempt her in over her knees. Mattie and Jacques have confirmed my understanding that Beagles are land animals. Consequently it’s always something of an ordeal at bath time. A self-serve dog wash business makes it possible for me to complete the monthly ritual. However, both boys resist having their nails clipped, and howl “she’s trying to kill me!” as I douche their ears.
03/02 Direct Link
Just when I’m wondering where all my fine feathered friends have flown off to, the day opens with a flock of Bushtit’s at the suet feeder, followed by Chickadees and Bewick Wrens.

After adding rich soil into the soon-to-be woodland wildflower garden, a pair of Mourning Doves landed nearby, pecking at the duff, their small heads bobbing as they approached me along a pathway. Not wanting to startle them, I watched motionless for a while, then as I turned to gather my garden tools and finish the day, they lifted quickly, sailing over the fence, their long tapered tails trailing.
03/03 Direct Link
Just when I’m wondering where all my fine feathered friends have flown off to, the day opens with a flock of Bushtit’s at the suet feeder, followed by Chickadees and Bewick Wrens.

After adding rich soil into the soon-to-be woodland wildflower garden, a pair of Mourning Doves landed nearby, pecking at the duff, their small heads bobbing as they approached me along a pathway. Not wanting to startle them, I watched motionless for a while, then as I turned to gather my garden tools and finish the day, they lifted quickly, sailing over the fence, their long tapered tails trailing.
03/04 Direct Link
The umbilical cord had wrapped around Jay’s ankle, suppressing the blood supply. At birth there were only two toes, the big one and the one next to it on his right foot. This “club foot” hit his dad like the Exxon Valdez. “He sure isn’t going to be a champion ball player,” he huffed, rejecting his second born son’s innocent imperfection.

Jay’s mother, horrified at her husband’s reaction argued; “So what? It’s just a foot! It’s fixable! At least he wasn’t born without a brain!!”

Kissing those little toes that night I whispered, “you’ve got a clan, you’ll be OK.”
03/05 Direct Link
Flying by the seat of my pants? No, just following the leadership of others who are far more loosely structured in planning transition events than I am. Do I feel vulnerable? Yes, a little, but I don’t feel responsible for the outcome of the whole event, just my part. God it helps to be a twenty-five year veteran educator! Next time I’ll prepare as I always did for my little sideshow, regardless of what the general game plan is, since the game plan seems to be that we all do our own presentations to the group of people we’re with.
03/06 Direct Link
To be accepted, cared for, cared about, respected, appreciated, looked to, leaned on, listened to, trusted, consulted; to be considered a positive member of the team every day satisfies my essential need to feel competent. The antihyena blessing of working within a functioning school, with emotionally healthy leaders and colleagues.

Still in hyenaland, she called to tell me her team had been criticized for things over which they had no control, I could but shake my head. When asked why her building administration was interviewing candidates for a full time counseling substitute, she shook hers, thanking me for new information.
03/07 Direct Link
How to retrieve the thought that spurred me upstairs to fill my empty wine glass? Seems I was inspired. At least enough to prompt me to provide wine while I write. What was I remembering?

Ahhh yes, the genesis is a variation of a recurrent dream.

I am the lonely, wanting, needy, unfulfilled, vacant vagina virgin.
He is an entity who does what?
Appears to love me
Seems to be perfect
Takes me in his arms
And I want him.
I embrace him
Ask no questions
Spread my legs
Then he rejects.

Once again I’m left spread eagle and panting.
03/08 Direct Link
in the dream all falls away
he is benign
I am nothing and blameless
need to pee
damn
middle of the what the hell time is it anyway night?

stumbling over snoring beagles
returning to sounds gurgling
sleep apnea
sleep talking
walking back to bed only slightly relieved
twisting into late winter blankets
the log cabin quilt hand sewn by grandmother
of wool recycled from family clothing
and leftovers of homesewn garments

drifting, I see her ironing the blocks
patching together the tones and hues
a glint of love in her smiling irish eyes
as I gulped at the trough
03/09 Direct Link
“If I’m going to garden, I want whatever’s tended to end up on my dining table!”. With the exception of roses, that’s how my father’s gardens grow.

At fourteen, maintaining a farm during his father’s extended absence in the midst of the Great Depression, he knows how to sustain life. His daughter, child of the 1960’s, loves flowers. The yin of the yang; flowers sustain the soul.

“How does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockleshells, And pretty maids all in a row.”

On this quarter acre the edibles are: raspberries, strawberries, nasturtiums, violets, tomatoes, basil, rosemary, thyme.
03/10 Direct Link
First day of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, an expensive fiasco brought to us by the current Superintendent of Public Instruction. I helped out in the library, proctoring late arriving students, and then students who needed extended time. During a lull I glanced through a section on late twentieth century history.

A cover photo depicting a clean, young, white man being strong armed away by a group of officers in combat gear, caught my eye. “The Civil Protests of the 1960’s,” Now it’s history, but living through it, oh my. Talking bout my generation. We made a difference
03/11 Direct Link
In an elective English class designed to develop our ability to “speed read,” I received my only high school “C” grade, and became painfully aware of a learning deficiency never identified, and never diagnosed by anyone but me.

Sentences flashed upon the screen. We were to read, then write down what had been projected. Though mentally agile, intelligent, and a devoted reader and writer, I was absolutely incapable of performing this drill.

Dyslexia forced me to read every letter of every word, every word of every sentence of every paragraph; often more than once. Speed was not how I learned.
03/12 Direct Link
One of my monikers is “eagle eye,” because I always find the nit. In written documents, where others skim or ‘speed read” then pronounce it accurate, I plow through word by word, letter after letter. And my eyes find the incorrect letters in small spaces; the “in” where “is” was intended.

With every disability there’s an unexpected positive. Fortunate to have been nurtured in a family that encouraged me to learn using all my senses, I prospered educationally, without fear of rejection.

Until that class. The teacher loathed me, and must have taken great pleasure in dishing me a “C”.
03/13 Direct Link
Lanky and bouncy, he dashed across the road as I turned the corner toward home. Two women, walking their little dogs, said this roustabout had toured the neighborhood with them. “Come here!” I encouraged as he eluded. One of the ladies caught his collar, and he sat, tongue hanging, eyebrows worried.

In our back yard he drank deeply from the pond, and showed us what a well mannered young dog he is. Now he's inside, although Jacques isn't at all pleased with that. The “FOUND DOG” sign in front of the house hasn't attracted a seeker, and night is falling.
03/14 Direct Link
A very good dog, he adapted to the doggie door and tried his best to be “one of the Beagles.” Consequently we were distraught when today brought no one looking for him, nor any calls since we’d notified the Humane Society.

Just as I was preparing to take him to be scanned for an ID chip, another friendly dog walking couple was passing by, umbrella’s high. They stopped to take a closer look as I mentioned we’d rescued him last night.

“Might be the dog we pass up the hill a couple blocks” they offered.

Sure enough. Willie’s home now.
03/15 Direct Link
March winds tumble massive thunderheads above while lowering rain clouds shower randomly, fleeing toward mountain ranges. Sun shafts lancing through the vapors, paint dazzling prisms across the skyline. On the trailing edge of winter, the cusp of spring, the ides of March. Mutable as a calendar.

In the old Roman calendar, the ides (either the 13th or15th depending on what month) is one of three reference points, including the calends (first day of the month), and the nones (nine days before the ides). Counting backward from these fixed days, St. Patrick's day is 16 days before the calends of April.
03/16 Direct Link
And, both days are included in the count, so St. Patrick’s day would be counted, and the calends of April too. Furthermore, one only counted backward from the future fixed date. So instead of simply saying “meet me at St. Patrick’s Pub, three days after the ides of March” (including both the ides and St. Patrick’s day in the count of course) one would say instead, “ meet me at Paddy’s Pub 16 days before the calends of April.“

I wonder how it would alter contemporary life were this old method of establishing dates reintroduced. Perhaps slow us down a bit?
03/17 Direct Link
In casual conversation over corned beef & cabbage I was surprised at how uninformed my younger colleagues seemed on current affairs. Many knew nothing of Reverend White’s sermon comments that were spun in the media all weekend.

And I saw myself in a cocoon, separated merely by a translucent gauzy substance, yet irreversibly distant, even isolated, having the perspective of twenty or more years continually engaging my intellect as life unfolded. Alive through events that the younger can learn only from story. And I saw my dad sitting at our dining table in 1966, livid at my ignorance of contemporary issues.
03/18 Direct Link
While my anorexia was at its height, I attempted to donate at a school blood drive. My droplet wouldn’t sink. Another specimen, after being spun in their centrifuge, still was inadequate. I couldn’t give. Severely anemic, the nurses advised me to seek nutritional guidance.

Perhaps it was the final wake-up call. Seems that soon after this event I declared my independence from allowing my life to be ruled by my own, and Creighton’s obsession with weight.

When my blood once again had to be spun through the wring cycle today, I was disconcerted. Borderline, but able to donate. Good enough.
03/19 Direct Link
The Vernal equinox - my favorite holy day; when daylight hours and darkness of night are equal, and tomorrow daytime is a touch longer than night. YES! And tomorrow the moon is full, which explains why Easter is earlier this year than it ever has been or will be in my lifetime. Easter (based upon the Hebrew Passover) is always the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the Vernal equinox.

Aha, and right on cue the temperatures drop almost to freezing at night! Dang. Yet burgundy plums flower, their pink petal clouds drifting, as daffodils perch in gay defiance.
03/20 Direct Link
folksongs mingle into my musing
“all my trials Lord”
words imprinted like goslings
their traces laced into dust
“soon be over”
dated, timeless
“too late my brothers
but never mind.”

confronted the nation
“a man of constant sorrow”
reflected upon his experience
revealed our collective weakness
and the hope inherent
in our collective strength.

an unfinished conversation
time to “ring out love between
our brothers and our sisters”
time to summon our hammers
our bells
our songs.

“answers are blowing in the wind”
for contemporary troubadours
to capture;
through song to inspire
today’s courageous youth
and those who came before.
03/21 Direct Link
Full moon. Crazy drivers. Momentarily hysterical girls; my frequent fliers, who now laugh when I remind them where we are in the moon’s phase.

After twenty-five years observing the cyclical nature of human behavior, I continually remind myself to be aware of the four phases. Feeling the forces within me, seeing the behaviors around me, I am a believer.

The term lunatic dates back to the fourteenth century. Those who nurtured the mental/emotional/spiritual pains of their people noticed changes which fluctuated with the moon’s phases. Fluctuations. For every individual the manifestation of influence differs. But it does exist.
03/22 Direct Link
Freezing at daybreak, frost on the lawns, pink-to-lavender sunrise in clear sky. Today promises sunshine amidst a bunch of rainy days to come. Playing in the gardens by 9:00; digging in, digging out.

Birds, crying loudly to one another across the skies, flitted through treetops, feasted at feeders, lifted to branches, twittered away.

Shamrock windsock flaps in brisk wind, as high misty clouds shade our blue sky white.

Jacques, nose out the window of the truck, watches me with baleful glances. After lunch Mattie joins him. Guilted nay, hounded, a romp at the dog park concludes this outdoors day.
03/23 Direct Link
Last Sunday I listened to a wonderful feature on NPR about the Persian celebration of “Nowruz;” an ancient Mediterranean New Year celebration at the vernal equinox. Just as the sun crosses the equator, this non-religious, thirteen day festival begins. Persian people everywhere gather together to dance, sing, and eat sumptuous foods especially prepared to celebrate fertility and renewal.

No hollow-bodied, milk chocolate bunnies, nor yellow marshmallow chicks. This food is loaded with fresh, spring herbs. I love the idea of beginning and ending the celebrations with an herbed noodle soup that symbolizes “unraveling the difficulties in the year to come.”
03/24 Direct Link
Raccoons, having a home range of up to 250 acres, continue to maraud our environs. Creighton spied one in broad daylight, eating sunflower seeds from the squirrel feeder. As he approached, the raccoon disappeared into the upper branches of the fir. I’d noticed scat around the area that wasn’t canine but didn’t smell as nasty as possum dung.

Now the task is to discourage the raccoon while continuing to encourage other critters we enjoy. Not that I dislike raccoons; it’s just that they like to eat fish, and I’m not at all willing to give up on my pond dancers.
03/25 Direct Link
Bent from osteoporosis, and in his late 80’s, every day he’d walk his aging dog. Dotting on her with a rubber brush, he’d stop for breath whenever she decided it was time. I never could say if he walked her, or she walked him.

When we’d meet, he always asked, “did you heard the one about...?”

Interrupting a compulsive fast walk with my dog, I’d chat with Frank, gently pat his Katie girl, and invariably admit I’d not heard that one yet. We’d laugh together, whether or not I got the joke, or it was even funny to me.
03/26 Direct Link
When she asked if I was available to help chaperone a group of art students on a field-trip to the Portland Art Museum, I jumped at the chance. Today the group of three ladies and fifteen young adults ventured through the stormy day on a wonderful odyssey.

Though familiar with Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec, Forain was new to me. Perhaps I’ve seen his work before at Musee d’Orsay or Metropolitan Museum of Art? Regardless, I’m totally impressed at his use of light and dark, line and blankness, to capture the backstage mood and action of young, female dancers and “gentleman” patrons.
03/27 Direct Link
When Katie died, Frank stopped walking. Their young, lab dog was too much for him to handle. I’d see him sometimes picking up the post when I was walking, and whenever he and Beverly drove by in their big old forest green Cadillac, he’d honk and wave. Married over 65 years, and somewhere in their eighties, it was reassuring to see them.

Now their house is empty, and being completely renovated. I don’t know where they went, and haven’t met up with a neighbor who might fill me in. I miss his watery blue eyes, gentle smile and cheerful nature.
03/28 Direct Link
Spring break starts now! With snow mixed into rain this morning, and hammering hail gales followed by sun breaks most of the day, I’m hopeful the storms will pass soon and bring in their wake some sunny days.

Trillium is unfurling, daffodils are in bright array, and tulips are swelling up their stems. Bleeding Heart plants are filling out and Columbine are beginning to come out of dormancy. Echinacia, planted only a week ago, are thriving amid the rose bushes.

And when it’s all planted and growing, I want to sit and watch it, smell it, draw it, dig it.
03/29 Direct Link
Though many friends and colleagues use vacations to head off to warmer climes, I love being home over spring break. It doesn’t matter that the weather is variable, I just love waking up every morning knowing I have the whole day to accomplish what ever projects and tasks I decide to pursue.

Having more than two days to get my shit together before heading back to work, I can break away from some of the routines. It doesn’t matter whether my clothes get washed and ironed by Sunday, and it’s OK to take a nap or read a book midday.
03/30 Direct Link
Is there anyone else out there who likes to clean their garage? Sometimes I think I’m just weird, but then I’m reminded how important it is for me to have my world in order, to feel ‘in control.’ And, to accomplish my many creative projects, I need my workspace organized.

I remember Dad’s shop on the farm in Pullman. He had so much going on out of that space! Inevitably his workbenches would get cluttered with tools and stuff. Then, on some cool, drizzly Sunday, I’d find him sorting through the nuts and bolts, putting everything back in its place.
03/31 Direct Link
So what if you call her? Would it signal defeat? What’s the big deal anyway? Why do you refuse to follow the impulse?

Ramifications, ruminations, relapses. Who abandoned whom? How could you allow yourself to drown while rescuing her? Fault, fear, finished.

For how many years could, nay would, she only talk with you about things important to her? Over at least five years she clung to you claiming the others didn’t listen; shut her off, refused any cognition of her condition.

And listening meant you were the chosen child; the only one who might provide the escape she sought.