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April Fools Day. My mentor, friend Greg turns 60 today. He’s been one of the best things to happen to me. Always sound in his guidance, understanding and nonjudgmental. He was on the team that hired me when I came out of my masters program...we have created incredibly good classroom presentations, eased one another through trying personal times, laughed at the ridiculous, cried at unchangeables, and shaken our heads at the neurotic, wasted energy of the system in which we work. Next year will be his last, and good for him. My buddy, your buddy will be missin’ you.
Even though I’m away from the neurotic madness, I keep thinking of that list of all the things I’m supposed to accomplish (according to the hyena.) Wonder when to let her know she can’t do this?
My passive aggressive side wants to play her until the last minute then WHACK her upside the head with a big fat grievance.
My nice hyena side thinks I should tell her soon, ruin her vacation, as it appears she tried to ruin mine.
My assertive side says get it the hell over with. Small fry that one, and not worth any more stewing.
Lenten roses bloom in deep purple and greeny yellow clusters. Their bell shaped heads bend to the earth as though calling back last year’s dark and fading foliage. New leaf springs from the center, ready to unfurl fresh suncatchers to feed their evergreen mother.
Pale cream narcissus and daffodils show signs of age, as jonquils yield proud butter rich cups to the sky, and forsythia blossoms fade to uncover chartreuse shrub.
Dicentra; graceful perennial, enlarging her home base yearly, sends stout fronds skyward, and leafless stems of dainty heart shaped pink, white, red drops, sideways into the breeze. Bleeding Heart.
Scooter’s garden started as a raised bed with periwinkle and lilac. Wanting more color, I planted a bunch of tulip bulbs one fall. The next time I surveyed the grounds, I found all the tulips topsy turvey, and Scooter licking up the last remains of the bone meal I’d used to feed the bulbs.
Typical Beagle, nose to the ground in search of food! What a character. When she died, I buried her in that same bed. It’s lovely now, with the purple vinca groundcover, a thriving pink camellia in full bloom, and the stand of lilac ready to show.
Now I have my Beagle boys; Jacques (7) and Mattie (13) both rescue hounds. They're lounging on the flagstone, noses to the breeze while I rest and write in the park bench garden; another landscape project several years in process. Inviting, yet still unfinished. Today I added more perennial shade loving plants that provide texture and color. A makeshift fountain provides a quiet burble background, and has become Jacques’ personal water fountain.
Two very tiny birds ventured to drink from the waterbowl this afternoon. Wonder at their smallness leads me to believe they’re immature Bushtits, but my research is inconclusive.
Frogs are back! It was at least a two frog day by the pond. I can only count the frogs I see in one viewing. Like birds, they tend to move around, so you can’t count the ones you see in a different place later in the day.
As a young girl, I was fascinated by frogs. At Conconully (in the Okanogan) I saw their mating clutch, observed long strands of jelly eggs hatch in their watery beds, and later metamorphose into half frog half tadpole, finally to become air breathers. Naturalist, might have been Biologist, might have been Vet.
Lee dropped by with hand made Limoncello, and good advice on how to respond to hyenas. Always my mentor, now my friend, we are maturing as intellectual women, a personal treasure.
When she’d visited me during C’s crazy years, I hadn’t been able to welcome her in, so it was fun do a “tour de house” and promise a “tour de yard” when the deck is finished, and sunshine reins.
She has as exacting an eye as mine. First thing, she plucked a hint of lint from my cheek; without so much as a bat of her eye, nor mine!
Christian Easter Sunday morning is wet. Our eggs (from a local farmer) served with handmade hashbrown potatoes, substituted for a hard boiled hunt. Creighton hates Easter; too many negative associations during his young life. I don’t. For me Easter signifies renewal.
As a young girl, Easter was when the snows really melted from the Wenatchee hillsides, and blossoms appeared on the various fruiting trees.
Penny's catalog, with it’s newest edition of fresh dresses, white lace socks and black patent leather shoes filled me with desire. Carolyn had the nice shoes, the pretty dress, the cute nose. I was without religion.
In the dream, I opened the backyard door, knowing I shouldn’t venture into this darkness. Peering out, my mind’s spotlight revealed a cat-sized bushy-haired creature, with surprised dark eyes, alarmed at my emergence. “Pépe,” I said, “it’s been a while, but you’re stripeless now.” “Yes,” he replied, “though I’m still a skunk, and prepared to spew my putrid glands at you.”
I retreated inside, leaving Pépe, and me, unmolested, Might it have been éau de Beagle? Maybe human? Perhaps a whiff of hyena poison?
Today I put the demands, expectations, and contractual requirements into her supervisor’s hands. His call now.
Tomorrow I’ll represent myself at a mediation conference before the Labor and Industry Board of Appeals. What an incredible educational experience it’s been. Only because I’m persistent, patient, pissed off and smart, am I this far into the process.
Most people get buried in the duplicate and triplicate paperwork, intimidating formal responses, and inaccurate notations to law. They give up before even entering the starting gate.
Though aware how utterly absorbed and consumed I am as I prepare to make my case clear, concise, and winable, I am also frustrated that it’s consuming time and energy I’d rather invest elsewhere.
The “Board” consisted of an appointed judge (approachable woman in my age range) and a phone connection with the assigned district lawyer.
I was all power clothed in fine plum colored skirt suit, black Ros-Hommerson pumps, noir trench coat, against the rain and wind. These people aren’t used to someone like me.
Although I know I was impressive, and the attorney didn’t have much to say (because he could tell I had my shit together) it isn’t completely settled yet. Still, I have confidence the solution I offered will be accepted. And I’m giving up a lot to reach resolution.
Imagine you’re one of two counselors who’ve applied for openings at the new high school (NHS). While sitting with colleagues and administrators, as the group convenes to meet, the administrator already slated for the NHS arrives. Entering, he skirts behind you, leaving the easily accessible chair next you empty.
Tucking in beside the other NHS counselor applicant, he greets her with casual chat and friendly hug.
Ninety-some percent of human communication is nonverbal. Message sent, message received. Yet, I will interview, in this “hostile to me” environment, tomorrow.
Seriously doubting sanity I wonder what I have, how I’ll contribute.
Tired. Of fighting. For what is right. For what’s been agreed to. For my own dignity, and that of others. Swimming upstream in waters calm on the surface, but with treacherous undercurrents. Ready to climb out, sit on the shore side. Watch the stream surge away. No relief in sight. Refuse to go with the flow. Push back. Self respect counts for something.
Thinking of the man who swam the length of the Nile. At the delta, the incoming tide was so strong, with all his effort he couldn’t make progress. He finished in the dark, with the outgoing tide.
Consolation for another rings true for me also.
Coming in second requires incredible poise, diplomacy, and sense of humor. It teaches us not to take ourselves too seriously.
Running for ANYTHING takes courage, confidence, tenacity, and a spirit of adventure. Hey, you went for it! Through this experience, you have a greater understanding that sincere effort brings it’s own rewards. Now you are experiencing the sad side; though you and your friends worked your heart out, you came in just a little shy of first.
Humility is born from the understanding that, in competitive fields, only one will be first.
Biting wind, son breaks, not raining. Though cold, I wanted, needed, forced myself to be outside. Remembering flautist Herbie Mann’s album cover image: Push...Push. I see myself pushing beyond sex, ever onward, against the odds, against the flow of the waters, against the given, and at the same time, with all of it.
Wonder what it is? Genetics? Environment? Experiences? Fear? Hope? Hate? Love? What causes me to drive myself into the outdoors, when I could as easily curl up on a pillow in the keeping room, to quietly read and nap? What’s wrong with me! Spring? Coping behavior?
The hyena has backed off, at least for the moment. Neck deep in organizing materials for the WASL, she called saying she didn’t have time to train the substitute to proctor for a teacher out ill. Consequently, she needed me to proctor that class. “Yes,” I replied, “no problem, I’ll cover it.”
High stress time for her became an opportunity for me to demonstrate flexibility and team spirit.
On the eve of a new moon, thirty two are dead at Virginia Tech; another twenty injured. Creepy to remind myself I counsel youth who have the potential to become equally destructive.
Repeatedly writing passes for students returning to class from state assessment testing, I’d think, “4/17, mom died today,” and, the small hollow in my gut, the place where sadness lives on, would pulse. Eleven years of grieving, healing, growing, aging...still aching.
Dad never wanted us to memorialize mom’s death day, preferring to honor her memory in other ways. In that spirit, I write of her generous love, always giving to her children, denying herself. I will plant dahlias in the strawberry garden. When they bloom, I’ll remember her special love; for her children, flowers, animals, nature, and wilderness.
“You are doing exactly what I believe she would want you to do...celebrate her love and value to you...not mourn her passing. There is room for both, and you are free. Your thoughts enrich her memory.”
Dad and mom were high school sweethearts. Sixteen when she met him; he was eighteen, charming, handsome, smart, with a voice like Bing’s. First generation USA; mother deceased, Scotsman father, coal miner farmer.
Mom grew up evading a fate of Catholic Sisterhood (to her mother’s dismay). Instead, mom ice skated her way across the pond into a union of over 50 years.
Twenty-three weary fifteen year old students enter the room on the third morning of four set aside for math/science WASL testing.
Forty minutes into the two hours they are to remain here, only five plug on. The rest have given up, handed in their test booklets, put their heads down, and plugged in their headsets.
Restless and bored, they want to make noise and move around. Not OK. I feel for them. They shouldn’t be here. They don’t have to be, but they don’t know that. They have been misled. What a waste of money, time, effort, and energy.
Maybe politics? Perhaps bonne chance? Hell, I don’t know why or how, but I was offered a counseling position at the NHS!
Totally blown away. I was
ready for, “Thank you very much, but...” that my response to the news was an incredulous, “You’re kidding, really!?”
“You do still want it,” he asked.
“YES! Absolutely,” I laughed. “I’m just so surprised, so excited.”
Now my curious brain wants to know what influenced his decision. Was it the interview? Internal politics? Recommendations? I’ll just have to wonder. What a lift for me, to have something to look forward to. Incroyable.
Creighton is almost as excited and pleased as I am. He can feel my sense of relief and renewal. On his computer this morning, we browsed through the Union website, which he’s already bookmarked! The slide show of the campus got me excited again. We located the school on mapquest, determined the fastest way to commute from here to there, and checked out the school colors. Looks like crimson and gray (or black). WSU’s colors.
The interview was on Friday the thirteenth. I’ve always considered it to be a lucky day. Here’s another reason to maintain my contrary belief system.
Everyday is Earth Day in my world. I live on Earth. How ever did humankind arrive at a word that is accepted by all? Or, then of course, is it? Whatever word is attached, the concept remains. As with sky, the heavens, a sense of spiritual connection.
Our Dahlia garden tubers now are nestled into the strawberry patch, providing reason to recycle runners, and nurture mother plants.
Sister Diana e-mailed me that her father-in-law ~103 years, had passed. Husband Les told her that to watch his father fade, day by day sinking into sleep, finally not awakening, was life changing.
First day back after hiring decisions. Confirmation, it’s been approved. Principal announces to staff. Networks of allies and detractors display their contempt or praise. Some are happy for me (though they fear the void I’ll leave). Some, upset, speak loudly with body language and silence.
Vapor...etherial risings. Finally she congratulated me. The hyena-in-training who was lead to believe she had the job. After one and a half days of invisibility, she found the courage and grace to do the right thing. The difference between young and old: I would have walked into her office and congratulated her within minutes.
Hyena-in-training (HIT), the one who didn’t get the job seems to believe everyone else owes her something. Encouraged by hyena pack leaders, she confronts an elder mentor with impudence, expecting to have her way. Unconscionable.
Though I have a means of escape, two tired friends, colleagues, brave warriors, will continue to counsel at this school in the wake of an exodus of excellence. I’ll no longer be their leader. Another dynamic will form.
Might the drooling hyenas, anticipating conquest, imagine snacks of fleeing souls? Eventually they will circle in whimpers, vaguely wondering how to digest the spoils of their insecurity.
Incredulous, I even glared. Administration hadn’t told SS that she’d been assigned a new layer of responsibility. I told him three times that they needed to talk with her. Finally he e-mailed that he’d discuss it with her after our Counselor/Administrator meeting today.
Instead, sheepishly glancing my way, he blundered into it
the meeting. Like it was my agenda item and he didn’t know why. Furiously calm, I stated I’d been surprised when told SS was assigned this role, and I’d repeatedly told him it was an administrators duty to notify her, NOT MINE.
Cowards deserve her wrath.
“The framework of fear and scarcity, not scarcity itself, promotes divisions among people.” (Zander & Zander) Divisions in hyenaland are profound. Though still part of my present and past, it’s no longer the framework of my future.
In transition, I create conditions for the emergence of my new reality. Thinking from a positive perspective, I call upon my passion to create my new possibility.
Taking today and tomorrow as wellness days, I feel the burdens of strife lift from my body, mind, spirit. I am entering the land of my dreams, where I am the relentless architect of my own possibilities.
Powerwashing the driveway gave me plenty of think time today. What, I asked myself, is my present passion? How is it different from when I started counseling 25 years ago?
Helping people work through their concerns to arrive at personal decisions, is still central. My process and style are different though; more mature, solution focused, support network oriented. Parents, now younger than me, no longer question my authenticity. Age and experience provide secure wisdom.
As I consider designing this land of my dreams, visions appear of how I will be and what I will do. Blueprints of my new possibility.
Reading the names of classmates from Pullman High School, 1967, I contemplate meeting them again. Another 10 years has passed since our thirty year reunion. I attended the 10th; not successful for me. Skipped the 20th (missed seeing Celeste and judi) and had fun at the last one, spending time with David Luce, Ellen, Judy Morrison.
I felt very lonely and outcast when I arrived in Pullman in 7th grade. Many of my classmates, born and raised there, snubbed newcomers. Those who accepted me ended up being “bad girls”. My reputation was sullied before I even knew I had one.
Something of a rebel by the time I finished 10th grade, a behavior change I thought was just me and later realized was the result of being sexually assaulted by my X-brother-in-law. My attitude about life and self changed significantly. I’d lure men to love me then drop them.
In my junior year I had a steady boyfriend. A senior, he was my intellectual equal. We had lots of fun, and even though he wanted sex, I never gave in. His stepsister, judi, was in my class. Our friendship blossomed after high school, faded, now regenerates. Good reason to attend.
Is this a sixth or twelfth grade reunion? Still puffed up and exclusive, they have taken their reminiscences back to 6th grade, before judi or I arrived. Wonder if any of the “in crowd” of the 1967 PHS graduating class will reply to her venture into the e-dialogue? Classmate’s stories fill my e-mail box. Only a few women join the conversation. Always on the outskirts of town, and still wary, I remain aloof.
More than anything, I want time away from the purview, review, inspection, rejection, voluntary subjection of mysoulself to untrusted others. Just want to draw a beautiful tulip.
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