I think I was supposed to learn something last year.

It's my 3^&*( th birthday today.  (Oops, sorry, fingers must have slipped.  Weird.)  As I turn another year older, I'm finding myself contemplative and reflective, examining the milestones and the losses and how they've melded together in these past 12 months.

Just joking.

This year, the first of many, was NONE of those things.  Thank God!  I am DUE to have an it happened, I had fun, amazing things happened, year.  I really wanted to move away from the Vineyard Town, which happened.  I really, really wanted to get into grad school (150 admissions {est}/ 750 applications {est}), which happened.  I really, really, really wanted this little dating relationship with Shoes to last, and to survive  my moving away.  It did.  He's amazing.  There may be big changes in our future.  I'll keep you posted. 

This little life of my mine is becoming more relaxed, less stressed and less anxious (and everybody breathed a sigh of relief and said, "what took you so long?").

So my birthday?  This is what it's going to look like.  I'm going to spend all day moving into a new little apartment in a part of this city that does NOT see regular fights in my apartment complex's parking lot, where the police don't cruise by every 10 minutes and where there are no attack pit bulls next door.  Shoes will be driving down from the Vineyard Town after work, and instead of doing something planned, structured and expensive, I think I'll just want to hang out.  Add something clear to my lemonade.  Enjoy this rare Portland sunshine (which, of course, in true Portland fashion has just disappeared).  Be a normal couple.  Celebrate this absolutely SMASHING success of a year. 

It's about time.

My goddaughter turns 2 on Wednesday, but the Birthday Girl had her party on Saturday.  Lucky, lucky mommy and daddy had a party day without rain.

So many things I love about Rebekah.  I love how she "reads" books like this: 
"Afkeopena kier kodag mirno mmmmp.  THE END!!"

I love how she's entirely uncomfortable with loud noises or sudden noises (think train whistles) and will freeze, calm herself, nod and say, "Bekah ok?"

I love how she tells me to take naps.

I love how her internal clock clicks at 1:00 and she will tell other people, "Nap?"

I love her two year old hugs and her hesitation around new people.

All around, she is turning into a fantastic human being.  And I'm so glad she, her mommy and daddy live just an hour south.  I wish I had time to see them more.

Sigh.  Someday she will look at the camera when we take pictures together.
I have more than enough to keep me busy lately.  My position at the Very Large Hospital is dramatically transforming, and they hope to keep me on through the summer.  The sister I'm living with just had her military orders shortened - as in, she's leaving in a few days - and we're already in the process of moving (means we have to get almost everything done in the next four days). 

If I chose to, I have a few things to really worry about.

Instead, yesterday morning, I woke up thinking about how irritated I was with the Former Husband for taking those Krispy Kreme paper hats down to Nicaragua when he did a mission there at an orphanage in December 2003.  This was my first concious thought of the day.  I hadn't thought about that mission in years.  It was seven years ago.  Seven.  (I  love missions, as long as the culture of the indigenious people are respected to the highest.  No spreading American values - or, as in the case of Krispy Kreme - American consumerism.)  The kids loved them, but I thought it was so sad.  They don't need paper garbage with American logos on it.  (That said, I've been known to eat one, or two, or three Krispy Kremes ...)

I couldn't shake the bizarre thought of how irritated I was, and the irritation grew to anger.  And I knew it was illogical, which made things even worse.  I haven't talked to Former Husband in a year and a half.  Have absolutely no idea what he's up to and absolutely no reason to care that he took a box of Krispy Kreme paper hats to a bunch of orphans under the age of 10 seven years ago.  It irritated me then, but it was really, really irritating me yesterday.

And then I  realized that yesterday was the 3 year anniversary of the day I found out my former marriage was over.  A traumatic day.

So, I, who am relatively emotionally healthy, am still haunted by some unconcious processes on a very minor level.  And, although minor, it had an effect on my affect.  (Although, I'm not sure why it manifested itself in Krispy Kreme neurosis ...) 

And I think about what I, in the past, have thought, when working with clients, who are healing "at their own pace."  It's a good reminder.  This stuff?  Sometimes it just gets us in ways we don't understand.

That was yesterday. 

Today, however, I am not thinking about Former Husband.  No.  Today, I am headed an hour south for my Goddaughter's, Rebekah, birthday party - she will be a magnificant, fabulous two years old.

Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

... I'm learning so many new things at the Very Large Hospital where I work.  For the past six months, I've been doing a lot, a lot, of terribly boring, mundane, tedious financial tasks.  Billing for mouse intestines and mouse cryopreservation.  Tracking down outstanding invoices.  Creating rolling spreadsheets for budgets.


I'm not that person.

But lately, lately, I've been working on getting the research volunteers set up with the 75 tasks they have to complete to become volunteers with the Very Large hospital.  This?  This is very much up my alley.

And today, a 20 year old came in with a form for us to sign and I just happened to notice she had a "u.washington.edu" email address.  I started laughing and said,

"I don't know if I can help you, dear.  We mostly idolize Cougars around my parts.  I don't know if I should be touching this form."

To which she immediately corrected, "I grew up in Eugene.  I am NOT a Husky."

I did not tell her Ducks are no better than Huskies.

I will tell you that I didn't care about this one smidge until Shoes came along.  Well.  A Cougar is better than a Mountaineer, which is what I was.

What the crack's a Mountaineer anyway?

Making sense out of routine activity theory is not fun.

After awhile, reading anything but routine activity theory is very fun.  Including the backs of cereal boxes.  (I presume.  I don't actually have time to pour cereal in a bowl, add milk and sit down with a spoon to eat it.)

This is a post to redeem myself for the terrible, no good, rotten, perfectly honest confession I made about watching Bad T.V. (Ialsolovewatchinggleeyoucanreallyhatemenow).

I don't have it in me to write real book reviews.  As in, even though one of my undergraduate degrees is in English, I have no skills to write reviews.    I have my little queue on the right, and I actually made some progress.  Girl Scout Badge?

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down - yep, you should read it.  I don't even have any subject matter or language caveats.  You should just read it. 

*  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (this was our last book club pick, and even though it's a young adult read, yep - you should read it.  Maybe language, I can't remember.  Sucked me in with the boy reigns in basketball, broke my heart with the fact that real life happens.  Broke my heart with this version of real life.  I think Sherman Alexie might be my new intellectual crush.  I'm not sure.  I'll keep you updated.  It takes a lot to push Anderson Cooper aside, even though I'm fully cognizant we don't play on the same team.)

Downtown Owl - yep, you should read it.  Bonus:  If you read this, you may get an a little glimpse of everything that makes me pull my hair out about the Vineyard Town.  Minus the surprise blizzard.  Actually, we had one of those too ... never mind.

The New Structural Social Work.  Kidding.  Kind of.  Only read it if you want to know how the Canadians rock social work.  Canadians, you do.  Hats off.

Next Book Club:  The Children of Men.

Queue's updated.  Suggestions welcome.

It's going to be a long summer.

I kind of stink at summer vacation.
I watch bad TV.  I do.  I don't even know if I can apologize.  And when I mean bad TV, I mean Bad T.V.  Grey's Anatomy, Lost, The Bachelorette (told you ...)  What's the pull?  I can't even tell you.  I have no idea.  When Shoes and I first started dating, I made, asked, him to watch it with me.  He will not, Will Not, do that anymore.

Well, since I brought it up ...

Tattoos are never a good idea to impress a lady.  Creepy Casey.  Are you kidding me?  Wrong on so many levels.  I don't even think I can watch next week.

(Who am I kidding?)

Shoes goes back to the Vineyard Town, I go back to the Vineyard Town.  {Coincidentally, the court in Vineyard Town looks nothing like the courtroom above.  Is that a computer monitor at the prosecution table ... ? Real life court is usually not as exciting as you want it to be.  It is not glamorous.  If you're not directly involved, it can be tear jerkingly boring.  My dear friend Sarah is right - sometimes there is a strange, addictive energy ... for those of us on the inside ...}

I was supposed to go back today to testify in a child welfare case.  My heart breaks for this kid.  Really.   It's been three years since the case's inception.  Three years.  No matter what the circumstances are, three years is too long to spend in foster care, completely unsure of who you belong to.  Federal timelines dictate that child welfare cases be wrapped up, primarily, in 12 months. 

I heard that.  No snickering.

I thought we were supposed to be wrapping up soon, permanency found, but, turns out, not quite - with no immediate resolution in sight.  I told Shoes the other day I am just professionally tired.  Amazed it's been three years.  Shocked it's taken this long.  Surprised I've moved away, am in graduate school, and in many substantial ways, still working this case.

This is one of those cases that calls for creative definitions of "success."

I'm trying, kid.  Promise.  We're all trying.  You're in, not by any choice of your own, so I'm in, tired or not, completely present, until we figure it out together.

Holy anti-oppressive practice, Batman.

The term is over.

Over as in the last paper turned in, I paid my library fines so I could see my final grades, I've accepted my financial aid for next term, we register for fall term in a month, macro theory has given me PTSD .... over.

I was going to look up my stats for the year ... you know ... something horribly self indulgent and poor me, look how many pages I read and wrote.

But come on.  It's graduate school.  I read:  a bunch.  I wrote:  a little less than I read.  I worried:  more than I should have.

My GPA: who cares?  It was a job well done.

Well, all right.  That's a total lie.  I completely, wholly and totally care about my GPA, but grades won't be posted until next week.

For now, well done, MSWers.  Well done.
So this graduation barbeque Shoes and I went to was superb. It was good to see Shoes catch up with these people he's known forever.  It was good for me to see them re-assess where they all are (with new jobs, professional degees {congrats, Doc Marong!}, new babies), incorporate, congratulate each other and start looking forward to what this part of adult life looks like.

Shoes is not necessarily a new baby fan.  But he does love his friends.  And he does hold the babies.  And it's funny to see him warm to baby speak.  Age in terms of weeks instead of years.  Pumping vs. formula.  How many hours sleeping.  And at breakfast this morning, he informed me that we get to live in the same town in 730 days.  When I commented on his interesting use of time frame, he said,

"I thought that's what we're doing now.  Everybody's babies were 4 weeks old or 6 weeks old. Why can't we just say months?  It's confusing.  So I'm going to talk about things in terms of days.  We get to live in the same town in 730 days and maybe in 1,095 days we'll have a baby.  But probably in 750 days we'll have a dog. You're moving in 21 days and in 90 days fall term starts. Why does everybody think it's funny to give me the baby?  Do they think I'll drop them?  Oh, look at {Shoes} drop the baby!   But I'll never talk about baby poop - I don't care what it looks like or smells like.  Why do people talk about that?"

Don't know, Love, but I secretly see baby poop as your future number one favorite topic.

You are a boy, after all.
School? Almost over.  I'm having, er, a little, motivation issue, turning in my last paper.  I should just do it.  After that, this year's wrapped up.

Instead of wrapping up, I'm choosing to go to Olympia with Shoes for a good friend's graduation / happy baby party.  3 of Shoes' friends have had babies within the last 6 months.  Don't tell, but I think I had my first pang of baby fever.  We'll start with a dog, maybe ...

I was asking Shoes about this party.  Where it was.  Who was going to be there.  Asked if it would be in an apartment, or a house.  Shoes is ridiculously intuitive.  And knows that although I love people, when the crowds get big, I like to be around people but have problems talking to them.  Interacting at that point really challenges that part of me that is so stupidly shy.  Shoes, being his usual intuitive self, says,

"Right, there *will* be a lot of people there.  But it should be a good mix of people - not all of them will be the Pullman crowd."  (Note: I love the Pullman crowd. Really.  And.  I'm an outsider.  See how I highlighted the situation with "and"?  I will be a very good social worker ...)

But that wasn't my issue.

"No, no" I objected.  "It's not that.  It's that the party starts at 4:00 and if it's a small house, we'll probably spill outside and I want to know how warmly I should dress."

Which was met with a long pause. 

And then,



"I obviously do NOT speak girl."

Poor guy.  Don't try.  It's a headache.