We lived in Europe until I was 9.  Magical, yes.  Also, my normal.  Also, perpetually cold and rainy.

Every Volksmarch, every field trip to a castle, every Oktoberfest - rainy, rainy, rainy. 

I drug Adam to the Oktoberfest down in Mt. Angel.  The only pictures I have are of Shoes and I, drowning in water, in front of the Harvest Monument.   And.  I almost got my eye poked out by other people's umbrellas.  And.  Some strange man made a big deal out of my wonderful, Target bargain, rusting umbrella.

Apparently, it is a magical umbrella that compliments me well.

Apparently, Shoes has magical hearing, as he immediately headed over to me to rescue me from the Umbrella Man.

I do have this picture, though:

We're here, at the Brewery Elizabeth had suggested from the very start.

It is not raining and  nobody is chasing after my rusty umbrella.

Also, there is a terrible band you cannot hear from the picture.  Actually, they were not terrible.  They were musically very talented. But it was verrrryyyyyy sllllooooowwwww and sleep inducing.

Also, this is a posting about "Superfreak."

A few days ago, Elizabeth posted a FB video of her daughter, my goddaughter, Rebekah, dancing in front of the TV.  At one point she stops, points to the man on TV, and says, "That's Shoes."

Actually.  It was Rick James.

Elizabeth tried a couple of times to tell her indeed, it is not.

I assure you, there is absolutely NO resemblance.  Sorry, Abekah. 

Fake out, this is also a posting about school, which starts next week.  Two thumbs up.  But, I also have to do new student orientation, again, because I am just starting my internship this year.  Two thumbs down.  But after new student orientation, I am driving to the Vineyard town to help Shoes move the last of his things into his house.  One thumb up, one thumb down.

I am also going to be going to my first Cougar game.  Two thumbs up.

And then driving back on Monday to go to class on Monday night.  Two thumbs up again.

Fall and I?  Best friends.
Rick James and Shoes?  Not best friends.

It started with fair ...

In a classic piece of American ritual, Goddaughter Rebekah got to see the cows.  As was happening all over America, we fawned and commented on how cute she was.  As was happening in many places all over America, she moo-ed.  Long live the State fair. 

Rebekah, cousin Aiden, and Nana and Papa took a sit at the State Fair.  (If I can figure out to make the images smaller, I'll send them to you, Jeff and Win!).  I wanted to take a sit at the State Fair, too.  Do you know how many people were there that day?

Too many.

Too, too many.

Malaika's mommy, Sarah, is having another baby.  Well.  She is not having a baby in this picture.  In this picture, Malaika is putting on makeup, because we are about to clean out the garage to get ready for Sarah's baby shower.

And we must look excellent doing it.

Sarah and Edwin are showing us how they will parent as equal co partners together.  Seriously.  They co-diapered this doll in 5 seconds flat.  Of course, the doll was plastic.  And not moving.  Or crying.  Or squirming.

Still.  These two could successfully parent any kid.

Trust me, I'm an (almost) professional.

This, dear hearts, is a slug.  I had originally uploaded a picture of Shoes examining said slug, but it showed too much of his face and I am too, too lazy on this perfect Saturday to edit the photo.  It took us 10 minutes to figure out what it was.  We ended up getting lost in the arboretum (kind of) that day.  Maybe because we were too focused on our friends with no legs.

Or maybe we got (kind of) lost because we were quieted and enthralled by pure height.  Pure loveliness.

(God is not dead.)

But God does have a sense of humor. 

(After we climbed our way out of the arboretum and headed to home.  Through downtown.)


And lastly, Rebekah shows us the glory of wearing many hats.  (Stop while you're ahead, precious.  Nobody wants to wear too many hats.)

One more picture posting in a few weeks, and then the school stories will re-introduce themselves ...
... but I don't  have the time.  I don't have the time because I have been gallivanting with Shoes and seeing movies and walking Portland neighborhoods and getting lost (!) in the arboretum and working out and cooking deliciously clean meals and setting up plans to have coffee with my sister, Lizz, and babysitting my goddaughter and just generally surrounding myself with people and things that I adore. 

I get to do this because I am 32 and young and happy and in charge.

And grateful for a God so much bigger than everything I understand.
All this time I thought the healthiest thing I could do - the most loving, the most gentle, the most respectful, and this one burns, the most Godly - was to maintain this relationshp.  All these years, I've been maintaining, by myself.  Birthdays, holidays, passing through town days, trips to your hospital room when your health failed you. These were my idea.

Forgiving you when you slipped out of touch for days, weeks,  months, years at a time.  That was my idea.  

Passing messages to other family members you had fallen out of touch with ... ok, that was your idea.  But it was my idea to chirpily keep family members up to date on where you were and what you were doing when they asked.

I'm utterly and thoroughly exhausted.  And this afternoon, while running around and around on the track, I was shocked to discover that all of this "maintenance" was the antithesis of the healthiest thing I could have done.  It has allowed you to keep me as an emotional hostage.   I am not in the 7th grade and this is not a game of "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?" 

The decisions you've made in the past week have baffled even me (your last link). You owed it to me to tell me yourself you were leaving.  You owed it to me to not pass the message through a woman I had never met.  (Didn't you owe it to her to not put her in that awkward, terrible position?). (And will you *please* stop giving my number to strange women?)  You owed it to me to not suggest that I call people I had never met for an update on how you're doing.

I will not be calling them.  I will no longer be searching for you because you are not in the places you insist are real.  The places you are, are fictional.  A  product of your own making.

I have no other way to explain it.

It's growing cooler outside daily and the energy has moved from lazy summer to charged fall - another season.   Briefly, I wonder how many seasons Orovado has.

 I did not ask to be born to you.  I cannot control that.  But I can control this:

I will let go.    This is the healthiest thing I can do.
But why am I even having to say this?  It's so common sense. But, it happened.  And.  Obviously, I'm still a little upset, but, probably for reasons bigger than the event.

There's always an undercurrent, right?

I digress.  Here's my advice.  Please don't give out the home phone numbers or personal cell phone numbers of counselors, therapists, psychologists or social workers whom you know personally and intimately (IE: friends or family members) to people you meet on the steet who are having a bad day.  It is most simply a violation of privacy and trust. With a liberal sprinkling of liability implications.

Now comes the rant.

A not so close family member (which is ironic, considering that a family member by this title would normally be very close relationship wise) whom I haven't spoken to since early April, yes, gave my phone number out to someone (whom I'm sure is quite lovely), with some very serious problems (much better served by professionals in her own local, geographical area - which is a long way away from me) and someone I've never met.

Thanks.  I sure had a fun time trying to decipher her upset message on my cell phone.  It was also super fun hearing that you had given her my number.  Glad you still have it  You haven't managed to use it to return any of my phone calls in the last 7 months. 

Meh.  (For many good, logical reasons, I purposefully chose to call family member instead of unknown lady and leave appropriate local referral information on voicemail so he could pass it over himself.  Give him some practice into appropriate service brokerage since he seems to be delving into that type of thing).


This is just like when I'd get cornered with crisis in grocery stores when I was doing social work in a rural Eastern Oregon county.  There's nothing like talking coping strategies when all you really want to do is pick out your produce, go home, love on your family members (probably not the one who's giving out your home number to anyone and everyone) and have quiet, peaceful time.  I love helping people.  I love doing it well.  I also love keeping a little bit of space carved out around my personal life.

I don't love strained family poo poo. But.  I should probably have gotten used to it already.

If there's a bright spot in this, I finally found the gumption to tell family member, calmly, that I am quite disappointed in this decision.  Gumption also allowed me to tell him that ignoring my phone calls (including this one!  it happened on his voicemail!) for seven months was also relatively inappropriate.  (We're talking 3 or 4 calls here - nothing more).

Yay me!  Boundaries!