Savvy Eastern Washingtonians will recognize that this landscape is not Bellingham (I.E. - "Almost Canada")

Savvy Eastern Washingtonians will recognize this as the beautiful Washington State University Campus.  (This picture was taken from the hill Shoes' parents live on).

I fully expect no one from Eastern Washington to recognize this landscape, (heyyyyy - there's the back of Shoes' head!  Woo hoo.  There's a little bonus I hadn't counted on ...).  Because no normal person could recognize this garage, I will just tell you.

I will tell you that this garage belongs to Shoes' parents and those belongings are Shoes'.  They are not in Bellingham.  They are in Eastern Washington.  They are in Eastern Washington because Shoes is moving back to the Vineyard Town (but until he finds a home, he will be commuting from the Palouse - hence the Palouse pictures ....). 

The Vineyard Town.  The very town I had vehemently accused of crushing my spirit and promised I would never return to. Well. After I put a little salt on the words they didn't taste *quite* so bitter.

That's right.

I ate them.

A long story, very long indeed, but Shoes is moving back to that dreadful place where dreadful things happened. Shoes' apologizing continues. But, goodness. There's nothing he can do about it, extenuating circumstances being what they are. He reclaimed his old job and will be settling down. At least for the next couple of years (hey, don't I have 2 more years of grad school left? Oh, the coincidences ...) And *I* will be working *very* hard on making the vineyard town mean something different for me.

The very day we packed Shoes up and headed West with the U Haul I ran into one of Former Husband's former co workers on the street with her three kids. I'm not fond of conversing with this woman. Although she didn't play a large role in what happened, she was implicit in the cover up. But I am unfailingly polite. I shouldn't be that way sometimes. And while on the street, completely giddy with the fact that the Vineyard Town was going to solidly be something behind me - really something I could forget - she told me all about what Former Husband is up to these days.

Problem is, I don't care.
Problem is, I don't want to know.
So I changed the subject. Abruptly. Obviously. Hindsight, I probably should have just told her, "Pick something else to talk about, sister. I'm not going there with you." O, Hindsight. How I hate to love you. In any case, the point was made. I went in the house, started violently sweeping the kitchen and threw around a few choice words.

That encounter just fueled my "never, never in a million years, coming back" four alarm, uncontrollable fire.

So what do you do? I'm obviously still falling down the rabbit hole and Ralph Wiggum is obviously still the president of Lisa Town ("when I grow up, I want to be a principal. or a caterpillar.")

I have to take control is what I have to do. Lead a rebellion against Ralph and find my way back to the garden. It is what it is.

I always, always tell Shoes, "The universe is supremely balanced." He always, always replies, "It is not. It is not supremely balanced." I always, always say, "Doesn't the fact that you don't believe it is and I do make it, in fact, balanced?"

I'm choosing to believe there will be balance here. Transition. Adult life. I'm an adult. I can take control over my adult life.

At least there's wine in the Vineyard Town.  ;)

... you're just no match for me.  You thought you'd confuse me with your Paired Samples t-Test and your tricky, tricky One Way ANOVA, but I have news for you.

I paid attention through the entire course.

Your 25 pages of output smushed into 3 pages of write up?  HAH!  Amateur.

Take this as a lesson to never underestimate the power of a grad student with no social life.

Wait ...
... the photos I'm going to share with you.

Next Tuesday.


Shoes and I keep telling each other we can't fall into the trap of waiting for our adult lives to start and the transition to be over.

Despite what happens, adult life is here. Transition or not.

I say this most tenderly, with much humility-I-am-chief-among-sinners attitude.

We are a disconnected people.

I am disconnected.

I participate in almost-relationship rituals that involve email, facebook, blogspot, texting and some phone calls. Usually, not even email. A full email is quickly becoming my gold star standard of relationship; much more common is the pat on the back I give myself if I write on one of my friends' walls that I'm thinking of them.

Which, of course, is not the same as asking, genuinely, how they are. The harsh truth is, I'm not that careful with the people I'm presumably closest to. In my graduate program, things are a little different. We see each other face to face weekly for hours at a time. We talk about our successes, "failures", fears and biases and we care for each other gently. When we ask each other how we're doing, we listen. We listen because this is hard. Life is incredibly tender, incredibly mysterious, incredibly sweet, and incredibly tenderly difficult.

I've done some weird things communication wise with the people I'm closest to since my divorce. The most intimate details of my life went public, and I shut down. In big ways. Made new friends that hadn't shared in my shared history with my former husband, which helped me to forget the constant pain and the all of the ways in which he not only let me down, but also let our mutual friends down. And then when Shoes came along, I kept him all to myself. For a really, really long time. It was mine, and if I got hurt, only I got hurt. And I was just so physically exhausted of sharing all the details of my process. And, Shoes and I have faith differences. Very difficult to explain. Very physically exhausting to continue to explain, especially when Shoes and I have talked and talked and talked and talked and talked (no kidding) and talked about the faith differences to arrive at a point of genuine respect and understanding.

Of course, there's some balance in this too. The divorce was incredibly traumatic and crisis driven. Then things leveled out. And things started to get better, and I didn't share as much of the good things because 1) I was tired of having people listen to my drama and 2) it just wasn't crisis driven and there wasn't as much need on my part. But I've shared that before.

My co-worker Rachel, the one that calls me water, says that my Cancer sign equates to a lot of emotional neediness. While my faith in astrology, is well ... you know ... I can say to that, Amen, sister. I'm needy. Trust me, I know.

So here we are. Let's loop this back around to the beginning.

We are a disconnected people.

I am disconnected.

But it's getting a little old. And when I accept the love and support of my co-horts in graduate school, who notice when I'm getting tired and celebrate when things go well and accept any and all differences between us without judgment, I think, I should be offering this to the people I share such deep and rich history with.

So I think I'm going to start raising my gold star standard.
I gotta' lot of them. It's that time of year.

By next week, I should:

* Write a macro theory paper on juvenile delinquency and social capital theory. Yawn. Here's the rub: my professor insists that social capital theory is a conflict theory. Fine. It may well be. So WHY can I only find it in research in conjunction with social disorganization theory, which, according to Madam Professor, is an order theory? This class has been prickly in the tush. I don't want to complain, but come on. She made a girl cry in class. Seriously? Aren't we supposed to be learning how to help each other not cry - or - at least helping each other to find the meaning behind why we cry? It's kind of a long story, so I'll leave it there. I have no idea who reads this blog and the search queries on my stats are scary sometimes.

* Write my assessment on my last taped motivational interviewing session. HA! I need to practice. Anybody feeling ambivalent? I'm pretty good at pulling out underlying emotion behind resistance. Not so good, however, at complex re-framing statements. Yikes.

* Write my Statistics extra credit paper. That's right, my dears. Extra Credit. Why? Because even though I have rocked my last two tests, I have this Freddy Krueger SPSS data analysis coming up for my final paper. Fun times.

* Interview for my field placement. Yikes again. Did I already talk about this here? I can't remember. So field placements are a big deal for our program (probably a big deal no matter which school somebody chooses). Our field placement team takes it pretty seriously and is pretty protective of their working relationship with the community. On top of that, we're always being told to "advocate" for ourselves when it comes to gaining the field placement we want. Our field apps were due last month, and I "advocated" for myself in requesting a Hospice / Bereavement spot. Kind of competitive. Lots of spots for 2nd year fields, not not so many for lowly 1st year fields like me. BUT. Wouldn't you know. That's where I was tentatively placed. ONLY. When I called the center to set up my meeting, they said that although they've never had to do this before, they've had several Master's level programs want to place with them, and they have 7 applicants for 2 spots. So we're all interviewing. Competitively. Against each other. I'm up for a little friendly competition. The placement is truly a choice placement - running 2 bereavement adult support groups a week, a kids support group and conducting one on ones with clients. So, interview's next week. Yay if I get it. Sad if I don't. It's kind of a funny thing, but my work experience, course work and GPA have put me in a position to interview for this competitive placement. If, however, I don't get the placement (and I may not - who knows?), I go to the bottom of the field placement barrel as options are getting more and more limited as time goes by. So sad!

And ... that's it for next week. This week was about as exciting as Ned Flanders' children. A lot of billing for mouse cryopreservation and a class presentation on communalism. That's what this week was. There probably, might be, thinking about, ok - most definitely, some Ralph Wiggum personal changes brewing, but the time's not right yet to share. Maybe next week. Maybe the week after.

Be warned. I CAN do a somersault.

beginning to want for summer. warm days. long evenings.

stretching, luxurious weekends with Shoes. {he has his heart set on doing so in the setting above.}
that might be the best part - long weekends with this boy. we've done well this year, being apart. i'm so very proud of us.

starting to feel the pressure of the end of the term ... already ... where did this year go? (read: why didn't i enroll in the 2 year program??) week 6 of 11 almost under my belt. so many things due next week i'm not sure where to begin.

trying to find a new apartment. on a shoestring budget.

may need to look for a new job. jury's still out. applying for graduate assistantships in fall, most definitely.

warm days. stretching evenings. warm days. stretching evenings.

how many more weeks again? that's right ... 5 ...