Lentil Festival:  (noun) Pullman, Washington event that effectively succeeded in prohibiting Shoes and I meeting with our first choice of ceremony/reception venue.  On the phone, the venue secretary said, "Oh, I don't know now.  That's lentil festival.  We'll be really busy that weekend."


I, for one, ALWAYS flock to the nearest party that honors legumes.  We really didn't get to meet with the venue rep, but I drove to Pullman anyway last weekend.  I hadn't had a chance to see Shoes' mother or his father (and family) since the engagement.

And you know what?

Lentil festival is HUGE.  Blocks worth of lentil party.  Who knew?  And Shoes mocked me for my 5 minute screeching tirade about how busy I am and how I have very few chances to get to Pullman before school starts and how NOBODY will be at lentil festival.

Everybody was at lentil festival.

A picture, but not my picture - it's hyperlinked, of the big, giant huge vat of free lentil chili they cook up and serve.  I passed.   But we had fun walking around with old friends and enjoying the young energy that a university hums with right before classes start.

Also.  We were inadvertently in the Lentil Festival parade on Sunday.  Shoes marched, as a 3rd grader (I think?) in the very first Lentil Festival Parade.  They made him dress up like a packet of lentil seeds; he says he is still scarred from that experience but I doubt it.  We were trying to get up to the University, the road merged, there was regular traffic in our lane and the parade in the lane next to us.  Enter panicked noises from Shoes and "we gotta get out of this thing."

Also, I told Shoes that I wanted to see the Pullman lady cop from the show "Campus PD."  As in, the Campus PD series that's on G4.  This lady in this clip (I apologize for the title on the clip, but I can assure you nobody talks about dropping panties.  Well, kind of he does, I guess.  It's a drink.):

Shoes said, "I bet I can deliver that."    And what do you know?  He did.  She was right there at Lentil Festival.

Oh Lentil Festival.  I want to be so mad at you.

But you, in all of your small town glory, won't let me.

You know what else?, Shoes' step-mom and step-sisters squealed with excitement when they saw the engagement ring.  And the "Congratulations!"  and "We're SO HAPPY for you's" melted my heart just a little more.

Like my heart needs to be any more gooey with this family.

We also made out pilgrimage out to the Washington State University Bear Center.
In fences.
Free to see.

The very first time Shoes took me home (and I spent the entire time feeling like I was going to toss my cookies I was so nervous), we talked, in the car, about how I had never seen a live bear not in a zoo.  When we got into town, Shoes said, "I've something to show you."

And he drove me out to the Bear Center.

And he grinned.

And he said, "See, babe?  Bears.  Not bears in the wild, but still bears.  Look at what I deliver."

Photo not mine.  Click and see.  These are not the bear cubs that are out there now.  The cubs out there now are much bigger, but still young.  And I seriously adore them.  I have no idea why.  I'm such a dork, but I love to sit there and watch them play, wrestle with each other, splash into their tubs, nap.

Shoes always has to tell me it's time to leave and I always say, "Just a couple more minutes ..."

We have a meeting the Friday before school starts to talk to the wedding venue.  Shoes was the one who ended up setting it up.  Apparently, he can create magical things in the town he hails from.  And I cannot.   I wonder how long it takes for the Pullman magic to rub off ....
My good, good friend from my program, C., interned last year at a men's residential drug and alcohol treatment center.  She still floats there, sometimes, because she is patient and good and levelheaded and smartsmartsmart and the facility figured out in .009 seconds they could not let her go and that they should pay her to be patient and good and levelheaded and smartsmartsmart.

That was a good decision.

Last night as I was switching buses, C. told me on the phone how she had to take the center's cat in to get its shots.  The men, you see, had kidnapped the cat from the streets and lavished it with love and given it a place to call home.

And they threaten to kick each other's .... rear ends .... if one of them hurts it.

They named the cat Relapse.  C. and I dissolved into giggles, and then she asked me how the wedding planning was going and if I was getting excited.

And me, for all of my pratical, no nonsense, bluff of "I don't want a formal, big wedding" (and truly, I don't want those things exactly) and "we have to execute this well", did get excited.  I did.  I let myself get excited.  I let myself dream about all of our closest friends together in one place, laughing, eating, drinking, laughing, laughing, laughing.  I had a vision of the golf course in Pullman lit up by white lights in the early dusk of a warm, late summer Eastern Washington evening.  I let myself think about beautiful bridesmaids twirling around on the dance floor and handsome groomsmen lined up at the altar.  I let myself think about coming home to Shoes at the end of the day, together in one place, enjoying normal life, the (thus far nonexistant) dog between us.

And I bubbled over like a young girl.

Sometimes I forget about all of the joy and lightheartedness and free spirit that's in me.  Sometimes I forget that these Good Things are really for me.  That I can partake.  Maybe that's the real work of this upcoming busy year:  to partake in the good and to enjoy the rambunctious love and glee that's waiting.

(I never know where my posts are going to end up.)
I am getting married.


I am marrying an amazing human being and we are so very confident in who we are as individuals and the entity that is our relationship.  As Jose Saramago says, the relationship is the third being in our marriage; one must be a respecter of this 3rd entity.

With our specific marriage comes a wedding.  A wedding of traditional sorts.

With a wedding of traditional sorts, comes free advice.

Advice makes me want to puke.

On the Lisa Irate-O-Meter, it falls just below "you'll know when you have children" but somewhere above countless daily Facebook status updates from non-writer types.  Advice is different than sharing personal experience.  I like to hear personal experience, sure. Advice, as in, "you should" .... can be ... bad.  Just bad.

And ignorant.  

People have been asking about the wedding.  That is awesome.  And natural.  And I am happy to answer questions.  I'm fairly open, so when there's something that's not working out as well as I'd like it to, I name it.  Naming it, however, doesn't mean I want other people's answers.  With this wedding comes very, very, very complicated family dynamics.   And if I have to hear one more person try to  boil it down simplistically (as in, "well, you just have to talk to that person" -- like I haven't been dealing with these people for years or haven't gone over every angle in my head over and over and over and over again), I'm going to ... I"m going to .... I'm going to .... look at that person very meanly.

Well. Obviously, there's not a lot I can do (that's legal or diplomatic).  Other than just cheerfully say everything is going swimmingly and perfectly.  Which I probably will start doing.

Ok, this next part comes from my professional side.  Ready?

It is largely inappropriate to give any sort of advice after talking to casual acquaintances for 10 minutes.  Not only is the relationship quite simply not there, but there is no possible way that one can fully understand the rich dynamics of the situation at hand in 10 minutes.  Even professional counselors must be able to sit with the truth that they will never fully understand their consumers, because people are dynamic and changing.  There is always something more to be learned.

Boiling it down to, "You just need to ..." is poop.  I wish I would never have to hear that ever again in my life. (All right, that was obviously less than professional.  I don't say "poop" in session ..... unless I'm working with kids.)

Unless the person one is addressing is on Heroin.  Then one might say, "You really need to ... stop the heroin."  But even then, one shouldn't assume one understands all of the reasons WHY somebody is doing heroin or boil it down to, "You just have to stop."  But I digress.  This post is about advice giving, not Opioids.

Just LISTEN for heaven's sake.  Commiserate.  Say, "Oh my word, that's absurd!"  Say, "Oh good night.  What did you say then?"  Laugh (if appropriate!).  Ask, "What do you think you'll do?"

If people want advice, they will let others know with small, subtle hints like, "I don't know what to do.  What do you think I should do?"  I know, I know.  This can be easily missed, but listen carefully.

Similarly, it drives me absolute batty when I hear somebody say, "I'd be a GREAT counselor ... I give GREAT advice."  Or the person who says, "I'd be a GREAT counselor" never takes a breath when talking.  I once had a hair dresser who continually told me she'd be a GREAT counselor.  I didn't think so.  Mainly because I couldn't even catch a minute to say, "Hey, wait, not so much blond this time, ok?  How 'bout those low lights?"  Oy, oy, oy.  Good counselors listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, ask open ended questions and then listen some more.  If anybody's ever curious about how the helping process works, ask me.  I'll expound.  Spoiler alert:  It's not through empty advice giving.

We listen to understand. The understanding doesn't come flooding through an open mouth.  Those channels aren't connected.

Ok, I think that's enough of the Lisa Irate-O-Meter.

Time to go make zucchini apple cake and watch, "Texas Women."

Well.  We all get down time somewhere, right?
... I work 14-15 hours a day.

It's temporary, I assure you.  I'm no stranger to working two jobs. ;)  It's tiring, yes, but also helping me get to my goals.  I trace my amazing work ethic back directly to my madre y padre not letting me slack when I was a kid.  No getting out of chores for us.   (Thanks, Ma!)

Shoes says I'm getting "strung out."  He's probably right, but in for a penny with me, in for a pound ... right, love?

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my new job in Psychiatry.  You'd have to wrestle it away from me.  So I'll take the crazy crazy until 9/16, which is my last day in Research Administration. 

You know what else is crazy?  Riding an 11:00 pm bus line out to the Park & Ride that's closest to my house after I'm done in Psychiatry.  There's all kinds of awesome that happens that late.

Like the bus being so crowded there's no more standing room ....
... primarily because two homeless people have 6 suitcases between them in the disabled seating area ...
... and the guy who was dressed for jousting and kept accidentally bashing people with his foam sword
... and the cat that got loose
... and the lady who coughed on my shoulder and then let me know she had a Thai Wrap for lunch
... and the woman who told me the rainbow around me was majestic.

Darling, we're all majestic.  Especially at 11:00 at night on a bus bound for home.
" ... a ribbon at a time"
       -- Emily Dickinson

O, summer.  This time you're slipping away much, much too quickly.  You laugh too boisterously.  You charge ahead too quickly.  You shock me with your zeal. I can barely keep up.

But I do.

This is the last true summer vacation for the rest of my life.

In the midst of the "yays" and "congratulations" and the "have you set the dates" and my mysterious foray into becoming left handed, things still surge forward.

I've started a second job at the Very Large Hospital as a clinical interviewer with a Very Large, multivariate, longitudinal ADHD study.  It's amazing.  I'm challenged.  And I get to conduct psychosocial assessments with parents as well as assess for DSM symptomology.  It couldn't be any more up my little social worker alley and I adore working with the parents and their children.  In the afternoons I work at Research Administration (as I have been for almost 2 years) and then in the evenings I head over to Psychiatry.  And because I'm new and slow and still figuring out how to score assessments and keep parents on track and focused, I haven't been getting OUT of the hospital until 10:30 at night.  And then taking a bus downtown.  And then waiting for another bus downtown to get home.  Right.  Still thinking about the best, safest way to do that.

Long hours.  I'm pretty exhausted.  But fascinated.  This is a good move.  In the fall, I'll juggle classes, internship, research / reading / writing, and this new job (and will not work in Research Administration).  And I will plan me and Shoes' epic coupledom ceremony.

Or, actually, maybe his mom will do that.  I've a GPA to uphold and a Shoes to love on.  

But, in the midst of this craziness and full speed ahead-ness, we've done some Summer stuff.  And I'm pretty proud of myself for taking some time to have fun.  See?  The proof is in the pudding ....

Like taking summer drives through the Gorge, wishing we had the time to learn how to this ...

And spending time in Old Town with the friendly neighbors ...

We went on a houseboat party!  Notice everything Shoes wears has a Washington State University logo on it.

Shoes loved the house boat party so much he back flipped off the roof.

And we watched the Mariners lose while freezing our tookuses (tookusi?) off in Seattle.  (There sure are a lot of people smiling for the camera in this photo ... people we don't know at all.)  But we were also there with people we love dearly, so it all balances out.

And we have more!  Weddings and parties and shindigs, oh my.

I can already feel fall in the air ... and while I'm excited to see it (and my last year of school!) come, I'm going to miss this little bit of summer joy that's happened.

Who am I kidding?  This is an avalanche of summer joy.