Mississippi Moments

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ever seen an adolescent crow fly into a capacitor? In front of your house?
There is a huge bang. A shower of sparks. The crow pops and has been eviscerated from the neck to the legs. The look of surprise on the bird's face was priceless and frozen for all to see. Frozen--odd word to use here. And the power is out. out. gone. On the entire block both sides. Brought some more face time with my already friendly neighbors but nobody was particularly friendly. Not their faults. Or mine. Wonder what the crow wanted? Didn't his mom teach him to stay away from hot stoves and capacitors? That meant the local source of ice cubes for Porker and me went the by-way. And my excuse for hanging out in the basement (laundry). Yesterday was awesome for that--everything dried in about two hours God's way!

And in other news...we had change with Porter coming into this house. There is other change brewing. Bigger change. Change I have been waiting for and working for and praying for for a long time. Looking really really promising. Details when I have some. Prayer please. For God's Will. And in God's time. Like Maria Von Trapp says, "God's Will Hath No Why"....Thankful we are.

The plumbers come again today. There were three sets on Monday. They are going to cut and take out a section of the old plumbing and replace it. Then they will unclog the pipes to the street. I am not going to hold my breath. I just may need to take on another job. Alrighty then. I am once again having the best summer of my life. This just keeps happening.

Harp camp this weekend. Porter goes to Camp Alice and I get to be of service in one of the best places on earth with people, trees, beings, space who are connected in love, music, healing, laughter, challenge and release...I will miss Book Group. Bummers for me. That's twice in a row. And I need to go to this section of Life's buffet. It is what my spirit needs. I have learned Eleanor Plunkett. Big deal-why? I began this b.d (before diagnosis) and then life happened and I couldn't pick up the harp for a good long while. that's the challenge and release part. And then it was time. And the healing...there was tuning and playing with Fletcher in the little harp patio on the side of my little cottage (that was the original intent of that secret, sweet spot next to the laceleaf maple with the fairies underneath, shielded by the rubus liniatus, and with plenty of overhangs for curious chickadees or hummingbirds zipping in for a late evening slurp), and more playing at Pine Lake and up in Birch Bay and then harp and me went to Moses Lake and enjoyed dusk moments next to juniper and lake and heron overhead. See what I mean about all this??? At harp camp, many who come aren't aware of the essential purpose for their being there. It's not up to me to judge or put anyone in a box, and this happens every year. The harp, resonating next to someone's heart and chakra, causes an energetic and physical release, often many, like a cascading waterfall or like the scales coming off a salmon that Grandpa Surridge caught and was cleaning and scraping at that tall table at Point No Point. Except the Hand that is Scraping is gentle and full of love. And when "it" all tumbles away, the joy, the lightness, the potentiality begin to dance. To some it just sounds like Welsh Tune Number One and Two played badly...but to me what I can "see", It's Heaven. Here. Now. Real.

And in some other wonderful news--the Star Sisters have a new family member. His name is...STAR! He is an eight year old Golden Retriever adopted through Evergreen Retriever Rescue. He comes with some special needs. They are all adjusting and learning...and getting some good outside time together. :) Can't wait to meet him.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"Naps are necessary to my creative life...set yourself up for the perfect nap. A small snack, your favorite pillow, and a certain kind of quiet."---SARK, "Inspiration Sandwich"

Didn't want to get our of bed this morning. Up at the usual 4:30 time and it was beautiful outside and so cool. The morning stars were quiet, too. Everything. The sky was on the wispy edge of brightening. We had our moment and went back to read and gnaw on a frozen kong. You can guess which had which.

Hot enough for you out there?

The dancing camp is off to a great start and then we have Tara dance this afternoon. I am happy for the chances to sweat and teach. I am already trying out some things I learned last week. Finished the rough draft on my papers and will type those up this afternoon when I get back.

This is the time to really appreciate simple things--water from a hose, water in a glass, water in an ice cube, water on your playing puppy, water in the kiddie pool outback for floaty things and play...speaking of water, there were three sets of plumbers out here yesterday. Seems Fair Isle has a pipe problem. The next round will get fixed on Thursday. Apparently this sweet little old house has sweet little old plumbing that needs to be cut out and replaced. So this we will do. Because I want to be a sweet little old lady in this sweet little old house with sweet little new plumbing that will let me have my sweet little baths, showers, and soaks when needed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

"We need to rewrite recession to read: money recess. Remember recess....take a deep breath . What you are really worth is not about money."--SARK, "Inspiration Sandwich"

Been a busy few days. And now it's hot. Which I don't mind.
Having this puppy back is wonderful and challenging. Lydia did a bucketload of work with him. We are settling in. I still have a couple more papers and one project to turn in from my classes last week. I will finish those in the heat of this afternoon while the plumber is here. Having some issues in the one bathroom we do have here at Fair Isle. As I am looking at all this ordinary reality, I am so grateful.

Went to a extended family gathering with relatives down in the Olympia area. Met and remet a few folks with whom I have ties. I am not so comfortable around those kinds of gatherings...and it was still fun. And we wore Porter out with all the attention and other dogs to play with.

I'll be teaching a Celtic arts and dance camp up in Mountlake Terrace a couple of times this summer. Session One begins today. I am still working on the creative arts part.

Sister Colleen did a gig at Conor Byrne's pub with her friends. It was well attended and very fun. It is a simple pleasure for me to arrive very early with a backgammon game (or Scrabble), a friend, and sit and enjoy a good seat, a pint, and some quiet fun before the music and the crowd. Pick a pub, pick a country. Simple pleasures. Later that pleasure will be in scrubbing out the compost bucket and beginning the front yard clearout.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Today was Response to Intervention Day.
All day. One of the best presentations yet. Really brought data driven everything to the fore and how to use it un meaningful, effective ways for ALL learners...and this ain't just theory. It was tough to do some of the number crunching because I have been out of it for awhile, but I watched the other tables of people who do this on a regular basis whizzing through it so it will just take some practice and application.
And I told the mind-crap committee with their bags of past stuff to take a hike or seat in the class next door and I just enjoyed myself today. I also got a little sleep last night (not enough--I look really tired as people were commenting), but so what. Everyone else is at Happy Hour at a local pub/restaurant. I am on the balcony with HW, enjoying the water and breezes and sunshine getting ready to begin outlines, scenarios, questions, and any other assignments I will get to. Tomorrow a great class and then I get to come home. Yay!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Learned all about Autism Spectrum Disorder today.
Some valuable things and strategies.
About ready to do HW for the day's class.

I am not only learning much about special education. I am learning how I have changed as a student in a class with other adult learners. I really don't care that I am a one and only in this group. That is a big change because that could be dangerous ground as a 4 who feels left out anyway. I didn't come here to belong to a group anyway. I came here to learn. I also came prepared to work hard. The difference now is that I don't need to impress anyone else and certainly not the facilitators. I am not in it for the grade and I certainly won't make any more money for this. There is no huge exam to pass. It's learning to learn. And I am coming away with the latest research, law, strategies, and examples from the people who are doing it in the trenches and driving the train for the state of WA. I coul dmake a really bad joke about driving the little yellow bus for the state instead but I won't because that would be really bad form. There was a lot of insensitive joking today about learners with autism designations. Made me uncomfortable.

There is a little inner tension when I get caught up in the energy of that old pattern of needing to be perfect, to impress, to be the best in the class and make sure everyone else knows it while I am at it.... and since this is my blog, I can have my self-therapy session right here and you can go look at the comics or youtube. I laugh at myself when I even think those thoughts or breathe into that gut energy...like sniffing an old pair of soccer shoes you forgot to put talc in or a drier sheet. The stink isn't too bad but it is still there. I laugh at myself and take a look on the inside and "AH! There used to be a hole here." Ain't no more. And then I wonder gently why I can't just take a class to just take a class without all this other baggage/ Truth is, I can. But the impulse is still there like when I get the scissors out and have the impulse to give myself a haircut or do my own bangs. Something you outgrow, manage, but never quite get rid of. I kept my mouth shut a lot today. I conserved my energy. Maintained poise. Offered up some ideas and then pulled back. Did my fair share. And looked forward to my nap. (Which I didn't take but I can sleep on Saturday.)

I get impatient with the one (and now there are two) people in the class who punctuate every single item with their personal stories. To the class. I am sure we all need to hear every bloody anecdote about every key concept.(Italics denote sarcasm) It will empower us and improve our skill sets. That's when I read ahead.

Need to do HW. Hopefully I will sleep tonight. Makes for long days. And nights.
For those of you who would like more of the adventures of Porter with thebig dogs and Auntie Lydia, here is a link. Hope it works.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Porter's Day...I just love Dave's expressions and his look down at Porter. Apparently the pup got told off today by Alice--Airesnap it was!!He ran to Dave and sat next to him, tail between his legs, and ears off to the side--Sheltie speak for "Uh-oh". Enjoy:)
When was the last time you sat next to a bank of sun-baked juniper, playing Celtic harp, bathed in golden, pink rays of the setting sun dancing on rippled, dappled lakewaters, blessed by a heron who decided to commute home right overhead..at that very moment? And your fingers remembered the tune you've been practicing for a few weeks now and you forgot the music in the room and learned that you didn't really need or want it anyway?

And here's another sweet and funny thing to add to this life-painting...there is something about Welsh Tune #1 and 2 on the harp that attracts muskrats! I am not kidding you! This has happened before. It happened again tonight here at the lake. As I was playing, there was a "Bloop!" in the water very closeto the lake's edge where I was playing and this wee head there..lingers, lingers..then "Bloop!"..gone. When I was on sabbatical and finding my way up the Cassiar to Chicken, Alaska, we camped alongside a lake. No human residents on the lake anywhere except us and another camper or two. That twilight time, I was playing harp--same tunes, same harp, near lake..and this time there were two "Bloops" and the linger, linger, linger of two wee heads, and then "Bloop!"..disappearing heads. Except that time, their wee heads were compelled to Bloop and Float, back and forth in front of me and the harp at the lake's edge until I changed songs. Toward the end, they didn't bother to Bloop. They just swam back and forth in front of the harp and me. I bet I could get some stimulus grant money to study the effect of poorly, but happily played beginner Celtic harp tunes on lake-resident muskratsof the Pacific Northwest...

The stories this harp and I could tell you....guess we just did. We have shared some amazing times, places, and magic. This harp brings me closer to Heaven than anything else just about in my life.

Day 2 of Special Ed Boot Camp. I have to do my homework yet. I decided to take a long nap and a break this afternoon. I will be up most of the night. The assignments are labor-intensive for a neophyte. This is pretty much all new news to me. I am being given the information and tools to be a better Erin and a better teacher...and adoptive parent. I have learned how to negotiate the processes of special education services, the difference between accommodations and services, the laws about all of it, goal and objective writing, collaboration....and this is only Day 2! They are feeding us well. We work hard all day. And then I get to enjoy the lake...and Lifetime television. I hid the remote from myself earlier today. Addictions can be hard to deal with and I am addicted to t.v. That's why I don't have one that works at my house. Youtube is bad enough. You can watch episodes of the Cosby show. And Colleen. Must do homework. And enjoy the sun going down. I love wireless internet and a room with a view.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Here is how Porter is spending his time. He is having a blast at Camp Alice.
First day of Special Ed Boot Camp. My head is fulllllllllllllll. So much to learn. And today was only on the law. Taking a break at the moment by the lake to have a little dinner, relax some, and watch two muskrats on the shore munching grass. It is plenty warm here. Supposed to be 100 tomorrow.

I am one of two general ed teachers in the class. I am the only private/parochial teacher in the room. I am also one of the youngest people in the room. Most are veteran special ed teachers. In the union. Every minute is used for giving us information or discussion. Unless it is used to listen to horror stories. And there were plenty of those just in the first hour, no, less than an hour. And I thought to myself--oh, this is going to be just dandy, listening to people complain and one-up each other with all the bad news." (Mind you, I don't mind "crabby time". SARK says we each get 15 minutes a day if we want and that it is healthy. Meg Ryan, in "French Kiss", took a long drag on an imaginary cigarette, hunched her shoulders over, and described what happens when we hold this crap inside--"Fester, Fester, Fester.")Still, it was going on and on and bloody on. And it was only 9:42 a.m. So I spoke up. Asked if we couldn't have some positive balance---stories and examples of when things DO work, are successful, highlight collaboration, make folks smile inside and out. I promptly got "jumped on" by the presenters. They said it was a good place for professionals to air their frustrations and get support. I said I agreed and that it was also appropriate for folks to air the positive, too. And that this was my first foray into the WA World of Special Ed and I intended to come away with hope, information, and empowerment tools for my toolkit. And I intended to leave with more hope than when I came....the room went silent. And after a bit, I said, "Well, I believe in the positive." More silence.
Several times throughout the day and even as I was leaving, people from the class came by to tell me thanks.For speaking up. For redirecting the momentum to include the other side. For helping them to think about the good. For wanting to have it shared which they said doesn't happen very often where they work. They wanted to share those stories with me. With the group. Which they did all day--people made an effort. Or started their comments with a smile and look over my way with, "Here's another one for you..."

We did have some horror stories. Tension. Frustrations. Overload. And we had the other, too.

Now, I have more than my fair share of homework to do. Hi-ho........

Saturday, July 18, 2009

"There, we experienced in our own life
what other people's trust does to you.
It releases new powers;
new depths in your soul open,
hitherto unknown to yourself.
It sharpens your will
and it fixes on the goal--
it helps you to do the impossible.
That's the way God works with us."
----Maria A. Von Trapp

Off to Special Ed. Boot Camp in Moses Lake for the next long week. Porter is off to Camp Alice (t'hee). Called Lydia to make sure she knew what she was getting herself in for. Just making sure.

Been working around here all day. Typical homecare, lifecare things.
Punctuated with puppy play. He tried to eat a bee yesterday and got stung. Scary, that.
Benedryl took care of the swelling and helped him rest. Icecubes, too. He is back to normal. I found him downstairs exploring when I was unloading the car. Tricky, this one. Does not like to wait for 'mom' or follow me around. Except when food is present. I already have plenty of friends, thank you. Move back.

Birch Bay was just what was needed. I, once again, rest in awe at how the Universe brings exactly what I need in answer to prayer. Thank you. Thank you! I have learned why I did not get the jobs I went up for. I have the learned the deeper why. I have been presented with opportunities to grow from and change the obstacles that are present. And to do it in places I hadn't considered. The Universe will allow one to run. And then just like in this Terry Pratchett book I am reading, the Luggage will show up. I/We can do this. And I/we will be ready when am ready. Finished Maria Von Trapp's own story about her life and that of the family. I will be including thoughts and situations from that book in upcoming posts. Hit me right where I needed it. One of her mottos from the Nonnberg Benedictine monastery is this: "The Will of God hath no Why." This has quieted my Heart. And Mind. And Breath. And Walks. Except when we run into skunks.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rise Up with a Listening Heart...
In the wake of growth and renewal, we have a chance to experience a new sensitivity to the needs of others....what is most often needed fromus isn't all that dramatic: a listening heart. In listening to the other--really listening--we offer a gift that is increasingly absent....Monks of New Skete

Off to go camping. And find another little piece of heaven on earth.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"...Rather they've learned that any task, any job, can be transformed by the attitude we bring to it, and that we can grow even in the most unappealing of circumstances. Who we become is the real engaging with life. If we do so wholeheartedly, creatively striving to do the best we're capable of, we'll experience both the satisfaction that comes with doing good work, and its fruit:
ever-deepening maturity.:---Rise Up With Good Works, The Monks of New Skete

Had a quiet, lovely couple of days at Pine Lake. Puppy, ferns, coffee, harp, old magazines, eagles, deer, Canadian geese, ducks,kingfishers, crows, my folks, a fire, soft rain on a metal roof, naps, and I don't know how much time just staring out at the water or into the fire or down at a wee black and white scampering thing playing in the Sweet Williams. Soothing, soothing, soothing. All the right smells and sights for my battered heart and spirit right now. It's not bad. Grief takes its own time. And it shall have it.

Getting ready for another camping adventure. This time up to Birch Bay with Mary J. And puppy, harp, coffee, and good books. I'm reading the Von Trapp Family's story by Maria herself. It is delightful and nourishing. This family had/has such faith and bonds of togtherness. Of course, Hollywood dramatized things somewhat but it is fairly accurate, just a different timeline and way more children that 7. Maria brought the "folk" traditions, songs, and revels of her upbringing to this aristocratic family. It changed them (ruined them according to some of their gentry neighbors) but what it actually did was cement them as a family and gave them the touchstone to grow in what they loved to do--singing and playing instruments being one of them. I am enjoying this very much. Had to put the Irish slavery one down as compelling as it is. Need positive right now.

It is off to Special Ed Boot Camp all next week. I have decided to seek a special education endorsement to add to my list of credentials. It will give me another marketable advantage and will certainly help in the parenting that is to come.
I went to a class this past weekend on hair and skin care products and practices for children of color. It was the first time I have been around adoptive families, waiting families down at the agency. I learned some new things but most I had already gotten in Jonestown. Good to know of resources here. And we have internet. And it will depend on the child/ren...as it always does.

French lesson today, dance class and hardshoe training afterwards. Then more puppy time and loading the care. I could get to like summer. I suppose.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The migraine has been pushed to the edge.
Went on a lovely early, early morning walk which ended up being over an hour long by the time we decided to come home. The rain made everything smell sweet and the gardens were singing. We ran into a raccoon who was rather late in getting home from his/her nocturnal doings. Just sat in the gateway of a home across the street while Little Man was sizing him up. We also spotted a bevy of crows hot on the tail of an eagle right over 61st Street. There was a parent crow teaching a little one to fly from the birch tree on the corner. That was my favorite part of the walk and spying "shoefly" plant in a garden across from West Woodlands Elementary. Lots of folks have these light, swirly, colorful hoses now that are easy to wind up. I'm going to find me one instead of hauling that old, green, dirty thing around. Porter doesn't get the concept of walk yet...it is more drag and distract, stop, wait, more of the same until he is tired out and then it is more of a walk. Still, we are doing it. It will get better. Feels good to be out there again. With a buddy.

Soft rain makes for a soft world.

I go to a class this morning on hair and skin needs for African-American children. More learning.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dealing with a migraine today. It has been coming on. Not surprised with all of the feeling. It's my deal. And I am dealing.
Puppy is asleep at my feet. We have been outside. Him-getting into mischief. Me-sawing up kindling the old-fashioned way while trying not to hark and keep an eye on him at the same time. Cleaned out the bucket that had the dead rat and squirrel. It stunk!

Got out the play pool, filled it, and threw some of his floaty toys in there. It was interesting for a little bit and then digging was more interesting. He seems to think that being lightly blasted in the face with lime water is a game. Will fix that. Not supposed to taste like puppy margarita-supposed to get him to quit barking and trying to bite my handsaw.

Reading a book on the ethnic cleansing of Ireland in the 17th and 18th centuries in Ireland called To Hell Or Barbados.
I have been to Drogheda, Dundalk, and many of the other places that Cromwell did his dirty work. Not light reading but informative. Just finished a Michener-esque one called The Forest-all about the New Forest in southwestern England from the times of William the Conqueror to the present. The British--what can I say. So much of them lives in us.

Getting ready to go camping up at Birch Bay with puppy. Scheduled three outings this summer-Millersylvania, Birch Bay, and Yaki-scratch. Throw in harp camp and that's my summer. Been reclaiming the garden and saying hello to what is there. I freed the Alba lavendar which had been crowded out by poppies and another Spanish lavendar that I planted when Fiona went over the Bridge. Thinking and reading on redesigning the front garden and parts of the back one. I live here. Why shouldn't it be the way I would like it to be? Of course, I have "help" at every turn which is why we do things in 15 minute increments unless we are in the back yard and then it is freeforall until I am tired. Wish I could find my energy.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Saw these recently:

Keep your theology off my biology.

Something wonderful is about to happen...

And the best one from the roadtrip:

Reading is sexy.

Working on the routine and remembering how time/energy demanding new pack members can be. Many angels at work in my life and around the Cottage. Yesterday was pigeon eviction day. Kind of sad. There were TWO nests up there with sitting mothers...and yes, eggs. But I did some reading and pairs of pigeons (aka rock doves) do not leave and they have 5-6 broods a year and the father pigeon feeds the young over another 5-6 weeks. We cleared out both mothers, both nests, and the eggs. And all the poop, garbage, and nesting materials they had deposited up there. It was a stinkhole. Then we balled up some poultry wire and shoved it in the spaces. Hope this will work to keep the Animal Motel 6 thing from repeating itself.

Started on lightening the classroom-in-a-garage pile o'don't need it.
Arranged for plumbing help at the end of the month if I can't fix the bath situation myself. Arranged for yardwork help for the end of the month. Leverage. That's what my friend, Jean, calls it. And she knows what she is talking about.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

More fun at Camp Alice.

First of many....we hope.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Porter ran with the big dogs today...after he met them, of course.
Queen Alice does what she always does--what she wants. And she was the model at doing everything right and getting the treats. She does have a little competition in Mr. Feedbag. Dave wasn't sure about the upstart but after two hours (it felt like 15 minutes) of interaction, there was the spark of play and the potential for some very fun future run-chase-catch-dig-bark-goof off-orama.
Photos to follow.

Little Porter-Man was so tired during dinner he kept sliding down and closing his eyes.

Me, I kept calling him Cedar by mistake. It's going to take some time.
When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart,
And you shall see that in truth,
you are weeping
for that which has been your delight.--Kahlil Gibran

Fourth verse, same as the first, second, and third...and not so.
Enjoying the heck out of the "baby" in the house.
And outside.
Had our first walk out this early am. Lots of firsts. First broccoli, first carrot, first bullystick...lots of firsts.

He likes Norah Jones, Sarah MacLochlan (sp?) but barks at Taylor Swift.
We both don't like the pigeons living upstairs. They wrecked the roof up there. The shingles are all torn up. They are being evicted here shortly.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The newest member of the Fair Isle Pack.
Not a lager, not an ale, not a stout....it's a Porter!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Having a relaxing trip.
Wineries. Missions. Visits with friends.

Did not get the job up north that I wanted. The one I thought was in the bag. There are no more offers (or rejections) coming in. Really surprised and disappointed by this one. Will find out details when I return. Stunned really.

Things have a way of working out for the best.