Saturday, October 30, 2010


Back on the schedule. Moving on. I can do this. I am fundamentally incapable of holding on to disappointment, sadness and anger. Just can't do it. I wish I could make a similar declaration about shame. I can't shake shame, and everything seems to come back to me as that ugly, awful feeling. I carry shame with me all the time.

Focus on the joy: Main Street, downsizing, 62 and full retirement benefits, Ireland, making myself get out more, great friends and good health and possibilities.

As is true with most trials, the real friends emerge and surface; the wheat separates from the chaff. No illusions and no losses. Reality check.

Peace out. And a good day to you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I think I must not "live right." That's what the grannies used to say. One of my friends told me to "let it be." That must be good advice. I miss my mother. She would have something sensible to tell me about this situation. She would understand and provide the appropriate soothing words to get me beyond this. I was so certain that we were leaving that I bought tickets to a show in Iowa for next April. I was so certain that I woke up every morning with a huge smile in my heart. The uncertainty about jobs and housing didn't bother me. I knew something good was gonna happen. I'm now convinced that I just don't live right. How much of one's all too brief life must be given in service to....? How long does one sacrifice dreams? When does one get permission to live the life that she deserves? Or maybe this IS the life that she deserves.

I will "let it be," but this is a deep, deep wound. It is a deep, deep blow to my spirit, my insides hurt. I am sadder than sad. It seems like I've been crying for years--dean's search, harassment accusation, TBOC, my mama.... I'm pretty tired. I need an attitude adjustment: expect nothing, don't dream, suck it up, go through the motions, pretend that you're just fine, smile always. "Don't worry, be happy." I may not ever speak of this again, but know this: it is ever in my head and my heart.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Before you tell me that happiness is within, let me tell you that I know that, but I also know that there are externals that contribute to happiness. Not many of us would be happy if we were homeless, for example. Yes, that's an extreme example, but I'd take on any person who argued that life's stuff doesn't matter. So here I am. Happy and not. My insides feel okay. If they didn't, I wouldn't be able to assert with such clarity what I need. I know what I need and why I need it. I need another job.

I'm apparently remaining in the north country, a reality that's tough to accept. Okay, but I still need a new job, and this place, like Iowa, isn't teeming with possibilities. I was the top candidate for two marvelous jobs in Iowa City--job descriptions that made me drool. The first was the director of the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council. The official planner, greeter, winer and diner for all international visitors who came to Iowa City, and there are tons because of the UI Writer's Workshop. Salary: $35,000. The second was similarly attractive: Executive Director of UNIowa, the state branch of the United Nations. Fabulous job. Loved everything about the description. Salary: $28,000. And you know what? Had the Iowan in my home still wanted to go to Iowa, I would have taken one of the jobs in a heartbeat. But she had a change of heart. Problem? She likes her job.

The question is: What to do? I'm on unpaid leave next semester. Need it. I'm searching for satisfying work in the north country and trying to figure out my place here beyond SLU. I'm new to the Board of Directors of Hospice, and I LOVE the work. I love it. It's fulfilling and challenging and rewarding. Holding on and continuing with that makes me very happy. I've applied for a job for which I probably don't have a chance in hell, but, again, it's a great job--rewarding work. If that falls through then..............?

I'm very happy that we've sold our house. Yes, it's beautiful. Yes, the views are wonderful, and yes, I like it for someone else. I've never been able to stay here alone comfortably at night. When Mary's away, I'm afraid to stay here. It's dark and even though there are neighbors across the road, it's creepy. I have terrible nightmares in this house at night. I stare out at the darkness. When my mama came for what would be her last visit, she told me: "This is a beautiful place, but I wouldn't live here for anything. Too dark. Too creepy." I laughed, but I agreed, and mama wouldn't even sleep in bed alone here with us and the dogs in the house. Both my partner and I have often spoken of moving back to town. Sidewalks would be nice. Walking the dogs on sidewalks would be nice. Route 68 is not nice. I want smaller. Less yard to manage. Less and less of it all. I want to walk to the store, the P.O., the library, the farmer's market. That's a good thing. We're experienced movers if nothing else.

Even the best relationships are tough. I'm not sure I'd define this as compromise. It's a situation where someone HAS to give up something if we're to remain in the same house. That seems to be our priority, but it's hard to give up, "suck it up and deal." Looks like this is it. Maybe. All I can say is I'm disappointed and kinda sad, but, as per usual, I'll survive. Resilience is my strong suit. Later.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Lots going on in life right now, or, actually, maybe not much. Some who observe me believe that I'm slowly becoming certifiable. I continue to pack my worldly belongings and make arrangements for the move to Iowa with gusto! There would be no questions about my behavior if I had a job and a place to live. My practical partner and friends have given up on "bringing me to my senses." I've come down with a huge case of the power of positive thinking and the simple-minded belief that I'll get a job. Any evidence of that? Not at the moment, but I believe it will come. What, I ask, is my alternative? Do I give in and give up? "Accept reality"? Or do I just remain me--ever hopeful on some days; sobbing on others because I'm afraid I'm stuck. I prefer the hopeful idiot, and so I pack, rent trucks, buy airline tickets, look for huge storage places in Iowa. Mary's looking for a small house to rent in Canton for one semester. Maybe I'll be here as well, but I hope not. Oh, by the way, looking for a job is b-r-u-t-a-l. Wow! This is a painful but great experience for me. My professional life, in this sense, has been, as Grandma would say: "a flowery bed of ease." Time for me to know intimately what others go through, and hey, not a word about a PhD please. Worthless outside of the academy--just worthless (in the humanities at least). The best it gets you is a lot of quizzical looks and crazy questions about why you want a job. I shoulda been a nurse or something in medicine or perhaps even an IT person. Not an English teacher with a PhD. Nope. Nada.

I've had my first dreams about my mother since she died two years ago. I remember them vividly. I think it's her way of weighing in on this moving business. In the middle of the last dream, I went back to that brief time when she was here. July 16-September 16, 2008. I saw the face of every, single person who stood by me during that time. That core group that kept the vigil toward the end--read scripture, sang her favorite hymns, did whatever they could to comfort me. And then there were those who dropped by. Some cried; one person lotioned her dry, dying skin and spoke softly to her. There was a steady stream of people during those last days and final hours. I see some of them from time to time, but not often anymore. I don't spend much time on campus. But I hold all of them in my heart--every, single one. Funny, there are a couple with whom I had quite a professional disagreement last year. I suspect they would say that I didn't love them or that we are no longer friends. So not true. Well, maybe half not true. We may not be friends, but I'll love you always for what you did for me during that time. My vision of my friend sitting alone in Gunnison in his suit observing my hand in Mary's replays over and over. I carry mental snapshots of special people at an extraordinary moment in my lifetime--the most extraordinary moment in my lifetime. Sometimes I hear the words they spoke to me; other times I feel the touch. So I got mad love, big love, deep love and forever love for them all, and that love has nothing to do with anything in our professional lives. It's personal--as personal and intimate as any experience can be. Nothing trumps that. Just sayin'.

Okay, so now I'm going back to my mad woman self--packing my stuff to move to my no home in Iowa that I'll pay for with my no job. And guess what? It's all gonna be just fine.