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Friday, July 01, 2005

Back to the "nine to five," and timed just about right ...

The formal call came this morning announcing that paperwork is being completed and that I'm to start work (officially) on July 26th at the offices of the new National Park. Couldn't come at a more auspicious time since -- in that way my life has of converging in strange and interesting ways -- my interest in working with kids; with the environmental justice issues; the upcoming Richmond centennial events; are all providing the opportunity to help to shape this NPS monument to the history of my era. What a fine opportunity to influence change. Is anyone more blessed?

Only problem is that my very brief consideration of becoming the next Toni Morrison may have been harpooned before it ever got launched. Writing for me tends to take a back seat to acting out my principles more directly in the political arena. Maybe blogging is about as far as I can take this flair. But perhaps not. Having given the possibility considerable thought now, maybe I can do it all.

To add to this strange timeliness, all decisions about Dorian's future have been decided (one of those meetings that bunched up on Tuesday) and she will be moving into a group home on August 1st. The painful transition will probably not be that at all, but a time of excitement for us both. It was her appeal (in a fit of pique) to her case manager that brought us to the point of decision, so she has the feeling of having guided her own future -- the system responded to her wishes. She's moving away from me. She displays no signs of feeling pushed out onto her own for having failed in our ability to live together. That's important. She's just moving on because it's her wish to be out in the world again as before.

This time she won't be truly on her own, but will be in a program called Harmony Homes, a vendor of the Regional Center of the East Bay -- supported by Lanterman Funds, and an entitlement for the mentally disabled. She will share an apartment in a pleasant and safe area of El Cerrito with another young woman like herself -- in a four-plex that houses several such pairings. She will live no more than about 8 minutes away from my apartment. Harmony House staff provides oversight and training opportunities. She will continue with her 5 day-a-week arts program at NIAD and Special Olympics (year round) and is as happy as a clam to be moving into semi-independence. Her money will be managed by the Regional Center, giving her an allowance each week and saving her SSA balance in an account she cannot access without agreement by her workers. We're both in heaven!

I'll now have my own life back to do with as I will. May still need to consider marketing my condo and moving to a smaller rental somewhere, but I'll remain in Richmond for the foreseeable future.

This is all proof that there's little reason to always be pushing the river. If allowed to, life does have its way of smoothing out the rough spots if given half a chance to just lie back and drift downstream from time to time.

And the bonus is that the NPS sounds as delighted to have me return as I am at the prospect of doing so. The contract will run through to October 1st and then we'll be back to decision-making time again, but the choices will have changed and I may be far more ready to hang up my Palm Pilot than before. We'll see. Maybe that's when I become, belatedly, an author of note. Maybe that's when being restfully idle will feel more like retirement and less like simply being unemployed.

(Submitted one blog entry to an e-newspaper at the suggestion of a friend, and am waiting to see if there's interest in publishing it. That will give some idea of whether writing is in my future. Oh, and while I was at it - I also forwarded it to Weekend's All Things Considered on NPR. Maybe Scott Simon will find it of interest. Did that on a whim, and since there's an element of time sensitivity to it -- it just may die for just cause. Given the ease of communicating by Internet -- "whims" have gained new importance. I just file them under "and why not?")



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