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Clematis

Season of Grief - Is this "A Thing"?

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I feel kind of like I am descending into some hell...as it cools off into the season that is the two year anniversary of my dad's death. The weather is getting cool, it's a couple weeks away from my best friend's dad's birthday (probably one of his last few), then my dad's birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah with its menorah I couldn't keep together and the endless winter that was so so cold. I went to Costco in Prescott yesterday and they had put out Xmas things and I was totally thrown into reliving my trips to Prescott during my dad's last week of life and all that went around it. I felt like my chest was going to collapse from the pressure. Today I keep noticing that I am crying, and I feel very much lost. Lena has been very sweet and very much with me; somehow she gets this in a way that I don't.

I have been working very hard and am exhausted every night. It seems like a good thing in a way because the days fly by. I work from 7:30 until 5:00 every day and haven't had a lunch break for six weeks. I eat lunch - just no break. I am hoping that things are going to get easier soon and I can go back to having a lunch break soon, but I'm starting to think maybe this is not good. Maybe I'm too tired. I have ceramics class all day on Saturdays and on Sunday afternoon I take Lena to work. I never really get much of a break.

And then Mondays are brutal because I drive to Flagstaff after work to go to orchestra rehearsal to play music that is way over my head and I am really delirious by the time we're done and I have to take the long way home on I-17 because they are closing the road through the canyon that is shorter and I'm more comfortable with and doesn't have giant trucks that could kill me barreling through the night. I am just not a freeway driver. So I get home really late Monday night and Tuesday is my earliest day to be at work. I was thinking that maybe I should leave orchestra early tomorrow night - like 8:30 so I could get to the canyon before they close it, and then I would be home by 9:30 or earlier instead of10:45. As I write this, it seems to make some sense, but I feel like it's not really a good excuse to leave orchestra early. Maybe people would understand...and after all almost all of them live in Flagstaff and are not traveling an hour or more to get home...

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Laura,

Try not to worry about whether other people understand or not.  You need to do what is best for YOU.  There will always be people who don't understand, but we can't live our lives for them.  Your schedule is exhausting.  I'm involved with so much right now and heading into the busiest months, October through January, for a bookkeeper/treasurer, it will be a lot of time into planning the budget for the upcoming year and then year end stuff.  I stayed after church yesterday and worked all day getting the seven bank accounts downloaded and reconciled, and 17 different reports done, was thankful it all came out okay, then copies made and compiled for the different groups.  By the time I got home, walked my dog, fixed dinner, I was done!  But I didn't know until I was doing the work that I could even stay and do it because I felt exhausted from missing sleep the night before.  I didn't make a final decision until I was there and saw how I was feeling.  Sometimes we just have to play it by ear and not push ourselves when we're not up to it.

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Thanks, Kay! I keep telling myself that my number one priority is keeping my job so that I can keep a roof over Lena's fuzzy little head. After that I figure things should fall into place. But it's hard reducing one's expectations in oneself...you know. Next semester should be easier. They won't be offering ceramics on Saturdays any more and I can't do it during the weekdays due to work. That will give me two-day weekends, and that will be good for me. We have fall break - off the seek after this one. Then Thanksgiving is coming right up and two weeks off at Christmas. I just have to pace myself. This orchestra thing is hard - our director commented last week that this is the hardest program we have ever played. I just have to get through it and figure I'll be doing a lot of "air bowing"...

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Laura,

What I am learning in this grief and healing process is the need to care for myself and make it a priority.  I have always taken care of other people and had little time for myself in the past. This is a struggle for me because I was raised with the notion of "don't be selfish...  Think of others first.".

Adequate sleep and rest are vital for our bodies to heal and recover.  The body does its major repair and cleaning functions from 9pm-midnight.  The earlier to bed the better.  The other thing, is to allow margin (free time spaces) between events to give me breathing room and flexible when the day does go as planned.  

There are times and seasons for many things and adjustments that need to be made.

I have researched and discovered a supplement that has helped to improve mood and that overall "blah" feeling.  It boosts my serotonin level naturally.  It's called 5-HTP (Amazon).  Check to make sure it doesn't react to any medications you take but it has helped me.  I take one at bedtime and one when I wake up each day. I notice a difference when I forget to take it.

You are doing well with your new position and dealing with family issues. Please take care of your health.  You are worth it.

Shalom, George

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I wonder, Laura, if you filled your days with this much activity (in addition to your working) while your father was still here with you. Your daily 24/7 schedule seems overwhelming to me, and I cannot help but wonder if, on some level, you're working overtime to fill the hours you used to devote to your father. See, for example, In Grief: After Caregiving Ends, Who Am I?

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Hello, have you been to a grief support group like grief share?  If not, i would suggest you find a way to re-arrange your busy life and slow down...what's important and not important?  What is important is your health...in grief share, they mention that you need to take care of yourself...oh, i somewhat understand your pain- i was a caregiver to my husband for many years before he passed a little over two years...anyway, praying for you.

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11 hours ago, MartyT said:

I wonder, Laura, if you filled your days with this much activity (in addition to your working) while your father was still here with you. Your daily 24/7 schedule seems overwhelming to me, and I cannot help but wonder if, on some level, you're working overtime to fill the hours you used to devote to your father. See, for example, In Grief: After Caregiving Ends, Who Am I?

 I have always been overloaded - I have felt driven to pursue visual art and music, as well as to work. My art and music had to fit into a smaller slot due to taking care of my dad, grief and the car accident. I actually am trying to reduce my load, and would like to get back to playing more music and painting. Probably need to give up the ceramics in order to have time to paint.

The work situation of being so overloaded is kind of a weird one for me - I have never been one to work excessive hours, take work home, skip lunch breaks, etc. But they got into a bad situation at my new job. The woman who has always set the meetings and kept the evaluations on schedule was tied up at the beginning of the school year and she eventually delegated these tasks to the SpEd teachers and school psychologists temporarily, but she waited way too long to delegate. Since she waited so long, there developed a logjam of work because these things all have federally set deadlines. And the SpEd teachers are all new. It's a big problem and I decided to throw myself into making sure that my evals are done on time no matter whose fault it was. This should resolve. I plan to be back to having a lunch break at the pool again - soon! I was also spending an enormous amount of time helping to train the new teachers, even though that is not my job, because there was no one else, and I figured it was a short time problem. They are starting to get the hang of things and I am backing off on the helping-the-teachers stuff. I really want to get back in the pool and get home at a decent hour.

There is some truth to my being busy at work taking my mind off my grief. But I really would like to be busy during more reasonable hours so that I can get home and have time to do something..., paint, play the cello, mess around with clocks, spend more time with Lena, etc.

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13 hours ago, iPraiseHim said:

You are doing well with your new position and dealing with family issues. Please take care of your health.  You are worth it.

Thanks, George! I did leave orchestra early and it was an incredible relief. Everyone was really nice and encouraged me to be safe. I was able to get to the canyon road before it closed for night-time construction, and therefore didn't have to drive the long highway route with the scary-fast trucks late at night when I am exhausted. So I got home a little after nine rather than almost 11:00... I'll check out the  5-HTP; I never heard of it.

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Laura,

I've been forced to cut out some activities because I can't see to drive at night.  Sometimes I've felt that was a mixed blessing...mixed because although I hate missing some things, it does ensure that I have adequate time for myself to rest and just be with my dog and cat.  I, too, am one of those people who always pushed myself.  I hate to think about the hectic pace I raised my family with.  

I have two things dropping off my schedule for winter and that will give me more time at home as well.  I know you enjoy the ceramics and orchestra but maybe it'll be a blessing when you have a break from them and can spend more time at home with just you and Lena.

I also take a supplement that I literally FELT boosting my mood, it's called SAMe and I get it on eBay from nathansnutritionals.  It also helps my liver and joints, all of which I need. As with anything, check with your doctor, mine was for it.

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On October 3, 2017 at 1:18 AM, kayc said:

spend more time at home with just you and Lena.

Yeah! I love that cat. I am now on Fall Break, a week off from school. It's only Tuesday and I feel SO much better. I have been sleeping a lot, hanging out with Lena, and taking care of the business of my personal life. That's a relief. I am also working on my painting for the cover of the community orchestra program for the season. I have been feeling like I had no chance of any inspiration arriving for this painting, but it's coming together. It's going to feature Fingal's Cave, about which Mendelssohn composed the Hebrides Overture. I have never been there, but have become intrigued by the idea of this wondrous hunk of columnar basalt rising from the sea with magical acoustics of a cathedral with water running through it... The painting will also feature the cello, some lilies, and Lena as the listener.

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The dogsitter I've had all Arlie's life just quit because he just got a dog that won't get along with Arlie.  Just thinking of starting over from scratch is anxiety incurring.  He's not the easiest dog as he's on a special diet and he's extremely strong and has separation anxiety.  My son wants me to come up in 1 1/2 weeks and the thought of going through this sends me into a tailspin.  I wish they'd wanted me to come in the summer with longer days and good weather.  Snow is down to 3500 feet and I get it at 3000.  The county maintains the roads and is considering striking so there'd be no plows.  Next time I get a pet I'd be open to a cat if it was the right one but mine is so independent and not overly loving.  My dog is goofy and loving and I adore him.  You've got one special cat!  That 's how I felt about Miss Mocha and King George, I miss them still.

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1 hour ago, kayc said:

Just thinking of starting over from scratch is anxiety incurring. 

I know what you mean. When I went camping at the Pickin' in the Pines festival I really struggled over finding someone to take care of Lena - and my beloved gardens - because Lena's regular sitter was in Italy. My neighbor offered and I had accepted with serious misgivings because she is 86 and rather frail, and my backyard/patio is a treacherously uneven path. I didn't want to ditch the festival, but I didn't want to imperil my neighbor, who has become a good friend as well. In fact, she has become such a good friend it is hard to believe she could just happened to move in right next to me where the hideous neighbors used to live. Fortunately, as I agonized away, I was able to get another neighbor to help out. She fell in love with Lena, I felt comfortable, and all was well. Looking back on it, I think it would have been better to skip the festival than risk Lena's well-being or my neighbor's. One's life can definitely tie one down.

Any chance you could talk your son into having you for a visit during warmer weather? He lives at a higher elevation than you? I am finding myself more cautious about traveling in the winter. I used to live in Flagstaff (7000ft) and now am in Sedona (4500ft). When living there, naturally I drove all over. I used to travel up to Flagstaff from Sedona in any weather, but now I think twice and bail if I think there could be snow/ice on the roads. I suppose this is new since my dad died and I was in that car accident, but truthfully it makes sense. There was also a smaller incident of sideswiping a guardrail on the switchbacks when an oncoming driver flew around an icy curve on my side of the road. I was lucky the road was wide enough for me to slide into the rail. He just split and I was only a few weeks out from my dad's death. When I realized I could still drive the car, I just got back in and went on to the reservation. I am SO grateful that I now work at 3500 feet and it is less than a half hour away. And just like the past two weeks when I left orchestra early to avoid the long trip on the freeway (short route through the canyon closes at 9:00 all night for construction), no one has ever had a bad thing to say about my avoiding drives I felt were risky.

Good luck, Kay - and stay safe!

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10 hours ago, kayc said:

The dogsitter I've had all Arlie's life just quit because he just got a dog that won't get along with Arlie.  Just thinking of starting over from scratch is anxiety incurring.  He's not the easiest dog as he's on a special diet and he's extremely strong and has separation anxiety.  My son wants me to come up in 1 1/2 weeks and the thought of going through this sends me into a tailspin.  I wish they'd wanted me to come in the summer with longer days and good weather.  Snow is down to 3500 feet and I get it at 3000.  The county maintains the roads and is considering striking so there'd be no plows.  Next time I get a pet I'd be open to a cat if it was the right one but mine is so independent and not overly loving.  My dog is goofy and loving and I adore him.  You've got one special cat!  That 's how I felt about Miss Mocha and King George, I miss them still.

When you are ready, look into a rag-doll cat. My client had one and he followed us around like dog, play catch,... very lovable. The reason they call it a rag-doll cat is that when you pick them up they go limp like a rag-doll.:wub:

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No, I live at the higher elevation.  I hope I can come in warmer weather, but I've already missed so much of my grandchildren, especially Vincent, he's only seven months.  I'm praying the snow level will be higher in 1 1/2 weeks.

I am up right now at 2 am, unable to sleep.  It's been like that lately.  I'm glad you found someone for Lena.  I'm waiting to hear from the young girl I called.  I want to train her how to walk Arlie and handle him.  It's different when they're bigger and stronger than you and especially since he has anxiety issues outside his comfort zone.

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On October 12, 2017 at 2:24 AM, kayc said:

I want to train her how to walk Arlie and handle him.

That would be good...sounds like you need someone to help you with him. I feel good having someone for Lena - and a backup!. I had a funny conversation with my friend Bonita a few months ago about her still having a key to my house even though she is no longer helping me with my dad's estate and our houses and all that. I told her she should hang onto it in case I had an emergency or something - so she could just step in and take care of Lena. She said, "Oh absolutely! That's why I've hung onto it." Then she quickly added that she would help me too, but... I laughed and told her it was quite alright if Lena was number one. And it's true really. We have entire systems to take care of humans in emergency, but our pets? We have to figure that out ourselves.

The sale on my dad's house finally closed. I think I'm supposed to feel relieved but I don't really. I took my last key and the extra mailbox key down to the property manager's office to give to the new owner and we were chatting about this a bit. She said she really liked the way Cary (my friend's uncle who bought and flipped the house) had redone it. I said I didn't really like it. (This in some part because they ripped out the gorgeous tile job in the shower/tub, but I supposed it didn't really match the cool-grey new color scheme. It is very slick and cold and masculine. Whatever.) She looked surprised that anyone wouldn't like something new and with brand new appliances. I said, "Well, I just hope they...(long pause)...take care of the roses!"

My dad has been talking to me a lot lately. This morning he was telling me that he was sorry that he had caused me so much trouble and work during those ten years. I told him, "What-are you kidding? I would give anything to start those ten years all over. Right now would be a good place to start. Later he told me that being dead wasn't so bad because he could still be with me but could also spend time with my mother, his grandparents, his childhood pets, and so on. He also told me to take care of myself and be careful with my money. He has also helped me with the car (the Mercury) lately, and he seems to be trying to tell me something about it, but I'm not sure what it is... I think I'll give Bob the Tuna Boat (Mercury) a bath this weekend and see if that makes it any easier for my dad to tell me if something's wrong with Bob...

 

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I have been on Fall Break - a week off from school - this past week. I have made good use of it, sleeping more than usual and taking care of the business of my personal life, which I have let drift as I finished handling my dad's estate and focused on my new job. I also did the artwork for this year's program cover for the community orchestra. I play cello with them. Here is the text I wrote and the painting. I have sent it to a couple of musicians in the orchestra, the woman in charge of the program and my good friend who is also Lena's back-up vet. I haven't heard anything from them yet. I hope the orchestra members and the audience like the art. I always worry about this. After all, we will ass be looking at it all season.

The cover art for ONA’s 2017-18 program is from a watercolor painting by our cellist Laura Fellows. The image reflects thematic elements of some of the works we will play during the season. The overlapping of images is reminiscent of the overlapping melodies in Wagner’s Die Meistersinger Overture. Prominent in the painting is an image of Fingal’s Cave, which was Mendelssohn’s inspiration for the Hebrides Overture. This natural wonder of Scotland is formed entirely from hexagonally jointed basalt columns within a Paleocene lava flow, and is known for its magical acoustics. The basaltic pillars are as high as the roof of a cathedral. Our cover also features a Stargazer Lily to hint at the lush lyricism of Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers from the Nutcracker Suite, and the attentive cat symbolizes you, our audience, central to everything we do.

 

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22 hours ago, Clematis said:

I said I didn't really like it.

It's not uncommon to feel resistant to changes...we have emotions and memories tied up with it the way it was.  My mom lived in the house her and daddy built for 59 years!  I was raised there and that's where I'd com visit her until she went to the dementia care facility.  The new owners made a LOT of changes.  Some of them I loved and knew my parents would be so happy to see them.  But others I couldn't understand.  There was a brick wall in the middle of the house, it was in the kitchen, living room, dining room, hallway, and housed the fireplace with insert.  It was solid brick, not just a facade and to me it added to the place.  They painted it white.  In my estimation it greatly devalued it and changed the cozy atmosphere.  My dad had also built a solid wood bookshelf where we used to go the to encyclopedia several times a day growing up.  That bookshelf was solid and well built and to me it also added ti the ambiance of the room.  They ripped it out.  That hurt.  But they restored the hardwood floors, updated the bathrooms, extended the upstairs to the front of the house, turned the shop and attic into a separate studio, did a beautiful job with it.  One of the things that was hard is they subdivided the place and cut down all of the trees and out went my mom's beautiful landscaping.  I remember when each of those trees went in and watched as she lovingly cared for her beautiful rose garden, etc.  We had rhododendrums taller than the house, and when they were in bloom, wow!  They took them out.  They left one ugly shrub I never did like, it looks out of place by itself.  The sweet gum tree was the hardest to see go, I always felt a kinship with it.  I was a child during the Columbus Day storm and was out in the yard trying to hold the tree up when my mom came home and gave me heck.  I always loved that tree.

Sigh...changes can be hard sometimes.

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22 hours ago, Clematis said:

have been on Fall Break - a week off from school - this past week. I have made good use of it, sleeping more than usual and taking care of the business of my personal life, which I have let drift as I finished handling my dad's estate and focused on my new job. I also did the artwork for this year's program cover for the community orchestra. I

It sounds like you had a good week!  Handling the last of your dad's estate can carry mixed emotions, relief to have it done, but the finality of it all hitting too.  Sometimes something like that can feel like a lost tie to them.  Doesn't have to make sense, our feelings are just there.  (((hugs)))

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On 10/14/2017 at 12:22 PM, Clematis said:

The cover art for ONA’s 2017-18 program is from a watercolor painting by our cellist Laura Fellows.

It's just beautiful, Laura ~ and I love the detailed description explaining all the symbolism in your painting! You certainly are a woman of many skills and talents 

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2 hours ago, kayc said:

Sigh...changes can be hard sometimes.

Thanks, Kay! It's hard seeing changes to our old homes. And to me, ripping out mature beautiful plants and painting over natural brick/stone or natural wood finished seems really awful. It just seems wrong to cover up natural beauty for the sake of change or a preference in color palette in decorating. To me, as a lover of nature it seems crazy to cover up the natural and authentic, because everything goes with nature! To me, all flowers of any color go together, and they go with everything else. It is with colors that we concoct in a lab that we get into trouble. I think a lot of my problem is that the entire new color scheme of my dad's old house "doesn't go" with Sedona, where it is located. If the same grey redo had occurred in some other area and not here, where I am in love with the very dirt and its warm colors, I would think it was great, because it is well done. Or if they had worked with the natural colors of the area and totally changed it with new tile and paint and everything else I would be enthused. But as to the color scheme, shades of grey do not belong here. I am with Frank Lloyd Wright on this one... 

Nevertheless, the is the other aspect of the change. There has been almost two years of blurriness where my dad was his house was still there and it was kind of mine but not really. It has been hard to let go of his house, but I have. He is here with me, spiritually, and what is left of our possessions is all together in my condo with me and Lena. It feels somewhere between cozy and a little cramped. I am still adjusting to living with generations of the precious possessions of people who are no longer living but are somehow with me. 

I hope the new owners look after the rosebushes-especially that coral floribunda, but that is beyond my control. However, I did work hard to have cuttings of this fabulous bush propagated into eight new bushes and some of them are not looking too good after the summer. I should maybe feed them. Since they are in pots, I could also take them to the nursery that propagated them for me and get them to help me with whatever might be the problem.

Focusing on the roses would give me something positive to focus on, rather than the loss I feel every day and my fretting over the borderline personality disordered woman at work who is working very hard to convince my new supervisor that I am the devil. I think that situation will eventually take care of itself, because as she continues to wreck havoc all over the district it will be harder for her to convince anyone that I am the only problem she faces. She causes a lot of problems and her ability to work out problems with people is rather minimal. I sure miss my dad; he was always on my side in things like this and it helped my confidence and tendency to worry...

 

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I remember you love your flowers...my mom was amazing at her landscaping, I wish I'd inherited that from her but alas, no green thumb.  My little sister got it all.  They actually interviewed her and her husband and they were on t.v. for what they did with their back yard cabana.  
I'm with you, I love natural wood, natural brick, etc.  I love nature and to bring it into a home, that is beautiful.  But I am glad they salvaged the place rather than tear it down, I think my dad would be pleased with all but the bricks, the bookcase, and the yard.  At least they kept our rock sidewalk, we all collected agates, thunder eggs, etc. and made a beautiful sidewalk going the length of the back yard, it's still there.  So is the cement picnic table and rock fireplace my dad built in the back yard for barbecues.  Such a beautiful place.

I'm sorry you're still going through it at work.  My usual advice is to try to ignore it, people like that are their own undoing as people see through them and catch on after a while.  We can only hope anyway.

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3 hours ago, kayc said:

I'm sorry you're still going through it at work.  My usual advice is to try to ignore it, people like that are their own undoing as people see through them and catch on after a while.  We can only hope anyway.

Thanks! I have a meeting with my supervisor Michael on Thursday morning - sounds like I am being called on the carpet. I really don't know what to think and it's hard to have what will amount to about two weeks to wait until this meeting. It's hard not to think about it. I can't imagine what he is going to say to me. The only thing that has really occurred - as far as I know - is that she told Michael about half a dozen small lies/ half-truths that made me look bad and cover up for her not doing what she was supposed to do. I asked her to stop doing that and she was really angry. She obviously went to Michael and told him something but it probably was not the truth. I should have known that if you confront someone about lying who lies whenever they feel threatened or cornered, that this person would just lie about the conversation you just had with them about lying. I really don't know what the correct behavior is at work when someone lies to your supervisor about you repeatedly...just let it all stand without protest?

This woman really made it clear last year that she does not like school psychologists and thinks we all have no idea what we are doing. She really made A, the psych I replaced, miserable last year with her nasty attacks. She went after me once last year and I just levelly responded to what she said. Then things evened out and she seemed to be a fan of mine by the end of the year. Nevertheless, A and the other psych, J, have both told me that this woman is no fan and no friend no much how she behaved in a friendly and positive way. A and J both told me I should watch my back. J has not had a problem with this woman because she has managed to avoid her altogether. But Michael really wants her to work closely with the school psychologists and she is involved with kids I am working with at all three of my schools. It is kind of like having been ordered out onto a spider web to work within range of a spider who has made it clear she would like to munch me for lunch. J says that Michael really wants to make this work out - contracting with this woman who is serving as a behavioral consultant. Last year she was a SpEd teacher, and she knows a lot about autism. Unfortunately she sees herself as working only with the administrators and principals. She also works well with kids and paraprofessionals/aides, because they are below her and she can just tell them what to do. She does not work well with people who at her level, like other teachers or the school psychologists.

I think the bottom line is that no matter what she does I have to do everything humanly possible to be super nice to her and try to help her to be successful in spite of the reality that she is trying very hard to sabotage me. You know what they say about oil and water not mixing...that is true, but they can flow nicely together because they are both liquids. This woman is neither; she is a big rock in the middle of the water and she is never going to do anything to accommodate anyone. The entire river must accommodate her and work around her and her needs... Bleh 

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Ahh, well when it is brought up to YOU, that is different.  THEN you explain the truth and the other person can look bad for their half-truths and spins.  I pray for vindication when under attack and one thing I've noticed is truth comes out.  Sometimes it takes a long while, but it does come.  I would hope that your supervisor would catch on to this woman, but I've been in similar circumstances and not gotten a chance to explain and they didn't catch on.  :angry:  I've had to let it go, but when it's continual, that's hard.  I hate stuff like this, I just like to do my job, no politics, no drama!

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I woke up with a new insight on this today. Last year Becca confronted me once in an attempt to undermine me but she really went after A, the psych who left, over and over. I don't know what happened with A, but I smoothly answered her ridiculous questions. I could not totally cover up for her and she looked like she didn't know the basic stuff for a SpEd teacher. She was not able to knock me off course and she stopped trying.

Now she is a contracted behavior consultant, and while she has some experience as a SpEd teacher and knows a lot about autism, I suspect that she does not have any experience in this capacity because what she is producing is incomplete; her recommendations are connected to her observations by any thread of research, experience, or even theoretical underpinnings. She just says "Do this", with no explanation. She has avoided letting me see her work and when she does share things in emails it is too sketchy for me to tell what she is doing.

I once talked my way into a job for which I was only partially qualified. I managed to get myself hired as a tailor at a dry cleaner, after being turned down flat at some other place. I was insulted at the suggestion that all my sewing experience had not prepared me to alter manufactured clothing. For my next tailor job interview, I figured out how to play up the repairs I had done and focus on my expertise with zippers, which had been a personal challenge. At some point previously I was called "The Zipper Doctor". So I played up my strengths, and stretched a little but didn't actually lie. I found myself in a little over my head, mostly because I had never used commercial sewing machines and try as I might I didn't even know how to thread a serger or use the heavy duty machine. I tried doing everything on the machine I was familiar with, and mercifully the guy who serviced the machined turned up not long after I started and very quickly showed me about the machines, as I paid rapt attention.

I suspect that this is what is going on with Becca - that she knows a lot about how to address behavior problems in the classroom, but she doesn't really know what a behavior specialist is supposed to crank out in terms of a product, in writing or on her feet orally on the spot - classroom/meeting. This is probably why she has chosen me as her principal target. I am, without realizing it, her biggest threat because I may know more than anyone else at the district what she should be doing and producing. I think it is quite possible that she fears I may expose her inadequacies.

I talked to my good friend Susan yesterday, a psychiatrist and psychoanalytic psychotherapist, and she sympathized with me because she has had many clients with this same presentation. She told me to not get into anything Becca had done because that only looks like I am perpetuating adversity and conflict by proving that I am right. I can't win even though I am right. She agreed with me that Becca probably is just acting automatically-not maliciously- and is not even aware of how vexing it would be to a coworker whom she is maligning to the boss. Susan also advised me to do anything humanly possible to kind and try to help Becca because it could save my own job, which I need. I think Susan is right and I need to find a way to help Becca. I think she knows her stuff - the behavioral part - but she doesn't know what or how to present her findings and she is very challenged in working with people who are at her own level, like me and the teachers. I'm not sure how to go about that exactly, but if I was in fact able to help her, it might save Becca as well because going about things the way she is does not make her look good and may eventually result in the loss of her own contract job.

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More info...turns out Becca is required to be licensed by the state board in order to this kind of work, and she is not. Working as she is constitutes a Class 2 Misdemeanor. I think this is why she has been so defensive and focused on discrediting me. It's entirely possible that she does not even know that she is required to have a license, and is only aware that she is not totally competent to do what she is doing... I have been informed that I need to report this to the SpEd director, as it constitutes a liability to the district to have engaged in a contract that violates the law. We'll see what happens

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