|Moon Over Tri-Cities|
One of my friends, Jane, who lives in Fairbanks, Alaska, who I haven't seen in a very long time, started a blog just a couple of days ago. She got a new camera for Christmas and I'm looking forward not only to her posts but her pictures, as well. Check out one of her posts at: Dream on a Moon Beam
Jane is a free spirit and has this most infectious smile & laugh accompanied by mischievous blue/green eyes. The last time I saw her, she had gorgeous red hair. I don't know what color it is these days, but my sister-in-law, Ally, does her hair so I'm sure it's still gorgeous. You can't help but enjoy being around her. She was my supervisor first, and good friend always. We worked at the Fairbanks Community Mental Health Center about a gazillion years ago. I loved working there and she was definitely a part of that formula. It's the only job I have ever held that I would have done for free. We worked in what was called at the time, a "clubhouse model" of mental health providing services to the chronically mentally ill. I learned a bunch about mental illness, compassion, love, tolerance, patience, kindness, altruism, heartache, death, life, friendship, team work, etc. Whew. Yes, it was a life-changing experience for me.
When my first husband and I moved from Fairbanks to Juneau, I worked for a year at the local hospital, which was such a sterile environment after having worked in such a colorful job with Jane. Upon my last day of work at the hospital in Juneau, after having lived there only one year (ex-husband transferred to a good job in Anchorage), I learned that my supervisor was extremely shy. For a whole year, I just thought she didn't like me. I wished somone had told me sooner. Life lesson right there.
Upon arriving in Anchorage, I accepted a job with the mental health center and I absolutley loved that job ... that is .... until I took a summer off to spend time with my son, who had just turned 11. It was the most awesome summer. We made a list of all the things we wanted to do and see over the 3 month summer and we did them. When I went back to work in September, I realized how stressful that job had become within the first week or two back. When I walk into a space and I can feel it it in the air, it's time to go. The thing is, you sometimes have to step back from it to even notice. I took a job with the state in the legal department and never went back to community mental health.
Jane taught me a lot about thinking for myself. She was the office manager. I don't recall if I ever asked her what she did before she worked at the mental health center but she was the smartest person about a lot of things. She could type faster than me, she knew how to budget, and she was handy with the tools. One time, she ordered a computer desk along with a computer (if my memory serves me correctly ... which I wouldn't place a nickel bet on). I think I must have said something like, "let's call Wayne (he was our maintenance guy ... he had really black, slicked back hair ~ I don't know why I can remember his name when there are more important things I forget) and schedule him to put his thing together". This is a man's job, I was thinking. She must have read my mind because she said, "Oh, come on, Susan, you can do this. We don't need a man to put together this desk". Really? And, I did it!
When I think of Jane, I always remember that life lesson she taught me. Jane, if you're reading this, I can hardly wait to see what 2011 brings you. We may be miles & years apart but you are one of my favorite ever peeps and I'm so glad our paths crossed when they did. I might not have ever learned how to ride a motorcycle, or change a flat tire, or the dozens of other things I can do for myself because of that one lesson. Love ya!