My friend D lives in Margarita-ville. I want to visit her there, but I don't drink, which means that I actually live in Slurpee-ville, or Smoothie-ville, or maybe just Icee-ville, depending on your childhood tradition. I pretend it's a margarita or a daiquiri, and with that sudden rush of sugar, I feel like I'm bouncing off the walls. I tried adding whipping cream to slow the sugar rush, but that was simply too decadent. Now I'm back to straight fruit juices in a blender, occasionally adding a scoop of protein powder or a little tofu. Not very romantic, but I am "overdrawn" at the romance store. It did not serve my purposes in the long run. Like worrying, romance is over-rated. And seriously, it's not something which will pay my mortgage. When push comes to shove, we call it domestic violence. How do we learn to recognize the various and subtle forms of domestic violence? For me, it was only by wading out into the middle of the pool. And the deeper it got, the more I tried to ignore it, until I was drowning. Lucky for me, someone threw me a line and pulled me back to shore. Now I sit on the deck, overlooking my backyard, sipping my wanna-be Margarita and smile. It is quiet except for the sound of the wind in my cherry tree. The flowers are reaching for the sky. Summer is in full bloom and will be over before I'm ready to say good-bye. Nearly the middle of July, I wonder if it is too late in the season to get a bike. Many of my clients are on vacation, nearly all of them at the same time, leaving me with a lot of time on my hands and no impending deadlines. The trial for my latest GAL case has finished and we are waiting for the Judge's decision. I feel like I am at an intersection, wondering which path to try next. I ponder the options: which direction will be the most interesting, and the least unpleasant? The sun shifts and I move my chair ever so slightly, following the shade. In another hour the mosquitoes will take over my back yard. I will be forced inside to preserve my blood supply. Thinking about dinner I try to remember what I saw in the refrigerator. It is too hot to cook anything so I focus my attention on the selection of eateries in the immediate neighborhood. I am fortunate to have a generous selection of options with a variety of price ranges. I decide on Singapore Noodles and call it in for "pick up". I'll treat myself to a new color of nail polish and those blue foamy things to hold your toes apart while the polish dries. Last week at this time all I could think about was the trial. Following this family for over 13 months, I made myself ridiculously available to the Mom, hoping she would be able to organize herself so that her child could be returned to her safely. But it never happened, and now, I had to testify, leaving my opinion on a public record for eternity as to the best interests of her child. I didn't look forward to being on the witness stand, and had lay awake at night, going over the information in my reports to the court. I wondered if I had missed something. My compulsive perfectionism reared it's head with sharp, poisonous teeth. There are few guarantees in this world, and people make mistakes, but to continue to make the same mistakes, hoping the results would be different is madness. It could cost this child his life. The Rescuer appears, yet isn't clear regarding who is actually being rescued from whom. Now it is out of my hands, and I am relieved that the trial is over for me. The boy's case isn't closed until he's re-united or adopted, and I will stay with him until then, learning everything I can from his situation. Obviously, I intend to accept another assignment in the future, but this time I will not rush. I will wait until I am recovered, both emotionally and financially. This case has me well over budget on both levels. I have learned how easy it is to be drawn into someone else's panic while developing some skill in staying present to someone else's panic without mistaking it for my own. I have learned not to over-react, getting absorbed, over-identified really, by the adrenaline present in the situation. And there is no other way to figure that out than by wading in, and standing in the middle of it, watching and listening, for as long as it takes.