<![CDATA[notes from the inside out - Blog]]>Fri, 04 Dec 2015 17:28:09 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[A┬áChristmas Letter from the Grey Bar Hotel...]]>Wed, 02 Dec 2015 19:34:01 GMThttp://patrickmichaelleonard.weebly.com/blog/a-christmas-letter-from-the-grey-bar-hotelAs I look out my chamber window I see the Cascades dusted with the season's first snowfall. This aspect reminds me of a bundt cake sprinkled with powered sugar - a sweet boyhood memory.

Believe it or not, I am grateful to be a member of the Minimum Security Unit here at Monroe prison. Of course, I'd rather be with my wife/friends/family celebrating Life yet this little detour seems necessary for me and the man who looks back at me in my shaving mirror.  Perhaps celebrating can happen here too!

This quarter I was required to take two therapy type classes.  They were Introduction to Depression and PTSD 101. It turns out that learning how to face the events that brought about these mental diagnoses in my life  is helping in ways I find difficult to explain. Suffice it to say I have far fewer melancholy days and people can more often come up behind me and touch my shoulder without my insides turning into a block of ice.

I've been promoted to the Therapy Community Boardroom - HOORAY! "So what??" you might ask.  In my world I celebrate this development!  The Board, also known as the Upper Structure, is comprised of 12 inmates and two staff members. Yup...the patients are running the asylum - hah!  You see, Unit A (my location) is designed to teach men how to act, once released. Most of the men have been labeled antisocial their whole lives. We teach pro-social skills. Here they get the time to practice changing their destructive behaviors. It's a microcosm of the world they will enter into and remain part of when they are released. Our recidivism rate is 12% vs. the general population recidivism  rate of 50% to 70%!

We operate TC like any organization on the other side of the razor wire. It's a culture with rules, mores, and consequences...both positive and negative - ALL instructive. I am happy to be using my education (got that degree in Organizational Development back in the mid-90's) AND my life experience helping others. It's a good feeling when a man, tattooed head to foot, comes to me and says "hey man, awesome class, thank you."

Did I mention that as a Board Member I get paid a salary? It's true ... $0.42 per hour (count'em ... that's forty-two  CENTS!). No doubt the 'thank yous' are more valuable than any money. In addition,  I must say I feel proud that I will be able to buy enough coffee to last the whole month...truly small blessings are treasures.

I think I mentioned taking a Creative Writing Class...well, I really like the teacher, enough in fact that I've registered for her next class starting in January. She's going to have the class study and write about Restorative Justice (Google it!). It's an intriguing concept...a kind of blueprint that brings justice to the victims, the community (society) and the offender. Our current system focuses on punishing the offender, which doesn't always bring justice to victims and usually leaves society completely out of the equation. A few states already offer restorative sentencing (not Washington) so I am looking really forward to this class.

I know it might sound counter-intuitive yet I am TRULY grateful to be alive, even here in prison. I haven't been abandoned by all...as one might expect.  My friends and children write, send books, put money on my account for supplies AND they visit...perhaps one of the best of gifts!   And my wife...the amazing woman behind this man...she does all those things too PLUS she still loves me. Only God knows why, but she does, and for that I am Christmas-morning happy ... and JOY FULL!!

As we roll toward 2016, know that I wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas/Holiday Season and an Awesome NEW YEAR! The world is no doubt richer and more brilliant  because of you and all you love ...]]>
<![CDATA[My Anniversary...´╗┐]]>Sat, 17 Oct 2015 22:58:56 GMThttp://patrickmichaelleonard.weebly.com/blog/my-anniversary
nI have been "locked up" for 1-year today.  
ANNIVERSARY: the annual return of the date of a notable event.
NOTABLE: marked by an achievement.
I cannot say I like the idea that this day is an anniversary, yet IT IS!

​The achievement? I have survived. I am still alive and I can honestly say I am happy about it. When I put my feet on the floor in the morning I am at peace (on most days!), I smile and look forward to the day. 

Twelve months ago I was dropped into the King County Correctional Facility (KCCF) and sent into a concrete room referred to as The Tank.  The drop happened to nineteen other men...at various times.  There were angry men, suicidal men, homicidal men, homophobic men, drug-addicted men, black men, white men, red men and yellow men; dangerous men, desperate men...perhaps even frightened men, though that was less apparent to me since fear kept my heart from beating most of the time, let alone feeling any empathy.  Those descriptors were how I used to see those men. Today I feel I know those men!  I KNOW them to be fragile and scared sentient/human beings. Lots happened in "The Tank" that I hope to forget...AND I survived.

After 5 months in that part of Dante's Inferno,  I was transferred to the Shelton Prison and introduced to a "tier" which housed sixty men. While at KCCF I was locked up 24/7...in THE TANK!  At Shelton I was allowed outside...two hours of fresh outdoor air...every day. I will forever remember the sweet yellow daffodil I saw on my first outing. I think I wrote a haiku about her. Little events like that brought me great pleasure...and gratitude began to have a new meaning.  The men there were from a variety of backgrounds...all labeled dangerous. I shared my cell and my fifteen-minute meals (gobbled and timed by guards) with murderers, rapists, drug dealers and gang members.  AND I survived.

After six weeks in Shelton I was consigned to Monroe Prison MSU (that label stands for Minimum Security Unit). Initially I was housed in 'B' unit with forty men. Most of those men have been in prison more than half their life. Men in their mid-30's were finishing ten and twelve year sentences. Some in their late 30's to late 50's have been in and out of prison since their early teens. Monroe MSU is a kind of reward...with minimum security, it is the last stop before freedom.  That means most of the men are on their best behavior - when the guards are looking. 

Unit 'B' was slightly better than Shelton. In many ways it felt like a fraternity dormitory. Tho' I was never in a frat house, I do recall the movie Animal House...do you?? The actual floor was always a mess. There was STUFF everywhere! Music was always played LOUDly.  The boy-men were always "horsing around" (from the Urban Dictionary and my editor..verb 1. To engage in pre-adolescent hijinks that generally annoy stodgy adults who were raised in a different time). I felt these men were trying for a kind of "normal" horseplay; however, there was something edgy underneath it all. It seemed that I could see fear and anger, perhaps even rage in their eyes. 

If you accidentally bumped into a resident on "B",  there was an initial moment filled with tension, a nanosecond when the entire floor froze with adrenaline-filled anticipation. It was like walking into a forest, making some unbidden noise and suddenly listening to the birds simultaneously stop singing. In prison, one can be stabbed (aka shanked) for the slightest hint of what is considered disrespect. One can also be taken advantage of (aka abused) for showing weakness. So...when you bump into another prisoner, what should you do? Saying I'm sorry shows weakness (and in that situation, it really does indicate weakness). Not apologizing shows disrespect. I know this sounds crazy but prison mores are counterintutive. All the residents know  that our next "assignment" is freedom and that fighting is a tick- back to "closed custody", translated as prison with bars. Yet prison community-rules (I do not know what else to call them!?@#)  are hard to set aside. So both men glance around. If there is a handshake and mumbled "no problem man" that means the guards are watching. If the men involved head for the bathroom, it means the guards aren't watching and there will be a fight. .. out of sight and with no observation except the obvious physical signs.  AND I survived.

About two months ago I was moved once again here at MSU.  This time to 'A' unit, to a floor of eighteen men in a barracks type of situation. These eighteen men are genuinely respectful. All music and TV programming is listened to through earbuds. Each sleeping area is swept and mopped every morning by the residents. Beds are made and uniforms are hung in lockers. There's no swearing and there's some laughter. Of course there are still difficult moments. Eighteen men - some with serious mental health issues, is a rich environment in which to grow...perhaps even flourish. The "program" is designed to assist men to take responsibility and often follows AA kinds of guidelines. AND I am surviving.

Today I'm in a two-man room.  This room has a door that I can open whenever the spirit moves me. It is the first door I have had the opportunity to "control" during this period of one year.  We have a window, opened or closed...this is another choice made by the two of us. I wake up every morning and tell myself I CAN DO THIS!

Thank you all for this year of support!  The cards, letters, money on my supplies account; the newspapers, phone calls, visits, prayers and most of all - the LOVE...yes, your love! You have all played a part in saving my life and I am forever grateful.

EDITOR COMMENTS...cuz she can!!
The visits I have now with Patrick are even more precious as time keeps us separate and so much is changing in our world...we are very fortunate to share the movin' and shakin' of ol' Mama E!!   There are two writings that Patrick shared with me...one when our dear friend, G3,  left Planet Earth...and the other simply a blink in time, written on an envelop...yet both touched me deeply and I wanted you to have a chance to read them...so I share here....cuz I CAN!?!@#

The first...as G3 passes into the light...Patrick found this one about death...in a book loaned to him by a colleague at Monroe:
A friend came to console Chuang-Tzu upon his wife's death and found him singing and beating time on a basin...
Chuang said:
When my wife died, how could I help being affected?  I realized she originally had no life, no form, no force (ch'i).   In limbo, transformation and force evolved.  She became life through birth.  She will be transformed through death.   It is like the rotation of the four seasons.  She now lies in the Great Mother(Universe).  For me to weep would be to show my ignorance of destiny.

AND THEN these thoughts ...another tiny handwritten note on an envelop...came from Patrick's pen:
We live in a time when all can know all that one does...cameras everywhere...electronic footprints every time one buys something....an old expression comes to mind...
Don't do or say anything you would not want printed in the clouds for all to see!
Now all is recorded in the cloud...for all to see.

HIS LATEST ADDRESS...should you be so inclined?
Patrick Leonard
381195     A309L
PO BOX 7001
Monroe, WA 98272
<![CDATA[Time passes, gifts arrive, and now...a blog update!]]>Sun, 27 Sep 2015 03:40:05 GMThttp://patrickmichaelleonard.weebly.com/blog/time-passes-gifts-arrive-and-nowWhom do I thank for the Sherlock Holmes - Complete Novels and Stories? As autumn arrives, these tales will make great weekend reading. When it's cold and wet outside, I will curl up on my bunk with a hot cuppa cocoa 
and escape into the world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  THANKS TO YOU of the mystery world!!

Someone also sent me Lee Child's newest Jack Reacher novel Make Me. Many thanx!  Surprise gifts from the unknown...how can it get any better?   Another coincidence in my corner...I watched Charlie Rose interview Lee Child a few weeks ago. Appearently in this story, the always-manly Jack Reacher shows some vulnerability ... and he falls in love! What is the world coming to?

I am grateful every day for the Wall Street Journal subscription, you Darling Duo! Saying thank you hardly seems adequate, but it's the best I can do for now. The articles are smart and thought provoking. The Sunday New York Times will start arriving soon so I'll get a "balanced slant" (mmmm, is that possible?) on the news - Ha!

Not sure if I told you that I've moved to a Theraputic Community called Crossroads. There are only 20 men in the dorm, down from 40. WE are respectful to each other and there's no noise, no talking between 10:00 pm and 10:00 am. There is no swearing, no vulgarity and I think I can safely say, WE are determined to never return to prison. Lack of education has held some back from success so I help with writing letters and answering questions about "the real world out there."  There are lots of questions about interview skills and how the Social Security system works. Mostly they are looking for legal ways to support themselves and to find meaning in honest work when they leave Crossroads...appropriate, eh?

I have chosen not to rent or buy a TV because I like to read and write. However when the Seahawks play, my roommate invites me to the game. I buy microwave popcorn at the store and save it for game day. Of course we share...he's a funny man with a long beard...a thick accent...Ukrainian...and a good sense of humor. 

This quarter I'm enrolled in a creative writing class. And I'm still enjoying yoga and Toastmasters ... trying to keep mind, body & spirit healthy. 

I recently had a complete physical with good results. All body parts are working as designed, except maybe my eyes. Gonna visit the optometrist next for new glasses. The doctor, a kind and caring Asian woman, wants me to put on some weight. I'm 146 - YIKES! She wants me to add 20 pounds. The store, from which I can buy supplies mostly sells candy and chips, but if one looks around there are some healthy choices. This week I bought some rolled oates, granola, flour tortillas, refried beans, some bagels & cream cheese...with the help of my Ukrainian friend and the microwave, I have some great snack potentials!  That should add a little weight. The vegan meals I am served here are tasty but the meal size is small so I'm thinking I don't get enough calories....hence my 146!!

Well, that's all the news that's fit to type for today. Hope y'all are alright. The world keeps spinning...and I watch with interest...thanx to all of you who write or email or share information!!  AGAIN....GRATITUDE from my corner to yours!
<![CDATA[It's been a while...]]>Thu, 02 Jul 2015 20:23:50 GMThttp://patrickmichaelleonard.weebly.com/blog/its-been-a-while...since I last checked in so here's a quick update. I turned the page on another month today and see it's pyrotechnics time. Guess what? I will celebrate my freedom along with you on July 4th. Given my circumstance, that statement might seem odd. Here's a news flash. Today I am rid of the demons that controlled much of my life! 

On this 90 degree day, that sentence sends chills up my spine.

Through my letters you have witnessed me kicking and screaming "noooooooo" these past 8 months as I struggled from my first day in the King County jail to my present "dormitory" at the Minimum Security Unit at Monroe. I must add that I would not have reached this level without all your cards and visits and prayers!   Thank you is not enough but I don't have the words to completely express my appreciation for all your love and support so thank you will have to do for now. 

Not long ago I decided that survival of this experience is not enough. The result must be extraordinary. To that end, here's how I use my time:

I have helped three residents write their Business Plans. One of the entepreneurs is already out getting ready to open a combo ice cream parlor and coffee stand on the beach in California. Another is planning to create a salon specializing in hair extensions. And the third is heading to Silicon Valley looking for venture capital. His idea is a 'game-changer."
As a result of those three men and their enthusiasm, I have permission to teach a class on how to start a business. I believe if I can "demystify" the process, we will see miracles. The idea is that they will walk out of prison with a plan in their hands and the belief that they can create profitable sustainable, legal enterprises. 

There is something in the Bible about teaching a man to fish and he will never go hungry. That's the idea. Maybe a program like this will help break the history of violance and poverty and welfare dependence and lower the recidivism rate...one nevah' knows, do one?  (That one belongs to Fats Waller, not me!)

So my days unfold...
  • I am registered in a creative writing class, a sociology 101 class and something called Financial Peace University (FPU). If I have the story right, FPU is a out-of-prison program that normally costs a couple hundred bucks. The owner brings it inside at a cost of $10.00 to each resident. 
  • I am working thru the 'Siddha Home Study Course' offered to residents through the SYDA Foundation in Emeryville, CA. I receive two lessons every two weeks. 
  • I'm enrolled in a 90-minute yoga class that meets each Thursday morning at 7:30. 
  • And, at the campus doctor's suggestion, I walk about 15 miles a week. 
  • As you can see I keep busy being of service to others and I am no longer held hostage by my past. 
Happy Fourth of July ... Hope you feel as free as I do.
Happy hot dogs and fire cracklin...
Be safe ..
<![CDATA[June 09th, 2015]]>Tue, 09 Jun 2015 19:34:31 GMThttp://patrickmichaelleonard.weebly.com/blog/june-09th-2015It's 9:00am and I'm at the Monroe Correctional Complex track w/coffee listening to Breakfast with the Beatles. Above me, from horizon to horizon, is the color of a robin's egg...you know that amazing blue?!@  The arc of the sky, the firmament - sans clouds - fills me with wonder and excitement. Rays from the sun knead my back muscles while a cool breeze gifts me with the scent of a freshly mowed lawn. Men are playing baseball, running on the crushed rock track, playing chess and some, like me, are sitting at the picknic tables enjoying the moment. When I close my eyes and focus my consciousness on hearing - listening - I could be witnessing a Norman Rockwell moment...a painting in the making. It's truely a bucolic setting. Then the climbing sun reflects a shaft of light off the razor wire and I'm aware ... I'm in prison! How many realities can I be in at one moment?!@#   AND YOU???

I've been looking inward trying to find me. Its kinda fun :-) - trying to be aware of being aware. When I attempt to disengage from my feelings - my emotions and the sensory objects of form, the world slows down and ceases to be less of a problem. It's just something I'm watching...like a movie. I haven't actually been able to completely disconnect from the movie 'cuz something always seems to attract my attention yet I SHALL keep trying. 

I know what it's like to stand at the center of consciousness, to be aware of being aware. In my youth I would frequently flee into the back country of the Cascades or Olympic mountains for a few days of backpacking and solitude. Four or five times I spontainously experienced an awareness of perfect peace....what does that mean to you??   "It" just came over me, uninvited. I don't know if it was nirvana but I bet I was standing right outside the door. For a few moments I tasted eternity. Literally it was just a few seconds. I only got a glimpse of infinity but the peacefulness was so intense that today, 40 years later, I can still feel that awareness. So now I'm trying to replicate that state of awareness here in prison. Stay tuned, I will report my successes...'cause I KNOW THEY WILL BE!!
<![CDATA[Revealing the past...from the post!!]]>Wed, 27 May 2015 23:05:46 GMThttp://patrickmichaelleonard.weebly.com/blog/revealing-the-pastfrom-the-postIt's almost June the 1st and this blog is out of order 'cuz I just found the document hiding in a pile of papers I have had in my locker since early May. I was cleaning and purging and found information which was written the day I arrived here at Camp Monroe, about a month ago. Truth be told, I do not remember writing these words; however, after re-reading 'em, I do remember 'moving day' with a bit of a cringe...very MOVING!

My Editor reminded me a few weeks ago that I might be adverse to moving because I was moved at o'dark thirty...approximately 16 times as a little boy. The adults charged with protecting me would crash into my bedroom at the darkest time of the morning and tell me to pick two or three of my favorite toys 'cuz "we're moving." Actually they were usually running from the landlord...or some unpaid bill somewhere?

Now that I think of it, one would assume that being rousted at 4:00 AM wouldn't cause such a spike in adrenaline  and activate my amygdala (fight or flight)  with such a vengeance yet...what can I say?   BOTTOM LINE... I still really don't like moving. However, rest assured I will happily and gleefully move away from Camp Monroe - soon :-).

AND NOW, after  that intro...here's the blog from the past that was found in my post...for your perusal:
Monday, 7 PM Monroe, WA
What a day!!  I did not sleep a wink...Sunday evening to early Monday morning!  
We were 'roused at 4:15 AM and taken to the "processing center"...another building, another room.  It was about a ten minute walk...in the pitch black of the sky all around us.  We were given a "boat breakfast"...a plastic container shaped like a boat with a pbj and some cereal in it.  I did manage to eat a PBJ...not knowing what and how and when this would all "end"!?

We were stripped and had all "cavities" (do not think dental!) searched...then given new orange jumpsuits...most about three sizes too big for the body that it was designed to cover!  When the ankle and wrist cuffs came out, I had a reaction.  I remembered both the physical and emotional pain of every moment when I have been forced ito wear such manicals.  It's degrading and inhumane.  I wish I could describe how we looked walking to the bus...no, we were shuffling to the bus with a fourteen-inch chain between our feet, anchored to each ankle by the cuffs.  Add to that image, the fact that our wrists were cuffed and tethered to our waist by yet another chain.  We all looked small and bent over, like someone let the air out and deflated us.   We were men in pain, physical and emotional...on some, the cuffs bit into the skin causing droplets of blood around them. We were headed to a MINIMUM SECURITY UNIT...we were not even the REALLY BAAAAD GUYS!!  Yet even the "buff jocks"...the twenty-year-olds...looked like dogs that had been abused.  No wonder people kill themselves in prison...and develop a stronger hatred for all things "official"!

The bus pulled out of Shelton about two hours later at 6:30 AM and we arrived at Monroe about 9:00 AM.  The windows of the bus were blacked out so that we had no idea how the world around us looked...we simply sat with eyes downcast...perhaps exactly what was supposed to happen to us, after all...we are criminals first, humans second.

The building in which we were to live was called a dorm...yet more closely resembles a barrack from my old Army days.  We were given bunk assignments and a duffle bag with three changes of clothing.  I remembered Allen (the Asian man who had been at King County jail for an entire year!) looking forward to "new" jeans and a hoodie...amazing, eh?? BTW, Allen did not end up here at Monroe so who knows what clothing he is wearing?   I got a lower bunk in a cubicle with two other men(think Microsoft in the early days...dividers not quite creating walls, simply separating humans!).   The "dorm" has forty men...all races living together, all ages too tho' most are younger...maybe 20-35 years on the planet.  The atmosphere is guardedly "neutral" though there are angry men here.  Most of the testy ones have gang tats (tattoos, according to Webster!) and most of them are Latino...based on my awareness of language and conversations. They walk around with scowls on their faces...who knows, perhaps a protective facade??

We had a VERY brief moment with a nurse...blood pressure...check!   Oxygen...check!  Temperature...check!  Fog a mirror??  CHECK!!  I broke down and cried...just a little.  Observation tells me doctors and nurses in this system remember little of the ol' Hippo Oath!!

Lunch was scratched since they only served meat yet by dinner I was officially vegan again...AND they let me bring an extra PBJ back to my bunk for a snack later!!   I am now in Monroe Minimum Security Unit!  How can it get any better than this??

I'm holding on for good good good good vibrations....trust you are doing that too...out there...in the REAL WORLD!
<![CDATA[Editorial...AGAIN!!]]>Wed, 20 May 2015 19:08:12 GMThttp://patrickmichaelleonard.weebly.com/blog/editorialagainTook a few fotos of the 100 year old "estate" which Patrick mentions in the following post...thought I'd share...it is SPECTACULAR!   Cedars with trunks the size of a coffee table...and "the big house" is like a structure from Washington, DC...not certain about the architect...no windows and only the SERIOUS offenders inside.  Patrick is in a tiny "compound", looking very much like a military base...with a handcrafted sign that reads MSU (not Michigan State University...Minimum Security Unit!)
One more thing...if you want to connect with Patrick via email, the website iswww. Jpay.com.  He will "invite" you and the mail MAY GO TO YOUR SPAN ACCOUNT...so check that account, eh?!!  Also you need his DOC number, which is 381195 and you will need to list a debit/credit card to "buy" stamps...you get 60 stamps for $10 so it's better than snail mail if you are comfortable with computers!!   NO DOUBT he is very happy to be back in the cyber kingdom!!
<![CDATA[Monet and me....]]>Fri, 15 May 2015 19:00:57 GMThttp://patrickmichaelleonard.weebly.com/blog/monet-and-meI walked into a Claude Monet painting today (with thanx to RADSENIOR!). It didn't hurt too much - Ha!

Actually, I was meditating at the edge of acres of lawn (surrounded by razor wire, of course)...just feeling appreciative. The landscapes at Camp Monroe are sometimes emotionally stirring! This Spring morning the manicured gardens are off-set and framed by the regal snow-capped Cascade Mountain range in the distance.  Nature comforts us...if we see!
There are yellow and white wild flowers and purple lillies or are they irises popping up all over the estate. It's breathtaking. ..

I sat at the fringe of the luscious field, squinted my eyes and saw Monet's "Lillies" painting (1) & (2). 
I got up and walked across the grounds pretending I was approaching Monet at his outdoor plein-air  canvas. I felt like a fifth member in his "Women in a Garden" painting  or perhaps the flower-sniffing clown??!
Ohhhh the things one can do to amuse oneself :-)  What are you doing today??

No news about a job yet. My counselor is waiting for my university transcripts to get here. Then I can go to work in the classroom helping others. Victor Frankl in Mans Search for Meaning talks about how work...meaningful work... can lead to a full-filling life. When I am without meaningful work, I am like that sailboat...without a rudder. It's depressing, so in the meantime I turn to Nature for solace. I find comfort observing a small thin blade of grass or walking in the shadow cast by Mt. Baker ... and of course I'm excited to get back to work.
<![CDATA[MONROE IS HOME...now!?@#]]>Mon, 11 May 2015 19:55:03 GMThttp://patrickmichaelleonard.weebly.com/blog/monroe-is-homenowDISPATCHES FROM CAMP MONROE:

Well, it took me a couple days to get used to the "flow" of Monroe. We all go to breakfast at 6:10 AM then most return to their pillow-lined vortex. Me? I start my day with a 2 mile walk/jog early... while the dormitory sleeps and Planet Earth awakes! I end the day with another 2 mile walk...watching the sun drop over the horizon.  Therapy...as Thoreau knew!

We have about 3 to 4 acres of luscious green grass around which is a crushed rock track. The air is heavy with that fresh mowed grass fragrance (almost as intoxicating as bacon  :)). The field is covered with English daisies and pretty yellow buttercups ... or maybe they're dandelions but pretty none-the-less. My foot falls on the gravel, I think it is pea-gravel...whatever...sounds like someone eating Special K cereal - makes me hungry - ha!

As my attention turns to the ten foot fence that borders the track, I notice at the top is a spool of razor wire about 200 yards long. As the sun reflects off the metal it looks like a piece of art, really! Kinda like a mobile by Alexander Calder or some of Frank Gehry's architecture...glaring/gazing back at me?!?  I stumble 'cuz I'm distracted by the beauty of the "fence-art" so I refocus on the track. But my mind sees the spools as something else... what? Then out of the blue I see it. It looks like a very long Slinkie...or were those called Slinky. It is a piece of art...obviously!  And now...a toy memory!

I flash back to age 7 or 8 in California. I had a Slinkie/Slinky. We were living with my mother's second husband, my birth certificate dad yet not my bio-dad. I know...it's complicated. Anyway I remember playing with Slinkie/Slinky on the steps inside our home in Santa Cruz. I think I can remember giggling. Maybe I'm making that part up but it's possible. Where did all the innocence go? Fast fwd to Monroe and how this huge barrier to freedom brings me to my childhood...our minds are amazing, eh??

More good news?!@# Whoever said higher education pays dividends knew what s/he was talking about. This morning my counselor told me I qualify to work in the laundry, kitchen or picking up garbage in the yard. Then she noticed I had an undergraduate as well as graduate degrees. She then said "let's get you in the classroom as a TA or tutor or even a teacher." Yippie - Skippie...blessings be mine!

Well that's it for now. It time for my vegan lunch...the way to lose weight?  BEcome vegan...30 pounds gone!!

Editor's update!

New post address for THE MAN is: 
Patrick M. Leonard
DOC 381195,   B-310-L
PO Box 7001
Monroe, WA 98272

AND IF YOU'RE CLOSE-BY AND WANNA VISIT...PML has yet to have a human package arrive for chatting!
Here are the hours for May..they change each month...we think??
Friday the 8th, Sunday the 10th and Monday the 11th - 1:00 to 3:30 and 6:00 to 8:00.

Friday the 15th, Saturday the 16th and Monday the 18th - 1:00 to 3:30 and 6:00 to 8:00.

Friday the 22, Sunday the 24th :-) and Monday the 25th - 1:00 to 3:30 and 6:00 to 8:00.

Friday the 29th, Saturday the 30th and Monday June 1st - 1:00 to 3:30 and 6:00 to 8:00.

<![CDATA[Finding the past...in the post!!]]>Wed, 29 Apr 2015 20:22:56 GMThttp://patrickmichaelleonard.weebly.com/blog/finding-the-pastin-the-postIt's June the 1st and this blog is out of order 'cuz I just found it hiding in a pile of papers I've got in my locker. I was cleaning and purging and found this that was written the day I arrived here at Camp Monroe, about a month ago. Truth be told, I do not remember writing these words. However after re-reading 'em, I do remember 'moving day' with a bit of a cringe. 

Kris reminded me a few weeks ago that I might be so adverse to moving due to how I was moved at o'dark thirty 16+ times as a little boy. The adults charged with protecting me would crash into my bedroom at the darkest time of the morning and tell me to pick 2 or 3 of my favorite toys 'cuz "we're moving." Actually they were usually running from the landlord. Now that I'm aware of that, one would think being roused at 4:00am wouldn't cause such a spike in adrenalyn (sp) and ativate my amygdala (fight or flight) response. Well, I still really don't like moving. However, rest assured I will happily and gleefully move away from Camp Monroe - soon :-).]]>