Hello Stranger

November 29, 2018 by

I’m back!

Oh my God, I’m actually back.

Wow.

This feels so surreal.

It also feels weird because WordPress has once again changed some things on the site and the layout I’m used to using has changed.  But so far, well, so freaking good.

It is nice to be home.

I have missed you!

I have been busy, I won’t lie.

So busy that it makes me wonder how it is that I can even take the time to be sitting here in front of my computer not working on homework.

My God.

The amount of homework.

It is horrendous.

There is literally not a day.

Ok.

There was a day.

That I don’t do homework.

I didn’t do homework on Thanksgiving.

I almost did, but then I just cut myself some slack and said, no, take the day off or you’re going to be pissed.

And the day was taken off.

I went to a movie!

In fact, heh, I went to two movies!

I cannot remember the last time I saw a movie in the theater, probably last Christmas?  And to see not one, but two in the same day was crazy.

I went with my people to a matinée at the Embarcadero Cinemas, which I love.  I do adore a good art house space, plus, there is just something pretty about that part of town when it is emptied out, as it was being a holiday.   The view of the city, the Embarcadero, the bay, the Bay Bridge, the downtown skyscrapers and plenty of parking, which in and of itself is a miracle.

We saw At Eternity’s Gate, the Vincent Van Gough movie with William DaFoe.

First of all, DaFoe is a fucking genius, he’s got the Oscar on this one.

Second.

Horrendously sad.

But I mean, you know it’s not going to end well, the man cuts off his ear for fucks sake, it’s not like this is going to be a happy movie.

Yet.

It was a gorgeous movie, Julian Schnabel did amazing work.

It’s filmed on site where Van Gough did his paintings, Paris first, than the South of France in Arles, and the light he manages to capture is just exquisite.

It felt like being in one of Van Gough’s paintings.

So much beauty.

So much grief too.

I was in tears and the ending just had me with tears pouring down my face, but ultimately, it was such an extraordinary work of beauty that I was grateful to be able to see it.

And I was grateful to reflect that I have gotten to see a number of Van Gough paintings in person.

Although I have never been to the Van Gough museum, I have seen his works in the Louvre, the MOMA New York and the MOMA San Francisco, and The National Gallery in London.

That’s pretty damn good if I think about it.

I am blessed with having gotten to see the amount of art I have seen in my life.

There is so much more to see.

So much more.

Speaking of art, I had hoped that during my down time from work with the holiday I would get to the MOMA, but I did not, too many other things were happening.

Lots of homework, internship work, seeing clients, seeing friends, running errands that needed desperately to be run, clothes shopping–I hadn’t been clothes shopping in so long it felt kind of crazy.

I’ve lost a little weight the last few months and really had to get new jeans.

And I’m not complaining about that at all, it just took forever for me to have the time to get to it.

You may see a theme here.

Busy.

The new internship is going well and I feel like it will grow me into a very healthy private practice therapy business.

Which is also part of the reason why I haven’t been blogging here for some time.

I’m not much of a tech person, not really, not at all, and for my internship I needed to build a website.

Now if I had the money I’d just hire a friend to do it, in fact, when I do have the money I will most likely do just that, but in the mean time.

Well.

Shoot.

I already have a blog on WordPress, I’ll just use WordPress.

Except.

Ugh.

I didn’t realize that I had inadvertently connected the two, my professional website with my, very private, thank you very much, blog.

I mean.

Some of you out there know who I am.

But most of the people reading my blog don’t know who I am.

I am anonymous here and I always have been, since it allows me to pretty freely write about what ever I want to write about.

Oh.

Sure.

There are things y’all don’t know and that will stay like that for ever, thank you.

But.

I am really transparent here.

I write about all sorts of things.

All sorts of things that no therapist wants their clients to know about.

So you may imagine my horror when I realized that you could access this blog through my professional site.

I don’t believe I let that oversight go more than a few days.

The horror I felt though when I realized that the website I’d worked on so hard was linked to my personal blog was no bueno.

I mean.

Yuck.

I don’t believe any of my clients found it.

In fact, I do wonder if anyone actually did figure it out.

It wasn’t very obvious, but for a couple of days the “About Me” was my “About Me” blog from this site, which isn’t exactly scandalous, but it is sassy and certainly not anything I would want a therapy client to read.

NO.

So once I fixed that I spent too much time trying to figure out how to separate the two entities.

I spent too many precious minutes and hours away from my homework on the help chat.

And then WordPress went down, well, it didn’t go do per se, but the administrative support did and really, the couple of chats I did have done nothing for me, except taunt me with the fact that there was a way to separate the two from each other, but I couldn’t figure it out.

Like.

My understanding of technology is a five-year olds.

So for a while, like a petulant five-year old, I just stopped trying.

Then I started reaching out to friends.

I have had three-hour long sessions with friends and nothing was accomplished, except for me to get more frustrated.

I wanted to blow up the site.

I wanted to pull my website, but I’d fucking bought the domain and paid for two years of hosting.

I wanted to delete my blog, my baby, this guy, but really?

No way.

l have over 2,500 blogs on this site and they are valuable to me.

More about that later.

So.

My best idea was to lay as low as possible and not write any blogs while I was getting it all sorted.

And yesterday.

I think.

I hope.

Fingers fucking crossed, I figured it out.

Well.

Not the real solution.

But something that would allow me to be anonymous here and not have any tie to my professional site’s identity.

For now it seems to be working, so I’m not going to jinx it.

And hey.

Look at that.

I got to run.

It’s time for me to get ready to go to bed.

I have early supervision now before work and I’ve got a six am start.

Blah.

But hey.

It’s so nice to be here again!

I am.

So fucking nice.

I promise, I won’t be a stranger no more.

Nighty night.

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Getting Closer

July 12, 2019 by

I am three days away from my trip to Havana, Cuba.

Three days.

Where the hell is my damn filtration water bottle and Cuban Spanish/English phrasebook?

Really Amazon.

This is not the time to drop the ball.

Of course, I have only myself to blame, but it is a little hilarious that these are the only things missing from my bag of stuff.

I am really set to go.

And.

I am not too worried about the phrase book and the water bottle.

They will show tomorrow.

I leave Sunday.

I was proactive today knowing that I wouldn’t want to have to deal with annoying things and took care of getting my laundry done.

I almost wore a dress today that I was planning on bringing to Cuba and I thought, um no, don’t sabotage the summery, warm weather, it’s even going to be warm at night, dress, for a foggy grey San Francisco day.

And then not have time to wash it before packing and heading out.

I wore a dress today that will not be coming to Cuba and did laundry and did a tiny bit of grocery shopping and really, I have nothing to do but see clients the next couple of days and get my nails done.

I am really excited.

I haven’t really been on vacation since last July when I went to France.

I am ready.

It’s been really nice having off from my nanny job, but I have been still seeing clients and I have more clients then I did this time last year.

I now have sixteen clients!

I am really happy to report that.

But with the extra clients comes extra supervision, extra paper work, extra scheduling.

Fortunately I finally got my phone and my laptop calendar’s synced up so that when I make a change on my computer it updates my phone and vice versa.

Such a huge relief.

Sometimes my calendar looks like I’m playing a game of Jenga or Tetris.

Tetris for sure.

I have eight more clients to see in the next two days.

One dinner with my person tomorrow night.

One manicure/pedicure.

And a night with hanging out with some girlfriends or doing fellowship Saturday.

Supplies are bought.

Although I would love to get a market basket purse, I have not found one that works well for travel and I won’t be bringing the one I bought in Aix-en-Provence last July, it is just too precious to stuff underneath the seat in front of me on an airplane.

I realized the other day that I was unnecessarily running around trying to distract myself with buying a purse when I needed to be feeling my feelings.

Oh feelings.

Man they suck right now.

I went to acupuncture Tuesday and the doctor tapped this spot on my tummy and said, “stuck emotions” and I just about burst into tears.

Yeah.

Those.

I had reconnected with my ex in an attempt to just be friends.

It just didn’t work.

I am not at all sad or upset or in anyway regret having seen him.

I missed him so damn much.

Miss him now.

But.

Being just friends with someone you are madly in love with might be the hardest thing in the entire world.

So.

Sunday I said I can’t do it anymore.

And I really want to ball my eyes out all the time, but it just keeps getting stuck.

Like right now.

I want to cry and the tears sort of start and then my body just hunches over and it stops.

Yeah.

Stuck emotions.

Reflux.

Tummy upset.

It’s all getting internalized.

I think I’m afraid that if I start I won’t stop.

I want to reach out.

I can’t.

I haven’t.

I won’t.

I want to anyway.

I did mail him a card on Monday and then my person said knock it off, no more contact.

I almost bought him a card yesterday and today too.

I still feel like there is so much to say.

So much.

And so.

I am just over here trying to breathe and let it go.

Let him go.

Even though I didn’t want to.

I had to.

I have to change.

I have to do something different.

I recognize I’m enough but I have to act it too and saying no more to trying to be friends was a part of that.

I don’t know what else is and I’m just going to try my best and believe.

I believe something wonderful will come of all this damn work.

It just has to.

I mean.

Seriously.

It fucking has to.

I have done so much work over these last two years.

I have suffered and cried.

And I have loved.

I have loved unlike anything I have ever done before.

No regrets.

No apologies to you who may have judgments.

I did what I did and I fell in love and I don’t have a single damn regret.

I would do it all over again.

And the love hasn’t gone anywhere.

I don’t suspect that it will.

So I will go somewhere.

I will change my scenery like no one’s business and I will immerse myself in a culture and people and experience and I will bring my best self.

Even if once in a while, it may be my sad self.

I will bring it all and I will dance and I will swim in the ocean and I will meet new people and have a new experience and adventures and take photographs and grow.

I have not died.

He has not died.

Although.

Yes.

It felt like a part of me died when he walked away.

I die a little more now thinking about it.

Perhaps that is what this is too.

I am too afraid.

That if I let it all out my heart will just die.

That it will just break this time.

Oh there.

Hello.

There are some tears.

Another reason to write, it gets the emotions unstuck.

The acupuncture helped, but the blog is the best.

That and my morning pages.

I cried a little writing them today.

I cried in my towel last night after washing my face.

Surprised myself.

Howled with grief.

The gasped and stopped it all back up.

Stuck again.

I keep reminding myself–

Those things worth having are worth the work.

What I am working towards is a free and untethered love,  completely out in the light of day, in the sunshine, transparent and honest and open and I am worthy of that.

So this pain.

Though it hurts.

Hurts so damn bad.

Is worth working through.

I am worth it.

I am enough.

 

Here Again

July 11, 2019 by

These old memories.

They bang at my head.

A washing of blue jean sky,

Salt tenderized by the sea.

Light.

So.

Californian.

Like my soul,

Built on mussel sea shells

Found by the sea shore.

Sally sells them for a penny a piece.

(find a penny pick it up)

In a brown paper bag I left them.

Hiding, the shells–

Underneath the Volkswagen’s seat.

The bounce of light against the

Rear window in the back seat of the Bug.

Little girl.

Brown eyes wide.

Watching the clouds scroll by,

Catching glimpses of ocean blue between the dunes.

Side mirror reflections bring me back to now.

Decades later.

Decades.

(All day long you’ll have good luck)

Four to be exact.

Those days down by the sea

Watching the water foam over the shore,

Tiny sandpipers scurry.

Coppertone baby in white panties,

Already insecure in my body,

Scampering at the edges of the sand burning bright

Heat rolling up my legs from my feet.

I am.

Curly headed.

I am.

Sweet lipped.

I am.

Brown as a nut berry.

(See a  penny, let it lie)

Pink soled feet softened by the rasp of sand.

Now I am plagued by these,

Photographs of melancholia–

Nostalgia tinged with seaweed.

The cry of mermaids in the grotto.

Sun high.

Heat on high

Cooking hotdogs on aluminum foil on the hood of the Volk’s.

Sand, a grit in my teeth.

Running back to the water, the ocean nips at my feet.

I find another shell for my paper bag.

(All good luck will pass you by)

Listen for the soundtrack to these memories.

One that drifts on the radio dial of Northern California

70s folk rock.

The outlines of my heart.

The nook in the cafe.

A flash of vinyl, the undertone scratch of needle finding the groove.

The light.

The light.

The light.

The smell of salt.

The hint of driftwood bonfires at the edge of night.

Golden foiled light in the dying

Embers of my childhood.

Bespoke.

Bag of shells.

Halo of white sun as I close my eyes to

Everything.

Lost again in that bright light.

Washed out in the sun.

Freckling my face.

I am.

Softened now

By these.

Kisses of eternity.

Itinerary

July 5, 2019 by

I got on it today!

I mean.

I really did a lot of travel prep for my upcoming trip to Havana, Cuba.

I got my passport out.

I slowly, painstakingly, double, triple, quadruple checked how to fill out my Visa, then I filled it our correctly.

I got traveler’s health insurance.

You have to have proof of insurance for entry into Cuba, and though I am fairly certain my health insurance was ok, I didn’t want to risk being turned away for not having the proper insurance or paperwork.  So.  I just used the health insurance that Cuba Travel Services, who I used to procure my Visa, recommended

Frankly, $55 was worth not having to worry about anything.

Then.

I started booking things through Air BnB.

The Visa I am traveling under is in the category of “Support of Cuban People” which is not a traditional tourist Visa, nor was it one of the two categories the current administration squashed.

“People to People” got pulled and so did the Visa that folks use if they’re on a cruise ship.

But.

In “Support of Cuban People” is still legitimate.

Plus I did my research and what I found was that Visa’s granted before the current restrictions were put in place will be honored.

I got my Visa in the mail the day before the sanctions came down.

I am so grateful that I listened to the little voice inside which told me to take care of my Visa before I traveled.

So, so, so glad.

I will have some restrictions on what I can and can’t do with this Visa, and frankly, I’m not bothered by them at all.

I can’t shop at military run or government supported stores or businesses.

Or stay in hotels operated by the government.

No big deal.

I am staying at a private residence that is called a “casa particular” which is pretty much a family owned bed and breakfast.

I had looked up some on Air BnB, but found nothing that was quite the right fit, then I googled for places and stumbled upon a Forbes article that called the place I’m staying one of the best secrets in Old Havana and I checked it out and made a request.

And.

Yes!

They have a room for me.

For 40 Cuban Peso a night including a full breakfast.

I’m pretty sure I posted up about the place before, but I really excited that I landed in such a sweet spot.

Plus, it’s in Old Havana, which is pretty much where I want to spend most of my time anyway.

I’ll be staying in one of the Art Deco rooms in Hostal Chez Nous next to La Habana Vieja, the old square.

I will pay when I arrive.

They don’t accept American credit cards for reservations.  I literally printed off the confirmation e-mail and I present that and the money in Cuban peso for my 8 night stay.

320 Cuban Peso.

For 8 nights including a full Cuban breakfast.

Seriously good deal.

And since I will have to bring plenty of cash, first converting to Euro because the exchange rate is better for Euro than the American dollar, I decided I would preemptively book some activities.

I had never really delved into the Air BnB activities before, really only just used it to book rooms for myself when I have traveled.

New York.

D.C.

New Orleans.

Paris.

I tend to do pretty well finding what I want to see and do without having to deal with a tour guide or the like.

But a friend of mine had gone Havana within this last year and sent me a private message about places to go and things to do that he highly recommended and two of them were Air BnB experiences.

So.

I checked it out and I was pleasantly surprised.

One.

As I can pre-pay for them and thus not have to carry as much cash on my person.

And two, that all the activities I booked fall under my Visa category, “Support of Cuban People” which made me very happy.

Most of the sites I researched suggested that it would be very unlikely that I would be asked for an itinerary, but just in case, I can show one in which every day I am doing something to support the Cuban people.

My first day in I didn’t book anything.

I was going to, but I figured I’ll be jet lagged and tired and may just want to check into the casa and chill out.

Maybe wander around a little bit and take myself out to dinner in the neighborhood, but nothing serious.

The second day I am going to go to La Marca  Havana’s only legal tattoo shop, also it’s first tattoo shop.  It is also an art gallery and what appears to be a pretty hipster little scene.  I tried to book online with them but it bounced back.  So I’m just going to show up and ask for a walk in appointment.

It’s in Old Havana and maybe a ten minute walk from where I’m staying.

I also plan on going shopping at Clandestina, Havana’s first independent clothing company that happens to be run completely by women.

I’m so in.

Next, yes, yes, I did.

I booked a classic car ride to tour the seawall and cruise along the Malecon.

Ironically, I’ll need to take a taxi to get there, but I couldn’t help but want to do at least one cruise around Havana in a classic car, I mean, really, I had to.

Wednesday I left pretty open.

I figure museums and cafes and I booked a couple of hours with an art student from the university to take me on a photo tour.

This I’m looking forward to, I love street art, and off the beaten track and that’s what this seems to be.  This was also the activity my friend raved about, so two hours in the afternoon wandering around taking pictures with a local student.

Totally down.

Thursday I picked a big adventure, basically committed myself to twelve hours of tour.

I booked a historical tour to the Vinales Valley, tobacco farms, coffee farms, a tour through some of the famous caves and horseback riding in and out of the valley.

What really nailed it for me was that they host come and pick you up where you are staying and drop you back off.

There’s no Uber there.

No Lyft.

I don’t speak Spanish.

Not much really, a few tiny phrases, and something about haggling with a taxi cab driver or getting lost really doesn’t sound like fun for me, so having the pressure taken off by getting picked up and dropped back off really sold me.

Plus.

Ahem.

The ride there and back is in a classic 50s convertible.

Um.

Hehe.

Yes please.

Friday I’ll be doing a ferry trip over the bay to a little known spot in Havana called Regla.  There was something about the trip that appealed.  I don’t know the neighborhood, but I like that it’s a tour guided by a women who is an art history graduate who lives with her grandmother and shows off the markets in the neighborhood.

Plus.

Ferry boat ride.

I’m a sucker for a ferry boat.

Then Friday night I am going clubbing.

But not by myself.

I’m a pretty self-assured woman, but I didn’t want to hit the clubs solo, but there was one place I really wanted to go, FAC The Cuban Art Factory, a gallery space with art and music and djs and it looks like the place to go.

I connected with a couple of women on Air BnB who I will meet up at a cafe and head over to the club and hang out with and get the lowdown and have a safety net.  Really quite pleased with this.

Saturday I’m doing a farm to table lunch with a local chef and then.

And then.

And then.

Holy shit.

It happened.

I was able to book a night with the Buena Vista Social Club!

I am over the fucking moon.

The experience was sold out the last time I looked and it appears that more shows go added.

Basically this lovely older woman books a dinner table for you at the club, you meet her, she’s bought your ticket, you hang out with her and two or three other folks, eat dinner at the club and get to see the floor show and hear the band play.

Never in a million years did I imagine when I bought that compact disc so many moons ago in Madison that I would actually be going to Havana and getting to see a performance of the Buena Vista Social Club.

Fuck.

I feel so grateful.

Sunday morning I’m doing a cultural market and food tour with a lunch to follow with a lovely women who after I booked asked if I wanted to be included in a trip to the beach, Santa Maria beach.

Why yes.

Yes.

Yes I do.

So after the market and lunch I will go with her in a, yes, heh, classic convertible to the beach for a few hours of swimming and laying in the oh so white sand.

Pinch me.

Seriously.

Who’s life is this?

My last day in Havana I want to relax and chill out so I sent a query off to the Manzana Hotel to book a spa pass for their rooftop pool and spa facilities.

60 Cuban peso is not the cheapest, but the pool is so pretty.

I figure book a massage, lay out by the pool and just relax before I head back to the foggy fog.

I am so pleased.

And very excited.

So excited.

It feels really good to have this planned out.

And really.

I don’t think I could have done anything much better with my fourth of July holiday than work on the details for this trip.

Seriously.

What to Do?

June 29, 2019 by

What to do?

I have some free time.

The family I nanny for is on summer vacation and this week was my first of six, SIX, weeks of not having to nanny.

Sure.

I still have clients, but only four days of the week.

I have commitments too, so this week I have been city bound.

But.

I am itching for a little adventure.

A road trip.

Not a big one, just where ever  I can get to in three to four hours.

I just figure a drive up or down the coast.

Or.

I may take this Sunday and drive one direction and next Sunday drive the other way.

I was thinking of doing Point Reyes Lighthouse, only to discover that the lighthouse is under repair.

I still think Point Reyes Station is not a bad idea for a Sunday drive.

Oysters.

Hog Island, Point Reyes, Tomales Bay.

Oysters.

I could just do a little drive to a couple of oyster joints.

I just want to drive along the ocean for a while and make a nice memory, feel the sun on my face, stop at a beach along the way.

I could go to Stinson Beach or Muir Beach, I could follow the coastal highway without thought to where it goes.

Drive and stop when I want to.

Grab an iced coffee somewhere or stop at a road side farmers market and get cherries, oh stone fruit season how I love thee.

Pull over and contemplate the ocean.

It’s good for contemplation.

Sometimes I can get stuck though trying to figure out what is the best way to spend my down time and I’d rather not do that.

I have slept in some this week.

Not every day, I’ve gotten up early for group supervision and for my own therapy.

But.

I did sleep in a little bit.

I have gotten to get out to do the deal every day and go places I don’t normally go, hear things I don’t always get to hear read and see folks that I haven’t seen in a while.

I tried to go to a matinee of The Last Black Man in San Francisco, but it was sold out.

I still think a matinee should figure into my down time at some point.

I also think that there’s room for some self care, a massage for sure.

I also did get acupuncture done this week.

The school I go to is affiliated with the ACTM Chinese medicine and acupuncture school, so I was able to get a session for $20!

I am using it to address stress, eczema and my reflux.

I booked another session for next week, shit $20 is less than I pay for my co-pay to see my regular doctor and I got so much information and help in the two hour session I had that it was unbelievably worth it.

The next session won’t be two hours, they do a tremendous back ground and assessment, but really, I have never had a doctor take so much time to find out about me and my needs and my ailments.

It was super refreshing and I felt so taken care of.

I was told that it would take a few sessions but that the eczema should clear up in six to eight weeks, which is fabulous since all the crap I have otherwise tried over the last three years hasn’t worked.

I was also told that they, the intern and her supervisor who saw me, it’s a teaching school, suspect that it’s my diet.

So they made a few suggestions and I will be taking one or two things off my plate for a little while to see if it is indeed diet.

Interestingly enough they think it’s the chicken in my diet!

I roast a chicken just about every week and eat roast chicken with brown rice and a vegetable as my dinner most nights.

I follow a food plan for abstinence and it’s super easy and tasty and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to cook and I’ve been doing it for about three years or so.

Three years.

Right about the same time I notice the eczema on my face.

According to Chinese medicine, chicken can be drying and it’s showing up on my skin as dry red patches on my cheeks!

I mean.

Ok.

I have never heard that before, but tell you what, I’m willing to cut out roast chicken if it will give me back my skin.

Besides.

It’s been three years of roast chicken, time to switch it up for a little while.

And also, finish the roast chicken I have in the house.

I mean.

I’m not going completely cold turkey, er, chicken.

I was raised in the Midwest by a mom who’s parents went through the Depression and WWII.

I know you clean your plate.

You don’t argue about finishing food.

You are grateful for what you get.

You sit at the table until it’s gone, even if it’s cold squash.

Fuck, cold squash is nasty.

Or.

Liver and onions

Ugh.

Hot is bad enough, cold, barf.

You also don’t waste food.

I paid for a nice organic chicken and I took time to cook it and I’m going to finish it off.

My skin can handle a few more days of chicken.

Then.

When it’s gone I don’t intend to buy any for a month and a half and see what happens to my face.

I do believe that it will clear up, whether it’s dietary change or the needles, something about it feels like it’s working.

So yeah.

Self-care is high on my list of things to do.

I may not know exactly what I will be doing with my time–museums, cafes, pleasure reading (I bought a book that wasn’t for school!), lunch with friends, coffee dates, hiking around my house–the sunset last night was spectacular!

2019-06-27 20.26.22

Whatever comes up.

I want to be game for it.

I know only too well how quick the time will go.

I want to make sure I savor every last bit of it.

Especially if it includes oysters!

I Passed!

June 21, 2019 by

I passed my motherfucking Law & Ethics exam!

I am so stoked.

And.

Tomorrow is the last day that I work for the family nannying for six weeks.

They are off to Europe and I am off.

Well.

Not really.

I’m still seeing therapy clients, and tomorrow will be a full day, work in the morning with the family helping them get all their ducks in a row before they fly out, plus four clients in the afternoon and early evening, and solo supervision.

Plus.

Four client sessions on Saturday.

But.

Then.

Freedom.

No weekend of studying and listening to the audio tapes and taking the mock exams.

I mean.

The relief is real.

Last Sunday I studied for three hours and took two mock exams.

I felt blown the fuck out.

I let myself have off completely on Monday.

I only listened to the pep talk, which was good and helpful and then I had a normal day at work.

Well.

Not really normal, all the kids were off from school and both parents were out, one traveling and one working long hours.

So I had all three kids all day long Monday.

In fact.

I got in an hour early and stayed 45 minutes late.

One parent got a delayed flight, so the other had to scrambled to cover me and get me out.

I was really grateful I had done all the rest of the studying on Sunday, despite being so tired of the material.

I didn’t do any studying after work Monday, in fact, the test prep folks don’t recommend it, I let all the work settle in and get situated, and hung out with my best friend and did the deal and went and ate at Marnee Thai.

Good company and good food.

No studying.

It helped.

I got up early Tuesday, ate a good breakfast, got my stuff ready for the day, I had to work and see clients.

And in retrospect that would be the only thing I change.

I was blown the fuck out by the time I got to work, my brain was scrambled and the adrenaline that had been coursing through my blood sucker punched me and I had a bit of a crash at work.

And I had all three kids and I had clients afterward.

The next time I take a test I will remember this.

Take the damn whole day off.

As there will be another test.

But not for about another year and a half, two years, which will be when I get all my hours accrued and it will be the last thing I have to do did get fully licensed as a MFT.

The board exam used to be one comprehensive test and it took four hours to do.

A few years back the BBS (Behavioral Board of Science) changed it and split it up into two exams.

The first exam, the Law & Ethics exam, has to be taken before you can renew your Associate Marriage and Family License.

The license has to be renewed after one year.

My license will expire on June 30th.

So I took it this past Tuesday, the 18th, to make sure that I had time and if something happened, like I got super sick, I could cancel and reschedule the test before my license expired.

There will be no expired license however.

I renewed the same day I passed my test.

The test was no joke.

And it was stress inducing.

Even the exam area was stressful.

No coats or jackets with pockets, no phone, no purse.

No watch.

I had to take off my watch.

The room was cold, thank God I had the sense to wear a cardigan, I had an intuition that the room was going to be heavily A/C’ed and it certainly was.

I did the test the exact way the prep course recommended.

Answered every question and marked the ones that I wanted to go back on.

I didn’t let myself get hung up on trying to figure anything out.

If I knew it, I knew it and answered.

If I didn’t know it, I spent a little extra time looking at the options, but I still answered it and then just marked it to come back to.

I did almost get stuck on the first one and then remembered, to do what was suggested, answer it, mark it, and move on.

I also took a bathroom break, which is allowed, but only for five minutes and they time you in and out.

I took three minutes.

I took the break after having finished the whole test.

The prep had recommended getting up, using the bathroom or walking around and letting your brain take a moment before going back into the test to the marked questions.

It was great advice and I came back in and answered all the marked questions, I had fifteen marked.

There were two questions that I thought were definitely experimental, the exam consists of 75 questions, 50 that you have to get right and 25 that are experimental, but the BBS doesn’t give a clue what the experimental ones are and I had absolutely no clue what the answers were.  I felt like I used good logic though, and that the purpose of the test, really what they are testing you on quite often, is if can you figure out the best answer by using logic.

The CA MFT Law and Ethics exam is comprised of 40% Law and 60% Ethics. Within the Law portion, 14% is dedicated to Confidentiality, Privilege and Consent, 16% to Limits of Confidentiality / Mandated Reporting, and 10% to Legal Standards for Professional Practice. Within Ethics, 18% is dedicated to Professional Competence and Preventing Harm, 27% to Therapeutic Relationships, and 15% to Business Practices and Policies.

Passing this exam on the first attempt is very important, as the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) will require you to wait 90 days after failing the exam before you can retest, and you will need to take a 12-hour Continuing Education course on Law and Ethics and pay a $100 processing fee.

The California Law and Ethics exam consists of 75 multiple-choice questions. 50 questions are scored, and 25 questions are considered experimental and will not count toward your final score. The experimental questions can appear anywhere on the exam; the BBS does not indicate which questions will count and which are experimental.

I was told I would leave feeling like I wasn’t sure if I had passed.

I can say, this is true.

I really wasn’t sure.

I was hopeful.

But I wasn’t sure.

So.

The fucking relief when the exam paper printed up and the proctor handed me the results was huge.

HUGE.

They don’t let you know what your score is, only that you passed.

CONGRATULATIONS!

In all caps, just like that, you have passed the California Law and Ethics exam.

And like that it was done.

Such relief.

I almost burst into tears walking out of the test site.

I made myself sit in my car for a few minutes  before I headed out.

It was a damn big deal.

And I am very proud of myself for passing.

Super proud.

And so ready for a break.

Like.

Really fucking ready.

I just have to power through the next two days.

I can do that.

I got rainbow and sunshine and six weeks without nannying and a trip to Havana, Cuba to look forward to.

I passed my motherfucking Law & Ethics exam.

It was a good day.

 

So. Damn. Close.

June 14, 2019 by

One more week of my nanny gig.

Then.

The family leaves for six weeks for their annual summer vacation abroad.

I have six more days of work, officially a week from tomorrow will be the last day I nanny for the family for six weeks.

I love them.

I do.

And.

I am ready for a break.

Mostly as I haven’t really had a break yet.

I went from wrapping up my second semester of my PhD program to literally within days, starting to study for my Law & Ethics exam.

I am so over the studying.

I take the test on Tuesday.

I do feel quite prepared for it, but I’m still taking time to study as much as I can.

I am grateful that I scheduled it when I did, as the kids will be done with school tomorrow and on Monday I will go from having one for a half day, to having all three of the monkeys.

I had a little dry run on that today, doing the parents a favor and doing pickup from school with the littlest guy in tow, then running errands up in Noe Valley.

Running errands with three children is no joke.

I have a credit card in my name, small limit, that I use for the family, cafe visits for the kids, picking up groceries, dry cleaning, etc, and I got so busy doing things and juggling the bananas for the monkeys, I left the damn card at the fancy French bakery in Noe, Vive La Tart, when I had stopped to get them croissants for tomorrow.

Sometimes I just have to slow down.

And I did.

I paused and breathed and figured it out really quick that I had done what I had done and I retrieved the card without anything untoward happening aside from having to double back two blocks on the errands to pick it up.

It was worth it, in retrospect, just to watch the three of the kids holding hands and babbling at each other in Finnish.

When I engage with them in public it almost appears that I speak Finnish too, although, I don’t really.

Some basics.

Mom.

Dad.

No.

Elephant.

Crocodile.

Banana.

Milk.

I love you.

Potty.

Brother.

Sister.

Horses Ass.

Oh Yeah.

hahahaha.

Oops.

The middle girl picked that up last year from an uncle while they were visiting in Finland and likes to use it a lot.

A LOT.

Good thing that most people in the area don’t speak Finnish.

It was sweet to be out with them and they love going for rides in my car, which they have fondly dubbed, “The Marshmallow.”

I have an off white Fiat.

It does indeed look like a little marshmallow.

The mom makes sure to remimburse me money for gas for any times I use the Marshmallow.

It’s a nice thing to have.

I really have a nice job with them.

But I won’t lie.

I am ready for my therapy clients and less nanny hours.

I am hoping that over the vacation I will integrate more clients into my schedule.

I have expanded my hours and have more session time available.

Today I did a phone consultation, but it didn’t feel like the client was going to bite.

They are still the in the contemplation phase.

Sometimes it takes time to get into therapy.

Most people, at least in my experience, spend a bit of time thinking about going before they finally pull the trigger.

Which is fine.

I looked at the phone consult today as a way to practice and also to be of service to a person who wants some support.

It’s really nice to be of service.

I love being a therapist.

I know my practice will continue to grow and build.

I just need to get that pesky Law & Ethics exam out of the way.

Tuesday.

It will be here soon.

Then the week will wind down and the family will be off in a big jet plane and I will have down time.

Not complete vacation, I will still be seeing my clients, but I’m only in office four days a week right now.

I will have my complete time off summer vacation when I go to Havana, Cuba July 14th-23rd.

I am really ready for that.

But.

I will have, like I said, three days off a week, and much later starts to the day.

Time for little day trips, movie matinees, eating out lunches with friends, massages, museum visits, sitting in cafes with pleasure reading (what is that?!).

I am  very ready.

Soon.

It will happen soon.

Just a little more work before I get there.

So close I can taste the sleeping in.

So.

Damn.

Close.

Straight A’s

June 2, 2019 by

I got my grades back.

It’s official.

Straight A’s for the second semester.

Which means that I have a 4.0 for my first year of my PhD program.

I am pretty damn pleased.

Even if, in the grand scheme of things, nobody really gives a damn about my grades in a PhD program.

I don’t believe I have ever heard someone ask another person what their GPA was for a PhD.  Most folks just stop at, holy fuck, you got a PhD.

Holy fuck are my words.

I mean.

I certainly wouldn’t care what someone’s GPA is if they got a PhD, they got a PhD!

That’s some big work.

And.

Nevertheless.

I am quite pleased.

Really pleased.

It was a hard semester.

I really thought life was going to fucking end when I got shingles.

On top of the wicked bad break up and just feeling overwhelmed with being in a PhD program, trying to grow my private practice and working full time as a nanny.

It was a big deal for me to get straight A’s.

I’m one of the few people in my cohort working full time.

My cohort also is getting smaller.

Two more people dropped out and another two decided to do the three year course track versus the two year.

I am not doing that.

I am staying put with the two year run on getting the required course work out of the way and I hope to do the rest of the work in two years.

I think I could even do it in a year and a half if I follow the example of one of my TA’s who really busted ass.

I’m not going to push myself too hard, it’s a lot of work no matter what.

I’m not so focused on it at the moment anyhow.

I’m studying for something else.

My Law & Ethics exam for the BBS (Behavioral Board of Sciences) here in California.

An Associate MFT has to take the Law & Ethics exam to renew their license.

My license expires on June 30th.

I am set to take the test on Tuesday, June 18th at 9a.m.

I have to get 70% to pass the test.

It’s a tricky little thing and there’s a lot of picky details that have to be addressed.

I am using the Therapist Development Center’s test prep to study.

So far I’m about half way through the material, maybe a bit more.

I’ve studied a good bit so far, but haven’t hit the 70% yet on the test.

Today I took a practice exam and got 61%.

Ugh.

This is not to beat myself up.

The first time I took one of the practice tests I think I got 48%.

I didn’t study, you just take it and see where you are at then start studying.

So I have gotten better, but still need to improve.

I really am fairly confident though.

I have two more weeks of studying and the material builds on itself.

I also have taken the tests really fast.

You’re given 75 minutes to do the test.

My first prep test I did in 15 minutes.

The next I might have taken 18 minutes.

Today I took one and forced myself to slow down a bit.

I still finished it in 30 minutes, maybe 35.

I will be able to have more than ample time to go back and recheck questions that don’t make sense.

Some of them I just made stupid mistakes from reading a little too fast, some of it is just remembering to sort out all the weird numbers that you have to know.

When to report to Child Protective Services versus Adult Protective Services for instance, when there’s an abuse you make an immediate report but each service requires you to also turn in a written report and they’re different times.

Or.

What is the smallest font that you can use on a release form?

Or.

All the different ages around when a therapist has to report child abuse if a minor is having sex.

It makes sense once it’s digested, but it took me a few rounds of listening to the lectures to get it all sussed out in my head.

I really am not worried though.

I take tests well and I have plenty of time to make it through all the study materials and actually go through the lecture series a second time.

I’m really ready to give the studying a break though.

I am really ready for some time off from hitting the books.

I basically one weekend of “down time” between my last paper and having to start the studying for the exam.

Two more weeks.

Take the test.

Pass it.

And then get ready for my Havana, Cuba trip.

The family I nanny for will also leave for a summer trip and I will have some down time too.

I’ll have to stay local for the most part, but I think I might be able to sneak in a little road trip or maybe a couple of nights out of town, drive up the coast.

I see my clients on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

So a little road trip on a Sunday or a Monday seems like a thing.

Santa Cruz or maybe Monterey.

I haven’t been to Stinson in a long time either or Muir Beach.

I could go to Point Reyes and get oysters or do a drive up Mt. Tam.

Lots of options.

Just some more studying to do before I can.

And a moment.

A sweet little moment to acknowledge that I showed the fuck up for this semester despite life challenges.

And I got all motherfucking A’s.

I’ll take it.

Seriously.

 

All The Beautiful Things

May 24, 2019 by

The sound of the robins in the trees.

The slant of early evening sun bathing the tall grass along Fulton Ave, park side.

The sound of you voice in my ear.

I love you.

Missing you all over again.

And again.

And again.

I’m not supposed to be holding a torch.

And I am.

And that’s ok.

It’s all ok.

The glory of you, the poetry in my blood, the fresh tattoo that I kissed with my lips on the inside of your arm.

I can feel the fever still on my mouth.

You were here.

Then gone.

The time went so fast.

In your arms again at last.

The longest 88 days of my life.

I suppose there are still long days ahead.

The long days of summer.

The long moments of wistful memories that enfold me.

How you look etched into my mind.

“You have my heart, be careful with it,” you said with tears in your throat.

So careful.

Baby.

So careful.

I wrote you a card the day before yesterday.

I hope you still check your mailbox once in a while for missives from me.

I don’t know how many to send.

I want to flood you with love letters.

You are my love letter.

I hope I am your love song.

I don’t know when I will see you again.

I know I will see you again.

I know the moon will keep you.

I know God will carry you.

I know you will be ok.

And one day you will be back and the window will be open.

You promised I would be the first person you would call.

I am holding you to that.

Don’t be too long my love.

My bones ache for you.

Boy turns to girl and says, “I love you so”

Boy turns to girl and says, “I love you so”

Boy turns to girl and says, “I love you so”

I love you too.

So much.

You laugh, you eyes, the song of you on my lips.

Gone once again for you.

Not caring who knows.

Fine with however it goes.

As long as you get your happiness my love.

Please.

Do.

Get happy.

I have never known anyone who deserves it more than you.

Love.

That is.

All the love in the world for you.

To the moon and back.

1,000 times infinity plus 2.

I adore you.

I love you.

Come for me my love.

Please do.

I wait with bated breath.

I always have.

I always will.

One Day of Freedom

May 19, 2019 by

It’s a full blue moon tonight.

A full flower moon.

It is the eve of your birthday and I can’t stop thinking about you.

I tried and then I just stopped trying.

It’s ok.

It’s been what, 3 months, of course I still think about you.

Even though I went on a few dates last week.

And I have to say, it felt really nice to be out in public on a date, of course I wanted to be on a date with you in public, but I know how that story goes.

He was nice enough.

But.

No chemistry.

Sad.

He thought we had gang busters chemistry.

I did not.

I know what chemistry is.

Boy howdy do I know.

I went on three dates to give him a chance and every single one just made me think more and more about you.

Damn it.

I love you monkey.

And I’m bummed that I won’t get to see you on your birthday tomorrow, to sing you happy birthday, to make your birthday cake.

I did love cooking for you.

Le sigh.

I’ll be ok.

I’m not crying.

Although I did rail at God one night, I think after the third date with the guy.

Because on paper he had a lot going on.

But when you kiss like a dead duck.

Ugh.

I wanted your kisses so damn bad.

I felt crazy.

I was so fucking angry.

I want a committed monogamous relationship and I want chemistry.

Is that so much to ask for?

I really think it’s possible.

Obviously I didn’t have the committed monogamous bit with you.

Double sigh.

And I haven’t had chemistry, EVER, like I had with you.

I want both.

Fact is.

I just want you.

I want you to fucking get your god damn act together and get a divorce and come for me.

FUCK.

And.

Done venting.

I don’t have it in me to be angry or sad.

I just want to wish you a happiest birthday where ever you are and hopefully you’ll get what you want and I pray all the time for God to take care of you.

And I knew it was going to rain tonight and the clouds would cover the full flower blue moon and I wouldn’t be able to see it, so last night, in my bunny slippers, I went outside and talked to the moon like I was talking to you.

I hope you got the message.

I’ll let myself be a little sad and a little maudlin.

I know that anniversaries are hard.

Fuck.

The two year anniversary of our first kiss had me crying myself to sleep.

Or your sobriety anniversary.

Walked around with a 7 year chip and a card in my wallet until my person was like, “hand it over.”

Just so you know.

I had planned on giving it to you but it was “suggested” heavily that I put it in my God box.

So that’s where it’s at, although, it’s yours if you ever want to make a move for it.

But there’s something about it being your birthday tomorrow and how it’s also wrapped up around my graduation party last year and getting my Master’s Degree and the party you threw me at the beach.

And I just finished my first year of my PhD program and I felt like we should have been celebrating.

I feel like we should be celebrating all the time.

Except that I’m not supposed to have contact with you.

I off and on block you on Facebook because I will find myself looking at your page.

Not that you ever post anything to it.

And I haven’t been a perfect princess.

I have looked at your LinkedIn profile, but then I unconnected us since that’s flirting with all sorts of danger.

God.

I wanted you to reach out to me tonight.

I wanted it so freaking bad.

Still do.

But.

I want it my way.

Not the way it was and you couldn’t give that to me.

I wish you could have.

If wishes were horses.

Beggars would ride.

I still debate getting one more tattoo with you in mind, a theme, I have three already dedicated to you.

But.

I can’t decide.

The little girl wishing for the moon card that I gave you.

Or two crows with a heart between the two beaks.

Or.

That one tiger dragon graffiti mural wall in Chinatown, the one I took a photo of you in front of.

Oh baby.

I’m not in tears.

And I want to recognize that.

I feel sad but it’s not torture and the no contact I’m sure has helped.

But man.

I still want to connect with you.

To have contact with you.

Those three stupid dates just made it so clear how much I love you.

Oh.

There.

Now the tears.

Ok.

No more of that.

Big breath and onto the point of the title of the blog.

One day of freedom.

Or relative freedom.

Tomorrow.

Because after tomorrow, it’s Monday and I have to start studying for my Law & Ethics exam and that takes about a month of study.

So.

Tomorrow is it.

I don’t have a lot of obligations, typical stuff, cooking, laundry, a lady bug, but nothing in the evening since my person is out of town and I don’t have any homework.

HOLY SHIT.

I don’t have to do homework tomorrow.

I got all my papers turned in and all my projects done.

I made it!

I really made it through my first year of course work in a PhD program.

I am sort of amazed.

So tomorrow, who knows what I’ll do with that free time.

But I will have it.

I hazard I will think of you and I’m sure I’ll send you a happy birthday wish.

Maybe tonight before I go to bed, I will look towards where the full moon is and wish you a happy birthday.

Happy.

Happy.

Happy.

Birthday baby.

I still miss you.

 

The Full Monty

May 3, 2019 by

He’s married.

That’s the secret.

The big, finally done holding it secret.

I was involved with a married man.

Thus, why so little of my relationship was on my blog for the last two years.

Oh, if you were clever you might have figured out I was seeing someone but I was pretty discrete.

I am discrete.

I didn’t go burn down his house when we broke up.

I didn’t out him to the world or my community.

Oh.

I told a few friends that I needed to tell and I got super honest in a general way in other places that I had been having an affair.

“I had an affair with a married man and he wouldn’t leave his wife, so I broke up with him.”

It’s rather glib and it really is so little of what actually happened.

Love is what actually happened.

We fell in love.

I’m in it right now.

He’s really been on my mind.

Tomorrow would be the two year anniversary of us getting together.

The night he told me about his “modern marriage” and I thought, my God, you’re gorgeous and I’m open and not seeing anyone.

That kiss though.

Our first kiss, May 3rd, 2017, two years ago tomorrow.

Blew me apart.

I should have probably known right then and there it was going to be something.

Something for the books.

Magic.

Romance.

Everything.

He was everything.

Poetry.

So much poetry.

And we fell in love.

It wasn’t just the sexy.

In fact, both of us bemoaned it not being just sex on more than one occasion as it would have been easier to get out of it, easier to walk away.

But we fell in love.

Naively I thought that would be enough.

It wasn’t.

Extenuating circumstances that I will not divulge as they are not mine to share kept us from ever really being together.

But god damn.

We tried.

We tried so fucking hard.

We did everything we could to make it work.

In the end, though, I left him.

It wasn’t working.

I realize that in previous blogs I made it out to seem that he left me.

And that’s not true.

I left.

I couldn’t do it anymore.

I was miserable.

I had left once before and couldn’t live without him and so we spent a year trying to figure it out and make it work.

I really did think he was going to leave his wife.

I really held onto it for so long.

How could someone love me the way he said he loved me and not leave?

This still hurts.

Cue the tears streaming down my face.

I know why he didn’t and I still really thought he would.

Which is why I say he betrayed me, which is why I say he left.

He didn’t choose me.

And that’s his right to not do that.

But it felt like a betrayal.

It felt like he betrayed the love we had for each other.

Love that neither one of us had thought was possible or real or could exist.

The stuff of teenage lust and fairytales and gothic poetry and love songs.

That’s what got me today at work.

Sitting down to keep my charges company at dinner and the dad of the family played some music and a song came up.

A song I have never heard outside of the playlist I had made my ex many months ago.

A Peggy Lee song called “Sweet Happy Life.”

I thought I was going to lose it.

It wasn’t the Peggy Lee version, but it was the same song.

My wish for you, sweet happy life
May all the days of the year that you live be laughing days
With all my heart, sweet happy life
And may the night times that follow the day be dancing nights
Stars for your smile, moons for your hair
And someones wonderful love for your loving heart to share
My wish for you, sweet happy life
May all your sorrows be gone and your heart begin to sing
And if a wish can make it be
I wish you spend everyday of your happy life with me
Stars for your smile, moons for you hair
And someones wonderful love for your loving heart to share
My wish for you, sweet happy life
May all your sorrows be gone and your heart begin to sing
And if a wish can make it be
I wish you spend everyday of your happy life with me.

I got myself together and I did not lose it, I did not cry.

But tonight, driving home.

I did.

I did cry.

I’m crying now.

It still hurts.

And it was amazing.

Real, true, fucking head over heels love.

We had it.

I had never had it before.

I just get to have these feelings and let them go and be grateful that I have gotten to have an incredible experience without judgment or self-hatred.

It was what it was and it was love.

It still is love.

I still love him.

I will always love him.

I just won’t be with him.

Not while he’s married.

I can’t ever do that to myself again, no married men, no one still getting over an ex-wife, girlfriend, partner, no one who is not 100% free and clear to be with me in the light of day.

Tomorrow night will be the two years since that first kiss and I don’t regret any of it and I’m not mad at myself.

I love myself if anything a little bit harder and a little bit more.

I followed my heart and listened when it said it couldn’t do it anymore.

I left him.

So if I left you with the idea that it was anything other than my choice, that was not right.

It was my way of still avoiding the gigantic pink elephant in the room.

I had an affair with a married man and fell in love.

He wouldn’t leave his wife.

So I broke up with him.

The end.


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