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.

Back in the Saddle

June 22, 2020 by

I could mean this literally and figuratively.

The figurative part comes down to being back here, on my blog, writing again.

Man, it feels nice to write.

I have had one hell of a busy summer.

There’s been this pandemic thing.

Social distancing.

Working.

Working some more.

Working on my dissertation proposal–turned in my third draft this week.

Oh yeah.

And moving.

I don’t believe I have written about that at all.

You know, that little thing, moving during a pandemic.

Or maybe I did and I already forgot because it’s been a minute since I have done a blog.

(at least on this platform, I’ve been posting to my therapy website, but that’s a different kind of blog)

And it’s been a minute since…

I have been on my bike!

Today, however, I got back in the saddle.

I cannot tell you how good that felt.

And, heh, it was just like riding a bike.

I won’t lie, I was a little nervous, it’s been over a year and a half since I had ridden.

I didn’t ride once living in my previous place.

My bike simply hung on a hook on the wall in the hallway entrance to my studio in-law.

Once in a while it would beseechingly call out to me and I would feel some guilt and I would say, yeah, this weekend, go do a ride.

But it was windy or raining or foggy or miserable, as it can be in the Outer Richmond.

And I live on a gigantic hill and it’s a one speed.

And.

And.

And.

Cue not riding at all.

It just never happened.

Until today.

I have been in my new home officially now two weeks.

It’s been a big two weeks.

Getting all the things set up.

Aside.

Today I got my Ihome pod set up.

Soooooo happy.

I got my music speaker back.

I have an old one, like a really old one that docks a first generation Ipod music player and it’s cute as shit and it glows and I can play all the music I loaded on it years and years and years ago.

But.

It doesn’t run off my phone (unless I want to get a cord that will connect it to the speaker and whatever not being a tech kid I will probably not do that, although I suspect the actual accessory is probably pretty cheap, anyway) and I can’t play my music apps–Spotify or Bon Entendeur.

Mostly I want to hear Bon Entendeur, which is a French house music app that I just fucking adore.

My Ihome pod was a gift from the family I used to nanny for when I graduated from my Master’s program in 2018.

I didn’t take it out of the box until I moved into my previous place, so I had it for six months before I actually turned it on.

Game changer.

I really love it.

Great sound.

Great speaker.

Connects right to the internet.

I never use the Siri part of it, just connect my music apps on my phone to it and voila, dance party.

Except I couldn’t figure out how to get it connected here.

A friend tried to walk me through it, but it didn’t take.

So today, after my bike ride, I’ll get to that, I sat down on the kitchen floor and googled all the things.

And.

I got it to work!

I am so proud of myself.

I know, a small accomplishment, but it felt really good and I’m happily listening to my music right now.

I’m also feeling very happy in my body, which got to go on a bike ride.

I moved to Hayes Valley in San Francisco.

It’s pretty damn flat.

I’m at the foot of some hills, but I don’t have to ride up them, I can just head out towards Market street and ride my sweet one speed through one of the flattest parts of the city.

And.

Yes, there are people out (and I was horrified to see people lined up to get into Ross Dress for Less.  Really?!) but not nearly as much as there would be, see previous note about pandemic, and there were very few cars and buses.

It was a glorious ride.

I rode all the way down Market and then along the Embarcadero until my legs got a little sore.

I knew better than to push it.

I don’t want to be sore tomorrow and it’s been a while since I had ridden.

Easy does it.

And easy does it again.

For I will be riding a lot more.

I am going to get my parking permit for my neighborhood this week and then I don’t plan on driving my car anywhere for a while.

I won’t be going into my office for a while yet, so no need to drive there.

My office is small, even if I wanted to socially distance I couldn’t.

I will continue to be doing telehealth for the near future.

Which means, aside from once a week when I need to drive to Daly City to work at the youth health clinic, I don’t need to move my car.

And now that I got back in the saddle, I will definitely be using my bike.

It was dreamy.

I pumped up the deflated tires and I got my messenger bag out of the closet, grabbed my Ulock and my Palmy lock, my wallet, hooked my keys on my belt loop, grabbed a Sigg bottle of water out of the fridge, put on my bandana mask, a pair of sunglasses and hit the road.

Like I mentioned.

Little traffic, either car or foot, some, but not a lot.

It was surreal, I have not been downtown since shelter in place went into affect and it was surreal to see it, and there are people out, like I said, line for Ross, but not that many, certainly nothing like what I would normally see on a Sunday in downtown San Francisco.

I felt really good biking again.

And on my return from the trip I swung into the Farmer’s Market at the Civic Center plaza and grabbed some stone fruit from a vendor as the market was closing down.

I cannot tell you how happy I am to be so close to a farmer’s market again.

I got yellow nectarines, which tasted like how I imagine sunshine should taste like, sweet, and thick, and full of light and golden tones, and I got apricots.

So good.

Came back to my place, stashed the bike in my bathroom–which is huge and my bicycle fits without any trouble, and prepped fruit for the week and stashed it in the fridge.

I’m home.

My bicycle is home.

My Ihome pod is set up.

My home is set up.

My pink couch is hella cute in my living room.

I got up privacy shields on the bottoms of my windows in my bedroom and living room.

I got cute little coffee tables to flank my couch.

All that’s left is to set up my bike stand so that I can store my bike standing up in the closet (I have a walk in closet in the living room) and to get my book shelf delivered and set up.

I feel happy.

I am very grateful and very lucky and very aware at how good my life is right now.

Even without being able to really engage with and connect with my friends and fellowship.

I am in a good place.

And I am.

Very.

Very.

Very.

Much.

At.

Home.

Another Sunday in Quarantine

May 25, 2020 by

I didn’t go outside today.

I wanted to.

I didn’t.

Well.

That’s not exactly true.

I did go out on my deck.

I am so grateful for my deck I cannot even begin to tell you.

It has saved my life.

I went on a long walk yesterday, I am grateful for long walks, and it was not the best walk ever.

Too many people

So many people.

Go the fuck home people.

Sigh.

I love the area that I live in (although I don’t love where I live exactly, deck excluded, the landlord and his wife are not sustaining very well right now and they fight a lot.  A LOT).  It is beautiful. I’m within a five minute walking distance to Golden Gate Park or to Sutro Heights Park.

I can make Land’s End in fifteen minutes.

I’m a three minute walk to Ocean Beach.

Except.

Well.

Dodging the people not wearing masks or walking in clumps makes the time a bit longer.

I know to avoid the beach.

I know it makes me upset to see so many people out having their sunny beach day.

I want to holler, “it’s my fucking neighborhood, go home!”

But.

Well.

I don’t.

I just stay home instead.

Yesterday’s walk was focused primarily on walking the steep hills around my house so I didn’t run into as many people as I would have if I had gone down hill.

I took one look at down hill and headed right up.

I got pissed and then I thought, just stay on the hills, walk away from the beach.

It’s a constant conversation I have with myself.

I know people are getting squirrely.

I know that folks are tired of shelter in place.

Me too.

Me too.

Me too.

And.

It’s not over yet and there are still new cases getting reported and people are still getting sick and I cannot be one of them.

I only have myself to rely on and so I walk wearing a mask.

I walk six feet plus away from people.

I walk out into the street to avoid contact.

I don’t go out much on the weekends.

I didn’t go out today.

I don’t know about tomorrow.

It is the holiday after all and the weather is going to be nice.

That’s a part of the problem.

The beach doesn’t get beach weather.

Most of the time it’s cold and foggy and windy.

But when it’s sunny, over sixty degrees, and there’s little to no wind.

Packed.

I know if there wasn’t a pandemic, it would have been bonkers yesterday.

Or today.

And what I saw was bad enough.

Also.

Since the city closed down the parking lots along the beach.

Everyone parks in my neighborhood.

Or at the SafeWay grocery store on Fulton.

Last Sunday I tried to go for a walk and I got so overwhelmed I headed home, it was nice last Sunday too.

One too many groups of young adults wearing masks on their foreheads, elbows, and knees, but not over their mouths and noses, drinking Boba tea and taking up the entire sidewalk, for me to cope.

I walked past the SafeWay on my way home and the lot was full.

FULL.

But.

There was no line to get into the grocery store.

The parking lot was being used by all the beach go’ers.

I wanted, as I have wanted on a few occasions to call the cops.

And.

Fuck.

I cannot do that.

Waste of money.

Waste of time.

But what I can do is stay home, take care of myself, and let people do what they’re going to do.

I cannot control anyone.

I can only control my own actions.

And those not all the time.

Although, aside, I did not reach out to my ex today, which is miraculous, I felt the pull of him in my blood like the sunshine on my skin.

Oof.

Hard.

Anyway.

I decided today to just forego outside and walks for the rest of the weekend.

I made phone calls.

I had FaceTime.

I wrote a lot.

I printed off the dissertation proposal.

Four pages of instructions.

I worked on my CV.

Very proud of that actually.

I sat outside and ate my lunch on the deck and got my sun that way.

I kept the sliding glass door to my deck open all day.

I heard how busy the neighborhood was.

I kept to myself.

I felt much better.

Even though I missed taking a long walk, I did not miss getting agitated.

I have a big Monday.

I have seven clients.

No Memorial Day off for me.

I’m ok with that.

I am beyond grateful that I can work.

I will go for a long walk on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and maybe Friday, depending, I’ve a lot of clients Friday too.

I will keep hitting up the Zoom meetings.

I will stay positive.

I will eat well.

I have not eaten any take out since shelter in place.

I don’t really when there’s not a pandemic.

But I did like going out to eat.

Saving some money cooking all my own food that is for sure.

I will work on my dissertation proposal.

I met with my dissertation chair yesterday morning for an hour and mapped out a plan for the summer.

I want to be defending my dissertation proposal the weekend of August 27th, 28th, 29th.

There will not be an intensive.

It will be via Zoom.

And that’s ok too.

I have a plan.

I will stay busy with that, my clients, and the new position with the Daily City Youth Health Clinic–I started on Friday.

I scheduled my first client yesterday.

I will get through this.

And one day.

Hopefully, not too far in the future.

I will take a walk outside without a mask on either.

This too shall pass.

What Day Is It?

May 22, 2020 by

I mean.

I know it’s Thursday, but honestly, I had to check a few times today to remember.

The days they are blurring together.

I’m not upset about that, it is just interesting, how malleable time has become.

I have a good routine.

I got up with an alarm today.

I had group supervision on Thursday mornings.

Since shelter in place I get to “sleep in” on Thursday mornings until 7a.m., days when I would have driven cross town I would have been up at 6a.m.

There are some benefits of shelter in place, I won’t deny it.

There are many drawbacks, but I bet you already know what those are.

I’m just going to keep it on the up and up for the most part, at least today, whatever day it is, whatever month it is.

I had a client mention the three day weekend and I was like, what three day weekend?

Oh.

Ha.

Memorial Day is Monday.

I don’t have plans.

Well.

Not true.

I have hella clients.

Monday is my busiest day.

I will have seven client sessions, some weeks I have eight.

I definitely start the week off with a bang.

I also have some down time in the middle of it so it doesn’t blow me completely to bits, but yeah, Monday won’t be a holiday for me.

And I will soon really be in it as I will start picking up teenagers next week with the contract position with Daily City Youth Clinic.

I am going in tomorrow to do the last bits of orientation and pick up a “stack of files I have waiting for you,” from my newest supervisor.

I will be slamming right into the work.

Which is great, I am not complaining.

Again, it will keep my busy, it will keep me from ruminating or feeling lonely.

It may also blast out my brain a bit, I am a little concerned about being on my laptop so much.  I am definitely booking a lot of screen time.

With picking up another batch of clients that will only increase.

I was actually not sure about blogging tonight.

I mean, I wanted to, but I also was thinking I might want a break from my screen.

But, oh, the siren song of writing a blog and not writing something academic.

Well.

It surely called to me.

So here I am, on day whatever it is, writing to you about my day, which really was pretty chill and not dramatic and simple and when I am honest in my heart, very sweet.

I didn’t hang out with anyone but myself, and I like myself quite a bit, so I’m like, you know, fantastic company.

I had some really great phone calls.

I went on a long walk up and around Sutro Heights Park, which overlooks Ocean Beach and it was gorgeous and stunning and filled my eyes and heart and soul with goodness and beachiness and the smell of the Monterey pines and the Eucalyptus was so good.

So good.

The bright peppery smell of orange and yellow nasturtiums, the blooms of jasmine, the roses, pink sherbet swirled, lulling fat fuzzy bumble bees in for sweet repose.

It was good.

Then I walked the avenues for awhile.

I’m out on 48th Avenue and up a hill, so not many folks out walking and that’s nice.

I even took a break from calling people names, in my head, I don’t do it their faces, about not wearing masks.

Who am I to tell another how to live.

Funny, though, how often I have been prescribed a specific role.

Funny how I often say, um, no thanks, I’m going to do it my way.

So.

I know that it’s not helpful to tell people what to do and saying douche bag in my head only affects my experience.

I’m trying to gently curb it.

Sometimes I substitute, “oh look at you and your cute privilege!”

But even that snark doesn’t do me much good.

The best thing for me is to gently remind myself that I can only police myself and act with integrity in all my affairs.

I don’t have to tell others what to do, I mean, I have had plenty of experience with that and it’s no fun.

Keep my side of the street clean and move the fuck on.

And walk where there are not so many people.

And call my friends.

And make plans for when this moves away and it will, I don’t know when or how, but this too shall pass.

Go see my dear friend in Florida.

Go see my best friend in Wisconsin and as long as I’m in that neck of the woods, get in a visit with my oldest friend from high school in Minnesota.

Go to New York and hit up the museums, New York has really been on my mind, maybe because I am wearing a dress I bought here in San Francisco that I associate with New York–I bought it specifically for the last trip to New York I had.

I wore it to the Brooklyn Museum to the David Bowie installation and walked around Judy Chicago’s beautiful piece The Dinner Party.

It was hot.

The dress is red and I felt and feel pretty in it.

It makes me think of warm summer nights and wandering through the city.

I love New York.

There is still a little piece of me that thinks I should live there, but I’m here and I love San Francisco too, and well, frankly, it is prettier.

Although I sense I might have more adventures in New York than I have here, but that’s speculation.

New York just holds a special place in my heart.

I also want to visit my best friend from my Master’s cohort in Paris.

Paris, my love, I am ready to see you again too.

Hell.

I’m ready to see the rest of San Francisco.

Sit in my favorite cafe and drink a really hot latte and have girl friend time with my best girl out here.

Go get a mani/pedi.

Oh!

Eat lunch at Souvla.

Yeah.

I know I could get take out, but I want to sit in the back patio and stare at the sky and people watch.

I have a good routine.

I have many, many, many blessings.

I am grateful.

I am graced.

I also have feelings and I miss things and travel and adventures.

I miss people.

Even though I am good company to myself, I miss the touch of another’s hand, a hug, a shoulder to set my head on.

This too shall pass.

This too shall pass.

This too shall pass.

 

 

It’s Been A Minute

May 15, 2020 by

And I almost, but I didn’t, didn’t write.

I was all like.

Ooh, Hulu, get me some Hand Maid’s Tale.

Then I thought, really, when was the last time you blogged lady?

It’s been a minute.

There’s been a pandemic.

The thing is still happening.

And life for me did not slow down.

Pro tip: next pandemic, be enrolled in a PhD program.

I was so, so, so busy with this semester.

And it was hard, like hella hard, ridiculously hard, over the top.

Add one pandemic and make your academic career triple fold with stress and anxiety.

There were a few weeks when I couldn’t get it together.

I cried.

A lot.

I pushed back on my studies.

A LOT.

I did want to do it, I thought about dropping out, I didn’t.

I wouldn’t.

But I did think about it.

However, in the end I am so grateful I pushed through.

I wrote some tremendously good papers.

I scored a perfect 50/50 on my Method’s Comp Exam.

I had a professor tell me she cried while reading my work.

That was nice to hear.

I’m still waiting for my Lit Review to get returned to me, but the draft that I turned in before the final draft, well, the opening comment from the professor was “Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!” So I feel pretty confident that the final paper was well received.

It was a push though.

I was so grateful I rallied and got through.

I have one last goodbye Zoom class call on Saturday, but pretty much it’s done.

All done.

I have officially finished the three year course work in two years.

Now I head into the proposal phase of my PhD program.

Which I hope to get done over the summer.

There will be plenty to do and I gave myself this last week “off” sort of, to chill, although in reality I did no such thing as chill, I was just not doing homework.

I was instead training.

Yeah.

So many trainings, so many screens, so many videos.

I felt so burned out from it yesterday.

Over it.

OVER IT.

However, also ridiculously grateful.

I was hired to be an interim therapist for the Jefferson Union High School in Daily City.

Technically I was hired through Daily City Partnership, which is a non-profit that supports the high school.

I will start next Wednesday.

I will be seeing 10-15 teenagers a week, doing an hour of supervision, and and estimated four hours of paperwork.

20 hours total.

So pretty much right back to being busy.

And like I said, stupid grateful.

First, busy will help to deal with the shelter in place deal.

Second, those oh so elusive child and family hours.

I need them to get fully licensed as an MFT.

I am 261 hours away from the required 3,000 hours the state of California requires one to have to get the MFT license.

A part of that requirement is 500 child and family hours.

I have been acquiring them by working with couples, which count as “family” hours, but I don’t have enough couples in my current practice to get all the hours in an expedient way.

So when I was approached about being a therapist over the summer to support the high school kids I was thrilled.

Due to the situation with shelter in place and COVID-19 the school board allocated extra funds to bring in a therapist over the summer to support the kids.  Typically they don’t have a summer therapist, they get therapy during the school year.

But.

There’s been such a demand for it they decided to help the kids over the summer and I was approached and applied for it and last week Wednesday I was interviewed and hired on the spot.

That felt pretty damn good.

The pay is shit.

But.

It’s pay.

And really I need the hours so even if I didn’t get paid I would have probably taken the job.  In fact, dirty little secret, most therapist don’t get paid when they go after their child hours.  It’s pretty rare.  Most of the schools rely on unpaid interns.

I could rant about that quite a bit, but I don’t have the energy.

I am just super happy I get to help out some teenagers and get my child hours and get paid and get through the summer by staying busy.

I have 22 clients in my own private practice, which is pretty damn good, all things considered.

A lot of folks in my agency have lost clients.

And I did too, but I have also maintained clients, worked with them, drop my fees when and where I could, implemented a lower sliding scale, and I picked up a couple of clients too.

So I’m holding steady.

And God damn am I grateful I can work from home.

I feel so lucky about that.

I am still paying rent on my office, but so it goes.

I did let go of one of my offices, but I’m holding onto the other for a bit yet, I don’t know how long shelter in place will go and I don’t know how many of my clients will feel comfortable coming back into my office when it does, but I don’t want to give it up yet.

I know a lot of therapist have.

Many are going over completely to the idea of telehealth–video and/or phone sessions.

I will be doing a mix of it when things all settle out, whenever that is.

I now have clients in and outside of San Francisco because of being able to offer telehealth and I will keep these clients when I go back to my office.

Things are good.

Weird.

Don’t get me wrong.

Fuck.

I miss people.

I miss people something bad.

But I’m busy and grateful to have things to do and that I live by Ocean Beach and can take long walks, and I’m fed and housed and safe.  I’m very fortunate and I know it.

I hope you are well and taking gentle care.

Biggest hugs!

It Was The Sound of Love

April 25, 2020 by

It startled me.

I looked up from my desk.

Buried in client notes and scheduling.

Calendars and emails.

Love.

Just there.

In the air outside my window.

So insistent.

Listen to me it said.

Now.

Listen.

Tony Bennet.

I Left My Heart in San Francisco.

Absolutely blasting from a neighbor’s open window.

At sunset.

At the kiss of twilight.

There you were.

Love.

On the meniscus of sun against the sea.

Belting out your heart to me.

Reminding me of all the love songs and mixed tapes and playlists.

Every song a serenade of your love.

I opened my back door and walked out to the deck.

Phone in hand.

Connected to you.

In that moment.

Exquisite surprise.

And I felt.

Hope.

For the first time in sometime in all this crazy world with all its crazy.

(I don’t need to name the pink pandemic elephant in the room)

I felt hope.

Love.

A resurgence of light in my system and the sincerest sweetest most generative optimism.

I love you San Francisco.

I really.

Really.

Really

Do.

 

The loveliness of Paris seems somehow sadly gay
The glory that was Rome is of another day
I’ve been terribly alone and forgotten in Manhattan
I’m going home to my city by the Bay

I left my heart in San Francisco
High on a hill, it calls to me
To be where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars
The morning fog may chill the air, I don’t care

My love waits there in San Francisco
Above the blue and windy sea
When I come home to you, San Francisco
Your golden sun will shine for me

Stocked Up

March 30, 2020 by

Today I did the grocery shopping.

I mean.

I really did the grocery shopping.

REALLY, REALLY, REALLY.

I have more food in my house than I think I ever have had in my life.

Of course, I have never experienced being in a pandemic before, so there’s that.

I don’t connect much to the news, frankly it’s just a terror cycle, and I find that when I need to know something I find it out, or it gets to me via the grapevine.

Also.

That my agency has been sending me, really, all the information that I could really possibly digest and use.

But I got a little news from someone I work with who works with Kaiser and it was enough to get me thinking it’s time to stock up.

So.

Today I shopped.

I had not set out to be on a great grocery scavenger hunt.

It just sort of happened.

I got up at 8 a.m., trying to stay on a schedule, took a nice shower, got dressed, did my morning readings and prayers and made myself a nice breakfast.

Typical breakfast, oatmeal w/an apple and some blueberries.

Unsweetened vanilla almond milk latte.

Check the emails, look at school stuff, sort of, and not do anything about it.

More on that later.

Eat my oatmeal, drink my latte, write three pages long hand and then do hair and makeup.

Yeah.

I know.

Shelter in plance, blah, blah, blah.

Doing my hair and make up feels good.

And it’s nice to do it for myself, I’m not doing it for others, although I sense that I do model for people a nice way to take care of themselves.

I am also on zoom meetings every day of the week.

Today was the least amount of online time that I have had, only an hour and a few minutes.

The rest of the week I am on Zoom and Doxy and VSE and FaceTime a lot.

I mean.

A lot.

I am grateful, don’t get me wrong, but it can be a little overwhelming.

That being said, I do like to look nice for those too.

Yesterday someone mentioned my red lipstick.

Well.

Red lipstick makes me happy and I had bought this particular lipstick in Paris, so I always think of Paris when I put it on and that immediately cheers me up.

I mean, Paris, hello.

Anyway.

I also made lots of phone calls to make up for the lack of online video in my life, heh.

Most of my phone time was while I did laundry.

I don’t have laundry at my house and I want to rectify that as soon as this passes, I am going to move out.  I know the rents will drop and I will be able to find something better than where I am now, for hopefully less than what I pay now.

$2250 a month for a studio with no laundry on site, plus utilities.

It’s big for San Francisco standards, but I do find it ludicrous at times to be paying that much.

However.

I am in San Francisco.

Even on a lock down, it’s still San Francisco.

Oh.

Side bar.

The beach is now closed.

The city put up barricade fences to block off the parking lot from Fulton to Balboa Street.

I was very happy to see that.

The amount of traffic in the neighborhood declined greatly and it was nice to see the beach without crowds of people.

I felt a bit safer in the neighborhood.

Anyway.

Laundry at the mat up the street, Sparkle Laundry, the owner, Wilson, is awesome and the facilities are pretty clean.

But they are busy.

And I had no desire to hang out in the mat.

There was little extra space.

I mimicked what appeared to be what most people were doing, put the laundry in and leave the mat.  Most of the machines were full but very few people were actually in the laundry.

I did the same and sat in my car and caught up with a friend.

When the timer on my phone went off I hopped out, put my laundry in a dryer and headed to the grocery store.

The SafeWay was busy and the there was a long line (which actually made me feel a bit better, they have started protocols for shopping that were not in place the last few times I went), a line too long for me to stand in.

So I drove across the park and headed over to the Sunset side of the park.

And.

Walked right in to the little co-op market, Other Avenues, that I used to go to all the time when I lived in the Outer Sunset.

It was sweet to be in the store again and I made some impulse buys, like stickers and a pretty little wood serving tray set, who the hell am I going to be entertaining I thought later, but they were so pretty and sweet, they made me happy, and being happy was a small price to pay for me being the only person who will see them for awhile.

I also stocked up on my favorite candles and some bulk oatmeal.

I ran all the groceries home, then back to the laundry mat and on back home.

Scrub, scrub, scrub my hands and unload everything.

Two hour long phone calls and lunch and the friend who wanted to go for a beach walk canceled so I found myself with extra time and decided I would actually do a little more shopping.

I had and have the feeling that the next two weeks, especially, will be a time to hunker down.

It may just be that I am hunkering down as I have the next round of drafts to turn in for my PhD required courses, but I sense I am going to want to stay in as much as possible.

It feels a bit intense out there.

It could also be that I had to find back up emergency therapists to cover my clientele should I get sick, an agency directive that I dealt with this week, that had me thinking this, but I do feel that it might get hot for a bit and I would rather be prepared then have to go out for anything.

So Whole Foods and SafeWay.

And both times I got totally lucky, no line.

And both times when I left each store, huge lines.

I shopped super smart and got things that I can stretch and make into soup and all the things that I really like for breakfast and lunch and nice dinners.

I couldn’t find toilet paper anywhere, but I did score two boxes of tissues and if worst comes to worse, tissues are going to be just fine.

I also stopped at the gas station and made sure I have a full tank of gas, even though I won’t be driving anywhere soon.

I’m shopped out frankly, and it’s been a long day of running errands and getting myself set up for the week.

But set up I am.

I may disappear for a bit, but it’s not because I’m sick.

It’s because I have a sick amount of homework to deal with.

So.

Stay healthy and take gentle care.

You have my love and my thoughts.

Now as always.

You Know You Love Some One

March 28, 2020 by

When you record yourself reading “All The Hippos Go Berserk” by Sandra Boynton.

At top volume and with much expression.

I got some of the sweetest little voice messages from the littles I used to take care of.

The family and I did a FaceTime session early in the week and I have been getting all sorts of pictures of them and their adventures during shelter in place.

I miss them a lot and I miss the snuggles.

Tonight, while I was in session with my last client of the day, the mom sent me voice recordings of the kids saying “I love you.”

Oh my God.

I just about died.

I have been thinking about sending the littlest guy a recording of the “hippo book” as he calls it.

“You read me the hippo book!”

I bought the book and “Belly Button Beach”, also by the same author, as birthday gifts for him when he was two.

Listening to him repeat back the words to me still makes my heart melt.

I often would read them to him at nap time.

“I’ll read the hippos once and then nap time,” I would tell him.

The last time I did that was the last time I worked for the family, my last time putting him down for a nap.

My last time reading him the hippo book.

When I finished he said, “sing me song.”

That undid me.

I sang him my standard lullaby, “Hush little baby,” and choked back the tears.

Might have been the hardest lullaby ever to sing.

He fell asleep holding my hand.

Oh, my heart.

Such a sweet guy.

So, after receiving the sweet voice messages I knew I had to record the book.

I have the damn thing memorized, so it wasn’t too hard, and I threw in a little commentary for the little guy too.

We would have our own little conversations about the story and what all the silly hippos were doing.

Then I sent it to the mom and asked that she play it while he looked at the book.

They sent me back video of him looking at the book while my voice was reading it to him and he talked back at the phone like I was there.

“I love you Carmen,” he said again and again.

That was the best part of my day.

It was a pretty good day too.

Only cried three or four times.

Mostly during supervision with my supervisor talking about my clients and all the fear and anxiety and terror that so many of them are going through.

I have had 21 therapy sessions this week, I have one left for tomorrow, then Sunday off before I dive back in.

I am doing pretty well holding it all, but it does leak out at times.

It is right there at the top of my heart and I can’t always contain it and the tears spill out of my eyes and roll down my face.

I am so grateful for my individual supervisor, she really held my stuff today and let me process all the stuff and work my way through the muck.

Most of the time I am really good at shaking myself out when I finish with clients and I have little routines and rituals at my office that help me do that.

But right now.

My office is my desk, which is also where I study and work on my homework–which frankly has suffered this week, I will not lie.

My office is my desk, my laptop, my phone, the video camera in my Macbook Air, all of which are located in my house.

My one room studio.

Thank God it’s a big studio, but it’s still a challenge.

I am also aware of how lucky, really, really, really lucky, it is that I can work from home.

Despite how much I love and adore the family I used to nanny for, I would not be able to nanny right now for them even if I was still employed.

The timing of the situation coinciding with me making the full transition over to being a psychotherapist still astounds me.

I am beyond grateful.

And I am working my ass off to stay stable and grounded, to eat good food, to cook nice meals, to take walks when I can, to wear nice clothes, put on my makeup, do my hair.

The only concession I have to the fact that I am doing my therapy practice out of my home right now is that I wear my Tretorn sneakers instead of my Fluevog heels.

I had a fleeting, and I do mean fleeting, moment when I giggled to myself, I could do my therapy sessions in my bunny slippers.

Um.

NO.

Bad idea.

Not just because I couldn’t take myself seriously as a psychotherapist if I was doing sessions in my slippers, but I love that at the end of the day I can slide off my shoes and put on my slippers and that indicates to me that my day is done.

That was what I used to do when I was coming home from the office and my day out in the world–get home, kick off my shoes and put on my bunny slippers.

Yeah.

I know.

I am a 47 year old woman who wears bunny slippers.

I once had a lover tell me he couldn’t take me seriously when I was wearing them.

Of course that just made me want to wear them more.

In fact, it is almost slipper time.

I have had a good day.

It’s ok that I cried and it’s ok that sometimes it’s hard and it’s ok that I’m not keeping up with my my homework.

Actually we are on “Spring Break” so I don’t have any thing due, but I have a lot of work to do for two big up coming papers and a class that I am going to be teaching.

But over all.

I am ok.

I am making it through and staying grounded.

It definitely helped to get silly and record myself reciting the story, helped remind me of how loved I am and how lucky I was to have the nanny job with the family for the three years and three months I worked with them.

And.

Really.

Bunny slippers do make things a lot better.

Seriously.

Today I Got Pissed

March 22, 2020 by

It started out a little off kilter as I missed a calendar alert to be in on a Zoom meeting with some of my cohort and my committee chair and the TA to my Methods class.

Thankfully I was up and puttering around and making breakfast when I noticed the incoming email from the TA as a reminder to get the call.

Shit!

Fortunately I was only two minutes late.

I have had homework on the back burner this week.

It’s time to move it up front.

I have a draft of a large, very important paper due in tomorrow for this class.

I am so grateful that last week, before all the crazy shelter in place hit, I worked a lot on the paper and really turned in a polished draft to my peer reviewers.

Who did not really review it.

Guys!

Ugh.

Granted both my reviewers said it looked great and they both said, “Wow!” so that was nice, but no comments, no questions, no observations about how to make it stronger.

I know my TA, she is going to find something and kick my ass and make me do a bunch of rewriting.

Which is fine, but I also don’t want to send in a draft that I have not laid eyes on in a week.

Tomorrow I throw myself back into school mode.

I have to.

I actually will have a fairly busy week this week.

I have 22 client sessions, meetings (FaceTime) with three sponsees, and homework due for all three of my classes.

I’m not super stoked for shelter in place, but I am not going to have any issues filling the time.

I’m actually a bit happy to be back here blogging on the daily again.

It feels real nice.

Really, really nice.

I have missed it.

The processing my day at the end of the day while I listen to music.

I have definitely been listening to lots of music and taking dance breaks to move my body around.

Which I needed to today after making my way out into the world.

I helped a friend out who doesn’t have a car and ran her to get groceries and supplies.

On my way I drove past Ocean Beach.

And that was when I got pissed.

There were so many people at the beach!

What the fuck people.

SERIOUSLY.

This is not a fucking tornado drill.

Get your dumb asses off the beach.

Get your GROUPS OF PEOPLE the fuck home.

I LIVE HERE!

This is my neighborhood.

A few days ago I was making my way to the beach and thought there were going to be days of long, quiet walks around the neighborhood.

Then yesterday I noticed a really big up tick in the number of people there and today, fuck.

It actually freaked me out.

I live in a quiet residential neighborhood, but when it’s nice in the city the beach gets packed.

Today was nice.

Yeah.

It wasn’t as packed as say a regular Saturday with nice weather, but it really was overcrowded considering the situation.

I wanted to yell out my window, “go the fuck home.”

My friend in Spain told me that she can only go outside to walk to the grocery store, no where else.

And.

That all the beaches are closed.

All of them.

I sort of want that now.

I really thought to myself, I should call the fucking cops.

I should tip off the news.

I should mind my own business.

I cannot afford to get worked up over this.

And I can be the change I want to see.

I can avoid the beach.

There are other places I can walk to be outside.

I can also sit out on my deck and get outside time that way.

So.

That’s what I did today.

And a lot of dancing, which felt really good.

Tomorrow I need to stay on schedule, get up, shower, be mindful and do my morning routine, do some writing, go to the laundry mat (ugh, my one thing about my current situation that I just do not like, I have no laundry here that I can access, I have to go to a laundry mat, but I won’t sit inside the mat, I will walk while my laundry is washing and drying), Facetime sessions with lady bugs, then work on that paper.

And walks away from the beach for a little while.

It’s not worth getting angry about.

I need to stay calm, cool, collected

I have, and I am lucky to have it, a busy week ahead.

Be in good health and take gentle care.

And.

Avoid the beach.

Seriously.

Ground Hog’s Day

March 21, 2020 by

I’m beginning to not know what day of the week it is.

That is a little surreal for me.

I am still sticking to a type of scheduled and since I have had group supervision and individual supervision the last two mornings, I’ve actually been setting alarms to get up.

Which reminds me, I need to do that for tomorrow since I have a video session in the morning with a client.

I sense tomorrow and Sunday are going to be the weird days for me.

I had supervision, an online meeting, and two clients today.

Plus a long phone call with a dear friend from my Master’s program and a long walk through the park.

I was actually a little upset today on my walk.

The beach was busy!

I mean, I sort of get it when it’s a nice day and the surf is good, but people, we got a shelter in place happening and further admonishment from the governor to hunker down.

I was surprised to see so many people and so many groups!

I had to take my judgmental self away from the beach.

It was too busy with people and the parking lot at the Balboa side of Ocean Beach was packed!

I headed instead to Golden Gate and hit the horse paths.

There’s horseback riding paths that criss cross the park and they are not nearly as trod as the regular walking paths.

I didn’t see a person and when I did pop out of the park on the Fulton Street side to head back to my house, I graciously gave everyone a wide berth or crossed the street to not make contact.

And.

Even with that decent amount of activity I felt it begin to creep in, the malaise of being confined to my own space.

And I really love my space.

So.

I had a mid-afternoon dance party and I did some meditation afterward.

That felt better.

But it is beginning to all blur together.

I had zero, and I mean like none at all, motivation to do school work.

I know I will have to this weekend and it will help break things up to focus on papers and drafts and getting work in.

Which also reminds me, where the hell is the draft I turned in last week?  I need to get it back so I can make revisions and implement changes that the professor wants.

Tomorrow all I have is one client.

I did make plans to meet a friend on the other side of the park to go walk her dog on the beach.

Her side of Ocean Beach on the Outer Sunset side, won’t be as busy as my side on the Outer Richmond side as my side has parking and a lot of surfers hit the break out here.

No break on the Judah Street side in the Outer Sunset the next nearest break is Noriega, so there won’t be cars and surfers and big families playing soccer (that’s what got me, a big group of I’m assuming family, playing soccer, there were just too many folks too close) and she and I can walk apart and let her dog frolic in the waves.

I have connected so much to the neighborhood this week, I am grateful for that.

I have taken long walks every day in the afternoon either before or after lunch and I have seen things and walked parts of the park that I have only driven past.

That has been lovely.

I also know that I am very lucky to be so close to such a large park too.  It is big enough to give wide space to others when I come across them.

I am also going through parts that aren’t often used, like the backside of the archery field or the horse paths.

I figure I will also do a longer hike at some point and really explore Sutro Baths and Land’s End.

If we are not under martial law at that point.

I keep hearing rumors about that, but I’m trying to stay out of the rumor mill, it does not help me keep my equilibrium and that has to stay in place.  I have clients to support and therapy to do.

I have also given up the office I just started subletting a few months ago.

I only use it one day a week and the woman who is my individual supervisor and my landlord has given me more access to the main office I am in.

I now have access to it in a full time capacity.

So I called the woman I sublet from and told her I had to give it up and I gave notice.

I will still have to pay rent on it for this month and I think also next month and possibly the month after.

If we are able to go back to work in our offices I may use it a touch more, but I doubt that is going to happen.

My agency is preparing for three to six months of this strangeness.

Most of us have the feeling that we won’t be going back on April 7th when the three weeks of shelter in place is up.

I’m preparing myself mentally for a longer haul.

Of course I am hoping that doesn’t happen, but I am preparing myself for the possibility.

So, yeah, gave up my Monday office.

And it’s all going to be ok.

I have food, I have shelter, sunlight, access to my deck, places to walk still (hoping that will hold out a little longer), friends to have long conversations on the phone

Oh yeah.

And.

Homework.

Sigh.

I still have lots of that.

Dance Party

March 20, 2020 by

Because ain’t nobody watching and I need to move my body.

And why the hell not?

I’m officially on day, what, three of shelter in place, and it’s getting goofy in here.

I live in a one room studio.

Thank God I have a deck.

My own deck, not my landlords, no access to anyone else, a good distance away from the neighbors, on the second floor, above the backyard that is never used (it’s a tangled jungle of over grown weeds and bushes), my deck floats, a little tiny haven.

A tiny piece of heaven.

With two white Adirondack chairs and flowers in pots from Sloat Garden Center that I bought a few months ago when only the faintest of faint whispers of the corona virus where in the air.

I do have to say, though, it felt like something was coming.

I didn’t think it was a virus.

I thought maybe the tech bubble was going to burst in San Francisco again.

I moved to SF a little while after the bubble burst and I was also here during the crash, it had the same feeling, something was looming.

But this?

I had not predicted this.

Shut in, shut down, shut away.

So yeah, I got my dance party on for a little while tonight, I still have the music going nice and loud.

I am alive.

I am in good health.

I am sheltered.

I am really grateful.

I am extraordinarily grateful.

I can still work.

I am still “seeing” clients.

Not in person anymore, I was the last woman standing in the building where my office is on Monday, I had thought I was going to have a full week of connecting one last time with my clients and I had just literally sent out emails to all my clients saying I could meet until March 23rd.

I was actually upset the first time I got that date from my agency, I was petulant, don’t tell me when I have to stop seeing clients in person, but I also recognized that this was not about me and that I needed to follow along, especially since I work for an agency and they are the ones signing my paycheck.

The money from my clients does not go into my pocket.

It goes into my bank account that my agency controls–I can put money in, but I can’t take money out.

So.

Yeah.

Need to comply, even if I felt really secure in my health and the protocols I was taking at my office to make sure that it was clean and sanitary and safe.

Sigh.

Therefor I was a bit bereft to get the email saying wrap it up and switch over to telehealth by the 23rd.

I stomped my foot a little, but I did draft all the emails and I did comply.

And then.

Ha.

Shelter in place was announced.

Literally twenty minutes after sending out the last client email saying, hey (much more formal, thank you, I’m not a complete heathen) there, happy to continue seeing you at my office, unless you don’t feel comfortable, then we can do video or telehealth, but yeah, I’m here all week.

Nope.

I am not in fact.

I get the email from my agency saying shelter in place is going into affect and I have to the end of day to see clients.

Well.

Fuck.

I craft a new email and start sending them out, while also fielding emails from clients who were coming in that day who didn’t want to anymore because, mother fuck, got to run to the grocery store and secure more toilet paper and beans and rice.

More sighs.

Of the five client sessions I had scheduled, one showed up in person, two did a video session, one rescheduled for later in the week and the other said, hey, we’ll get back to you once we figure out our lives.

More sighs.

I didn’t charge any cancellations fees, I sent out copious telehealth consent forms, I got myself together and I went into my office to see my last face to face client for who knows how long.

The shelter in place is at least until April 7th.

I have to say, I think it may go longer than that.

So I also did some pro-active things on my end.

Because even though I can work from home, I knew I was going to lose clients.

Lost one today.

And client sessions, either due to cancellations, clients running out of money who aren’t working, parents homeschooling kids, panic, fear of financial insecurity, etc.

That I knew I had to take care of myself.

I paid April rent early.

I reworked my spending plan and I cut out $700.

I might even be able to trim a little more.

I’m obviously not going anywhere.

I canceled, ugh, my trip to San Luis Obispo and my weekend at the Madonna Inn.

Bless their hearts, they gave me a full refund on my room.

Which I promptly spent stocking up on food and toiletries at Rainbow Co-op.

I have actually never spent as much as I did on one grocery shopping trip.

Mostly because I bought coffee in bulk (y’all worried about toilet paper, I’m making sure I can sustain my caffeine needs) and toiletries in triplicate.

I did buy plenty of food too.

My fridge has more in it than I think I ever have seen.

I shop two to three times a week since I don’t eat sugar and flour, I cook a lot and I eat fresh foods.

I managed to secure a lot o fresh stuff, but I also did get food to prepare and freeze and can.

And back up of my favorite breakfast foods and some nice sugar free chocolate, because I’m going to need a damn treat once in a while.

And though I cannot see where this all leads, I can see that I am really lucky that I live in my own beautiful space.

It may be a studio, but I don’t have room mates.

And.

Oh thank God.

I live two blocks from the beach.

So every day I have gone outside and walked to the ocean and watched the surfers still paddling out and felt the wind on my face and walk through Golden Gate Park and breathed in deeply the fresh air.

There are people out, but we give each other wide berth and there is much kindness when doing so.

There may come a time when I can’t go out and walk, but fingers crossed that won’t happen.

I do know, though, I cannot peer into the future and I can’t live in the anxiety of not knowing.

I have to stay present and presented minded and strong.

I have therapy clients to help.

I have service to do.

I need to stay focused and clear.

Which is why dance party.

I had to shake the ya ya’s out.

Big love to you and yours.

Be gentle and stay in good health.

And.

When the mood strikes.

Dance.

Really.

No one is looking.


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