Making Plans

September 26, 2016

I knew I was going to say yes before she even finished asking me.

I know to say yes.

Even when there was a tiny voice in my head that said, “but what about work?”

What the fuck about it?

I have no idea where I’m going to be working in May.

Granted.

Yes.

I will have a job.

One always comes around.

For instance.

This new gig tomorrow could lead to my next job (I am still working for my current family, but I’ll be Monday with this new family).  The family is fantastic, friends of my current family, living up in Eureka Valley, on a block, is it possible?  That doesn’t have parking permit issues, meaning I can park my scooter on the street without having to worry about moving it.

The 20 month old is delicious.

And.

Oh.

Wait.

For.

It.

She takes two-hour naps.

Bless you little girl.

I am so excited for two hours naps and parents that don’t work from home.

I got the impression that there will be some overlap occasionally, that one of the parents will be there, but for the most part it will be me and the 20 month old for six hours and then a mixture of the two other brothers.

Both of whom are in school.

This gig starts this Monday and will be every Monday until December 12th.

I am thinking at that time I will have secured my next gig, whatever that will be.

I may also take a little time off at that time, give myself a week or so to let myself have a few days off to acclimate and transition.

Plus.

I’ll be thick into my final papers for the semester.

But.

I’m also thinking further ahead.

All the way to May.

Yeah.

Like that.

Because today I was asked if I wanted to go on a trip to France in May.

Of course I said yes.

Duh.

I already have looked for tickets.

I know better than to not say yes.

Especially when I was told that I would have all my housing covered.

I would stay with my friend and her family.

She won’t be as available to me as if we were really going on holiday together, she’ll be studying for her exams in France, but I was like.

WHATEVER.

She’s my dear friend.

I love her.

Of course I’m going to say yes.

Besides.

Hello.

FRANCE.

Yes, please.

We would actually go to a few places, not just Paris, take the TGV to Provence, for instance and to the seaside.

Oh yes, I don’t care where I’m working, I can make that work.

Plus, I’ll have a little more financial aid that will come into my pocket come Spring semester.

After my disbursement was made, paying for my summer classes, retreat (intensive, it was an intensive), and my current semester I received $675.

Which you know.

Means working as much as I can to cover the rest of my costs, because that’s basically a half month of rent.

No food.

No phone.

No gas for the scooter.

No insurance.

Definitely no yoga.

Just some money toward 1/2 a month of rent.

I remember laughing to myself when my current employer asked if I would still want to work when I won the scholarship I was awarded.

Um.

Yeah.

I have to.

I live in San Francisco.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t save a for a ten-day jaunt to France.

I can fucking well do that, especially if I don’t have to worry about the cost of hotels and places to stay.

Plus, South of France in May?

Of course I said yes.

I am still saying yes.

I have no clue how it will work out, but I told my friend I knew it would and yes, what a perfect way to cap off the end of the second year of school with a trip with one of my dearest to France.

I’d still fly into Paris, and probably from Paris too.

The TGV, the bullet train, will get me to and from really quick and it’s super affordable.

God.

I am so excited.

This will definitely be a different trip for me than the last time I went to Paris.

First, it will be in Spring.

I haven’t been in Paris in Spring in a while.

It really is the best time to go.

And then to the South of France, in warm weather, all my sundresses are longing to be donned, all my sandals ready to be buckled around my ankles.

Fields of lavender.

The sea-side.

The pool with deck chairs.

Oh goodness.

Such deliciousness awaits, strolls with my friend in the dusk, after dinner when she ends her day of study.

Farmer’s markets, flower markets, and I’m sure I’ll stumble upon some art.

I usually manage.

Second.

It will not be with a man who I am in an unrequited love relationship with.

Nope.

No thank you.

I was deleting some files earlier and stumbled across a section of photos of the two of us in LA last summer and my heart banged around in my chest and I felt some sorrow, a sweep of sadness.

I deleted some of them, but I kept the majority.

I don’t have to wallow in something that never came to fruition, but there was love there and to be reminded of having been loved and having loved another, is a great blessing, even if it was a painful experience.

My.

Oh.

Fucking.

My.

How I did grow.

So.

Yes.

Yes, please, another experience with my dearest Paris.

And my first time going to Provence.

I have been to the South of France, Toulouse, to be exact, but not since 2002 and it was just three days and well, I was tipping back the cocktails a wee bit, so my experience I dare say this time around will be much sweeter, happier, and joyful.

I knew I was going to be going back to France again, I just wasn’t expecting the conversation to pop up today.

How glad I am it did.

It colored everything with delight.

My sweet, sweet life.

Ma vie en rose.

(My life in the pink)

How lucky am I?

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

 

Almost There!

September 25, 2016

I have successfully made it through two full days of school.

You know.

Oh.

Only.

About 22 hours so far.

And.

Seven hours left to go.

Yes.

Sunday is always the easiest and the hardest.

I’m generally ready to wrap it all up and move on.

Yet.

I feel the loss to the “real world” of my cohort and my two best friends in program.

I am such a lucky girl.

I really am.

I have gotten to have this terrific experience and make some amazing friends.

There are people in my life that I so appreciate and love that it makes me almost faint with the feeling.

I had a really nice lunch today with one of my friends and we talked love and life and school, crushes, relationships, sex, travel, Paris, grace, talent, gifts, the things we appreciate about each other and how we just got to be in the right place at the right time to make the connection.

She is amongst a few of my friends whom are incredulous that I am not in a serious dating relationship.

At this point.

I have no real issue with it.

I’m who I am and I am exactly where I’m supposed to be and there’s no changing me or making me better, I’m just perfect.

Imperfectly so.

I don’t have to embark on some self-improvement plan.

Granted there is still so many areas where I can and do get to grow.

Great.

Glad to hear it.

I’m down for some more fun though.

That’s generally where I am at this point in the school weekend too, I want to play, but I still have one more day of getting through and tonight is not the time to play.

Despite having just done a big session of play therapy in my Child Therapy class.

Not quite the same kind of playing that I am alluding to.

Ahem.

Anyway.

I’m just glad to have the energy to be writing my blog and doing the little things here at home to get me ready for my last day of the class.

Then.

I’ll have almost a month off.

Well.

Not really off.

I have papers that will need to be written.

Two so far on the plate.

And of course, loads and loads of reading.

I think I may also have another paper to write, but I don’t feel like looking at the syllabus right at the moment.

I am just happy to be getting through the weekend.

I also made an appointment to see my advisor next Friday and well, get some advising.

Sometimes the experience feels overwhelming and I don’t think I’m going to make it.

Then.

Days like today, when everything flows and I have connection to the material, not always to the way it is taught, I don’t feel quite as connected to the classes and teachers as I have in the previous semesters, but there is some excitement in learning new tools and having new experiences.

I still feel like I need a little play.

I have some dance music on ye olde Spotify.

The Kungs.

I am quite digging on them.

My dear, darling, amazing, sweet, kind, French friend made me a play list and I fell in love with so much of it, and a few of the artists I have ended up adding to my list of albums and I have been listening to The Rooftop Sessions from the Kungs and it just makes me happy and joyful and full of dancing energy.

I could just jam out on this for a little while before making another cup of tea and winding down for the night.

I really don’t want to wind down for the night.

But.

Ah.

Balance.

And I suppose this is good for me, a weekend of school before starting the new gig on Monday.

I’m not terribly happy about that, I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it today, I figure no use in getting resentful.

I don’t care for how I felt manipulated into taking the job, but despite the way it happened I do believe it will lead me other places.

I remind myself.

There are no mistakes in God’s world.

I’ll be heading over to the new family after school tomorrow to see the house and get a lay of the land.

I’m going to make it brief and see if I can hit up some of my fellows after that.

I miss my people.

I also do, after a long weekend of school, I don’t get the interactions and connections that are so vital to me over the weekend, especially getting grounded before starting out another week of work.

That being said.

I have had strong connections to my school friends and I feel really held and supported within the cohort.

I feel like I have a place and I have a talent for doing the work.

Grateful.

So grateful.

For these things.

People who see me and allow me to be myself.

I am more and more my authentic self and easier in myself with embracing it all.

There is a great feeling of seeing myself and being transparent.

I feel like there are times when I am pigeon holed or seen in a certain light or manner or style and there’s good reasons for that.

Some of it is a defended stance, I have had a lot of grief at the hands of some and I am tender around how I interact with the world.

But.

Sometimes.

Some people.

Wow.

I just let them right the hell in.

Two of my friends in school remind of that.

How lucky I am that we connected and that I get to be with these bright, beautiful creatures.

It is an amazing gift.

God damn, this music is so good.

I’m crushed out on my life.

My music.

The warm feel in my heart for my friends.

The blessing of getting to be in grad school.

The growth.

And.

Oh.

Yes.

All.

The.

Love.

Seriously.

Luckiest girl in the world.

The Pink Lady

September 24, 2016

Rides again!

Yes.

I got my new Corazzo jacket in the post today while I was at school.

So glad to have a nice motorcycle jacket again.

Of course I got the pink one.

Please people.

I love pink.

Not.

However, that it is my favorite color.

Nope.

It is not.

But.

I like being a cute girly girl on my scooter with my little applied star stickers and my star and sparkle helmet.

And.

My awesome new Corazzo pink riding jacket.

I was a little flummoxed when I got home, though.

For a minute, or five, it was not much fun, I thought the latch on my scooter seat was broken and that I couldn’t get my seat open.

Which meant.

I couldn’t get to my purse, my house keys, my phone.

Fuck me.

I stood outside the gate, I could see the package inside the door.

Irony.

God having a good chuckle at me.

I don’t know.

But.

I did manage to get my seat open, turns out the latch was never really quite latched, the strap to my purse was caught in the spot where it should have latched.

Instead it just reminded me to slow down.

I tend to go fast.

Zoom.

Zip.

Slow down.

Take it easy.

One moment at a time.

No where that I have to get to that fast.

I can be quick to the gas, pressing it forward, going quick.

I like speed.

Sometimes, most times, it’s a feeling of freedom, but it can also be a way to escape the situation, quick, get the fuck out of here, run before there’s a feeling, a connection, an intimacy.

Grateful I know this about myself.

And.

Grateful my friends are persistent with me.

I am thinking of my two best girl friends in my cohort and how wildly grateful I was for their presence today in school.

Especially after the unnecessary anxiety I felt yesterday.

The classes turned out to be just fine today.

And yes.

I do still have reading I need to do, but I handed in both my papers and there were folks who did not have the papers to hand in.

And I could tell there were plenty of folks who hadn’t done all the reading either.

But I had done enough, enough to stay in the flow of what was happening in each of the classes and to participate, which is huge in my schooling experience.

If I participate, the teacher remembers me, I get attention, positive for the most part, and I am a part of the experience.

That’s what I prayed for today, to be of service to my cohort, to show up without expectation, to be myself, to help where I could and to do good self-care.

I brought my lunch, my dinner, my homemade cold brewed coffee.

I had tea for the evening class that wasn’t caffeinated.

I had lunch with one of my darling friends.

I have a lunch date with the other tomorrow.

I was extended a Thanksgiving invitation that I am very seriously considering taking too.

So glad for these women in my life.

So glad that I just showed up.

Showing up is so much of the battle for me.

It’s a big deal.

Especially when I can run from things, or stick my head in the sand or not participate out of fear.

Actually.

I have gotten a lot better at walking through the fear and letting myself be emotionally vulnerable in class.

I mean.

Fuck.

I am going to school to become a therapist, I better be in touch with my feelings.

I volunteered to do a demo with one of my professors today and that was great.

The class got to practice assessing my presenting problem.

Was it PTSD?

Or.

Was it Major Depressive Order?

I’ll let you in on a secret.

It was probably both, but what I was presenting with was PTSD.

And it was the first time I actually understood what the hell was being shown when I was originally diagnosed with it.

I read it in the DSM 5.

I noted the presenting symptoms.

And voila!

I got to diagnose myself.

Not that I recommend that.

And frankly.

I did feel some tenderness around myself and a lack of wanting to engage with certain people and relationships in my life.

I needed a break from looking at all the child hood stuff.

I had to take it gentle and do some self-care.

There’s still stuff to work out and I could go into further detail, but really, why?

It’ll get worked out and it doesn’t need to quite be in this public of a forum.

Besides.

Read enough of my older blogs and you’ll make a damn good guess at some of the traumas I got to live through.

And come out stronger.

Not that I’m advocating trauma for growth.

It just happens to be a part of my journey.

That’s all.

No judgements around it other than I get to be really kind to myself.

Which meant coming home tonight instead of going out with friends from school.

Or.

Friends from life.

“What are you doing tonight?” A new friend text me as I was wrapping up my final class of the day.

I told her I was still at school.

Really my plans.

Go home.

Rub one out.

Take a shower.

Write my blog.

Drink some hot tea.

Watch a snippet of a video.

Go to bed.

Get up and do it all again tomorrow.

The only difference being.

I will be attired in pink.

So.

Very.

Pretty.

In pink.

Yes.

Please.

There Is Only

September 23, 2016

So much I can do.

I told myself as I felt completely blown out of the water by an e-mail I got from one of my professor’s today right before I left for work.

It was a cheery, chatty little hello death bomb.

You want me to what?

Why are you telling me this now?

It’s the fucking day before class and I’m working you twat.

Fuck me.

You can’t spring an assignment on me that last-minute.

I was spaced out the entire time I was on my scooter heading into work.

I kept having to pull my attention right back to the road, to the moment, to the feel of the wind on my body, to the blue sky over me, to the cars in front of me, the lights and the intersections.

By the time I got to work I felt overwhelmed and anxious as fuck.

I called a few people.

I felt the fear like a strangle hold on my neck.

I couldn’t breathe.

I started diagnosing myself with affective disorders from the DSM 5.

Just a little light reading before heading into work, no  worries.

I joke with one of my cohort that there should be a diagnosis in the DSM 5 for anxiety caused from being in graduate school.

I broke it down to myself today.

I can only do so much.

Listen.

The fact that I got out of bed, made it, and prayed was a big deal.

The fact that my rent is paid, my phone is paid, I have a clean home, my fridge is stocked with food I have cooked for the weekend of classes, that I have a job to go to, it’s enough.

I told myself these things.

I looked up at the trees, green, gold, red tinged with yellow against the cerulean blue sky, the cooing of mourning doves on the telephone wire, the warm sun, the cool wind.

I breathed.

In and out.

All I need to do is this.

Breathe and do the next action in front of me.

Panic is not going to help.

I look at all the things I do right.

I am not drinking, smoking, or blowing lines of cocaine.

I don’t eat sugar or flour.

I have a prayer practice for fuck sake.

I’m doing ok.

If grad school imploded.

I’ll be ok.

“Carmen, even at your worst, you are a rock star student,” she just assured me over the phone.

Thank God for my people and their perspectives.

Plus.

I had a major curve ball thrown my way with work this week.

Not like that hasn’t affected me a bit.

Please.

Be nice to yourself.

I caught my breath.

I got my bearings.

I knew I was ok.

I knew it was enough.

It just has to be good enough.

I just show up and that’s the majority of the battle anyway.

The nice thing for me too is knowing that I have to do a certain amount of self-care, this blog is one of the things I do for myself.

And you thought it was all about you, didn’t you, you sexy thing.

No.

I don’t much write with the audience in mind.

If I do I might freak out.

MY MOTHER COULD BE READING THIS RIGHT NOW.

Jesus fuck.

That’s enough to make a person edit themselves.

Heh.

But no.

I digress.

I know there’s only so much that can be done in a day and I do so much.

Really I do.

Even when I lose focus, even when I get complicated in my head, even when I want to shout, don’t you see how hard I’m trying?

There is no one to shout these things to.

Just me.

Whistling in the dark.

As the case may be.

But I think of the owl, the heart shape of his face, the cold dark eyes, the white fluttering wings, and I feel that I am just exactly where I am supposed to be, learning all the things I need to learn.

“People tell you who they are in the first moments you meet them,” he told me gently.

Yes.

What do I tell people in those first moments?

Can I treat myself kind so that others may give themselves permission to do so as well.

Can I smile.

Offer the kindness of a gracious demeanor, can I say thank you and please and you are welcome and it’s nice to see you too.

Can I remember a person’s name.

I can.

And I got through the day.

Granted I had to talk myself out of a hole a few times.

I fell in it.

But.

I also got to smile at the cashier at the market and wish her a happy day, I got to say thank you to Dave Hale who always has the best apples at the Bartlett Farmer’s Market, I got to get hugs from the boys and kisses from the dog.

I got to raise my head to the sunshine and lift my face in the wind.

I get to show up tomorrow and I get to be in graduate school.

If life were fair I’d be in the gutter.

Or.

Dead.

I mean.

Let me be honest.

I should not be here.

Too many things colluded against me for my life not to be viewed as a miraculous, magical, amazing gift.

I get to do all these things.

And I’m grateful I got this thing called perspective in my back pocket.

All I have to do is look around my beautiful little home to know that.

I have so much.

And when my head tells me I’m not enough I know that I don’t have to listen to that lie, that’s just an old tape that needs to get thrown in the garbage, not put on the negative feed back loop.

The highlights of my life are still to come.

It is only getting better.

Seriously.

 

Fleece Lined Tights

September 22, 2016

And falling into Fall.

It’s autumn.

Hello my favorite season.

Though it’s not the same as where I grew up in Wisconsin, the changing light does signal to me the season is upon us.

The crisp cutting of the wind, the smell of the few deciduous trees in the neighborhood turning their green to gold, red, yellow.

The smell of beach bonfires.

A shift, a tilt of the earth.

An owl overhead.

A barn owl.

A white barn owl hovering above me, my heart beat against my chest.

Was I really seeing this?

Its wings a blur of silent fluttering as it shifted in the blanket of air moving over the dune then it dropped.

So fast.

A blur.

I ducked my head.

I literally thought the bird was diving at my head.

I have had birds swoop me for my hair.

It is not the most pleasant experience, just let me tell you, although my best friend in Wisconsin thought it hilarious when we were walking in Olbrich Gardens and swallows kept swooping into pluck at my head.

The owl was coming for me, I know that, I can see it, it was a sign.

Yeah.

Like that.

I believe in signs.

Is it odd?

Or is it God?

I sent a message to a friend of mine that I had gotten to reconnect with out at Burning Man and I told him the story of what was happening in my life and the owl in the dunes last night.

He’s a shaman and his animal is, yes, an owl.

Although not a barn owl.

Here is a decent link to some of the spiritual significance of a barn owl.

And I mention that it was a barn owl, as I have seen a Great Horned once riding my bicycle through Golden Gate park, but never a barn owl, never so freaking close, never silent and there and hovering over me.

Whew.

It was intense.

I felt like a ghost had walked on my grave.

I instantly thought of death.

And death not of myself, but of another, then I realized, no, not death, change, extraordinary change, wild change, a deep knowing that the world is about to become something else, a gigantic shift in my perspective.

I came home and cried a lot last night.

I was cold in my feet.

My hands were cold.

I wrapped myself deeply in my blankets, my heart sore.

Tender.

Vulnerable.

In these moments.

A small knowing opening.

A change creeping in the open back door with the cold wind of fall.

What is working?

What is not working?

I wrote a lot of inventory last night, stashed the blog I had been working on, posted a part of it earlier today, it was incomplete, but complete at that.

I got up early, then went back to bed.

I fell asleep, as the cool morning grey light was sliding in the cracks between the bamboo blinds on the back door, silvery and shined with the coming of day.

I did not get up and go to yoga.

I got up, instead, and read some of my readers and knelt by my bed, I prayed.

Earnest and with longing and with a much lighter heart than when I went to bed.

I washed my sheets and made my bed a new.

I started fresh.

I showered.

I made breakfast, persimmons, another sign of fall, and apple in my oatmeal, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt.

Hot fresh coffee.

Writing, my morning pages.

Then.

A message to my friend, the one who has an owl on his business card.

I told him the situation.

I told him what was on my heart.

He told me the owl had come for me.

Yes.

I felt that.

That it was a deep knowing, to look inside.

He suggested some inventory and that I share it with the clearest person I knew in recovery.

I did that last night.

Guess who I talked to shortly thereafter on the phone?

Yeah.

Like that.

I got some great guidance and a wonderful suggestion.

And I took it.

Strong signatures of barn owl symbolism are abundant creativity as well as fantastic capacity to produce well beyond what others may do. This productivity will not always be visible either since the barn owl hunts primarily at night when others are sleeping. The barn owl is monogamous which speaks of a steady commitment to what you are producing in the world.

Oh yes, that too.

I am here to produce for the world.

Through my writing, through my connections to my community, through school, through love and how I just move through this life.

I feel really blessed to have the experience.

And I don’t have judgement or scepticism about what happened, there was so much happening, that it was what I needed to see.

I needed to see it, then look inside, see what was right with the experience and what was not.

Then to get some outside perspective and to really listen to my heart.

You know what happened today.

Nothing.

And.

Everything.

Clarity.

I wrote on a pink piece of paper and folded it into a small square.

I stood by my hot pink bunny bank from Paris.

I stroked his nose and whispered a prayer.

I looked up and saw the photograph of my mother and father one Christmas long, long ago, 1973? And saw in that dark hair and in those dark eyes a kind of sweet soft mystery and a deep love.

Good bye father.

Good bye to all those old fantasies held onto like a stubborn child.

I Shepard that small girl, daddy’s girl, along with a warm hand.

Not any more my dear.

Time to grow up.

Time to sit and let the sun branch out its warm fingers on your back, a strong hand, a warm guide, and let the wind lift the curls off the back of your neck.

And when you see that last leaf fall from the beech tree.

You will know.

The kiss on the back of your neck.

And the knowledge that all along.

You just had to come back home.

Sitting on this bench.

In the slanting autumnal sunlight.

Of the spirit.

Rich.

Golden.

Blessed.

Graced.

The beat of silent wings above your  heart.

Love.

Love.

It always comes.

Right.

Back.

Here.

To you.

To me.

Always.

This.

Profound.

Love.

 

Just Whiling Away

September 21, 2016

The time.

The time it goes by so quick.

I’m getting ready for my next weekend of school intensive and I do not feel prepared.

And that’s to say that I have done the two papers that are due and have done a substantial amount of the reading.

However.

I have not done it all and it’s a letting go and a surrendering to what is happening that I am just going to be ok with it.

And.

I’m fucking going to yoga tomorrow.

Not that I really want to, my brain says, oh no you don’t, you got reading to do.

But.

I need to get the crap out of my system and stretch and move.

I won’t be all weekend.

The most exercise I manage is walking from class to the student kitchen to get my meals.

Occasionally up and down the stairs if I’m on separate floors for different classes.

So, yes, yoga.

And gently forgiving myself for not having all the reading done.

Life happens and I’ve been busy, well living.

I know that’s hella vague, but that’s what I got to report at this moment.

That and asking to be directed to the next job that I will be working.

I’m pretty set on leaving my current situation by the end of December.

Although I have not spoken to the parents about it, I will be.

They seem to be of the realization that I will be taking my skills elsewhere.

Yes.

I have some trepidation about finding new work and I super dislike the having to get out the resume and polishing it up and updating my references and all that, but it’s what I have to do.

I may not get into it too deeply until after I make it through this weekend at school.

I will be starting my new Monday gig this upcoming Monday.

I’ll be heading over to the house in Eureka Valley after I get out of class on Sunday so that I have an idea of the lay of the land and the house and the family needs, etc.

I think I may take my laptop in with me and while the baby naps, oh baby naps!  I will spend time updating all my stuff.

I should probably do homework too and spend some time catching up on the reading, although I do hope to have more done, I don’t believe I will get it all finished before this Friday’s class start.

Which reminds me.

I need to make a meeting happen with my advisor.

I e-mailed him a while back about a time, but I am just realizing now that he’s not gotten back to me.

He’s also the head of the department, so I’m sure my little e-mail may have gotten lost in the shuffle, always a good idea to get back and check in.

I have not yet met with my advisor and it’s definitely time.

Oh.

All the things to do.

And the best I really can do, ever, is just what ever is right in front of me.

At the moment, this blog, which I am stubborn to relinquish to the demands of grad school.

Although, heh, it often does fall prey to the demands of dating.

I will lapse if I have a date, have you figured that out yet?

Ah, I digress.

As though you didn’t know that.

Anyway.

I may have to leave you shortly, is my rather vague way of hinting that I may have other things happening in my life that are not just work concerns.

That being said, all work and no play makes Carmen a very dull girl.

And no one wants Carmen to be a dull girl, now, do they?

I do feel a little dulled down after reading the text books that I have been delving into.

Again.

Oops.

Got to get.

Maybe I’ll pick this thread up in a moment.

Transitions

September 20, 2016

And I don’t mean the sunglasses.

Thank you very much.

My current family has confirmed that next semester, starting in January, they will only need coverage two days a week.

They would love to keep me.

But.

Understand that I may want to be full-time with another family.

Uh.

Yeah.

I don’t want a bunch of part-time hours here and there, I like routine, regularity, and benefits.

I live in San Francisco.

The most expensive city in America.

Rent is not cheap.

“You pay what for rent?” My uncle asked in aghast as he strolled through my tiny studio in Nob Hill eight years ago.  “That’s more than the mortgage on our house.”

Yeah.

Rents haven’t really gone down since that time either.

Then again, I don’t live in Wisconsin, so what I pay in rent would not be indicative of a house mortgage here.

Anyway.

I digress.

I had an interesting, albeit slightly uncomfortable conversation which started out with the mom telling me that she’d received a really amazing compliment regarding my nanny skills.

Ok.

I could feel myself go on alert, but I just listened.

Turns out a family that goes to the same school as my current family, needs some help on Mondays for the next few months.

And.

My current family does not need me as many hours as they have been giving me and would I be interested in talking to the other family and seeing if I could help.

I was a bit flummoxed.

Frankly I felt fobbed off and passed around and a little I don’t know, farmed out?

But once I got over that, I realized it was a huge compliment, the parents that asked have seen me a few times at play dates and I liked them and I adored their kids and they are sweet people.

And.

Get this.

Child psychologists.

Which I did not know when I first met them.

So, yeah, that is a compliment.

I discussed a bit more with my current employer and then we went over the plan for the day and I headed up to do the laundry and cooking and all the other sorts and bits and stuff.

I felt a bit overwhelmed and not sure what to do.

And.

Then.

I flipped it.

First, maybe a change of scenery might be helpful.

Second.

I do really like their kids and it’s been a minute since I worked with a baby, they have a 20 month old, a 4-year-old and a six-year-old.

Plus, if they were able to pay my current wage it could actually work out in my favor, that being I would probably get paid cash and a little more than I am making now since they want me for a few extra hours than what I currently work on Mondays.

Next.

I realized that the family had given me a golden opportunity.

Really.

That of the luxury of looking for work while I am currently employed.

I have 90 days, give or take to find a new situation that will work for me.

Fast forward a little to right about now.

I have a new job starting Monday.

I talked with one of the parents about a half hour ago, she explained the situation, told me what their needs were and I told her what my needs were and we agreed we could probably work this out.

She then checked in with her partner to confirm that they could pay me what I am making now and if the situation works for all involved.

And.

I got the confirmation e-mail about three minutes ago.

It’s on.

I’ll be starting on Monday, this coming Monday.

They have agreed to my terms and I to theirs.

Now that I feel a little more settled with what is happening I can see that this may transition perfectly for me.

The new family wants me Mondays until December 12th.

Perfect.

Then I will give the current family my notice, I’ll probably be talking to them further, but I know the mom realizes that I will need full-time work or close to it and that I prefer one situation to multiplies.

So.

Hey parents!

If you are looking for a nanny come January let me know.

I prefer to go back to working with the babies.

I miss the babies.

I will get to work with a 20 month old for a few weeks and that feels special and I already bonded with her last year when she was about a year old and I gave the parents a break to go for a swim in the pool.

I wore her in a little snuggly and she napped against my chest.

I do miss the weight of a child on my shoulder.

The sweet warm smell of surrender to sleep.

Naps.

Oh.

I shall love to have a day with a baby nap in it again.

I am in transition.

I am in the dark hallway.

But.

I have been here before and I know that I will be taken care of.

I always am.

New horizons.

New adventures.

New experiences.

Change.

Although I don’t always like it.

Never like it.

Even when it’s good.

I don’t like it.

But.

I know that this is ultimately a good change for me.

I embrace it.

I say.

Ok!

Let’s try this.

Let’s, I don’t know, give it the old college try.

I can be of service, I can be of assistance, I can nanny a little girl for a little while.

And her cute older brother, they really are adorable kids.

And I’ll get to have baby naps again in my life.

Life is good.

When I can shift my perspective and not be in fear.

Realizing that every step of the way I am taken care of.

Whether or not I am in fear.

Always.

There is the love.

Love.

And more love.

Thank God for perspective.

Faith.

Hope.

Joy.

All the things.

And new opportunities to learn and grow.

All of that too.

New job starts Monday.

Bang!

Here we go.

Here we go again.

Just when you think (think) you’re in control
Just when you think (think) you’ve got a hold
Just when you get on a roll
Here it goes, here it goes, here it goes again
Oh, here it goes again
I should have known, should have known, should have known again
But here it goes again
Oh, here it goes again

 

What Do You Write About?

September 19, 2016

Myself.

All the time.

Me.

I’m thinking about the Carmen show and what’s on the channel, and hey, what’s she going to do next?

I could also just take a moment, a fucking minute, a second, and appreciate what I did do today before moving on to the next yoga class, the next day at work, the next doing the deal, going after my PhD, the next date, what’s up with this thing, that thing, the other thing, hey where did all my time go?

Today.

I did a lot.

A LOT.

I cleaned like a house a fire.

Because.

Hey, don’t you know, grad school papers being due will light that fire under your ass and suddenly, wow, look how clean my toilet is!

Who knew I wanted to scour the bathroom today?

I mean.

Seriously.

I washed three loads of laundry.

Put fresh sheets on the bed.

Cleaned, tidied, swept, vacuumed, Swiffer’ed the floors, yeah I know it’s not a noun, shut up.

I also met with a lady for an hour and did the deal.

I just got back from sitting in a church on a folding chair too.

And.

I cooked like a person who is going to be hella busy all week.

A person who will be heading into her second weekend of grad school intensive madness this upcoming weekend.

The thing with the weekend program is that I have to work doubly hard the weekend before.

Not just catching up on all the reading.

ALL THE READING!

FUCK ME.

There is so much reading, especially for my Psychopathology and Psychological Assessment class, an absurd amount of reading.

I read so much yesterday I thought my eyes were going to fall out of my head.

I definitely felt my brain getting squashed trying to retain the information.

Anyway.

There is so much to do the weekend before too as it’s my prep for the work week and make food for school and make sure I have all my necessities in the house because I sure as shit won’t be making any stops after an eleven hour day in class.

The usual pit stop is my bed.

With maybe a blog in there to offset the school.

Granted.

I am looking forward to going to class because I miss my friends.

One of my girl friends and I texted a ton today and thank god for girlfriends, I got to get in a good check in, have a good cry, get it out of my system, and then suddenly see that I am taking things to damn seriously, that it’s not that big a deal and I have my big girl pants on and fuck me, it’s a gorgeous day out.

And.

My house is sparkling.

And.

Yes.

I did all the cooking.

I mean.

All of it.

I roasted a chicken yesterday.

I made salt and pepper encrusted roast chicken with tarragon butter; brown butter brussels sprouts with crimini mushrooms, and applewood smoked bacon; and huge pot of brown rice with turmeric and garlic.

I had an amazing dinner on the back patio and saved the chicken and rice for cooking today.

I made two things.

One of them I’ll be eating at work and the other I will take with me to classes over the weekend.

The first thing I did was strip the meat off the chicken I roasted last night and I tossed the bones and carcass along with a yellow onion into some water and let is simmer down for soup stock.

Then I took the nicer bits of the chicken and sautéed them with onions and garlic and added shredded brussels sprouts and brown mushrooms to the mix.

I mixed in some turmeric garlic brown rice and froze up three double containers of it.

One for each day I’m in class.

Then.

I made chicken soup.

I shredded the chicken meat off the bones, after they had cooled off a bit, added a bunch of veggies and herbs and let it all sit and simmer while I got on with my grad school self.

I wrote two papers today.

Booya!

They were actually a tiny bit more challenging than I thought, but mostly from the standpoint of having to be succinct and clear in two to three pages.

Sometimes a short paper is harder to write because I have a lot to say.

A lot.

And then I have to go back and tailor it and edit it down.

Which I did.

Then when the papers were done I had a nice bowl of homemade chicken soup and a slice of sharp cheddar cheese and sat on the back patio and caught the last of the warm sunny day.

I was not remiss to miss the day.

It’s going to happen.

I’m in graduate school.

There’s a lot I am going to miss out on while I do the work to be in the program.

I’m grateful that I get to go to graduate school.

Not that many people do.

Despite my skewered position and perspective, I know how extraordinary it is to be getting a higher education in this world, my griping about student loans not withstanding.

So when I ran into a woman tonight and we were talking school and writing she wanted to pick my brain and ask all sorts of questions about writing and how do you do it.

 

You want to be a writer/you don’t know how or when/find a quiet corner/use a humble pen.

That’s it.

Sit down and write.

Show up to the page without expectation of what is going to come out.

Practice, just well, just fucking do it.

There is no becoming a writer or a therapist or a doctor or a pro-athlete without putting in the time and effort.

If I had waited until I had a good idea about what to write, well, I wouldn’t be writing now.

I just show up.

That’s the magic.

That’s it.

I swear.

Sit down.

Show up.

The magic always happens.

Granted it doesn’t always look like what I think it should look like.

It’s often better.

Now.

You’ll have to excuse me.

I have some more reading to do.

Happy Sunday y’all.

Make it a great fucking week.

 

So I Said

September 16, 2016

Fuck it.

And went to yoga.

I expressed to my friend via text.

We were commiserating about having both gotten a rejection from a publisher in the past twenty-four hours.

Yeah.

I don’t write about it much, but I did send off a couple of poems in recent memory and yesterday I got the thanks but no thanks.

Ditto for my friend.

Although I still get them impression that he’ll be published in a big way and then I can be all like, I knew him when.

He asked if I was working on anything new and where I was going to submit next and what was the contest that I had submitted to.

I had already forgotten.

I explained that I have been too focused on trying to get through the reading for my second year grad program.

I haven’t had time to think about polishing any of my current pieces and submitting them anywhere.

I suppose I could.

I probably should.

I would like to.

Could, would, should.

Good ways to take me out of the moment and beat myself for not having done all the things yet.

But I told him I had a fuck it moment last night and decided to screw doing any more reading and go to yoga this morning instead.

I am grateful I did.

Although.

Fuck me.

It was hard.

In fact.

I cringed when I saw the instructor who was teaching my class today.

I went anyway.

I sacked up.

I got up.

I went.

It was hard.

It was hella hard.

I am still sore.

But.

Man.

I was out of my head and that’s the point, right?

To not be in my head, but to be in my body.

I floated out the door of the studio, gingerly, I was sore, I am sore, I’ll be sore tomorrow too.

I’m going to go to yoga again in the morning.

I have a busy weekend with the things and the doing and the goings and the people and oh, all the freaking home work.

But.

I will make time for fun.

Yes.

Yes I will.

Because all work and all grad school and all recovery can make Carmen a kind of crazy girl.

I have to do the work and I’m down to do it.

But I’m also going to take my joy where I find it.

I’m hella grateful tomorrow is Friday though, let me tell you.

I’m also grateful that I don’t have a paper due for my Psychopathology class; although there’s an uncomfortable amount of reading I need to do for the class by next weekend, at least there’s not a paper.

I have papers due in my two other classes.

Plus.

Sigh.

The paper I need to write for my Gestalt class.

Which.

Shouldn’t be too hard.

I really had some powerful experiences in Gestalt and I don’t feel that there will be any lack of things to write about, plus I read the readings and I took good notes.

It’s a six page paper.

I’ll have it done in an hour and a half.

Twenty minutes to review my notes, go through my notes in the reading, then forty minutes to an hour of writing, some time to proof it and voila.

A paper in 1.5 hours.

I’m a fast writer.

But please, don’t think that my work comes without effort.

It is work.

I have also been practicing my craft for years.

I started this blog what now, seven years ago?

I have been writing in my notebook for ten and a half years.

Every day.

Every god damn day.

I write, I write, I write.

So.

Yeah.

The papers do come fast, but I’m always doing the work, putting in the time and getting down to the actual practice.

I was a little afraid when I started my grad school program that I would lose the habit, maybe not blog as much or write less in the morning.

But.

That has not happened.

I have been consistent.

With that consistency.

Rewards.

The first being that I type hella fast.

I’m not sure how fast, but over 60 words a minutes, probably somewhere around 75 if I’m honest, 80-100 on occasion when the words are really flowing.

I can knock out a 1,000 word blog in a half hour.

Not that I always do.

My typewriting skills not withstanding, sometimes I’m crafting the blog or messing with it or I’m feeling poetic.

Anyway.

Yeah.

Lots and lots and lots of practice.

So the other two papers that are due won’t take me too long either.

Besides.

They’re both two-three page reflection papers.

I’ll review my notes and kick out each one in a half hour.

The biggest challenge is just keeping up with the reading.

And.

Fortunately for me I am a fast reader.

Granted I read slower when I am studying then when I am reading for pleasure, underling pertinent information, re-reading certain things, making sure I understand what I am reading.

But.

l still read at a fairly fast clip.

I am gifted and I get it and I am lucky and I also work my fucking ass off.

I had a friend who would give me shit last year while I was working on my papers about how fast I wrote, and it was no skin off my nose and I have to say, it is work, and I do so much outside work that is not my job job or my school job, that it can feel like I’m working all the fucking time.

I took some offense to it, despite also knowing that he was pretty correct.

The worst thing for me is not the paper writing.

It’s the anticipation of having to write the paper.

That’s where the anxiety lies.

And that’s just another way to take me out of the moment.

In the moment.

Right here.

Right now.

Nothing is wrong.

I have a roof over my head.

It’s an awful cute roof too.

I have food in my belly–dinner with a dearest to celebrate my nine-year anniversary in, well a sister program I go to–and!

I got persimmons at the farmer’s market today.

I have clean clothes folded up in my closet.

I have had a hot shower today.

I had coffee.

The nice kind.

Home brewed for breakfast then an Americano today at work from Ritual.

I got to spend an amazing hour with an extraordinary mentor and friend.

I got to talk with one of my best friends on the phone today.

I got to make plans for the weekend.

I went to yoga.

There’s a hot cup of tea waiting for me and a cozy bed.

Life is fabulous.

And.

Tomorrow is Friday.

So yeah.

Fuck it.

I’ll be going to yoga again in the morning.

The reading and the papers can wait one more day.

Seriously.

To Dance

September 15, 2016

Or.

To not dance.

I got a very sweet e-mail message from a friend today regarding all things Burning Man and when the hell were we going to go out dancing?  And we need to wrangle our third mutual friend and do that damn deal.

Don’t I know it.

September is a tough month for me in regards to that.

It’s the only month in the semester that I have two full weekends of classes.

Next weekend.

Which means this weekend is going to be writing papers, doing as much reading as I can cram into my head and burrowing into a hole.

Unless I get asked on a date.

Heh.

Fuck me.

I’m pretty transparent as it goes.

I’m all about the books, unless there’s make out on the table, then I’m like, um, I can get up early next week and do that paper.

Ha.

Oh.

I do so love how my brain works.

I did, however, give myself an hour of reading today before work and I cranked out a lot of one of my classes.

I am however, loathe, seriously so, to even crack the syllabus for my Psychopathology class.

I got my DSM 5 in the mail yesterday.

Nothing says sexy like a $158 text-book.

This thing is a serious piece of work, I don’t know how much it weighs, but I’m going to say the 5 in the title refers to pounds.

Even though I know it means fifth edition.

This sucker is heavy.

I have the desk reference for taking to class and the gigantic one for working out of.

I have two whopper papers that are going to be a part of the class and the professor said we’ll basically be reading the entire DSM 5 by the end of the semester.

Yeah.

Right.

The full title in case you were wondering: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition.

Say that ten times fast.

The book is 947 pages long.

Now.

I have read books longer than this.

For pleasure, with eagerness and joy.

Not with dread and trepidation.

Also, said longer books were fiction, I wasn’t writing any papers on them and I won’t be going back to them for referencing the rest of my career.

Though to be up front I am hoping that I won’t be using the book all that much.

There is a substantial amount of controversy over the use of the book and how the medical model for psycho therapy has gotten its’ panties in a twist with insurance billings.

You have to have a diagnosis to get your health insurance to reimburse you.

Nobody wants a permanent diagnosis on their record.

I mean.

I joke about mine.

Acute clinical depression.

Acute clinical anxiety.

Severe PTSD.

Classic Adult Child of an Alcoholic.

So.

Let’s see, I’m a drug addict (in recovery, thank you very much), an alcoholic, and yes, I also have an eating disorder.

Anything else here to stare at?

Ha.

The thing is that I don’t really give a fuck what diagnosis I have, either on record or off.

The only thing that I don’t have is a criminal record, although not for lack of trying.

Ahem.

I sought professional help for the anxiety and depression and for three years I was on antidepressants.

I didn’t like being medicated and I was on the lowest dose possible.

I will also add that it saved my life.

I hadn’t had suicidal ideation until I got into recovery.

Which freaked me out.

I discovered later that I was self-medicating, first through food than alcohol and drugs.

And cigarettes.

God, did I love me some smokes.

I’m absurdly grateful for the help I got, help I didn’t even know existed and I didn’t know how to address all the things that were going on.

I couldn’t make sense of the trauma and abuse.

I didn’t know that the neglect and the upbringing I had were not not normal.

It was what it was and I was always surprised when I was told that what I experienced was not healthy, in fact, the very counter-indication of health and normalcy.

Yeah.

What’s normal though?

I suppose a body can get used to anything and my mind and body did what they did to get me through and I had no clue that those things which had helped me deal would eventually stop working.

And when they did.

Well.

It wasn’t very pretty.

But.

Thank God for the help I received.

I am beyond grateful.

I am graced.

Loved.

Taken care of.

“You are going to be of such service to so many people,” he said to me as we were driving back into the city from Sausalito.  “I mean, I just know it, you are going to help so many people.”

I hope so.

Actually.

I pretty much know so.

That sounds like ego, I know that, but I am in a special and unique position.

First that I have gone through the wringer, that I have gone through that puppy more than once, I have a great deal of experience with getting through.

And.

Not only getting through.

But.

Getting better.

Stronger.

More flexible.

More kind.

More loving.

To myself and to others.

But mostly to myself so that I could be more loving to others.

Second, I am extraordinarily resilient, which is just an offshoot of the first.

How I have not drown in all the muck and morass and the sadness and grief, I do not know.

I have hope.

Nay.

I have faith.

Faith like the sunrise rising no matter what, the disco ball spinning in the club, the music beating in my heart, the waves rocking the boat in the night, a cradle of love, God’s hand holding me a loft and strong.

I am taken care of.

So that I can take care of others.

I don’t take antidepressants any longer.

I manage my stress.

I haven’t had a panic attack in years.

Yes.

I get anxious, but I know what to do.

I have a meditation practice, a prayer practice, I am of service, I help out in my community.

Fuck.

People.

I go to yoga.

Spiritual giant, yo.

Mostly though.

I just do the work.

Take the suggestions.

Put one foot in front of the other.

And love.

Lots of love.

Lots of joy.

Lots of happy.

And free.

Yes.

To question the abundance and prosperity I have in my left would be to spit on the hand of God that has helped me through this all, made me stronger, more gracious, more bent with love.

A burden, no.

A gift, yes.

A perspective I am graced to have.

A life beyond anything I could have imagined.

One day at a fucking time.

It’s pretty awesome.

Seriously.

Luckiest girl in the world.


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