Archive for the ‘PhD’ Category

I’m Not Dead Yet

October 11, 2019

I’m still here.

Still hanging on by the skin of my teeth.

It’s been a tough, long few weeks, so much school work.

So much.

I really even shouldn’t be here.

But.

I am and there’s that and I don’t have much capacity to do much more homework today, so I’m letting myself off the hook and enjoying blogging because I like blogging and it’s hella nice to not think about homework.

I think about it all day long.

ALL DAY.

I know it’s just part of the territory.

I thought a bit about the trials and tribulations of graduate school, of getting my PhD, of how long it takes and how much work it is.

I thought.

Why the fuck am I doing this?

And.

I can’t stop now.

I mean.

I know why I’m doing this and everyone I talk to is onboard with what I’m working on, it’s just, well, fuck, it’s so much work.

I wondered yesterday what it would be to just, just, work a full time job.

How novel would that be?

Pretty fucking novel.

I am not there yet.

And it feels like it’s a little further away than I would like, but I know at some point I will get there.

I will finish my PhD.

I will just be a therapist.

I will not nanny any longer.

The nannying is sweet and challenging right now.

The big kids really miss me and it’s been hard on them, this transition of not seeing as much of me as they used to.

I miss them too.

I had a huge cuddle session with the oldest boy today when he got home from school, he’s nine and just a pie.

I love all of them in all their different ways.

Each one I love the best.

Each one is my favorite.

Each one is special.

And I’m also so ready to not be nannying any more.

I don’t want to be cleaning someone’s house in my down time, or getting another’s dry cleaning or taking out someone else’s trash or folding some one else’s laundry.

I just want to do that for myself.

Sometimes I don’t really mind, it’s a bit meditative to sweep the floor or wash the dishes, or put away laundry.

Most times I don’t mind at all.

But I am ready to transition out.

It’s been thirteen years.

It’s time for something new.

I don’t know when it’s going to be and I had some high hopes that it would be by my birthday in December.

I will fly out to Paris on December 17th and a big part of me was hoping I would be able to fly off to France being done with the family.

I’m not so sure now.

Yes.

I did start with a new client this week.

And I had a client move, two other clients transition to twice a month, and another tell me they are moving next month.

Ugh.

I need to go in the opposite way and bring in more clients.

Add to that a lot of cancellations this week and the next and I am questioning whether I will have enough set aside to make that leap in December and then go off on a ten day vacation.

I know it will all work out and I know the nannying will end in due time.

I realized this week that I may just have to hold that end date gently and if I have to work a little longer as a nanny it’s ok.

I also recognize that I cannot predict when I get clients.

It has been slowly building and I am sure it will continue to build.

I have been handing out business cards and talking to people and I’m sure I can take some other actions too, but I truly don’t know what actions lead to what results.

That being said.

I did take some actions to make sure that I am taking care of myself.

Yesterday I got a massage for the first time in two years.

There’s a small place up the road from me on Balboa Street and it’s spare and bare bones, but the table was heated and it was women’s day and I got $5 off and the massage only cost $50!

I tipped $10 and was quite happy with my one hour Shiatsu massage.

I want to do that about once a month.

I hold a lot of trauma in my private practice and I don’t want to carry around other people’s trauma, I have enough of my own thanks, I don’t need to hold vicarious trauma along with it.

So massages are good and so is exercise.

And.

Finally.

Finally.

I pulled the trigger and signed up for the local yoga studio Purusha

They are running an unlimited monthly student special for $90.

That’s a pretty fucking good deal for San Francisco studios.

I had a really nice conversation with the woman at the front desk and talked about being a therapist and a PhD student and the need to get the anxiety out of my body.

And.

That I haven’t done yoga in like a year and a half and that I feel super rusty and nervous.

I found a good class to ease back into and I start tomorrow.

I have mornings off from nannying on Wednesdays and Fridays, so I figure two days a week to start, really aiming for three to four once I’m back into the flow.

I also tell myself, don’t try to figure out your calendar quite yet.

Just show up each day you can.

So tomorrow I will get up early instead of sleeping in and go to yoga before I have supervision.

Then homework and clients in the evening.

I have had anxiety about getting something else to fit in my schedule, but I realized yesterday as I was getting the massage, the only way to maintain what I am doing is to do really extensive self-care and exercising has not been a priority.

I feel like it is now.

And all I have to do is get up, put on my yoga clothes and show up.

Showing up is 3/4s of the battle anyway.

Keep showing up for my homework.

Keep showing up for my clients.

Keep showing up for my cohort.

Keep showing up for my nanny family.

But most importantly.

Keep showing up for myself with as much love and kindness as I can muster.

I’m pretty sure I can do that.

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Buried Alive

August 29, 2019

This is it folks.

You may not see or hear from me in weeks.

In fact.

I am already askance at myself for not throwing myself headlong into some reading, writing, researching, or the other.

Why, I’m writing my blog when there is a shit ton, a fuck ton, a whole lot of things to do this semester.

I knew that at my intensive, when just after two days of one class I realized that class alone was going to be a full time job.

Then.

Add in two more classes.

One is “light,” like I only have to read five books.

But the other is fairly substantial and I am thinking about using the work in progress project to write a potential publishable paper.

I get ahead of myself, but it was suggested that I might want to do that by a fellow who’s on the three year course track.

He listened to my project and was like, “you should publish that,” then told me how to do it, then approached my professor and told him what we had discussed and the professor liked it!

Holy fuck.

Anyway.

One day back from the intensive and I haven’t done a lot, although I have done plenty.

Since I have been back I have had supervision, seen 7 clients, worked a nanny shift, went grocery shopping, did laundry, and food prepped for the week.

That in and of itself is full time work.

Then, today at work, while the little guy napped (why oh why have his naps grown shorter!?) I plugged in all the due dates and assignments and readings that I needed to do over the semester into my Google calendar.

My calendar looks crazy.

It looks like every spare minute has been accounted for until mid December when the semester ends.

I sense the days are going to fly by because they will all be so very full with the work that I have to do.

I have a lot to do.

This is by far the heaviest work load.

And.

In a sense the most clear cut.

I figured out who I want to be my chair for my PhD dissertation committee and I also asked said person, or at least gave him the heads up.

It will still have to go through the channels and what not, but I know who I want and I believe he wants to work with me.

Plus.

I asked another person to be on my committee and she said yes.

So, that’s positive.

Granted, I can’t actually assign anyone to my committee without my chair’s approval.

So first the chair.

That will officially happen in November.

But I interviewed with three professors at the intensive and with each one I talk substantively about what I am doing and what my inquiry is and how I want to pursue the work.

Two of the professors I talked to for an hour.

One professor I only got to catch for ten minutes between classes, but she was ecstatic with my idea and really impressed with how I’m going about it.

She recommended that I sit in on a former TA’s dissertation defense, which I did and she was the person I asked to be my second committee member.

The professor also suggested I take her elective in Spring, which I had already written down to take!

So my courses are lined up.

I will get through this semester and I’m going to light it on fire.

I’m going to bring it.

The fact that I am going down two days of nannying a week for me is even a bigger deal now.

I need that time.

I also want to have incoming therapy clients fill up those spots, but every spare minute is going to be used.

I had clients cancel for this Friday, not all, but two, Labor Day weekend travel plans, and I immediately blocked the time off to do homework.

I will always, always, always, be carrying my laptop with me so that I can take whatever time I get whenever I get it, to be online, posting discussion posts.

I will always have one, if not two or even three books with me so that I have something I am consistently reading.

This is the semester to get my literature together.

For my Ecology of Ideas class I have to submit a literature journal with 250-300 pieces of literature–dissertations, studies, books, articles, etc.

I don’t have to read them through, but I will need to be consistently searching for materials as well as consistently skimming and scanning and adding them to my annotated bibliography and my journal.

There is so much to do.

It’s exciting too.

I’m not going to lie.

I can really see it coming together and I plan on submitting my proposal next fall instead of waiting for the fall semester to work on the proposal, I am going to do it over the summer.

I am going to dig in next summer and get it done, it will literally save me a year of tuition and waiting for approval.

A friend of mine who TA’s for some of the courses did that this intensive.

She did all her course work in two years, like I am in the middle of doing, took the summer to work on her proposal and the second day of the intensive, the first day of classes, she defended her proposal and got it approved.

Which means she moves right into her dissertation.

I’m all for it.

I made a pact with a friend of mine in the cohort and that’s what we’re going to do.

It will knock out time and a lot of tuition.

Fuck my student loans are big.

But you know.

I am so fucking worth it.

And so is my idea.

I can’t wait to show it to the world.

Until then though.

You will not see a lot of me this semester.

I literally am going to be buried under books.

I might come up for a breather around Thanksgiving.

But for now.

Well.

See ya.

I got shit to read.

So much.

Here It Comes

August 20, 2019

I have two days left before I head down to Pacifica and step back into my PhD life.

Not that I haven’t already been in it.

Yesterday was a shit storm of homework, talking about the work, thinking about the work, reading, writing, posting to Canvas, the platform my online work is on, and feeling way too fucking anxious for my own good.

Seriously.

I had forgotten that ever present, low lying level of anxiety that being in school and working full time gives me.

I had a phone call with a friend in my cohort to talk about some collaborative processes regarding school and a proposal that we have to have done to present at the intensive and I just got bonkers.

I realized, yet again, that I was already behind the ball.

Thanks brain, nothing like making yourself feel bad after a really extraordinary Saturday.

More on that in a moment.

I tried to talk myself in from the ledge and I did ok, but reading and re-reading the syllabi made my stomach flip.

As once again I face the prospect of having to be in zoom meetings on days and times that I cannot as I will be working or seeing a therapy client.

And why?

WHY!?!

Are my electives more fucking work than my required course work?

Shit.

I was totally taken aback at my electives coursework.

Ugh.

I am not complaining, well, a little.

I just get the overwhelms.

And I know this feeling.

I have had it every semester.

I have had it every semester of my Master’s program and yes, for both the semesters in my first year of my PhD coursework.

And inevitably I find the time, it appears, like magic, a sloop on the sea back lit with moon light, and there is the path and I don’t really know how, but it all gets done.

It always does.

So.

I tried to reason a tiny bit with myself that this would be the same thing too and like every semester some weirdo shit happens with my financial aid, this year was no different, but things get worked out, as they did this year as well.

Everything gets worked out.

And.

If I don’t get A’s I’ll be alright.

I mean.

I’m going to fucking get A’s because that’s what I do and because I am a damn good writer.

Not that one can always tell from the writing in my blogs, but I do believe I am a good writer.

Not great, I won’t call what I do that, but good.

I am solid.

I am fluid.

I have good ideas.

I have poetic turns.

I have way with words, have I.

And I have a sense that I will have more time this semester than I did last year.

My work is transitioning.

Boy fucking howdy is it transitioning.

I had a pricking in my thumbs all last week that there was a conversation that needed to happen with the mom at work and I finally had the opportunity to address it and yes, my schedule is changing.

CHANGING.

I’m going to go down to three days a week come the third week in September, basically in a month, I will only be nannying three days a week.

And.

I will continue to transition down every time I pick up a client.

Which I did yesterday.

I am now at 18 clients.

I need two more to cover the costs of losing the nanny hours, but I suspect that I will secure them by the time I go down to three days a week.

And I need five more clients after that, I think, if I have done the math right, to be fully self-sustaining as a therapist.

That would be 25.

I want 30 though and possibly a few more.

As.

Well.

Clients cancel.

Things happen, stuff comes up at work, vacations, sick days, etc.

I need to have a buffer and account for that.

But even then.

When I think about it, when I let myself dream and drift a little, 30-35 clients, why, shit, that’s 10 hours a week less then I was working first semester of my PhD program last year.

I went into the program working 42-45 hours a week–as a nanny, I’m not including hours that I was seeing clients or doing group supervision and training with my agency.

At one point right at the beginning of the second semester I was working about 60 hours of work between the two and doing my PhD work, no wonder I felt crazed by the end of the semester.

And thankfully.

Second semester saw me drop down to 40 towards the end of the semester and then around the beginning of the summer 35 and then two weeks ago 30 and I’m staring down 20 hours when the transition happens.  The two older kids will be back in school and the family secured a daycare spot for the littlest guy.

20 hours of nanny work.

Actually that’s not even true, more like 18 since I picked up a client yesterday.

18 hours of nannying.

I mean.

I cannot even believe that.

I have been nannying for 12 1/2 years.

Thirteen maybe.

I am never quite sure about the number.

A long fucking time, how about that.

I really thought at one point that I would never not be a nanny and there was some self-esteem stuff tied up with that.

I had judgements about what I did as a profession.

I mean.

Who takes a nanny seriously?

Despite the enormous amount of work it takes to be a nanny, it is not seen as a credible career in Western society.

I have worked my ass off, however, as a nanny, and I can ascertain that most nannies do.

Not all of them.

I have seen some pretty lax shit happen in the parks, but it’s a damn lot of work.

It can also have the appearance of being fun and games all the time, going out to ice cream, going to parks, taking the monkeys to an arcade–got to do that today, me and the eldest hit up Free Gold Watch in the Haight, singing, taking long walks, being outside, playtime, nap time.

But it is work.

Work to stay present and balanced and even keeled when there’s crazy happening, when there’s screaming tantrums, when there’s diapers and vomit and sick kids or crazed sugar mania happening.

Work.

A lot of work.

And love.

Don’t get me wrong, there is so much love.

And.

I am done with it.

I have done it long enough.

I have paid my dues.

I can see the light at the end of the nanny tunnel and though I am a little afraid to go into the light.

(Don’t go into the light Carol Anne!)

Go I shall.

We strength and grace and assuredness that I will be held financially and be full self-supporting as a therapist.

I know I will.

I have extended office hours, I have rented extra office space, I have built it.

They will come.

Oh yes they will.

And the faster they come, the sooner I am done nannying.

Ooh la la.

Now.

Just to get through the anxiety of starting up school again.

Life.

It just keeps going.

It really does.

One More Week

August 12, 2019

Of freedom.

From school.

Which is fucking hilarious as I carted around two gigantic text books today on the off chance of being somewhere I was going to read.

I learned to always carry my books with me, because inevitably the day will come when I don’t, (this past Saturday) when a client no shows and I have down time to read.

Or I’m at work and unexpectedly get time to read.

I probably won’t at all be able to do that at work tomorrow, I just don’t see it happening, but sometimes it does and as my time is super precious I use whatever I can get.

I have finished one of my text books for the fall semester and started in on another one and I am simultaneously reviewing a few articles for the class I will be guest lecturing on the 21st of September and reading a book for that class as well.

I did question myself a little about that today as I sat in a training in Berkeley for my agency, what am I doing teaching a class too this semester?!

But, I feel it’s good for me to do and I’m excited for the topic and the few people, outside of school, I have run it by, really like listening to me talk about it.

I find that encouraging, if someone who doesn’t have a background in psychology finds it fascinating, those who are pursuing the Master’s degree should like it too.

Or so I hope.

Regardless of whether they do or not,  I am learning as I prepare to teach.

Which is always how it goes.

Want to learn something on a deeper level?

Teach it.

I have had that experience over and over and over again.

And I’m grateful to get to go before an incoming Master’s cohort who are just beginning their journey and say here I am, in my second year of a PhD program, as a licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist with a burgeoning private practice.

I get to model what they can become and that’s really a sweet gift to give back.

I didn’t know how much work it was going to be and I’m pretty glad I didn’t, I did know I was right where I was supposed to be and I want to share all the things that I have gotten to learn over the past few years.

An hour and a half lecture will not encapsulate that, but it should be enough time to lecture on Reverie, which I find totally fascinating.

Reverie is something that happens in sessions where daydreams, wayward thoughts, fantasies, visions, intuitions, come to the therapist.

The first time it happened to me in a session, a dyad at school with a classmate, I got spooked.

I thought I had drifted off.

But there was something so potent about it, the image that came to mind, that I mentioned it to my professor who then told me that I had experienced  reverie and that it was clinically significant.

We discussed what I saw, how it was clinically relevant, and how to make an intervention around it.

It was fascinating.

It still is and there’s lots to talk about, and I won’t bore you with it at this time, since I don’t know that you’re really here to listen to me practice my lecture in Psychodynamics.

Heh.

Who knows why you’re here anyway.

I don’t.

I mean.

This blog has been dark for almost two years now, maybe actually it has been a little more than two years.

I don’t link it to social media.

I don’t post it anywhere.

This is just me noodling away at my keyboard.

There are perhaps of handful of folks that still follow me out there who know me, but most of the people that read this have no idea who I am.

Once in a while it gets read a whole bunch and I’ll be curious who has discovered it and why is it so fascinating.

Recently it was getting a ton of reads in, of all places, Hong Kong.

No idea why.

But for a few days, on and off for the last couple of months, literally hundreds of my blogs were being read in Hong Kong.

That was kind of cool to see.

I don’t know how many blogs I’m going to get out before the semester starts, I’ll be starting with some new clients this week and trying to get some homework done before the intensive.

One of my classes doesn’t have the syllabus up yet, which always makes me nervous, but the other two do and there is going to be some major work and a lot of reading to do this semester just for these two classes.

But.

I am not going to stop blogging.

Especially since I am going to actually try to incorporate my blog into a “Work In Progress” assignment for my class in Arts Based Research.

I know that I won’t be able to do a blog a day like I still managed to do with my Master’s degree.

That became really evident I am sure when my blogs took a total nose dive once I began my PhD and started building up my private practice.

The blog took such a hit.

But.

I have never stopped writing and I’m going to keep sending out these little missives to the Universe whenever I can.

It helps me to keep my writing chops and it helps me process all the things.

Like not speaking or being in contact with my ex and what that feels like.

Good and super hard all at the same time and scary and sad.

Or thinking about the time I was in Cuba, just recently and had an overwhelming spiritual experience at a Catholic church where Santoria is practiced.

Floods of tears, praying on my knees, and asking for forgiveness in front of a black Madonna.

Or when I was walking the cobblestone streets of Old Havana with my hair up, a long white dress on, a bright turquoise parasol protecting me from the sun and the feeling of awe in wonder at who I get to be in this life and where I get to go.

And.

Where I get to go home to.

San Francisco.

I am still here.

Hanging on at the edge of the city.

The ledge of the Western seaboard.

Two blocks from the Ocean.

The moon rise and the the dark breach of universe turning above me.

I am so fucking grateful to be alive.

It’s ok that I got my heart broke.

It’s ok that my rent’s ridiculous.

It’s ok that I’m still a nanny.

I get to do all these miraculous things.

It’s ok that I’m busy with my PhD and nervous to teach the class.

I get to do all these things.

Because.

I am graced.

Happy.

Joyous.

And so very.

Very.

Very.

Free.

Take One Step Towards

August 9, 2019

The Universe and the Universe throws hella new clients at you!

Holy crow.

Last Thursday I took a, for me, leap and connected with a woman who has an office in the same building I have my therapy office in.

She had tagged me in a post on social media about having office hours available.

I was really interested in one of the days, but, also, well, nervous, can I take on more rent?

I brought it up last week in Group Supervision and my supervisor interrupted me and said, “Who here thinks that Carmen should rent the office?”

Everyone raised their hands.

EVERYONE.

Ok then.

One of the members in my group succinctly pointed out that I have been steadily adding new clients and building my practice.

At the time of the conversation I had 15 clients.

I had 16 but one client moved.

And.

My group member was right, I have steadily increased my client load and I had the sense of “if you build it they will come.”

So  reached out that day and sent a direct text and inquired.

I got a response that it was available, but/and two other people had expressed interest.

Shit.

But they hadn’t confirmed.  I was adamant that I wanted the office, especially when I found out what the rent was and it was much less than I thought it would  be.

She said to be fair she would re-contact the interested parties and see where they stood and then let me know.

I thanked her and realized that I was ok no matter what happened.

Sure.

I wanted the office space, but really, having taken the action of just reaching out really felt good and positive.

Take action and let go of the results.

She got back the next afternoon.

I got the office!

Apparently my vigorous yes to taking the space swayed her and that I was ready to take on the space this month.

The lease is all drafted and dealt with–connected her to my agency and I get the key tomorrow!

I start with a client in the space next Monday.

I am using it for a client that had to cancel a standing session.

It was so nice to be able to offer the alternative space.

Then it gets crazy.

After the phone call with my new landlord I have my individual supervision and I excitedly share with my supervisor about the new office.

She is surprised and happy for me and adds that she knew I was interested in extra office hours but she didn’t realize how serious I was about it and would I also like to have Thursdays in the office?

HOLY SHIT.

My individual supervisor is also my landlord whom I sublet my office from, we share the office space.  She recently became core faculty at CIIS, my alma mater (my current “mater” for that matter, my PhD intensive is two and a half weeks away!) and has cut back her office hours.

Whoa.

I knew that was happening and I had soft ball pitched wanting extra office hours about a month ago but it didn’t seem like it was going to happen.

Until it did.

She told me to think about it and let her know.

I clapped my hands in glee like a small child in front of birthday cupcakes and said “yes!”

And like that.

I have office hours now Monday-Saturday!

My hope is that once I fill up on clients I will actually be able to stop seeing clients on Saturdays.  I need to right now, I see four clients and that’s a good chunk of change.  But if I can fill up the weekdays I can transition out of working Saturdays.

I haven’t had a full weekend off in years.

Literally.

I have been working six days a week and going to school full time for the last three and a half years.

I am so ready to have my weekends back!

Granted.

I will likely be working on my PhD, but who cares!

Weekends.

And!

I have a potential new client for next Thursday.

That part about saying yes to the office and yes to the Universe, well apparently the Universe heard and I got four referrals yesterday from Psychology Today as well as a referral from my individual supervisor.

I made contact with three of them, leaving the others messages but not hearing back.

I did two phone consultations yesterday, immediately landing one new client.

I also did a phone consult tonight and again, landed the client!

I have another phone consult tomorrow early evening in between clients and feel very positive about it having already made good e-mail connection.

I am over the moon.

I now have 17 clients!

My goal is 30 and then I can stop nannying.

I am so close.

I can almost taste it.

My charges can too, the little lady tonight asked me when I was leaving and I knew it wasn’t about when I was leaving at the end of my shift.

I told her not for a while yet, she was probably going to get me for another five or six months and I was planning on always being in her life and that rest assured she was my favorite client.

She gets very jealous when  leave to go see my clients, let me tell you.

My goal is six months tops.

I would love to be done by the end of the year, that has always been my original goal, but I figure I will just say six months from the first day I am in my additional office.

So by February 12th of 2020 I will be done being a nanny.

Fingers crossed and the river don’t rise.

Bring on the clients.

I am ready.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

To not be a nanny anymore.

Straight A’s

June 2, 2019

I got my grades back.

It’s official.

Straight A’s for the second semester.

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

I am pretty damn pleased.

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

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

Holy fuck are my words.

I mean.

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

That’s some big work.

And.

Nevertheless.

I am quite pleased.

Really pleased.

It was a hard semester.

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

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

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

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

My cohort also is getting smaller.

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

I am not doing that.

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

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

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

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

I’m studying for something else.

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

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

My license expires on June 30th.

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

I have to get 70% to pass the test.

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

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

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

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

Today I took a practice exam and got 61%.

Ugh.

This is not to beat myself up.

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

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

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

I really am fairly confident though.

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

I also have taken the tests really fast.

You’re given 75 minutes to do the test.

My first prep test I did in 15 minutes.

The next I might have taken 18 minutes.

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

I still finished it in 30 minutes, maybe 35.

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

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

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

Or.

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

Or.

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

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

I really am not worried though.

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

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

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

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

Two more weeks.

Take the test.

Pass it.

And then get ready for my Havana, Cuba trip.

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

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

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

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

Santa Cruz or maybe Monterey.

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

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

Lots of options.

Just some more studying to do before I can.

And a moment.

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

And I got all motherfucking A’s.

I’ll take it.

Seriously.

 

One Day of Freedom

May 19, 2019

It’s a full blue moon tonight.

A full flower moon.

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

I tried and then I just stopped trying.

It’s ok.

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

Even though I went on a few dates last week.

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

He was nice enough.

But.

No chemistry.

Sad.

He thought we had gang busters chemistry.

I did not.

I know what chemistry is.

Boy howdy do I know.

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

Damn it.

I love you monkey.

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

I did love cooking for you.

Le sigh.

I’ll be ok.

I’m not crying.

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

Because on paper he had a lot going on.

But when you kiss like a dead duck.

Ugh.

I wanted your kisses so damn bad.

I felt crazy.

I was so fucking angry.

I want a committed monogamous relationship and I want chemistry.

Is that so much to ask for?

I really think it’s possible.

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

Double sigh.

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

I want both.

Fact is.

I just want you.

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

FUCK.

And.

Done venting.

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

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

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

I hope you got the message.

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

I know that anniversaries are hard.

Fuck.

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

Or your sobriety anniversary.

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

Just so you know.

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

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

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

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

I feel like we should be celebrating all the time.

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

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

Not that you ever post anything to it.

And I haven’t been a perfect princess.

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

God.

I wanted you to reach out to me tonight.

I wanted it so freaking bad.

Still do.

But.

I want it my way.

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

I wish you could have.

If wishes were horses.

Beggars would ride.

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

But.

I can’t decide.

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

Or two crows with a heart between the two beaks.

Or.

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

Oh baby.

I’m not in tears.

And I want to recognize that.

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

But man.

I still want to connect with you.

To have contact with you.

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

Oh.

There.

Now the tears.

Ok.

No more of that.

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

One day of freedom.

Or relative freedom.

Tomorrow.

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

So.

Tomorrow is it.

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

HOLY SHIT.

I don’t have to do homework tomorrow.

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

I made it!

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

I am sort of amazed.

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

But I will have it.

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

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

Happy.

Happy.

Happy.

Birthday baby.

I still miss you.

 

My Head is Full

April 23, 2019

Like so full.

So much stuff in there.

I have a touch of a headache.

This sometimes will happen when I have been trying to shove too much information into my brain and it just can’t take any more in.

Over the weekend I had to address a lot of homework and do a lot of research.

The research went well, the paper got written, eleven pages thank you very much, but I was still behind.

Not by a lot.

But by enough to make me a feel a touch chagrined with myself.

I had completely missed out a weeks discussion in one of my classes.

I figured out how today when I realized I had read all the chapters well in advance of the discussion and some part of my brain just thought I was totally ahead of the curve.

Plus.

I had met with the professor of the class last week and I just presumed to myself without checking into the actual syllabus that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

I think unconsciously I let myself do it.

I tend to post well thought out, referenced, worded well, well supported, thoughtful post.s

I am typically one of the first people in my classes to respond to a post prompting and I am pretty open and transparent with the work I do, how I am in the world and what is happening personally.

My cohort knows I went through a break up two months ago.

My cohort knows I had shingles.

My cohort knows I juggle a full-time PhD program with full time nannying and a roster of clients, I’m seeing ten this week.

I’m busy.

I dropped the ball in one of my classes.

I can also see that I had a stupendous busy week last week nannying.

The two older kids were on Spring Break and their grandmother has been visiting.

I did not have any time, none at all, to spend on my homework.

I really do rely on getting in at least a couple of hours of work done during the week, sometimes, like today, I can actually even get in two hours of homework a day.

Not always, but anything helps.

Not having a spare minute or moment to do classwork last week put me behind and I didn’t even realize it until I was sitting in a cafe on Divisadero before my Saturday commitment this past weekend.

I literally thought I was going to burst into tears.

I had totally missed the deadline and I didn’t have the book with me that I needed to reference to have posted a discussion.

I made damn sure that came with me today.

I also had to just let it go.

I had to do research for the paper I wrote yesterday and I had to also do a big post for my Creative Arts and Leadership class.

I had to acknowledge that I wasn’t actually going to be able to do the discussion until today.

On top of that.

I have another paper due on Wednesday of this week.

So.

I got lucky.

I got really lucky at work.

Not only were the kids back to school, they had after school activities, I was basically alone the whole day with the littlest guy.

He didn’t have the biggest nap, but he had a long enough one that I did a 1,300 word discussion post with six references to the book in it and I responded to a classmates work as well.

I started looking over the work that I needed to gather up to do the next paper, the one that is due Wednesday, and I could feel my head getting a bit spun.

So.

Lunch break.

Sat down.

Looked outside.

Watched the sky.

Ate a nice meal.

Made some tea.

Got back in it and then the little guy woke up with one of those cries that says I’m not quite awake and something woke me up and I want to sleep more but I will need cuddles to do so.

You don’t know that one?

I gathered him up, snuggled him into my arms and he slept in my lap for another half hour.

It was enough to let my brain simmer down a little bit, but the pot is still dangerously full of stuff.

I went to a cafe in between work and my commitment tonight and I tried to do some more work and I managed to eke out a bit, but really, fuck, my head just said no way, no more.

It is at times like these that I do question what the fuck I am doing.

I know it will pass and I already feel like I have committed myself to it to stop now, but stopping, whoa, it might feel really nice.

When I get stuck I do tell myself to just focus on what can be done today, just today, that’s all I have anyway.

Today.

I did well.

Really.

I did and I need to acknowledge that.

I got caught up and I did the work that needed to be done to prepare for the next paper.

I have my books and notebook packed already for tomorrow with high hopes that I will get another good few hours without interruption at nap time.

It’s a smaller paper, just six pages, but it’s on theoretical framing, so, um, yeah, hella dry.

If I get two hours tomorrow I should be sitting really well.

I also had a client cancel tomorrow night, so I just have one after work.

I’ll lean into it and I’ll get it done.

In the mean time.

Fuck me.

I am tired.

I am in need of tea and a good mindless few minutes of a video that has nothing at all academic about it.

Seriously.

There is So Much

March 23, 2019

To write about.

And where to begin?

I almost titled this blog, One Hour, as an homage to something quite big.

I also thought about naming it, “Are you Here?” as I suspect my ex is back in town.

At least it feels that way.

More about that later.

Then I thought I should write about my awesome and amazing Mike Doughty experience and having gotten to see him on Wednesday of this week and how I played hooky from clients and went out on a school night.

I didn’t really play hooky, I just rescheduled them for later in the week, I had one tonight and I’ll see the other tomorrow after my regular Saturday clients.

Then I thought, oh yeah, I should call this, “Vive La France!”

As I bought a ticket to Paris last night!

Yeah.

So.

All the things.

All of them.

So much going on.

Plus, of course, the school thing that is happening and how I managed to get all my papers done and turned in on time and also how I got back some really amazing comments on my last couple of papers.

“Clarity, erudition, adept usage of third person, meticulous APA style,” I could go on, but then I think that’s just ego.

I”m right on schedule with school at the moment and extremely happy about that, despite feeling a little disconnected from school since I did not get much time this week at work to do homework.

The family had the flu.

Like seriously bad, fevers, aches, chills, super bad sore throat, coughing.

I do not know how I escaped, but I did.

I also got my flu shot this year so that might have helped and as soon as the family was diagnosed with the flu at the doctors they called me and said call my doctor and get Tamiflu, which is a preventative medicine that will work if taken within 72 hours of exposure.

So I’ve been taking that all week and seemed to have skated by the flu.

Thank fucking God.

I cannot afford to be sick.

And.

I don’t like being sick.

Even the small part of me that rather enjoys lying around all day in bed.

The rest of me drives itself crazy when I’m sick.

So I’m super happy I avoided it.

But man, work was a tough one this week.

Which made it easy to ask off for time to work with a client.

Yes.

It’s official.

This week I got my tenth client.

I took a leap of faith when the person reached out and offered expanded hours beyond what I have available.

Meaning.

Wednesdays I work from 9 a.m. to 5p.m. then see clients at 5:30p.m., 6:30p.m. and 7:30p.m.

I offered the client a 4:30p.m. slot.

Technically I’m working as a nanny, but I’ve been in conversation for months now that at some point I would slowly begin the transitioning down of nanny hours for therapy hours.

I hesitated for just a brief moment but knew, really knew, that I had to offer hours that would overlap into my nanny shifts.

And the client took the Wednesday slot.

Which means I have to be done at the nanny gig by 4p.m. now on Wednesdays.

One hour less of being a nanny.

One hour more of being a therapist.

Plus.

This new client found me on Psychology Today and was not a referral from my agency, meaning the client is full fee.

Yippee!

The more full fee clients I get the faster I will transition out of nannying.

I mean, I love the family, but $30/hour versus $140 an hour.

Well.

I know what works better for me.

Anyway.

That’s therapy business.

Then there’s Paris business which in a way segues into ex-boyfriend business.

Yesterday at work I was checking e-mails in a brief moment of time when I wasn’t picking up used Kleenex, hydrating some small child, washing dishes, drawing, cuddling, or making hot tea with honey and saw an interesting email from a friend.

It was an e-mail that he forwarded that there was a one day sale happening for round trip tickets to Paris.

Oooh.

I wasn’t planning on going to Paris this year, I’ve been planning on going to Hawaii in July,(but still haven’t done anything about it as I’m waiting on my employers to let me know when they’re going to be in Finland and if, probably not, but if they are also planning on taking me to Helsinki with them)  going to Maui and staying in Paia, where my grandmother was born in 1928.

But.

I was curious about the flights and a little bug got in my ear and so I searched and shit, the price was too good to pass by.

So I picked the best time for me to go, end of the fall semester, in December.

Yes.

That’s right.

I’ll be in Paris on my birthday and for Christmas.

I fly out of SFO on December 17th, landing the next day at Charles de Gaulle on December 18th, my birthday, in the early afternoon.  I’ll fly back on December 27th.

So I’ll be there from my birthday through Christmas.

I will sit in cafes, go to museums (the Louvre, the D’Orsay, the Jeu de Paume, the Pompidou–which is open on Christmas, I know where I will be, wandering the galleries there for sure on Christmas day, the Orangerie, the Palais de Tokyo, the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais, the Musee de l’Art Moderne), walk everywhere, read books, go do the deal with the Paris fellowship, hang out with my best girlfriend from my Masters degree cohort…we’ve already made plans to go to the ballet (I messaged her right after I bought the ticket).

I got the ticket from Air France round trip, direct flights there and back for $579.32!

I still can’t believe that!

My girlfriend asked me why December after exclaiming at the cost of the ticket.

I told her that my birthday and Christmas have been really tied up with my ex the last two years and maybe its better for me to be in Paris then in San Francisco and really just do something for myself.

I always wanted him to come to Paris with me and I had even brought it up in the days before we broke up that I wanted to plan a trip with him there.

It is such a screamingly romantic city.

And he’s such a foodie, he would have loved it.

I’m still sad we didn’t get to experience that together.

She understood.

Plus, I told her that it makes sense with my school schedule and it’s the slowest time of year for therapy clients….the last two holiday seasons were really slow and I hear that it’s that way for most therapist.

So.

Yeah.

Booked that ticket.

I don’t think I’ll stay with my girlfriend, despite knowing she’d let me, I think I want a little more autonomy and she’s got young twins, who are super sweet and adorable, but the house isn’t huge and as much as I loved staying with them, I don’t want to stress them out at Christmas.

I figure I’ll Air BnB in the Marais where they live, it’s super central and I know it well enough, and just be an independent lady at Christmas time in the City of Lights.

God.

There’s more to say.

The feeling of my ex being in town, and wanting him to reach out or to somehow bump into him, it’s big, but I’ve not got time to write more.

I need to get up early, lots of clients tomorrow.

So.

I bid you adieu and I’ll see you on the flip.

 

Heart Broken

March 5, 2019

Here I am trying to hit my once a week mark for my blog.

So sad.

I remember when it was every day and the streak was a long one.

I am happy to have a few spare minutes today though and I had an experience over the weekend that I thought I’d like to post about.

It does pertain to my recent heartbreak and break up and my love and my loss.

I am still grieving, I suppose I will for a little while yet.

I’m trying to just be nice to myself about it and when the sad comes let it.

I have stayed very busy through the weekend, although yes, I did actually sleep in on Sunday.

I woke up at my normal time, 6:30a.m. and then again at 7:30a.m. and I almost got up at 7:30a.m. but I was having a rather lovely dream of being with him and I literally thought I heard his voice in my room, so I buried myself in my pillows and said, I’ll just sleep another half hour.

Was I surprised when I woke up at 9!

I think I needed the sleep though and I definitely felt tender about my situation, but also some space and some gratitude for the experience seemed to be working on my heart and I was happy that was happening.

If tender.

Very tender.

Sometimes I completely forget.

Then I see something and it’s all there, the last 22 months, the first six months, the laugher, all the conversations, all the sweet nothings (which meant everything) whispered in my ear.

All the amazing sex.

Fuck the sex was good.

But if it was just all about the sex it wouldn’t hurt the way it has and does.

He and I both acknowledged that many times over the last year when we were really trying to figure things it.

It was that we were also best friends and that is a huge loss.

My person I talk to every day I haven’t spoken to in eight days.

Eight.

It feels like a lifetime.

I can’t imagine going another eight.

Yet.

I figure that is just what is going to happen.

Day after day will go by and one day I won’t miss him.

And one day I will be with the person who fully wants to be with me, can meet my needs and doesn’t have anything holding him back.

I don’t know when that day is, I’m not looking forward to it, I just know it will come.

The day I forget to miss him.

That is really not now.

I get broken up watching crows right now.

There was a joke he told me once, it was rather dark and a bit grim and funny as fuck and he said something about “like a crow laughing at a funeral,” and I just got it stuck in my head.

Thing is.

I like crows.

They’re smart, clever, live in social groups (appropriately called “murders”) and they mate for life.

I was fond of us being crows symbolically.

And of course two freaking crows nest in the neighbor’s house at work.

I see them all the time.

I tell them to send him my love and let him know I miss him.

Desperately.

I’ll see two crows playing and swooping through the air and sort of lose it.

I have a little pile of love cards and notes that I was planning on sending him in the mail, that’s been a part of our courtship, letter writing, and now they just sit desolate and sad on my desk.

There is no one else I can send them to.

I thought about it, but he said no contact by mail too when we ended it.

There really is no contact.

I haven’t blocked him on my phone (I suppose I’m wanting a miracle of change to happen) but social media and internet we’ve had no contact and haven’t been in each other’s social stuff for a while.

I was thinking about him a lot on Friday and missing him and also feeling a little lost thinking about a new client I have.

A couple.

And how I was going to see them the next day and some things I wanted to bring into the session and then I had the voice of doom pipe up in my head.

“How can you be a good couples therapist if you can’t even stay in a relationship?”

Cue some deep sighs and teary eyes, although I didn’t shed any tears.

Instead I directed my attention to the assignment I needed to do for my Creative Arts in Leadership class.

Which was about making a mask of my inner leader after having listened to a guided meditation.

I won’t get into all the details but to say I was instructed to have a question for my inner leader and I decided to go for that one, being a couples therapist who had failed at love.

It took me a while to get into the meditation, partially because it required me to be still and I know me, when I am still the feelings come and sure enough there they were, all marshaled up ready to let me know how much I missed him and how sad I was.

Sigh.

But I got through it.

To sum up the mediation we walked through a woods and came to a clearing and there was a structure there (for me a cottage in the middle of a big wildflower meadow, with a round door and a chimney jutting from the roof and lead paned windows) that we had to approach–our inner leader was there.

Mine opened the door before I could knock.

A beautiful older woman in her mid-sixties, with long silver-grey hair in braids wearing a simple sleeveless cotton shift, her arms and torso covered in blue woad tattoos.

I crossed the threshold and handed her my heart, I didn’t know until that moment I had been carrying it through the woods in my hands.

It was blackened and ravaged by crows.

I asked her how could I possibly be a good couples therapist if I had lost my love?

She didn’t say anything, simply took my heart and held it up to her face with a gentle smile and kissed it.

At once it turned into a beautiful shining apple.

She handed me back the apple and indicated that I should eat it.

I did and instead of going into my stomach the apple went into the empty space where my heart had been.

It took root at once and an apple tree immediately sprang forth loaded with shimmering apples in the golden sun.

I realized that the gift of the pain was a gift of experience I could give back to others.

It was sublime.

It was surprising and I came out of it with a grace and softness that I had not had going in.

I sat down at my desk listened to some Johan Sebastian Bach Cello Sonatas and made my mask.

Then, as per my assignment instructions, I wrote in my journal about the experience.

As I was wrapping it up, the voice of my inner leader spoke up, “who wants a couples therapist who’s never had their heart-broken?”

I scrawled that down in my journal and I knew it was true.

My life experiences are gifts that I get to give to my clients.

They may not accept them, that is not for me to decide, but I can offer them my experience and I believe it is valuable beyond words.

I’m still sad.

I miss my love so much.

But I also know the value of my experience.

Deeply.

I’ve never had my heart-broken before.

He was my first true heart-break.

Now I know.

Now I really know.

How bad it hurts.

Baby.

It hurts so bad.

 

 


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