Archive for the ‘PhD’ Category

A Banner Day

July 28, 2022

Actually.

The last two days have been pretty stellar.

I was reflecting on one of the nice turns of events that happened for me yesterday–I went from owing taxes to getting a tax return–and I thought, hmmm.

How interesting that I was in deep acceptance about paying the unexpected tax bill after an enlightening couple of conversations with a friend and work on my scarcity mentality.

And then.

Yesterday, when meeting with the final accountant before my 2021 taxes were filed, did it finally come clear.

I was right!

Fuck.

I mean.

I don’t often dance about going, I was right, I was right, but when one is unexpectedly looking at dropping another 5k towards taxes, when inside you’d been secretly hoping you’d get a return, well.

I WAS RIGHT!

Ugh.

It was a slogging walk through a lot of discomfort though.

Last week, after a bit of prompting with the accounting firm I use, I finally got a set time to go over the return, sign it and file.

When I got the draft of the taxes I was aghast, upset, angry, and in tears.

How was it possible that I owed money?

Ugh.

Again.

Here I was being really diligent about making my quarterly payments and being on time with it all, and aside, doll, it is your first time doing taxes as a private practice and there’s so much to learn about being a business owner, but still.

Fuck.

I really had been crossing all the “t’s” and dotting all the “i’s” but I still owed.

It was baffling.

Especially because in April the accounting firm had dropped a bomb on me and said, oops, hahahaha, looks like you have to pay more in then we realized, and you only have three days to do it before penalty this and penalty that.

It was $9,302.

I wanted to vomit on my laptop when saw that.

I was beyond aghast.

I emailed the accountant and I asked for clarification and I expressed what a devastating thing it was to have just made the quarterly tax payment, and then less the twelve hours later I was being told I owed another 9k.

I was flummoxed.

I got a sincere apology from the co-founder of the firm, who I had cc’d on the message back to the accountant, an explanation for why it happened and they refunded the $900 I had paid for the service.

Great.

And, I still had to pay the money.

So I basically emptied my savings and did that.

Which was why I had turned down the original Burning Man ticket I was going to get.

I can’t go to the event and be there for two weeks and work on playa and help out and miss two weeks of work after taking that kind of hit.

So.

I gave up the commitment, gave up the ticket, and resigned myself to not going.

Things changed over the next few months.

I had a really stellar month in May and a strong month in June.

July, not so great since COVID happened to me and I had to take a week off, but I had secured a new ticket and gotten my gear sourced and I was ready to go.

Then the tax bill arrived.

I was so upset.

Fuck.

I thought I was going to have to bow out completely from going to the event.

I spent some time thinking about it and decided to just pause, lean into the discomfort, think about what I wanted and act like I had the money to pay the bill.

Which I did.

Even if it meant wiping out the savings I had just rebuilt after the April tax kerfuffle.

I even asked the CPA who had drafted my tax filing about the April payment and got a brush off.

So.

I had done a bit of inventory, a lot of breathing, and got very into acceptance, I’ll meet with the accountant with the firm and just fucking sign and pay the fucking taxes.

And.

Oh.

This is good.

I was right.

The firm had missed the payment.

The IRS had not.

The IRS had a record of it and I accessed it, shared it with the accountant and I went from having to pay in $5,761 to getting back $4,340.

Fuck yes!

I was over the moon.

And the week of work I missed with being sick was now made up for and I’m ok to go to the event and.

Woohoo!

Then.

Today.

I got back the final dissertation draft with all the edits properly executed and accepted.

There was only one.

One fucking edit I could not fix myself and I had to chase after help, but I got it and it was returned complete and done and perfect this morning.

So.

I logged into the ProQuest portion of the publication process and I fucking finished the deal.

I chose how I wanted to publish, Traditional versus Open Source, which means I could actually get royalties (though I will not bank on it), my dissertation.

I filled in all the blanks.

I paid for my own hard cover copy to be sent to me.

And I hit the upload button.

It does not immediately get published, the school will gate keep it one more time and make sure all the edits are correct, then once those final edits are affirmed, they will publish it an I will get a link to a copy of the dissertation on ProQuest.

Holy fucking shit.

This last piece has finally fallen into place.

And it was a harrowing last piece of work.

I cannot even begin to talk about how intense it was to deal with the lapse in holding the administration at my school had.

I will tell you what I did get, however.

First, I got an apology from the head of the Writing Center, then my dean, followed by a profound apology from the Provost, in a 45 minute Zoom call where I went over everything that happened and how the program and the school dropped me and publishing my dissertation.

I contacted the provost when things were fucking falling apart in a bewildering way and she helped push through some admin bullshit that was once again damaging to have to walk through.

She also affirmed what I had experienced, did not gaslight what happened, and noted what I had accomplished, the depth of the work I had done and gave me a beautiful, “Congratulations Doctor _______________”.

She promised to make sure that I would matriculate.

And, once the publication happens I will be matriculated at the end of the summer semester.

Considering how batshit the administration of the school is, I won’t expect my diploma until this fall, but for now, all the things that I needed to do are done.

I just need the manager of the dissertation portion of the Writing Center to confirm I did the final edit and send to ProQuest.

I did follow up with an email, although he gets an automatic email from the upload. I saved it anyway, which I have learned, I needed to do with the school.

Which is how I was able to show where they had dropped the ball and how, I hope, they will not for future cohorts.

I really am ready to be done with the institution.

And.

I am ready for my own damn version of graduation.

Back in May when I walked, when I had gotten the approval to graduate, despite the fact of finding out later that there were things missing, I was also missing part of my regalia–the god damn hood.

The one piece of the graduation outfit for doctors that signifies the degree.

The way it works is that your committee chair hoods you at the graduation ceremony.

My graduation was virtual and though we had a little in person reception at the school, it was weak sauce.

And the outfit responsible for getting my regalia to me never sent me my hood.

I got my hood in the mail this Monday.

Two months after my “graduation.”

The Universe is funny.

So.

I am going to have a graduation ceremony on playa, at Burning Man, at my friend’s art piece, the Museum of No Spectators.

I think Wednesday or Thursday of the event.

The art piece has a stage.

I’m not sure how I’m going to organize it, but a little hooding ceremony, a walk out to the Temple in my regalia, and then laying it at rest there.

It feels right.

I had a kind of dark night of the soul on playa in 2014 that led to me applying to graduate school to get my Master’s in Psychology.

This feels like the closing of a circle and a celebration of all the freaking hard work I did to get here.

From playa nanny to Doctor.

I am beyond grateful.

Like I said.

It was a banner day.

Seriously.

Musings

July 17, 2022

From COVIDlandia.

And what I am hoping is my last day of quarantine.

The COVID test I took this morning showed the barest, faintest of lines.

I flirted with saying, I’m all good, and running out willy nilly.

But.

I figured one more day in quarantine and taking care to not infect others might be the ethical thing to do.

As opposed, to, oh, I don’t know, randomly licking people and running away saying, “I have COVID!”

I have these thoughts once in a while.

I did go outside briefly today, masked, of course, to go to my office and water my plants.

Oh.

Such sad plants.

I felt so bad.

Poor babies hadn’t been watered in nine days.

No one is at the office on the weekend, so I figured I was safe and I still wore my mask inside just in case and no one was there.

Just my sad little plants.

I gave them all a good watering and then shut the office back down.

Next week I will be doing all my sessions remotely, I figure, just be safe.

I don’t need to expose my suitemates to anything.

I do hope to test negative tomorrow.

I had a moment of thinking, ooh, I’ll go swimming tomorrow if I test negative.

Yeah.

I don’t know about that.

Sounds great, but considering the amount of congestion and aching lungs I have experienced over the past nine days, maybe swimming laps is not the course of action to take on my first day back into the world.

I’ll get up and stretch again and do minimalist yoga.

I’ll go for a walk.

I’ll prep food for the week.

I will dream about all things Burning Man.

Yeah.

That thing.

I am going.

I haven’t really written about it.

I’ve been tied up with all things FINISH YOUR FUCKING DISSERTATION.

I mean.

It’s finished, I mean, finish jumping through the hoops that your school forgot to tell you to do even though they approved you to graduate.

Oh.

You’re missing something and we forgot to tell you?

OOPS.

I mean.

The profound apology from the provost helped, but like, dude, I’ve not actually graduated yet.

Which is also why Burning Man is on my mind.

I “graduate” eye roll, at the end of summer.

That is when I will officially matriculate.

I returned the dissertation with the few edits that the writing center indicated needed to be done; for the pain in the ass y’all have been, you could have just fucking fixed them and moved it along, in 274 pages there were five things that needed to be attended to.

Anyway.

I’ll be connecting with the guy at the center who is the last gate keeper to getting it published on ProQuest on Monday.

Pending his final stamp of approval I will then upload it and that’s it.

It will get published and I will matriculate.

At the end of summer.

Which means.

I get to graduate.

Again.

And this time.

I’m going to do it my way.

At Burning Man.

Yeah.

Where my graduate school journey started back in 2014 when I had a dark night of the soul.

I left Burning Man that year distinctly altered.

I quit the job I had been working.

Got a different one.

And applied to graduate school to get my Master’s in Psychology.

I got in and started in the fall of 2015.

I managed to go to the event in 2015, 2016, and 2017–somehow figuring out how to balance full-time nanny job with full-time graduate school.

I graduate from my Master’s program in May of 2018 and went right into my PhD program in August of 2018.

I could not manage the event whilst doing my PhD program.

My first year missing the event since I started to go in 2007.

I mean.

I managed to go even when I moved to Paris.

I still do not know how that happened.

But my PhD program started each semester with a week long intensive and it was the same week as the event and the amount of work that I had to do to get ready for the intensive was too much for me to even think about going up pre-event.

The year I went in 2016 I didn’t even go for the event, I was up for in the desert for four days and left before the gates even opened.

The PhD work was too much.

Not to mention working full time, plus.

So, I missed 2018 and 2019.

And then the pandemic.

Knocking out 2020 and2021.

Although I had people who asked if I would consider going to “Plan B” the unofficial event last year, you know that one that was not sanctioned by the org, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

But.

I was too close to defending my dissertation, I had also just had the first of my two major surgeries, and it was too much.

This year I had been prepared to go months ago.

I was going to help run and manage a kitchen on playa for an art project a dear friend of mine is builidng.

But an unexpected tax bill, what the fuck accountant?!

And the looming paying back of student loans dissuaded me.

I hung up my apron and prepared to sadly not go.

Except.

Well.

There was this day three weeks ago, a month ago, I don’t know, time is wonky for me still, when it was hot out.

Like hot.

Like 93 F.

San Francisco rarely gets hot.

Even now, in the middle of July, I am wearing a hoodie, and it’s not because I have COVID, it’s because I live in San Francisco and fog.

But it got hot that day.

I remember a couple of last minute client cancellations led me to having a leisurely lunch and left enough time for me to go for a long walk.

Without a sweatshirt.

Without layers.

In a sundress.

And bare legs, I wasn’t even wearing leggings.

Oh my, my, my.

Speaking my fucking language.

Only thing about summers in Wisconsin I really miss–warm nights without having to wear layers, sundresses all day long, hair upswept in a messy bun, humid wind kissing your skin.

Sigh.

This day in SF wasn’t like that.

It was more like Burning Man.

Hot.

Dry.

Warm wind.

I was walking down Laguna crossing Fulton, and I was just drenched in sun and hot wind and I sighed, “oh, this feels o good.”

“Just like Burning Man,” a little voice in my heart whispered.

And like that.

Like that.

I decided to go.

I reached out to a bunch of folks.

I asked after tickets.

I received more than a few offers.

Some of which I couldn’t quite comply with the asks, pre-burn, build week, nannying, work duties, etc.

But one of them I could take and so I did.

And like that.

I had a ticket.

And plans began to brew and things began to fall into place.

Like fast.

Sometimes when I know that I’m supposed to do something, everything just falls into place.

If it’s meant to be you can’t fuck it up.

If it’s not meant to be you can’t manipulate it into happening.

This was definitely meant to be.

And although the loss of revenue missing a week of work being sick with COVID has definitely stung, it hasn’t made it impossible.

My ticket is paid for and my vehicle pass and I’m accruing all the gear that I need.

And maybe a few flowers to stick in my hair.

Like you do.

Or, ahem, like I do.

I got some boots, a new black out tent, a folding camp rocking chair, a new cooler, a new parasol, a new bicycle (I miss my old steed, I was looking at old phots of the event and I will miss that ride, but hopefully my new bike will be up to muster), a new queen size air mattress.

I’ve rented a cargo van with a friend that will be traveling in from Utah and I’ll be picking him up in Reno.

He’s got stuff in SF that I will bring up for him, so right now we are splitting costs on the rental.

I almost thought about stuffing my little Fiat with all my things, mounting a bicycle rack on the roof.

But.

Ahem.

A girl likes her clothes.

And also, unobstructed views whilst driving.

So.

I agreed to the van.

Which I think will actually come nicely in handy.

Provide some shade for my tent as well as be a place to hole up in if there is a dust storm.

And plenty of space for my friend’s gear, plus another if we wanted.

Originally a mutual friend from Marin was going to ride up with me, but he’s bailed.

In all the preparing and list writing and chatting with a good friend of mine who has graciously accepted to take care of my cats, I suddenly had an idea.

Perhaps it was a vestige of COVID fever, perhaps divine inspiration.

I realized, huh, if I matriculate at the end of summer, that means I’ll be “graduating” on playa.

HOLY SHIT.

I can have a graduation party.

At the best party in the whole fucking world.

With all the friends I couldn’t have come to my graduation.

Because I was only allowed three people at my weird ass hybrid zoom graduation reception at my school in May.

I contacted my dear friend with the art project and he’s going to help me plan a ceremony at his art piece!

I’m going to graduate on playa.

I am also going to walk in my full PhD regalia–robe, funny hat with the pom, and my hood.

Oh yeah.

Then I am going to burn it at the Temple and leave the institution behind and move into whatever next phase of life I am supposed to be having.

This year is special too as it marks my 20 year anniversary of moving from Madison, Wisconsin to San Francisco.

My best friend from Wisconsin rode shot gun with me in my little two door Honda Accord packed to the gills, rode I-80 all the way to the Bay back in 2002.

We were gassing up in Nevada getting ready to go through the Sierra’s and she said, looking at some dirty hippy with literally a cardboard sign, begging for a ride to Burning Man on the exit ramp to the gas station, “we should go.”

“Where?” I asked, toggling the nozzle of the gas pump to get every last precious drop into my tank.

“Burning Man,” she replied.

I looked at my car, stuffed full of my life and the soft pack of a super sized duffle strapped to the top and thought, no fucking way am I taking all that I own out to the desert in this car.

I laughed and got back in the car and we started to drive towards Tahoe.

My friend tried one more time to convince me, “this might be my last chance to go!”

______________ “I’m not going, it’s impossible, I can’t take my car out there with all my stuff, and I have to pick up the keys to my sublet in the Mission,” I replied.

And then I remember pausing and thinking, how do you know about Burning Man?

I had read about it in a 1995 issue of Spin magazine.

And yeah, I was definitely down with going, just not right then.

“What do you think Burning Man is?” I queried my friend.

“It’s a radical feminist movement where they BURN THE MAN!”

If I could have fallen out of my seat laughing I would have.

In some ways, my friend is actually right, Larry Harvey and all that he is and that they burn a man, yeah, but there is a very heavy lift that the women in the organization have done quietly behind the scenes for a long time.

Believe me.

I have seen some things.

Anyway.

We did not go that year.

But every since I started going, my friend gives me shit, that she missed her time.

She wasn’t wrong.

She got pregnant just after leaving San Francisco, literally that weekend, and then had three boys.

One who just graduated from highschool.

What the hell?

And here I am, almost 20 years later, all excited about going out to that thing in the desert again.

Where I will graduate into my next level of life.

Or just have a quiet spiritual experience while I ride my bike far out into the edges of the playa to look at the stars.

Who knows where this life is going to take me next.

But I’m down for it.

I’ll be there.

With flowers in my hair.

Seriously.

And maybe a glow stick.

Heh.

This Long, Strange Journey

July 12, 2022

Is almost at a close.

Guess what?

I have not graduated.

Surprised?

Me too.

I have been excitedly waiting for the diploma in the mail.

Thinking, in the back of my head, when is it a good time to reach out to my university and ask, “hey, when’s that paper gonna drop?”

Mindful of the continuing weirdness that is the pandemic.

Oh.

Yeah.

Hey.

I got COVID.

CONGRATULATIONS!

What a weird ass virus this is.

First, thank fucking God I was vaccinated and boosted.

It was not a fun time.

And it was kind of fun at the same time.

At least the first couple of days.

It started with some ennui, which honestly I thought, oh, this is classic countertransference, exhaustion whilst working with a narcissist.

Look it up, I’m not kidding.

But in hind sight, I think that’s when things were starting to cook.

My brain, that is.

Later that night, last Thursday, my voice was scratchy, but I chalked that up to screaming in my kitchen.

Like, at the top of my lungs, hurt my throat, scare my cats, kind of screaming.

Why?

Well, like I opened with, I haven’t actually graduated.

Let me back pedal a moment here.

Cue June 22nd.

I am in session with a client on video, wrapping up my morning sessions and thinking about a walk and a lunch break, when my dissertation budding sends me a photo of himself holding his PUBLISHED DISSERTATION.

WTF?

I mean, seriously, I felt like I was in a nasty Twilight Zone episode.

My colleague had defended his dissertation in March, I defended last year, mid-October.

I knew that it was too late in the semester to graduate with the fall cohort and that was fine, Spring is a fine time to walk, if you can call the wierdo hybrid video and reception my school had a graduation.

I did it anyway.

I applied to graduate, turned in all my forms, did all my things, or so I thought.

Yeah.

Ha.

It turns out that there was a missing piece.

The writing center, had not received my dissertation.

I did not know this.

I had somehow, don’t get me started on that, I know exactly how I slipped through the cracks, cue a very emotional conversation I had with the Provost this past Friday, yeah, that’s right, when I was on day two of COVID, but hadn’t tested positive yet (albeit enjoying the mildly delightful low grade fever I was running and doing online shopping for Burning Man. Yes! I am going, but that is another blog), my dissertation, had somehow not gotten turned in.

In essence, the last thing that needed to be done, was not done.

I lost my shit when I saw my friend’s photo.

I texted him immediately, how did you do that?

He told me.

He told me information I had never been given despite asking, oh so many times, for information on what are the next steps, please let me know.

Please.

I have a folder of emails, back and forth and back and forth, of weird little lapses that I kept catching and sending back out to the department, hey what next? Hey, did this go through? Hey, what now?

My friend called me and listened to me angry cry and then sent me a bunch of people to contact.

I contacted them all.

I won’t go into detail all the ways I continued to be dropped, but I did, when I met with the Provost last Friday (after reaching out to them whilst continuing to be demeaned, humiliated, and shamed by the administration–amazing how cc’ing the provost finally got me somewhere), who issued me a formal apology and listened with some disgust at what happened, she also congratulated me on graduating and officially pushed through a lot of paperwork to rectify what happened.

Suffice to say.

This morning I received the final step process to get my dissertation published.

Ironically, this morning is when I turned my COVID corner.

I am feeling better.

It was mild and mellow the first two days, but day three, Saturday, it got scary.

It got scary fast.

I was suddenly congested in a way that spooked me.

I realized that I needed some sort of decongestant ASAP and I couldn’t go out, I mean, I tested positive Saturday morning, so quarantining had to continue, and what to do?

I could Instacart, but it wouldn’t get to me until Sunday morning.

And frankly, when my lips started to tingle and I could barely draw a breath, I thought, I ain’t got that kind of time.

I made a couple of phone calls and a dear heart hopped on a scooter and ran over to the Walgreens in the Castro and picked me up some stuff.

I also had a friend, very gently, suggest that if it got worse I go to the ER, and er, that you might be having a panic attack.

I did recognize that.

I was panicked.

And taking big calming deep breaths was out of the question, I was way too stuffed up, and when I panic, I cry, and when I cry I get more stuffed up.

Suffice to say, I did calm down, and it sucked, and it was scary, but I got some strong decongestant in my system, got some scary Mucinex delivered the next day–had to show ID to delivery person, how weird is that? And between Saturday night and Sunday I slept.

I mean.

All I did was sleep.

And sleep.

And sleep.

I had strange dreams.

I drank tons of water.

I would get one nostril slightly clear and breathe through one side of my nose.

My cats cuddled with me, as they are now.

I slept more on than off for 48 hours.

The last couple of days really were dream like and hallucinatory.

I canceled all my clients this week.

I was holding out that maybe, maybe, I could possibly see clients tomorrow and Thursday.

Not like in person, duh, but via video.

But I have little voice quality and I also know better and though it hurt financially, sigh, I have no COVID grant or loan or buffer with the city or state, all those ships sailed long ago, I knew it would be better to take the time off and really heal and rest.

Model for my clients too, give yourself permission to slow down.

Rest is a radical act.

And then this morning, I got back the final email from the Center for Writing and Scholarship.

They blasted through my dissertation (the one they had “never received” even though I have emails in my dissertation file with the addresses of the head of the department, my dean, the registrar, and the head admin with all the forms and things and what have you, and the head of the writing center) and got it back to me with the final check list edits done and the directions to how to upload it to ProQuest.

I am leaving out a huge chunk of what happened.

Mostly, because I don’t have the energy to replay it. It was a nasty, heart wrenching experience and if you want to know about it we can talk in person, suffice to say when this is done I will be distancing myself from the institution for a while.

And that brings me to today.

The dissertation with the email with very detailed instructions on how to proceed.

I read them a bunch.

They don’t make sense, but so much of academia doesn’t make sense.

And sometimes, a lot actually, I have to read and re-read these kinds of academic instructions, they do not come to me intuitively.

Sufficed to say, I’m finally, now, in the final leg of the journey.

And I have COVID.

But, as I mentioned, it has turned and I think I’m through to the other side.

I still sound like Lauren Bacall after a half bottle of whiskey and a pack of cigarettes.

And I don’t have my normal amount of energy, but I haven’t been compelled to just drop everything and nap for four hours.

I read the email a bunch of times and decided, I’ll open it tomorrow.

I texted a friend who has been witnessing this whole thing and he said something interesting and I realized, am I just here at the very end of the longest mile and not pushing through?

Am I scared?

I suppose.

Perhaps it is perfectionism, I was sent a message this morning that stated perfectionism is “fear dressed up in heels and a mink coat,” and, well, I had to laugh; I do love a good dressing up.

So.

I opened it.

I opened the dissertation and I found an error that needs correcting, on page 52 of 267, and I thought, wow, that’s not bad. One little error.

And I tried to correct it and realized I had only opened it in a way that could be read but not edited.

And I paused.

Not because I want to be perfect.

But because I recognized that is enough for today.

I took the whole week off from clients.

Maybe the Universe had plans for me that I didn’t even know I needed to attend to.

I am going to be gentle and mindful, again not perfect, but also, not procrastinating.

Which means that I have done enough today.

I have begun the end.

And I can get one more night’s rest before sitting down at my desk and doing the final steps.

Tomorrow I do the deal.

The damn thing has waited this long.

It can wait one more day.

I’ll keep you posted.

And.

I’m not going to bother to beat myself up about this, I already played that story out, I’m not going to judge myself, I’m just going to be grateful that I have gotten this far and there is not much left to do. I’m not going to have false humility and not talk about what happened and pretend that I graduated with smooth sailing. It’s been a hideous, bumpy, tumultuous experience, and in some way, I am very well aware that I will walk through this so that I can turn around and say to someone going through the same thing, “see I’ve been there, I got you, you can do this too.”

And as the brain fog starts to settle back down and I’m getting a little fuzzy, I’m going to stop here as well.

I have nothing pithy to add.

Just that there might still be time to take a nap.

Really.

There is always time to take a nap.

That is all.

Your graduation application

February 4, 2022

Has been successfully submitted.

Oh hell yeah it has.

The guy I’ve been seeing helped me double check that my transcripts showed the full credits for my program earlier this week.

Like, super fast, I’m all fumbling around on my phone, don’t know what I’m looking for, can’t find it.

“Here,” he said, “I’m good at stuff like this,” after he watched me bemusedly for a few minutes.

I handed him my phone.

30 seconds late, “here you go.”

And there it was.

My unofficial transcript.

Showing, oh quite clearly, that yes, I do have all the credits needed to graduate.

Fuck yes.

Good god damn.

I’m fucking going to graduate.

With my PhD.

I’m a doctor baby.

It’s still so surreal.

It’s been months since I defended my dissertation, and was named doctor at the defense, but because of the lateness in the semester and all things pandemic, the paperwork did not go through until the second week of January.

And then I was twiddling my thumbs.

What now?

What next?

Let’s go people.

Then I got an excited and gushing text from a former TA saying, hey it looks like school is going to do graduation in person!

“Are you going to be there?”

Um yes.

Hello.

But am I?

Because there were some wonky administration/tech issues with the website and I couldn’t use the graduation application portal.

It didn’t work.

Fucking technology.

So, I follow up with admin at the school and I’m told, go check and make sure that you have enough credits on your transcripts and then when you find out, email such and such person.

Which is what I was doing in the kitchen at the man’s house.

In fact.

It was he who encouraged me to check it via my phone.

I’m so phone adverse when it comes to certain things.

I have all my passwords on my laptop and sometimes I would just rather look at the larger screen and see the big words and images and not be scrolling my tiny phone screen.

Well.

It’s an Iphone, so not that tiny.

But still.

I like doing the computer.

But he was like, just do it now.

So I did, and I drop the transcript ball–why is the registrar page so challenging to navigate!? And then he gently intervened, and there it was. All the glorious credits with all the accompanying “A’s” and I saw I had enough and I emailed the tech person and then I did a happy dance around his kitchen.

And then he fed me steak.

Thank you.

Then.

I’ve waited all week to hear back.

And I thought tonight, well, what the fuck am I waiting for, go back into my student account and just check to see what’s happnening.

AND!

BOOM.

There it was.

The portal was blue.

The screen showed that I was allowed to apply to graduate!

Holy shit.

It is actually happening.

It also asked me to verify my name and how I want it to look on my diploma.

Bring that bitch to me.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans later, give me that damn piece of paper.

I have so fucking earned it.

I am over the moon.

My best friend from Wisconsin may even come out and watch me walk.

And my mom.

And my people in my recovery community.

Y’all come on by now.

I don’t yet know if it will be in person, pandemic fingers crossed please, but if it is I am also hoping that they do it at the same theater that they did my Master’s program graduation.

That would be hella swell.

Because, ha, it’s a ten minute walk from my house!

I won’t have to worry about parking.

heh.

Big sigh of relief.

It’s on.

I’m graduating.

Sunday, May 15th, 2022.

I’ll be a doctor for real.

I Would Follow You

January 17, 2022

To Wisconsin.

He said, underneath the heat lamp at the outdoor cafe.

On our first date.

There have now been four dates.

Tomorrow will be number five.

And that is all you need to know about him.

I would like to spill all the words and looks and the synchronicities and the eyes, oh, the eyes.

But.

I am not going to.

I spill so much of my heart on these pages.

“You wear your heart on your sleeve,” an old lover once told me, “I could never write about the things you do, share the things you do, it’s what makes you a good writer.”

I don’t know about that necessarily.

I think a good writer is just one that writes.

I still write every day.

In the mornings.

Three to four pages, sometimes just one or two, but I always write.

I don’t show up here as often, sometimes I think it might be time to hang up the blog, but I just keep holding onto it.

There is something here still for me.
I am not sure that there is anything here for you though.

I just keep letting you go.

I don’t know who shows up to read these ramblings any more.

I don’t know who you are.

I do know that you still read the words.

Sometimes you search me out.

Sometimes you find me on some old social media post I thought I had scrubbed away.

Sometimes you find me with esoteric search engine terms.

You keep finding me.

And I keep writing for ghosts.

This time.

This time though, I am writing for me.

About a month ago I sat down in front of my computer with too much eye make up on and a bushel of glitter and my hair wild and I did my dissertation presentation for a friend who is a film maker.

It was not as good as when I defended my dissertation and was awarded my PhD, that feeling of being so in the moment and not even realizing the camera was on was not with me when I did it for my friend.

But.

He got the gist of it and he liked it and he said, yeah, we can make this into a film.

It had been suggested to me by one of my former supervisor’s that I make the dissertation into something, a one woman show, a documentary, a film.

He said I had it, that he could watch me present the work all over again, would pay for it and that it was better than a lot of what he’s seen on Netflix.

I mean.

Fuck.

What a great compliment.

And also.

Fuck.

Scary and wonderful and am I really going to do this?

I mean.

I just finished my PhD.

I have a full time therapy practice.

Shouldn’t I just be taking long walks on my days off?

Just looking at the sky and the city and breathing without the pressure of a writing project on my shoulders.

Just walking around and watching the birds wheel in the sky.

Just listening to music on my Airpods and smiling that I don’t have to go anywhere, don’t have a deadline, don’t have to do another draft or edit or more research.

I can put away the research.

I have shelved the books.

I can let it go.

Or can I?

There is something here.

There is a story and I do think there is a movie and so does my friend.

When I started writing my blog, twelve years ago now, I would sometimes get a line of words in my head or a phrase and I would know, that’s my blog.

That’s the line.

That’s my way in.

I don’t actually need anything more than that.

Just the line.

What follows after that line I never know.

I just have a feeling for what has to be written in the next moment, the next breath, the next beat of time.

And I kept thinking about how my friend sent me the info about how to write a screen play and how it should be a certain kind of way and I was like, well, damn, I don’t have the “ending” you’re supposed to have.

But who ever does have the ending that they’re supposed to have?

What if it wasn’t bad timing lover, friend, soul mate, what if it was just that we weren’t meant to be, not really, not ever and we stole something, took away light from the moon and carved out a tiny moment in the soul of the world and hid our love.

But it couldn’t stay.

We weren’t meant to be together.

We never were.

Because we aren’t.

So I let it go again.

Let you go again and choose something else, I look up at the stars, the moon be damned, and find a new way forward.

It is dark and it is new and I don’t know where it’s going.

But when I put my hand on his back last night I thought I might just find a new way through.

And I might just have an ending to my story that has hope.

It may not be the fairy tale ending.

I have had my heart broken too many times by the fairy tale.

It will be a different story.

A new story.

And yes.

It will be a love story.

My love story, though.

My way through.

My way out.

When I chose to walk out the door to my apartment and take a right and not a left and meet him at the corner of the street and take a deep breath and say.

“Hi, it’s nice to meet you.”

And really, really mean it.

It really has been so nice to meet you.

I don’t know if we’ll ever go to Wisconsin.

But that you would follow me there.

Well.

That is one hell of a way to start something.

Something that begins with hope.

Odds and Ends

August 30, 2021

Bits and pieces.

I have not been here in a while.

And while that is not exactly true, I am here quite often, I have not written in a while.

Oh.

A poem every now and then.

I have one niggling at the back of my brain that I should have written on Friday afternoon when it struck me but I couldn’t quite get myself to sit down and do it.

So.

I find myself here, at the keyboard, writing and thinking and sometimes, oh, sometimes, dreaming.

Thinking about you and where you’re at and how is the pandemic treating you, things like that.

Or.

Do you ever walk past my apartment, slow, longingly, thinking about ringing the buzzer.

It happens once in a while.

Someone will buzz my door and I think it’s you, but it’s the wrong time of night or I am in a session with a client and cannot answer.

I do go and look.

But if it was you, well, you are long gone.

Other times I think, you drive by, you must, not that often, but often enough.

Do you see the lights on?

Do you look for the Marilyn Monroe print high up on the wall, the one you can see from the street through the top fo my window where there is not a blind, or maybe the top of the David Bowie book up on the ledge-the one you surprised me with, that you bought at Dog Eared Books in the Castro.

Do you?

I think you do.

But what do I know?

Not a lot it seems.

Even though I keep myself busy with all the things.

School, work, school, work, recovery, repeat.

Week after week.

And thoughts of you.

Urges to be seen by you, drive by and see me out for a walk around Jefferson Square Park, too far off your route even where you in my neighborhood.

Or.

Since the weather has changed, not much, but enough to drive people to the park to catch the sun before the inevitable fogs rolls right back in, see me sitting on a bench in Octavia Green reading a book and sipping a sugar free strawberry soda through a green and white striped straw in a Mason glass jar with a handle; the only drinking jar left in the group I bought aeons ago.

Every time I go to Octavia Green, I think, maybe today he will see me.

Stop.

Park the car.

Get out and walk to me.

Surprise me.

Face full of sun and hope.

Despite myself and all the years.

Four years now that I have had you in my heart, if not always present, no not always present, so not here, just there, over there, on the other side of a hill, watching the moon rise and set from a different part of the city.

Sometimes the moon annoys me.

Stop reminding me of him.

Go away now.

Leave me be.

And yet it goes on doing what moons do.

Wax.

Wane.

Repeat.

Ah.

I digress.

See.

I get lost, in the dreams and hopes, the fantasy and revery.

The longing, sigh, still in my heart a dark romantic thinking up poetry to write about you.

That hit me today.

The fact that the only poem you ever recited and recorded for me, a Pablo Neruda that wrecks me, that I can’t find the damn recording.

I thought I had it in a file with your name on it.

Messages and photos and emails.

But it’s not there.

And I remember the book of poetry I gave you on Christmas Eve last year and how you said, “we should read these to each other.”

Fuck my wayward heart.

Why today?

Why did that little bon mot pop into my head?

You’ve been on my mind.

When aren’t you I suppose.

But more so now than you have in months.

It’s been eight months since I saw you last.

Seven’ish months since your last text.

I was mad at you.

Told you to leave me alone until you figured it out.

Seems you haven’t.

Figured it out.

That’s what I tell myself.

He’s figuring it out.

Gah.

Even to myself that sounds asinine.

Yet.

Hope.

She springs eternal.

Fuck you hope.

I did something yesterday.

It felt feral and impulsive.

And I did not stop myself.

At first.

I did later.

I pulled a card from the metal heart on my desk that I bought for you over a year ago and wrote tu me manques.

“I miss you” in French.

I signed it.

Sealed it.

Wrote your address on it.

Stamped it.

With, oh apropos, the LOVE stamp.

Flipped it over and stuck a crow sticker with a rose in its mouth to the back of the envelope flap.

And then looked at it.

Propped it up on my computer.

What the fuck am I doing?

It was a little like the other night when I held my finger hovering over your private Instagram account.

I almost hit request.

I did not.

But fuck.

It was close.

The card was like that.

I asked God for a sign.

I know God doesn’t work like that.

Not usually.

I threw it in my bag and went to lunch with a friend.

I had coffee and told that friend what was in my bag.

I sat in the park.

I texted another friend and told on myself.

Although to be frank, honest, virtuous, vigorous with my truth, I knew the latter friend would cosign the card.

He thinks we should be together.

“He’s the love of your life, figure it out!”

He didn’t coax me to mail it or not mail it.

He did ask me if it was a love letter.

Sort of.

I walk around with it in my bag longer.

I waited for the sign that never came.

I walked past the German restaurant on the corner and put it in the mailbox.

I woke up this morning and thought to myself.

What that fuck did I do?

It’s Sunday, can I get it back?

And.

You know.

I don’t want it back.

I just want you back.

Same as fucking ever.

Sigh.

My heart.

I miss you.

Je te veux.

Tous les jours.

I probably always will.

I tried to run the numbers in my head.

How many days till the card reaches his PO box?

I mailed it late afternoon yesterday, a Saturday, which means it’s still in the mailbox on the corner, as it’s Sunday.

It will get picked up tomorrow.

Process Tuesday.

Maybe land in your PO box on Wednesday.

Maybe.

But the thing is.

Though I used to mail you things weekly.

I haven’t for eight months.

Maybe longer?

Do you even check the mail there anymore?

I wanted to send you a chip on your anniversary.

I didn’t.

I wanted to send you a birthday card on your birthday.

I didn’t.

I wanted to let you know when I landed in the ER.

But I couldn’t.

No other sound is quite the same as your name

Good grief.

I should stop listening to music, I get smacked with the sads sometimes.

Anyway.

I really tried to not reach out.

I deleted your number in my phone.

I don’t email you.

But I come close.

I thought.

I just have to make it through my dissertation defense.

I just need to heal from my next surgery in October.

And how long.

How long before you figure it out?

Or I do.

“Why can’t you be with him?” My friend asked.

I told him all the things and he just sighed, “I don’t like how this movie ends, you’re supposed to be together.”

You would think that.

I have only had one soul mate.

You.

I have only really loved one man.

You.

But sometimes you don’t get to be with the one you love.

I’ve read a lot of books, that seems to happen an awful, awful, awful lot.

It’s only in movies, spun sugar fairy tales, that we end up together.

And I swear we were our own little movie, the romance of it all was horrendous.

Heartbreaking.

And so delicious.

I remember one of the last things you said to me about Sabrina and Nick.

“That’s us.”

And I freaked out.

“They die at the end and get to be together in the afterlife! Is that how I get to be with you, when we’re dead?!”

I think I hung up the phone on you.

I was devastated.

But once in a while, I think, what if you meant what the characters said to each other.

“We’re end game.”

Is that what you meant?

That somehow we end up together, in the end?

I sure hope so.

I suppose I shouldn’t have wrote the card.

Had some fucking restraint.

But I didn’t.

Maybe I’ll regret it.

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Maybe I’ll regret writing another sad lonely hearts club blog about a man who is just there, over the hill, but not here where my heart beats still with longing and thoughts of what if, oh what if?

Sometimes I think that maybe it’s just this down time.

This little whiff of time after turning in my dissertation to my committee, this little jot of time before I have my final push to finish my PhD.

Maybe I’ve had a little more time than usual.

And the grief it sank in and got me again.

I suppose I shouldn’t take actions out of sorrow.

But that wouldn’t be very poetic.

Now would it?

The deed is done and I can’t take it back.

You’ve got mail.

It’s A Good Thing

January 18, 2021

To write.

I am making an effort to get my blogging back on.

This is not a New Year’s resolution, seems late in the month for that shit anyway.

I can’t remember the last time I made a resolution.

I like my life.

I don’t feel compelled to do some big self-improvement.

Granted.

There are some things I would like to do a bit more.

Definitely a little more exercise.

Being housebound with the pandemic and also not nannying and sitting my office chair for eight or nine hours a day has left me feeling a smidge out of shape.

So.

More outside time, more walks and more bicycle rides.

Especially since I took my trusty whip into Valencia Cyclery yesterday and got her nice and tuned up–adjusted the headset and got a new silver Izumi chain.

She rides like a dream.

I’m committing to at least two bicycle rides a week, maybe three, and more walks.

I have been walking, though I feel like I could just keep that up as much as possible.

My whip all dolled up with a new silver Izumi chain.

I’m alone a lot, who the fuck isn’t, with the pandemic and shelter in place.

At least getting outside I see people in real time, rather than Zoom time.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the fuck out of Zoom, I get to meetings, I work with clients via video, I am grateful.

But it is not the same as seeing people in the flesh.

Even if they’re masked.

I recently had a friend move to the neighborhood–literally two blocks away! And I’m excited to connect and get some face to face, six feet away, and do some walk abouts in the hood.

I’ve recently ended the relationship, again, god, I am done with it.

Really.

Done with it.

No more.

Move on.

Move the fuck on.

Be available for something true and sustainable and transparent.

The holidays were tough and I realized I’d compartmentalized a lot of my feelings since reconnecting with my ex, mostly because I so desperately needed human connection, but after opening up Christmas gifts alone I really broke down.

Plus.

That night, Christmas night, an old friend reached out to me from L.A. and asked how crazy would it be if we went on a date.

Holy crap.

That was from left field.

He’s also had some experiences dating women coming out of bad marriages and/or divorces and he pretty much shared that he’d recently turned someone down due to that and how really unavailable they were and it resonated a bit too much.

I teared up.

I divulged some of the ups and downs of the past few years and we commiserated.

He also made a play for me and made it pretty clear he’d like to connect.

Granted we’ve not talked more than ten minutes on the phone since that time and scattered texts, AND, he’s in LA, so long distance and on fire with COVID right now, so not really anything coming of it.

Except.

How much my heart longs for an honest, out in the open, committed monogamous relationship.

It led me to have no contact with my ex for a week–also because I had to study, had to, for my LMFT exam.

That was some crazy.

I grinded for a good week on the studying.

I already had been studying for weeks, six at that time, put in a total of seven, but that last week prior to the test I probably put in about 40 hours of study.

On top of seeing my full client load.

I was bonked.

I turned off my phone.

I deleted Instagram off my phone.

I saw no news.

I had already deactivated Facebook.

It was just me and the study guide from The Therapist Development Center.

And.

It worked!

I passed!

I passed!

I passed!

So freaking grateful.

I took the exam on Wednesday, January 6th, the same time as the idiocy that was breaking out in D.C.

Not that I knew anything.

I was in a box on the fourteenth floor of 201 California Street downtown and had nary a clue what was going on.

Thank goodness.

I mean.

I found out soon thereafter, but I was so foggy brained after taking the four hour exam that not much registered until the next day.

I texted a bunch of folks my news, including my guy, and I thought, after a week of no contact I would get back more than, “Congratulations beautiful.”

But that’s what I got.

And I knew that we were going to end.

And that it was over, yet again.

And that’s ok.

I mean.

I have to forgive myself and accept my messiness and let go of the sadness.

I believe that some part of me thrives on that sadness, or is comforted by it, and all the old story lines of unrequited love and yada, yada, yada.

No more.

Free.

Out to the world.

Masked.

But out.

And writing again.

Not just because of the ending of the relationship, partly yes, but because God’s given me this time that I needed, desperately needed, to work on my PhD study.

I put it way on the back burner to teach Psychodynamic’s at CIIS this fall and then I had myself immersed in my studying for the LMFT exam.

Now that I have finished teaching and am “just” working as a psychotherapist, I am dropping deeply into doing the work necessary to catch up on the time I lost for my study.

Every day I have been doing a little bit.

I just keep telling myself that I have to do a little every day.

And today, I also recognized, as I was combing through some old blogs for data, that I also have to get my writing chops back on.

It’s been a while since I sustained a daily blog practice.

I don’t think that I can do that right now, but I can at least get back into it on a weekly basis.

So.

Pledging to at least sit here and write on Sundays, and any other day that feels sutainable.

Continue working on gathering the study data and keep doing the work to transition from my agency to my own private practice.

I still am 100% on board for defending my dissertation this year.

So.

I have to get the work done.

Have do.

And.

EEK.

I got asked to work at Burning Man.

Holy moly.

I mean, I don’t know if it will actually be able to happen with the pandemic, but that I was asked, also lit a fire under my ass.

I would love to go and be completely free to enjoy it.

So.

Again.

Show up.

Suit up.

And do the next action in front of me.

This is the final push.

I finish this and no more school.

I am so ready for that.

So ready.

Seriously.

Overwhelm

August 24, 2020

I got hit with it yesterday.

I was on a Zoom call.

When am I not on a Zoom call?

I was going over the lesson plan with the former professor of the Psychodynamic’s class that I am teaching this fall at CIIS.

The class that starts next weekend.

And.

I got panicked.

We had been on the call for a while, an hour and half maybe, she’s also my supervisor, so I was also doing client work, it wasn’t all class prep.

But, the last half hour of it was and I suddenly felt myself totally start to lose it.

Like a slow motion melt.

I should have known.

I was wearing cat eye makeup with black eye liner.

Guaranteed to have an emotional moment and cry, I mean, duh, I should know by this point.

But.

Yeah.

Anyway.

I teared up, I got blown up, and overwhelmed and sort of lost it.

I said, “wait, stop, I don’t understand what you just told me.”

It sounded something like, “PDF, blah, blah, blah, download, blah, blah, blah, upload to Canvas, blah, blah, blah, blah blah, just sent it to you, blah, then you blah, blah, blah, and that’s it!  You’re all set.”

I literally had zoned out.

I am not a great tech genius.

I am ok.

I mean, hey I publish this blog.

Although half the time I just think of it as turning on a light switch, I don’t understand how electricity works, just that when I flip the switch the light turns on.

Same here.

I sit down, I type some stuff, I edit it for spelling mistakes and then I hit the “publish” button.

I have no clue how it works.

You probably know this.

I don’t have some spiffy amazing page.

I don’t understand back end stuff.

My back end is what I am sitting on in my chair.

Basically what was happening was the back end stuff for the platform the school uses for online learning.

Also.

Let me reflect that when I agreed to teach this we were not in shelter in place, there was no pandemic (although there were some weird things going on out in the world.  I do remember telling my supervisor that I felt like something big was going to happen. I thought maybe there would be a dot.com bust not a pandemic), I was going to be teaching in person, lecturing in front of a class.

NOT ON A ZOOM CALL.

Fuck.

So figuring out how to handle the class and transition to online teaching and making PowerPoints (why God why?) and uploading this and creating that.

And fuck.

Vomit.

Shit.

I am the wrong person for doing this.

I am not going to lie.

I wish I wasn’t teaching.

I wish I could just quit.

Technically I could quit.

California is an “at will” state.

I could get fired at any time and I can quit at any time.

However.

I just don’t think I can quit five days before the class starts.

I can be an asshole, but I’m not that much of an asshole.

Also.

Jesus fuck am I glad I did not accept the core faculty position.

The thought of having to do more work like the work I have been doing to prepare for this class makes me want to throw up with anxiety.

I already have enough anxiety.

Which was pretty obvious to me yesterday.

I love my therapy clients, but everyone of them is stressed to the max, hello pandemic, the current political situation, riots, economy in the tank, and oh yeah, the fires.

The world is literally and figuratively on fire.

I have had a low grade constant headache for the last four days.

I hate even complaining about it.

I”m safe in San Francisco, but the smoke is bad, I don’t have to evacuate my home like so many people I know.

My supervisor had to evacuate her home three days ago.

I don’t have problems.

I do have a headache though.

Currently in California there are 560 wild fires happening.

There’s a lot of smoke.

I made myself go for a walk yesterday despite the smoke.

I could only handle being inside for so long.

And.

Yeah, the overwhelm thing and me crying on a Zoom call with my anxiety about getting all the tech crap set up for the class and I was kaput.

I had intended on working on my dissertation proposal defense yesterday and I just had no juice left.

I mean none.

I called a bunch of friends and left messages and tried to focus on listening to others instead of whining about my stuff.

And then.

Oh.

The loveliest thing.

I connected with a friend who also was out for a walk and we literally happened to be three blocks from each other.

I hadn’t seen him since right before shelter in place and it made me want to cry.

He’s housesitting in my neighborhood!

We walked, socially distant, in our masks, through the smoky streets of the Mission District and caught up and laughed and joked about hugging, but we did not.

I felt a lot better.

Not good enough to give my proposal any work, but better.

Truth.

I haven’t worked on it today either.

Except in my mind and in my heart and in my psyche.

That’s my soul.

My PhD work is around healing sexual abuse trauma.

Mine in particular.

And it’s a lot to hold.

I just have to acknowledge that.

When I’m strong and resourced and the world isn’t on fire or in a pandemic or a crazed political state, I am able to do the work.

Right now.

The work is letting myself off the hook.

Resourcing with friends.

Breathing deep (inside my sealed house).

Sleeping eight hours a night.

Watching silly light hearted tv (Glee).

Sitting with my cat.

Calling friends.

I’ll get the proposal done (another PowerPoint, ugh again).

I will teach the class next week.

I will be great in them both.

Because I am smart and strong and I am a good teacher and I will make mistakes and that’s ok too.

I will show the fuck up.

As I know from showing up in the past.

It really is 90% of the work.

The rest is non-judgmentally allowing myself to teach without expectations of perfection.

I’m perfectly imperfect just the way I am.

Recognizing that is the work.

So.

Yeah.

My proposal.

It will get done and I will be ok.

Everything is going to be ok.

It really is.

Hello Again

August 2, 2020

It feels like forever.

And it has been awhile.

But I am still here.

Still writing, though not so much on this platform

I have missed it, but I have also been too tired most days to log in and write.

I write in the mornings still, long hand, my three page a day habit, thank you The Artists Way, thirteen years and still going strong.

I have thought about this though, my blog, the thing that I would do religiously come rain or shine, good day, bad day, nothing really happened today day.

I sort of had a nothing happened today day, with highlights of, this is surreal, though I’m used to it.

Sort of.

We’re still deep in the pandemic and although it’s been five plus months now, there are times I’m still caught off guard with the strangeness of it.

Or that I am estranged from my friends, fellows, family, colleauges.

Oh the desire to hang out with friends at a coffee shop.

Although, truth, I did sort of last weekend.

I drove up to the Russian River area with a friend, one of the few people allowed in my bubble, and we did get coffee at a cafe in Guerneville.  There was no sitting inside, though, grab and go.

So many things are shut down, but when I get the chance to go to a cafe or a restaurant I have done so.

It happens quite infrequently.

I do better weathering things on my own.

I have been very safe and very cautious and kept pretty to myself since this has all been unfolding.

But yeah, a trip to the Russian River and being out in the sun felt extraordinary.

It’s not a big deal typically, but a bunch of months of quarantine and I felt like I was playing hooky, albeit wearing a mask, from the pandemic.

Also.

Just getting out into the sunshine was so good.

San Francisco, got to love her, has been having her typical “summer weather” which is cold, foggy, overcast and quite dreary.

Add that to the general malaise of the pandemic and it’s a bit depressing.

So when my friend suggested we head out of town and get some sun I hesitated, I have things to do (homework, prep for teaching, zoom meetings), but folded as soon as I googled the Russian River and saw the trees and sun and water.

I’m glad I did.

I am also grateful for getting out of the city.

I haven’t been outside of the Bay Area since before shelter in place.

I realized the last time I had gotten out it was Christmas when I went to Paris.

Now, that’s nothing to shake a stick at, but it also meant that I hadn’t left the city in over six months.

I don’t, fyi count Oakland, Berkeley, or Alameda, all places I have gone to, as getting outside the city…they just feel like continuations of it.

Though, San Francisco is definitely in transition, it is still the city, and once in a while to appreciate the city, I need to leave it.

I will go up one more time to the Russian River before summer ends.

Just a quick day trip to work on some teaching prep the weekend before I start teaching Psychodynamic’s.

I’m not exactly excited, truth be told, I haven’t felt like I’ve had much of a summer–my private practice therapy business has been full (and yes, I do know how lucky I am to have work to do) and I have been doing so much psychoanalytic theory reading, my brain feels about shot.

But.

I have finished, as of today all the books that are required reading for class.

I also, I haven’t shared much about this, turned down the core faculty position I was interviewing for.

I found out how much work was expected and how little money was being paid for it and I changed my mind about wanting to work for the school–I was making more money as a private professional nanny then what they were offering for a full time core faculty professor in a master’s program.

No thank you.

I kept thinking to myself that I did not work this hard to keep working harder for less money.

I felt bad, for a moment, when I told my individual supervisor who really wanted me to take on the teaching position, but I realized if I had taken it I would have been terribly resentful with myself for taking on so much work.

Especially since I am still working on my PhD.

It’s been a minute since I’ve been here, so I cannot recall if I have written about that the last time I was blogging.  But.  I have made some progress there.  I have my external third committee chair member and she has my dissertation proposal as does my internal second.

So.

I await their critiques and get to start working on a Power Point (ugh) to defend my proposal.

Once I defend the proposal I will move into PhD candidacy.

I am ready for that.

I am hoping that I will get to defend by the end of this month and then turn around and start doing the study part of my dissertation.

My hope is to do the study this fall and then do the writing for the dissertation in the spring.

I want to put in one more year and be done.

In fact.

That is my goal.

One more year at the school working on my PhD and teaching one master’s class, then I’m done.

I’ve been on this track for five years now.

I’m ready to finish it.

I have it in my sights and I am hopeful that I can put down my head and push through this last year.

I suspect things are going to be challenging with the pandemic continuing to rage and whatever weirdness is up and coming with the pending elections, but I shall keep busy, keep pushing and get through.

And.

When it’s all said and done and I have my doctorate.

I am going on a big fucking trip.

I’m thinking fly from San Francisco to London, train to Paris, then train to the South of France, rent a car there and tool around and then reverse the trip back.

Two, maybe three weeks.

That’s a carrot to work towards.

Seriously.

Another Sunday in Quarantine

May 25, 2020

I didn’t go outside today.

I wanted to.

I didn’t.

Well.

That’s not exactly true.

I did go out on my deck.

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

It has saved my life.

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

Too many people

So many people.

Go the fuck home people.

Sigh.

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

I can make Land’s End in fifteen minutes.

I’m a three minute walk to Ocean Beach.

Except.

Well.

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

I know to avoid the beach.

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

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

But.

Well.

I don’t.

I just stay home instead.

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

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

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

It’s a constant conversation I have with myself.

I know people are getting squirrely.

I know that folks are tired of shelter in place.

Me too.

Me too.

Me too.

And.

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

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

I walk six feet plus away from people.

I walk out into the street to avoid contact.

I don’t go out much on the weekends.

I didn’t go out today.

I don’t know about tomorrow.

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

That’s a part of the problem.

The beach doesn’t get beach weather.

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

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

Packed.

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

Or today.

And what I saw was bad enough.

Also.

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

Everyone parks in my neighborhood.

Or at the SafeWay grocery store on Fulton.

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

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

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

FULL.

But.

There was no line to get into the grocery store.

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

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

And.

Fuck.

I cannot do that.

Waste of money.

Waste of time.

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

I cannot control anyone.

I can only control my own actions.

And those not all the time.

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

Oof.

Hard.

Anyway.

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

I made phone calls.

I had FaceTime.

I wrote a lot.

I printed off the dissertation proposal.

Four pages of instructions.

I worked on my CV.

Very proud of that actually.

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

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

I heard how busy the neighborhood was.

I kept to myself.

I felt much better.

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

I have a big Monday.

I have seven clients.

No Memorial Day off for me.

I’m ok with that.

I am beyond grateful that I can work.

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

I will keep hitting up the Zoom meetings.

I will stay positive.

I will eat well.

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

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

But I did like going out to eat.

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

I will work on my dissertation proposal.

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

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

There will not be an intensive.

It will be via Zoom.

And that’s ok too.

I have a plan.

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

I scheduled my first client yesterday.

I will get through this.

And one day.

Hopefully, not too far in the future.

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

This too shall pass.


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