Archive for the ‘PhD’ Category

Small Steps

January 6, 2019

Almost, even, baby steps.

But steps nonetheless.

I have not been exercising for a while.

Not that I’m super out of shape, work five days a week as a nanny, picking up toys, the baby, who is now no longer a baby at two years old, the six-year-old and the almost nine-year old, up and down steps, over to the park and back, and you’ll stay in decent shape.

However.

I haven’t really exercised much since I moved into my new digs.

I’ve been here now three and a half, almost four months.

Part of it is that I’m in a PhD program and the majority of exercise there is lifting a book and turning the page or fretting about having to write a paper.

I’m sure the anxiety of walking through my first semester of the program wore off a few calories, but not really in a way that was healthful for me.

I have been thinking a lot about exercise, partially because a dear friend of mine keeps sending me messages about going to this or that yoga/dance party class.

I keep saying no.

And.

I keep saying I want to.

I don’t actually like exercise.

Until after I’ve done it and then I’m all like, why the fuck don’t I do this more often.

Of course, that feeling often fades and exercise becomes a bit of a chore, but I also know, rather well at that, that feeling better is important.

It’s not just my body that feels better.

It’s my brain.

My brain needs the break from thinking.

Sometimes I just need to get into my body and exercise is a great way to do that.

One of the things I have been telling my friend is that it’s a scheduling thing.

I just can’t see myself getting up early and heading across town to do a yoga class then hauling ass back here and getting ready for work or for seeing clients.

Nothing is convenient.

I looked at pools last night, which I have done enough times to know that it really is a haul to get anywhere that has a pool.

Then I fret about how long it will take to deal with my hair.

My hair is a serious thing.

Not that I do a lot with it, per se, just that I have a lot of it.

In fact, I think my hair is the longest its been in years.

I love my hair and it’s actually easier to deal with when it’s long, I don’t do much with it, it’s just that it takes a long time to de-tangle, wash, condition, and dry.

I have naturally curly hair and if I don’t treat it right it goes bonkers.

So swimming, though imminently appealing is not always the best option for me where I’m living and with the schedule that I keep.

Then.

This morning I had a dear friend over for coffee and he mentioned the gym down the street.

Yeah.

Yeah.

I know.

There’s a gym around the corner.

I walked past it on Christmas Eve at sunset when I went for a little stroll around the block and I noticed it.

And it’s been taking up a little corner of my brain for a while now, but until today I wasn’t really taking it seriously.

My friend happened to park next to it and talked to me about it and how it was a key pad punch in and that it didn’t look busy and that it seemed really reasonably priced and wow was it close.

My friend doesn’t have a gym that close to his place and he works out frequently.

I knew when he was talking to me about it that it was the answer and I had also gotten an e-mail at the turn of the New Year regarding the gym as it was part of the mailing list I got popped on for my old yoga studio.

Too many signs saying, ahem, you want convenient and fits in your schedule?

Here you go.

So.

I went online and found out that it really is quite reasonable and there’s a student discount and I could get a membership for $55 a month.

Which is $30 less than I was paying for my yoga studio.

But I don’t have work out shoes, my brain tells me.

Buy them, you twit.

Today after my friend left I headed to the Mission to see clients and I had nothing really to do until my 7p.m. commitment and I thought, you know, there’s that place in the Inner Sunset that has a pretty good athletic shoe selection.

I went.

They didn’t have anything that worked for me, but I had the idea in my head and I knew when I got home that I would just go online and order a pair of shoes.

I had transitioned to Saucony running shoes when I hurt my ankle about five years ago now, and I wore the hell out of them for a while and I know what size works for me.

Plus.

Oh yeah.

I have an Amazon gift card my employers gave me for Christmas.

Voila!

Free athletic shoes.

And the decision to go to the gym and get a membership as soon as the shoes arrive.

I’m thinking I could even lose a little weight, not that I need to so much, but I wouldn’t mind dropping one more pant size.

“You just keep getting skinnier and skinnier,” my friend said over coffee this morning, “what are you doing?”

Not much, honestly, obviously not working out.

But when I had all the issues with the reflux I cut a few things out of my diet.

I stopped eating a hard-boiled egg in the morning with my breakfast and I stopped having a snack at night.

I think that was really about it.

I’m just basically eating less.

I don’t think I’m still losing weight, but it was nice to hear that from my friend.

I also don’t see myself very clearly.

I will often see myself as heavier than I am or think that I am bigger than I am.

Partially because, well, I was for a very long time in my life.

Anyway.

Here’s to baby steps and ordering new work out shoes and making the decision to join a gym.

A gym!

Ahahahaha.

I am now one of those people who joins a gym in January.

This isn’t really a resolution though.

More like an intention to do just a little more self-care.

The next semester will bring much work with it and I sense that having an outlet will help me deal with the homework.

And maybe.

You know.

Look sexier in a pair of jeans.

Heh.

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The Good Enough

January 1, 2019

Paper.

I got a message yesterday as I was winding up the laundry and gathering it from the dryer at the mat up the way on Balboa.

It was a message from one of my professors.

I have already begun reading for the next semester, three of my text books have landed in my mail box, and I wasn’t really thinking anything about the message other than maybe he’d gotten my grade in early.

That was not the message.

No.

Fuck my life.

The message basically said it looks like the final paper you sent in was a draft and not the final copy and it is full of typos and ends abruptly and doesn’t answer the questions that I wanted answered and makes me wonder if you understood the scope of the material in the course.

Holy shit, what?!

I was flummoxed.

First, that I had sent in a draft?

I never do that.

I am scrupulous about doing a spell check and when he said “typos” I was really curious about what it could be.

I was also pressed for time as I was supposed to go meet up before doing the deal in the Castro and I had only so much time, not enough, surely to look up the paper and see what I had sent in and remedy it.

I scrambled my laundry home to my house, I had fifteen arguments in my head with my professor, I got upset with myself, I started thinking about the paper I had written and internally I knew, the prof was right on at least one point, I hadn’t really written a paper that was outlined in the directions.

I had deviated and written something that I wanted to.

My professor had also noted that though it was “fascinating” it didn’t address a lot of the topics that he wanted covered.

And that bit about me not understanding the scope of the material?

Well fuck off.

Did you not read all the freaking discussion posts I put up?

I mean.

Fuck.

I did substantial, 1,000 word plus discussion posts, on a weekly basis, two, three, four times a week.

I understood the scope of the fucking material.

I was mad.

I was also mad at myself.

How could I have sent in a draft?

What was I thinking?

I also had a vague recollection of actually being rather proud of the paper I had sent in, though no, it was not written in the way he wanted, it was well written and I felt that in my own way I had actually answered all the parameters of the paper.

I sent him a message and apologized for the paper, told him I had a standing appointment to meet up with my person and I had to do the deal after and then I’d get right home and get on figuring out what had happened.

I teared up a bit, I imagined I was going to have to do a load of work, my brain went right to the worst thing ever.

I was failing the class and what the fuck was I doing even bothering to try to get a PhD?

I was in over my head.

I was tired.

I didn’t want to re-write the paper, was I going to have to re-write it?

But I loved my paper, I really had liked it and I had spent more than one day on it.

Quite often I will write a paper in one shot and then edit it and send it out.

I did this one in two days, I felt like I should have been getting a pat on the back and a “how clever are you?” comment about my paper, not some insinuation that I didn’t understand the course work.

I was incensed and upset.

I cried big raccoon eyed tears when I made it to the Castro and basically wet down the table at Firewood Cafe with my weeping.

I couldn’t believe I had actually worn not just eyeliner, but also mascara and not the waterproof kind.

I looked a little beat up when I left.

I got down to it though with my person and came to the conclusion that.

1. The professor was right, I hadn’t written the paper the way he had assigned it.

2. I was being arrogant.

3. I didn’t have to get an “A” in the course.

4. All I had to do was pass the course.

5. I was fucking tired and overwhelmed and I didn’t have a whole lot in me.

So after a lot of getting humble and admitting that I may have turned in not the best paper I could, whilst also admitting that I was beating myself up a little too hard, I left the Castro, came home and looked up the paper.

OHMYFUCKINGGOD.

It was like the draft of the draft.

It was awful.

I don’t have a clue how that got past me.

All I could think was that I had updated my computer at one point and maybe that was it.

But it was true, the version I had sent to my professor was a hot mess, typos, misspellings, the last page was missing, the paper ended in a super abrupt way and I had also pasted the directions in the paper so that I could refer to it when I wanted to.

But you don’t send that in to the professor!

Ugh.

I spent some time trying to find the final draft and there wasn’t one saved on my computer.

So.

I made the decision to not re-write the whole thing, I still was holding onto the idea that I wasn’t that in the wrong with the content of the paper and he had said it was fascinating.

I cleaned it up, re-arranged a few pieces, wrote out the last page that had been missing and sent my professor an e-mail apologizing for the draft that had ended up in his e-mail.

I also defended what I wrote, but admitted that yes, he was right and I hadn’t done the paper by the guidelines he’d given.

I said if there was anything else I needed to do for the paper I would happily do it.

I sent it out and crashed out early, I was wiped out emotionally and mentally.

There was nothing in my e-mail when I woke up.

I spent much of the morning thinking that I might be spending my New Years Eve writing a ten page paper on a topic that I had basically shelved eleven days ago.

Then.

OH!

Sweet relief.

I got an e-mail this afternoon saying that he’d gotten the new copy, that he understood that it was a mistake getting the first one, that further, he understood why I had written the paper I had and that I didn’t have to do anything else, and happy new year.

HAPPYFUCKINGNEWYEAR!

Sweet Jesus.

What a freaking relief.

I don’t even care what the grade is that I get.

I am certain I will pass.

The paper was good enough.

And I can now say, with finality that this semester is over.

Which is good since I’m doing reading for the next one at this point.

Not tomorrow though.

Tomorrow is a holiday and I will treat it as such.

Grateful as all get out that I made it through this year.

It was one hell of a ride.

Seriously.

Today I Ate

December 25, 2018

An entire book.

I mean.

I consumed it.

I chopped it up and snorted it down like it was some sort of happy drug.

I haven’t read fiction in so long it was an aphrodisiac.

I still feel a little high.

I did just like I said I would and I slept in this morning.

I woke up at 9:45 a.m.!

Holy Toledo.

I cannot remember the last time I slept that late.  I mean, maybe the ARTumnal Airpusher after party silent dance rave I went to in November, but even the day after coming home from a night of carousing and dancing I was still up by 8:30a.m.

I think.

So this morning was nuts.

I believe it was partially, at least this is my excuse, not that I need one, that it was so clouded over.

Dark and stormy.

Grey and misty and wet.

True San Francisco winter weather, not exactly rain, but mist and wind and rainy and all-pervasive.

San Francisco rain doesn’t really always come straight down, it seems to enwrap you and get everything soaked.

Without directly raining all that much.

So I slept in.

I might have even slept longer were it not for the siren song of my bladder yelling out about the big mug of tea I had before I went to bed last night.

I got up and was leisurely.

Like in a major way.

I think it was 11:30a.m. before I actually sat down for breakfast.

A phone call from my best friend was partially the reason, but mostly, I was just going slow and easy.

I enjoyed my late breakfast and wrote a ton.

A lot.

It was lovely.

And though I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, I did know I was going to need to make a run to the grocery store and maybe see what was playing at the Balboa Theater, which is just up the road from me.

Unfortunately I’d already seen one of the movies and the other I am planning on seeing tomorrow.

But.

La Promenade Cafe was open and so I took my book and settled into a big leather arm-chair by the front window and sank into my story.

I bought this book last summer, a few weeks before I was to start my fall intensive for school.

A day before I got my first text-book in the mail for said intensive.

I only read a few of the stories, it’s a collection of shorts from A.M. Holmes called Days of Awe.

I really like her work, I’ve only read her novels and was happy to find that the shorts were just as compelling and in a way very interwoven, so it felt like I was reading a novel in a way.

I read at the cafe and listened to music and people watched and thought how nice it was to actually be in a cafe in my new neighborhood.

The first time since I’ve moved here since mid-September that I actually did something other than laundry in the neighborhood.

It felt a little like getting settled.

I did another first today too, this one may surprise you, although it shouldn’t considering how busy I keep myself.

I went for a walk around my neighborhood!

Yeah.

I know.

I really haven’t done any walking, unless it was from my car to the house or from the house to my car.

I had gotten back from the cafe, unloaded my groceries, roasted a chicken, made a late lunch, sat on my couch, watched the rain, ate brown butter brussels sprouts and hot roast chicken and listened to Coleman Hawkins.

It was delicious.

The food.

The music.

The rain on the windows.

It felt outside of time, I couldn’t remember what day of the week it was, Sunday, Monday, it all blended together.

My tree looked pretty, I lit candles, it was so cozy.

Then the sun burst out for a few minutes and I thought I should go for a sunset walk.

I quickly bundled up, there was only a few minutes before the sun was going to set, and I walked out the door on 48th and down Balboa towards the sea.

As I got closer, I realized that there was a path that I hadn’t seen before and what do you know, it’s actually a little park!

Sutro Dunes!

I had no idea.

Sweet little wood slat path along the base of the grass and flower covered dunes.

In the twilight it was deeply moving and full of divinity.

It felt really good to just do a little stretch around the neighborhood, to see the Cliff House hanging like an ornament over the ocean, to smell the fresh washed air, to just be.

I am pretty lucky when I think about it.

I live by the ocean.

It is literally a block away from my house.

Although I don’t get down to it as much as I would like, it is always a solace to me and I see it every day when I leave in the morning.

I always say hello.

I am in perpetual awe of its beauty.

And I am not often home at sunset to ponder it.

It was a really lovely little gift to me.

I got back to the house right before the rain began again and settled back on my couch, my first day of really sitting on my couch too!

My first day really using my coffee table like a coffee table.

I drank a second homemade cafe au lait, so decadent to have two in one day at my house, and I read more of the book until I left to go do the deal up at 7th and Irving.

Which was also just marvelous.

Ran into some much-loved fellows and heard exactly what I needed to hear.

Came home, heated up dinner.

And yes.

Yes I did.

I ate the rest of the book.

I read 288 pages today.

It was not a chore.

It was the best feeling.

And guess what?

One of my text books for the next semester did come in the mail today.

I did not read it.

I was tempted.

But I realized, did I want to leave the A.M. Holmes until next summer?

Or was it actually ok to let myself have Christmas Eve without homework?

It was ok.

And it was so lovely.

Exactly the kind of day off that will sustain me for many weeks as I marshal my way forward towards this next milestone of learning and life.

Gratitude this Christmas for all the gifts in my life.

There are so many.

The best, I dare say, may be my relationship with myself and the life I have been given.

Grace.

That’s what it is.

Grace.

I have been blessed.

And may you be as well.

Merry Christmas to all.

And to all.

A.

Very.

Good.

Night.

Not A God Damn

December 24, 2018

Thing.

Nothing.

I have no plans for tomorrow.

Zero.

Zip.

Nada.

I won’t be doing homework.

I won’t be going to work.

I have no clients.

I have no obligations.

I have no chores to do.

I did laundry today and cleaned up from last night’s holiday party.

I have no party to prep for.

I have absolutely nothing to do.

Except.

SLEEP IN!

Oh my God.

I am not setting an alarm for the first time in weeks?  Months, I mean, I don’t know.

It’s been a while.

I already feel like I’m playing hooky by writing my blog at 10p.m. at night.

I can stay up as long as a fucking want!

Although I won’t.

Because I am a creature of habit and I don’t want to blow my entire sleep schedule completely up.

I will have to work this upcoming week and not all of my clients went out-of-town for the holidays and I have group supervision as well as a one on one evaluation with my supervisor.

But hey.

That’s not tomorrow.

Tomorrow there is nothing to do but rest.

I have briefly entertained the idea of going to the MOMA, but I’m not sure I want to go downtown.

It may actually be the only place in the city that’s busy with shoppers and tourists and such.

I may not want to drive anywhere.

When was the last time I did that?

Not drive anywhere on a day off?

I had also thought about taking a nice long walk on the beach, but um, rain.

Looks like it’s supposed to rain most of the day tomorrow.

I could actually spend the entire day in the house and not leave it and lay around in my pajamas and not put on clothes or make up or do my hair.

I could.

I probably won’t though.

I can let myself sleep in a little, but not getting dressed and lazing around the entire day in pjs feels weird.

Besides.

I don’t wear pjs.

No.

I do like the idea of being up and doing a few things and I will do my normal morning routine, I will just not be doing it to the sound of an alarm going off.

I will wake up when I wake up.

There have been times that unscheduled open time freaked me out.

I have not had it in such a long time though, that I think I will manage to not freak out.

Christmas day I will be going out and about.

Not crazy like, but a matinée at the Kabuki Theater, The Favorite, with my person, then meeting up with a few others for Chinese food at Eric’s in Noe Valley, and then downtown to the Metreon for Mary Poppins.

I allowed myself to get wrangled.

Frankly I’m not really interested, but free ticket and not being by myself Christmas night was enough to get me to agree despite my lack of enthusiasm for the movie.

I do expect The Favorite will be fun, I heard it was wicked good and the previews definitely looked good.

I can’t imagine going out to more movies tomorrow.

Two movies in one day is decadent enough, I could read some books, not text books.

Although, knowing me, if the books I ordered for next semester happened to show up I might actually to get a jump on the work.

But I sense that’s not what I should be doing.

Keeping the space heater on, getting cozy with a novel on the couch and sipping hot tea and staring at my Christmas tree sounds about right.

I might walk to the store and buy a chicken to roast.

I really am contemplating not driving anywhere, although it’s likely that I will go out in the evening to do the deal, I could for most of the day just be at home.

It’s a nice home, it is.

I had a lovely time hosting my first little party here last night.

I had ten people show up and all the chili got ate!

All of it.

I had no left overs at all.

Oh, I had some, but not chili.

Anyway, it was lovely, very sweet, and I felt happy to have folks in the house and I made a pie from scratch, crusts and all, in heels and fishnets over silver glitter tights.

I mean.

It is Christmas after all, I had to wear some sparkle.

I found it quite appropriate to be in my kitchen in heels baking pie with my house full of gay boys and girlfriends.

It was good.

Chosen family.

I felt really blessed.

I have some of the best people in my life.

It was so nice too, to socialize.

I haven’t had much of that what with school and my internship and work and all that jazz.

I even tentatively talked going out dancing with a few of my girlfriends in January.

Not New Year’s Eve.

Total amateur night and way too expensive.

If I were to go dancing on New Year’s Eve I’d actually go to a friends party in the East Bay that’s a big sober event and usually a good time.

But not really sure I want to navigate the bridge on New Year’s Eve either.

The girls and I were thinking a little later into the month, although, not too late as I will be starting back up with school the last week of January.

I basically have one month off from school.

My spring intensive starts on January 24th.

So a few weekends of fun before I have to buckle back down with the books.

Two tops.

I will want to give myself some time to go over the materials before the intensive, there was reading assigned before this semester’s start, I can’t imagine that they won’t do the same for this upcoming semester.

Which is neither here nor there.

I am off topic.

Off topic from tomorrow.

My lazy, do nothing, have no responsibility to anything or anyone day.

Oh God.

It sounds so good.

I think I’ll get started now.

Good night.

Sweet dreams.

And don’t bother calling me in the morning.

My phone will be off.

I’m motherfucking sleeping in.

Seriously.

I MADE IT!

December 22, 2018

Not only did I get through a very hectic week.

I finished all my papers!!!!

I’m fucking done!

I’m gloriously happy.

The relief is serious.

Though for a moment today I got pretty upset when I saw an incoming e-mail from one of my professors asking people to just send the paper to his or the TA’s (teaching assistant) e-mail.

I was like, what?

I turned in that paper on Canvas, which is the online platform the school uses, on Sunday.

Time and date stamped that fucker too.

Sunday, December 16th at 5:16p.m.

I message my professor immediately and asked if he had not received my paper.

And he had not!

I was blown a little off course.

Here I was doing the happy dance of joy for having finished a 10 page paper, a 12 page paper, and a final project with two original poems, an essay, and two recitations of said poems, in the last four days.

Four days people.

I did that all in four freaking days.

Ok.

That’s not necessarily true.

There was some work that was done last week for one of the papers, but the final project and the twelve page paper had been done in the last four days, plus finishing and polishing the other paper.

I was miffed.

Fuck.

I had turned everything in on time and here was the professor who basically created this PhD program saying he’d not gotten my final paper.

Bah fucking humbug.

I sent him a message and let him know where I had submitted it and that I was at work sans computer.

The only freaking time this past month that I haven’t brought my computer and books and notebooks to work.

I went to work, having submitted my final paper yesterday (I was too kaput to post my happy dance blog last night, I barely got myself into bed with a cup of tea and some Peaky Blinders….mmmmm Cillian Murphy, happy to have you tuck me into bed, ahem).

So it was really nice to not drag my book bag and books and notebooks and laptop to work, I didn’t have to.

In fact, I realized later that my load was actually a little too light, forgot my lunch in the fridge.

But.

My.

It was really fine to go into work so unencumbered and not be thinking about what article or book I needed to connect all the dots on my final papers.

I floated into work.

Literally.

I also had the dream commute.

There was no traffic.

None.

And I went into work early, during what would be the worst commute time, but nada.

It was a freaking cake walk.

I got to work in less than twenty minutes.

I sat in my car and listened to French House music and sent off a gratitude list to a friend of mine.

It was such a nice mellow way to start the day.

I also went to my charges private school holiday music show.

It was so, so, so sweet.

It was just such a lovely way to ease into work.

And then later to drive back, have naps, and big snuggles and make homemade chicken soup for the six-year-old with her favorite alphabet pasta and to just have a fairly relaxed night.

Plus.

I had brought the kids their presents for Christmas and I got to watch them open them and all the gifts were met with resounding happiness.

I was quite pleased.

All three of them really liked their presents.

And the family was very sweet with me this year too.

A big bouquet of roses and tulips.

An Amazon gift card for $350.

Hello school books for next semester.

I’ve already spent $149 on one class.

And

I also got a $150 gift certificate to Peal Spa.

OOOOH.

You know I am all about it.

I haven’t been to a spa since, well, let’s say it was sometime in the early part of my second year of my Master’s program.

So, um, a bit.

I’m going to see about going next Saturday.

This Saturday, aside from not having any services available, I’ve got my holiday house-warming party happening.

I am excited.

I’m happy to have a place big enough to host a small gathering.

It’s not huge, so it will be cozy, but I figure not all the people who RSVP’d will actually show up at the same time.  I’ve had eleven people say yes, so I’m assuming half that number will actually show and maybe two of the seven people who said maybe.

I’m going to have a nice little spread.

Homemade chili with cornbread.

Veggies and my secret homemade dip (it’s so good I’ve been bribed for the recipe before).

Cured meat, salami, prosciutto, pancetta.

A variety of cheeses, really good Blue, since I like a nice blue–a triple cream-French Agur being on the top of my list, some gouda, a soft goat cheese, and a pecorino tartuffi that my person dearly loves.

Crackers and olives and pickles and salt and vinegar potato chips.

Tons of bubbly water and stevia sodas since I don’t do any sugar stuff.

Hot mulled cider.

And last, but certainly not least.

Homemade apple and persimmon pie with vanilla ice cream.

I think that will make the folks happy.

I haven’t asked anyone to bring anything and I didn’t say anything in the invite that there would be food, but I figure it’s nice to have a spread and with the exception of the pie and ice cream, cornbread, chips, and crackers, I can eat all of it.

I love some leftover chili, thank you very much.

I sort of doubt that there will be.

Anyway.

So that’s not happening, no spa day for me, but I will make sure I get it in soon, I will have a month break from school.

Not from work though I have the next four days off, aside from seeing a couple of clients int he morning and early after noon, I’ll be free to do whatever I like.

Christmas Eve I’m thinking of going to the MOMA.

And.

Christmas day will be with my person at a matinée, I’m planning on seeing The Favorite, at the Embarcadero Theater with him, then dinner in Chinatown with him and his person and another fellow and maybe another movie after, though I’ll probably bow out as they want to see Mary Poppins.

Please.

Sounds like paying to watch a movie about my job.

Anyway.

Me and three gay boys in Chinatown in San Francisco going to movies and eating Chinese food sounds like just about the perfect Christmas day.

Easy.

Oh!

And it turns out, my professor did find my paper, he just hadn’t looked in the right spot in Canvas (and I thought it was anti-intuitive, nice to have it confirmed by one of the professors having issues with it).

So that’s it.

I’m done.

I made it through my first semester of a PhD program.

Hooray!

 

 

One Down

December 17, 2018

Two to go!

I’m a third of the way there.

I finished, proofed, edited, and sent my final paper out for my Introduction to Transformative Inquiry.

Ten pages baby.

Turned in this evening at 5:16 p.m.

Had I needed to make the 5pm bell tonight I would have made it.

It feels really good to have this paper done and sent in.

I don’t need to post any more discussions on the boards, I can just bow out of the class and move on.

One of my classes for next semester is already live with a syllabus and I looked it over briefly last night, got momentarily overwhelmed, and shut that shit down.

I still have two more things to turn in.

Now.

Granted, tomorrow’s final project, in the worlds of the good professor, I can turn anything in, shall be quite easy.

In fact.

Well.

I almost decided to work on it, but hey, you know, one ten page paper is enough for today.

And that certainly was not the only productive thing I did today, hello laundry, but I figured, you know, give yourself a break.

I know what my final project is going to be, two poems and two recordings of me reciting those poems.

One that I wrote near the beginning of the semester and one that I wrote this past week, here at the end of the semester.

I can do this at work tomorrow.

Fingers crossed the baby takes a nice nap and the parents are not around.

Mondays I typically do have a wide breadth of time by myself at the home, so I figure I’ll just turn it in then.  And should the baby not nap and there are monkeys home sick from school, or the parents are around the whole day, I will have the evening to take care of sending it in.

I don’t have clients on Mondays.

Which means I “just” have work and my doing the deal after work.

And then, heh, it’s my birthday!

Day after tomorrow I will be turning 46.

Sort of crazy.

46.

It feels interesting.

I’ve gotten grey hair this year and have decided not to cover it, I’m sort of going for the Frankie look of Lily Tomlin’s in Frankie and Grace, all wild, curly, grey and silver and white and brown.

I have a lot of hair and the silver whispering through it is not really noticeable.

Well.

It is to me, but no one else has pointed it out yet.

Just like the laugh lines around my eyes are very noticeable to me, but no one else really says anything.

My person always remarks on my skin.

Makeup, thank you.

Oh, I suppose I do have some pretty good genetics, my grandmother on my father’s side looked quite young for sometime and still is brunette.

Of course, it’s dyed, but she mostly pulls it off.

I’m high maintenance in some areas but not really with my hair.

I don’t feel like coloring it or hiding the grey.

There is also this part of me that thinks it adds a little maturity to my look and some sagacity and maybe my clients think that I am a little older and that I have a great deal of experience.

Not that I have actually ever had a client ask me how long I have been practicing therapy, but I do suppose I will get asked.

I’ve been seeing clients consistently now for a little over a year and a half.

It’s pretty incredible.

And I’m good.

I’m not saying that to toot my own horn, but I am and I am grateful for that confidence.

I have built it up by working with four different supervisors and a number of clients, some of whom I have worked with for over a year.

In fact, my first client is still with me.

Yup.

So I get to see what having a therapy relationship for over a year feels like and it’s quite good.

I did some work for my practice today actually, even with the dealing with of my final paper.

Sundays are my laundry day since I moved into my new place.  I don’t have access to the washer and dryer here like I did in my last place (sad, sad, sad face) so I have to go to the laundry mat.

I use the time there to read my text books.

Today as I was loading up my stuff to go I went to reach for a text-book to read and realized.

I HAVE READ ALL THE BOOKS!

I finished the last text for the semester last Sunday.

Holy shit.

I read all the books.

What an accomplishment.

So what was I going to read at the mat?

I mean, I could perhaps blow off an hour and a half on Instagram, but um, no thanks.

And there it was on my desk, a book my group supervisor had given me last week, “Building Ideal Private Practice,” by Lynn Grodzki.

Well, ok then.

I will have some time to focus on bringing in more clients.

I have openings on Fridays and Saturdays, I should manifest some new clients.

I got through three chapters at the laundry mat and did one of the exercises suggested that was basically making an affirmation and writing it over and over again and seeing what negative thoughts arose.

It was a really interesting exercise.

My affirmation was: “I have 25 wonderful, serious, full fee clients who I get to help and empower.”

All sorts of stuff came up as I wrote and rewrote it.

“I’m not good enough.”

Oh hello.

Yes you are, you were built for this work.

“I can’t handle 25 clients.”

Um, excuse me, yes I can, I would actually work less than I work now as a full-time nanny.

“There’s not enough clients.”

Oh, hello scarcity, nice to meet you again.

I kept writing until I ran out of negative thoughts and then after about ten minutes I wrote out the affirmation and what popped out was:

“I can do this!”

Yes.

Yes, you can.

I work really hard and I know this will happen.

And in the mean time.

I got my paper in!

Huzzah!

Separation of Church and State

December 16, 2018

And it finally happened.

I am so grateful to report that after much time, many failed attempts, yelling at my computer, yelling at the WordPress chat help, not literally, although I do think I told one of the people on the chat that I was as computer conversant as a tired four-year old.

I really felt like throwing a tantrum with that chat and I excused myself from it quickly when I realized I might, probably not, but might throw my computer on the floor and stomp on it.

So it is with much happiness and relief that I can report my website, my professional website, and my personal blog are no longer connected.

Oh.

They still are, but not really, not in a way that anyone could figure out and my friend who helped me even made the suggestion to change my face on the profile picture so I couldn’t be recognized that way.

Hence the new icon which is a graffiti photo I took many years ago in Paris.

Six years ago it feels like.

Paris was much on my mind today.

And in many of my conversations.

I went and saw my dear friend Barnaby at his new shop in Oakland, East Bay Tattoo, and he touched up the color on my pink jackalope bunny tattoo that he gave me for my 40th birthday when we were living as room mates in Paris.

We both marveled at how far we’d come since that time in Paris.

We were both trying to figure things out and neither one of us thought that we’d actually be moving back here.

Barnaby landed in Oakland and I in the Outer Sunset.

Six years later he’s the father of two boys and he and his partner own a house in Oakland and he just opened a new shop.

Six years later I’m a psychotherapist, not going to tell you my name though, oh no, I don’t want you finding my website from my personal blog (this baby is dark, no social media, no LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, nada), I’m also a PhD student and I own a car!

I mean.

I remember how I felt leaving Paris when we did, my heart-felt bruised, I felt defeated, broken, I had tried so damn hard to make it work and Paris was not having it.

Not having me.

Although she has welcomed me back with open arms and love every time that I have gone back since.

I feel like I have learned so much about myself from my time spent in Paris.

So my friend and I reminisced and talked about all the things we did there and the conversations and all the things that we have done in the time between and how life is.

You know.

Life is pretty damn good.

Even though.

Fuck my life.

I just found out that my paper is due at 5p.m. instead of midnight.

And!!!

Hahhahahahahahahaha.

God.

I must be a little on edge about getting my shit done by all the deadlines.

I forgot, tomorrow is Sunday, not Monday.

The paper is due Monday.

Of course I’ll be working and not really have time to address the paper, so I’ve been planning all along to have the work done by Sunday night and turn it in Sunday night after I get back from doing the deal up in the Castro.

Whew.

What a goofy little moment of panic.

I was all sorts of mad.

Heh.

Ah.

Breathing deeply again.

So.

I will hopefully be posting on a much more regular basis on my blog now that I don’t have any worry about potential clients finding out about it.

I mean.

Ahem.

My most “popular” blog is about cocaine and vodka enemas, not something I want any perspective client to be reading about.

I know how that sounds.

I never have and never will administer or be given a cocaine vodka enema, but I had a friend tell me a story once and I was so horrified by the idea, I’d never heard of it and I guess it’s actually a thing, that I wrote a blog about it many moons ago and what do you know.

It’s the most searched for tag that leads people to my blog.

I have actually thought about deleting it, but you know, it’s actually well written and it does in fact allude to recovery, so maybe someone out there who happens to stumble upon it might get the idea that they actually have a better shot at life without shooting cocaine up their bum mixed with vodka.

Anyway.

There are lots of other things in my blog I’d rather not have my therapy clients find out.

Like I’ve been to Burning Man eleven times.

(Dirty hippy)

(Sex addict)

(addict in general)

(weirdo)

I won’t say that any of those things don’t apply, but ahem, you know, I’m happy with who I am and not really shy about sharing.

God forbid a client read any of the blogs I wrote about my brief and tumultuous jaunt on Tinder.

God was that a heap of crap.

With one or two shining moments, but mostly a lot of yuck.

And now.

Well.

THANK YOU FRIEND!

I don’t have to worry about it.

I can write happily and freely about everything.

Well.

heh.

I don’t actually write about everything either, you know a girl has to have a few things kept back.

At least for right now.

There may well be a time and place when that changes, but right now, yeah, there are a few things that don’t wind up in these posts and that’s alright too.

I’m just so happy to have my little blog space back.

I don’t mind that it’s gone so dark, it’s like my own little private universe with a few select friends that like to hang out and have a cup of coffee with me and catch up.

I’ve got some followers who know me in my personal life as a real bona fide person, and I’m cool with that, but the rest of the world can keep right on thinking of me as Auntie Bubba.

I’m very.

Very.

Very.

Cool with that.

You Can Take It Easy

December 14, 2018

Holy crap.

That was not the gist of the conversation I was thinking was going to happen today with my professor.

I had been having some trouble registering for a certain elective for my spring semester and had reached out to my professor, who also happens to be my advisor to ask for assistance.

We had a scheduled phone call for today.

Of course.

I figured out what the issue was before the phone call, but only just barely  before, so I decided to call my professor anyway and just check in about the final project I have to do for the class.

“You have gone above and beyond, just great work this semester, I was just talking to Jen (my TA in the class) about your writing, and she agrees, really great work,” he said.

I was so touched and moved.

I thanked him and we chatted a little about the school and the semester and about the registration process and if I had any questions to be sure and reach out over the holiday.

It was such a nice conversation to have with him.

Then he asked if I had any other questions and I did say, yes, about the final project…

“Oh, you can do anything you want, literally anything, do whatever you want, you’ve done so much work this semester, take it easy, relax, turn in whatever makes you happy,” he finished.

I was silently jumping up and down with glee.

I hadn’t gotten as much time the last few days at work to focus on my homework.

I have gotten some done, posted my last big discussion post, but the work I had really wanted to do wasn’t able to get done.  The baby’s been a little under the weather at my nanny gig and his nap schedule’s been way off.

Today, for instance, he was sleeping when I showed up, which is highly unusual and meant basically that he wasn’t going to be taking his regular afternoon nap.

The regular afternoon nap I rely on to do homework in.

In fact, he only slept a bare thirty minutes into my shift, so the little time I did have before he woke up was devoted to household odds and ends and I didn’t crack the paper I had been hoping to address.

So when this professor told me to take it easy and that I could literally turn in anything for the final project, I was so overwhelmingly happy, yeah, I did feel like dancing a jig on the sidewalk pushing the stroller up to the Noe Valley Rec Center.

Interestingly enough.

I have had some inspirations as to what to do for the final project for this class, it doesn’t have to be a paper, although it could be, and I floated my idea past my professor.

“Would it be ok to record myself reciting a poem I wrote during the semester and send that to you?”

“Yes!  I love that, fantastic, and take as much time as you need,” he said.

I let him know I’d have it in by the deadline.

I have turned in all my papers so far on time and I have no desire to start turning in anything late at this point.

I feel like I pretty much got the A for the class, so might as well send it out with a little fanfare and a poem.

A Year of Tears

You pointed out to me

Every time I see you I cry.

I thought about that for a moment.

Then I cried.

Tears slipped down my face.

Do they carve soft channels in my skin?

Do they leave a trace mineral history writ upon my cheeks?

The certainly, the tears, they do, affect my eyes.

Oh.

I could well argue that it is my new phone with its very good camera that shows all those lines around my eyes.

But it shows, those tears, in my eyes.

I have cried over you for over a year.

Yes.

You were right.

I have cried every time I have seen you for a long while now.

Perhaps even a little more than a year.

Though, not that much longer since we have been together.

Apart.

Together.

Apart.

Together for only so much time.

SO MUCH TIME.

A year and  a half.

Oh!

The moon.

I raise my bruised eyes to the sky.

I sing your praises to the moon.

Like a child, I cry for that which I (think) I cannot have.

Longing for you, the moon in my sky.

You say the same to me, that I am your moon.

Your stars.

You talk to me when you are afar.

We talk to each other through the music of the spheres.

The crows carry our conversations to us.

The wind in the trees, a susseration of our words of love.

Each to each.

The avocado tree at work sends my love.

The oak trees where you are pick up the vibrations.

I see you in the beauty of the sunset, in the rise of the moon, in the wind blowing the leaves.

The moon waxes.

Wanes.

We talk to each other from new moon to full moon.

Underneath the Harvest moon.

Through on to the Strawberry moon.

There are many moons, but to me they are all the same, no matter the month.

They are all the Lovers Moon.

And oh.

I love you.

I do.

A secret.

Shhhh.

You may already suspect.

But I will tell you now in all truth, from the bottoms of my feet on up through all the bones of my body, I don’t mind the tears.

Not really.

No.

For they mean I have lived and loved you fierce.

Passionate.

Unrestrained.

With my whole being.

I have loved you.

I love you.

I will love you.

The tears tell me how important you are to me.

So important.

And.

Last night.

Oh.

You held me in your arms.

Such arms, may I always have the fortune to recline in them.

You shining eyes on mine, your kisses showering me.

I knew then.

As I know now.

Every damn day of tears was worth it.

To be, once again, in your embrace

Acceptance this.

Powerful knowing.

The love that matters between the black and white lines of our story.

That is all.

That love.

Surrendered I am to the situation.

For just the being with you my sweet moon brought it all home.

The sea salt tsunami of my love for you shall be the waters I sail my boat upon.

So dear, dear, dear, Dread Pirate Roberts.

I do expect that you will always come back to me.

For true love never dies.

Not ever.

Not now.

Not then.

Not really.

Not until the moon fails to rise and set, to wax and wane.

That moon which blushes with secret admiration for the words we float up to it.

The conduit for our missives to each other.

Telling all our stories of love and adoration, awe and tribulation.

The moon sees us my love.

The moon approves.

 

Is It Over Yet?

December 7, 2018

Normally this would be a lament about the holidays and being overwhelmed with being cheery and bright.

But frankly I can’t wait for that shit.

No.

I’m on the “can this semester please be over yet?” tip.

I’m feeling pretty done.

I have to finish one book, which has been decent if not scintillating material, do one more big discussion post on that book, write a ten page paper, a twelve page paper, and do a creative piece (of my choosing, thank God) that encapsulates the material of one of my classes.

Meaning I have thee big things yet to do.

The book reading is just reading, it does involve effort, but hey, I can sit at the laundry mat on Sunday and kick it out.

The papers are where the big effort comes in.

I mean.

The things that I need to cover are deep and conceptual and complex.

I have to use language I’m just beginning to get the hang of and I have to write on concepts that are deep and multi-layered, plus, god damn, I have just read so much this semester I’m not sure exactly where to go for my references.

I have a lot of them.

I also feel like I’m going to have to go back in and re-read a bit, not heavily, I really don’t see that happening, but I will have to have a good sit down with my materials, articles, videos, books, and discussion posts and see what jumps out at me.

I am very grateful that I did my book review a week early and got it out-of-the-way.

I have already gotten quite a good amount of feedback from my TA in that class and my professor, who also noted that I had very satisfactorily submitted all the deliverables for the class.  I could probably send in a pretty picture and a poem for my final project and I would pass the class easily.

Of course.

I won’t do that.

I do want to do something that integrates my whole experience and I have a few thoughts and ideas to explore before I really have to knuckle down.

But as this project and the ten page paper are both due the 17th of the month I need to attend to one this weekend and then to the other next weekend.

I will use the time between at work for finishing reading and posting to my last, thank God, discussion thread for the semester.

I don’t really want to write the ten page paper this weekend, I really just want to chuck it all and go Christmas shopping.  I haven’t at all and I have just barely begun writing a few Christmas cards.

My mom sent me a message yesterday that both my birthday and Christmas presents are in the mail.

ARGH.

I have nothing in the mail.

Well, except for the three cards I have managed to write out in between supervision this morning and work, clients yesterday and work, therapy and being a therapist, and all the school work.

I am allowing myself a compromise as far as it all goes, since my Trauma training on Sunday was cancelled and I have five extra hours in my day that I wasn’t expecting to work on the paper.

Therefor I resolve to let myself go Christmas shopping on Saturday after clients and appointments.

I will try to do it all in one fell swoop.

I actually don’t have a ton of folks to buy for, so it shouldn’t be too hard, mostly I just like the idea of going out and buying some nice things for people I love and then maybe a little something for myself too.

I am on the fence about Sunday, as far as scheduling stuff goes.  Even with the Trauma training being cancelled I still have household duties to do and I’ll be meeting a lady in the afternoon to do the deal and my person in the evening and I really want to get my Christmas tree.

I am just wondering if I use it as a carrot or if I just get the tree early and then whatever time I have left in the day before I meet my person in the evening I will then devote to working on the paper.

Either way, it will get worked on.

I am not going to pressure myself to getting it all done, but I am going to take a really big swing at it and then give myself the week to let it stew and process and hopefully refine it as much as possible.

Considering that the paper is the only paper (well, I have written a lot in the discussion posts) example of my writing this professor is really going to get and he’s the guy that designed this PhD program, I kind of want to blow him out of the water.

Kind of.

Ha.

I really want it to be a good paper.

Which means I have to not do the whole thing in one fell swoop.

I can do that, in fact, I have done that for a number of the papers for my other classes this semester, but I usually have a plan and the papers tended to be towards creative things that I was able to crank them out.

This paper feels like it has to be a bit more thoughtful.

Anyway.

Enough with the school stuff.

I posted up another discussion before starting this blog, so I can say that with no compunctions.

I want to wrap up my day, I was up at 6a.m. for group supervision before work, and have some tea and watch some Peaky Blinders.

Yes.

Brain Break

December 4, 2018

My head just needs a serious break.

Today at work I was cussing out my classes, my computer, my head, the stack of books next to me and my notebook.

Fuck it all.

I was tired.

I am tired.

And it’s Monday.

It’s the god damn beginning of the week.

And I’m already tired.

oh well.

At least I got some discussion posts up, after much profanity, and I did some follow-up work on a discussion post I’d put up the day before yesterday and I checked in on the responses to my work and responded to a few people in my cohort.

But my brain just hurts.

My tooth is also a little tender tonight, not sure why, so I had oatmeal for dinner and I’m just taking it easy.

I’m not really behind on any of the work for school and my head really does feel like it’s been blown open.

Of course it doesn’t help that a TA and a professor from my most demanding class are demanding some more work in the discussion thread I have done the most work in.

I’m like motherfuckers, I have posted over 5,000 words in the damn thread in the past five or six days, I’m tired of the topics and the demands of the class and where the hell is everybody anyway?  I’m seeing a fuck load of people not even posting or discussing, so why ask me to do more?

Of course.

I will do some more, I just need to grouse a little bit about it.

And that is why I love my little blog and being back here again, I can’t exactly say “go fuck yourself” to my professor on my discussion threads.

I mean.

I did send him an e-mail near the beginning of the semester saying he was asking for an unreasonable amount of work and I still think he is.

And I also see that I am one of the few people keeping up with what he’s throwing at us.

I have to also see it from the standpoint, this is his program, he’s the person who started this PhD program at my school, he created it, he loves it, I know, I’ve read one of his books and enough of his articles to choke a horse.

Sigh.

But when I give it some space I also see that I am learning and learning at sometimes a terrifying pace.

Is there enough room up there in my head?

I don’t know if there is, maybe I’ll forget the things that aren’t so important like math.

Bwhahahaahha.

Anyway.

I’m also roasting a chicken, in hopes that tomorrow I will be able to eat some pretty close to solid food.  I mean, I love some good oatmeal, I know, crazy right, (with juicy, tart, sweet apples, persimmon, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie space, plus vanilla almond milk, come on, that’s some good shit), but a nice bit of roast chicken will be good for me.

I also know that though I am not burnt out, I am juggling a lot of stuff right now.

I almost screeched in joy when I found out that the trauma training I was mandated to go to this Sunday for my internship was cancelled as the trainer had a family emergency and won’t be available.

Holy fuck.

Thank God.

Not going to that training will save me five hours of time this weekend.

I can do a lot with five hours.

I am glad I didn’t know this information yesterday as I pushed myself to write my book review for my Creative Inquiry: Scholarship for the 21st Century paper.  I still have some editing to do for it, but I wanted to get it out-of-the-way because it’s due this upcoming Sunday and what with the trauma training it was going to be a tight push to do it.

Now I have a nice big chunk of time on Sunday to go get my Christmas tree!

I was planning on doing it on Sunday anyway, after the training and whatever work that there was to do for the book review.  But with the training cancelled and the book review pretty much done I can, oh my God.

I can sleep in!

I wasn’t able to yesterday, I had to get up early and run a bunch of errands that were on time constraints.

Sunday is my only day to sleep in and next Sunday if I was going to the trauma training I would be getting up really early to drive over to Berkeley for the three-hour training.

I get to sleep in!

My God that makes me happy.

Sleep.

It is such a nice thing.

I’m going to tell you a little secret.

That’s how I’m doing this PhD.

As much work as I can do during the day, thank God the baby took a big nap and the mom was out of the house at a meeting all day, then I come home and do a bit more and then.

Well.

I fucking stop.

I make sure that I am getting as close to eight hours of sleep as I can.

I don’t always succeed, Wednesday nights are notoriously hard for me to get more than five or six–I have group supervision for my private practice therapy internship in the morning before work and I have to be up by six am on Thursdays and since I have clients until 8:30p.m. I’m not home Wednesday night until a little after 9p.m.  By the time I get things sorted and have a bite of dinner it’s already time for bed and I find it pretty hard to wind it down fast enough to actually get the solid sleep I could use.

But that’s it, once a week I’m shy on sleep, the rest of the time I let myself rest.

My brain can’t hold all the information otherwise, there is just too much, I have to sleep.

Speaking of.

Time to wrap this up, make some tea and get ready for bed.

I have a lot to do tomorrow, therapy before work, work, and then seeing two clients in the evening after work.

Tuesday is a twelve-hour day for me.

So, yeah.

I’m going to let myself off the hook for the rest of tonight, call it a day.

And.

Sleep.

All the good, dreamy, yummy, sleep I can get.

 


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