Archive for the ‘San Francisco’ Category

Get It While

January 22, 2019

The getting is good.

I don’t have much time left.

Just a few days before my next semester of course work begins for my PhD program.

Which means, many, many, many books, articles, discussion posts and who knows how many projects, tears, yelps of frustration, and ranting there will be.

I am assuming there will be much.

There will be moments, I already know this, where I will question, what the exact fuck am I doing getting a PhD?

And there will be moments when I know beyond a doubt that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.

Showing up will, as always, be the most important thing.

I have been showing up first and foremost by doing the reading already.

I am nearly finished with my third book of the semester.

I haven’t really taken a look at any of the syllabi, well, one, a tiny bit, but there wasn’t a sequence of reading listed (I sense it will get revealed at the intensive our first day of class), so I figured, just read as much as I can while I can.

That really helped me last semester, I stayed on top of the reading by having read a couple of the books before the semester had gotten underway.

My suggestion, always start in on the reading as soon as possible.

Always carry some reading material with you as well.

I don’t know when the kids are going to be in school, out of school, sick, napping, not napping, or whether I will be doing pick up or drop off.

My schedule at work is fairly consistent but surprises always happen and the times when I thought, surely, not today will there be any time to read, there’s been time.

And, of course, the converse has happened.

I have really needed/wanted to work on something and I show up to find a home sick from school monkey.

Today was all about the monkey.

I had all three of my charges today as it was a school holiday.

The dad was home and that was nice, he took one of them and I had two of them and we sort of swapped back and forth the whole day.

I did baths, he cooked, I ran two of them up and down the hill to the playground, he did Lego models and took another out to lunch.

It worked well and it was a nice day, especially to be outside after all the rain over the past week and this weekend.

I didn’t get any reading done at work, but I did have a nickel of time in between work and my evening commitment.

I ran to the grocery store and did some shopping and then hit up Tart to Tart in the Inner Sunset for a quick half hour of reading and studying.

I feel like this is going to be a better semester from the stand point of having made it through the first one I know I can do the second.

I got all “A”s and I’m still a little overwhelmed by that and sincerely grateful to have earned them.

I do feel like I really did show up for the classes and did what was necessary and then some.

I figured when I got home that I would do some food prep and write a blog to settle myself down.

I feel like I want to do 18 different things before now and bed time but there really isn’t a lot to do.

I have to get through the next few days of work and I get to see clients tomorrow night and Wednesday.

Thursday morning I have group supervision bright and early, 8:15 a.m. so I’ll be up at 6 a.m. to get ready and be there on time, but after that, I don’t have to do anything but get my butt to the intensive and check in at 3p.m.

I’m out of supervision by 10:15a.m. and my nail salon opens at 10a.m., I’m going to go and get a mani/pedi and then treat myself to some Marnee Thai for lunch–I’ll be staying at a hotel in Burlingame which means hotel food, for the intensive, I figure one nice meal before I jet is needed.

I’m thinking I’ll be packing day of the intensive.

Burlingame is super close and won’t take me that long to get to, maybe 40 minutes depending on traffic.

It is far enough away that I will pretty much be staying there to make an effort to connect and hang out with my cohort and be present for the experience.

Although I did consider what it would be like to just stay at home the entire time and commute back and forth, I figure, I’m paying for the intensive as part of my tuition and it’s required that I attend all the classes, it will be a lot easier to just stay there the whole time.

I mean, Pacifica was where the last one was and that too isn’t too far from me in San Francisco, I could have stayed at home, but I know I would have missed out on a part of the bonding that I think is necessary to doing the classwork.

Plus, it’s good to put names to faces and I’m already thinking about a few of my classmates that I am excited to reconnect with.

Funny enough, there are a few people who at the first intensive I wasn’t much enamored of, but after witnessing how they showed up for the classes I want to touch base and let them know how much I appreciated them being in class.

And you know, it will be good to commiserate with others about the work and life and there’s not a lot of folks out in the world working on a PhD, so it’s community that I will want as I continue to do the work.

It can be a little isolating.

I do, also notice that I miss some of my cohort from my Master’s program.

So.

Yeah.

Two more days in town and then I’m out.

I’ll likely do some blogging while I’m there, but I am not committing to anything.

Last semester was a doozy, I expect that this one will be too.

Good too.

I predict it will be good too.

God lord.

I am really getting a PhD.

Crazy!

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Little Gold Star

January 20, 2019

Today I got my 14th star tattoo.

14 stars.

14 years of being sober.

I decided I need to give myself a gold star.

It’s been that kind of year.

When I reflected on all the things that I went through and all the places I’ve been, I think that I definitely earned it.

This past year I traveled to DC, New York, Paris, and Marseilles.

I graduated with a Master’s degree in Psychology.

I went through a buy out and moved.

That was some serious stress let me tell you.

I also started a private practice therapy business.

And.

A PhD program.

I also got my grades back from said program.

All “A”s.

ALL.

I was a little surprised to tell you the truth, I had an issue with a final paper I turned in for one of my classes and I didn’t think it was going to fly, the paper, that is–I digressed from the specific instructions the professor gave and did rather what I wanted to do.  It was the only paper for the class, although there were so many discussion posts that I feel like I actually wrote seven papers for the class, and I ran a huge risk doing it.

The risk paid off.

So, yeah, a gold star felt really appropriate.

2019-01-19 20.54.20-2

Yes.

It did hurt.

And it felt really right and I was, obviously, very happy with it.

Not only was I pleased with it, but it filled out the space perfect.  I am very satisfied with the way all my tattoos look and really have little desire to put anything else in that area.

Not sure where I’ll put the 15th, but let’s just let me focus on the 14th star.

It really was quite a year.

I walked through some really challenging things and came out the other side.

I reflected on a lot of that today as I went about my day.

I saw clients at my office, did lots of writing, read for one of my upcoming classes for this next semester (school starts next Thursday!), went to Let it Bleed on Polk Street, got an iced coffee for a treat, walked around the Tenderloin and took graffiti photographs, caught up with my friend DannyBoy at the shop, took myself out to lunch in Hayes Valley, had a coffee with a friend in the Mission at Maxfield’s House of Caffeine, went to Divisadero and got my nails done, and then hit my Saturday night commitment and did the deal.

It was a day.

I’m really happy with my life right now.

Oh, sure, romantically it’s strange, but you know, that will work itself out.

Or not.

I have ceased (fighting anyone or anything) trying to figure it out.

I’m just showing up every day and taking care of myself and I feel really good about what I did today for myself and my own care.

I also thought a lot about what I want to bring forward for this next year.

Get through the next semester of classes, add clients into my private practice, travel.

I also want to get through the Below Market Housing Homeowners workshop.

I really am going to go after buying a house in San Francisco.

My friend whom I met for coffee happens to be a realtor and we spent an hour going over what I need to do to get myself in line to actually do that.

She gave me a good idea of how much money I will need to have saved up, which will take some time (or not, who knows, money may fall out of the sky) to save, but I can do it.

Plus that I should get a credit card.

Which I’m not super stoked on the idea.

I had one that I’d gotten last year and then never used as it made me uncomfortable.

But.

My friend insisted I was really going to need a credit history that showed me paying off a card.

She said get one, pay it off every month and always pay more than the minimum payment.

If I do get another card, and that’s an if, I will definitely not let a balance roll over.

I just do not like the idea of having any credit card debt.

I do, however, like the idea of having a good credit score and something that shows I am a good risk for a home loan.

I shall take it under advisement.

I actually tried to re-open the credit card I had closed but I could not figure out how to do it and just sort of set it aside tonight when I got home.

I feel like I did a lot today just by sitting down and talking about it.

I will manifest a house in San Francisco.

See if I don’t.

In the mean time there is plenty of other things for me to do.

I do want to keep a soft focus on it though, always have it in my mind and see where I can expand my awareness of abundance.

I am continuing to practice that opening up to the universe, to the flow, to God, to abundance, I have continued to give away a little more than I typically do.

More tip in the tip jar, more money in the basket, continuing to pay my bills within 24 hours of getting them.

And!

Oh my gosh, this is definitely part of the gold star, I got approved to become an employee at my internship.

Which means that I will start bringing in more money.

I am so psyched about that.

I’m excited for this year.

I feel like all sorts of incredible things are going to happen.

I really do.

Faith.

I like that.

Faith, abundance, joy, honesty, integrity, serenity.

Words to live by.

Principles to underpin my gold star.

And!

Love.

Let me not forget that one.

Never forget that.

Seriously.

 

What Would You Buy

January 8, 2019

With one dollar?

He asked me to write it down on the note card.

Then he asked what would I buy if I won $10, then $100.

Then $1,000.00

And $1,000,000.00

And also.

$10,000,000.00

My friend had talked me into buying a couple of lottery tickets right before New Years, he always does around New Years and at first I balked.

“You’re one of those people,” my friend told me, we were just leaving Reno.  She had been working at a casino in Wisconsin and was driving cross-country with me to help me move to San Francisco from Madison.

“What do you mean?  I’m one of ‘those’ people,” I asked, but you know in my head I think I sort of knew.

“You’re one of those people that they warn us about at the casino,” she finished.

“Really?  Come on, how can you tell after twenty minutes of me playing slots?”  I asked skeptical, but as I mentioned, perhaps there was a little inkling of knowing what she meant.

She broke it down and yup, I pretty much qualified as one of those people.

I still do.

Which is why I’m pretty careful about not gambling, playing the lottery, buying scratcher cards, going to Reno or Vegas for a fun weekend of playing slots.

Nope.

Something inside gets a little wacky.

Gambling can easily become an addiction and I found out later in life that my mom had a gambling addiction in addition to a few other things.

Some things run in the blood.

So when my friend was like, hey just buy a lotto ticket, its tradition, I balked at first.

Then.

He explained himself and I thought, ok, maybe.

I bought two.

I didn’t win.

But for a day or two occasionally I would think about what I would do if I did win.

Pay off my student loans.

And my best friend’s student loans and probably a few friends in my Masters degree cohort too.

I would definitely quit working, as a nanny, I’d still work as a therapist, I think its important to give back and I’m a good therapist, and I think that having something constructive to do is important.

I would travel a ton.

I would go to Paris and take the Belmond Simplon-Orient Express from Paris to Venice.

And I would upgrade to the suite, which is 3,500 Euro for one way.

God it’s a pretty train, all art deco and fancy and stuff.

Then Venice.

Which I have always wanted to go to and have not made it there yet.

I would get skin reduction surgery for the excess skin I have from my weight loss.

I would buy some pretty clothes.

I would buy a flat in Paris.

I would buy a house in San Francisco.

I would buy a house in San Francisco.

I’m going to buy a house in San Francisco.

I have been writing an affirmation now for a few years every morning in my writing that goes something like this, “I own my own home in San Francisco.”

It really has seemed a bit of a pipe dream, even though I had someone tell me to look them up when I entered my Master’s program when I was ready to buy a house.

She was assuming I would eventually come into a decent amount of salary becoming a therapist.

I’m not quite there, but I am beginning to taste the reality of it.

I actually think I can buy a house.

I really do.

Even here.

In the most expensive market in the United States.

This feeling is pretty new to me, only having happened in the last 24 hours.

Yesterday I had  a huge resentment surface around my current landlord.

There is a gigantic water leak in my hallway entry, a leak that was not just drip, dripping, but literally soaking the hallway to my studio.

Granted.

There is not an actual leak in my studio, it’s dry, but the hallway from the entry door to the studio is sopping wet and my landlord happens to be a contractor, I was aghast when it happened a couple of weeks ago and even more so yesterday and the day before.

I got angry about it.

It’s pretty obvious that he’s not doing a thing about it and it’s rather disgusting to walk through.

That and I’m pretty sure, though I haven’t quite figured out what the correct amount is, that he’s overcharging me utilities.

I made a call to the Tenant’s Union last night to go over a few things–like I don’t have a heater in the studio, which I found out was illegal, and it’s been super cold.  I bought out-of-pocket a space heater, but it doesn’t seem much of a solution and apparently my using it is blowing up the utility bill.

Something smacks weird in all this and add-on to a few drunken loud parties, pot smoke in the garage leaking into my bathroom, and some domestic fights that I have heard and I had pretty much made the decision yesterday that I was going to honor my lease but after it was up, get the hell out.

It’s just not quite the right fit.

It’s better than what I had and I will be honest I looked past one red flag that I probably shouldn’t have.

I did some inventory around it and discussed it in detail last night before doing the deal up in the Castro.

One thing that came out is that I have been practicing faith around my finances instead of fear, I have for a few weeks now.

The buy out monies that I pre-paid the first six months of rent will run out in February and I will have to pay rent out of my pocket and I’ve been concerned.

Afterall.

It is $1,000 more than what I was paying.

So I have been doing contrary actions.

Tipping more when I get a coffee or going out to eat, and I’m a good tipper (once service industry, and I did it for two decades, always service industry), giving a little more when asked, paying my bills early, making a car payment when one isn’t yet due, etc.

Believing that I will have enough and acting as thought there is more money coming in.

Yeah, I was miffed about the utility bill and my landlord saying I owed more, I mean, dude, you owe me a heater in my unit, you should pay the fucking bill, is what I wanted to say, but I also did restraint of tongue and pen and text and figured it would be much better to talk with the Tenant’s Union before I talk with my landlord.

I just paid the bill, wrote a check, and I also said, I’m still going to use the space heater.

The studio is god damn cold.

It’s winter.

It’s been a cold winter for San Francisco and the unit is not insulated, so even when it warms up it doesn’t hold it for very long.

Anyway.

After I got my anger out and had a good talk and then listened to a good talk, I said I was going to have the faith that I didn’t have to actually look for a shitty place, I will be able to afford something better.

Then my person said, “why don’t you just buy a house?”

I was like, Jesus, you’re right!

I am going to buy a house.

The lottery ticket, like I said didn’t yield a win, but it did put the desire to be a homeowner square in my face and I have thought for a long time that I might be crazy, but somehow I was going to end up owning a house in SF.

San Francisco has a Below Market Housing lotto for new homes that are built to accommodate those in the city that can’t afford to buy market rate houses.

I have to attend six hours of workshops and do a 1 on 1 counseling session before I can enter the lottery, but once that’s done, I can apply to every listing that goes up.

Guess who signed up for their first workshop last night?

Yeah.

That’s right.

And I have this feeling.

I really do.

I am going to buy a house.

And it’s not that far away.

I can feel it.

Seriously.

 

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.

Get Paid

January 5, 2019

It’s not going to be a lot.

But it’s going to be something.

Two things.

First I got a raise at the beginning of the year, 5%, which is lovely, and will go into effect my next paycheck.

The amount that will show up on my actual paycheck is pretty small.

Still, anything is helpful.

And.

I applied to become an employee with Grateful Heart last night.

Currently I am what is called a “volunteer.”

I don’t get paid anything.

My clients pay me and I deposit that money into a one way account.

Grateful Heart administration is the only entity that can withdraw anything from it.

I can’t touch it.

I recently turned in my hours, client hours, and how much I took in, to the administrative team, which keeps tabs on all the therapists in the community and double checks the accounts against the reporting that is being done.

I am scrupulous with the money coming in and I have documented everything correctly.

The fastest a new Associate Marriage Family Therapist can become an employee with Grateful Heart is three months.

January 1st marked three months for me with the agency.

I applied on January 3rd after reporting my client hours and income for the month of December.  I have to do it once a month and as I noted, it gets matched against the bank account.

Their policy is that once a $1,000 prudent reserve is met and three months of income have been established a volunteer can apply to become an employee.

I should get approved pretty quick.

Fingers crossed, we have had some administrative changes recently, new hires, etc, I can’t believe it would take a lot of effort to look over my accounts and verify that I have what it takes to become an employee.

I am not bringing in heaps of money.

But.

I am bringing it in.

In fact.

Applying for the position actually showed me how much I have been doing in regards to establishing myself as a new therapist in the community.

In my first month I brought in $700.

In my second month, $1700.

Last month, $2400.

My rent gets taken out and a hefty ($350) administrative fee, the rest is left in my account, which has begun to actually accrue some funds.

I have more than met the prudent reserve and I have money that I could actually be collecting.

For myself.

Like real income.

They have a formula to help you figure out what you can take out without dipping below the reserve and also that I have to be paid the minimum wage for the hours I claim.

Minimum wage in San Francisco is $15 an hour.

So basically I will get paid slightly less than half my nanny wage.

Ugh.

But.

I will be able to increase that fairly quickly, I believe, and I will, once I become an employee, be able to get compensated for office costs.

I will also get reimbursed for my own therapy.

And that money will not be taxed or charged the 12.5% fee that Grateful Heart will also start taking as soon as I become an employee.

So, rent, administrative costs, and 12.5% goes to them and I get the rest.

It is not enough to live on by any means.

However.

It is more coming in and since my rent is a $1,000 more a month than it used to be.

(ugh)

It really will help.

Especially getting the money back from my own personal therapy.

It made me sort of chuckle when I thought about it.

I’m doing therapy to get therapy.

Heh.

I was required by my Master’s program to work with a licensed MFT and I could have dropped her and the therapy once my program ended, I worked with her for a year.

But.

It’s been helpful and I sense that it’s better for me to stay with it for a while yet.

It’s been very supportive of my transition with school, the PhD program, moving, old childhood trauma, family of origin issues, etc.

So, I’ll keep doing it and getting some money back to pay for it will feel really nice.

I’m feeling a lot of relief knowing that some more income will be coming in and it’s also a nice way to see that all these years of work is actually beginning to pay off.

Not a lot of pay off.

Yet.

But it will happen.

I had set an intention on my birthday last month that this would be my last year as a nanny.

I will have 25 full fee, weekly, seriously committed, wonderful clients who I get to help and empower by the end of this upcoming year.

25 is the number of clients most therapists aim for.

One could do more, but you court burn out.

It’s a lot of work to show up and be present for people and listen and reflect and use theory and trainings and bear witness to trauma.

Horrible trauma.

And it’s a great gift too.

I am a good therapist.

I really am and I am proud of the work I have done to get where I am.

I’m excited to help more people.

I’m happy that I have a career.

Not that having been a nanny hasn’t been a beautiful career, it just has an end and I feel it coming close.

I’ve been doing it for 12 years.

Amongst some other things, but mostly nannying.

Which is its own kind of therapy, when it’s done well, I believe.

I have been out to the parks a lot lately and I’ve been finding myself really judgmental.

I draw kids to me like flies, I literally had my little girl charge today (alone most of the day, three parks, Souvla for lunch, two toy stores for stickers, balloons, ice cream from BiRite Creamery with rainbow sprinkles) up at Dolores Park and at one point found myself surrounded by five little monkeys demanding snacks.

Friends of hers from her private school.

It was adorable and also intense.

Good thing I had packed extra snacks.

Kids love me and I them, but sometimes it becomes quite obvious when  a child isn’t getting their needs filled–emotional, physical, intellectual–and like a heat seeking missile they will go to someone who does.

That was me a lot today.

I just wanted to shout out, put down your Iphones and pay attention to your children!

But.

I didn’t.

And I’m glad I didn’t, it would have looked rather untoward.

If I’m honest too, my current family hired me because the mom remembered seeing me at the playground with a former set of charges and something similar happened.

She told me later that she realized I was a treasure and that she had been ecstatic when she found out I was going to be available.

Anyway.

Here’s to drawing clients to me like I drew children to me today.

I also have to say, when I really let myself acknowledge it, children are honest and if they like you it says a lot and if they trust you it says a lot too.

I was trusted a lot today at the parks, I got to be surrounded by much happy love.

Which is beautiful and I hope that I will in turn pass that along to the clients I get to see tomorrow, and all my days thereafter.

 

Rendered Speechless

December 27, 2018

I don’t often look at old photographs.

I just did.

Work photos from over sixteen years ago.

Longer, perhaps, though not much more than eighteen years, I’ve been in San Francisco for sixteen, so they have to be at least that old.

There’s a private Facebook page with photographs of a place I used to run for six years.

1996-2002 I was the Floor Manager at the Angelic Brewing Company in Madison, Wisconsin.

A lot of the photographs are ones that I took myself.

Although I don’t have the album that they are located in.

I used to take a lot of staff photos.

Before Facebook and camera phones.

I kept a photo album in the office and I would put it out during big staff events.

Most usually the annual holiday party that I was in charge of organizing and running.

We got silly.

I remember one year I bought a bunch of disposable cameras.

Oh the pictures on those cameras.

Many stories.

I was rendered speechless though when I saw a photograph of myself that may have been at my heaviest weight when I was working there.

I don’t actually know what I weighed.

I didn’t like to use the scale.

But I do know that the shirt I was wearing was a size 26.

I now wear a size eleven.

So much has changed.

I just sat on my couch before logging onto my computer and I had an abstinent meal.

Abstinent for me means no flour (of any kind–almond, oat, coconut, corn, wheat, etc) and no sugar.

I do eat fruit, so I get sugar that way, though I tend to not eat fruit with my dinner.

I will.

Just not always.

Fruit is a sort of desert for me.

For dinner tonight I had about a 1/2 c of sautéed broccoli with a cup of brown rice and a roasted chicken leg and thigh.

I had some bubbly water and I listened to jazz.

When I think about the way I ate when I ran the Angelic.

Oh my God.

Freaks me out a little.

Sort of like how the picture did.

I almost want to post it here but I’m not actually sure how to do that and I am also not really sure I want to post it anyway.

I am grateful though for the changes I have gone through and for the good reminder that although my body doesn’t look the exact way I want it to, it looks a hell of a lot better than it did.

I mean.

I used to have a double chin.

I haven’t had a double chin in a long ass time and I am hella grateful for that.

The amazing thing about the photo is that I’m doing the splits on the bar.

I was a lot more limber then than I am now.

I was also studying to get my black belt in Kung Fu.

That also blows my mind, that I got a black belt at the weight I was.

I wonder sometime what it would have been like if I had lost the weight sooner.

But really that doesn’t do me much good to think about that, it’s just fantasy and speculation.

I also had to have some recovery under my belt before I could get abstinent, recovery, therapy, self-care.

A lot of that.

Self-love.

I am really quite proud of myself when I see how very far I have come.

All things considered.

I shouldn’t be where I am at today.

I am very, very, very grateful.

I’m also grateful to have gotten through Christmas.

Three gay boys, two movies, and one sushi dinner.

It was an official San Francisco Christmas.

Matinee at the Kabuki, hanging out in the Castro, then the Metreon in the evening.

I am grateful too for the people I spent time with.

I am grateful for San Francisco being my home.

I am grateful for all the lovely gifts I was given.

The biggest one, always does seem to be perspective.

That’s why the photo hit me so hard.

Just how far I have come.

I’m 46 now.

I look so much better at 46 than I did at 26.

I may have been a little older in the photo, but my weight would have been about the same.

It got bad there for a bit.

But then I think, I needed to be the way I was, to feel safe.  I ate to feel safe in a body that was not a safe place to inhabit.

I ate because I had been hurt.

I did not want to hurt anymore.

I also ate because it was a compulsion.

There were times when I would find myself in the dark raiding the desert fridge at work– shoving an entire piece of Irish Cream pie into my mouth, one, two, three pieces in under five minutes.

I hated it and I couldn’t stop it.

I also didn’t realize that once I put sugar into my body it was sort of on.

Sugar is just as addictive as many narcotics.

Sugar activates the same place in the brain that cocaine does.

I loved cocaine.

And before I had cocaine.

I had sugar.

I had a lot of it.

God.

Just thinking about how much soda I drank too.

Ugh.

I mean.

I worked in the service industry for two decades.

I did not drink diet soda ever, I scoffed at it.

I drank straight up Coca Cola.

I drank vats of it.

When you work in the service industry you usually get free soda.

And because I was in management, I got free meals.

French fries dipped in sour cream.

Fried fish sandwiches with buckets of tartar sauce.

Pasta with chicken and mushrooms and cream sauce and parmesan and bread sticks.

OH bread sticks.

Idaho nachos–cottage fries instead of corn chips–with heaps of cheese and chicken and black beans and guacamole and sour cream.

Pizza.

Pizza.

Pizza.

Beer cheese soup.

And it was a brewery, so yes, lots of beer too, many, many, many pints.

Ex-employees used to joke about how they would lose the “Angelic 20” when they stopped working there since they weren’t always drinking the beer.

Which was not light in any sense of the word.

Oh.

How things have changed.

For the better.

I might have a nostalgic moment once in a great while for something.

But not ever looking like that picture again?

That will kill any craving I might have.

Fact is.

I don’t crave food, when you don’t have it in your system, the urge goes away.

Hella grateful for that too.

So here’s to not having to make New Years resolutions.

I am resolved every day.

I am happy.

Joyous.

Abstinent.

And.

Motherfucking.

Free.

 

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!

 

 

The Last Moments

December 18, 2018

Of my 45th year.

Tomorrow is my birthday.

I will be 46 years old.

It’s a surreal number.

Really.

All of them have been a touch on the surreal side ever since passing 40.

But now, well, as I edge closer to 50 than 40 and my body slowly starts to fall apart, I can say yeah, I’m getting old.

Well.

At least older.

And I’m not kidding about the body thing.

I mean.

I can still shake my booty on the dance floor, or in my house as it stands, I just did some dancing to a really lovely remix of “Take You for a Ride on a Big Jet Plane” and I really did break it out.

But.

The signs of getting older are there.

Despite wearing my hair up in gigantic poufs today and donning pink glitter eyeshadow.

I don’t have clients on Mondays after my nanny gig, so I like to play a little with the makeup and the hair.

But you know.

There’s some wrinkles underneath that glitter and there’s definitely some grey hair in those poufs.

And, you know.

I’m ok with it.

I like who I am.

I have worked really fucking hard to get here and my body has managed to carry me through.

So what if it looks like it’s been well-traveled, it has.

Every wrinkle and grey hair a testament to how far I have come.

I did have a moment though, last night, when I was getting ready for bed and I was like, enough with all the stuff.

My aesthetician did some work to remove a patch of collagen that has been bothering me for years recently and I have to touch it up every night and morning to make sure it goes all the way away and I have begun washing my face with actual cleansing foam instead of soap.

She was horrified when I told her I washed my face with soap.

I felt like I was getting scolded by my mom.

So now, I use some cleansing foam and yes, I always use sunblock, she made that a big ass deal years ago.

God.

I sound all sorts of bougie right now.

I hadn’t seen my aesthetician for eight or nine years, I used to go to her when I had really bad cystic acne.

That is one nice thing of getting older, that damn acne finally went away, but I had it well into my early thirties.

In the last few years I have noticed my skin getting a tiny bit dryer and last year I noticed that I had stopped getting black heads at all.

I used to still get those guys.

It seems that the oil in my skin is drying up.

So now I use moisturizer too.

I’m sure these are things most women much younger than me are doing, but you know, I’m a simple lady with the routines, so this adding in of stuff feels new.

And.

Now I’m wearing a night guard at night so I don’t crack any more fucking teeth and have to get any more crowns.

No thank you.

But it’s weird.

And I have to remember to put it in at night, adding another thing I need to do, on top of also taking my reflux meds.

I swallowed the three tiny pills and popped my mouth guard in and snorted.

It has begun.

I’m taking pills at night and wearing a night guard next thing you know I’ll be wearing Depends.

Ugh.

Anyway.

I’m a lucky bitch and I know it.

I don’t look my age, so now that Mother Nature is actually showing me that I’m not immune to this whole getting older thing, I just want to respect it and embrace it.

I don’t want to struggle against it.

I’m going to be 46 in the morning.

And if it’s anything like 45’s been, it’s going to be a pretty damn good year.

In my 45th year I graduated with a Masters in Integral Counseling Psychology.

I traveled to D.C., New York, Paris, and Marseilles.

I got hired at a private practice internship and started subletting an office space as a licenced Associate Marriage Family Therapist.

I danced.

I sang in my car a lot.

I took walks on the beach.

I loved really, really, really hard.

I cried a lot.

I wrote a lot of poetry.

I started my first semester of a PhD program.

I’m one week away from finishing the semester!  I just posted my final discussion post and turned in my final project for my Creative Inquiry Scholarship for the 21st Century class.

It’s been a damn good year.

I’m happy with who I am and where I’m going, even if I cannot see the final destination, I don’t really need to know that anyway.

Oh!

And I moved!

I went through a buyout and walked through a tremendous amount of fear.

I bought my first ever couch.

And it’s pink velvet, so there.

I’ve done a lot of therapy work and feel better about myself and supported in the work i do as a therapist as well.

I bought art from friends.

I pushed myself out of my school, nanny, internship shell and got back into the fellowship in San Francisco a bit more.

I ate a lot of apples.

I like apples.

I wrote a lot of Morning Pages.

I wrote a few blogs, not as many as I might have considering the issues I had there for a while.  But huzzah!  I have, with much help, gotten the two sites separated and I was happy to post my first blog on my therapy site tonight.

I’ve had a damn good year.

I’m a very lucky girl.

Or woman.

I suppose at 46 it’s time to really step into that women role.

Well.

Except when I wear my bunny slippers.

I don’t care how old I get, I’ll probably always wear bunny slippers.

heh.

So here’s to making it alive, sober, abstinent, happy, joyous, and motherfucking free, one more time around the sun.

Thanks 45, it’s been fun.

Bring on 46.


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