Archive for the ‘Wisconsin’ Category

Sneaky Work

August 15, 2017

It’s Monday.

The alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m.

I bounce out of bed, turn on the lights, run to the loo.

Brush teeth, wash face, wander naked to the kitchen, I sleep in the nude, yes, indeed the first ten minutes of my morning are bare ass, drink a glass of water, take three vitamin supplements–iron, glucosamine chondrotin, Flax seed oil, then I go make my bed.

After that I get dressed, put on my shoes, watch, and pull out the layers I plan on wearing.

Hello.

It’s August in San Francisco.

Best to have at least three layers.

Cardigan, sweatshirt, scooter riding jacket.

I lay them out on the bed and then go do my morning reading and say some prayers and ask for some direction and then.

Breakfast!

Today was oatmeal with banana and figs, cinnamon, nutmeg, raw cocoa and unsweetened coconut/almond milk; 1 hard-boiled egg and an unsweetened almond milk latte.

While said food items are busy boiling, cooking, and frothing, I pack my lunch for work and whatever homework and internship paperwork, texts, and syllabi I need for the day.

Today it was solo supervision, so definitely needed my pink glitter notebook.

Who says grad school has to be all seriousness.

Glitter makes it better.

Trust me.

I also packed my Jungian dream book, even though my brain said, what’s the point?

There’s not a spare minute to do reading today.

But, from experience, this is not true.

Times when I think I am going to have hours of reading, I don’t and days when I think, I couldn’t possibly spare thirty seconds to look at a paragraph, I suddenly have unexpected time.

Life happens.

All the time.

That’s what life does.

But.

I find these weird, sweet, odd pockets of time and that’s when I use Stephen King’s advice.

And if you don’t think reading Stephen King is a highly psychological endeavor you’re not reading his works very well.

Anyway.

He wrote this awesome little book a while back, non-fiction, called “On Writing” and it gives his basic formula for what he does and his routine.

First.

He reads.

A lot.

And not his stuff, but everyone else.

His biggest suggestion and one that I took very much to heart, especially after starting grad school, is, carry a book with you at all times.

You never know when you may get stuck in a line or your appointment gets pushed back, or you’re riding the train or the bus or the subway.

I notice most folks these days are looking at their phones.

I read my homework for school if I have down time.

And like I said, I often have a snatch of it when I least expect it.

Today it happened at supervision.

My supervisor lost his keys and had to run home to get the replacement set.

So, my session was cut a little short but, hey!

I have my Jungian Dream Work class text-book.

Whip it out!

I knocked out another couple of pages.

And very glad for it.

I got another text-book in the mail today and I have it already packed in my travel bag for tomorrow, along with the Jungian book, I doubt very much I’ll actually have time to read the two chapters for the class I still need to kick through and have time to get into the next text I have assigned myself.

But.

Well.

You never know.

I just don’t anyway.

Another thing King recommends is that you write everyday.

Yup.

I do that too.

Before I head out.

And when I get home in the evening.

Sometimes I am still not sure how that all happens.

I do the morning writing in one of my Claire Fontaine notebooks from Paris, or whatever notebook I have handy.  I of course have a preference, but I will write on anything.

Although I hate recycled notebooks, the quality of the paper is ass.

I write three pages long hand.

I write about what I’m doing, the things that happened the day before that I don’t write about in my blog

Oh.

Haha.

There’s a few things that I do not write about here.

That all gets covered and rehashed and processed in the morning writing.

The evening, this, my blog, I am also pretty damn consistent.

I used to be super anal about it and I couldn’t not write every day.

That’s eased up a little in recent years.

Years, I say, I have been writing this blog for so long.

Seven, eight years.

I have over 2,200 blogs posted.

And that’s after two different scrubbing sessions where I probably deleted a couple hundred blogs just to make sure I wasn’t leaving a thumbprint or, yes, I had said something unkind about someone in my life.

Typically a boss.

Occasionally a bad date.

Ooh, man I had some bad date blogs.

Which I stopped doing when a blind date stumbled on a blog I wrote, I’m thinking he probably stalked me a bit, let’s be real, and sent me a text which said, “I read your blog.”

Ack.

I had to delete it and make an amends.

I swallowed that pride, deleted the blog, called him, he answered, and apologized.

That was an uncomfortable conversation.

But.

Better than the alternative.

It still was an awful date, but I had said some pretty not so nice things.

I learned my lesson, words can cut deep and it’s not my business to malign.

I stopped writing anything about other people and really tried from that point forward to keep the focus on myself.

I have plenty of flaws I can poke fun at, I don’t need to point out anyone else’s.

So.

That’s the writing routine for the day.

The rest of today looked like work, cooking for the family, doing the baby’s laundry, lots of bouncing around with the baby–he’s teething horribly–playing race cars with the oldest boy and letting the little lady watch Frozen, since she wasn’t feeling well.

I was supposed to go to my internship today and see a client.

But.

She cancelled.

So.

After work I zoomed to the grocery store and picked up some staples and then zipped over the hill to 7th and Irving and hit up the spot, got right with God and got home.

Garbage, recycling, compost out to the curb as a favor to the landlady who is traveling, check the mail, another text-book from school!

I know, it’s exciting, right?

Reviewed my calendar, personal, work, and internship, printed off some forms–I have a new client consult at the internship tomorrow, and ate some dinner.

Checked e-mails, popped over to my “Track My Hours” my BBS (Behavioral Board of Science) approved MFT hours tracker, and added in my hour of supervision from the morning.

And um.

That’s the day.

Not exactly exciting.

But really full.

Hell I even snuck in a trip to the bank and the post office to return a package in between supervision and work, and a run to Walgreens for some more school supplies–two packs of my favorite pens and a new pink folder.

Because.

Pink.

It’s a lot.

But.

It’s a gift.

This life, my life, getting to be this person who is busy and of service, getting to learn how to be a better therapist, advocating for my self-care, taking time to do my own writing, eating well, being kind, just living.

Life is going to happen and I can choose to look at it as a grind.

Or.

Fuck.

I can say, look at my amazing life!

I live in San Francisco for fuck sake.

I have such a bounty of gratitude for what I have.

It awes me every day.

I am.

Yes.

The luckiest girl in the world.

Really.

I am.

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Yes!

April 27, 2017

I made it through the financial aid rigmarole.

I had to fill out one more piece of information when I got home today and finally, all of it is done.

I will be getting an award and I was notified that I would get it once the last form was filled out and sent it, that it would take 24 hours to process, I would get an award e-mail and then I hit accept.

The school will receive monies to pay for my summer practicum internship and supervision–$2380.

There will be a little left over from the award, enough to get me two more months of therapy over the summer.

I don’t have to touch my travel savings and I will have tuition paid for.

Thank God.

It all worked out.

I never really thought it wouldn’t, it was just some unnecessary stress that I got to work through.

I also spent some time checking in with my employer about summer hours, I’ll be working a little more than I do now.

Currently I’m pulling 35 hours a week, three weeks a month.

The other week during the month I work 28 hours–the week I’m in school.

During the summer I won’t have school on Fridays.

I won’t have official classes, I’ll be doing my internship at nights and on weekends and my outside supervision and therapy two days a week before work.

I ain’t gonna lie, it’s a lot to juggle.

But I see all the pieces coming together and it should work.

For my work schedule I’ll change-up to a slightly early start on the days I’m not in supervision or therapy before work and I will work 8 hour days on those days.

I’ll go from working 35 hours a week to 38 with the flexibility to go to 40 if the family needs me to.

I’ll do my internship in the evenings after work.

Four nights a week I’ll be doing the internship, and one day, Saturday.

I’ll be putting in a lot of hours, but the investment is worth it and although I am sacrificing a lot, more of my social life than I can imagine, as it’s not much at the moment, although, got to say, proud of myself for hanging out for an hour between work and doing the deal tonight.

I was so tempted to blow it off and just do my homework, but I made myself put down the books and walk to Java Beach and play a hand of Speed and socialize for an hour.

It was really much-needed.

I have been told repeatedly this week to have fun.

“Go get laid, have fun, blow off some steam!” My person told me when I met with her on Monday.

I’m trying to figure that out.

Not much by way of nibbles on the dating front and though there’s interest in me to pursue, I’m not really sure how to go about that right now.

Putting out to Universe.

I need to get laid.

There.

That should do it.

Hahahahahaha.

I actually reached out to an old lover last night and then immediately thought, ah, that’s not going to happen, why did I do that?

Not that I’m afraid of rejection, more that I can go bark up the wrong tree.

There is no squirrel there dear, go look elsewhere.

And there wasn’t.

As I have said to myself many a time, no response is a response.

My feelings are facts, but sometimes it feels like I either try to awful hard at this whole thing or I could give a fuck and I just bury myself in school and work.

There is an in between I’m sure.

Dating can also be a distraction from dealing with the thing at hand, but I am wanting to do it.

I am.

When have I not been willing to date?

I have tried lots of things.

Maybe this therapy thing will help.

Ha.

I can usually recognize when I am not on the right track, but sometimes, I get stuck and I go chase after someone and there is nothing there and I’m like, stop it, enough energy expended there.

Move on.

So moving on.

And being open to see whom God wants me to see, not whom I want me to see.

Those are different people, I am sure of it.

I’m listening to Lilac Wine as sung by Jeff Buckley.

I had to pause.

I had to sing.

I don’t even remember what I was whining about.

Luxury problems.

I’m alive.

Jeff Buckley is dead.

I saw him once.

At the Barrymore Theater in Madison, Wisconsin on tour for his album Grace.

It was one of the best concerts I have ever seen.

There are concerts that I remember because of the power of the music or that something momentous happened, or because of whom I was with when hearing he music.

Jeff Buckley touring for Grace.

Soul Coughing, Ruby Vroom.

Beck, Odelay.

Paul Simon and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Summer Fest in Milwaukee, 2001.

J. Davis Trio, at the Angelic, but also the show in Chicago where I got so trashed I was hung over for two days.

But my God it was worth it.

Anni DiFranco, Not a Pretty Girl, Civic Center, Madison.

Primus, Coliseum, Madison, WI, can’t remember if it was Sailing the Seas of Cheese tour, but I think it was.

Moby, Play, Civic Center, Madison, WI, and also Moby at Lightening in a Bottle three years ago, I was up front and it was amazing, I felt like I was on fire with the music.

Underworld, the Fox in Oakland and also two years later at the Warfield in San Francisco.

Paul Simon at the Greek Theater last summer.

Mike Doughty, three times, small show at Cafe Montmarte in Madison, his first solo tour after Soul Coughing broke up and he heckled my friend who was shrooming.  Then the show at the Fillmore when he covered Ruby Vroom and I was the only person in the audience that caught the Edna St. Vincent Millay reference, and got a smile and shout out for that.  And last summer the 2016 Living Room tour where I got to meet him in person, and talk about Burning Man.

Spearhead in Madison, Wisconsin, I forget the venue now, but they were on tour for their second album and Michael Franti pulled me up on stage and danced with me for a song.

Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes, Barrymore Theater, Madison, Wisconsin.

Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine, Coliseum, Madison, Wisconsin.

Sleater Kinnery at Union South, UW Madison Campus, holy shit was that amazing, they were just on the floor, no stage, four mikes and a couple of amps.

I went to a lot of shows in Madison.

Goldfrappe at the Fillmore.

Gary Newman, also at the Fillmore, here in San Francisco.

I’ve clubbed a lot here in San Francisco too, so many djs–Mark Farina, Teisto, Sasha and Digweed, Paul Van Dyke, Oakenfold, Kid Beyond, BT, Dmitri from Paris, Derrick Cater, Frankie Knuckles, Sunshine Jones with and without Dubtribe, Tortured Soul, Eric Sharp, Carl Cox, Armand Van Helden, James Ziebela, 2ManyDj’s, Basement Jaxx, fuck, I’m forgetting a lot of shows.

So much music.

I haven’t been out to enough shows.

Maybe I’ll focus on that instead of dating.

Heh.

Right now though, sleep she calls.

Homework is still on my plate and work has got to get worked out.

I’m still listening to the glory of Jeff Buckley.

Hallelujah.

 

I Blame It On

March 21, 2017

The hormones.

It has been an up and down day.

I re-started my day only an hour and a half after it started, I was already annoyed and yelling fuck in my kitchen while I was stirring oatmeal on the stove.

My boss wanted me to come in early.

The kids had an unexpected day off from school.

Dude.

Ugh.

Of course, I said yes, I was able to do it, it just threw a little loop in my day and I had to adjust, get flexible, and just suck it up.

Besides I would be getting out of work an hour early and all the things that I didn’t do this morning, writing and reading for school, I could do after work.

Except the mom got stuck in bad, rainy coming home from work traffic.

In the end it didn’t matter, as I ended up being late to work.

Worst driver I have ever had on a shared ride.

I actually complained for the first time ever.

I am not one to kick up a fuss, but the guy ran stop a sign-passing on the left to go around a car that was stopped at a stop sign on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in the park, scared the crap out of me as there was oncoming traffic, missed turns, then cut across traffic to make the turns, had an argument with one of the other passengers about directions and was horribly inconsistent with his driving.  I actually thought are you high?

Then right before he drops me off, asks with a really big, forced smile, how my day was going?  Dude.

A little too late.

I’m late for work and overwhelmed with annoyance by the three near death experiences I had while in the car.

I looked up at him, startled, and said, “fine, thanks,” in a flat tone of voice.

God damn.

It was creepy.

But yes, I did actually complain.

Of course, no response, but I’m not going to freak out, I know it’s one of the things that you just have to account for, once in a while getting a bad driver, I actually found myself laughing a little at my obvious desire to have control and my realization, that shit, there was nothing to do, but get through the ride, be grateful and get out of the car and go to work.

I was resigned to not being able to do any homework at work either, so I brought one of my meditation coloring books to color in with my charges and that was a hit.

Lots of coloring on this rainy, rainy, rainy day.

Clay, stickers, paper dolls, and drawing as well.

Robots, jet engines, race cars, stuffed animals.

Pancakes for lunch.

They were so cute about it, and insisted it was a special day and I was happy to indulge them.

I made them homemade pancakes, from scratch, not a box, with raspberries, butter, powdered sugar and maple syrup.

They were in heaven.

I had some of the raspberries later with my own lunch and got knocked over by a wave of nostalgia.

If I haven’t had raspberries in a while, and I don’t often have them, they are expensive little beasts ad I prefer to spend my money on blueberries, inevitably the first bite will always remind me of my Grandma Munz.

My grandparents had an amazing garden in Lodi, Wisconsin.

My grandfather cultivated and cared for most of it, but the raspberry vines were grandma’s territory, or so it seemed to me as a child, and I have a memory of picking raspberries with her–perhaps my favorite memory of my grandmother.

I don’t recall how old I was, but elementary school seems about right, 4th or 5th grade, and it was summer and my mom had taken my sister and I out to Lodi to visit our grandparents.

Grandma wanted to pick raspberries and she and I went out to the brambles to pick carrying 5 gallon vanilla ice cream buckets.

I remember my sister mostly ate the raspberries.

I ate quite a few too, but I liked to see how they gathered and grew in heaps and piles, the luxurious spill of berries a kind of abundance I didn’t often see in my life.

We picked for a while, quiet and serious and when my grandmother deemed we had enough for whatever project she was working on, we brought the berries back to the kitchen to be washed in the sink.

She scooped up a big bowl of them for my sister and I, one bowl for each of us, poured milk over the top of them and then sprinkled them with sugar.

I don’t think I have every eaten anything so glorious and simple and intoxicating in all the rest of my life.

I can taste them still.

Perhaps that’s why I haven’t much bothered with them since.

When one has had the pen ultimate tasting experience of an object most other things pale in comparison.

Sort of like my grandfather’s sweet corn, nary a corn on the cob since has done his justice.

I am lucky to have this appreciation for simple things.

The pure joy of a small bowl of warm just off the vine raspberries, cool, creamy milk, and a heaping teaspoon of fine granulated sugar, C&H Cane sugar, in the white paper bag with the pink label and blue ribbon badge with white writing.

Somethings, small things, are utter simple and glorious in their perfection.

I think that bowl of raspberries is what heaven tastes like.

I had tears prick at my eyes when I ate that first raspberry.

I felt the grass of my grandparents back yard underneath my bare feet, I could see my grandmother’s kitchen, I could taste the cold water from the tap, they had their own well and the water there, the best in the world, seriously, I could feel the breeze coming in through the big screened in windows in the dining room.

I could almost hear the laughter of my mom and aunts smoking cigarettes on the front porch in the big aluminum lawn chairs, waving at passing cars and gossiping about the rest of the family that wasn’t there.

I could feel  the moment pass as I sat at the table drawing with my charges, I did not try to hold onto it, it will come back when I need it, this beautiful thing, my sweet memory that colored the rest of my day.

It reminded me of my roots and also of that there were many, quite a few, moments of bliss in my childhood, simple, exquisite, and etched into my heart despite, or perhaps because of how hard things were at times, I appreciate so much when I got to experience beauty.

I still do.

Ah.

Perspective.

You got me again.

 

 

Oh The Things People

March 7, 2017

Google

Cocaine and vodka enema.

Still going strong.

What?

It’s an old blog post, one I wrote six, maybe seven years ago.

And yet.

It still gets hits, every day.

EVERY DAY.

I haven’t read it since I wrote it, I almost never re-read the blogs after I have published them.

Oh.

Once and a while I do, or I might go back and do a fast edit on a piece.

Occasionally I will go back and re-read one if someone comments on it in a particular way, but for the most part, I write them, I send them out to the Universe, then I move the fuck on.

I can’t see who reads my blogs.

This is probably a good thing.

Although.

I can figure out once in a while that someone has a thing for one of the pieces I have written.

Perhaps it is about them.

I suspect an ex boyfriend of reading a certain blog I posted after our break up.

I have no recollection what I wrote.

But I do know that it resonated with a lot of people, I had folks coming out of the wood work to share about how they had gotten through a painful break up or that what I had written helped them through a break up.

Or when I was in Anchorage while my father was in a coma.

Tons of response to those blogs.

And often someone reads a blog and suddenly I’m getting something sent in the mail or someone is helping me out when I’ve been in a pinch.

All those kind, sweet, generous, anonymous folks who helped when I had the horrible ankle incident.

Or when I was the starving, literally at times, artist in Paris and I got some support from unexpected places.

I have been given a lot from this blog.

Sometimes it bites me in the ass.

Words that make me cringe, sometimes with gratitude, sometimes with a hand thwack to my forehead, when I am told the following, “I read you blog.”

Well.

Fuck me.

That can be great.

And.

Sometimes.

Well.

Not so great.

Doesn’t seem to matter how many times I write it here, I am more than my blog, you are not getting the full Carmen Show, but.

You do get a great bit of it and despite my protestations, people will read what they want to read and see what they want to see.

I have had people tell me they read my blog then tell me a completely different narrative than the one I wrote.

It makes me laugh.

We all see what we need to see, what we want to see, not necessarily what is reality.

Not my place to teach or direct or give a damn, I suppose, I’m trying here just like I’m trying elsewhere, just to tell my story in this moment.

The moment changes.

I change.

Things change.

But folks keep reading certain things and though I jest about that blog, it’s about recovery and I find it sort of funny that it gets so many hits, but maybe someone gets what they need from it.

No directions though.

No “how to” there.

Just a sad story about a sick woman, and not me, it wasn’t about me, (but I bet you a dime that most folks think it is me writing about me) it was about a woman my friend was dating and the things that they would do when they were fucked up.

Oh the things we do when we are fucked up.

The stories I have heard.

Funny, hilarious.

Fucking tragic.

I’ve been criticized for putting too much out there, cautioned too.

I have had moments when I absolutely agreed and other times where I felt like, fuck off, I’m not interested in editing myself more than I already do.

I do edit myself.

I don’t write about it all.

I think about it sometimes, but I have made amends twice about things that I have written here and both times it was painful enough to make it very clear to me that the only person I can ever write about here is me.

My experiences.

My pain.

My joy.

My life.

No one else’s.

Oh.

Sure.

I do live in relation to other humans, so there are interactions, but I don’t presume to write about people, I can observe, but I can not hurt another person.

Because.

I could.

Oh.

I could be a scathing fucking bitch about some of the things that I have heard or witnessed or had done to me.

But.

Well.

I would end up getting hurt then and this is a place where I come to heal and to learn.

If I wasn’t still learning seven years of blogging later I wouldn’t still be doing this, if it didn’t fulfill some need in me I would have stopped.

There is still so much to write about though.

Which is just fucking lovely.

I’ll keep writing until there’s not, and maybe, I will still keep writing then, because things change, even the past changes, more will be revealed and when it is, well, I want to be there to bear witness and to write about that too.

How many times can I write about the House in Windsor and all the things that happened to me there, and all the things that happened that I don’t know that happen.

How many times?

I could write every year about the seasons and the changes in the weather, how the house was never really hot, even in the depths of summer, because of all the old growth oak trees surrounding it.

Or.

The lilac trees the soft rot of the blooms in high July heat and the intangible biting sweetness in cool water when they first bloom in May.

The reminder, always, of how that grass in summer time grew so high in the back yard and how it felt on my bare feet.

Playing catch with a softball with my aunt Marybeth.

Damn.

She had an arm.

Dreaming about the boys I had crushes on at school.

Sitting in my room listening to music on my boom box.

Joining the Columbia House Record club and the utter joy of opening that first cardboard box full of tape cassettes.

Feeling alive and feeling the magic that could happen, feeling like I was just on the other side of a plate of glass and how to get to the other side were everyone else was and how they seemed to know what to do.

I did a lot of pretending.

I did a lot of walking tall and faking it until I made it.

I remember once running into someone I had gone to school with when I was working as the floor manager at the Angelic Brewing Company; he told me how much he had admired me in school, he was a grade or two below me, about how he’d observed the way I walked and how I carried myself, that he had emulated me.

That I had been cool.

I have had many a compliment, but that one haunts me.

I walk tall now, but I am not always so confident.

I love myself more and have less fear of fear.

Although not perhaps less fear.

Just a better way of getting through it.

I love that young girl in that house, she was brave and strong and so much more courageous than I ever gave her credit for.

And beautiful.

I wish she knew how beautiful she was.

Singing to herself in her room, late at night, dreaming of intangible things while cutting out photographs from fashion magazines to collage onto the wall.

And knowing, although not knowing how, exactly.

That one day.

She was going to get the fuck out.

And you know what?

I did.

 

Rainy Day

February 18, 2017

Mood music.

It rained.

It rained a lot.

I have listened to scads of French music today.

San Francisco in the rain reminds me of Paris.

I love that I can listen to music at work.

I was home, at the home of my employers, again, all day.

The little lady was sick again.

And much sicker than earlier in the week.

She had such little energy.

Most of the time was sat and snuggled on the couch.

I got her lunch, which was actually my lunch, and she wrestled a promise out of me that I would make spaghetti for dinner.

That did not happen and she was mad, oh lordy was she mad, when she realized I was leaving for the night and there was no spaghetti dinner.

Her parents had ordered pizza since she had missed her pizza party at school.

She was not so easily mollified.

She had fallen asleep on me at one point this afternoon and had fever dreams and big coughing fits.

I just spent most of the day on the couch rubbing her back and brushing the hair off her hot forehead while she slept, and drooled a bit, on my lap.

Such a sweet little lady.

Although she wakes up really hard and was a screaming crying mess.

I have never seen a child wake so hard.

She does not like waking up.

But before that I had hours and hours of contemplating the rain falling and listening to the Amelie soundtrack by Yann Tiersen, which really is such perfect rainy day music.

I had taken care of my household duties and really the only thing was to sit and be still and let the little girl rest against me.

I know that though she woke up hard and wanted her mother, that I had been a calming, loving, kind presence for her, she totally cuddles with me now and it’s become a very sweet relationship.

I am very glad for it.

I never felt restless, but I was ready for the day to wrap and excited for my first day off in two weeks.

The alarm is set.

Yeah.

Like that.

I’m not sleeping in.

I’m going to yoga, which will do me more good than trying to squeeze in some extra sleep.

And if I need a nap in the afternoon, I can take it.

Not that I will.

I’ll probably roast a chicken.

Yoga.

Shower, breakfast, hope for a break in the rain so that I can scooter up to 7th and Irving and go to Tart to Tart and do some work with my person.

A mani/pedi after.

Then home.

That’s sort of the plan, cook, sort through homework and reading.

Then go see some fellows and do the deal in the evening.

Sunday will be another round of yoga, I’m only getting into the studio on the weekends, but I’m trying to stay with it and not drop back out of it, it’s too easy to let it slide, even when I feel like what’s the point, I do inevitably feel better, and my brain is much quieter when I do it.

Tattoo touch up on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

No other plans.

A few tentative feelers out there from friends, but no solid plans.

I told on myself today in a phone message about trying to leave some room open on the weekends so that I socialize and see people and don’t completely isolate into homework land.

Fingers crossed that can be achieved.

It will be.

And maybe some clothes shopping, but I’ll probably leave that until next weekend, I have a big coupon to redeem at Gap from when I bought my “casual interview” clothes, and it needs to get used by next weekend.

Maybe I play some pinball this weekend.

I have had this urge to make things happen all day, I realize, as I was just looking at a text from a friend who was wondering what I’m up to.

I want to know.

I want to be solid.

I wanted to text back and say, book time with me, or don’t, but let me know.

I have three people in that boat with me at the moment.

What are you doing this weekend?

Let’s get together.

I’ll text.

Part of me wants to throw a temper tantrum, I want to know definitively so I can prepare myself, it’s a protection thing, I recognize that, and I can let it go.

I have faith that even if every person who said let’s meet wasn’t able to, that my weekend will be just fine anyway.

I mean it’s begun, I’m not working tomorrow and I signed up for a yoga class and I have a coffee date with my person to do some work, I can lightly hold what happens the rest of the day and see what makes me the happiest to do.

A friend suggested I get a mani/pedi and a massage.

Mani/pedi is definitely on the list.

Massage sounds good too, but I don’t think that it would work tomorrow.

I’ll keep that in my back pocket.

I don’t often get massages, they are nice, but I am not often compelled to get one.

I always feel like my money is better spent elsewhere.

But a mani/pedi I can totally get behind.

Not that my toes will be seeing the light of day any time soon, more rain in the forecast, but it is a delicious splurge and I always appreciate my toes when they are done up.

Anyway.

I ramble.

Rainy day French music soundtrack lends me to a meander with my words.

Bon nuit mes amies.

A demain.

 

Things Change

December 18, 2016

Unexpected.

But for the better.

I won’t be going to Wisconsin for Christmas.

I will be staying here in San Francisco.

Although my person was very pro me going to Hawaii.

Who the hell isn’t interested in going to Hawaii.

As it turns out circumstances were just not a good fit for me to travel where I was going and after much heart-felt thinking I realized I needed to cancel.

I booked the ticket through an online site, Kayak, that lead to Priceline, that led to SunCountry and I was afraid I was going to have to bite the cost of the ticket.

$480 down the toilet.

According to Priceline’s little disclaimer about tickets being non-refundable, etc.

However.

Upon the urging of my person I called the airline and explained my situation and the person I talked to was super sweet and accommodating and they cancelled my ticket and gave me a voucher that I can use anytime in the next year.

I can choose to go to Wisconsin if the opportunity is right or I can travel to any of the other destinations the airline flies.

I looked at a few places, I mean, I have a week off, but it’s Christmas and the majority of the places that I was interested in going to were booked full.

So.

I have a year to re-book and that’s cool.

I am super happy that I didn’t lose the money and I am happy that I have a year, well, not quite, I booked the ticket in October, so I need to re-book by next October, but I can still use it.

I don’t know where I’ll go and I don’t have to decide right now.

I do know I will be here in the city and who knows what mischief I may get up to.

I figure I will do lots of yoga, buy a book for pleasure reading and go to the MOMA a few times.

Pleasure reading.

Drool.

Because, that shit is happening.

I mean for real.

Because I finished my Psychopathology paper!

My God.

That was a grind.

17 pages.

I thought it was supposed to be 18-20 pages but then I went back into the syllabus and saw that I had made an error, thank God I found that, and the paper “only” needed to be 15-17 pages.

So 17 pages were written.

4,912 words.

I had a friend who was like, what are you going to do to celebrate?

I responded.

Write my blog.

hahahahahahaha.

But really.

This is a celebration right here, right now.

I finished.

I made it.

I am officially half-way through the three-year program and that feels really good.

Despite my sadness at having to change my plans, I know it’s for the best, and plans change, things change, I get to be flexible and I am damn curious to see what is going to happen next.

I do believe that something awesome and fun is going to happen.

And despite a longing to be with my friend and her family I need to do what is best for the situation and that has been done.

It feels rather adult.

I guess one could say I’m growing up.

Which is good since in two hours I’ll be 44.

Heh.

“44!  No!  34!” My yoga teacher was so cute today, we’ve become friends and I invited him and his daughter and his partner to my pinball party in the Haight.

You too.

Come if you’re around.

4p.m.-7p.m. Free Gold Watch in the Haight–Waller at Stanyan.

Bring your quarters!

I’m going to be a Zazie’s for brunch and figure I’ll be signing up there around 12:30p.m. and I just got a text from my person who happens to know the manager, that she gave them the heads up that I was coming in (they don’t take reservations) and she also left me a birthday present!

I’m so lucky.

I’m so grateful.

I get to go to graduate school.

I get to go to play pinball tomorrow with my friends.

I got a voucher for my plane ticket and time to figure out where and when I am going to use it.

So many gifts.

So many.

I’m going to do yoga in the morning too.

It may be my birthday, but I can’t think of a better way to start my year than by taking care of my health and well-being.

God damn.

I really am lucky.

When I think of all the challenges and the things I have gone through to get where I am at, sitting here in this lovely home with my Christmas tree lit up and my school work done for the semester, I am absolutely amazed.

The gift of perspective might be the greatest thing I have in my life.

It is stunning to see how I have changed.

I mean.

Others have seen it and noted it, but I felt it, deep and true these last few days and I am moved by how much I have seemingly grown in such a short time.

Granted I think the seeds had been planted and watered and there was much sunlight of the spirit happening.

But I wasn’t expecting it.

I hadn’t looked for it.

I let go of a defect and found joy in its place and a lightning in my heart.

Love for myself, of myself, directed inward, and there.

A bloom.

A blossom.

A wild, fragrant flowering of brightness inside.

I feel lit up and a glow.

Warm and safe and taken care of.

I have no problems.

I really don’t.

Oh.

Yes.

Challenges, there will always be challenges, and room to grow, I don’t doubt that, there’s always room to grow, but problems, no I don’t have them.

Not now.

Not right here in this glorious moment of freedom.

School’s out for winter!

Ok.

That doesn’t sound as good as school’s out for summer.

But believe you me, after the semester I had.

It is hella sexy.

Hella.

That’s Not A Shower Curtain

December 13, 2016

Then I burst into tears.

I got an early birthday present.

Two beautiful Claire Fontaine notebooks.

Be still my heart.

My favorite notebooks of all time.

Gorgeous, smooth, silky, satiny, soft, soft, soft, French paper that is the most exquisite thing to write on.

I am a tactile person.

I love textures and things that soothe.

Writing on this paper makes me happy.

Happier than one would think, all things considered, it’s such a small luxury, but not a luxury I allow myself very often.

It’s special, they are special.

And sometimes I have a hard time letting myself have nice things.

I’m working on it.

In the mean time.

There are those out there who love me and that’s what it was like.

Getting a big box of love.

And it was sweet and made me feel tender.

I was already feeling a little tender.

Date cancelled.

Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me twice, shame on me.

Shame is on me.

I sort of knew it too.

A pricking in my thumbs.

A feeling like something was up.

And I find it funny since I was planning on approaching the date differently than I have in the past.

No such practice was to be had.

I reminded myself, gently, that “rejection is God’s protection” and there were probably many things that I needed to be doing instead of this date.

Psychopathology paper.

Organizing my books to sell back to the book store at school, although the majority of them I bought online, the store will buy back books that they didn’t sell.

So there’s that.

And I did actually work on my Psychopathology paper today, although there was some push back and it took, what felt like Herculean effort to open up my books and notebooks, I got in there.

The baby took a nice long two-hour nap and yes, I did take my sweet time cracking the books, but once opened, I dove in and I wrote a bit of the paper out.

Not, actually, in my computer, I’d left my laptop at the house.

But rather.

By long hand, in my notebook.

I began the outline and I got my thesis statement written.

I wrote four pages long hand in outline, which should correlate to about seven or eight on my computer once I format the paper.

I know what I am going to write about for the first section of the paper, I have my symptoms outlined, and I have my diagnosis and I have my differential diagnoses, and I have my reasons sketched out as to why the diagnosis that I chose is the “correct” one (there technically is no correct diagnosis, I have to argue my point of view) and I can support my decision quite well.

Doing that work today really felt good, actually.

That means that I have a third of the paper written.

Even though it’s not written formally, having the knowledge of what I’m going to write is huge, and as all the previous papers for this professor have done, I am learning more as I go.

Which is pretty fucking cool when you think about it.

Albeit a little exhausting.

I really did have a hard time getting into the books.

But I knew that I would be more upset with myself if I didn’t, especially since I had a pretty good feeling the baby would sleep for a while.

And now.

Now I feel really good.

I have officially, in my brain anyhow, set aside Saturday afternoon to write the paper formally.

I will do yoga in the morning, meet with my person in the Inner Sunset at noon, then scooter back to the house for lunch and sit my happy ass down and write.

I have a commitment at 7 p.m. and I will be done with it by the time I need to leave.

Guaranteed.

I’m feeling a lot better about it since having done the preliminary work on it last Monday and again another couple of hours on it today.

Including the time reading and re-reading the material I have put in quite a bit of time already on the paper.

But.

I want that “A.”

I’m going to get that grade.

And then.

I’m going to go merrily to my birthday brunch and not give two fucks about school for a week.

No practicum freaking out.

No ordering my books for the next semester, unless the syllabi go up, but I don’t think they will, it usually takes a week.

No reading, except for pleasure.

I will definitely let myself have a least one pleasure book for the holidays.

And perhaps a real date.

I’m ready for some fun.

Which is what I thought tonight was going to be about and I realize that it’s not on the menu, it happens sometimes, the fun runs out, and the next dish doesn’t seem that special.

But having gotten to unexpectedly open a birthday present early I feel quite happy and very loved.

I really didn’t realize.

I’m usually quite the good girl about waiting.

My mom sent my birthday and Christmas present already and I haven’t open those yet.

I’ll open my birthday present on my birthday and my Christmas present on the 23rd, since I’m going to Wisconsin that evening on a red-eye and I don’t plan on carrying that with.

Although I will be traveling with gifts, I got my friends some little things and their boys some stuff, I’m actually quite excited to give them their gifts–Arrrgh maties, I went to ye olde pirate shop–826 Valencia–the only pirate supply store in the world.

At least that I know of.

It’s like the coolest kids store ever.

And got the boys some ridiculous gifts.

So.

Hey.

Look.

It’s ok that my date cancelled.

I had better things to do it turns out.

Like let myself experience love.

That was the better choice, despite my best laid plans.

And truly.

I’m ok with that.

Although I did burst into tears when I got the notebooks.

They were good tears.

Sad.

Sweet.

Bitter.

Sweet.

And happy.

All wrapped up in one beautiful package.

Love.

Love.

It’s all that really matters.

Seriously.

You Mean Your 33rd

December 12, 2016

There is no way you’re in your 40s!

Thanks darling.

That was nice to hear.

I was texting with a friend in regard to my birthday brunch next Sunday at Zazie’s in Cole Valley.

One week left of 43.

Not that I’m counting.

I’m grateful for my age, my authenticity, my life, my person, this body of experiences of heart aches and belly laughs, or sorrow and pain and vast oceans of gratitude, love, and happiness.

I get to encompass so much.

For that I am grateful.

I am also grateful for more affirmations of myself, my abilities, and my work, I received some amazing feed back from my Psychopathology professor today.

I got back my mid-term paper from her.

I was actually a bit nervous, she’s the professor I asked for a letter of recommendation from and I want to impress her (hell fire, I want to impress everyone, truth be told) and she’s the professor that’s got the biggest paper yet to do ahead for me to have the semester of work completed.

I got an “A.”

I was blown away.

Especially as she was explaining her grading scale yesterday in class to a student she hasn’t had before in class; who was asking with the same anxiety that I remember having so well when I first started taking classes with this professor (I will also have her next semester for Trauma), how she graded her papers and assigned grades for the class.

The professor explained and basically expressed that a good grade was an A-.

The a decent grade was a B+.

You don’t want to get less than a B in grad school, FYI.

A B- or a C+ you might as well be failing the class.

That an exemplary, you went above and beyond was what it took to warrant an “A” for her class.

That I got an “A” on my mid-term paper boggles my mind.

After her explanation, which I just summarized, there’s a little more behind how she grades, I was sitting in class thinking I definitely had gotten a B+ for the paper and if I was lucky, perhaps an A-.

I got an “A!”

Fuck yes!

And fuck me.

Now the pressure is more on than before to produce a good final last paper for her.

Especially after the end note she left on my paper: “Carmen, this is by far the most heartfelt, touching, and comprehensive psychopathology paper ever!  You show a deep integration between your personal experience and conceptual understanding.  I appreciate the seamless ways in which you wove in the material from McWilliams (one of the text books I referenced in conjunction with the DSM V)–I can see how much you have made this material your own.  Impressive!”

I just about fell out of my chair.

And.

Yes.

I did indeed tear up.

It just feels so god damn good to be on the right track, to finally, after so many years of soul searching, have a way forward, a goal, an identity (although certainly only a small facet of who I am, but one in which I get to use all that I am), a career path, and that I get to use all those things, all that soul suffering that I went through, to gain access to that path.

Such a gift.

All the pain was not for naught.

All the experience I have and all the resilience.

I’m just stupid grateful.

Which is good, tis the season after all.

My heart full and warm as I pause and look at my Christmas tree, at the neat stack of Christmas cards I just addressed prior to getting started on this blog, on the soft candle light in my home, the hot tea in my body, I feel replete.

Not quite relieved.

No.

Like I said, there is still another paper to go.

But.

I am inspired, alight, and yes, a little nervous.

One of my friends from Wisconsin whom I am shortly to be visiting, sent me a weather update about the cold, the snow and the negative temperatures and asked if I was still coming.

I had to laugh, the cold is scary, but not enough to scare me off from my trip.

And.

I am so looking forward to seeing my friends, their sweet boys, the snow, the Christmas lights in the snow, the smell of firewood burning in the cold night air–one of my favorite smells of all time, wood fire smoke on a cold night (only to be super ceded by wood fire smoke from a beach bonfire).

I messaged him back that I was indeed still coming and that I was in fact finishing up my final classes of my last weekend of the semester.

He pinged back that he would send me something to read.

I said, NOOOOO.

Not yet.

Nope.

I have to write this paper and now I have this additional problem of having some big expectations for myself around writing a stellar paper.

I loved his response: “what a good problem!”

He’s right.

If I am going to have “problems” in my life, this is certainly one of the better ones to have.

Heh.

Goodness.

I just realized that two weeks from now I’ll be there, in the snow, cozy in their home, my best friend, her husband, their three boys, and it will be Christmas.

I am such a lucky girl.

Friends.

Travel.

Snow at Christmas.

Wrapping up gift boxes to send to my mom and my sister.

Christmas cards addressed and stamped.

Meaning and purpose and a design to take all the soul suffering and transmute it into the language of love.

How many people get to do that?

I am blessed.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

And.

Loved.

Yes.

Very much so.

And It Was

December 11, 2016

A good day.

I’m a little jazzed up from all the dancing at the wedding and my toes are a little squashed, I don’t normally wear heels all day long and then dance in them, but it was a wedding.

And.

It was wonderful.

I got teary quite a few times.

The bride.

Lordy.

So beautiful.

The ceremony was sweet and funny and full of love.

I was happy to bear witness and be there and it’s been a while since I’ve been to a wedding and it felt really nice to be present to connect and reconnect with friends I don’t often get to see, to have some dancing time, some hugging time, some hanging out and being seen and seeing time.

Granted I am sure I will be hella tired tomorrow for my last day of classes of the semester.

But.

LAST DAY OF CLASSES OF THE SEMESTER!

So very grateful that’s happening.

I’m ready.

The last day of the motherfucking semester.

So lovely.

Today was rather hard to sit through, I had a slight headache and a little bit of tired and also it was rainy and torrential and very grey and wet and I just did not want to go to class.

I did though.

I got through the day.

I got back another paper from Family Therapy with some nice comments on it.

I had a wonderful lunch with a few friends from my cohort.

I got to flounce around the halls in my fancy dress and my blue suede shoes.

Sorry.

No pictures.

I tried taking a few, I did, my friend did, but I don’t know, I just was not feeling it.

Sometimes the pictures they happen and sometimes I can’t get the right angle to save myself and I get tired of taking selfies and I just stuck my phone in my purse and said, fuck it.

I look pretty in my dress, with my hair up and my red lipstick on and I don’t need photographic evidence and I don’t need to post 1,000 self-referential photos on social media.

The phone stayed in my bag most of the wedding.

There was a photographer there, I’m not worried about not getting to see photos from the day.

What was more important was to sit and connect and be with friends.

That was the best.

My best girl friend and I started shaping some definitive plans for a girl day hang out in January.

Sephora, The MOMA, The Balboa for a movie, Chinese food in the Richmond.

Yes.

Yes, please.

It was so good to see her.

It’s hard when your friends move away.

I’m so grateful that moving away was just to the other side of the bay, it’s still hard to get together and getting in and out of the city with the traffic is nuts on everyone so when we do get together, it is such a gift.

I’m lucky to have the women in my life that I do.

So very lucky.

Ah.

Yes.

There.

Winding down.

Hot tea in a cup.

Heels off in the closet.

Stockings slipped off my legs.

I’m still in my dress and crinoline, but bare toes on the rug and happy to be home.

If just for a little while.

I’ll be back up early in the morning and off to class, and gratefully, fingers crossed, I’ll be back on my scooter.

The rain looks like it’s passing for a bit.

I’ll be able to ride to class in the morning.

One more day of classes.

One more week of obsessing about when I’m going to get to writing my last paper.

Which I’ve already figured out will be Saturday, but I do hope I can do a little work on it Monday when I’m at work.

Wow.

Which I just realized.

Will be my last week with the family up in Noe Valley.

And then the week following my last week with my primary family.

The mom and I hammered out the last shifts that I’ll be working, they’re sort of odd hours since the boys will be out of school and the mom has some holiday stuff planned for them, activities, outings the like, I will have off schedule hours the whole week.

Monday will be 10a.m. to 6p.m.

Tuesday 9:30a.m.-5:30p.m.

Wednesday 9:30a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Thursday 9a.m.-1:15 p.m.

And.

Friday, December 23rd, my last day with the boys, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Fucked up.

But whatever.

I’m not going to worry about it, I am going to be flexible and be there and have a nice last week with them.

It’s wonky.

But.

I am grateful that I will be getting out of work so early on Friday.

I’ll be able to wrap up any last-minute errands I need to attend to before my flight out to Wisconsin and I’ll be able to be mellow about getting there.

I will pack day of when I get home and not be concerned.

I wish I had known that I was going to be out so early on that day, I would have scheduled an earlier flight, but it’s really handy to have the later flight and a good spread of hours to pack, clean, change clothes, tidy up and take care of any last-minute things that need to be taken care of.

Then a week off.

From work and school.

I really am going to take a week off.

No homework.

No reading.

No applying to practicum sites.

Nothing.

Just hang with my friend and her family.

Maybe nap.

Maybe read a book for pleasure.

God damn that sounds so sexy.

I’ve got some things between here and there.

But I’m getting closer and it’s damn nice to know that when I get up in the morning all I have to do is show up for my last day of the semester.

And then.

The Psychopathology paper grind will commence.

I will get it done.

Though.

I will.

I always do.

 

Grad School Death Bed

December 9, 2016

A friend asked me how I was doing today and I rattled off all the things school and all the books and all the papers and all the presentations.

And.

Fuck me.

I’m so done.

But.

I’m not done yet.

Nope the death rattle on this semester has yet to start shaking.

I have papers galore to turn in tomorrow and yes, my Child Therapy presentation to do, but the big puppy, the big paper, the Moby fucking Dick final for Psychopathology is not done.

Nor shall it be for a while.

I won’t be able to touch it over the weekend.

I’ll have my three days of classes to attend.

And.

Yes.

A wedding in the middle of it.

At least I’ll look cute for it, I am hella stoked for my dress and pretty new blue shoes.

I’ll take some pictures, don’t worry.

I don’t believe I will actually be able to write the paper until next Saturday.

Sigh.

I’ll, fingers crossed, work on it while the baby naps, please God, on Monday, but I don’t see having it done on Monday.

And that’s ok.

Or Tuesday.

And that’s ok too.

It will get done.

And it will get done by the end of day Saturday.

I refuse to have that thing hanging over my head on my birthday.

I can’t believe it’s next Sunday.

I still have a few days left of 43.

I’m so not really focused on it, it’s dim and hard to see, these next few days are really all I have on my mind.

I am ready for them.

All I have to do is show up.

My books are packed, my notebooks too, my files and folders and pens.

My lunch and dinner.

My coffee and tea.

Yeah.

I roll like that.

I bring all the things.

All of them.

And I’m happier for it.

The day after tomorrow, Saturday, when I will be leaving early to head to a dear friends wedding, I won’t roll with anything.

Not even my school books.

Nope.

I’m just going to come to class, check into Family Therapy, have lunch with a friend, sit through the first half of Psychopathology and then bounce at the break.

I will be taking the gift for the wedding and me.

That’s all.

I don’t feel like hauling shit all over the city.

Especially since it calls for rain for the next few days.

And yes.

I did ride my scooter today.

The rain was not as bad and the weather report showed that there would be no rain at all, so I chanced it.

Of course.

There was rain.

But it was not as bad as last night and it wasn’t as cold.

I took it slow and gentle and got home safe and sound.

Granted, a bit damp, but home safe.

I won’t bother taking it in tomorrow, I don’t want to worry about morning rush commute.

I always have to deal with it on Friday mornings when I go to class, the rest of the time I manage to avoid rush hour, and I just can’t fathom lane splitting to get to class.

I’m just going to take the train, N-Judah style, all the way in.

It picks up one block from my house and I’ll get off one and a half blocks from school.

I already have my fare set aside on the table.

Like I said.

I’m ready.

I’m totally ready.

I even snuck in one last yoga class today.

And holy fuck.

It was just what I needed.

It might have been one of the best classes I have ever taken.

It felt so good and I felt the anxiety of school melt off the back of my shoulders and I was actually bummed when I realized that I won’t be able to get to another class until Tuesday morning since I have an early start Monday and a long day.

And a date after work.

Yes.

Like that.

I make some wiggle room for fun when it comes knocking.

I have to.

Just like I need to do the yoga.

I need to do the fun too.

It’s no fun when I don’t make an effort to have some injected into my life.

No matter how busy with the work and the school.

It’s important.

So.

Yes.

Lunch with a friend from school Saturday, the wedding–there will be dancing, and a date on Monday after work and doing the deal.

Then yoga Tuesday morning.

The yoga, though, damn it was good, and I am hella grateful that I let myself go.

I had momentarily thought about not going and doing some prep and running some errands before work today, but I realized that I’d rather be a little sore and get that last day in at the studio.

Very grateful.

Funny how sometimes it takes me a minute, or a month or three, to do those things that are so good for me.

The yoga is fantastic for me and yet I had those three months I just balked at doing it.

And no regrets, it was the experience I needed to have and I am pretty sure that with all the things I was processing emotionally I just needed a break and I took it and I got the emotional and mental rest I needed.

I didn’t drop into a depression.

But it was damn close and I’m super grateful that I got back into the yoga before it could develop.

I tend towards it, having had major clinical depression diagnosed back in 2007 and clinical anxiety and PTSD, it can be easy for me to fall into the hole.

Exercise helps a lot.

And what with the not so much on my bicycle and the lapse in the yoga and the emotional pot that was stirred early in the semester, I was certainly flirting with it.

Thank God I glided through.

Although, I am contemplating get myself a sun lamp since I do have seasonal depression as well, that was the first depression that I was diagnosed with in Wisconsin.

Fuck.

Who doesn’t have seasonal depression in Wisconsin?

Ha.

But.

It’s looking like a wet winter and darker than it’s been, so maybe some pre-emptive sunshine is on order.

Anyway.

I get a head of myself.

Just here.

Just now.

Just going to wrap it up and get ready for bed and have a little more tea and get ready for school.

Last weekend of the semester.

Let’s do this!


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