Posts Tagged ‘air quality’

Smoky Voice

October 18, 2017

Sultry yes.

But sore and dry throat is tired.

It was smoky again today.

I was disheartened to say the least when I went outside to get on my scooter and head in to my therapy session in Noe Valley.

I was looking forward to seeing my therapist as we had to cancel last week.

She was affected by the fires in Sonoma and Napa.

I have been affected too, but in lesser ways and in ways that I have felt loath to gripe about as my hierarchy of needs have been basically met.

Yet.

There has been suffering and there has been a constant feeling of sickness and showing up for work has been hard, keeping the kids inside all day long for over a week and they all, ALL, of them now have the croup.

It is heart breaking listening to them cough.

The mom has it too.

Knock on wood, I haven’t gotten it and I know that the ugly feeling in my lungs is not from a cold.

It’s from the smoke and whatever nasty particles I have been inhaling.

My lungs feel tender and my throat super sore and raw and my head has been hurting all day.

I also have gotten spacey and a little dizzy a few times.

The EPA had the air quality showing unhealthy for most of the day.

And that’s pretty much how I have felt, unhealthy.

Granted.

I am able to work and able to get myself going, I’ve just not been my best and I’m such a healthy person in general, that I feel a bit depleted.

It was hard to hold space for my clients tonight at my internship and I felt pretty out of it.

I had thought for a moment about cancelling clients tonight, but I figured I would just muscle through.

I did it, but it was tough and I’m really grateful to be home.

I am also grateful that the unhealthy air is projected to be moderate tomorrow, not good yet, but better than today and fingers crossed it will continue to get better.

There are still fires burning, it’s not over yet.

I can’t quite wrap my head around that, fires still burning, fires not contained yet, the fires have been going on now for ten days.

TEN.

It’s hard to fathom.

The losses, the wreckage, the ravaging of the land.

I was praying last night before bed and I was thanking God that the family I used to work for wasn’t in Glen Ellen when the fires broke out.

They have a vacation home there and they’d been there just the weekend before.

I literally started crying when I realized how close they were to the fires, I don’t know if the property made it out, but I was overwhelmed with gratitude that the family, the boys, the dog, hadn’t been there, I would have lost my mind if they had.

Lost it.

So it’s hard for me to fathom those that did lose it all and sad for it, heartbroken.

And also aware that I have to keep my spirits up, that people need me, that I need to take care of myself.

My therapist and I discussed that a lot today, how being a caregiver, being in the helping field, being a nurturer, that I had to focus on doing for myself, because getting sucked into the drama of it or the trauma news cycle via social media, I would not be helping any one at all.

Grateful for her perspective and all the other things that I get to work out with her.

I am super grateful to be back in therapy and I just realized I forgot to add the hour to my BBS (Behavioral Board of Science) tracking.

Excuse me a moment, that has to happen right now.

There, that’s better.

Under current BBS requirements I can count my own personal therapy towards the 3,000 hours I need to accrue.

Which is awesome.

And.

The best part.

They count as three hours.

I book one hour and it gets counted as three.

Granted.

I am only allowed to accrue 300 hours of personal therapy towards my license, but I will take any extra hours any where that I can.

I also talked about the stress of getting hours or wondering how I was going to get them all before the licence requirements change.

As of January 2021 the BBS will be changing a number of things.

One of them will be that personal psychotherapy will no longer count.

The other is that Couples Therapy will not count double as it currently does.

So I want to make sure that I can get all my hours done by December 2020.

That’s not that far away.

I have had not anxiety, per se, but a little concern, now that I am in the actively doing therapy process, about how the fuck I’m going to get all the hours.

I am working full-time to support living in San Francisco.

How will I squeeze more hours into my schedule?

I want to vomit thinking about it.

I have so much going on and I want to have a life, a teeny, tiny bit of a life, I need my human connection, I need my recovery,

Ugh.

I can’t speculate on how it will happen, I will just keep practicing faith and I will pick up extra hours here and there whenever and wherever I can.

It will happen.

And thankfully, my last semester of the Master’s degree is only two classes plus practicum (which is for all intents and purposes my internship), so I won’t be running with the same full class load that I am now.

And who knows what will happen.

I could come into money, I could win the lottery, I could get a paid internship, I don’t know, and I don’t have to.

I just know that I will keep trying and keep doing the best I can and I know that I am doing that.

I am holding my own.

Not always with the most grace, but with strength and integrity and valor.

I am doing the work.

And in the end.

Every time I go back to it.

I am so worth the effort.

Therefore I will be ok.

Because.

Well.

I already am.

Just for today.

I am exactly where I am need to be.

Seriously.

 

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Feeling Better

October 15, 2017

And almost through the weekend of classes.

The air quality improved substantially today.

So much better.

I have still had a low-grade cough, raw throat and tight and sore sinuses, but the air is better and tonight when I rode my scooter home I could take deep breaths and it felt so, so good.

There are still fires burning, but today felt like hope, that maybe there was an end in sight and that as the day passed things felt better and better.

I don’t know, I can’t predict a thing, but it was something to breathe better today.

The small things that I can take for granted, fresh air, good water, my home, it was with great gratitude that I drew those clean breaths of air, such goodness, just a big simple drawing in of air.

Ah.

I can feel my head ache easing and I know that the air quality has substantially improved.

This morning when I got up it was registering at unhealthy and there was ash again all over my scooter and a distinct smell of wood burning in the air, it was hazy and smudgy and smokey and my first class of the day was boxed up in a hot airless room.

But by the afternoon it started to shift and I left campus to grab lunch with a friend at The Market, the chi chi high-end grocery store in the Twitter building, they have a poke bar that I like to eat at if I’m going to blow a wad of money on lunch rather than eat the food that I brought with me.

I was happy to get out of the school building, the air felt fresher and it just continued to improve throughout the day.

So grateful.

So, so, so grateful.

And I’m also grateful that I only have one more class to get through tomorrow and that will put my squarely at the half way point of the semester.

I will have two more weekends of classes and then the winter break.

I’m doing pretty good, I’ve participated, ¬†caught up on all my reading for this weekend, and I turned in the paper that was due for my Jungian Dream Work class.

I have a mid-term paper due on the 24th of the month for my Transpersonal class that I figure I will write the paper next weekend.

Then two more weekends of classes and I will enter the final semester of my Masters in Counseling Psychology.

Fuck.

I am doing this, I’m doing this, it’s really happening.

It’s been so much work and sacrifice.

I don’t always talk about that, the things that I have had to let go of to participate in the program while still working full-time.

I have given up going to birthday parties, out dancing, movies, fellowship, dates, dinner with friends, people and places and stuff that I used to do on a much regular basis.

It’s been hard.

I have felt sad when I have not been able to connect.

And yet.

I have spent so much time figuring out how to connect with people, with grace, with God, with service, with learning what I need to learn to better serve my community.

And.

Yes.

To have a fucking career where in I can make some money.

Oh.

I know, I’m not going to make a grand amount, but I am going to make so much more than what I make as a nanny, unless I get some super cush job, but the fact is, I’m ready to not be a nanny anymore.

I’ve a few more years and I’m fine with that, I still have miles and miles to go, but sure and steady, slow, one day at a time I am doing the work to get to the place.

And when I get there, well, there will be other places to go.

But.

For right now I am just really happy to be in my last year of the Masters program and to let myself be proud of what I have accomplished.

Showing up every weekend.

Turning in every assignment on time.

Straight A’s.

It’s awful nice to have a 4.0 average in grad school, just let me acknowledge that, I have a 4.0.

That’s something.

I have learned a tremendous amount about myself.

I have made dear friends.

I have a cohort, a group of peers, a community where I wasn’t expecting to have one, I have people who see me and regard me as an equal and who I get great feedback and validation from.

And I’m doing something that I don’t think anyone in my family has done.

I’m getting a Master’s Degree.

I could be wrong about that, I may have a cousin somewhere with one, but I can’t think of any off-hand, I don’t believe most of the people in my family have a college degree, let a lone a Master’s degree.

I feel pretty lucky that I have achieved what I have achieved and that I have put in the work.

Sometimes the sacrifices have seemed really hard, I have been lonely, I have missed experiences, but I also know that I am making myself into a woman with great potential to help and heal and that I will be of service for so many years.

I think I’ll have much more longevity as a therapist than a nanny, I’ll be able to practice as a therapist many, many, many years past the time when I would want to be a nanny anymore.

Hell, I’m pretty done with it as it stands.

Oh, not that I hate my job, I love the family  work for and I am so happy to get to do the work with them.

No, what I meant, is that my body is about done with it, my back is sore from carrying the baby in a carrier, my knees hurt, I have spent so many years being on my feet, from all the years, decades really, working in the service industry–started at 12 ended at 32, so that’s twenty years, and now the past eleven years or so as a nanny.

I could use a sit down job, thank you very much.

I once was having some real problems with my knees and I was young, in my mid twenties, and the doctor told me at that time that I needed to get out of the service industry, that I needed a sit down job, “your knees are that bad,” he told me showing me x-rays and explaining what the problems were.

I didn’t really heed that advice.

And I have managed to get by, sometimes a bit painfully slow, and I have seen things that have slipped past me that I wish I could still do.

No more running.

Not that I was a great runner, but I thought once or twice that I would at least do one marathon in my life

And dancing.

Oh.

Man.

I can tell how bad my knees are when I go out dancing, they are just not what they used to be, not that they used to be great anyway, but fuck.

Anyway.

I will go on standing for a little while yet.

I’m not there yet.

But.

Damn.

I am one more step closer.

I’ll take it.

Yes.

Yes, I will.

One little baby step at a time.

I will get there.

You may be assured.

Long, Strange Day

October 13, 2017

But I am finally feeling better.

I just ate some dinner.

Roasted chicken with a baked Japanese sweet potato.

I needed some homey comfort food.

The air today had me down.

Granted.

I do not like to complain.

I know people who have lost their homes to the fires, lost everything.

I have friends who have evacuated and are waiting to see if they are going to be able to go back to a home or a charred piece of land.

So much has been destroyed.

It’s utter devastation.

I can’t comprehend it.

Therefor to complain about the air quality in the city seems weak and pansy ass, but, fuck, it’s been bad and I’ve had trouble today.

At first when the fires were just beginning, Sunday night, I thought, wow, there must be some folks having a big old bonfire on the beach, and it smelled good, and the weather that night was warm and I felt really soothed by it.

I have a favorite childhood memory of a bonfire at the beach from when I was four years old.

The next day was odd though, finding out about the fires, and then finding ash residue on my scooter and in my basket.

And each day, it’s been the same, although I think I’m used to the smell and the smell, well, it’s changed, it doesn’t smell like bonfire anymore.

It smells tainted and bad and oily and plastic and chemical.

It smells like bad drugs and sickness and I’ve began to feel off today, I suspect I’ve been a little off all week, but today it really hit home.

Last night when I was riding my scooter home I thought for a moment it was snowing and thought, wow, it’s cold, but not that cold.

Then I realized what I was seeing was ash falling from the sky.

Ash like snow.

Ash on my shoes, ash in my hair, ash on my jacket, ash stuck to my scooter.

Spooky.

Every day riding my scooter up and over Diamond Heights I have looked downtown to gauge how bad the air is.

And it’s bad.

Downtown swathed in smoke.

The haze so thick I can’t see the Bay Bridge, even the top of the new gigantic Sales Force tower is smudged out by the smoke.

Supposedly it’s supposed to get worse tomorrow and Saturday.

The kids I nanny for had their school cancel tomorrow and every day this week they’ve been forced to stay inside and not been allowed out for recess.

My little lady charge has had croup on top of it.

She’s been inside all week.

I can feel it in my chest.

And today I started to sneeze.

Not because I think I’m coming down with a cold, no, it’s just breathing the air.

I’ve not been outside much, but I’ve inhaled some yuck, riding on my scooter for sure, walking to the market this evening.

By the time I got home from grocery shopping and running a couple of errands I felt really out of it.

My clients cancelled tonight so I was free to go home after work and I planned on doing homework and getting the rest of my reading wrapped up, tomorrow I’m in school again.

Aside.

Tomorrow marks the half way point of the semester!

Half way!

I am very happy about that.

But I could barely concentrate on my work and reading felt challenging.

I’ve had a head ache all day.

I’m a pussy.

I admit it.

Can you believe I used to be a smoker!

Anyway.

I just reeled it back in and got right with myself and stopped having gigantic expectations about what I could do and just settled for what’s the best thing for me to do instead.

I roasted the chicken up.

I made some spiced brown rice for meals the rest of the week.

I did some laundry, it’s in the dryer now, fresh warm towels.

I drank lots of water.

I cut myself some slack.

I look over my syllabi and packed my school bags and I’ll probably roll up on class tomorrow and just be ok with what I have not done.

One class I’m completely caught up with, no need to worry about that one at all, it has the biggest brunt of reading and I’ve completed that.

I’ve nearly every thing else done for another class, just have to whip out a little paper tomorrow.

I was going to do it tonight.

But.

Um.

Nope.

I’ll get out of class tomorrow and have a few hours before I see my clients.

I was tempted to get ahold of them and say stay the fuck put, don’t come out, but I’ll go to my office and see them.

And before I see them I’ll do what ever reading I need to do and I’ll write-up the small paper I have to turn in Saturday.

I’m not beating myself up for not being 100% ready.

I had a hard week with the family, not that they were bad, they are super, super sweet, but when a four-year old and a seven-year old are cooped up all week-long it’s hard to keep things balanced.

Add the sick little monkey into the mix and it was a long week.

I’m grateful that I was able to keep myself pretty on keel with them, but I was feeling it today, the worrisome smoke, the quality of the air, seeing little kids in face masks, it reminded me of Burning Man in a rather sinister way.

Sigh.

I’m done complaining.

I am.

I just want my head ache to go away.

And my heart breaks for all the loss in the North Bay, it’s unfathomable.

Just going to be sweet to myself for the rest of the night, take it easy, drink some tea, get some rest.

Wishing for all those near and dear that this passes soon and we will all draw a collective deep breath of fresh, sweet air.

Good night.

Sweet dreams.

 

 


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