Posts Tagged ‘books’

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.

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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.

Is It Over Yet?

December 7, 2018

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

But frankly I can’t wait for that shit.

No.

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

I’m feeling pretty done.

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

Meaning I have thee big things yet to do.

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

The papers are where the big effort comes in.

I mean.

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

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

I have a lot of them.

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

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

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

Of course.

I won’t do that.

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

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

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

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

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

ARGH.

I have nothing in the mail.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Either way, it will get worked on.

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

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

Kind of.

Ha.

I really want it to be a good paper.

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

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

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

Anyway.

Enough with the school stuff.

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

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

Yes.

Brain Break

December 4, 2018

My head just needs a serious break.

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

Fuck it all.

I was tired.

I am tired.

And it’s Monday.

It’s the god damn beginning of the week.

And I’m already tired.

oh well.

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

But my brain just hurts.

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

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

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

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

Of course.

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

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

I mean.

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

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

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

Sigh.

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

Is there enough room up there in my head?

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

Bwhahahaahha.

Anyway.

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

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

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

Holy fuck.

Thank God.

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

I can do a lot with five hours.

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

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

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

I can sleep in!

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

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

I get to sleep in!

My God that makes me happy.

Sleep.

It is such a nice thing.

I’m going to tell you a little secret.

That’s how I’m doing this PhD.

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

Well.

I fucking stop.

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

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

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

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

Speaking of.

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

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

Tuesday is a twelve-hour day for me.

So, yeah.

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

And.

Sleep.

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

 

Bits And Pieces

September 7, 2018

I’m slowly working things out.

I’ve not altogether gotten a rhythm with my school stuff, but then again, hey, you know, it’s Thursday and the intensive ended on Tuesday and every day since, including Tuesday, I have read something for a class, highlighted something, watched a full length video of a Harvard professor on the nature of knowledge in the age of the internet, plotted my calendar, downloaded and though I have not figured it out completely, started using an app called Mendeley, which allows me to import a pdf file to their site, save it and highlight it, thus alleviating some of my anxiety about really liking to highlight what I read, but not having been able to when I read something online.

I was tipped off to the program by a woman in my cohort who is super into tech.

I am super into grateful right now.

The work load for school is heavy and I am seeing where I can be as creative as possible with my hours.

Even today, I read for 8 minutes before leaving the house to work.

I really haven’t worked any time into my morning routine for homework or the like, but I know from my Master’s degree work that any time I have to spare I can read a few pages.

I mean, I knocked out five pages and that’s five pages less of the thousands I am going to have to read this semester.

I just have to keep taking tiny bites when ever I can so that when I do have the time to devote to the work I am not overwhelmed by the enormity of it.

I also have some grace periods coming up that I had forgotten about, but was wonderfully reminded about at work today.

The mom is going out-of-town for ten days and the baby is going with her.

Which means I won’t have my usual morning nanny routine.

Add to that, the big kids are back in school next week.

Finally.

Tomorrow is their last day of summer vacation, so to celebrate we will be going back over to Marin for a day of swimming and sunshine in San Rafael.

I am definitely down for some sunshine.

Frankly I have been a bit bummed that the fog is still here.

I don’t recall it lasting into September before.

I want my god damn San Francisco summer.

September and October, at least until about mid October, are usually really nice and warm and sunny.

Not this year.

Not yet anyway.

So a day trip to Marin seems just the right way to end the week with the family.

And next week what with the kids back in school and mom traveling I won’t have any responsibilities at the house, as far as childcare, until I do school pick up at 3p.m.

I’m scheduled to come in at 11 a.m. Mondays and Tuesdays and 10 a.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

First.

I won’t have to come in early at all next week.

Today, for instance I came in at 9:30a.m. to do the mom a favor.

I will have a straight across the board 11 a.m. start all next week.

Which means I could actually sneak in a half hour or so of extra reading in the mornings before work, note to self.

And since I won’t have childcare duties at the house I can also do work there.

Granted.

I will have responsibilities, I’m not just the nanny, I’m the household assistant and I’m often, four days out of the week on average, the dinner cook.

I will most likely be doing all the cooking for the family next week and lunch prep for the kids as well as any grocery shopping that needs to be done.

The mom is super proactive and there’s already deliveries from Good Eggs and Rainbow Foods and BiRite Market lined up.

I probably won’t have to do much grocery shopping, although I can, I have access to a credit card if I need to buy anything.

And there will be laundry and clean up.

I know what the house turns to when the mom is out-of-town.

So yeah, cleaning a bit more, but I should be able, from past experience, get it all done in the first hour to hour and a half that I am there.

Which means I should also be able to get in about and hour and a half to two hours every day reading.

I am really hoping I can knock some stuff out-of-the-way.  I’ll bring my readings, my laptop, and anything else that I need to get as far ahead as I can.  Any postings that I can do, I will do.

Plus, one of my classes has a lot of videos to watch–lectures mostly, but a few other things, that I could watch at work too.

I plan on getting as much out of that work week as I can.

I also have had a few client cancellations in the next two weeks, not a lot, but some hours have opened and I know what I will be doing with them.

I feel like this is how it will go for me.

I will have pockets of time open when I need them and I will be able to get the work done.

I am also starting to think about the Spring semester.

I am thinking that I am going to ask off from Fridays at work, starting in January.

I will make more money seeing clients on Fridays and if I don’t fill up my whole day with clients I will fill it up with studying.

I will of course need to make money, but I suspect that the money is really not going to be an issue, I’m being taken care of, I really am.

So what’s next is to nail down a place.

I saw a studio yesterday and it was no bueno, totally overpriced, and I was way underwhelmed, plus it was dark and didn’t get much light being an interior unit on the bottom of the house.

Saturday, after I go over to Berkeley and deal with some administrative work for my new internship I will come back to the city and hit a couple of open houses.

I have pretty much decided to get out of here as soon as possible.

I want quiet and low-key, I have too much on the line this first semester and I want to get out before the really big papers start looming.

I want to be in my own place and settled.

So I figure if either place looks good, both I can afford, and both have amenities I need, like laundry on site and um, hahaha, windows, I will make the offer to pay more than just the first months rent and damage.

I figure throw all of the buy out money to get into a place right at them.

Fuck mincing around.

So, fingers crossed, by this Saturday I have a place.

Yeah.

I’m juggling a lot.

But I feel like I can breathe today with the realization that it all works out.

It always has.

I am being carried.

I absolutely am.

I.

Am.

Graced.

Back Home

September 5, 2018

With a huge stack of books and notebooks and pages and pages and pages of syllabi.

Oh my God.

What have I fucking done?

I went from feeling pretty good about it all to feeling super overwhelmed after my last class.

The irony being that it was the class I figured I was going to enjoy the most.

Of course, with some perspective, I still think I am going to enjoy it the most, but I am awash in the anxiety of having to produce the work.

There is a lot of work.

Yesterday’s class blew me out of the water at the intensive.

I really liked the professor.

In fact, I am quite fond of him as he swooped in one morning seeing me sitting by myself at breakfast and made me join his table at the intensive.

We had a great talk.

He loves Paris.

I love Paris.

We are now friends.

Plus, he has had an extraordinary life, three marriages, multiple degrees, Harvard, Brown, CIIS, somewhere else I forget.

Of course he has a PhD as well.

And a lot of papers that he’s written and he seems to be the co-collaborator of the way the course work is designed.

First of all.

Let me say that I had some, well, not exactly contempt, but a little wiggle of worry that because my PhD is an “online” program, that it would not be academically rigorous.

Fuck my life.

Academic rigor galore.

In fact, as one second year told me, she thinks that we actually do more work than a traditional PhD program and I think she’s right.

Second.

I was in the dark a little about the length.

I had this idea that the program is only two years long.

The course work is only two years long.

Then there’s methodology, the comprehensive exams, research, the writing, the proposal and the defense of said proposal.

The course work will be four semesters.

Then I can expect at least another four more semesters of work to finish the dissertation.

Which means two more years.

And the professor made it very clear that the fastest anyone could possible do the whole shebang was 4.5 years.

What I heard from most of the people in the program was that if I did the course work and stayed the course with my research, readings, writing, methods, etc, that it would take in total about 5 years.

So.

It’s no different from any other doctoral program with the exception of the majority of the coursework is submitted online and that a large component of all my classes is to interact and engage with the learning community on-line.

There are 30 of us in the cohort split into two sections.

There are three classes.

Introduction to Transformative Society; Self, Society, and Transformation; and Creative Inquiry: Scholarship for the 21st Century.

I am the only student from San Francisco, though the school is located in San Francisco.

There were a lot of students from the East Coast, New York mainly, I think six of my fellows were from New York, one from up state New York.

One from London, a University Professor of Psychoanalytics and Psychodynamics.

One student from Hong Kong.

One student from Oakland.

Another from somewhere in the East Bay, a few from up North, somewhere in Canada, I totally forget now, another from D.C.

The woman from D.C. was also an MFT and teaches as well at university level, specifically Art Therapy and Play Therapy for adults, she was super sweet and insisted I call her if I have any questions about marketing or setting up my private practice internship.

Said internship that although I took materials with me to work on I did absolutely no work on at all, I was so immersed in the classroom experience and the work at the intensive.  And I read a lot while I was there on my breaks, as much as I could without totally isolating myself in my room.

Anyway, a lot of high-caliber, smart people.

Majority of them women, which was very, very cool.

Grateful to be part of some smart, intelligent, driven women.

Very grateful.

One of whom came up to me with a piece of paper today in a notebook that she was keeping to show to our future selves, our name with Dr. in front of it.

I was more than happy to write mine down.

Dr. Carmen Regina Martines.

Fuck that looks good.

And now I can stop giving myself grief that I maybe was in an “easy” PhD program because it was two years and online.

Silly rabbit.

It is not easy at all.

The great thing that I realized though, after having a bit of panic and overwhelm when I was in my Creative Inquiry class yesterday, is that the material is not beyond me.

I understand the concepts, they make sense.

Oh sure, a lot of the material is new to me, I haven’t studied these things before, but I have been reading academic papers and books now at a higher level of understanding for the last three years and the materials are not cowing me.

Nope.

Not at all.

That was a nice realization for me to make.

What was causing the panic was the number of deliverables that I must have for Creative Inquiry.

8 papers.

8!

And though some of them are short, I have a couple that are not, and two that are quite big.

Plus I have to get published.

Are you fucking kidding me.

I have to actually publish a review of a scholarly journal.

Holy shit.

Now.

I am excited.

But yesterday I was just overwhelmed.

What the fuck?  I remember thinking I have to get something published too as a requirement of the course, Jesus, plus, oh, great, thanks, I also found out that I have another book to read, in addition to the books already lined up for the course, I had to pick one of four others that were presented.

Let me say this.

I will not be going anywhere without carrying a book or an article to read.

That’s why I got overwhelmed, 8 papers for this class, three for Self and Society, and one big whopper for Intro to Transformative Studies.

Plus weekly discussions and comments and interactions with my cohort.

I worked a lot on my calendar yesterday and I’m not 100% certain, but it looks like I will have to read two to three books per week to get through all the material.

Well, not quite, more like 2.5 per week.

Plus the articles, many of them big, long, academic papers of over 30 pages, and every class has three or four of these a week.

So yeah.

The material doesn’t scare me, it’s just getting the time to do it.

I’m not sure what’s going to have to go out of my schedule, but somethings definitely are.

Maybe a few less blogs a week.

Maybe.

I’ll let you know.

For now, I’m just happy I’m home and all my stuff is put away and I get to sleep in my own bed tonight.

Very happy for that.

Very.

 

In The Right Place

September 3, 2018

And if there were any doubts about my PhD program, they were all erased today.

Replaced by a feeling of knowing, really knowing that I am in the right place, at the right time, in the right program, with a cohort of people who I am really beginning to like and  respect.

I had my second full day of classes and the class today really (and when I say class let me say that one class was six hours, with a meal break in between, these are not your standard “classes” that are 50 minutes long) brought it home for me.

The first part of the class was really a sort of getting to know you exercise that took a bit longer than I was ready for and made me squirm a little bit as some folks began to go over time, but it was a good way to hear more about the folks in my cohort, and that was nice.

But.

It was the next part of the class, when the professor introduced to us the realities of the work and how the course was set up, the readings, and what he hoped to accomplish that would allow us to do our dissertations and get through to the final doctoral degree.

He expressed what we were going to do and how we would get there and I could see al the ideas that have been percolating in my head start to coalesce.

I had gotten really good feedback from the Dean of the school when I interviewed with her, she had never heard of anyone covering the topic I want to do and that excited me.

But that was back in February, March?

Back when I was still in my Masters program.

And I still have had the idea, still have had the interest in pursuing it.

But here.

At the intensive, it suddenly felt alive and very, very real.

The course work is no fucking joke.

I am going to be reading until my eyes bleed.

However

The cool thing is that I won’t have to write as many papers as I did for my Masters program.

Of course, there will be the dissertation and God only knows how long that will end up being.

God willing it will become a book.

I mean.

I really could see the culmination of the effort not just netting me the PhD, but also getting to work on putting out a book.

I’m really excited about it and my fellows in the cohort have been asking me questions and really into my inquiry.

Makes me happy.

After we had our lunch break and came back to class for the second half of the six-hour class, I was ready to dive in.

I had a nice lunch break and had gone for a little walk to get some fresh air and a coffee and sat down at the beach for a little while, got some salt spray on my face and some sun and felt refreshed and ready to jump back into the material.

Material that I was excited by, work that I am looking forward to doing.

Oh.

I’m a touched overwhelmed too, won’t lie about that, the reading load is really quite heavy, but if I consistently read, every day, as much as I can, I will get through it.

And that the writing is far less substantive heartens me.

I will have to have a big online presence, which will be a little new for me, but I have done it before with a couple of my former classes, so it’s not a completely new experience, it will just have to be something that I am consistent with.

There is going to be a lot of me working on this for a long time.

I’m grateful though, I’m grateful for the opportunity to do the work and I’m grateful to be excited and I’m grateful for the talk I had with my professor after class ended.

I went up to him and thanked him for presenting the class how he did and I told him that he had assuaged the last tiny feelings of why wasn’t I just going for a PhD in Psychology versus doing a PhD in Transformative Studies.

He asked after my inquiry and I told him what I was thinking about and he got excited.

HE GOT EXCITED!

For a tenured core faculty professor who has published over 50 articles and written I don’t know how many books, but more than one, he published his first when he was just 30, and he speaks five fucking languages, for this professor to be excited by my idea was really such a great feeling.

I think I floated away from the classroom.

I mean.

I am tired.

It’s been a lot of showing up, being present, paying attention, taking copious notes, reading, although not as much as I did yesterday, I tried to connect more with the cohort today and hung out with my fellows and talk, but I still did read, and being out of my comfort zone, in a new environment, yeah.

Tired.

But good tired.

And tired happy.

Tired that there’s going to be so much.

But also tired with a purpose.

I have a purpose, there’s an end goal and the program is exquisitely designed to get me to that finishing point.

In fact.

As far as PhD programs go, they have one of the highest success rates of programs in the United States for actually getting PhD students all the way through the process to the doctoral degree.

Most programs see 30% drop out in the first year.

So seeing the mechanics of how it works and what I have to do to get there and how thoughtfully it was all laid out.

Well.

It made me smile.

It really did.

IMG_E4816

 

Whoa

September 2, 2018

Well.

I am fucking in it.

The work is on.

I sat through some really long classes today.

I did a lot, I mean, a lot of reading.

I just wrapped up my third academic paper of the evening and I am about done.

I was supposed to go dancing with a group of girls across the street from the hotel at some place called Nick’s but when I showed up, in my red lipstick, there was no one there.

And frankly.

Hanging out in a bar is not my scene.

Especially not alone.

I turned tail and headed back to my room.

I have a banana to nibble on after I finish my blog tonight and then maybe a little bit of a video to watch.

I’m going to do my best to get some sleep and get up early, take a shower before breakfast and get right back into another long day of classes.

I’m not quite through the midpoint of the intensive and it is for sure living up to the name.

I am, also, quietly proud of myself for showing up, for participating, for actually getting on top of a chair at one point to make a point, it was experiential, I wasn’t trying to be an asshole, and doing the deal.

It’s going to be a lot of work.

A lot.

But I am up for the challenge.

And I will do it in the two-year.

There is a three-year track, but honestly I don’t think it makes it any easier for the student, it just seems to prolong the inevitable work that must be done.

I will do the work.

It will be challenging, it looks to be a lot of reading for each course, tons really, but I feel like I have given myself a good jump on some of it by reading before the intensive, finishing two of the thirteen books that I will have to read and knocking out four articles thus far, plus an hour-long video.

I will keep up.

And I have an idea about what to write about for my first paper.

The first class that I have sat through seems to be well laid out and reasonable.

It will be challenging, but I can see clearly that the last three years and how I worked through the Master’s program will actually be a benefit to me.

I am fairly self-directed and do readings all the time, I write on my own all the time, the practice keeping my pen fresh and alive for me so that when I need to write the papers I can do so without a lot of effort.

I will have to get better acquainted with the universities library system at some point though, I can see that already.

I haven’t much used it, typically going to the books assigned in my classes to write my papers, but at a certain point I will be doing independent research and I will need to have a good working knowledge of the library system.

I have also to sign up for a session with a writing fellow at school.

Not necessarily because I have grammar or even style issues, but one of my classes makes it an assignment to get connected with a fellow and develop a collaborative relationship with said fellow in an effort to get a different perspective on my writing.

I am down with that.

I just need to double back on my syllabus and find out what day I can do that.

I will be juggling a lot of things as I move forward and I can see that I need to be clear in my intent and keep my head down for a while.

I will continue to the best of my ability to show up here at my blog, to show up at my notebook in the morning, to maintain my practices, even when I am tired.

I do know that I will be more flexible with myself than I was in the beginning of my Masters degree when I had to absolutely write every day no matter what, even when it meant getting less sleep.

I’m not so much open to that sacrifice any longer.

Although my sleep here has been a bit rougher than I would like.

I have dreamed the last two nights of my ex.

The first night was a nightmare of getting separated from him and lost and I woke up so shaken from the dream.

Last night was not a nightmare per se, but it was an insightful dream and my fears definitely crept in.

I did a little Jungian dream analysis of it when I a woke and then wrote down the dream later.

I found it helpful.

I have trepidations of sleep now though.

Although, yes, it does appear to be true, I have no roommate!

No one has shown up.

Every time I walk into the room to take a break between lectures or classes I half expect some strange woman to be unpacking and taking over the second bed, but here it is the third night of the intensive and no one is here but me.

It really has been a huge gift.

I can walk to the bathroom naked.

I don’t have to worry about someone else’s schedule.

I can listen to music, read, write, do what I need to do.

Gack out on Craigslist.

It’s not the best idea in the world, but I have been regularly checking the site.

I have e-mailed a few more places, but gotten no response, which may be indicative of the holiday weekend, or that the places have already been rented.

It’s September.

Holy shit.

Two months.

I have about 60 days to find a place.

I’m not worried yet, but I do find myself going on Craigslist more and more.

I made myself get off it earlier and turned my attention to reading through another paper instead.

Like I said, I am pretty good at being self-directed.

To which end I shall now direct myself to wrap this up and wind it down.

I have a full day tomorrow.

Nighty night.

Bear Witness To

August 20, 2018

That’s what got me today.

Not the music.

No.

I was careful about my music choices people, I’m learning.

But the wanting to share something with you today.

I wanted so much to pick up the phone and talk and tell you how my day has been, how my week as been, how I feel overwhelmed and that I can’t do it and then you would tell me I could.

I was going through my private practice folder, trying to figure out some things and I touched the leather of the binder and I suddenly lost it.

I remember standing outside the restaurant after brunch when we were on vacation and looking at these soft, supple leather folders and purses and bags, gorgeous hand-made, hand tooled, beautiful pieces.

I bought a bag for files and a folder for my legal pad and I was so happy, over the moon, to be there walking through the city with you, the sun shone down, and yes, there was some sadness that day too, we had some talks, but there was the etherealness to it to.

I remember how you always offered me bites of your food, how you know me so well and in my abstinence you always took care to be kind about my food choices, well, maybe you teased me a little, but you were so sweet.

I was struck by how, later in the day after much walking, you grabbed a hotdog from a street vendor and had a couple of bites, then you ripped off the bun from the un-eaten end, and offered it to me for a bite too.

All the small, sweet, considerate gestures that do me in.

But it was that folder today.

I cried out loud.

I wanted to tell you about what has been going on, how things are moving forward, that I have an office to sub-lease, that I have rent to pay, that I have things happening, that I printed off another syllabus and read from one of my new books, that I had struggled today to not be anxious about all the things unfolding.

When I picked up the folder I realized that you were no longer here to witness me, to tell me how proud you were of me.

I know logically that I don’t need someone to pat me on the back and say, hey you’re doing a great job, I can do that for myself, most of the time, but it just struck me hard, I wanted to tell you and I can’t.

All the things I want to tell you.

I wrote you another letter today.

I told you a little fantasy I had.

I wished for you happiness and joy and kindness, sweetness, and grace.

I pray for you every day and every night and I pray to make it through to the next thing that I have to do.

I have a lot of things to do.

I did get a lot accomplished today and I am proud of myself for doing as much as I did.

I cooked.

I roasted a chicken and I made a turkey and vegetable stew with brown rice.

I cleaned my house.

Aside.

Man oh man, put a syllabus in front of me with homework on it and watch my house suddenly become sparkling clean.

I mean, I cleaned my house.

I have even started tackling some things like cleaning out the freezer, I figure I won’t be here much longer and if I tackle small bits of a big job they will get done eventually and not all pile up on me right as I’m making my move.

Second aside.

I have a place I am going to see on Wednesday.

I know, I said I was waiting.

But have I told you how loud it is here?

It is loud.

And it is uncomfortable.

I saw an ad last night on craigslist and I thought, wow, I should respond to that.

It’s not in a neighborhood I would have ever even thought to look, Sea Cliff, and it’s a unique housing situation, an Au Pear (which means guest cottage), with a drastically reduced (for San Francisco) rent with the caveat that when the family that owns the main house is away the tenant takes care of their dog.

I went to bed thinking, do I want to clean up dog poop and get up early to walk a dog a couple of times a month/year?  I don’t know how often the family travels or what exactly the schedule of care looks like, but yeah, do I want to clean up dog shit for a lowered rent on a cottage in Sea Cliff?

A cottage.

A stand alone, one bedroom with a library!

Oh my God, my little PhD student heart went pitter pat.

In Sea Cliff.

Now if you don’t know San Francisco that means nada to you.

But if you do, you know that Sea Cliff is crazy high-end, big houses, big sprawling yards and gardens, by Baker Beach with all the iconic views of the Golden Gate Bridge you could shake a stick at.

The house is literally across the street from the ocean, the cottage has ocean views.

There is also very little traffic in Sea Cliff, no buses or municipal vehicles go through it, no trains, it’s not quite a gated community, but it is super high-end fabulouslity.

A cottage in Sea Cliff would probably rent for $7,000 and upward, I may be lowballing that number too, I think it’s pretty rare that anything in Sea Cliff would actually be rented, and if there are rentals, well, they are freaking expensive.

So a cottage, again, a one bedroom with a library and the biggest freaking windows and wood floors for $1680 a month that includes utilities and parking and laundry?

I’ll pick up some dog poop people.

I have an appointment to see it on Wednesday.

I’ll keep you posted.

And in the meantime.

Love of mine.

I think of you often and wish we could talk and dream of a time I can once again be in your arms.

And yes.

Of course.

I cry.

In cafes with my confidant, at home holding things close you gave me, in the car listening to our music.

I hope you are well, I hope you are muddling through.

I miss you.

I love you.

Always.

Always.

Your baby girl.


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