Posts Tagged ‘career’

Here It Comes

August 20, 2019

I have two days left before I head down to Pacifica and step back into my PhD life.

Not that I haven’t already been in it.

Yesterday was a shit storm of homework, talking about the work, thinking about the work, reading, writing, posting to Canvas, the platform my online work is on, and feeling way too fucking anxious for my own good.

Seriously.

I had forgotten that ever present, low lying level of anxiety that being in school and working full time gives me.

I had a phone call with a friend in my cohort to talk about some collaborative processes regarding school and a proposal that we have to have done to present at the intensive and I just got bonkers.

I realized, yet again, that I was already behind the ball.

Thanks brain, nothing like making yourself feel bad after a really extraordinary Saturday.

More on that in a moment.

I tried to talk myself in from the ledge and I did ok, but reading and re-reading the syllabi made my stomach flip.

As once again I face the prospect of having to be in zoom meetings on days and times that I cannot as I will be working or seeing a therapy client.

And why?

WHY!?!

Are my electives more fucking work than my required course work?

Shit.

I was totally taken aback at my electives coursework.

Ugh.

I am not complaining, well, a little.

I just get the overwhelms.

And I know this feeling.

I have had it every semester.

I have had it every semester of my Master’s program and yes, for both the semesters in my first year of my PhD coursework.

And inevitably I find the time, it appears, like magic, a sloop on the sea back lit with moon light, and there is the path and I don’t really know how, but it all gets done.

It always does.

So.

I tried to reason a tiny bit with myself that this would be the same thing too and like every semester some weirdo shit happens with my financial aid, this year was no different, but things get worked out, as they did this year as well.

Everything gets worked out.

And.

If I don’t get A’s I’ll be alright.

I mean.

I’m going to fucking get A’s because that’s what I do and because I am a damn good writer.

Not that one can always tell from the writing in my blogs, but I do believe I am a good writer.

Not great, I won’t call what I do that, but good.

I am solid.

I am fluid.

I have good ideas.

I have poetic turns.

I have way with words, have I.

And I have a sense that I will have more time this semester than I did last year.

My work is transitioning.

Boy fucking howdy is it transitioning.

I had a pricking in my thumbs all last week that there was a conversation that needed to happen with the mom at work and I finally had the opportunity to address it and yes, my schedule is changing.

CHANGING.

I’m going to go down to three days a week come the third week in September, basically in a month, I will only be nannying three days a week.

And.

I will continue to transition down every time I pick up a client.

Which I did yesterday.

I am now at 18 clients.

I need two more to cover the costs of losing the nanny hours, but I suspect that I will secure them by the time I go down to three days a week.

And I need five more clients after that, I think, if I have done the math right, to be fully self-sustaining as a therapist.

That would be 25.

I want 30 though and possibly a few more.

As.

Well.

Clients cancel.

Things happen, stuff comes up at work, vacations, sick days, etc.

I need to have a buffer and account for that.

But even then.

When I think about it, when I let myself dream and drift a little, 30-35 clients, why, shit, that’s 10 hours a week less then I was working first semester of my PhD program last year.

I went into the program working 42-45 hours a week–as a nanny, I’m not including hours that I was seeing clients or doing group supervision and training with my agency.

At one point right at the beginning of the second semester I was working about 60 hours of work between the two and doing my PhD work, no wonder I felt crazed by the end of the semester.

And thankfully.

Second semester saw me drop down to 40 towards the end of the semester and then around the beginning of the summer 35 and then two weeks ago 30 and I’m staring down 20 hours when the transition happens.  The two older kids will be back in school and the family secured a daycare spot for the littlest guy.

20 hours of nanny work.

Actually that’s not even true, more like 18 since I picked up a client yesterday.

18 hours of nannying.

I mean.

I cannot even believe that.

I have been nannying for 12 1/2 years.

Thirteen maybe.

I am never quite sure about the number.

A long fucking time, how about that.

I really thought at one point that I would never not be a nanny and there was some self-esteem stuff tied up with that.

I had judgements about what I did as a profession.

I mean.

Who takes a nanny seriously?

Despite the enormous amount of work it takes to be a nanny, it is not seen as a credible career in Western society.

I have worked my ass off, however, as a nanny, and I can ascertain that most nannies do.

Not all of them.

I have seen some pretty lax shit happen in the parks, but it’s a damn lot of work.

It can also have the appearance of being fun and games all the time, going out to ice cream, going to parks, taking the monkeys to an arcade–got to do that today, me and the eldest hit up Free Gold Watch in the Haight, singing, taking long walks, being outside, playtime, nap time.

But it is work.

Work to stay present and balanced and even keeled when there’s crazy happening, when there’s screaming tantrums, when there’s diapers and vomit and sick kids or crazed sugar mania happening.

Work.

A lot of work.

And love.

Don’t get me wrong, there is so much love.

And.

I am done with it.

I have done it long enough.

I have paid my dues.

I can see the light at the end of the nanny tunnel and though I am a little afraid to go into the light.

(Don’t go into the light Carol Anne!)

Go I shall.

We strength and grace and assuredness that I will be held financially and be full self-supporting as a therapist.

I know I will.

I have extended office hours, I have rented extra office space, I have built it.

They will come.

Oh yes they will.

And the faster they come, the sooner I am done nannying.

Ooh la la.

Now.

Just to get through the anxiety of starting up school again.

Life.

It just keeps going.

It really does.

More Books

August 15, 2018

In the mail today.

Two more.

Now I have a total of four books and two electronic books in my possession for my PhD program.

16 days and counting.

I talked with my therapist a bit about that, the PhD program looming, the internship and all that needs to be done, dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s” as well as the overwhelm I felt after the orientation on Saturday.

Overwhelm, I am happy to say that is beginning to dissipate.

It was helpful that I heard back from the professor from whom I will be renting an office from and that she gave me the days and times I could use the space.

I will be using it that’s for sure.

It will mean a slight change in my schedule, but I think that it will work nicely.

I also will, fingers crossed, be taking on more clients than I currently run with.

Right now I’m at seven.

I want to go up to ten.

That is possible because the office is available on the weekends.

Both Saturday and Sunday.

But I won’t be using the office to see clients on Sunday–my new internship requires one Sunday a month to do trainings.

And well, from a historical perspective, Sundays are my day to do homework.

I did this Sunday, I foresee doing homework on many a Sunday for the next few years.

It’s my “day off.”

Bwahahahaha.

Sigh.

One day it will actually be a day off, but not for the foreseeable future.

That’s ok.

I’m happy to be getting the groundwork laid for my private practice.

I am really beginning to get excited.

If all goes as hoped I will see clients Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday nights after work from 6:30p.m. to 8:30p.m. and on Saturdays.

I’m thinking either noon to 4p.m. or 1 p.m. to 5p.m.

For a total of ten clients.

Which will be perfect to get me up and running and through the end of this year.

The office is available more than those times as well.

One of the days that it is available is also on Fridays, all day long.

I am hoping that once I finish out my contract with my family I will transition down to part-time with them.

I want to take Fridays off from nannying in January and build up my practice to all day Friday and all day Saturday.

I could also, if it works, which it may, take the office all day on Tuesday too.

Getting situated into this internship is huge for me.

There are a lot of things that I will have to do in the upcoming weeks, but I feel like I can handle them and once all the things are put into place, it will run like a well oiled machine.

I have a feeling that I will get up and running fairly quickly and I hope to be able to transition to being paid by February or March of next year.

I may be able to pull it off by January, but I’m not going to try to force it, I want things to unfold naturally and with ease.

I also will be doing a GoFundMe to get my office off the ground.

The clinical director spoke of a number of interns whom had used that platform to get the necessary start-up funds to begin their practices.

I had a friend who did a GoFundMe for me when I hurt my ankle so horrendously four years ago and was completely layed up and unable to work.

He got me rent and one month of my student loan payment taken care of.

He said it was really easy to do.

I can’t actually do the fundraising myself, nor can I donate to the pool in my own name.

The money has to either come from outside sources or from the fees I will be charging clients, which will eventually add up to enough to get me going and paid.

The GoFundMe helps get the ball rolling and establishes my office rent fund, administrative costs, group supervision, and insurance.

The internship basically is an umbrella under which I establish my own private practice.

They have faith that I will bring in money and clients and that I will serve the community.

I have faith as well.

Which is nice.

I also talked with my therapist, of course, about my ex and how the no contact went down and how that was also a big part of feeling overwhelmed and a bit at odds with the transitions happening.

Fuck.

So many transitions.

I mean, I haven’t even touched base on moving yet as a topic.

But that I was glad for the busy work that I got given on Saturday, it helped ameliorate the grief a little.

Or better.

I should say, it delayed it for a bit until I had the down time on Sunday to really let the sadness come out.

It came out.

It still is coming out, definitely in my therapy today, good hard cry there.

I also am aware that grief has no time line and there isn’t going to be a day sometime in the next week or two where I suddenly am 100%.

But there will be.

And I will make it there.

I will say, though, I was surprised today to remember, out of the blue, I think because tomorrow is Wednesday and we connected for the first time on a Wednesday, our first kiss.

My body shot through with electricity and I gasped in recollection.

Then.

Of course.

Sadness.

I don’t know when the feelings will come.

You would think they would come right now, I’m writing about it, I’m sitting in the spot, or damn near as close to it as I can, where he kissed me in my little tiny kitchen, and blew apart my body with the fire of chemistry that was lit by the kiss.

But no.

Not like it was earlier.

Just noodling along at work, prepping dinner and thinking about tomorrow being Wednesday.

Tomorrow being one week since I last saw him, heard from him, was held by him, kissed by him.

Of course I would get sad thinking of that.

But it was the kiss, the memory of that astonishing first kiss that floored me.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Probably another book in the mail.

And feelings.

I am pretty sure there will be some of those as well.

There usually are.

The Last Family

March 4, 2017

My friend said this to me tonight.

And he’s right.

My current family is probably going to be my last family.

It is with some disbelief that I said it, but really, I knew it when I started, that they could very well be the last family I nanny for.

They want me for four years.

That will get me all the way through grad school.

Masters and Doctorate.

Doctor Carmen.

I like how that sounds.

Actually.

I fucking love how that sounds.

And I love that this is my last family.

I also love this family.

I really do.

They are fierce, funny, smart, good-hearted and generous, and that’s just the kids.

I got my first baby smile today from the new-born, who, I suppose is not quite so new, being three months today, but still, such a smile.

Made my heart melt.

Plus.

I had just a total scrumptuous day with the little lady.

We went down town, which I might have nixed had I known that there was a conference happening at the Moscone Center, and had a day at the Children’s Creativity Museum that is just behind Yerba Buena Gardens.

We took the J-Church train downtown and got to stroll around and enjoy the weather.

Sunny today.

Rain tomorrow.

Focused on the sun.

So nice to be out in the day and have a fun time at the museum.

And the carousel.

The LeRoy King carousel.

Such a treat.

In fact.

We rode it five times.

The joy on that child’s face was and is indescribable.

I took so many pictures.

None of which I will post here, no pictures of my charges, but safe to say, it was joy, unadulterated sunshiny joy.

We had so much fun.

We ran around the museum.

We went to the Play Circle Park, where the giant slides are.

If you have not been to the Play Circle Park you definitely need to check it out, giant slides, need I say more?

We actually left the museum and park for lunch, normally we would have just eaten at the museum cafe, but because of the conference, it was packed.

Thankfully I know the downtown a little bit and steered us just a tiny bit off the beaten path of the Moscone Center and we hit a nice little cafe for a big grilled cheese for her and a chopped salad for me.

Then.

Yes.

My charge convinced me, and hey, it is Friday, so, fuck it, one more spin on the carousel.

We negotiated one more trip through the museum, mostly to use the bathrooms and she wanted more entry/exit stamps, but skipped the giant slides at the park to take the carousel one last time before heading back.

It was the best time to catch the carousel too.

There was a group of people from the conference on the carousel and they had bought so many rides that we got to take a double long ride.

She was over the moon.

“This is so much fun!” She exclaimed.

She rode three different horses.

A camel.

A giraffe.

And was just a tiny bit disappointed that there were no unicorns.

I mean.

I can understand that.

Or dogs.

“Why no dogs, Carmen?” She asked me, searching through the ranks of animals on the poles ready to have a leg swung over and hopped onto.

“Good question love, I don’t know, but there’s a lion, want to try that?”

And she did.

And it was good.

God.

It was good.

It was good to ride the train back to her house, to push the stroller up the hill, exercise, yah, and to punch in the code to the garage, to fold down the stroller (now that I finally know the trick to collapsing it) and put on a kettle to boil for tea.

I took in the view from the back, it’s an entire wall of glass with a view of the downtown and to smile at my happiness at my job.

I really feel pretty fucking lucky.

I do.

So when my friend mentioned that tonight, “the last family,” it really hit me how far I have come and all the work I have done to be where I am.

Ten years or so ago a friend reached to me and said, “hey you need some extra cash?  I need help at the Burning Man offices on Wednesday nights, there’s a board meeting and I have class, can you come down and take care of J_________ for an hour and a half, two hours tops?”

I said yes.

And though I did not realize it then.

I never looked back.

I relieved my friend her nanny shift every Wednesday for months, occasionally helping the mom and dad she worked for too with a date night.

Then.

I nannied the regional event at the office and then the Christmas party.

And that’s where I met her.

My first love.

She was just six weeks old and I remember how my heart was smote and the thought came where there certainly had not been thought before, “I want to be her nanny.”

As luck would have it.

Fate.

God.

What have you.

I was asked to be that little baby girl’s temporary nanny.

Then.

Eventually I got to nanny for her and another family.

I had a key to the office and would often be there first before any one else got there.

I would lock up my bike in the bottom of the building, climb the stairs, turn on the lights in the kitchen and make a pot of coffee.

I would wander around and look at the art on the walls and the sculptures.

I would tidy up.

I would receive my charges and my day would start.

I could not fathom then the ten years that would follow.

I could not express to myself how amazing the job, and hard, so horrendously hard (when I made it so), but so fulfilling too, yes, to get paid for loving a child is such a gift.

Oh.

Sure.

Teething, tantrums, poopy diapers, potty training, running out of milk, late parents with car trouble, not getting paid enough, being treated like the help (most of my families did not do this, but I had a few that did, grateful I learned how to leave jobs that weren’t a good fit for ones that were), long ass hours.

And then.

The hugs.

The snuggles.

The dance parties.

Oh.

My.

The dance parties.

So many.

The warm soft, sweet bread baked smell of sleeping children.

I remember being in the nursery at the Burning Man offices and I was sitting in the dark with the door open.

I had two babies sleeping on me, one on my right shoulder, one in the lap against my right side, and the office dog, a little three-legged guy, Ralph, that would occasionally herd the toddlers around the office zocalo, nestled next to me, all curled up and asleep.

One of the office managers walked by and did a double take.

“Do you just ooze maternal?” He asked incredulous.

Maybe.

I don’t know what it is, but I am grateful for it and all the tender, sweet moments that I have had.

They are not done yet, but I see a change coming and it is with much gratitude that I reflected on my career, the unexpected career, never ever said to myself I want to be a nanny when I grow up, and all the joy it has brought me.

I am a very, very lucky girl.

I mean.

Really.

Who gets paid to ride carousels?

I do.

That’s who.

I do.

Luckiest girl in the world.

 

One Down

March 12, 2016

Two to go.

But it’s not as hard this go around.

I don’t know why or how, but I’m getting through a lot better, a lot more relaxed.

It helps that I turned in both the papers that were due and I am completely caught up and on par with all my readings.

I finished up today on my dinner break the tiny few pages I had left before my last class of the day and am very happy to know that for the rest of the weekend all I really need to do is show up and let the classes fall into place.

I had my last run as therapist today also.

Meaning I can sit back on the experience of having done six full hour therapy sessions with a client and now it’s my turn to be the client for the next six sessions.

That and a break from the dyad completely tomorrow, leaves me feeling a lot more relaxed and well, mellow.

Tired.

Of course.

Fuck.

I am tired.

And slightly annoyed, the internet, again, has been really touch and go in my studio for the last week and tonight I haven’t been able to get onto the Wi-Fi at all.

Frustrating.

I do have some things that need addressing, but I paid my phone bill over the phone and if worst comes to worse and I don’t get online tonight, I’ll post up this blog before I head into class tomorrow.

The weather is still a bit nuts out there and I will not be taking my scooter in and I won’t be taking MUNI in either, I will continue to allow myself the luxury of a car.

I got to get a ride in with a friend of mine in the cohort this morning and that was a lovely gift, I got to see her and I avoided the carfare.

That being said, I splurged and did a straight Lyft home tonight instead of doing the shared ride.

I wanted to get home and I wanted to run up to Other Avenues and grab a few groceries for the rest of the class weekend.

Lunch and dinner are packed, my books and notebooks and readers are switched out in my book bag—my Marilyn canvas sack from the Jeu de Paume in Paris.

I have an outfit in mind and all I have to do is this blog and chill the fuck out for a minute or two and let my brain unwind.

And sleep.

I will sleep well tonight.

I never sleep well before the first day back into class, today I got up on probably five, maybe five and a half hours of sleep.

Which, once in a while is ok, but I wouldn’t want to be around me very much if that was a continuing trend.

My brain was busy and it just took a while to drift off last night despite getting into bed sooner than I thought and being a bit tired from the yoga class I took yesterday morning.

I still had busy brain.

Tonight.

Well.

The brain is tired.

Grateful too.

I’m half way through the second semester of my first year of grad school.

This is happening.

I’m getting through.

Rather amazing.

And yes, there’s loads of work to do, and there always will be.

I have chosen a profession in which I will have to constantly be broadening my education and I will need to keep myself up to date and learn, learn new modalities, learn more about cultures, learn more about myself, I will always be learning.

That on one hand can seem exhausting, but on the other is rather fantastic, there is no end to the learning.

Yes.

I will want to be proficient in one area and be a good therapist, but I can go for a PhD, I can go forward and learn new things, I can be competent in more than one area, I can well, be of service and I will continue to find new ways to be and do so.

This is a beautiful thing.

I will always be finding and experiencing and gaining knowledge.

There will always be the learning and the growing and this is life, not just my career path or my new way of exploring how to be of better service to my community, but for myself, I will always be having a conversation with the material and how I can use my experiences to better help another.

It’s fascinating and tiring and amazing all at the same time.

In the therapist break out, after the dyads had finished, the professor leads us, the students who were therapist, through the session and lets us ask questions and break down what came up and for the first time I got to see, really well, totally in action how counter transference works and I was blown away at the power of the tool.

It’s a concept that I have understood at a very heady, intellectual level, and now, after the session today, which was the last session of the six, I got it, I got it bright and loud and clear and it was extraordinary.

In one fell swoop all the theory landed in my lap and showed itself to me and I got it.

I was stunned.

And happy.

I really am going to be a good therapist.

Not to, you know, be egotistical about it, but an honest assessment of my abilities at this point clearly does show an aptitude for the work.

Grateful for all the experiences on the way to this journey.

All the work that I wondered about and the whys and whereof and why am I working so fucking hard and when is this going to pay off and all the doubts, all the time I wondered, really, what am I going to be when I grow up?

A healer.

A helper.

A person of empathy.

A student.

Of life, love, God.

Gods time, I was reminded today is so different from my time.

I want things fast and quick and efficient, I don’t always want to do the work.

But.

Oh.

When I do.

The rewards.

Extraordinary.

I am so grateful to be in graduate school.

Even when I feel overwhelmed and I don’t know how it’s going to get done.

I know.

It will.

It gets done every time I show up and let go of my ideas about what is happening.

“You’re such a different person!” My lunch companion said to me with a chuckle and a sparkle in his eyes, “Remember when we first met?”

I did.

I was a bit mortified how big my defensive structures were when I first started class and how protective I felt about myself and the learning and how I just couldn’t find it to engage with the second year students.

I found myself laughing with him and open and engaged.

I have a dinner date with another friend from the cohort on our break in the late afternoon tomorrow and an ask for a day at the beach with another.

I am living a full, exquisite, divine life.

Not my idea of what it would look like at this point, God’s time, God’s plan, and I am grateful that I did not.

The journey has been so worth it.

No matter what happens, at this point on my path, I am exactly where I am supposed to be and I know it to my core.

That makes my heart happy.

And I get to carry that happiness with me the rest of the weekend.

Just show up.

To the page.

To the mat.

To the classroom.

To my life.

Show up.

Astonishing things will happen.

I promise.

You’re Going To Get Old

September 20, 2014

Anyway.

Might as well do it with panache.

And daring.

And walk through the fear.

I received the materials today from the graduate program that I have been looking at and realized, fuck.

I don’t have all the pre-requisites.

I would have to put off the program for another year.

I got abysmal.

I trashed the program materials in the recycling.

Then I called a friend.

Who would know about having to do more school than she thought to get her degree and it was really good to get some perspective and the fact is that I do want to do this and I do think I would make a really great child psychologist.

I do.

The program is five years.

I would have to do the pre-requisite classes, which would add-on another year.

But.

Then.

Hey, you know, I would be a doctor.

Not a medical doctor, no, but a doctor and I could teach and I could have a private practice and I could lead a richer fuller life by helping others lead richer fuller lives.

I wanted to cancel on the open house I RSVP’d to.

I did not.

I wanted to throw up my hands in the air and say, what am I doing?  Am I just having the same experience that happens, quite frequently, it would seem, am I just having another weird side winding wonk at a career?

Am I grasping for something that will fulfill me?

Because I don’t need a thing or a career or a person to do that.

So.

More investigationship is what is needed.

I will go to the open house and I will talk with advisors and maybe there’s a different program, maybe I get my MFT and I practice as a therapist and not as a psychologist.

Maybe I find out I am not interested in the degree at all.

But I have to explore it.

Too many things seem to be pointing at the program and I am not going to ignore all those signs.

I am just going to show up for the next action and ask questions, exploring my options is not only the smart thing to do, it’s the only thing to do.  I cannot figure it out on my own.

I mean a child therapist is still a noble career and I know I would be great at it.

I am not afraid of the work.

I am a bit afraid of the financial bits and pieces.

But then I think, if it’s what is supposed to be it will fall into place and it will be obvious.

I mean a month ago I had no idea I would be starting a new job today.

Which is what I did.

I started a new job.

This family wasn’t even on my radar, I didn’t even know they existed, I was out in the high Black Rock Desert getting my pre-event Burning Man on.

I knew that my time with the family I was working with was probably going to be ending, but I did not think it would end the way it did or the manner it did, I didn’t expect two weeks with no work, but it was perfect, I had a great staycation–ferry-boat ride to Larkspur, lunches at the Ferry Building, a lot of iced coffees, reading books in the back yard, going to the Legion of Honor and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, sleeping in, having lunch with friends–and I interviewed with and got the job with a new family.

I also passed my back ground check.

“Squeaky clean!”

Not even a speeding ticket.

I joked with a friend of mine that I had delusions of Grand Theft Auto Grandeur.

Like I had done something felonious in nature and just like, I don’t know, forgot it, and it was going to come up in the back ground check and oops, no job for you!

But that’s not how it worked.

I got the job.

I am above-board.

I am being taxed and doing it right and I have a signed contract and benefits and paid holidays and days off.

I have employment that will carry me forward while I explore graduate school.

I am supposed to go to graduate school.

I know it.

I have always believed I would.

This time feels like the time.

I have a gut feeling and I am going to go with it.

And the doubting, well, it may come up again, but I can keep on exploring until the right fit happens.  And the doubt, it’s just a habit, one I have broken in regards to so many other things that it doesn’t even really seem applicable.

Sort of like an old habit that pops up once in a while to say howdy.

I can just wave and move on.

The dream is this:

My own practice in my own home in my town–San Francisco.

I know that’s a lot to bite off.

But that’s what I want.

I want to own a home in San Francisco and have a private practice out of my home wherein I am a top child psychologist/therapist.

That’s the dream.

At least the dream this week.

I have had the dream of wanting to be a writer in my own home in San Francisco too.

The dream typically has a house attached to it.

Sometimes, but not always, in fact, more infrequent than I might care to mention, there is not a family or a man attached to that dream.

Just me.

A house.

My own studio space, writing space, office space, and my own practice.

Therapy.

Children’s therapy.

Sunny, bright, warm, trees, play area, cozy couches and cushions and stuffed animals and play therapy and helping kids.

I have a dream about a picket fence and children.

The children don’t have to be mine biologically.

The house, while I don’t plan on birthing it, I do want to be mine.

Ah.

I have plans.

Yes I do.

I don’t have to know what is going to happen.

I just need to take another little step through on this path.

Show up for a new job, be a good employee, work with two new little boys, love the home I get to be a part of, be present, and then, go to the open house next Saturday and just ask some questions.

That’s all.

Nothing to it.

Keeping The Home Fires Burning

August 28, 2014

I mean that rather literally.

I am at camp on a night shift so the parents can actually go out and see the creation that they helped put together over the last year and more specifically over the last, uh, um, thirteen days.

I really have no idea how many days I have been out here.

I could try to figure it out, but the fact that I even have the mental capacity to be writing anything like a coherent sentence is rather amazing.

The amount of stimulus out here for the senses, without ANYTHING mind altering, unless you count a lot of ice tea as getting crackin’ with it, is beyond the pale.

There is just so much constantly going on and sometimes I can get some fierce FOMO.

Fear of missing out.

But I also agreed to work a night shift and in return I have tomorrow off.

I am tired and I am ready for bed and I would love to turn in once the blog is done, but who knows how long I will be keeping an eye on things at camp.

It’s not a challenging shift, the little guy is sound asleep, it’s just a matter of staying put and not falling asleep.

I will make a few more trips to the port-a-potties and have another cup of tea or three and eat an apple and write and edit some photographs and then it will be just chilling.

I suppose I could watch a movie, but I don’t have the mental capacity to watch a gnat at this point.

The same goes for reading.

So when I found myself starting to do some internet research I shut it the hell down.

I mean, just downloading a few photos to my facecrack page was more than my little brain seemed capable of having.

But I will say I am excited by the prospect of what I was researching.

I have come to the decision to try, yet again, exploring another career.

And you thought I was done with that.

Ha.

This time may not be different from any other of the various multitudes of careers I have researched and explored, but I will say it feels different and the amount of positive feedback that I have had from friends out here on playa who I have told of it has been absolutely enormous.

I mean.

Not a single one of them said that sounds idiotic.

I have had ideas about careers and have had them prove pretty damn silly as soon as it came out of my mouth when I told a friend.

So to get the affirmation I received felt very positive and I keep getting goosebumps when I think about it.

I want to go to graduate school and get my PhD in child psychology.

There.

I said it.

I want to do something completely outside the box of my writing and creative life, which I adore and love and cannot imagine not doing, but I feel like those things are only more helpful for what I endeavor to do.

Besides.

Dr. Martines has one hell of a sexy ring to it.

Does it not?

And as my dear friend from LA, Daddy Don (his playa name) said quite succinctly when I came to his camp and unloaded about a very uncomfortable situation, “you already have seven years of field work, you’re probably overqualified, research it when you get home, and you’ll know if it’s right when you get into school.”

Well.

Holy fuck me.

I mean, yeah, I won’t lie, I have consider psychology before, in fact it was one of the majors I looked at before I settled on English Literature, which was really settling when it came down to it.

English Literature, I love you, I always will, but mama needs a career and I don’t want to teach in academia and that’s really what I would have to focus on.

Plus, how many times have I looked at Creative Writing MFA programs?

Iowa Writers MFA program.

Check.

Columbia, NYU, UCLA, San Francisco State, the Stegnor Fellowship at Stanford.

Check and double fucking quadruple check.

I also applied to and was turned away from UCSF.

I was so certain at the time that I applied to that program that not only would I get in, that they were also going to give me a full ride.

I believe that’s called hubris.

I have been blocked at all turns.

I have also researched accounting–going so far as to pick up a class at City College of San Francisco to get a taste of it.

I dropped it after twenty minutes into class.

I went to the orientation at SF State to find out about teaching elementary school.

I left the orientation knowing I had no desire to invest anything in the program to only get out and make less money than I did at that time as a nanny.

I went to San Francisco Massage School.

How many times I have had someone say, “you should be a massage therapist! You’re amazing.”

I made it through one class and knew it was not for me.

Though I still love to gift massage and have a number of times on playa this Burning Man.

One could say that I have had quite a few ideas about what or who I should be and it could change, I may find that I don’t want to.

But.

It feels real.

It feels of service.

It feels like a career I could go to school for and still nanny until I was able to set up my own practice.

It feels like something I could actually make a living at and not worry about when pre-school or elementary school starts and then I am ass out having to hustle to find a new family or families.

Which.

Aside.

When I return to San Francisco I will be looking for a full-time gig, if I am going to go to grad school I will be applying for next fall semester and I need to sock some money away.

Working three days a week is not going to cut it.

So, you know someone who has full time needs peep me privately.

Peas.

Tanks.

And I have a sweet friend out here, the same said friend who saved my ass when I forgot my coffee drip cone in the dish rack and brought me her spare so I could make coffee in camp, who raved about the program she is in.

And.

Got the goosebumps too when I told her what I was considering.

“You would be amazing! Yes! Yes! Yes!”

So.

I have some research to do.

But not tonight.

I am tired and I still have hours to go before my sleep.

I cannot make any headway like that.

Besides there’s a fire or two to sit by while the camp is out playing on the playa.

Happy Wednesday.

Or Tuesday.

Or, fuck, Thursday?

From Burning Man.

Mary Fucking Poppins out.

I’m Gonna Make It!

July 11, 2014

I might be saying this a tiny bit premature, as I rest with my foot elevated and the perennial sack of frozen peas adorning my ankle, but I think I am.

I am going to make it through my first week back to work.

Today was a pretty damn good day too.

I got to be reunited with my little girl Thursday and she was such a pumpkin and it was so awesome to see her, so many new words and stories and hugs and she immediately demanded to have the lip gloss in my bag.

“What flavor?” I asked her, with an indulgent smile.

“Pink!” she said, then “more, I ate it.”

Ah, yeah, and that’s not what we’re supposed to do, sugar britches, but ok, a tiny bit more.

Today was also my first day doing a nanny share with her and one of my other boys, the youngest, the one who is teething like a poor sick beaver.

I tried it all.

Teething sticks, toothbrushes, ice cubes, frozen mango, frozen grapes, crackers.

He is partial to chewing on shoe laces and the ends of my sweatshirt lace caps from my hoodie.

Anything to alleviate the pain.

Poor guy.

The good news, kid, you won’t remember the pain.

He got super feverish with it this afternoon and couldn’t get settled down and finally I just held him and rubbed his little shoulders and blew on his face and cuddled him until he fell asleep.

Then I just let him sleep there until my other monkey woke up from her nap and miracle of miracles, I mean, how the hell did this magic happen, I swapped them out.

“Carmen!”

She called from out her room.

“Carmen! I pooped!”

No ignoring that.

Sometimes if she wakes up a little and squeaks, I give it a minute, she might just roll back asleep, in fact, often does, but a poop, nope, no going back to sleep with a load in her pants.

I got up off the couch, with the little boy on me, hot face tucked into my bosom, arms bunched underneath his chest, little legs swinging out and walked to my girls bedroom.

I opened it slow.

“Shhhh, A.  shhhh, R. is sleeping.”

Her eyes got big.

“I pooped.” She whispered.

“I know, I got ya, can you help me like a big girl?”

She nodded.

I walked in, closed the door behind me to keep the room dark.

“Ok, lady pants, stand in the corner of your bed by Massimo (her stuffed bear–dad has a thing for Mexican masked wrestlers, and Massimo often sports one, although today he was in a pair of outgrown red and white polka dot footie pajamas that the little miss had outgrown), and hang tight two seconds.”

She moved over to the corner of the crib by her bear, eyes tracking me, quiet as a little mouse and I leaned over the crib on my tip toes, keeping the small bunny on my chest until the last possible second, then plopped him down soft as soft can be on the warm nest of blankets just vacated.

He rolled over, opened one eye, saw me, I smiled and said, sleep bunny, and he closed his eyes and did just that.

I scooped up my little girl, got her out of her sleep sack, changed the poop diaper, put her in her training pants, she’s almost potty trained, and pulled on her tights, I scooped up her hair elastics and some barrettes, and hugged her tight to me and tiptoed out the door, pulling it shut behind me.

Success!

I don’t know exactly how it happened, but my god, it did.

And I was grateful, upon reflection that it had worked out that way, I was now unable to leave the house to do a second outing to the park.

The up and down the stairs–my Thursday family lives in a three-story walk up on the top floor–combined with the outing to the park in the morning, had done me in pretty well.

My little lady and I read books and she had snacks and we whiled away the afternoon reading the entire collection of Lyle, Lyle Crocodile.

It was a great way to get through the afternoon and my little teething monkey slept an hour and a half, his fever broke and he was up just ten minutes before mom came for pick up.

Perfection.

I gave mom the down low on the day and expressed how the massage had work and she said, “he loves back rubs!”

And the words of my friend came into my ear.

“You really should do body work.”

The words of my best friends eleven year old son came into my mind, “oh my god, mom, you’re right, she’s good.”

The words of a lover.

“Why aren’t you doing this for a living?”

While I had sat on the couch waiting for him to settle down, humming my little tuneless song, rubbing his back, with my eyes closed, matching his breath in and out with my own, and then feeling without thought, just touching his muscles in his small little body, I thought, maybe this is what I should do.

Pediatric massage therapy.

It would be lovely service.

I am good with children.

And I could perhaps even help kids with body issues, god only knows I have some experience with physical and sexual trauma from child hood, I can relate to that.

And I love kids.

And I know how to hold them.

So, hmm.

Perhaps something to explore.

I know I give good massage and one of the reasons why I have always said no, I don’t want to do this, is because I feel like there can be an ickiness factor.

An unwanted sexual nature to it and also that there are just some folks I don’t want to touch or be paid to touch.

I don’t think I would get that if I was working with kids.

I feel like this is something to explore and something I could explore while continuing to nanny.

I have some research to do.

And my bag of frozen peas is almost unfrozen.

One more day and I will have made it through.

So grateful for this experience.

For the help, for the love, for all the unexpected gifts and insights.

Looking forward to the full recovery and the playing it forward.

And now off to elevate more and drink some tea.

 

You Can Have Easy Does It

July 9, 2014

Or.

You can have easy does it, the hard way.

I have had a few friends admonish me, in sweet, loving ways, to go slow and ease back into work and to really let myself be ok with just hanging out at the house and be relaxed with the boys.

Of course I said, yes, I hear you.

And of course I will.

Then I get to work and all I want to do is leave.

The house where my primary nanny share is at is under construction, a big huge project that will be amazing once finished, but is no where near yet, in which the attic is being ripped out and replaced with a great big floor plan.

There are sky lights and a new dormer window and it’s going to be awesome, but right now it’s just awesome loud.

And despite the workers all being rather sweet and super affectionate with the boys, how could they not, they are the boys, it’s a hard juggling act at times.

One which would be a challenge without being hobbled by my ankle.

The front door is constantly opening and closing and today, I don’t know why, but my phone was ringing off the hook, I got more calls than I think I get in a week.

My texts were coming in fast and furious from a number of sources, three parental, thus from my three families, and a grouping of others that I was trying to schedule.

Friends checking in.

Just a cacophony of things happening.

A bed being delivered.

And two little boys.

I had to get them out of the house.

Had to.

Except.

WELL FUCK.

The double stroller got stuck between two parked vehicles in the garage and I could not get it out, I mean now way, no how.

Maybe if I had not the hobbled ankle I could have brought it up the back steps through the garage, out the back yard, up the steps to the kitchen and then through the house and out the front door and down the steps to the side-walk.

But uh.

No.

I found myself in tears trying to figure out how to manipulate the situation.

And there was no way around it.

None.

I did manage to get out.

I just had one of the boys walk and I had the other ride in the solo seated stroller that I could just barely squeeze out the garage door.

I was forced to slow down.

I was forced to not go too far.

There is only a certain distance two-year old legs can go before they are tired and need to stop.  We made many little pit stops on the way to the park in the Pan Handle–Kids Kingdom–had little snack breaks and sang songs and walked really, really, really slow.

We looked both ways when crossing the street, waving cars on by, as I still am not that perambulatory, although I noticed I feel better getting about today by a great deal more than I did yesterday.

I did have the thought, on the way back, when I was feeling the ankle’s presence a little more and starting to fret about how I was going to manage nap time at the noisy house (when I have the double stroller available I can have the boys nap out in it and figured that was what I was going to do with all the construction noise at the house–air compressors, nail guns, saws, hammering, you name it) that I was going to need to go into another career soon.

I recalled when I had returned from my hiatus at Absinthe where I waited tables oh, about nine years ago, and I was not fully recuperated, but had been cleared for work and upon return was in the galley folding linen napkins and caressing my still quite sore back and thinking, I just can’t do this any longer.

I just can’t.

It’s too hard on my body, I have been in the service industry for too long (age 13-33), and I did not want to be serving alcohol any longer, having gotten sober just a few months prior.

I started working there with 19 days sober.

At a restaurant called Absinthe of all things.

It was actually a really great job and I did well, I am a people person, and I was a great server and I did well in all aspects of the service industry when I was present to do my job.

But I was done.

That day in the lower kitchen folding the crisp, thick napkins, I was just done.

I remember praying hard and after my shift happened to see I had a message on my phone which I had not noticed prior to starting, but it must have been there.

It was a message for an interview with San Francisco Veterinary Specialists.

I had applied months back and never got a call back.

And then, that day, when I said, no more of this, I got the call.

I got the job too.

Though it in the end, turned out to not be the call for me.

But it got me out of the service industry and I have not gone back to it.

The thought was similar to that experience as I was walking up Cole Street to get to the house, navigate back through the construction, make the boys lunch, eat something myself, and figure out naps.

I am done with this?

Can I keep going on?

What am I doing with my life?

Ugh.

I can’t figure that out, not now, not ever, this is just what I am doing now and just do the next thing in front of you.

I took small little actions and got the boys lunch and myself lunch and made tea and kept them both up about a half hour past nap time.

Then I snuggled them into the double stroller and pushed it back and forth in place while they settled down and voila!

Nap time happened.

They slept through it all!

The sawing, hammering, air compressor noise, the up and down of the workers on the stairs, all of it.

The youngest slept his typical shorter nap, but it was still an hour and ten minutes and the oldest boy slept for three hours and fifteen minutes!

I made tea, elevated my ankle, returned texts and phone calls, talked to my mom who just had a knee replacement done this morning and forgot about trying to figure out a new career to move into.

I was just grateful to be at work.

Period.

I will take this feeling with me tomorrow and though I will try to make sure that I have access to the double stroller, I won’t try to force anything.

When change happens for me, it can be natural, organic, and right.

I don’t have to force a solution.

I don’t have to figure it out.

Figure it out is not a slogan that has ever worked for me.

Easy does it is.

Money Is Not The Answer

December 5, 2013

But man, that is sure where the brain takes me.

Yes it does.

The real joy, the real passions, the reality of my life usually happens outside the parameters of my pocket-book, but I often, too often, think, it could be better.

So, let’s look here.

The thing is there is no here.

I mean, looking at what I was writing about yesterday and wondering, didn’t you just do this?   Weren’t you just looking like yesterday for some job or thing or career to fix it.

Fix you.

There is no fixing me because there is nothing wrong.

I don’t need to figure it out.

I just need to be thankful for where I am at and what this is about.

Living my life to its fullest.

Walking as much outside as I can, even when it gets cold.

Baby, it’s cold outside.

42 degrees Farenheit flashed on the bank screen at 19th and Judah as I chuffed breath out of my nose and clapped my hands together to get a little circulation going in them.

Being in the sun.

Walking out with the boys.

God I do love those monkeys they have been so ridiculously endearing lately.

I go around and around with the working as a nanny thing and I keep coming back to it.

There has to be a reason.

Outside of the obvious fear based driven decision that tells me that I am not good for much else.

I keep wanting some magic wand to be waved, here, child, do this, sign here, study this many hours a day, pay this bill now, borrow that there, and voila.

Career.

Money.

House.

God damn do I want a house.

I want a house that I can put up a Christmas tree in.

I get weak in the knees nostalgic for a Christmas tree at times.

I have not had one in a few years again.

Moving will do that.

Fear that spending the loot will mean not having a Christmas goose for dinner.

Not that I plan on eating a goose any time soon.

I’ll be house sitting my brain tells me.

Yes, you will be and yes it might not be the perfect time to get a tree, but why not just get one for you anyhow?

I have a box of ornaments that I have hauled around from Madison to San Francisco, still in the peppermint box from the Angelic Brewing Company.

I opened them up this past weekend.

Looked at them and put them away.

I felt depressed looking at them.

But I think I will be more sad if I don’t put them up.

Even just a little Charlie Brown tree on the back porch would fill the niche.

Or a small little guy I can stand in the corner of the room.

I love the way fresh pine smells.

Strands of white lights.

Popcorn and cranberry garland.

I don’t bake cookies anymore at Christmas time, or make fudge or toffee or Brazil nut brittle.

I don’t hang stockings.

I don’t.

I miss it sometimes.

Getting a tree seems like a nice thing to do for myself.

Act like I can afford the expense and I bet I can.

I have some wiggle room.

I slipped another few bucks in the savings account and I will have my return ticket from Paris paid off.

My friend said to just pay it by the date of the return flight and I want to do that, but more than that I want to pay it off sooner.

Then I can start saving for whatever comes next.

There’s always a next.

Surfing.

Traveling.

Something.

Motorcycle.

Stuff.

That is the conundrum.

How to balance the wanting of stuff with the wanting to be of service.

Can I make money being of service?

And how best to do that.

How best to listen to my heart and listen not so much to the brain and to be honest with what I want.

I admit, when I had all that free time last week, I couldn’t bring myself to do any extra writing.  It was like pulling teeth.

Or submitting.

I haven’t done a lot of additional writing recently and that makes me wonder will I actually ever get my shit together in that arena.

I am not trying to beat myself up, I just am trying to not have this conversation any longer.

I would like to retire it.

I would like to say definitively.

Here it is.

This is what I want.

My thinking is quite circular and I really do want someone else to tell me what to do.

Though no one is stepping up to that.

Ha.

Ah.

I know that my life is good and graced and blessed and I have all these awesome experiences to look at and see and I know that I already have lived a life of great magnitude, no matter what the outside stuff looks like, I know where I have been and I know I am willing to take the jump and do it again.

As I watch a friend ponder making a leap I think, what further leaping do I need to do?

What is it that calls to me?

Am I hiding out in nanny land because I am too tired to try something else or that it just comes naturally and like a snowball following the fault line, this is where I am, surrender to it.

I don’t have to make any changes right now.

I don’t have to figure it out.

I have the rate raise I need to get by and live the kind of life that though not extravagant, the few extra bucks will allow me to have a fuller daily life, richer for not having the constant anxiety of living payday to payday.

Faith.

This is what faith is about.

Knowing that I am taken care of no matter what or where or whom.

It doesn’t mean not taking some actions, oh, action has to be taken, don’t get me wrong.

But I don’t have to go leaping about the wild blue yonder trying to make it happen.

I have the space to hold and a place to do so.

Down by the song of the ocean.

Perhaps soon to be scented with evergreen boughs.

Lit with soft white lights.

News Flash

November 13, 2013

40-year-old woman has failed to yet figure it out.

What are you doing on craigslist at this time of night, young lady?

I certainly was not looking through the casual encounters, the missed connections, or the used surf boards.

Uh, no.

I was, once again, looking to get inspired for a job, a career, a, well, fuck, an anything.

I was chatting with a darling girl friend of mine and she was telling me about all the applications she has going on, the process of applying for jobs, for career jobs, for the next move in the career, more school, the outlying time it takes, and the exhaustion of having a folder of resumes on your desktop that all have to be just so subtly tweaked depending upon who you are sending it to.

The cover letters.

The introductions.

The word of mouth connections.

I thought, man, I ain’t got no drive, just pushing this damn stroller around and around the block waiting for the baby to close his eyes and for the other to not pull my shoulder from my socket as he bounced around in the baby carrier strapped to my back.

I am grateful for my work, don’t get me wrong.

I watch the struggles, pitiful, tragic, comic, of the young kids that circle the head of Golden Gate Park, the trust-a-farians (rich kids run away from home having a little adventure before heading back to mom and dad in Chicago), the hippies, the dread locked, barefoot, smelly ass, ripe, dirty children with their prolific dogs and cigarettes and trying to shock the tourists teenage rebellion.

Some of them are obviously on the streets because they have no other place to go, or have a family life that was better left at home.

Or they are drug addicts.

Or they are naive.

They are hustlers and scam artists, dirty little ragamuffins with shells braided in their snarled hair, and rags on their backs.

I recognize myself in them as well.

Despite never quite going to that place–dirty, homeless in a park in a big city.

I was homeless, though, and more than once.

I couch surfed and squatted, in Madison and the fucking Upper Peninsula of Michigan, now that is just good times.

I called it camping at the time.

But I was homeless.

I am not today and as I struggle with the same story that pops up again and again I pause, step back and get some gratitude in my life for where I am.

I want things to happen so fast.

I want to go, go, go.

Fuck, I am even tired of writing about this thematic.

So, I haven’t got it all figured out.

Oh well.

Next.

Tried on some more dresses for my friend’s masquerade ball this Saturday, no success.

Worked.

Much success.

The boys both napped at the same time and not once but twice I was able to have an undisturbed cup of tea and a good read through the New York Sunday Times.

I rode my bike to and fro.

I enjoy the feeling on my legs, though, not so much the shoulder.

It is still buzzy and painful, but I am identifying what actions seem to be causing the stress and I am not carrying the boys around as much, I am taking ibuprofen and just keeping the fingers crossed that I will get through the week and it’ll magically disappear.

Like I wish my demented thinking about who I am and what I have should go away.

At least I have perspective.

It doesn’t always happen at once, but it does happen and then I grow and learn something else.

I live in San Francisco, for fuck sake.

It’s a sort of expensive town.

If it weren’t for the way I live I don’t know that I would be able to live here.

I don’t know anywhere else I want to be living.

Oh, I have ideas of things that would be nice.

A trip to Africa, another to Europe, more Europe, I only really saw Paris.

Maybe to the Caribbean, haven’t ever done the South Seas, or South America.

Ah, thoughts, so many places to go, so much to disbelieve.

I used to think that everything my head told me was the truth.

That if I had a thought it was the truth.

I discovered that I am not my thoughts and my brain lies to me all the time.

ALL THE TIME.

No one loves me.

No one wants to spend time with me.

I am alone.

I am not enough.

I will be poor all my life.

Blah, blah, blah.

I suppose the trick is to let the brain chase it’s tail like a dog and exhaust itself on the circular thinking.

The writing helps me break it down.

The writing is linear.

Perhaps that is why I need to write.

I need to also lay off giving my self grief about not writing more.

That time too, shall  come, or not.

I am alive and in pretty damn good health and usually in pretty damn good cheer.

I love my little home by the sea and I am thinking about the stars and how bright they were as I opened the garage door tonight after returning from my regular Tuesday night thing at 7th and Irving.

Wow.

Those are bright.

Of course they are.

There is no ground light on the ocean.

I marvelled at the sky.

The Universe, the stars, the few constellations I recognize.

The sway of the Earth to the music of the Spheres.

I tucked away my bike and opened the door to my studio.

“Hello house, nice to see you,” I said when I walked in the door.

It is.

Nice to see my house.

It is nice to hear the Beatles just randomly shuffle onto the player and hear Paul singing sweetly of the black bird singing in the dead of night.

“You were only waiting for this moment to be free.”

I have.

Some candles flickering on the bookcase, a bunny bank from the Marais in Paris, stacks of notebooks, a warm bed, a mug (from the Louvre gift store) full of pens, stickers from Flax, photographs of people I love, books, an electric tea-pot (there is something so insanely luxurious about an electric tea-pot), a music player, a hula hoop, white orchids in a violet glazed pot, French notebooks, pink Gerber daisies in a Mason jar in the kitchen.

Love in my heart.

Thoughts of you as I turn toward the edge of the world and sing my siren song of love to the ocean.

Burning incandescent.

Because that’s how I was made to do it.

 


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