Posts Tagged ‘children’

Get Paid

January 5, 2019

It’s not going to be a lot.

But it’s going to be something.

Two things.

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

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

Still, anything is helpful.

And.

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

Currently I am what is called a “volunteer.”

I don’t get paid anything.

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

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

I can’t touch it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I should get approved pretty quick.

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

I am not bringing in heaps of money.

But.

I am bringing it in.

In fact.

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

In my first month I brought in $700.

In my second month, $1700.

Last month, $2400.

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

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

For myself.

Like real income.

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

Minimum wage in San Francisco is $15 an hour.

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

Ugh.

But.

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

I will also get reimbursed for my own therapy.

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

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

It is not enough to live on by any means.

However.

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

(ugh)

It really will help.

Especially getting the money back from my own personal therapy.

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

I’m doing therapy to get therapy.

Heh.

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

But.

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

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

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

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

Not a lot of pay off.

Yet.

But it will happen.

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

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

25 is the number of clients most therapists aim for.

One could do more, but you court burn out.

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

Horrible trauma.

And it’s a great gift too.

I am a good therapist.

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

I’m excited to help more people.

I’m happy that I have a career.

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

I’ve been doing it for 12 years.

Amongst some other things, but mostly nannying.

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

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

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

Friends of hers from her private school.

It was adorable and also intense.

Good thing I had packed extra snacks.

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

That was me a lot today.

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

But.

I didn’t.

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

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

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

Anyway.

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

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

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

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

 

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Dorked Out!

March 21, 2018

I am totally all geeked out.

I literally just cooked dinner in my cap and gown for graduation.

Hehehehee.

They came in the mail today!

It’s really really real.

I’m graduating.

It still feels surreal.

I also put the hood on backwards, and then laughed my ass off at myself as I stood in the hallway to my studio admiring myself.

In my bunny slippers.

I will probably wear different shoes to the ceremony.

Probably.

Heh.

My slippers are cute.

But who the hell would take me seriously in my slippers?

They are cozy little things, but perhaps not to walk the stage as I receive my diploma for my Master’s Degree in Integral Counseling Psychology.

I’m so excited to graduate.

It has been such a journey.

I still can’t quite believe it’s happening.

Like that horrible nightmare I used to have every once in a while that I hadn’t actually graduated from high school and I have to go back and take some test or turn in some assignment still.

No fucking thank you.

I received the official invitation to graduate from the school yesterday.

That was nice.

Really nice.

I still have hoops to jump through and forms that will need to be signed, but academically, everything is set, I’ve been cleared to graduate.

I will have to turn in my therapy form–my program requires that I do a year of therapy with a licensed MFT while I am in practicum.

A requirement that I was upset with for a little while, not the therapy part so much, but that I would have to be with a licensed MFT which costs quite a bit more than working with a trainee.

Then again.

I really like my therapist.

She’s great.

And.

Man.

We did some work today.

I sat down and said and today we’re going to talk about ______________.

And we did and it was good and I got some perspective and a different frame then what I had expected and I was super grateful for that.

Sometimes I just need someone else’s perspective.

My perspective is not always true.

And often misleading or anxiety inducing.

My therapist gave me a very different way of seeing things and for that I am so very grateful.

And.

I was able to forward that experience onto a client tonight.

I didn’t disclose my therapy session to my client, rather, I just helped my client see things different.

And the response was great.

I am always so happy when I get to be of service and help someone see something that they couldn’t on their own.

Therapy is work and anyone who tells you different is lying.

It’s hard work.

But.

Fuck.

It so pays off.

Frankly, everyone could use therapy.

I mean, who couldn’t use a person to sit and empathetically listen to them for an hour once a week?

It’s so nice to be able to talk about all the crap in my head and get it sorted and processed and let it go and not stuff emotions and have feelings and see what they are and how I want to move through the world.

Therapy has such great value for me and I am so pleased that I get to be a therapist and I get to help my clients and it really moves me when they get something from the work I do with them.

It’s work on both ends.

Which is exciting.

And I get to constantly learn things.

I had a huge amount of stuff come up around a client yesterday in my supervision then I met with the client in the evening and just sitting there and being with them and using all the work I had done earlier in the day was so gratifying.

It was amazing.

It can be hard.

I won’t lie.

Sometimes I think wow, this is some hard work, but it is so good to be helpful to others.

I am happy that I have found a career that lets me do that.

Of course, I have that too with my nanny career, but this feels bigger and feels like I will have more impact.

Although I do not, by any means, disparage the work I do with children, nor how important it is.

It is really fucking important.

My little monkeys mean so much to me.

And that I get paid to love, well, that is super special.

And I will get paid to love too, as a therapist, that’s one of my biggest goals, to provide my clients with love, empathy, kindness, to help, it’s a different kind of loving relationship than a romantic union or a friendship, it is a special relationship because of confidentiality and knowing that there will be times, many times, when the client needs to work out something and that something is going to be hard to hold.

But I get to try to and in the trying I learn and in the learning I grow.

It’s really a lovely relationship full of reciprocity and though, no, I wouldn’t call it altruistic, there is something of that flavor to it as well.

I never thought this would really happen.

Me, graduating from a Master’s degree program.

Although it was something I always knew I wanted, I never quite knew how it wold happen.

But you know.

I had faith.

And

It’s actually happening.

Really.

REALLY.

Happening.

Smashed With Love

September 15, 2017

I had a reunion today with one of my favorite charges.

I have been on the look out for him since school started.

The family I used to work for and the family I work for now have their children in the same school.

I do school pick up for my charges four to five days a week.

And.

I ran into one of the boys I used to work with today.

Or.

I should say.

He ran into me.

Literally.

Full tilt gallop from across the playground.

I was nearly bowled over.

I had no idea he was coming.

I was looking for my charge and then heard my name being called out, and it took a moment for me to realize that the voice calling my name was not the voice of my current charge, but a past charge.

And then.

He leapt into my arms.

He knew I would be there to catch him and I was.

My whole body responded before my brain had a chance to even register what had happened.

All I knew was that my arms were full of this sweet little boy.

“I miss you! I miss you! I miss you!” He cried and hugged me so hard.

I told him how much I have missed him and how much I love him and it was such a sweet reunion.

I nearly burst into tears.

This situation, being at the same school, with two different families, is a new one for me.

The first few times my former charge saw me were so achingly painful I dreaded going to do school pick up.

Part of me yearned to see them, my boys, such sweet, sweet boys.

And.

Part of me couldn’t bear it.

I missed them so badly and they didn’t understand why I wasn’t with them any longer and was with my new family and when was I coming back?

Now.

8 months later.

They seem to have gotten it.

And there’s some distance from the hurt and the loss and the grieving I did when I said good-bye to them.

Now it seems tender, but it doesn’t have the same sting, and though I thought I might cry, I did not, yes, oh yes, I gave him many fierce hugs and told him multiple times how much I loved him, but I didn’t lose it.

He ran off with my little girl charge and they went to the monkey bars and it did my heart something good to watch the two of them play.

It did my heart real good.

My charges were all about the love today.

There was much holding hands, there were many hugs, there were no tantrums.

It was magic.

I even had a little time before the mom came in this morning to make a few check in phone calls and get myself oriented for the week.

And get my clients sussed out for the next few weeks.

I have been given another client.

And with that.

I now have eight.

Which is where I will stay, at least for the semester.

I will pick up consults on Saturdays that I am not in class, but aside from that, I have my eight clients.

I am a therapist.

I mean.

I really am doing this.

“What’s a therapist?” My oldest charge asked me today, “is that what you’re in school for, and how come you’re still in school, is it like a career thing?”

He’s very astute for seven.

“Yes,” I told him, ruffling his hair.

He and I were solo at this point in the day, mom and little sister had a dance class to go to and he and I were headed home on MUNI.

“A therapist is someone who helps you communicate with your emotions, sometimes they help you communicate with other people too,” I told him.

“A therapist helps you with your feelings,” I continued.

“Oh yeah, I remember,” he said and reached for my hand, “and you’re a therapist!”

“Yes,” I smiled, “yes, I am.”

“But you’re still my nanny, right?” He asked, a tiny note of concern in his voice.

“Yes, I’m still you’re nanny,” I replied, slowing down a little as he thought it through.

“But you won’t be forever, you’ll graduate from school and you’ll be a therapist all the time?” He asked, then stopped walking and added, “but that’s not for a while yet, right?  You’re still many nanny for a while.”

“Yes, it will be a while before I have a practice all my own and we’ll have lots of time together before that happens,” I assured him.

“And then you can be my therapist!” He concluded and grabbed my hand happy to have figured out a way to keep me permanently in his life.

Oh my heart.

It just was squashed with his love.

I hope you never, ever, ever, need a therapist darling boy.

Although, I know how helpful it is, it’s super helpful.

Just to have someone listen to you, to attend to you, to help you navigate through emotional states and processes.

Even if there’s not a trauma to work through.

Therapy is some super helpful stuff.

And really, if I’m honest about it, in a way, I am this child’s therapist.

We do a lot of play therapy and a lot of narrative therapy.

Of course.

I don’t tell him that.

For him, it is just play, that’s how children process emotions, they play.

So he and I play a lot, we color, we tell stories, well, he tells me stories, all the time, and I get to listen and ask questions.

He’s very excited, for instance, about the new Iphone.

“Are you going to get one?” He asked me.

“Nope, I don’t have a $1,000 to spend on a phone,” I told him.

He was not pleased with this answer, he’s very pro Apple products.

“Don’t you have something you can sell?” He asked, “you know, to get money to buy the phone?”

I laughed out loud.

I love how he thinks.

He’s very solution oriented.

I love my charges.

Past.

And present.

I’m so grateful for them, for all the sweet love I have gotten to have, for the laughter, for the naps, for the snuggles and hugs and the joy of them.

Children astound me.

The bright faces of God shining with love.

How lucky, graced really, I am to get to do this work.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

When It Rains

December 6, 2016

It pours.

I just was offered another nanny gig.

Thanks.

But no thanks.

I just finished and sent off my corrected contract to my newest set of employers.

Two small minor things that needed changing and I will be ready to sign and go onto the next family that I have been given the gift to get to work for.

I have a gift.

I don’t know exactly how it came to be and I don’t often question it, at least I don’t anymore, and I have had it told to me too many times that I do a great job, an amazing job, that I am good with kids.

Oh.

I have had my moments.

Things happen.

I am not perfect.

But.

I am good.

And it would be false humility to not acknowledge that.

And, well, it’s nice to be wanted.

I realized that today as well.

I am not chasing shit.

I am the ball.

I am not chasing.

Not men.

Not relationships.

Not friendships.

Not jobs.

I am done chasing.

I want to have fun.

I want to live my life.

I have a full, busy, awesome life.

I don’t have time for bullshit.

Fuck.

I frankly don’t have time for dating.

And yet.

Ha.

I have two lined up in the next couple of weeks.

One I will sneak in next Monday night because I can and I know what will happen and we have a good time together and there’s nothing that will come of it except a fun night and some bed head.

Ahem.

Like I said.

I am just having fun.

But I am not chasing the fun.

The fun can just come to me, because otherwise, I don’t have the time for it.

I’m too busy.

I have this last weekend of school to deal with, I have one last paper to write.

The second date I lined up is for dinner at Thai Cottage.

AFTER my last paper is due.

We’ll be going out to dinner the day after my last paper is turned in.

He reached out today and we made it happen.

Both of us have been ridiculously busy, he travels a lot for work and well, fuck, the way that I write, blog, and do recovery, besides work and school, hell, it’s like I have two full-time jobs and two part-time ones.

It’s a fucking wonder I get any sleep.

We’ve gone out twice before, this is the third date.

It’s not going anywhere, he lives out-of-town too far, but hey, some fun will be had and I am just saying yes to what is being presented to me.

Again.

Not chasing.

Keeping focused on what is in front of me and how I can best serve this part of my life.

I miss my friends.

I miss my social life.

I miss going out and doing social type things.

But I have a goal.

I have a trajectory and I am so proud of myself for sticking to it and doing the work.

Fuck.

I do a lot of work.

Today I at work the baby took a long nap and I was able to start the process of writing my final paper for Psychopathology.

I went through all my notes.

I reviewed a bunch of the readings.

I broke out the post-it notes.

I saw the arc of the paper, it’s going to be a doozy.

But.

I know I can write it and I know where I need to go next.

I’m probably going to do an outline of it and organize my notes around that outline, index all my references and sit down with that outline and write from point to point to point.

I think the actual writing is going to take about four, possibly five hours.

Which could potentially be done in one day.

It’s feasible people.

I can write that much in a day, absolutely, fuck I wrote 4,000 + words yesterday, but that paper I wrote was only 7 pages, this one will be 18-20 (that paper was also not 4,000 words, it was closer to 2,000, I was also counting the blog and the morning pages I wrote), but I can write that much in a day when it’s like this blog–stream of conscious.

Fuck.

I could write like this all day long, don’t tempt me.

I probably should try it one day just to see what kind of idiocy climbs out of my brain.

There are so many times that I have no idea what is going to come up in the blog and it really is a fantastic witnessing of how my brain works.

I also know how my brain works best when writing my papers now.

I have to do certain things in a certain way, and my brain is busy cooking on the back burners, even now, as I blog, things are shuffling around back there.

I figured out what the diagnosis was for the client.

Now I have to outline my assessment, what the symptoms are that are being presented, how I came to the decision, what other possible diagnoses it could be, an in-depth psycho-analytic underpinning of how the symptoms are presenting, what’s going on in the mind, basically, the defenses employed, why they are being employed and how, and how that speaks to the clients history, life, and current presentations, and then how would I treat it.

Yeah.

That’s some fucking work.

It shouldn’t actually be hard to come up with the 18-20 pages.

What it is, is a task of organizing and laying out in a neat way all the steps that I took to get where I am going.

I suspect I will learn a lot more about myself and my way of thinking and how I am as a clinician, which is not necessarily my goal, but will be an interesting by-product of the work.

I already have learned more than I think I know just spelling out the paper here.

I have miles to go and I don’t know when I will next get a chance to work on it, it may not happen until after I get through the school weekend and the wedding and the rest of the work week.

But.

It will get done.

And in between here and there.

A little fun.

A few more Christmas cards to write out.

A few more yoga classes to get to.

Life.

Full.

Amazing.

Happening all the time.

Right here.

Right fucking now.

Good times.

 

Will You Visit Me?

October 12, 2016

Will you come to my birthday parties?

I’m going to buy you something very special.

Carmen, when is your birthday?

“December 18th, the week before Christmas, darling,” I ruffled his soft brown hair as we walked home from dropping his brother off at Rock Band Land.

“Carmen, I’m going to get you something amazing for your birthday, I’m going to get you brussels sprouts, five boxes,” he said and squeezed my hand hard (sometimes we get brussel sprouts at the Mission Farmer’s Market on Thursday afternoons over on Bartlet and 22nd Streets.  There is a food truck that does rotisserie chicken and every once in a while we stop there and get a roast chicken and boxes of brussels sprouts).

Oh sugar.

I kept a straight face, “thank you honey, that would be amazing.”

And so it begins.

The parents of my current charges have obviously begun prepping the boys for my departure.

Which explains why the littlest guy for the last couple of weeks has been hitting me and calling me stupid when he sees me and being very aggressive.

Classic splitting and projecting.

He can’t handle the emotions inside his little four-year old body and they are coming out in words and actions that I’m not very fond of.

But.

Being a psychology masters student.

Theoretically I understand quite well.

At one point in the day today I engaged with the four-year old one on one at dinner and asked him what he needed when I sat down next to him and he called me stupid and hit my knee.

“Are you trying to tell me something,” I said softly.  “Is there something you need from me?”  I continued, “I don’t like being hit my sweet friend, can you tell me what’s wrong?”

He hit me again, but this time softer.

“Are you mad at me?” I asked quietly.

He nodded his head affirmatively.

“Can I help you with anything?”  I asked and rubbed his hand softly, “it’s ok to be mad at me.”

“Hold me,” he said in a soft, plaintive voice that just about broke my heart.

“I need a hug and a cuddle,” he continued and crawled from his chair at the dinner table into my lap with his little stuffed cat, a blanket, and a pillow from the couch.

I arranged him in my lap and gave him a warm hug and tucked the blanket around him and let him eat the rest of his dinner swaddled with his stuffed cat on my lap.

I told him I loved him and that he was very important to me.

I told his brother the same thing as we walked.

“Carmen,” he said, and kissed my hand, “you will always be in my heart, make sure that you are coming to all my birthday parties and that I will get to see you all the time.”

Well, kiddo, I don’t know about all the time, but I could probably swing a birthday party or two and considering that the family I got hired to work with next and the family I currently work with are friends, I suspect that there will be more of you in my life than previous charges.

We had a sweet day today.

I had a lot of unexpected time with the boys and I was very grateful for that, and unsupervised, which is also a really nice thing.

We went to Mission Thrift and rummaged through the bins of silverware and kitchen cook ware and spent all of $1.39 for a good half hour of fun and getting to get some exciting “new” utensils for their tiny play kitchen.

We went to Paxton Gate for Kids and played with the toys and annoyed the hell out of the staff, but fuck it, they’ve got to be used to it by this point, it’s a kids store and I did buy stickers there and the parents have probably spent thousands of dollars in the store, easy.

We went to Mission Playground and rode the merry-go-round and I had a gaggle of kids spinning and whooping and screaming on it off and on for a good 45 minutes.

It was pretty hilarious and a lot of fun.

“Carmen!  You got your exercise!”  The six-year-old exclaimed as we left the park.

Boy howdy, did I ever.

My left shoulder is still a little sore from it.

So it goes.

Then a big lunch, running around had worked up an appetite for them and then an hour of quiet time.

Which was not really an hour as I got a text from the mom saying they were running behind and would I take the four-year old to Rock Band Land?

Hell yes I will.

We had an awesome walk over.

We dropped off the youngest boy.

Then we ran into friends and went for a cookie, well, he had a cookie, and I had a cafe au lait, cafe play date at Stable Cafe on Folsom and 17th.

It really was just a sweet and sunny day.

And although I didn’t get a chance to engage with the mom and dad around the end date of the job I am very grateful that they are taking on the actions of letting the boys know that I will be transitioning to a new job.

There are challenging days ahead, I am sure of it, but I know if I stay true to my feelings of warmth and love for the boys the waters will be navigated just fine.

And it is something to be leaving a family after two and a half years and the children being so advanced with their communication skills.

Most of the time I’m leaving a family with toddlers.

These boys have feelings and they are letting me know.

It is hard.

But.

It is exquisite.

It really is a gift to have such love reflected back to me.

I suspect that I have always known that I have an impact on the children I have gotten to work with, but I have never had it articulated to me in the way that it was today.

It is an extraordinary thing to let myself be seen and loved.

So very grateful.

Beyond words.

Just beyond.

And ready to move on too.

Nice to be able to hold both emotions.

Shit.

It’s nice to hold all the feelings.

All the feels.

All the time.

It.

Really.

Is.

Good times.

Seriously.

And So It Begins

August 1, 2016

I just dropped a nice fat $200 on books.

I started ordering my text books for the fall semester.

Considering how much reading there is to do and that I will be going once again to that thing in the desert, it was time to whip out the debit card and get online.

I did not really want to.

I just paid rent.

But.

I figure if I can be adult and self-supporting to get my ass to Burning Man.

I certainly can begin ordering my text books.

Besides I really will have to do a bunch of reading before the event to be prepared for school.

Hell.

I’m going to have to do some reading this week before I head up to the retreat for school, which is next Sunday.

I cannot believe it’s already time for the retreat.

Argh.

But then again.

I can.

The time, it does go fast when you are busy and I have been keeping myself busy for sure, take the last couple of days, just getting the certification for my CPR and First Aid Adult/Child/Infant was a time consuming thing.

But I got it done and I don’t have to do it for a few more years.

It didn’t feel like I had any time off though, it felt very much like work.

I mean.

I don’t know anyone who would choose to do one of these courses for fun and relaxation.

Though.

They can be funny.

There is always that one dude who picks up the baby mannequin like it’s some toy and they get the surprise of their life when the face falls off of it.

Today one guy, who happens to work at a private elementary school, just picked up the baby mannequin by it’s feet and sort of swung it around.

The instructor was horrified and demanded he treat the doll like it was an actual baby.

Alien baby.

But sure.

All kidding aside, I am grateful that I took the course and have a refresher, it’s really good to know, and knock on wood, hopefully I won’t ever have to use it.

After I finished the course I headed over to Oakland for a friend’s housewarming party.

It was really sweet.

And I ran into all sorts of people, some folks who I don’t normally get to see aside from on facecrack or instagram.

Or at Burning Man.

I chatted with folks from Media Mecca, my home away from home, and it was really sweet and good and I felt like I was seeing family.

I like that I get to have this extended community of artists and creatives and hard ass working people who strive to be something, who are engaged with each other, who form this secret little society of folks that I somehow stumbled upon and now can’t imagine being without.

I realized how much I want to be out there anew when I was ordering my books.

I mean.

I don’t want distraction or school thoughts or work worries, I just want my Burning Man.

I will have them, anxiety is just a part of my life, exercise, yoga, the like, that helps, but I have a busy old mind and it will ruminate on anything it can get its hands on.

That being said, I will do as much reading for school as I can before I head up to the event.

It’s probably a good thing that I will be working for my family in Glenn Ellen for two weeks.

I will be forced to be in one spot and spend the evenings reading school material.

I get the impression that I won’t have as many papers to write before the fall semester begins from the classes being held at the retreat, but it does look like there is some pretty heavy reading load for the first weekend of classes and I won’t be in a spot to read at all that week before as that’s Burning Man.

All the thoughts and stuff and things.

Two of my classes don’t have syllabi up yet, so I don’t even know exactly what to expect for the first weekend.

I just can tell from the one class that is listed that there is going to be a lot.

Graduate school.

Second year.

Hard to believe.

But there it is.

Time just keeps moving on.

I ran into someone who got the same degree I’m working on five years ago.

I had no idea she was a psychotherapist and we chatted and caught up and it was really good to hear her experience and to know that I’m on the right track, for me.

I may not know exactly what it looks like and sometimes I feel a bit confused by the mechanics of the school system, but I do know that I am heading in the direction that seems to be that of private practice.

That’s my hope anyhow.

And she has a private practice and it was really good to hear that she was doing well and that she had a sustaining private practice just five years out from graduating from the program.

In fact, it sounded like she had a decent number of folks follow her from her interning to her own practice.

That would be amaze.

I know I get a head of myself.

It was just really nice to see this lovely over lap of friends and school and recovery and Burning Man and kids, oh I got to see some gorgeous little monkeys and get some great snuggles and hugs, and romp a bit with two of the brightest five and a half year old twin boys.

Oh the tow headed goodness, the smell of sweet baked boy warm and soft and snuggly, it’s like some sort of bread that sustains my heart, the real manna from heaven, the smell of golden boys warm from the sun.

Ah.

Yes.

And so it begins.

But it never really ends, it doesn’t slow down, it just speeds up and I know one day I will look back and wonder how fast it all happened.

So I must take a breath.

Pause.

Breathe.

Look around.

And be grateful for this rich, full, happy life I have.

Truly.

The luckiest girl in the world.

And possibly.

One of the busiest.

But.

In the best possible way.

Seriously.

So Close

April 16, 2015

I can taste it.

The weekend.

Yeah, I know, tomorrow is Thursday.

But, yes, there is a Santa Claus, Virginia, I have Friday off.

If I can make it.

The week has been busy.

Family swim today again today.

At least I remembered and did not wear eyeliner, just the water proof mascara and a big smile.

I also bumped into a little talkative bean that has grown up so much in the last six and a half months, seven months, since I last saw him.

One of my former charges was there with his mom swimming and it was so good to see him and he was so sweet and talkative, he had words before, but it was like a word explosion had gone off and he was carrying on complex conversations.

He swam right up to me and I was so happily surprised to see him, it was hard to keep my attention on my current charges.

It just made my day to see him and give him some kisses and see what a beautiful little guy he is becoming.

And I took things a little easier today than the last swim day.

I knew what to expect, where we were going, to pack extra this, extra that and be ready also for a side trip to Crissy Field and a quick dig in the sand before hitting the swimming pool.

I also suspected that the problem, aside from the littlest guy’s napping being edged forward with the swimming, was the hungry.

You do not want to mess with a two-year old when they need food.

It is like unleashing a manic animal.

Which is what two and 3/4 year old boys are anyway, little animals.

With some words, most of which start with now, I want, and more.

I plied him with lots of snacks while at the beach and even though he was a little cranky after getting out of the pool, we made it home without a melt down.

The melt down did happen.

But it happened just him and I in his room while I was getting him into a diaper for nap.

And then it melted away and we snuggled, he had a spot of milk, we read a story, his eyelids so heavy I was amazed he could stay up to hear the fate of the little owl, who was also, conveniently enough, was also falling asleep.

He napped for two hours.

He could have gone longer, but it was 4 o’clock at the point that I woke him up and I knew the parents just couldn’t have the nap go longer, especially since they are heading out-of-town for a short Spring Break vacation.

Which is why I have Friday off.

I deserve Friday off.

The work has been full to overfull having the two boys at all times.

They are high energy.

“They are just full of beans today,” I laughed.

“I don’t know where they are getting the energy, they are just going and going,” the mom said, she looked like she could use a nap, it’s a long day for everyone when we do swimming.

Tomorrow I won’t have the family the whole day, they will be taking off before my day ends.

They will leave and I will stay back and organize and work on a few projects while they are hitting the road.

I was not the happiest upon hearing that projects were expected to get done, I also didn’t know the family was leaving tomorrow, I thought they were going on Friday morning.

Regardless.

What ever needs to be done will get done and I will have the second half of the day on my own in the house, I can listen to music, do what needs to be done, take my time and be of service to my family.

It’s a gift to get a paid day off, especially one in which I am not required to take a day off of my own vacation or sick leave.

It’s a free paid day, Friday.

And as it turns out.

It’s perfect timing.

I had some plans.

I was going to get my scooter towed out to Scooter Center and finally deal with it.

But my scooter can wait.

I got a text from a dear friend of mine and it looks like she’s going to be delivering within the next two days.

She might have her baby tomorrow.

I’ll be heading into see her on Friday and her new baby boy.

I can’t wait, I remember when she told me she was pregnant.

It’s amazing to see my friends having babies.

“I don’t know that I will have children,” I told him last night as we were catching up and talking about experiences and relationships, “but I haven’t missed out on having children in my life.”

I have gotten to experience so much from the vantage of being a nanny and getting to engage with babies and toddlers and pre-schoolers and kindergartener’s, and I think that will continue.

I don’t have to have a baby, I’ve gotten to have many of them.

And I get to meet another one on Friday.

Such a gift.

Life.

Yeah.

So, my scooter can wait.

I don’t know how long I’ll be with my friend and her husband and their new baby, I’m just going to leave the day to that and my commitment later in the evening at 8p.m at Our Lady of Safeway.

One more day of work.

One more day of Spring Break.

And I will be having my own little break.

I’m ready.

Carmen, You Are A

February 25, 2015

Rockstar.

Why thank you.

It did take some rock star maneuvering to get through today, but I made it through.

The mom paid me the compliment.

The grandmother told me I was amazing.

The almost, in three days, five-year old told me he loved me.

The dog kissed my face.

The two and a half-year old had his Meow Meow hug me, his little white cat that is now grey from dirt and love.

Validation.

So nice to meet you.

It is lovely to be so appreciated at work and it’s nice to be busy.

Not too busy, I could use a little more down time then this week has afforded me, but the grandparents leave tomorrow and I have a half day on Thursday, so I can interview for the graduate school program, and things will roll right along.

The upside to being busy is that I don’t have time to be bored.

I am almost always doing something.

“Can I help?”  The grandmother asked as I started unpacking the bags from the market and getting the things for dinner arranged.

“No, but thank you,” I said.

Not because I probably couldn’t use the help, but because it actually, often times ends up being a hinderance to the preparation.

I don’t think in a linear manner.

I try, but often get distracted, and often find short cuts, and often have fifteen things happening at one time.

In the span of an hour and a half I prepped snacks for pre-school pick up for the oldest boy–thermos of milk, strawberries, hulled and sliced, clementines, peeled and sectioned, two small Fuji apples, cored, sliced, sprinkled with cinnamon, box of whole wheat crackers in a little container.

The kid likes having options.

Then I roasted cauliflower for dinner, made a marinade for salmon I had bought at BiRite (two pounds wild Alaskan salmon marinated in olive oil, Meyer lemon juice and zest, one lime, sea salt, fresh chopped flat head parsley, garlic, fresh pepper, thyme, and a little basil), big tossed salad for the whole family, and sushi rice in the rice cooker.

I did a lot of other things too, laundry, clean up, dishes, but I don’t think of it anymore, I just do it.

I just had my five month anniversary with the family and I would say it’s going well.

The almost five-year old celebrated his birthday tonight with his grandparents who fly out tomorrow afternoon.

I was grateful to not have to be a party to bed time.

It was hard enough wrangling the two monkeys after a couple of vanilla and chocolate cupcakes from Mission Mini’s.

It was like a sugar bomb went off in both their brains.

As I stood in the middle of it, watching the dynamic of the family I thought how lucky I was for my job.

And for the experience it’s providing me.

“You are so far ahead of anyone coming into the program,” a friend told me Saturday night, “leaps and bounds, you’ll do fine at the interview and they will take you into the program.”

It’s nice to hear.

Again, validation, affirmation, I am good, I do a good job.

But it was better to have it sink in, from my head to my heart, down to my gut.

I know she’s right.

I have had eight years being at the center of many a family.

I have done my field research to be a MFT, Marriage and Family Therapist.

In spades.

I have seen family’s that blew me away with their love and others that blew me away with their neurosis.

All of them have been instrumental in my own personal growth.

Learning how to communicate without being passive aggressive or manipulative.

When a kid whines, it’s hard to tolerate and there’s a wheedling aggressive manipulation happening.

If I make you uncomfortable, you will fold and I will get what I want.

I can’t handle it much better in adults.

It’s subtler, but really it boils down to the same thing.

And those families I haven’t stayed employed with long.

I have learned about self-care, how to prepare myself for the job and stay serene in my own persona and core.

I have learned to meditate at work, in the middle of the day when there’s a nap time happening.

I don’t always get to, but when I am, the magic is palpable.

I see what happens when families eat junk versus good food.

Or when miscommunication happens or feelings get hurt.

I see that we are all, all of us, me especially, human and I make mistakes.

I see also that I get to make mistakes and that’s part of learning.

“No!  I want you to draw it,” the oldest boy told me, “I can’t do it as well.”

“You will one day, and not so far off,” I replied.  “Just try, you don’t have to be perfect, it takes patience and practice and repetition, you have to start somewhere, here’s a great place.”

He picked up the crayon and drew outside the lines, smashing bright colors all over the page, “it’s my favorite color!”

Yellow.

Or gold.

“Just try, you are safe, I won’t drop you,” I told the youngest boy yesterday at swim lessons.

“I’m scared, I’m afraid,” he said.

“I have you, I won’t drop you, you are safe, and you can be afraid, fear is ok, but you still get to try, come on, you can do it, jump!” I smiled and lifted him up into the air and the splashed down into the water.

“See!” I hugged him and his wet arms wrapped around me and he smiled back wet eyed and beautiful.

I’m going to nail that interview.

I’m going to graduate school.

This is happening.

Never thought being a nanny would lead me anywhere, it was just something to do until the right thing came along.

Who knew it was the thing that would provide me with the foundation to do that right thing when the time came.

Life.

Full of wonderful surprises.

And sweet validation.

Thank you!

The grandma and grandpa said for the photos.

Thank you, you are a super hero, the dad said.

Thank you! The mom called out to me as I walked out the door.

You are very welcome.

See you tomorrow.

I have some more research to do.

What’s Your Higher Purpose

May 20, 2014

Or fear.

Those are my topics.

I will go with the first, although, the more I thought, the less I knew and then I thought some more, maybe that’s the whole point.

Learning.

More and more.

Experiencing more and more.

Being achingly present as much of the time as possible, even when I would rather check out with Netflix, when is Orange is the New Black back?

Never mind.

I actually don’t need to know.

One thought was to be of service in my community by being a kick ass nanny.

I love my boys, even when they are boys and boy oh boy, were they ever today.

And I love my girls.

I love all the little monkeys I have been graced to work with.

“You’re really good with kids,” the mom said to me as she picked up her daughter from swim lessons, over twenty-three years ago when I was teaching Tiny Tot swim lessons and Mom and Tot.

“You should be a teacher,” she concluded.

In a way, that is a big part of my job.

I teach.

Patience.

Sharing.

Love.

Tolerance.

Kindness.

Generosity.

How to laugh, giggle, play, be silly, blow bubbles, communication of needs, I teach daily and without thought.

I also teach numbers and letters, colors, directions, manners, catch, fetch, sand castle digging, fort building, dancing, singing, hand eye co-ordination, sign language.

I am sure I am forgetting something in there.

I don’t have a degree in Education or Early Childhood Training, but I have a knack and I am not going to deny that.

The very act of getting down on the ground and hanging out with a child is not intuitive to all people, tons of adults have no clue how to interact with children.

I do.

That is definitely a higher purpose.

I mean, come on, taking care of children is a looked down upon profession yet, the most successful thing we can do as a society, is just that, take care of our children.

Even if there is not the kind of reward that comes with signing a book deal or making a movie or being a social networking maven.

Which I am good at as well.

That thought crossed my mind, I am good at connecting people.

I am a people person.

I meet people, I get there names, I talk,  smile, I engage.

I welcome.

It’s just something I do.

I suppose that has something to do with being genuine and that attracts people and I am open to new situations and trying new things, wherein, I meet more people.

I like connecting people to each other.

I like that I went to Burning Man and said, hey you and you, and yeah, you too, you need to go.

And they did.

Now, I am not the reason they went, but sharing my experiences with them helped that decision.

“He said I should get a hold of you about moving to Barcelona since you moved to Paris,” the message read.

“Go.”

I didn’t need to send anything else.

Go.

I went.

I did it.

You can to.

To inspire.

That is a higher purpose.

I have asked men on dates, jumped on trampolines, moved to Paris, danced in the dj booth of big name dj’s, I did the AidsLifeCycle ride, I got a black belt in Shaolin, I started a blog and keep writing it every day.

Inspire people to follow their heart.

I dyed my hair.

That is a big deal.

To be my authentic self.

There’s nothing wrong with colorful, insert clothing, tattoo, hair, here.

Be yourself.

Have fucking fun with it.

Wear a tutu to work.

Or your pajamas.

Stick flowers in your hair.

Get a pink jack-a-lope tattoo.

Laugh.

Have loud sex.

Kiss people.

Hug hard and long.

Dream.

Wear your heart on your sleeve and be you, because, no matter how similar we are, there’s only really one you.

Or me.

Perhaps my purpose is to help the still suffering.

To pass on my experience, strength, and hope.

To be happy, joyous, free.

That’s probably my biggest purpose.

And my most precious.

To save my life by helping someone else with similar issues is an amazing gift.

One that I never thought I wanted or needed or had a purpose for.

You want me to what?

Are you high?

OH.

Ok.

Let me try that.

Perhaps my higher purpose is to write.

But not write for accolades, honor, esteem, money.

Just to write for the act of being able to do it, the joy of it, the sound of my fingers flying over the keyboard, a song of life and meaning that means almost nothing to any one else, but me.

Or the feel of a good pen on good paper.

Maybe my higher purpose is to be happy.

Really.

Just that.

As happy as I can be.

Whatever that looks like, however that evolves and to love.

Yeah.

That’s what it is.

My higher purpose is to love.

I get to do that at work.

I love my charges.

That is something.

How many folks can say they love their bosses?

My bosses are fabulous, sometimes a bit moody, or pushy, or bossy, “PUFFFFFS! SNACKS!”

Then again, how many folks have bosses that blow them kisses, hug them, dance with them, and fall asleep in their arms, I get to love and be loved at my job.

That is a higher purpose indeed.

I suppose it’s really to live this life, my life, the only one I have got, to the best of my ability, as full and rich and pulsating with purpose as I can make it.

To get the fuck out the way of my life and let it happen.

To walk through whatever fear I have and live anyway.

If I narrow the field too small, if I find “the higher purpose” for me, perhaps I wouldn’t have so much fun looking and trying things out.

I am still learning.

And if I don’t know what exactly my higher purpose is, I am ok with that.

Besides.

I know I am on the right track.

And that is enough.

 

 

Not Sure Where The Ride Is Going

December 15, 2013

But I am staying home.

I have been taking distinct pleasure in my city, my city, my city by the Bay.

Today I got to go down to Ocean Beach with someone who means a lot to me, despite not knowing her last name, I just now realized that, and do some soul-searching, some reading, and some quiet time, followed thereafter by some getting in touch with that big guy up in the sky with a beard.

Not talking about Santa Claus.

Although the conversation I had yesterday with another woman at a meal, speaking of spirituality, was how children see Santa as God.

I liked that interpretation.

So what is Santa putting in my stocking this year?

No coal, methinks, I have been a pretty good girl.

As the sun flashed over the water and the surfers slid down the waves I recounted some things that have been troubling me.

Of course I had my perspective changed.

Thankfull for that.

REALLY thankful.

“Oh, honey, it’s your birthday!” She exclaimed, “then right thereafter your anniversary! Why, of course you are going to be feeling this way, you’re reflecting and we tend to focus on the bad stuff, not so much the good.”

She is entirely correct.

I had related to her that I was not expecting to be here, sitting here, not with her, not on the beach, not, definitely not, in San Francisco, when I was coming up on my birthday last year in Paris.

Nor my anniversary.

I thought I would be celebrating the rest of my life for a good long while in Paris.

Tears broke through my eyes and I realized, yet again, that here I go beating myself up for the expectations I had around the Paris Experiment.

“You’re beating yourself up,” I said to her tonight across the table, over the books, the cups of tea and the Americano steaming on the table, “you don’t have to do that.”

It was like talking to myself.

“Well,” she said to me down at the beach, “it certainly sounds like there’s some inventory to do there with your Paris experience, so let’s go stick our feet int he water and give it up.”

It was a little new agey, but I didn’t mind.

It’s hard for me not to go stick my toes in the ocean when I am down by the sea, anyway, I am compelled to do it, there is something cleansing and bright about putting myself in the water.

In fact, I cannot recall a time when I have not put my feet in the water when I have been down there.

Oh, oops, yes, just did, but that doesn’t count.

“Oh, that’s half-measures, what he said to you,” she said, “you deserve better than that, so let that go too.”

“And be willing to turn toward the person you are supposed to be with, stop beating yourself up (oh, there you are again you subtle minx, forgiveness) about where you think  you should be, and let the Universe know what you want.”

“House, marriage, children,” I said, slight hesitation on the children thing.

That’s hard to say when you are about to be 41 years old and don’t have a boyfriend that could become a partner with whom to have children, but I stuttered it out.

“Good!” She said, “that’s good, that you know what you want, you’re young!”

Glad to know.

Even writing that feels like a challenge, like how dare I hope for the marriage and the partner, the children, the home, but in my heart, yeah, those are things I long for.

Yes I have loads of tattoos and I ride a one speed and I have been called a hipster, although I don’t really feel like I am a hipster, I just drink coffee like one.

Yes, I am bright and brash and bold and I swear a bit.

But I am old-fashioned and that seems to be a part of the make up that I cannot shake, maybe I don’t have to shake it necessarily, there are some things that go well with being old-fashioned.

Like manners.

I like please and thank you and expressing gratitude for the things given you, I believe that being polite is important.

I like being offered a ride home.

I like having the door opened.

I do.

I like flowers.

I like pretty things.

So, yeah, that means, uh, courting?

hahahahaha.

That’s just funny.

I wrote a blog about kinky sex three days ago?

And now I am thinking about being taken out on a traditional date.

But that is what I love about myself I can be a box full of contradictions, that way I get to have more than one type of experience.

I can be tough, but that’s not the energy I want to express any more.

“You are so sweet and warm and compassionate and  your energy is super gentle,” she said, with bright eyes, “I am not like that, I don’t have anything to offer.”

Oh God.

I just wanted to hug her so bad.

I was like you, you know.

Fact.

I am still like you.

I just have had enough time and experience to slough off the harder edges and soften me down a bit.

I have been tenderized, so to speak.

To be considered warm and gentle and compassionate, now to turn those thoughts to myself and tender to myself in that way too.

Small things.

Asking for a ride home tonight.

Buying myself a Christmas ornament at a shop in Noe Valley.

Getting persimmons for my oatmeal in the morning.

Having nice tea in the house.

Buying the slightly more expensive candles that I like because, well, they smell better.

And when I die will I remember the 50 cents I saved on the cheap candles or will I get to reflect back on a life wherein I gave to myself in so much that I could, in the same way that people see me give to them.

I sure the fuck hope so.

I have to give it to myself to give it away.

And I hope to be giving it away for years yet to come.

Love.

Faith.

Honesty.

Humility.

Compassion.

Hope.

Forgiveness.

Could be a Christmas list.

Dear Santa,

Please help me to be sweet and gentle and willing to be available, warm and bright, to be loving to myself and to others.

Thank you!

I really have been a good girl this year, even if it didn’t turn out the way I wanted.

It is better this way.

It usually is.


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