Posts Tagged ‘cohort’

Buried Alive

August 29, 2019

This is it folks.

You may not see or hear from me in weeks.

In fact.

I am already askance at myself for not throwing myself headlong into some reading, writing, researching, or the other.

Why, I’m writing my blog when there is a shit ton, a fuck ton, a whole lot of things to do this semester.

I knew that at my intensive, when just after two days of one class I realized that class alone was going to be a full time job.

Then.

Add in two more classes.

One is “light,” like I only have to read five books.

But the other is fairly substantial and I am thinking about using the work in progress project to write a potential publishable paper.

I get ahead of myself, but it was suggested that I might want to do that by a fellow who’s on the three year course track.

He listened to my project and was like, “you should publish that,” then told me how to do it, then approached my professor and told him what we had discussed and the professor liked it!

Holy fuck.

Anyway.

One day back from the intensive and I haven’t done a lot, although I have done plenty.

Since I have been back I have had supervision, seen 7 clients, worked a nanny shift, went grocery shopping, did laundry, and food prepped for the week.

That in and of itself is full time work.

Then, today at work, while the little guy napped (why oh why have his naps grown shorter!?) I plugged in all the due dates and assignments and readings that I needed to do over the semester into my Google calendar.

My calendar looks crazy.

It looks like every spare minute has been accounted for until mid December when the semester ends.

I sense the days are going to fly by because they will all be so very full with the work that I have to do.

I have a lot to do.

This is by far the heaviest work load.

And.

In a sense the most clear cut.

I figured out who I want to be my chair for my PhD dissertation committee and I also asked said person, or at least gave him the heads up.

It will still have to go through the channels and what not, but I know who I want and I believe he wants to work with me.

Plus.

I asked another person to be on my committee and she said yes.

So, that’s positive.

Granted, I can’t actually assign anyone to my committee without my chair’s approval.

So first the chair.

That will officially happen in November.

But I interviewed with three professors at the intensive and with each one I talk substantively about what I am doing and what my inquiry is and how I want to pursue the work.

Two of the professors I talked to for an hour.

One professor I only got to catch for ten minutes between classes, but she was ecstatic with my idea and really impressed with how I’m going about it.

She recommended that I sit in on a former TA’s dissertation defense, which I did and she was the person I asked to be my second committee member.

The professor also suggested I take her elective in Spring, which I had already written down to take!

So my courses are lined up.

I will get through this semester and I’m going to light it on fire.

I’m going to bring it.

The fact that I am going down two days of nannying a week for me is even a bigger deal now.

I need that time.

I also want to have incoming therapy clients fill up those spots, but every spare minute is going to be used.

I had clients cancel for this Friday, not all, but two, Labor Day weekend travel plans, and I immediately blocked the time off to do homework.

I will always, always, always, be carrying my laptop with me so that I can take whatever time I get whenever I get it, to be online, posting discussion posts.

I will always have one, if not two or even three books with me so that I have something I am consistently reading.

This is the semester to get my literature together.

For my Ecology of Ideas class I have to submit a literature journal with 250-300 pieces of literature–dissertations, studies, books, articles, etc.

I don’t have to read them through, but I will need to be consistently searching for materials as well as consistently skimming and scanning and adding them to my annotated bibliography and my journal.

There is so much to do.

It’s exciting too.

I’m not going to lie.

I can really see it coming together and I plan on submitting my proposal next fall instead of waiting for the fall semester to work on the proposal, I am going to do it over the summer.

I am going to dig in next summer and get it done, it will literally save me a year of tuition and waiting for approval.

A friend of mine who TA’s for some of the courses did that this intensive.

She did all her course work in two years, like I am in the middle of doing, took the summer to work on her proposal and the second day of the intensive, the first day of classes, she defended her proposal and got it approved.

Which means she moves right into her dissertation.

I’m all for it.

I made a pact with a friend of mine in the cohort and that’s what we’re going to do.

It will knock out time and a lot of tuition.

Fuck my student loans are big.

But you know.

I am so fucking worth it.

And so is my idea.

I can’t wait to show it to the world.

Until then though.

You will not see a lot of me this semester.

I literally am going to be buried under books.

I might come up for a breather around Thanksgiving.

But for now.

Well.

See ya.

I got shit to read.

So much.

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One More Week

August 12, 2019

Of freedom.

From school.

Which is fucking hilarious as I carted around two gigantic text books today on the off chance of being somewhere I was going to read.

I learned to always carry my books with me, because inevitably the day will come when I don’t, (this past Saturday) when a client no shows and I have down time to read.

Or I’m at work and unexpectedly get time to read.

I probably won’t at all be able to do that at work tomorrow, I just don’t see it happening, but sometimes it does and as my time is super precious I use whatever I can get.

I have finished one of my text books for the fall semester and started in on another one and I am simultaneously reviewing a few articles for the class I will be guest lecturing on the 21st of September and reading a book for that class as well.

I did question myself a little about that today as I sat in a training in Berkeley for my agency, what am I doing teaching a class too this semester?!

But, I feel it’s good for me to do and I’m excited for the topic and the few people, outside of school, I have run it by, really like listening to me talk about it.

I find that encouraging, if someone who doesn’t have a background in psychology finds it fascinating, those who are pursuing the Master’s degree should like it too.

Or so I hope.

Regardless of whether they do or not,  I am learning as I prepare to teach.

Which is always how it goes.

Want to learn something on a deeper level?

Teach it.

I have had that experience over and over and over again.

And I’m grateful to get to go before an incoming Master’s cohort who are just beginning their journey and say here I am, in my second year of a PhD program, as a licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist with a burgeoning private practice.

I get to model what they can become and that’s really a sweet gift to give back.

I didn’t know how much work it was going to be and I’m pretty glad I didn’t, I did know I was right where I was supposed to be and I want to share all the things that I have gotten to learn over the past few years.

An hour and a half lecture will not encapsulate that, but it should be enough time to lecture on Reverie, which I find totally fascinating.

Reverie is something that happens in sessions where daydreams, wayward thoughts, fantasies, visions, intuitions, come to the therapist.

The first time it happened to me in a session, a dyad at school with a classmate, I got spooked.

I thought I had drifted off.

But there was something so potent about it, the image that came to mind, that I mentioned it to my professor who then told me that I had experienced  reverie and that it was clinically significant.

We discussed what I saw, how it was clinically relevant, and how to make an intervention around it.

It was fascinating.

It still is and there’s lots to talk about, and I won’t bore you with it at this time, since I don’t know that you’re really here to listen to me practice my lecture in Psychodynamics.

Heh.

Who knows why you’re here anyway.

I don’t.

I mean.

This blog has been dark for almost two years now, maybe actually it has been a little more than two years.

I don’t link it to social media.

I don’t post it anywhere.

This is just me noodling away at my keyboard.

There are perhaps of handful of folks that still follow me out there who know me, but most of the people that read this have no idea who I am.

Once in a while it gets read a whole bunch and I’ll be curious who has discovered it and why is it so fascinating.

Recently it was getting a ton of reads in, of all places, Hong Kong.

No idea why.

But for a few days, on and off for the last couple of months, literally hundreds of my blogs were being read in Hong Kong.

That was kind of cool to see.

I don’t know how many blogs I’m going to get out before the semester starts, I’ll be starting with some new clients this week and trying to get some homework done before the intensive.

One of my classes doesn’t have the syllabus up yet, which always makes me nervous, but the other two do and there is going to be some major work and a lot of reading to do this semester just for these two classes.

But.

I am not going to stop blogging.

Especially since I am going to actually try to incorporate my blog into a “Work In Progress” assignment for my class in Arts Based Research.

I know that I won’t be able to do a blog a day like I still managed to do with my Master’s degree.

That became really evident I am sure when my blogs took a total nose dive once I began my PhD and started building up my private practice.

The blog took such a hit.

But.

I have never stopped writing and I’m going to keep sending out these little missives to the Universe whenever I can.

It helps me to keep my writing chops and it helps me process all the things.

Like not speaking or being in contact with my ex and what that feels like.

Good and super hard all at the same time and scary and sad.

Or thinking about the time I was in Cuba, just recently and had an overwhelming spiritual experience at a Catholic church where Santoria is practiced.

Floods of tears, praying on my knees, and asking for forgiveness in front of a black Madonna.

Or when I was walking the cobblestone streets of Old Havana with my hair up, a long white dress on, a bright turquoise parasol protecting me from the sun and the feeling of awe in wonder at who I get to be in this life and where I get to go.

And.

Where I get to go home to.

San Francisco.

I am still here.

Hanging on at the edge of the city.

The ledge of the Western seaboard.

Two blocks from the Ocean.

The moon rise and the the dark breach of universe turning above me.

I am so fucking grateful to be alive.

It’s ok that I got my heart broke.

It’s ok that my rent’s ridiculous.

It’s ok that I’m still a nanny.

I get to do all these miraculous things.

It’s ok that I’m busy with my PhD and nervous to teach the class.

I get to do all these things.

Because.

I am graced.

Happy.

Joyous.

And so very.

Very.

Very.

Free.

There is So Much

March 23, 2019

To write about.

And where to begin?

I almost titled this blog, One Hour, as an homage to something quite big.

I also thought about naming it, “Are you Here?” as I suspect my ex is back in town.

At least it feels that way.

More about that later.

Then I thought I should write about my awesome and amazing Mike Doughty experience and having gotten to see him on Wednesday of this week and how I played hooky from clients and went out on a school night.

I didn’t really play hooky, I just rescheduled them for later in the week, I had one tonight and I’ll see the other tomorrow after my regular Saturday clients.

Then I thought, oh yeah, I should call this, “Vive La France!”

As I bought a ticket to Paris last night!

Yeah.

So.

All the things.

All of them.

So much going on.

Plus, of course, the school thing that is happening and how I managed to get all my papers done and turned in on time and also how I got back some really amazing comments on my last couple of papers.

“Clarity, erudition, adept usage of third person, meticulous APA style,” I could go on, but then I think that’s just ego.

I”m right on schedule with school at the moment and extremely happy about that, despite feeling a little disconnected from school since I did not get much time this week at work to do homework.

The family had the flu.

Like seriously bad, fevers, aches, chills, super bad sore throat, coughing.

I do not know how I escaped, but I did.

I also got my flu shot this year so that might have helped and as soon as the family was diagnosed with the flu at the doctors they called me and said call my doctor and get Tamiflu, which is a preventative medicine that will work if taken within 72 hours of exposure.

So I’ve been taking that all week and seemed to have skated by the flu.

Thank fucking God.

I cannot afford to be sick.

And.

I don’t like being sick.

Even the small part of me that rather enjoys lying around all day in bed.

The rest of me drives itself crazy when I’m sick.

So I’m super happy I avoided it.

But man, work was a tough one this week.

Which made it easy to ask off for time to work with a client.

Yes.

It’s official.

This week I got my tenth client.

I took a leap of faith when the person reached out and offered expanded hours beyond what I have available.

Meaning.

Wednesdays I work from 9 a.m. to 5p.m. then see clients at 5:30p.m., 6:30p.m. and 7:30p.m.

I offered the client a 4:30p.m. slot.

Technically I’m working as a nanny, but I’ve been in conversation for months now that at some point I would slowly begin the transitioning down of nanny hours for therapy hours.

I hesitated for just a brief moment but knew, really knew, that I had to offer hours that would overlap into my nanny shifts.

And the client took the Wednesday slot.

Which means I have to be done at the nanny gig by 4p.m. now on Wednesdays.

One hour less of being a nanny.

One hour more of being a therapist.

Plus.

This new client found me on Psychology Today and was not a referral from my agency, meaning the client is full fee.

Yippee!

The more full fee clients I get the faster I will transition out of nannying.

I mean, I love the family, but $30/hour versus $140 an hour.

Well.

I know what works better for me.

Anyway.

That’s therapy business.

Then there’s Paris business which in a way segues into ex-boyfriend business.

Yesterday at work I was checking e-mails in a brief moment of time when I wasn’t picking up used Kleenex, hydrating some small child, washing dishes, drawing, cuddling, or making hot tea with honey and saw an interesting email from a friend.

It was an e-mail that he forwarded that there was a one day sale happening for round trip tickets to Paris.

Oooh.

I wasn’t planning on going to Paris this year, I’ve been planning on going to Hawaii in July,(but still haven’t done anything about it as I’m waiting on my employers to let me know when they’re going to be in Finland and if, probably not, but if they are also planning on taking me to Helsinki with them)  going to Maui and staying in Paia, where my grandmother was born in 1928.

But.

I was curious about the flights and a little bug got in my ear and so I searched and shit, the price was too good to pass by.

So I picked the best time for me to go, end of the fall semester, in December.

Yes.

That’s right.

I’ll be in Paris on my birthday and for Christmas.

I fly out of SFO on December 17th, landing the next day at Charles de Gaulle on December 18th, my birthday, in the early afternoon.  I’ll fly back on December 27th.

So I’ll be there from my birthday through Christmas.

I will sit in cafes, go to museums (the Louvre, the D’Orsay, the Jeu de Paume, the Pompidou–which is open on Christmas, I know where I will be, wandering the galleries there for sure on Christmas day, the Orangerie, the Palais de Tokyo, the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais, the Musee de l’Art Moderne), walk everywhere, read books, go do the deal with the Paris fellowship, hang out with my best girlfriend from my Masters degree cohort…we’ve already made plans to go to the ballet (I messaged her right after I bought the ticket).

I got the ticket from Air France round trip, direct flights there and back for $579.32!

I still can’t believe that!

My girlfriend asked me why December after exclaiming at the cost of the ticket.

I told her that my birthday and Christmas have been really tied up with my ex the last two years and maybe its better for me to be in Paris then in San Francisco and really just do something for myself.

I always wanted him to come to Paris with me and I had even brought it up in the days before we broke up that I wanted to plan a trip with him there.

It is such a screamingly romantic city.

And he’s such a foodie, he would have loved it.

I’m still sad we didn’t get to experience that together.

She understood.

Plus, I told her that it makes sense with my school schedule and it’s the slowest time of year for therapy clients….the last two holiday seasons were really slow and I hear that it’s that way for most therapist.

So.

Yeah.

Booked that ticket.

I don’t think I’ll stay with my girlfriend, despite knowing she’d let me, I think I want a little more autonomy and she’s got young twins, who are super sweet and adorable, but the house isn’t huge and as much as I loved staying with them, I don’t want to stress them out at Christmas.

I figure I’ll Air BnB in the Marais where they live, it’s super central and I know it well enough, and just be an independent lady at Christmas time in the City of Lights.

God.

There’s more to say.

The feeling of my ex being in town, and wanting him to reach out or to somehow bump into him, it’s big, but I’ve not got time to write more.

I need to get up early, lots of clients tomorrow.

So.

I bid you adieu and I’ll see you on the flip.

 

I Need Off Canvas

February 5, 2019

And its only just begun.

I made myself take a break today (I was at work and the baby took a long nap) after two solid hours of writing, engaging and interacting the three different classes I have on Canvas with CIIS.

Canvas is the tech platform the classes are set up on and why yes, not a single one of my professors uses it the same as the others.

Every single one of them does it slightly differently.

And once again I had the feeling of being on top of things to only realize that I hadn’t checked into one of my classes in a few days since I was so busy posting up to the other two.

Sure as shit.

I needed to post and post pretty immediately.

I wasn’t exactly annoyed, but I was tired and I don’t know that I put up the most relevant post, but what I came to understand from last semester is that it almost doesn’t matter.

I just have to constantly be posting something.

Either a substantive post on an assignment or reading, or responding to one of my classmates.

Pretty much every week I need to be in Canvas posting and replying.

I almost didn’t want to write my blog tonight, I just wanted to come home, warm up, eat a hot dinner and crawl into bed.

But if I’m not going to do school work, and I still might do a little more tonight, I am also not going to get into bed and watch hours of Netflix, as tempting as that may be.

I will watch some.

Just not a marathon.

I need to keep that and social media to a dull roar.

The blogging is going to be helter skelter.

I have no clue when I will have time, but I figure, it’s good to stay as close to it as I can.

It’s good for my brain to unload the day and it’s good for me to have something that is not academic writing.

Besides, I’ve said it many times.

The process of writing the blog really keeps me sharp for when I need to write papers.

And boy howdy, the papers are already coming.

I have two due by next Monday.

I also have a training for my internship in Berkeley on Sunday.

I will need to be careful with my time so that I can do all the things that need to be done and all my life stuff as well too.

When I go on trainings I’m gone for half the day, 45 minutes to get to Berkeley, three-hour long training, and then on average the traffic back has been an hour and a half.

By the time I get home I need to eat lunch, which is late as it’s around three p.m. and I need to go to the laundry mat.

I am still not happy about having to go to the laundry mat.

But I am making the best of it.

For instance, this Sunday while the majority of the country was watching the Super Bowl, I was doing laundry and read 46 pages of material in my Varieties of Scholarly Expression reader.

I also did a paper on Sunday as well.

First one of the semester.

And cooked and organized things and went birthday shopping for my oldest boy charge who turns nine tomorrow.

And.

Oh yes.

I took myself on an Artist Date to Cliff’s Variety in the Castro and I bought art supplies for my Arts and Creativity in Leadership class.

I had a lot of fun.

I probably also spent more than I needed to, but honestly, I really think I needed to do it.

It felt good to say yes to myself and to splurge a little.

I mean, it’s art supplies, not crack.

Although when I was checking out I couldn’t help but giggle at all the glittering supplies I had gotten.

Glitter glue.

Glitter markers.

Glitter colored pencils.

Glitter stickers.

Plus some fancy origami paper (I won’t be doing origami with it, I just liked the paper), watercolor markers, pastel markers, and tiny colorful clothes pin holders.

No idea what I’ll do with the latter, but they were so fucking cute I had to buy them.

It was a nice splurge.

I also yesterday, had a Zoom session with one of my TA’s.

This was good, clarifying, and really just sunk it home, I’m in a PhD program.

I really have a lot of work to do and keep doing.

This is a long haul program.

But.

I am hoping to follow my TA’s cue and do some work the summer after I finish my course work so that I can get a head start into that next semester of work where I will be independent.

She told me what she did and it was basically to not take the summer off and work on her proposal for her dissertation so that as soon as the first day of fall semester hit she turned it in to her dissertation chair and was off and running.

She will likely be done in three and a half years as opposed to four and a half.

I’m all for doing it that way.

Get it done.

I am excited, more and more, as the process becomes clearer to me.

Yes, so much work, but rather fascinating work and I’ll be writing about something I am very interested in.

So, yeah, Canvas.

I have gotten three notifications while I have been writing this blog that something new has been posted in my classes, so I will likely hit it up for a few more minutes before calling it a day.

It’s how I managed to get through last semester without falling behind.

The horror stories of people in my cohort who fell behind is enough to keep me active.

Or.

The people who just dropped out completely or disappeared.

I think we lost five people?

I don’t want to drop out and I do want to get my dissertation through, I want to have a PhD.

I want to be Dr. Carmen.

I really.

Really.

Really.

Do.

So Good

January 30, 2019

To be home.

My God.

So good.

I’m super grateful I went to the intensive and I reconnected with all the folks in my PhD cohort, don’t get me wrong, but fuck, I was ready to get the heck out.

I cannot wait to sleep in my own bed again.

Five nights in a hotel in Burlingame is not exactly my cup of tea.

Granted.

I got super lucky, again!

I had no room-mate.

Although I had been assigned to share a room with another woman, I did not pay the extra $702 to have  room to myself (there were quite a few who did drop the money, but I really couldn’t see doing it) to have it to myself.  My room-mate just never showed up.

Not sure why either.

The name of the person was not someone who I knew from my cohort, which meant I would have basically been bunking with a second year person.

Which isn’t horrible, it would have just been an unknown and another layer of the experience.

Grateful as fuck that I had the room to myself and I didn’t have to pay the extra to be alone.

It was nice to sleep and do my thing at my own schedule.

It was nice to get up in the morning and shower without having to be concerned about a room mate or another’s sleep schedule, or wearing pajamas to bed, I sleep in the nude thank you very much.

It was lovely to have the quiet, especially as I have been incorporating a fifteen minute meditation into my morning the last few days.

I had a friend suggest an abundance meditation and I started doing it the first morning of the intensive.

I do a little reading, mull on the reading, then sit and meditate and after words write down what comes up.

Sometimes my brain is just too busy, but I have found pretty consistently over the past five mornings that I have felt more abundance and my flow and I have felt more generous, both with my money and with my time.

I definitely can suffer from a scarcity mentality and I feel like I have worked a long time on turning that around.

Now I want to bring more abundance in and that means conversely being more generous.

Faith.

Not fear.

I’m grateful for that.

I found myself tipping more at the intensive, offering to get things for people, more coffee when I was doing a refill for myself, asking others what they needed, buying flowers.

That experience was really sweet actually.

The second year students had their last intensive, there’s four in total for the program if you’re on the two-year track, six if you’re on the three-year track.

I am on the get it done as fast as possible track, two years of course work, instead of three years.

It means that once again I am full tilt boogie for the semester, but having survived the first semester I feel like I have a slight leg up over the person who walked in pretty blind last semester.

Granted, I still did have an anxiety attack the third day of classes going over my third class syllabus and realizing how much the professor wanted of us.

But, I managed to not die and a dear friend reminded me that I had a near panic attack last semester going over the syllabus in my third class too.

So I was right on time.

Lean into the process.

Fuck.

He was right.

And I got through it.

So it was nice yesterday to have a big chunk of time, I had my elective scheduled on Sunday, to run around a touch and get out of the hotel and go get flowers.

I had been tapped along with two other women to do the adieu ceremony for those in the program who were moving on and wouldn’t be with us next semester.

They will instead be doing the independent research that they need to do to get their dissertations done.

I drove my car into downtown Burlingame and went window shopping and walked around.

Downtown Burlingame is surreal, FYI.

It was like a big outdoor mall.

Very little that felt unique or town like, although there was a town like sort of structure to it, it felt like a big suburb.

It was nice to be out though and considering that most of my time I spend in San Francisco, it was nice to see something new, granted, not my cup of tea, but still seeing new things is good.

I won’t be going back anytime soon, unless they decide to do the next intensive in Burlingame too.

It’s hard to say, the place that the school had been doing them is under a huge remodel and may not be ready by next fall.

Anyway, I had fun window shopping and got a few new lip glosses at Sephora and then got flowers to give to the outgoing cohort.

We had a little ceremony later that night and I have to say I was super happy that I had made the suggestion to get flowers and then went and got them, it felt right and it was so sweet to see how touched the outgoing students were.

I like this kind of generosity.

I like bringing happiness to others.

I do like feeling in the flow and in abundance.

And I realize, quite well that when I am in scarcity I tend to hold too tightly to money or objects, afraid to lose what I have.

But it’s really hard to accept what is trying to be given to me if I hold on too tightly.

Giving back, being generous, even in small ways, seems to shift that for me and I found that I felt really positive and good in my interactions with my cohort and the second years moving on.

I also participated a lot more than I did last semester.

Sat longer at meals and talked more.

Participated in the talent show.

Made myself known.

Sure.

I also ducked out of going to the bars and grabbing margaritas or drinking wine with the ladies after class and went to my room and read, but I really did try to socialize a lot.

It was good.

I am proud of myself for getting through.

And I’m ready to go back to “normal” life.

Heh.

Busy life.

Full on tomorrow, work and three clients after work–I had to reschedule some of the folks that I had not been able to meet with for having been out-of-town.

Plus!

I picked up two new clients while I was at the intensive, which was really cool.

Anyway.

Grateful to be home, it’s home, and my bed is going to be a miracle, I can tell.

And I’ll do my best, I think I really do want to do that for you and for me, by writing my blogs as often as I can.

This week I’m pretty caught up on my reading and ready, but I know there will come a time when I fall off the face of the earth for a while.

Don’t worry though.

I will be back.

I promise.

I love this too much.

I really do.

Playing Hooky

January 25, 2019

By going to school.

I’m currently ensconced at the Crowne Plaza in Burlingame.

I know.

Sexy.

Meh.

But in some ways it’s totally freaking cool.

I’m not responsible for clients this week, I saw all the clients I could early on in the week and rescheduled my weekend clients for when I get back.

And.

I’m not at work.

So in a way it feels like I’m on vacation, and I know it will change really soon, like tomorrow soon, like 7 a.m.soon, it will feel like I’m at work, it will feel like I am doing work, because, well, classes start in the morning.

But for right now.

For the last three hours in fact.

It has felt like hooky.

Or.

Vacation.

I didn’t go into work today, although I did have to go to group supervision this morning, so I was up at 6 a.m. bright and early to do that, but once supervision was done at 10:15 a.m. I was free to go about my day until I checked into the hotel at 3:30p.m. this afternoon.

I went and got a mani/pedi.

I read trashy magazines.

I went home and packed and made a really nice lunch.

I sat on the deck in the sun!

It was so decadent to be at my house in the middle of the afternoon and have lunch on the deck!

I was very, very, very happy.

I could get used to this I thought.

Not like that’s going to happen anytime soon, but it was such a small, simple pleasure, to sit outside on the deck in one of my Adirondack chairs and soak in a little sunshine.

It rained so much the last week it was marvelous to have sunshine.

I had a phone call with a friend in France and then I headed out to Burlingame to the intensive.

As I was heading in I was tackled by one of my TA’s, who I’d not had a lot of interaction with during the course, mostly just connected with the professor, who gave me a huge hug and told me what a “badass” I was.

It turns out that she read everything that I had written and was really taken with my writing and loved the group project that I did and raved about my poetry.

That was so nice.

It felt like such an unexpected and welcoming way to begin the intensive.

I got settled into my room and my room-mate hadn’t shown up yet, so I got to pick my side of the room and make it mine.

And.

She hasn’t shown up still.

I did check with the coordinator when I got my room and I have been assigned a roommate, but so far, she’s not here.

I don’t know how long that will last, but it feels really nice to have the room to myself.

I got ridiculously lucky and my roommate last semester no-showed, so I had the room all to myself the entire time.

I could really handle that happening again.

I’m not counting on it though, there are people still arriving, some are getting in later tonight, some are getting in tomorrow morning.

We had a nice welcome ceremony and check in about the schedule and some tips for navigating the space and a quaint map of Burlingame.

Which makes me laugh, but I am sure at some point I am going to want to get outside of the hotel and I may drive around Burlingame and go to a cafe just for a change of scenery.

The hotel is also alongside the Bay and there’s a path along it and a nice little park, so I could see getting out to stretch my legs too.

There’s some malls, but I don’t find malls very attractive, so I won’t be doing that, most of the time I do feel like I will be here, be in classes, be with the cohort, be doing the work.

I have, as a matter of fact already read through 3/4s of an article that was posted for one of the classes.

And I’ve read three books already, so I’m not going to be too concerned about holing up in my room on my down time and reading.

Although I might.

There won’t be another week like this where I’m off from work and off from seeing clients that all I’m doing is school.

Although a girl can dream.

Dinner was lovely and I’m happily surprised by the quality of the food.

So much better than the last intensive.

I know some folks were upset that we weren’t in Pacifica, and grant it, it’s certainly prettier by the beach, but the food was absolutely morbid and since I already live so close to the beach it wasn’t a huge deal for me.

Here, well, it’s not so scenic, I mean, it’s Burlingame, and it’s by the airport, but the hotel amenities are so much better and like I said, the food was actually surprisingly good.

I’m happy about that.

And the conversation!

Oh.

God.

I forget sometimes what it’s like to sit around with really smart people and have really fucking fascinating conversations.

Not that I don’t, but to sit for three hours over a meal and talk with someone, with intelligent, smart, driven people, it was so exhilarating.

I needed that.

The online part of the course work is a bit challenging, for me anyway, but what I found the hardest was the feeling of being in a vacuum sometimes.

So it was super nice to connect with my cohort and talk about the experience of doing the work over last semester and to find that my experiences were similar to many and, well, hey, it’s not like I actually know a ton of folks with a PhD or people going after a PhD.

Although, granted, I do actually know more than I’d say most people do.

But to have a room full of us all working at the same time towards this goal and to commiserate and laugh felt really good.

So, yeah, I’m happy to be here and though I know at some point I’m going to be really happy to be home, it does feel enough like a vacation to make me feel a bit rejuvenated.

And that is really nice.

Seriously.

So nice.

Get It While

January 22, 2019

The getting is good.

I don’t have much time left.

Just a few days before my next semester of course work begins for my PhD program.

Which means, many, many, many books, articles, discussion posts and who knows how many projects, tears, yelps of frustration, and ranting there will be.

I am assuming there will be much.

There will be moments, I already know this, where I will question, what the exact fuck am I doing getting a PhD?

And there will be moments when I know beyond a doubt that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.

Showing up will, as always, be the most important thing.

I have been showing up first and foremost by doing the reading already.

I am nearly finished with my third book of the semester.

I haven’t really taken a look at any of the syllabi, well, one, a tiny bit, but there wasn’t a sequence of reading listed (I sense it will get revealed at the intensive our first day of class), so I figured, just read as much as I can while I can.

That really helped me last semester, I stayed on top of the reading by having read a couple of the books before the semester had gotten underway.

My suggestion, always start in on the reading as soon as possible.

Always carry some reading material with you as well.

I don’t know when the kids are going to be in school, out of school, sick, napping, not napping, or whether I will be doing pick up or drop off.

My schedule at work is fairly consistent but surprises always happen and the times when I thought, surely, not today will there be any time to read, there’s been time.

And, of course, the converse has happened.

I have really needed/wanted to work on something and I show up to find a home sick from school monkey.

Today was all about the monkey.

I had all three of my charges today as it was a school holiday.

The dad was home and that was nice, he took one of them and I had two of them and we sort of swapped back and forth the whole day.

I did baths, he cooked, I ran two of them up and down the hill to the playground, he did Lego models and took another out to lunch.

It worked well and it was a nice day, especially to be outside after all the rain over the past week and this weekend.

I didn’t get any reading done at work, but I did have a nickel of time in between work and my evening commitment.

I ran to the grocery store and did some shopping and then hit up Tart to Tart in the Inner Sunset for a quick half hour of reading and studying.

I feel like this is going to be a better semester from the stand point of having made it through the first one I know I can do the second.

I got all “A”s and I’m still a little overwhelmed by that and sincerely grateful to have earned them.

I do feel like I really did show up for the classes and did what was necessary and then some.

I figured when I got home that I would do some food prep and write a blog to settle myself down.

I feel like I want to do 18 different things before now and bed time but there really isn’t a lot to do.

I have to get through the next few days of work and I get to see clients tomorrow night and Wednesday.

Thursday morning I have group supervision bright and early, 8:15 a.m. so I’ll be up at 6 a.m. to get ready and be there on time, but after that, I don’t have to do anything but get my butt to the intensive and check in at 3p.m.

I’m out of supervision by 10:15a.m. and my nail salon opens at 10a.m., I’m going to go and get a mani/pedi and then treat myself to some Marnee Thai for lunch–I’ll be staying at a hotel in Burlingame which means hotel food, for the intensive, I figure one nice meal before I jet is needed.

I’m thinking I’ll be packing day of the intensive.

Burlingame is super close and won’t take me that long to get to, maybe 40 minutes depending on traffic.

It is far enough away that I will pretty much be staying there to make an effort to connect and hang out with my cohort and be present for the experience.

Although I did consider what it would be like to just stay at home the entire time and commute back and forth, I figure, I’m paying for the intensive as part of my tuition and it’s required that I attend all the classes, it will be a lot easier to just stay there the whole time.

I mean, Pacifica was where the last one was and that too isn’t too far from me in San Francisco, I could have stayed at home, but I know I would have missed out on a part of the bonding that I think is necessary to doing the classwork.

Plus, it’s good to put names to faces and I’m already thinking about a few of my classmates that I am excited to reconnect with.

Funny enough, there are a few people who at the first intensive I wasn’t much enamored of, but after witnessing how they showed up for the classes I want to touch base and let them know how much I appreciated them being in class.

And you know, it will be good to commiserate with others about the work and life and there’s not a lot of folks out in the world working on a PhD, so it’s community that I will want as I continue to do the work.

It can be a little isolating.

I do, also notice that I miss some of my cohort from my Master’s program.

So.

Yeah.

Two more days in town and then I’m out.

I’ll likely do some blogging while I’m there, but I am not committing to anything.

Last semester was a doozy, I expect that this one will be too.

Good too.

I predict it will be good too.

God lord.

I am really getting a PhD.

Crazy!

The Poetry Is

December 1, 2018

Spectacular.

I was bowled over by the compliment I just received from a professor regarding a poem I wrote and recorded for a group project in one of my classes.

It is always nice to hear that, that my poetry is “spectacular.”

I mean, who doesn’t want to hear that?

I’m always so flattered.

It comes naturally and it comes with great effort.

I have taken a great deal of time to cultivate and practice my writing skills.

I find that because I have taken so much time doing the work that when I need to sit down and do it, it comes easily and smoothly with what feels like minimal effort.

That means, however, that I have to continually be practicing to keep that flow going.

I can’t rest on the laurels of my gym results from last year if I want to stay in shape.

I have to write.

And therefore it gives me much pleasure to be back here again writing.  I don’t know that I will be able to post as much as I did prior to jumping off into my PhD program, but I am hopeful that I will give it a good god damn shot.

I have to admit that when my blog got intertwined with my professional site I was really upset, how was I not going to be able to blog?

How?

Then, slowly, I saw that it was a gift, this little break from my practice.

It was a opprotunity to do the writing for my classes instead of for my blog.

I have done so much writing for classes.

Each week I’m posting about 4,000-5,000 words in discussion groups.

On top of a pretty constant hum of papers, projects and just all the reading.

My God.

There is a lot of reading.

But as I sit here reflecting on all of that I am also sitting next to a gigantic stack of books I have read.

In fact.

There’s only one book left to read and I’m not 100% certain, but I’m feeling pretty close to it, there may not be any articles left to read either.

I’m sure something will crop up, it always seems to do so.

Yet.

When those things have cropped up I have been able to navigate through them.

Not without some profanity, I won’t lie, I have sworn a lot at my computer over the last couple of months and on more than one occasion, or fifteen, I have wondered, what the fucking hell am I doing?

I have so much on my plate.

Just working full-time and getting my private practice up in running is more than enough to keep anyone busy, let alone putting the course work for a PhD on the line too.

I have a lot going on.

And somehow, everything’s been getting done.

Sometimes at what feels like the last-minute, but I realize that I get it done and I get things turned in on time.

I have already witnessed a distinct amount of people in my cohort suddenly just disappearing.

Some of it is in not participating as much with the discussion groups and some of it is not even checking in on a group project.

I basically had someone completely no-show for the entirety of one of the group projects I was involved with, and at one point I actually thought that I was going to be doing it alone as the other person took such a long time jumping in.

And it got done and my professor thought my poetry was spectacular.

So.

Yeah.

I think my brain can let up on the, what are you doing part, because I am doing something big and worthy and worthwhile and beautiful and it’s going to be a long haul, it is, but that’s ok.

I’m only getting older anyway and I want to really leave my mark out on the world.

However I can, whether it is in service to my recovery community, my therapy clients, or just being an example to someone that you can get what you want despite where you come from or the hardships you have had.

I am excited for what it will all bring, even knowing that it will be a tremendous amount of work and that the great deal of effort I am putting in now is not done for naught.

I keep being told too that my writing is good, that my writing is needed in academia, that my ideas are good, that my contributions are worthwhile and wanted.

It’s nice to feel wanted.

It’s nice to feel that I am contributing, especially at this level of academia.

I suspect that there will be fewer people next semester in my cohort than there was at the beginning of the program.

But I know I will be there and I know that I will continue to strive to do the best I can and show up.

One day at a time.

One hour at a time.

One minute at a time.

Just doing the next thing in front of me.

I will get there.

Wherever there is.

There is here, is now, is in this moment, in this creation, this mass of words and thoughts and dreams.

There is in the space between the words where the love light shines and I find myself again and again in the poetry and the prose of my experience.

In my narrative, my story, my life.

Writing it all as it happens, lucky to be so fortunate to be able to do so and happy that I can continue to do so.

For that I am aware that I am lucky.

I am a very lucky girl.

Very.

Back Home

September 5, 2018

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

Oh my God.

What have I fucking done?

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

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

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

There is a lot of work.

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

I really liked the professor.

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

We had a great talk.

He loves Paris.

I love Paris.

We are now friends.

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

Of course he has a PhD as well.

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

First of all.

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

Fuck my life.

Academic rigor galore.

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

Second.

I was in the dark a little about the length.

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

The course work is only two years long.

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

The course work will be four semesters.

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

Which means two more years.

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

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

So.

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

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

There are three classes.

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

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

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

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

One student from Hong Kong.

One student from Oakland.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Very grateful.

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

I was more than happy to write mine down.

Dr. Carmen Regina Martines.

Fuck that looks good.

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

Silly rabbit.

It is not easy at all.

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

I understand the concepts, they make sense.

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

Nope.

Not at all.

That was a nice realization for me to make.

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

8 papers.

8!

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

Plus I have to get published.

Are you fucking kidding me.

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

Holy shit.

Now.

I am excited.

But yesterday I was just overwhelmed.

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

Let me say this.

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

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

Plus weekly discussions and comments and interactions with my cohort.

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

Well, not quite, more like 2.5 per week.

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

So yeah.

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

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

Maybe a few less blogs a week.

Maybe.

I’ll let you know.

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

Very happy for that.

Very.

 

In The Right Place

September 3, 2018

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

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

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

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

But.

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

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

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

But that was back in February, March?

Back when I was still in my Masters program.

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

But here.

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

The course work is no fucking joke.

I am going to be reading until my eyes bleed.

However

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

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

God willing it will become a book.

I mean.

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

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

Makes me happy.

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

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

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

Oh.

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

And that the writing is far less substantive heartens me.

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

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

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

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

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

HE GOT EXCITED!

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

I think I floated away from the classroom.

I mean.

I am tired.

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

Tired.

But good tired.

And tired happy.

Tired that there’s going to be so much.

But also tired with a purpose.

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

In fact.

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

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

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

Well.

It made me smile.

It really did.

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