Posts Tagged ‘financial aid’

Here All Week

August 31, 2018

Checked in, un packed and decently settled into my room at the Best Western Lighthouse in Pacifica.

So far the good news, aside from the fact that I was assigned a room that faces the ocean, I mean, I am literally right there, the sound of the waves is fantastic, is that my room-mate hasn’t shown up yet.

I wouldn’t mind enjoying the view by myself.

IMG_E4789

It’s a pretty nice view.

The hotel is not great shakes but being so close to Rockaway Beach is quite nice.

If I ever get the chance to walk down on the beach and not just sit through lectures and classes.

It’s a full tilt boogie kind of schedule.

Tonight was fairly easy, an orientation, lots of meeting the professors and administrative staff, getting to know a few of the students, there was a really sweet getting to know you sort of exercise that I made myself get into and that felt good, I connected with a couple of the second year students and it was nice to meet them.

I also talked to a woman who is volunteering over the weekend to help out with the intensive who just graduated in May from the PhD program and she did the two-year track, which is the one I am doing.

There is a three-year track as well, but I want to do it all in two years.

I want to be done with it in the next two years, five years of consecutive grad school is enough for me, I don’t need to add onto it.

Nor do I need to add onto my student loans either, they will be big enough by the time I am done with the program.

After the orientation we had dinner and I was happily surprised by the food, I was a little leery coming into the hotel, I didn’t think that it was going to be all that great, but the dinner was actually quite nice.

Although apparently gluten-free, which I specified for my diet while I was here, means vegetarian.

Not a real problem, but I did tell the kitchen I was not vegetarian, I could eat meat, so hopefully I will get some protein into my diet over the time I’m here.

I can always get out and implement too, although I would prefer not to, I’m paying for all of this, it comes out of my tuition bill.

I just also received an e-mail that my excess funds will be disbursed in three to four business days.

As tomorrow is Friday I won’t see how much I got back until next week, probably a couple of days after Labor Day.

But it’s good to know that there were excess funds.

I was hoping that would happen.

And fuck.

I just checked my student account.

It’s not as much as I thought it would be.

Sigh.

Oh well.

At least it covered all my tuition and my intensive costs.

I’ll be getting back a fat $300 after it’s all said and done.

I was hoping for a couple of thousand, but again, grateful, my tuition costs got covered.

Originally my financial aid package was shy about three thousand dollars and I had to take out another loan to be able to cover it all.

Very grateful I was able to get it covered and also, good to know that I won’t have anything really extra for house hunting.

Not that I’m too worried about that.

I will have enough.

And it seems that I will get through this program too.

It will be a lot of work, but I’m used to a lot of work and really, as I wrote last night, I wasn’t feeling too anxious about coming here.

Although I did feel some as I was driving down from the Outer Sunset.

But I’m not sure if it was anxiety about school or just about life in general.

So many transitions are happening for me right now.

I’m wrapping up my first internship at the end of September, I formally “resigned” today in an e-mail.

My group supervisor knew I was going, but no one outside of that group had been alerted.

I did my due diligence and I am glad for that as there are a few administrative things I will need to do.

And of course.

There are all the things I need to do for the upcoming internship.

I am still hoping that I can take advantage of some of the time here, when I’m not sure after having seen the schedule, for doing some of that work.

There is the housing transition happening.

The almighty not knowing where the heck I’m going to live.

I did get a response back on a studio in the Richmond, which isn’t my first choice, but the price, the windows, the hard wood floors, the full size kitchen, a bathtub, laundry on site, and the fact that I would actually have a parking spot in a garage (that I don’t have to pay extra for!  It comes with the studio), made me reach out.

I will hopefully get a viewing when I get back to San Francisco and it’s available now, so I could, it is foreseeable, be in a new place soon.

And then there’s just the transition of becoming single again, the loss of my love, the not knowing exactly how all that is going to fall out.

As I drove here from San Francisco I was met with this tremendous wall of fog.

Fog so thick and opaque that I literally could not see the ocean that was right alongside me as I drove.

I was driving into the unknown.

Literally and figuratively.

I don’t know how all these things are going to shake out.

I just know that they will, all this change is leading me somewhere and I don’t have to know where it is, I just have to take those tiny little actions right in front of me.

I just have to see the next curve in the road to turn the wheel.

And trust, that I will get there safely.

And all will be well.

It always is.

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Locked Out

May 5, 2018

But not for long.

I was just trying to get onto the student loan site.

I need to apply for a Grad Plus Loan.

I have done this once before, last summer when I was in practicum and realized that it was a two credit course, aka, about $2200 that I needed to come up with in order to pay for the supervision that I needed to begin seeing clients.

The school told me what to do and I did it.

I barely remembered doing it, but today when I went and checked in with the financial aid department they gave me the same instructions.

And yes.

My package that I was granted is $3,000 shy.

So.

Off to http://www.studentloans.gov to get me some more money.

Except, I swear, that they need like the name of my first-born child, a lock of hair from a unicorn mane, a sprinkle of fairy dust, me to click my heels three times in precision and spin around in my kitchen, to get into the damn system.

It’s happened every single time that I have tried to utilize it that it won’t accept the password that I have for it and then it freezes up.

So.

First.

I have to reset the password for the umpteenth time.

Then.

I am told that I have to wait 30 minutes.

What the fuck.

Come on.

You have my social security, my birthdate, my three, THREE, challenge questions, my mother’s maiden name, and my phone number.

Isn’t that fucking enough?

Meh.

Anyway.

Glad to know that I can apply for some more debt, hahaha, sigh, but that it is a resource is a comfort.

Plus.

In my visit I found out that I don’t have to worry about my exit interview to graduate with my Master’s Degree as I have registered for my PhD program as well as having accepted the financial aid package that the school put together for me.

That was good news.

The not so good news.

UGH.

Another motherfucking piece of paperwork has surfaced that I have to get signed.

I do not understand why the hell the school doesn’t give each fucking student a packet of the papers that need to be filled out to each cohort as they come in.

Then I could just pull it out, get it signed and turn it back in.

This whole trying to figure out what I need to get to them is frustrating as fuck.

Listen people.

I have gotten straight A’s and am on track to continue that with the papers I turned in and the presentations I have done, plus I have given you a fuck ton of money.

Stop it already.

Seriously.

So.

I got the two pieces of paperwork from the office and I have them in my folder and one I will get filled out next Saturday when I go to Group Supervision and the other I will have to wait and see until I get a reply from my supervisor that I no longer meet with.

I am going to be hella bummed if he asked me to come in early on Monday.

I am looking forward, in a really dreamy sort of way, to actually sleeping in on Monday.

But.

If I have to go in on Monday morning to get the paperwork signed I will.

I’m sorting of hoping that I’ll be able to do it at another time.

We shall see.

I may not even hear back from him until Monday, his work week is Monday-Thursday, he always takes a three-day weekend.

Private practice goals!

Speaking of.

It felt so good to share with the cohort that I had gotten a private practice internship, it was such a nice way to start the weekend.

As well as reflecting to them how much I have grown and grown up.

I compared it to starting the program riding my bicycle to school.

Then I got a scooter.

And today, well, I drove to school in my car.

And found parking!

So nice.

I reflected how far I have come and how much work I have done and I’m pretty fucking amazed.

Of course.

There are a lot of folks who helped me a long the way, some in small ways, some in grand ways.

I am reflecting on my best friend and the support I have gotten and the love for doing the work I am doing and the reflection that I am good at what I do and that I should absolutely go for my PhD.

It means so much that love and support.

I am so grateful for it all.

And grateful that this is it!

This is the last weekend of the program.

Today was the first day, I have two left.

And already a slight change in plans.

A friend of mine in the cohort and I have chosen to skip the closing ceremony and just go out to dinner the two of us.

She’s such a dear friend that I would rather spend the time with her then saying good-bye to people, though I do like them, do not measure up to the friendship we have created these past years.

She lives out-of-state too, so yeah, dinner at Schmidt’s with her tomorrow night instead of the closing ceremony.

I was ambivalent about it anyway.

My closing ceremony will be commencement and my graduation beach bonfire party.

That’s where it’s at for me.

And.

Hopefully I have given the Student Loans Government site enough time to reset.

Fingers crossed I get my new password correct.

Heh.

Hold That Thought

April 18, 2018

I was supposed to register today for my fall semester in the Transformative Inquiry PhD program.

But.

Nope.

Holds on my registration.

My first thought, “but I don’t have any over due library books!”

Literally.

Second thought, “or videos!”

When I was in my undergraduate program at UW Madison Four Star Video was affiliated with the UW system, I don’t really know why, but it was and I had a video that was over due.

By like a year.

And the school wouldn’t release my financial aid funds until I returned the video.

But I had already.

Or so I thought.

I had given the video to my boyfriend, my first boyfriend, now that I think of it, Rob, to return to the video store.

He said he did.

But as it turns out, he did not.

I hadn’t been dating him in a while, a while for me at least, six, seven months, and had barely seen him around the campus, he wasn’t a student, but his father was a professor in mathematics at the school.

I was so broke.

I remember it so distinctly.

I really needed my financial aid and I had to pay out $90 to the video store to replace the rental.

It was “Gone With The Wind,” I have no idea why they hell I had rented that movie, although I do like it, though the book is so much better, and was astonished that to replace the video it would be $90.

Partially because it was a double cassette movie, two different cassettes.

I am so dating myself.

I couldn’t track down Rob, but I could track down his father.

I went to his office and I waited until he had office hours.

He remembered me fondly and asked after me and I was suddenly shy to say why I was there, but I needed that money and the financial aid office refused to let it go, I mean, I reasoned, wouldn’t it make sense to just give me the fucking money and I pay the fine?

But no.

I had to pay the fine first.

I girded my loins and told Rob’s dad and he was so sweet, he opened his wallet pulled out the money and wished me the best of luck.

I ran back to Four Star Video, which was a haul, UW Madison is a huge campus and Rob’s dad’s office was on the other side of Bascom Hill, it was probably a two-mile hike, but I feel like I did it in twenty minutes.

I paid the fine.

I got my financial aid.

As it turns out, I don’t have any outstanding video rentals or over due library books, note to self, I do have a book I need to return next class session.

LAST CLASS SESSION!

I can’t get too excited yet.

I am not there.

I still have two papers to write.

I still have work to do.

My therapist and I talked a lot about it, how it feels surreal, how it doesn’t feel like it’s actually happening.

I’m having my best friend over for dinner tomorrow night to do party planning and catch up and I have to say it feels weird to be planning the party as it’s not really hit me yet that I’m going to graduate.

My therapist look at me at one point in the session and said, “you’re going to graduate.”

I’ll take her word for it.

Therapists are supposed to hold the hope.

heh.

Anyway.

The hold seems to stem from the fact that I am not yet graduated from my Master’s program and I can’t register online for a PhD while my grades are still out.

I have been provisionally accepted.

Which means I have to graduate before I can be in the program.

But.

I can register for classes.

I just have to go to school and do them via hard copy.

Hard copy!

Shit.

That sounds like craziness.

I remember when I went for my undergraduate the school had just switched from the stand in line and hand register and hope that you can get to all the classes you want to get to, to using the phone.

And man.

It was so important to call ASAP.

Once your time was up it was a hustle.

I remember waiting with my booklet of classes and the phone, dial-up, though at least not a rotary phone (although, yes we did have a rotary phone in middle school and high school, a big yellow one that hung of the wall in the kitchen nook in the house in Windsor, that had a super long curly cord that my sister would stretch tight so she could have phone calls in the bathroom without anyone overhearing her), and I would have to put in my student id pin number and then punch in the code for the class.

Sometimes I was lucky, especially by second semester Junior year and most of my Senior year, and I would get right into the classes I wanted.

But often.

So often.

I would not get what I wanted and thus began the negotiation of what class to pick up that would fulfill my schedule needs, I worked full-time (nothing’s changed, well, that’s not true, I don’t work in a bar anymore), my school requirements for my degree, and whether or not I had any interest in the class.

Sometimes I would get home from work and comb through the class lists, looking for an interesting class that I might have overlooked, sometimes I would sit on the phone, continuously dialing and re-dialing the number.

I was persistent.

Persistance paid off.

Someone would drop the class I wanted and I would be having one of my twenty-minute or half hour tries at getting into a class.

It was always the best feeling when I would dial-up a number for a class that I had been trying for days, sometimes weeks (happened a few times) and suddenly there was a spot open.

And it was tricky.

I would not be able to register for the class and then drop the one I didn’t want, I’d have to take a leap of faith and drop the class first, knowing someone might grab the class I’d drop or that someone else might be trying for the class I wanted.

It always worked out.

I remind myself of that now.

Things will work out.

I will get my papers written.

I will get it all done.

I will get registered for my PhD.

And I will have a party.

All the things.

They will happen.

I have faith.

Thank God.

I Didn’t Get It

April 7, 2018

And I can’t say I’m surprised.

Disappointed.

Yes.

Surprised.

No.

There was something about the email that I got last week letting me know that the decision regarding the Diversity Scholarship had not yet been made.

I immediately began to have doubts that I was going to get it.

I’m not sure why, but it felt like the flavor of what was to come.

I was told the final decision would be reached by today, April 6th.

And I spent all day long thinking, where’s the e-mail.

I didn’t get it, where’s the e-mail?

Maybe I got it.

When are they going to let me know?

I almost texted my best friend tonight in between seeing clients.

I don’t think I got the scholarship.

But I got caught up doing paperwork and then my next client was in and therapy.

I drove home, really bad traffic, rain does that in San Francisco, the weather ups the idiot ante pretty quick, finally found parking and walked home to my little studio to make some dinner.

When I sat down to eat I got the bing that I had a new e-mail.

And there it was.

The notification letter.

I can’t tell you what it said exactly as I already trashed it, but it didn’t surprise me.

Disappointment though, I could have used that $5,000 per year.

I don’t even know how much my tuition is going to be for my PhD program, but I do know that having had some scholarship money for my Master’s program was really integral to helping me do some things.

Like buy my car.

Travel.

And, you know, pay rent.

I have steadily, over the last few years acquired expenditures that I never used to have.

My scooter, scooter insurance, my car, car insurance, dental insurance, health insurance (although that’s felt like a colossal joke), renter’s insurance, monthly yoga, and a lot of those things I helped pay for with my financial aid and my scholarship money.

And of course.

Tuition.

I’m not going to be too upset though.

It doesn’t do me well to dwell on it and although it’s a disappointment, how could it not be, I know that the money will be there.

Maybe another scholarship.

Maybe I win the lottery.

Maybe I come into money.

Maybe I just take out more student loans.

As long as tuition gets paid and I don’t have to supplement tuition with my own money, not right now, my own money goes to rent, groceries, phone, yoga, car, scooter, clothes, travel, cost of living in San Francisco.

If I get enough money to cover tuition I can cover my cost of living on what I make.

I will be ok.

I always am.

Sigh.

I don’t like the idea of taking out more student loans, but I don’t like the idea of not going after my PhD even less.

The education is important to me and the work is important and I’m doing it.

The money will come.

It will.

And before I know it, I’ll be attending my first intensive for the program.

I received an e-mail yesterday letting me know what courses I need to register for.

I will be taking five classes my first semester.

Three are credited courses and two are not.

The intensive is counted as a course and there is an online class forum that is counted as a course.

Neither of those will really affect me time wise.

Money wise.

Yeah.

The intensive runs I think at least $1800.

And typically what I have seen is that each credit of course work is about $1200.

So three, three credit courses will cost me about 10,800.

Tuition is going to probably be about $22,000 per year.

I think.

I am not 100% sure, but that was pretty close to what the Master’s Degree cost me.

I could probably look it all up at this point, and maybe I should, but it’s late, I had a long day, good, but long.

I had the first day of my fourth weekend of the program.

I did my case presentation.

I was the first to go and it felt really good to get up there in front of the class and share about my work.

I got some really nice feedback.

It felt really good to hear and it really made me reflect on how far I have come and how much I bring to my clients.

My teacher said, and I quote, “_____________ is really lucky to have you.”

Wow.

That was fucking nice to hear.

As were many of the other responses I got from my cohort.

I felt very much like a therapist as I sat there.

I also felt very much the therapist as I was working with a new client tonight in our first session.

I was marveling at how I have really learned how to listen, to reflect, to mirror, to validate and to re-frame what the client says.

I had a moment afterward when I compared how I felt taking on a new client now versus how I felt when I first started.

So different.

I really feel like I am doing a good job.

And that.

Just that.

I need to recognize.

I am a good therapist.

I am in the right field.

I am doing the right thing.

I am on the path.

I have a career.

I am a therapist.

Granted.

Unlicensed as of yet, with loads of work to be done, but I am firmly situated on this path and I am so grateful for having a purpose in my career and a career that will support me and one in which I will have great longevity.

I will get to practice for a long time.

So.

Yeah.

Bummed about not getting the scholarship, but it’s not going to slow me down from doing what I am supposed to be doing.

And for that.

Well.

I have only gratitude.

 

Time To Take A Break

March 12, 2018

I should have just skipped it.

Trying to do more work after wrapping up a fairly exhausting weekend of classes, but no, I tried to do more.

But my brain was not working and as I was getting teary eyed in the Pete’s Coffee across the street from my school I knew it was time to concede and throw in the towel.

I was done.

I was a burnt little piece of toast.

Instead I had a really good talk with my best friend who bolstered my spirits and kept me on the phone out the door of the cafe, into my car and up to the Castro where I had to go for my next round of commitments for the day.

Man.

It was a long day.

And of course, I’m just now remembering that it was Daylight Savings so I was on one less hour of sleep.

I got up at 6:30 p.m. which felt like 5:30 a.m.

In fact, I got up right before my alarm went off to use the bathroom, crawled back into bed thinking I had another hour of rest and then the alarm went off and reminded me, that no, nope, no way, it was time to get up and start my day.

It was a hard day and I did a lot of work to stay with it and I am proud of myself for showing up the way I did.

There is a lot of stuff that needs to be addressed before I graduate and the final projects are coming together and I need to be doing more work around those, but for today, well.

I’m fucking done.

It’s ten minutes to 10 p.m. and I have to be up early again tomorrow to go to supervision before work.

I will say, however, that I figured out one small part of the Diversity Scholarship Application that I needed to do and the problem that was so insurmountable at the coffee shop was quickly remedied when I got home.

Some fellowship, some recovery, some doing the deal, meeting with my person and getting right with God, and voila!

Computer stuff is a walk in the park.

I’m still not doing it quite correct, but I don’t give a good god damn, I did what I needed to do and its enough, I have to remind myself that all that time, the work I do is enough.

I did a lot of work this weekend, I participated in every class, I brought myself forward, I was vulnerable with personal experiences and I used that vulnerability to show resilience and to model how my experiences can be of service to my cohort.

At least that’s what I hope I did.

It seemed as though it landed well, my efforts this week, and I’m happy with how I showed up, although, frankly, exhausted, it’s work, this school program and a lot of that work is process work, processing the experience of being in school, the psychological fallout of my own issues and my own work and then watching the interplay of what is happening with others in my cohort and what they are working with.

It was a lot.

And I’m tuckered out.

I don’t even feel much like writing more.

I sort of just want a snack and a cup of tea and a little video to chill out to.

I have a big full week, of course I do, seven clients this week, supervision, therapy, yoga if I can muster the energy before therapy and work on Tuesday, plans to see my best friend, work, as always, and getting my scholarship application filled out and sent in.

I will finish the rest of the work on the application tomorrow.

Now that I have figured out my technical issues it shouldn’t take more than a half hour, 45 minutes tops, to get everything done and turned in.

Fingers crossed.

The scholarship is worth $5,000.

It is applied directly to tuition.

And I don’t even know what the tuition is yet for the program I applied to.

Hopefully I will be hearing back from the program in the next couple of weeks.

I will either get called in for an interview, or I won’t.

I suspect I will.

The dean of the program had related to me that they generally decide within two weeks of the application deadline who they are going to call in for interviews.

I was told that they’ll make the decision very quickly after the interviews are done and that the entire process is typically done by the end of March.

Today’s the 11th.

I am assuming I’ll get the phone call this week.

That’s the thought, anyway.

And then interview. and then go get my PhD.

Of course.

There will be lots of work between here and there.

I can’t quite hold it all right now though, my head is too full and I am too tired.

So with that.

I bid you a wonderful good night.

And sweet dreamy dreams.

The sweetest.

Foiled

January 31, 2018

But god damn it.

I tried.

I got up early, I did my morning routine, I got into my yoga clothes and I walked to the studio in the early grey blue light.

Only to be greeted by a closed up shop.

Nobody was there.

One other woman with a rolled up mat sauntered over and we both woefully looked at the locked door and sighed and each of us turned and went our separate ways.

No class this morning.

I was annoyed.

To say the least.

But.

Well.

That’s life.

And as I sat and enjoyed a really leisurely breakfast, sitting with my notebook and my cup of coffee, and my full warm belly, I reflected, it wasn’t so bad getting up early.

Sure.

I had expected to be going willy nilly full tilt boogie, yoga, therapy, work, clients, doing the deal, get it done, go, go, go.

Turns out my day was not going to be like that.

Granted.

It was still full.

I just didn’t start it out rushing about.

I slowed down.

Which is generally a good thing for me, slowing down, that is.

It felt good to sit and write and check my emails, to deal with my bills, paid my rent, popped a little money in savings, note to self, car payment is coming up, remember to do that please.

Maybe I’ll do that in the morning.

Fuck.

I could probably just do it right now.

And there.

Done.

That feels good.

I made a double payment again.

Technically I don’t have a car payment until March, since I did a double payment last month, but I figure as long as it feels comfortable to do so I’m going to pay more on the car loan than I need to.

I like to be proactive around my money.

I also received my financial aid disbursement for school today.

Which was really nice as I was getting fairly low in my account what with the unexpected dental work I had to do this past month.

Super grateful for that landing and not making me feel über tight with paying rent and making a car payment.

I knocked some into my savings, paid my rent, just made my car payment, and I may reach out to my car insurance and just pay another six months of insurance while I have the money and it’s not ear marked towards anything else.

I will also have some spending money for going to D.C.

I’m headed out in a little over two weeks.

I’ll be visiting my best friend and spending time in Georgetown.

I’m excited.

I’ve never really been to D.C.

Sort of.

I mean.

I was there once, when I was nineteen, homeless, catching a Greyhound bus from North Carolina heading back to Madison, Wisconsin.

I don’t remember much of the city.

I remember more the Hardees in the bus station and making friends with a girl who was probably my age and both of us were basically returning from having run away from home.

She and I became fast friends and sat in the Hardees in the station and smoked cigarettes and ate cinnamon rolls sticks and talked smack about our experiences.

We had a long wait for the next bus so we went for a walk around D.C.

I got really nervous about getting lost and not making the bus connection on time so we didn’t go too far.

We ended up sitting on a fountain smoking cigarettes and getting to know each other’s life stories.

Not much to tell at 19.

Except.

Well.

I had already been through a lot of shit.

Having just left a violent boyfriend who had threatened to kill me in Kill Devil Hills North Carolina, and before that having been homeless with same said boyfriend outside of Miami, in Homestead Florida.

Billy Ray.

Oh my God.

I haven’t thought of that man’s name in some time.

I was my old man, he self-titled himself that, I would never have called a boyfriend my old man, but then again, he was ten years older than me.

And he, bless his generous heart, had introduced me to smoking crack cocaine.

I have written about him before, but it’s been awhile.

I told my new-found friend all the gory details about Billy and what had happened in Florida and what had then transpired in North Carolina, and how I found myself on a Greyhound bus heading back to Wisconsin.

Thank God for that girl.

We talked and gabbed at each other for hours and hours through the long night, all the way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she was headed.

I remember hugging her very hard in the terminal.

I remember also that the terminal was really old and rather pretty, I remember the sun coming in through the high windows in thick honied shafts dancing with dust motes.

I remember, too, that the bathrooms were pay to pee and that I was indignant and crawled under the door to one of the stalls.

I wasn’t going to pay a fucking quarter to pee, fuck that.

And I recall coming back out, washing my hands in the old marble sink, looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself to “go home, Baby Girl, just get home.”

So.

Yeah.

This trip to D.C. is going to be much different.

I am going to stay at a nice hotel.

I am going to go to a museum that is close to the hotel.

I am going to eat nice food.

I am going to spend every moment I can with my best friend and really cherish our time together and just smash myself with love.

I feel like it’s a sort of living amends to the city of D.C.

I will not be eating in a Hardees and I most definitely will not be smoking.

I will be letting in all the love and reflecting it back at my friend and enjoying the hell out of getting to see a city I only once passed briefly through on my way from running away from home to running back.

My life has taken me many places and I’m so, so grateful that today I don’t have to run away.

Or take a Greyhound bus anywhere.

Jesus.

Thank god for that.

May I never have to take a Greyhound bus again.

Seriously.

Taking Care of Business

September 26, 2017

I just responded to my advisor and the head of my Masters program at my school.

I was expecting to get a financial aid disbursement from my school on September 19th.

I didn’t get a thing.

In fact.

When I checked in to see what was going on I discovered that not only was there no money to disburse to my account, well, fuck me, I owed money!

How the hell was that possible?

I mean.

I was counting on getting some money.

I certainly got the heads up from my student loan processor that I was getting the money, and they will be happy when I’m finally out of school and start repaying them, but here you go kid, take on some more debt, it’s good for the economy.

So.

I start to scour the tuition bill and there it is, a charge for $1087.

For a retreat (remember those insanely not relaxing weeks I did at the beginning of my first and second year.  Nothing says retreat like being in class for 8 days in a row from 9a.m. to 9p.m.) I did not attend.

Third years don’t get to go to a retreat, we are in practicum so there’s no room in our schedule for it, and really, there’s no point, we’re three-quarters of the way through.

I wouldn’t have minded it, actually, the place is pretty, at Ions Institute outside of Petaluma, and the weather is great and it’s nice, but I didn’t go.

And as such.

Don’t freaking bill me!

I’ve made phone calls.

Left messages.

Gone to the office in person.

I was told to send an e-mail.

Did that.

Then I cc’d my advisor and I got great support from him, but the business office hasn’t refunded the charge yet and of course, my scholarship monies got released and they, the system, kept the $1087.

I haven’t had the rest of the scholarship money land in my bank account yet, but I will and I hope it doesn’t take to long to get the rest of the money.

I have things to buy.

Like a car!

I really have decided to do it.

I have had a lot of talks about it, done research, done more talking, prayed, ran my numbers and I think I can swing it.

Yes.

I will be buying the car with some of my financial aid money.

But I will be using it for school, certainly to get to and from my internship and work of course.

This will be the first time in my life that I have bought a brand new car.

I have owned a couple of cars, but never a new one.

Here’s the one I’m looking at.

I can swing the $150 a month payment.

Plus I’ll have to have car insurance, which I figure will be another $100 a month and then gas.

Gas is going to be a lot more than the $1.50 I put in my scooter to fill up the tank today.

I still will use my scooter, but when the weather is bad, or super foggy, rainy, cold, or nasty, well, I will drive my car.

I like saying that, “I will drive my car.”

I have owned cars before, but it’s been a long while.

I ran into my person today very serendipitously, at the Whole Foods salad bar on Market and Dolores.

I had gotten out of my internship an hour early, client cancelled, and I decided to do a little grocery shopping.

I was going to SafeWay and then I felt like, no, I’m going to Whole Foods.

Glad I trusted my gut!

I got my groceries and then we joined a mutual friend and chatted and talked and got caught up.

He’s very behind me getting a car and I’ve been ruminating on my money for weeks now.

I have six thousand in savings.

I have a credit card with a limit of $5,000.

I could, technically, buy the car outright.

I don’t know that I want to do that, I would rather have a buffer for myself.

I don’t want to touch my prudent reserve at all, I’ll be keeping back $2,000 in my savings to make sure I’m ok if something happens and I’m suddenly without income.

But I could put $4,000 if my own money down right away, and maybe run $3,000 on my credit card.

I don’t want to max that out either.

Then I can pay off the rest of the car when I get my scholarship money in spring.

I’ll do the $150/month payment and come spring, I’ll pay it off.

That’s the idea.

I think it’s pretty sound.

I’m going to take a few more weeks, but I feel pretty ready to make a move on it.

Plus, I don’t want to get caught in the rain.

“Doll, I know you’re independent, but let me state the obvious, you’re a woman, go to the dealership with a man, don’t go on your own,” my person said before I left to come home.

And I agree with him.

I will need a side kick to help me out, some one to hold my hand.

I’m pretty confident I won’t be bamboozled, but having never bought a car before I want assistance, I don’t want to do it alone, and I’m pretty sure I can find someone to go over to Berkeley with me and do that part.

I think that’s about the only thing.

That and getting my refund back from the overcharge on my tuition bill.

I feel pretty awesome about the whole thing though, I didn’t react to the tuition bill, I responded, and I have been combing my finances and seeing where I can nip and tuck and get the car.

And I really do feel like I can do it.

Fun.

A car.

It’s only been fifteen years!

I think it’s time.

 

That Was A Session

June 21, 2017

I’m a therapist.

It was so clear.

It was so obvious.

It was like getting whacked over the head.

You are a therapist.

I was in it with my client and although it was just a second session I could feel it happening, I could feel the alliance happening and who knows where it will go, but it’s a start.

I have clients.

Two this week.

Three next week.

And so it builds.

I was also a space cadet today.

I left my bag with my nanny shoes at work.

And when I realized I had already been on my way to the internship to see my client and I did not want to risk losing time to turn around and go back.

When I finished with the session I couldn’t remember if I had actually carried out the bag with me, having then left it on the sidewalk outside of my job.

Or.

If I had left it inside the house.

I called and text my boss but got no response.

Then I had a horrible vision of my bag, with my very expensive Dansko walking shoes, on the sidewalk and it getting scooped up by an entrepreneurial type in the neighborhood.

I debated going home, but I needed the piece of mind more than the extra few minutes I would have gotten at home.

So I zipped over to work and sure enough it was at the house, inside, thank God.

I thanked the dad, hopped back on my scooter and zoomed home.

It was a fast ride, the rush traffic having dissipated and in the end I was only home five minutes, maybe seven, past when I had predicted I’d be walking in.

It’s nice to be home.

I love my little studio.

Yes.

I would love to have more space.

I surely would.

However.

In this time in my life I am willing to be in a little space that holds me so well and is pretty and full of color and things to look upon that make me happy.

Speaking of which.

I expect to hear back soon from Cheap Pete’s.

The framing shop I took my two Paris prints to.

One a Marilyn Monroe by Phillip Hausman I got at the Jeu de Paume in Paris and the other a vintage Scandal sheet cover from a vendor at Clingancourt.

I am looking forward to adding them to my collection.

Although, truth be told, I don’t have much wall space left at all.

I have an idea to rearrange a few things and move around a couple of pieces and I think they will fit just fine.

And.

In other news.

I got my financial aid disbursement.

Hurrah!

So very happy.

I put half of it in savings immediately.

I will be using that money for my therapy costs as I move through my school program.

I will also be purchasing some new clothes for the doing of therapy.

I have a small wardrobe, but I realized that I need to expand a little, a few more pieces of professional clothing that I can interchange with my current wardrobe.

I was talking to my therapist this morning.

Yes.

The therapist has a therapist.

Duh.

Anyway.

Just that it’s nice having a change-up in my wardrobe and it helps me to be in the mindset.

Which is how I forgot my nanny shoes at work.

I took them off to put on my “therapist” shoes.

My new Fluevogs.

They are funky, but not too crazy and I do feel like someone else when I wear them.

It feels important to switch gears from nanny to therapist.

Even if the client would probably be completely happy with whatever I am wearing, well, perhaps, but really, it feels right for me.

It’s like pushing a reset button.

I carry myself different and I put on a different hat.

Or pair of shoes.

If the shoe fits.

Fucking wear that shit.

And I have totally lost my train of thought.

I am tired and just did a Facetime chat with a friend who’s been trying to catch up with me for a couple of weeks.

I am just starting to take clients, I can’t imagine how things are going to look when I’m back in school.

I probably won’t know what hit me.

But.

My god.

I am so grateful that I have started my internship now.

If I had to handle the training and the clients and the newness of it and juggle a full load of fall semester.

Um.

No.

Super grateful to have this time to get adjusted.

I also know that I won’t have to work as many hours.

Right now I’m working 40-41 hours a week as a nanny.

When school is in I’ll go back down to 35 and that will help.

Shit.

That’s five clients right there.

Add the three I have now and I could reasonably be doing the same amount of work that I am carrying now.

Of course.

It will be different.

I will also have to carry a full-time grad school load.

With all the reading and writing that entails.

Shh.

I tell myself.

Hush for now.

Don’t spoil the moment.

I had a good day.

I was a good nanny.

My charges loved on me, I got to hold the baby for a few hours while it slept, I made a dinner that the entire family raved about (pancetta spaghetti carbonara with julienned sugar snap peas, pan sautéed asparagus with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, hearts of romaine salad with heirloom tomatoes, avocado, a soft-boiled wild hen egg and sprouted sunflower seeds), “Carmen, you are a REALLY good cook,” said the seven year old.

Thanks sugar.

I do love cooking for those I care about.

And.

I was a therapist.

A damned good one at that.

I think I have earned my cup of tea.

With that.

I call it a night.

Sleep well my friends.

Sleep well.

 

The Not A Date

May 29, 2017

Date.

I mean.

Fuck.

I thought it was a date.

But.

In the end it just seemed to be hanging out as friends.

Note to self.

Clarify.

44 fucking years old and still learning how to communicate.

Ah well.

I had a nice time going to the Summer of Love exhibit and my friend was a good friend, just not the experience I thought I was having.

I didn’t have expectations about it, in fact, when he’d asked me out I was surprised, but I had said yes, trying to keep my word, promising that I would date, I would try.

I am tired of trying.

I am tired of dating.

I don’t want to do it.

And yet.

Here I am trying.

Frustrated pacing the walls of my head, the walls of my room, and just trying each moment to be as honest and upfront as I can.

I can’t have what I want.

I get what I need.

Isn’t that the trope?

Learning, always this learning, this experiencing and I’m not mad or curious or, what resigned, resigned isn’t the right word either.

Acceptance tastes like it.

Humility, most likely that, a tasty snack, a tidbit of humility, mmmm, here, wait, have another helping.

I made my friend feel bad, well, take that back, I’m not that powerful, I can’t claim to be responsible for anyone’s feelings, but I was surprised at the laissez-faire approach to us hanging out together, which clued me into it not being a date.

I expected to be picked up at noon.

I was picked up at 1:45p.m.

UGH.

I have a life, I have things to do, I am important, don’t you know who I am, I don’t want to go on this date.

Oh.

Hahahahhaahahahahahaha.

Joke’s on you lady.

It’s not a date.

My brain.

Oh how it likes to tell me some stories.

I have another “date” tomorrow, but let me tell you, I bet it’s just to have coffee and go do the deal.

It’s not a date either.

Clarity.

I have to ask for clarity.

I have to know that I am beautiful and worthy, that my time is valuable, that I am worth making the attempt for.

I fucking deserve to be courted.

I mean.

That’s what I believe, but maybe that’s a fallacy too, an expectation that I am to be pursued in a certain way by a certain type of man, it just doesn’t seem, after many years of trying to figure this out, ahhaha, ugh, I have not done it any favors, my romantic state or lack there of.

I am still just bumble fucking along.

I get to change.

That’s the only thing I can do.

I can change.

Or not.

I mean.

What is wrong with my life?

Do I need to be in a romantic relationship?

Throat strangles with sadness writing last line, note to self, write about that tomorrow morning.

Fuck.

I wrote a lot this morning.

Eight pages?

Yes.

Eight.

Just wrote and wrote and wrote.

Had a nice breakfast, drank some good coffee, wrote, and waited for the date not date to show up.

And the thing that happened is that I got work done that I needed to do.

So.

A gift, the tardiness of another, my powerlessness over others and their actions held true.

What can I do, how can I use my time and not be mad, not be pissed at my friend who was just taking care of stuff that he had to do.

I set up my voicemail for my internship.

I activated my e-mail account.

I set up my phone line.

I read through the employee hand book.

I discovered I have to also pay to get liability insurance, another unknown out-of-pocket school cost, which makes sense, but was a cost I wasn’t expecting.

Anyway.

I’ll be getting a little bit of money back from the financial aid I applied for, most of it goes to paying for my practicum supervisor, but I’ll get a smidgen that will help with my out-of-pocket therapy costs and this insurance and whatever else comes up.

I still have secrets thoughts and desires about getting out-of-town sometime during the three weeks my family I nanny for will be traveling.

I have a $480 ticket voucher and if I hold steady with my expenditures I might be able to pull off a short vacation, four or five days, somewhere the airlines fly.

I had been thinking San Juan Puerto Rico as a friend does a lot of business there, but I’m not sure I can make Puerto Rico work, maybe.

I don’t know.

I do know I have to use the voucher by October.

I also don’t know when I will get the opportunity outside the three weeks in July.

I guess that’s what bothered me the most.

Having set time aside to go on a date, ok, not a date, I wanted it to go my way, on my schedule, so that I could do all the other things I was going to do, like I totally fucking skipped yoga to get ready.

Note to self.

Don’t do that.

Gratefully.

Tomorrow is a holiday and I’m not working and I will go to yoga in the morning and then to lunch with my person and dump my stupid emotional juju ass baggage about dating and being stupid and annoyed with myself and get it off my chest and then go on another date not date for coffee and laugh at myself.

LOUDLY.

Because I am funny and my little plans and designs get nowhere.

Show up, be of service, stop thinking about myself.

And life will be just fine.

It already is.

I have fucking luxury problems.

Dating is a total luxury problem, I am alive, sober, housed, clothed, fed.

In other words, totally fucking taken care of.

So what?

I have problems in areas I used to never have.

I am lucky.

I am graced.

I am happy, motherfucking free, and joyous.

Most of the time.

And when I am sad or in self-pity or whatever it is, I’m more important than you and your agenda and needs, I see that I am not in humility and gratitude and I can change.

I can awaken.

I can say.

How may I serve, how may I help.

And take the motherfucking focus off myself.

That usually does the trick.

So me and my luxury problems are going to have a nice fucking day tomorrow going to yoga, getting to go to lunch with one of my most loved humans in the entire world, coffee with a friend, a gathering of fellows, some get right with God, and that’s my day.

Or not.

I can’t make plans to save my life.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring.

I certainly don’t.

Obviously.

 


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