Posts Tagged ‘proposal’

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.

Here It Comes

August 20, 2019

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

Not that I haven’t already been in it.

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

Seriously.

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

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

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

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

More on that in a moment.

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

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

And why?

WHY!?!

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

Shit.

I was totally taken aback at my electives coursework.

Ugh.

I am not complaining, well, a little.

I just get the overwhelms.

And I know this feeling.

I have had it every semester.

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

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

It always does.

So.

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

Everything gets worked out.

And.

If I don’t get A’s I’ll be alright.

I mean.

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

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

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

I am solid.

I am fluid.

I have good ideas.

I have poetic turns.

I have way with words, have I.

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

My work is transitioning.

Boy fucking howdy is it transitioning.

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

CHANGING.

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

And.

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

Which I did yesterday.

I am now at 18 clients.

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

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

That would be 25.

I want 30 though and possibly a few more.

As.

Well.

Clients cancel.

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

I need to have a buffer and account for that.

But even then.

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

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

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

And thankfully.

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

20 hours of nanny work.

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

18 hours of nannying.

I mean.

I cannot even believe that.

I have been nannying for 12 1/2 years.

Thirteen maybe.

I am never quite sure about the number.

A long fucking time, how about that.

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

I had judgements about what I did as a profession.

I mean.

Who takes a nanny seriously?

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

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

Not all of them.

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

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

But it is work.

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

Work.

A lot of work.

And love.

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

And.

I am done with it.

I have done it long enough.

I have paid my dues.

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

(Don’t go into the light Carol Anne!)

Go I shall.

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

I know I will.

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

They will come.

Oh yes they will.

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

Ooh la la.

Now.

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

Life.

It just keeps going.

It really does.

I’m Done!

February 1, 2016

I finished all the reading for my next weekend of classes.

One weekend ahead of time.

I am absurdly pleased.

I just closed my Ethics and Family Law textbook and shelved it along with everything else that I read this weekend.

I do have a proposal that I did not get to, but whatever.

I have all week to do it and it’s a proposal, not a formal paper.

I have had some time to think about what I want to accomplish with it and I do believe I am going to do the meditative coloring.

I also thought about doing a guided meditation, I haven’t done a lot of sitting meditation, enough to know I can comfortably sit for fifteen minutes without bother.

I remember the first time I sat for three minutes.

I thought I was going to crawl out of my skin.

I thought I might leap out of my chair or rip my own hair out.

I was that uncomfortable sitting still in my body, in my own space, with my own thoughts to occupy me.

I thought my brain might actually eat me alive.

I have come a long way baby.

I can sit for up to an hour and have done so on a few occasions.

I have had years where I did a sitting meditation, in addition to my writing meditation, but I have to be upfront about that, it wasn’t more than a ten minute sit, often times just five minutes and I did it because the person I was working with insisted I do it as a requirement to work with her.

I wasn’t opposed.

I am not now.

But.

I think the coloring is a nice way to go about it.

I tried some last night to get the hang of it and it was nice.

I actually got some freedom from the rapidity of my brain and it was nice to get lost in between the lines and let go and play with color and just enjoy doing something that didn’t require me to think.

I plan on being up front with my professor and outlining what I currently do.

I thought, briefly about with holding some aspects of my spiritual practice so that I could “implement” it back in and go from there.

Some might call this efficient.

However, it felt a little like cheating for me and I couldn’t quite square the principle of honesty behind that action.

I prefer to be honest with my professor, to even go so far as to say that I have had resentments and needed to work them out, that, already, is spiritual progress for me.

I recognized that it was with myself that lay the problem, not with my professor, he’s not doing it wrong, he’s just not doing it the way I think, or better, thought, it should be done.

Anyway.

That’s all I have to do.

Write and send a one page proposal, outlining what I am going to do to deepen my spiritual practice.

Due by this Friday.

I’ll probably ruminate on it a little bit more then type something up before work tomorrow.

Just to have it out of the way.

I don’t have to start the actual practice of it until February 12th.

Which is also when my first paper is due.

I plan on working on that next weekend.  I will probably review the readings for the class, it was dense, really dense and not well written.  If the author used “implicit” one more time in a chapter to give gravitas to what he was writing I was going to look him up and suggest some creative writing workshops for him to expand his vocabulary.

It really is a pleasant feeling, though, to have all the reading done.

I also got to see my girl friend from my cohort.

She rode her bicycle out and I was grateful to get to show her my home space and we went for coffee and toast at Trouble Coffee and Coconut Club and then down for a walk on the beach.

It was deliriously windy out and the beach was fairly deserted.

It was like being sandblasted.

We did not stay long, but she got a taste of the glory of the beach and vowed to come back soon, although by a better bicycle route than the one Google Maps gave her.

Oof.

Any other city it probably makes sense, but in San Francisco, negotiating the hillier parts of the city, there really is a way to get from here to there and it does not involve riding the coastline.

When she told me her route I got sympathetic leg pain just thinking about it.

I have done some similar things when I was newly on my bicycle and found out the hard way how to navigate around the hillier districts.

The SFBC (San Francisco Bicycle Coalition) map is probably the best one to use for navigation, as it shows grades of streets on hills.

One block over can really make a huge difference.

Going up Polk to the Marina is a lot easier than going up Van Ness.

And probably much safer too.

I digress.

We had a great time.

No homework was really accomplished, although we did go over a couple of things on the syllabus for the next weekend and talked about the school, the program, and of course, our other classmates.

But mostly.

About ourselves.

It was sweet and I feel a strong connection and bond to her.

Partially because she really does see me and also sees me in a way, that although I don’t find flattering and sometimes I get upset with myself, I do have a vast amount of acceptance about, that being that I am in desperate need to control my environment.

“It’s a safety thing for you,” she said in her sweet, lilting, French accent, “I totally get it, and I see how often you do it, with everything in your environment.”

I have had lovers mess up the pillows on my bed to make me squirm or a friend purposely mess up a section of literature I have just set out on a table.

I have seen it, consciously, more and more as I accept myself more and more and learn, not always gracefully, to let go of the reigns and have new experiences.

I really do want them and I recognize, I must recognize, how brave I am.

I didn’t fold up, I didn’t collapse, I kept trying.

Sometimes doing things that I didn’t know better, stratagems that I learned growing up, self-defense mechanisms that worked really well at the time and then stopped, even though I continued to employ them.

I see things with a lot more clarity.

The writing daily has helped, the praying, the spiritual practices I employ.

My recovery.

Oh, all the wonderful things I get to do in the act of getting back to that place where I am allowed to be vulnerable, soft, sweet, and not in control.

Tender.

I opened the door.

I let in my friend.

I experienced intimacy.

And I got my reading done for school.

Winning.

No, I am Not Available

June 8, 2013

To do that.

I am not comfortable with it.

I have to try something else.

I will let you know.

Let me think about that.

And last, but not least, my favorite, let me get back to you.

I forget that I have options.  That I don’t have to immediately say yes to something.  I will say yes to something without thinking about what I need to do for myself.

Case in point I said I could nanny on the day I would be going in to help my friend in the city at the design firm.

I’ll just re-arrange my schedule.

Sure, I can help.

Wait a second.

I make more money at the design firm, I want to be transitioning out of doing nanny work, and I would not have to commute to both North Oakland and the Mission District in the same day and then back to East Oakland.

Ack.

But there it is.

At least I see that I am the one creating the drama, or lack there of.

I want there to be more lack there of.

I do not want drama.  I do not like it, no I do not, Sam, green eggs and ham.

Sorry, I read a lot of Doctor Seuss this past week.

Talk about transitioning my language skills with my nanny skills.

I was all about the words today.

On one hand I am not sure I was of much assistance, on the other hand, I could see my fingerprints on the final project proposal.  The designer’s finished product was lovely and I learned a lot from being around her during the process of crafting it.

“I want to point out something to you,” she said, “and I don’t want to offend you.”

But.

But I could hear the but coming and I almost knew before she said it.

“You have a tendency to use rich, flowery language,” she said, and paused thoughtfully, “there is nothing wrong with that, but it does not translate as well to what I am doing.”

“I use a conversational tone, I want there to be ease and clarity in the language used.” She concluded, “does that make sense?”

Oh yeah.

That makes a shit ton of sense.

“Carmen, it’s all very nice and good that you can use language so creatively,” said Alan Kauffman in the memoir writing course I took with him, “but that does not advance the story.  All it does is tell me you took a creative writing class at some point.”

Ouch.

But ouch in a good way.

Some times I need a little ouch to kick my butt into a different gear.

“I think you actually used the word, “therein” at some point in the proposal,” she told me with a smile, “or “wherein” maybe, I pulled that out.”

Yup.

I use archaic language.

I have no idea why or from wherefore art thou that comes from, but yeah, it may be a habit from English Lit studies.  In which I got my degree, my Bachelor’s that is.

Which I have already and often joked, translates to “wilt thou like fries with that?”

“Here you go, the Universe is giving you exactly what you want and you go and get freaked out,” said my friend.

Yup, that too.

I am apparently not available to accept the gifts so readily being handed to me.

Yet, boy howdy, do I ever want them.

Want them bad, bad, bad.

And then when I am given them, that hard shell of defense springs up and says, “no, no, no, you can’t do this.”

I need to get that monkey nonsense out.

I added up my hours for the past two weeks and I submitted them to my boss and there it was, an amount of money I have made with using my language skills and writing skills.

They need honing and I still need training, but man, I am going to get good.

I know it.

I can sense it.

It is coming.

I still have to get out of my own way and not foil the fun with the scary.

Learning something new elicits mad emotional moments.

Tempestuous storms of tears and temper tantrums.

I am a seven-year old child trying something new and not liking how it is going, screaming with glee one moment, I can do it! Crying in terror another, no I can’t!  Wait, let me go again, out of my way, wait, hold my hand, I don’t know what I am doing.

And like that child I am going to tumble and fall and scrape knees and skin the palms of my hands.

Perhaps not on gravel, but words they can sting too.

Or they can sing.

The loveliest of songs, the seduction of prose, the scintillation of scalloping a poem out of the edge of an apple with a sharp paring knife.

I can turn a fucking phrase, I just need to learn how to craft the language and be clean with it.  To utilize the words in a way that speaks to a different kind of audience.

Something I have not done before.

Something I am going to learn how to do.

Something I will learn how to do and allow myself to do.

I will have some fun with it too.

I had a moment when I was researching how to write a creative brief and it was such a brilliant “aha” moment I said, “oh my God,” out loud.

It felt so good.

The inspiration of words, the “radical” new thought, that really isn’t new, it was just a different way of saying the same thing that was already being said, just in more concise language.

That is what is going to carry me.

That and really being of service to my friend, which is what I want to do.  Not just because I think she is awesome sauce, because she is, and not just because she is my mentor, which I have not really expressed yet, but because she is my hero and has stood by me in places and ways that I still have to tell myself I deserve.

There are people out there who will love you and push you and tell you yes you can be available to succeed for yourself and of yourself and here’s how and let me share with you.

Those are the kinds of people I want to be of service too.

Those are the kinds of people I want to say, yes, I am available.

Despite the noise in my head.

Because that service is what makes the noise go away.

And I get to get paid for it?

Fuck yes I am available.

Now, excuse me while I shake some of the nanny off my dress.


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