Posts Tagged ‘semester’

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.

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Straight A’s

June 2, 2019

I got my grades back.

It’s official.

Straight A’s for the second semester.

Which means that I have a 4.0 for my first year of my PhD program.

I am pretty damn pleased.

Even if, in the grand scheme of things, nobody really gives a damn about my grades in a PhD program.

I don’t believe I have ever heard someone ask another person what their GPA was for a PhD.  Most folks just stop at, holy fuck, you got a PhD.

Holy fuck are my words.

I mean.

I certainly wouldn’t care what someone’s GPA is if they got a PhD, they got a PhD!

That’s some big work.

And.

Nevertheless.

I am quite pleased.

Really pleased.

It was a hard semester.

I really thought life was going to fucking end when I got shingles.

On top of the wicked bad break up and just feeling overwhelmed with being in a PhD program, trying to grow my private practice and working full time as a nanny.

It was a big deal for me to get straight A’s.

I’m one of the few people in my cohort working full time.

My cohort also is getting smaller.

Two more people dropped out and another two decided to do the three year course track versus the two year.

I am not doing that.

I am staying put with the two year run on getting the required course work out of the way and I hope to do the rest of the work in two years.

I think I could even do it in a year and a half if I follow the example of one of my TA’s who really busted ass.

I’m not going to push myself too hard, it’s a lot of work no matter what.

I’m not so focused on it at the moment anyhow.

I’m studying for something else.

My Law & Ethics exam for the BBS (Behavioral Board of Sciences) here in California.

An Associate MFT has to take the Law & Ethics exam to renew their license.

My license expires on June 30th.

I am set to take the test on Tuesday, June 18th at 9a.m.

I have to get 70% to pass the test.

It’s a tricky little thing and there’s a lot of picky details that have to be addressed.

I am using the Therapist Development Center’s test prep to study.

So far I’m about half way through the material, maybe a bit more.

I’ve studied a good bit so far, but haven’t hit the 70% yet on the test.

Today I took a practice exam and got 61%.

Ugh.

This is not to beat myself up.

The first time I took one of the practice tests I think I got 48%.

I didn’t study, you just take it and see where you are at then start studying.

So I have gotten better, but still need to improve.

I really am fairly confident though.

I have two more weeks of studying and the material builds on itself.

I also have taken the tests really fast.

You’re given 75 minutes to do the test.

My first prep test I did in 15 minutes.

The next I might have taken 18 minutes.

Today I took one and forced myself to slow down a bit.

I still finished it in 30 minutes, maybe 35.

I will be able to have more than ample time to go back and recheck questions that don’t make sense.

Some of them I just made stupid mistakes from reading a little too fast, some of it is just remembering to sort out all the weird numbers that you have to know.

When to report to Child Protective Services versus Adult Protective Services for instance, when there’s an abuse you make an immediate report but each service requires you to also turn in a written report and they’re different times.

Or.

What is the smallest font that you can use on a release form?

Or.

All the different ages around when a therapist has to report child abuse if a minor is having sex.

It makes sense once it’s digested, but it took me a few rounds of listening to the lectures to get it all sussed out in my head.

I really am not worried though.

I take tests well and I have plenty of time to make it through all the study materials and actually go through the lecture series a second time.

I’m really ready to give the studying a break though.

I am really ready for some time off from hitting the books.

I basically one weekend of “down time” between my last paper and having to start the studying for the exam.

Two more weeks.

Take the test.

Pass it.

And then get ready for my Havana, Cuba trip.

The family I nanny for will also leave for a summer trip and I will have some down time too.

I’ll have to stay local for the most part, but I think I might be able to sneak in a little road trip or maybe a couple of nights out of town, drive up the coast.

I see my clients on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

So a little road trip on a Sunday or a Monday seems like a thing.

Santa Cruz or maybe Monterey.

I haven’t been to Stinson in a long time either or Muir Beach.

I could go to Point Reyes and get oysters or do a drive up Mt. Tam.

Lots of options.

Just some more studying to do before I can.

And a moment.

A sweet little moment to acknowledge that I showed the fuck up for this semester despite life challenges.

And I got all motherfucking A’s.

I’ll take it.

Seriously.

 

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 Good Enough

January 1, 2019

Paper.

I got a message yesterday as I was winding up the laundry and gathering it from the dryer at the mat up the way on Balboa.

It was a message from one of my professors.

I have already begun reading for the next semester, three of my text books have landed in my mail box, and I wasn’t really thinking anything about the message other than maybe he’d gotten my grade in early.

That was not the message.

No.

Fuck my life.

The message basically said it looks like the final paper you sent in was a draft and not the final copy and it is full of typos and ends abruptly and doesn’t answer the questions that I wanted answered and makes me wonder if you understood the scope of the material in the course.

Holy shit, what?!

I was flummoxed.

First, that I had sent in a draft?

I never do that.

I am scrupulous about doing a spell check and when he said “typos” I was really curious about what it could be.

I was also pressed for time as I was supposed to go meet up before doing the deal in the Castro and I had only so much time, not enough, surely to look up the paper and see what I had sent in and remedy it.

I scrambled my laundry home to my house, I had fifteen arguments in my head with my professor, I got upset with myself, I started thinking about the paper I had written and internally I knew, the prof was right on at least one point, I hadn’t really written a paper that was outlined in the directions.

I had deviated and written something that I wanted to.

My professor had also noted that though it was “fascinating” it didn’t address a lot of the topics that he wanted covered.

And that bit about me not understanding the scope of the material?

Well fuck off.

Did you not read all the freaking discussion posts I put up?

I mean.

Fuck.

I did substantial, 1,000 word plus discussion posts, on a weekly basis, two, three, four times a week.

I understood the scope of the fucking material.

I was mad.

I was also mad at myself.

How could I have sent in a draft?

What was I thinking?

I also had a vague recollection of actually being rather proud of the paper I had sent in, though no, it was not written in the way he wanted, it was well written and I felt that in my own way I had actually answered all the parameters of the paper.

I sent him a message and apologized for the paper, told him I had a standing appointment to meet up with my person and I had to do the deal after and then I’d get right home and get on figuring out what had happened.

I teared up a bit, I imagined I was going to have to do a load of work, my brain went right to the worst thing ever.

I was failing the class and what the fuck was I doing even bothering to try to get a PhD?

I was in over my head.

I was tired.

I didn’t want to re-write the paper, was I going to have to re-write it?

But I loved my paper, I really had liked it and I had spent more than one day on it.

Quite often I will write a paper in one shot and then edit it and send it out.

I did this one in two days, I felt like I should have been getting a pat on the back and a “how clever are you?” comment about my paper, not some insinuation that I didn’t understand the course work.

I was incensed and upset.

I cried big raccoon eyed tears when I made it to the Castro and basically wet down the table at Firewood Cafe with my weeping.

I couldn’t believe I had actually worn not just eyeliner, but also mascara and not the waterproof kind.

I looked a little beat up when I left.

I got down to it though with my person and came to the conclusion that.

1. The professor was right, I hadn’t written the paper the way he had assigned it.

2. I was being arrogant.

3. I didn’t have to get an “A” in the course.

4. All I had to do was pass the course.

5. I was fucking tired and overwhelmed and I didn’t have a whole lot in me.

So after a lot of getting humble and admitting that I may have turned in not the best paper I could, whilst also admitting that I was beating myself up a little too hard, I left the Castro, came home and looked up the paper.

OHMYFUCKINGGOD.

It was like the draft of the draft.

It was awful.

I don’t have a clue how that got past me.

All I could think was that I had updated my computer at one point and maybe that was it.

But it was true, the version I had sent to my professor was a hot mess, typos, misspellings, the last page was missing, the paper ended in a super abrupt way and I had also pasted the directions in the paper so that I could refer to it when I wanted to.

But you don’t send that in to the professor!

Ugh.

I spent some time trying to find the final draft and there wasn’t one saved on my computer.

So.

I made the decision to not re-write the whole thing, I still was holding onto the idea that I wasn’t that in the wrong with the content of the paper and he had said it was fascinating.

I cleaned it up, re-arranged a few pieces, wrote out the last page that had been missing and sent my professor an e-mail apologizing for the draft that had ended up in his e-mail.

I also defended what I wrote, but admitted that yes, he was right and I hadn’t done the paper by the guidelines he’d given.

I said if there was anything else I needed to do for the paper I would happily do it.

I sent it out and crashed out early, I was wiped out emotionally and mentally.

There was nothing in my e-mail when I woke up.

I spent much of the morning thinking that I might be spending my New Years Eve writing a ten page paper on a topic that I had basically shelved eleven days ago.

Then.

OH!

Sweet relief.

I got an e-mail this afternoon saying that he’d gotten the new copy, that he understood that it was a mistake getting the first one, that further, he understood why I had written the paper I had and that I didn’t have to do anything else, and happy new year.

HAPPYFUCKINGNEWYEAR!

Sweet Jesus.

What a freaking relief.

I don’t even care what the grade is that I get.

I am certain I will pass.

The paper was good enough.

And I can now say, with finality that this semester is over.

Which is good since I’m doing reading for the next one at this point.

Not tomorrow though.

Tomorrow is a holiday and I will treat it as such.

Grateful as all get out that I made it through this year.

It was one hell of a ride.

Seriously.

I MADE IT!

December 22, 2018

Not only did I get through a very hectic week.

I finished all my papers!!!!

I’m fucking done!

I’m gloriously happy.

The relief is serious.

Though for a moment today I got pretty upset when I saw an incoming e-mail from one of my professors asking people to just send the paper to his or the TA’s (teaching assistant) e-mail.

I was like, what?

I turned in that paper on Canvas, which is the online platform the school uses, on Sunday.

Time and date stamped that fucker too.

Sunday, December 16th at 5:16p.m.

I message my professor immediately and asked if he had not received my paper.

And he had not!

I was blown a little off course.

Here I was doing the happy dance of joy for having finished a 10 page paper, a 12 page paper, and a final project with two original poems, an essay, and two recitations of said poems, in the last four days.

Four days people.

I did that all in four freaking days.

Ok.

That’s not necessarily true.

There was some work that was done last week for one of the papers, but the final project and the twelve page paper had been done in the last four days, plus finishing and polishing the other paper.

I was miffed.

Fuck.

I had turned everything in on time and here was the professor who basically created this PhD program saying he’d not gotten my final paper.

Bah fucking humbug.

I sent him a message and let him know where I had submitted it and that I was at work sans computer.

The only freaking time this past month that I haven’t brought my computer and books and notebooks to work.

I went to work, having submitted my final paper yesterday (I was too kaput to post my happy dance blog last night, I barely got myself into bed with a cup of tea and some Peaky Blinders….mmmmm Cillian Murphy, happy to have you tuck me into bed, ahem).

So it was really nice to not drag my book bag and books and notebooks and laptop to work, I didn’t have to.

In fact, I realized later that my load was actually a little too light, forgot my lunch in the fridge.

But.

My.

It was really fine to go into work so unencumbered and not be thinking about what article or book I needed to connect all the dots on my final papers.

I floated into work.

Literally.

I also had the dream commute.

There was no traffic.

None.

And I went into work early, during what would be the worst commute time, but nada.

It was a freaking cake walk.

I got to work in less than twenty minutes.

I sat in my car and listened to French House music and sent off a gratitude list to a friend of mine.

It was such a nice mellow way to start the day.

I also went to my charges private school holiday music show.

It was so, so, so sweet.

It was just such a lovely way to ease into work.

And then later to drive back, have naps, and big snuggles and make homemade chicken soup for the six-year-old with her favorite alphabet pasta and to just have a fairly relaxed night.

Plus.

I had brought the kids their presents for Christmas and I got to watch them open them and all the gifts were met with resounding happiness.

I was quite pleased.

All three of them really liked their presents.

And the family was very sweet with me this year too.

A big bouquet of roses and tulips.

An Amazon gift card for $350.

Hello school books for next semester.

I’ve already spent $149 on one class.

And

I also got a $150 gift certificate to Peal Spa.

OOOOH.

You know I am all about it.

I haven’t been to a spa since, well, let’s say it was sometime in the early part of my second year of my Master’s program.

So, um, a bit.

I’m going to see about going next Saturday.

This Saturday, aside from not having any services available, I’ve got my holiday house-warming party happening.

I am excited.

I’m happy to have a place big enough to host a small gathering.

It’s not huge, so it will be cozy, but I figure not all the people who RSVP’d will actually show up at the same time.  I’ve had eleven people say yes, so I’m assuming half that number will actually show and maybe two of the seven people who said maybe.

I’m going to have a nice little spread.

Homemade chili with cornbread.

Veggies and my secret homemade dip (it’s so good I’ve been bribed for the recipe before).

Cured meat, salami, prosciutto, pancetta.

A variety of cheeses, really good Blue, since I like a nice blue–a triple cream-French Agur being on the top of my list, some gouda, a soft goat cheese, and a pecorino tartuffi that my person dearly loves.

Crackers and olives and pickles and salt and vinegar potato chips.

Tons of bubbly water and stevia sodas since I don’t do any sugar stuff.

Hot mulled cider.

And last, but certainly not least.

Homemade apple and persimmon pie with vanilla ice cream.

I think that will make the folks happy.

I haven’t asked anyone to bring anything and I didn’t say anything in the invite that there would be food, but I figure it’s nice to have a spread and with the exception of the pie and ice cream, cornbread, chips, and crackers, I can eat all of it.

I love some leftover chili, thank you very much.

I sort of doubt that there will be.

Anyway.

So that’s not happening, no spa day for me, but I will make sure I get it in soon, I will have a month break from school.

Not from work though I have the next four days off, aside from seeing a couple of clients int he morning and early after noon, I’ll be free to do whatever I like.

Christmas Eve I’m thinking of going to the MOMA.

And.

Christmas day will be with my person at a matinée, I’m planning on seeing The Favorite, at the Embarcadero Theater with him, then dinner in Chinatown with him and his person and another fellow and maybe another movie after, though I’ll probably bow out as they want to see Mary Poppins.

Please.

Sounds like paying to watch a movie about my job.

Anyway.

Me and three gay boys in Chinatown in San Francisco going to movies and eating Chinese food sounds like just about the perfect Christmas day.

Easy.

Oh!

And it turns out, my professor did find my paper, he just hadn’t looked in the right spot in Canvas (and I thought it was anti-intuitive, nice to have it confirmed by one of the professors having issues with it).

So that’s it.

I’m done.

I made it through my first semester of a PhD program.

Hooray!

 

 

Brain Break

December 4, 2018

My head just needs a serious break.

Today at work I was cussing out my classes, my computer, my head, the stack of books next to me and my notebook.

Fuck it all.

I was tired.

I am tired.

And it’s Monday.

It’s the god damn beginning of the week.

And I’m already tired.

oh well.

At least I got some discussion posts up, after much profanity, and I did some follow-up work on a discussion post I’d put up the day before yesterday and I checked in on the responses to my work and responded to a few people in my cohort.

But my brain just hurts.

My tooth is also a little tender tonight, not sure why, so I had oatmeal for dinner and I’m just taking it easy.

I’m not really behind on any of the work for school and my head really does feel like it’s been blown open.

Of course it doesn’t help that a TA and a professor from my most demanding class are demanding some more work in the discussion thread I have done the most work in.

I’m like motherfuckers, I have posted over 5,000 words in the damn thread in the past five or six days, I’m tired of the topics and the demands of the class and where the hell is everybody anyway?  I’m seeing a fuck load of people not even posting or discussing, so why ask me to do more?

Of course.

I will do some more, I just need to grouse a little bit about it.

And that is why I love my little blog and being back here again, I can’t exactly say “go fuck yourself” to my professor on my discussion threads.

I mean.

I did send him an e-mail near the beginning of the semester saying he was asking for an unreasonable amount of work and I still think he is.

And I also see that I am one of the few people keeping up with what he’s throwing at us.

I have to also see it from the standpoint, this is his program, he’s the person who started this PhD program at my school, he created it, he loves it, I know, I’ve read one of his books and enough of his articles to choke a horse.

Sigh.

But when I give it some space I also see that I am learning and learning at sometimes a terrifying pace.

Is there enough room up there in my head?

I don’t know if there is, maybe I’ll forget the things that aren’t so important like math.

Bwhahahaahha.

Anyway.

I’m also roasting a chicken, in hopes that tomorrow I will be able to eat some pretty close to solid food.  I mean, I love some good oatmeal, I know, crazy right, (with juicy, tart, sweet apples, persimmon, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie space, plus vanilla almond milk, come on, that’s some good shit), but a nice bit of roast chicken will be good for me.

I also know that though I am not burnt out, I am juggling a lot of stuff right now.

I almost screeched in joy when I found out that the trauma training I was mandated to go to this Sunday for my internship was cancelled as the trainer had a family emergency and won’t be available.

Holy fuck.

Thank God.

Not going to that training will save me five hours of time this weekend.

I can do a lot with five hours.

I am glad I didn’t know this information yesterday as I pushed myself to write my book review for my Creative Inquiry: Scholarship for the 21st Century paper.  I still have some editing to do for it, but I wanted to get it out-of-the-way because it’s due this upcoming Sunday and what with the trauma training it was going to be a tight push to do it.

Now I have a nice big chunk of time on Sunday to go get my Christmas tree!

I was planning on doing it on Sunday anyway, after the training and whatever work that there was to do for the book review.  But with the training cancelled and the book review pretty much done I can, oh my God.

I can sleep in!

I wasn’t able to yesterday, I had to get up early and run a bunch of errands that were on time constraints.

Sunday is my only day to sleep in and next Sunday if I was going to the trauma training I would be getting up really early to drive over to Berkeley for the three-hour training.

I get to sleep in!

My God that makes me happy.

Sleep.

It is such a nice thing.

I’m going to tell you a little secret.

That’s how I’m doing this PhD.

As much work as I can do during the day, thank God the baby took a big nap and the mom was out of the house at a meeting all day, then I come home and do a bit more and then.

Well.

I fucking stop.

I make sure that I am getting as close to eight hours of sleep as I can.

I don’t always succeed, Wednesday nights are notoriously hard for me to get more than five or six–I have group supervision for my private practice therapy internship in the morning before work and I have to be up by six am on Thursdays and since I have clients until 8:30p.m. I’m not home Wednesday night until a little after 9p.m.  By the time I get things sorted and have a bite of dinner it’s already time for bed and I find it pretty hard to wind it down fast enough to actually get the solid sleep I could use.

But that’s it, once a week I’m shy on sleep, the rest of the time I let myself rest.

My brain can’t hold all the information otherwise, there is just too much, I have to sleep.

Speaking of.

Time to wrap this up, make some tea and get ready for bed.

I have a lot to do tomorrow, therapy before work, work, and then seeing two clients in the evening after work.

Tuesday is a twelve-hour day for me.

So, yeah.

I’m going to let myself off the hook for the rest of tonight, call it a day.

And.

Sleep.

All the good, dreamy, yummy, sleep I can get.

 

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.


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