Posts Tagged ‘shelter in place’

Overwhelm

August 24, 2020

I got hit with it yesterday.

I was on a Zoom call.

When am I not on a Zoom call?

I was going over the lesson plan with the former professor of the Psychodynamic’s class that I am teaching this fall at CIIS.

The class that starts next weekend.

And.

I got panicked.

We had been on the call for a while, an hour and half maybe, she’s also my supervisor, so I was also doing client work, it wasn’t all class prep.

But, the last half hour of it was and I suddenly felt myself totally start to lose it.

Like a slow motion melt.

I should have known.

I was wearing cat eye makeup with black eye liner.

Guaranteed to have an emotional moment and cry, I mean, duh, I should know by this point.

But.

Yeah.

Anyway.

I teared up, I got blown up, and overwhelmed and sort of lost it.

I said, “wait, stop, I don’t understand what you just told me.”

It sounded something like, “PDF, blah, blah, blah, download, blah, blah, blah, upload to Canvas, blah, blah, blah, blah blah, just sent it to you, blah, then you blah, blah, blah, and that’s it!  You’re all set.”

I literally had zoned out.

I am not a great tech genius.

I am ok.

I mean, hey I publish this blog.

Although half the time I just think of it as turning on a light switch, I don’t understand how electricity works, just that when I flip the switch the light turns on.

Same here.

I sit down, I type some stuff, I edit it for spelling mistakes and then I hit the “publish” button.

I have no clue how it works.

You probably know this.

I don’t have some spiffy amazing page.

I don’t understand back end stuff.

My back end is what I am sitting on in my chair.

Basically what was happening was the back end stuff for the platform the school uses for online learning.

Also.

Let me reflect that when I agreed to teach this we were not in shelter in place, there was no pandemic (although there were some weird things going on out in the world.  I do remember telling my supervisor that I felt like something big was going to happen. I thought maybe there would be a dot.com bust not a pandemic), I was going to be teaching in person, lecturing in front of a class.

NOT ON A ZOOM CALL.

Fuck.

So figuring out how to handle the class and transition to online teaching and making PowerPoints (why God why?) and uploading this and creating that.

And fuck.

Vomit.

Shit.

I am the wrong person for doing this.

I am not going to lie.

I wish I wasn’t teaching.

I wish I could just quit.

Technically I could quit.

California is an “at will” state.

I could get fired at any time and I can quit at any time.

However.

I just don’t think I can quit five days before the class starts.

I can be an asshole, but I’m not that much of an asshole.

Also.

Jesus fuck am I glad I did not accept the core faculty position.

The thought of having to do more work like the work I have been doing to prepare for this class makes me want to throw up with anxiety.

I already have enough anxiety.

Which was pretty obvious to me yesterday.

I love my therapy clients, but everyone of them is stressed to the max, hello pandemic, the current political situation, riots, economy in the tank, and oh yeah, the fires.

The world is literally and figuratively on fire.

I have had a low grade constant headache for the last four days.

I hate even complaining about it.

I”m safe in San Francisco, but the smoke is bad, I don’t have to evacuate my home like so many people I know.

My supervisor had to evacuate her home three days ago.

I don’t have problems.

I do have a headache though.

Currently in California there are 560 wild fires happening.

There’s a lot of smoke.

I made myself go for a walk yesterday despite the smoke.

I could only handle being inside for so long.

And.

Yeah, the overwhelm thing and me crying on a Zoom call with my anxiety about getting all the tech crap set up for the class and I was kaput.

I had intended on working on my dissertation proposal defense yesterday and I just had no juice left.

I mean none.

I called a bunch of friends and left messages and tried to focus on listening to others instead of whining about my stuff.

And then.

Oh.

The loveliest thing.

I connected with a friend who also was out for a walk and we literally happened to be three blocks from each other.

I hadn’t seen him since right before shelter in place and it made me want to cry.

He’s housesitting in my neighborhood!

We walked, socially distant, in our masks, through the smoky streets of the Mission District and caught up and laughed and joked about hugging, but we did not.

I felt a lot better.

Not good enough to give my proposal any work, but better.

Truth.

I haven’t worked on it today either.

Except in my mind and in my heart and in my psyche.

That’s my soul.

My PhD work is around healing sexual abuse trauma.

Mine in particular.

And it’s a lot to hold.

I just have to acknowledge that.

When I’m strong and resourced and the world isn’t on fire or in a pandemic or a crazed political state, I am able to do the work.

Right now.

The work is letting myself off the hook.

Resourcing with friends.

Breathing deep (inside my sealed house).

Sleeping eight hours a night.

Watching silly light hearted tv (Glee).

Sitting with my cat.

Calling friends.

I’ll get the proposal done (another PowerPoint, ugh again).

I will teach the class next week.

I will be great in them both.

Because I am smart and strong and I am a good teacher and I will make mistakes and that’s ok too.

I will show the fuck up.

As I know from showing up in the past.

It really is 90% of the work.

The rest is non-judgmentally allowing myself to teach without expectations of perfection.

I’m perfectly imperfect just the way I am.

Recognizing that is the work.

So.

Yeah.

My proposal.

It will get done and I will be ok.

Everything is going to be ok.

It really is.

Hello Again

August 2, 2020

It feels like forever.

And it has been awhile.

But I am still here.

Still writing, though not so much on this platform

I have missed it, but I have also been too tired most days to log in and write.

I write in the mornings still, long hand, my three page a day habit, thank you The Artists Way, thirteen years and still going strong.

I have thought about this though, my blog, the thing that I would do religiously come rain or shine, good day, bad day, nothing really happened today day.

I sort of had a nothing happened today day, with highlights of, this is surreal, though I’m used to it.

Sort of.

We’re still deep in the pandemic and although it’s been five plus months now, there are times I’m still caught off guard with the strangeness of it.

Or that I am estranged from my friends, fellows, family, colleauges.

Oh the desire to hang out with friends at a coffee shop.

Although, truth, I did sort of last weekend.

I drove up to the Russian River area with a friend, one of the few people allowed in my bubble, and we did get coffee at a cafe in Guerneville.  There was no sitting inside, though, grab and go.

So many things are shut down, but when I get the chance to go to a cafe or a restaurant I have done so.

It happens quite infrequently.

I do better weathering things on my own.

I have been very safe and very cautious and kept pretty to myself since this has all been unfolding.

But yeah, a trip to the Russian River and being out in the sun felt extraordinary.

It’s not a big deal typically, but a bunch of months of quarantine and I felt like I was playing hooky, albeit wearing a mask, from the pandemic.

Also.

Just getting out into the sunshine was so good.

San Francisco, got to love her, has been having her typical “summer weather” which is cold, foggy, overcast and quite dreary.

Add that to the general malaise of the pandemic and it’s a bit depressing.

So when my friend suggested we head out of town and get some sun I hesitated, I have things to do (homework, prep for teaching, zoom meetings), but folded as soon as I googled the Russian River and saw the trees and sun and water.

I’m glad I did.

I am also grateful for getting out of the city.

I haven’t been outside of the Bay Area since before shelter in place.

I realized the last time I had gotten out it was Christmas when I went to Paris.

Now, that’s nothing to shake a stick at, but it also meant that I hadn’t left the city in over six months.

I don’t, fyi count Oakland, Berkeley, or Alameda, all places I have gone to, as getting outside the city…they just feel like continuations of it.

Though, San Francisco is definitely in transition, it is still the city, and once in a while to appreciate the city, I need to leave it.

I will go up one more time to the Russian River before summer ends.

Just a quick day trip to work on some teaching prep the weekend before I start teaching Psychodynamic’s.

I’m not exactly excited, truth be told, I haven’t felt like I’ve had much of a summer–my private practice therapy business has been full (and yes, I do know how lucky I am to have work to do) and I have been doing so much psychoanalytic theory reading, my brain feels about shot.

But.

I have finished, as of today all the books that are required reading for class.

I also, I haven’t shared much about this, turned down the core faculty position I was interviewing for.

I found out how much work was expected and how little money was being paid for it and I changed my mind about wanting to work for the school–I was making more money as a private professional nanny then what they were offering for a full time core faculty professor in a master’s program.

No thank you.

I kept thinking to myself that I did not work this hard to keep working harder for less money.

I felt bad, for a moment, when I told my individual supervisor who really wanted me to take on the teaching position, but I realized if I had taken it I would have been terribly resentful with myself for taking on so much work.

Especially since I am still working on my PhD.

It’s been a minute since I’ve been here, so I cannot recall if I have written about that the last time I was blogging.  But.  I have made some progress there.  I have my external third committee chair member and she has my dissertation proposal as does my internal second.

So.

I await their critiques and get to start working on a Power Point (ugh) to defend my proposal.

Once I defend the proposal I will move into PhD candidacy.

I am ready for that.

I am hoping that I will get to defend by the end of this month and then turn around and start doing the study part of my dissertation.

My hope is to do the study this fall and then do the writing for the dissertation in the spring.

I want to put in one more year and be done.

In fact.

That is my goal.

One more year at the school working on my PhD and teaching one master’s class, then I’m done.

I’ve been on this track for five years now.

I’m ready to finish it.

I have it in my sights and I am hopeful that I can put down my head and push through this last year.

I suspect things are going to be challenging with the pandemic continuing to rage and whatever weirdness is up and coming with the pending elections, but I shall keep busy, keep pushing and get through.

And.

When it’s all said and done and I have my doctorate.

I am going on a big fucking trip.

I’m thinking fly from San Francisco to London, train to Paris, then train to the South of France, rent a car there and tool around and then reverse the trip back.

Two, maybe three weeks.

That’s a carrot to work towards.

Seriously.

Back in the Saddle

June 22, 2020

I could mean this literally and figuratively.

The figurative part comes down to being back here, on my blog, writing again.

Man, it feels nice to write.

I have had one hell of a busy summer.

There’s been this pandemic thing.

Social distancing.

Working.

Working some more.

Working on my dissertation proposal–turned in my third draft this week.

Oh yeah.

And moving.

I don’t believe I have written about that at all.

You know, that little thing, moving during a pandemic.

Or maybe I did and I already forgot because it’s been a minute since I have done a blog.

(at least on this platform, I’ve been posting to my therapy website, but that’s a different kind of blog)

And it’s been a minute since…

I have been on my bike!

Today, however, I got back in the saddle.

I cannot tell you how good that felt.

And, heh, it was just like riding a bike.

I won’t lie, I was a little nervous, it’s been over a year and a half since I had ridden.

I didn’t ride once living in my previous place.

My bike simply hung on a hook on the wall in the hallway entrance to my studio in-law.

Once in a while it would beseechingly call out to me and I would feel some guilt and I would say, yeah, this weekend, go do a ride.

But it was windy or raining or foggy or miserable, as it can be in the Outer Richmond.

And I live on a gigantic hill and it’s a one speed.

And.

And.

And.

Cue not riding at all.

It just never happened.

Until today.

I have been in my new home officially now two weeks.

It’s been a big two weeks.

Getting all the things set up.

Aside.

Today I got my Ihome pod set up.

Soooooo happy.

I got my music speaker back.

I have an old one, like a really old one that docks a first generation Ipod music player and it’s cute as shit and it glows and I can play all the music I loaded on it years and years and years ago.

But.

It doesn’t run off my phone (unless I want to get a cord that will connect it to the speaker and whatever not being a tech kid I will probably not do that, although I suspect the actual accessory is probably pretty cheap, anyway) and I can’t play my music apps–Spotify or Bon Entendeur.

Mostly I want to hear Bon Entendeur, which is a French house music app that I just fucking adore.

My Ihome pod was a gift from the family I used to nanny for when I graduated from my Master’s program in 2018.

I didn’t take it out of the box until I moved into my previous place, so I had it for six months before I actually turned it on.

Game changer.

I really love it.

Great sound.

Great speaker.

Connects right to the internet.

I never use the Siri part of it, just connect my music apps on my phone to it and voila, dance party.

Except I couldn’t figure out how to get it connected here.

A friend tried to walk me through it, but it didn’t take.

So today, after my bike ride, I’ll get to that, I sat down on the kitchen floor and googled all the things.

And.

I got it to work!

I am so proud of myself.

I know, a small accomplishment, but it felt really good and I’m happily listening to my music right now.

I’m also feeling very happy in my body, which got to go on a bike ride.

I moved to Hayes Valley in San Francisco.

It’s pretty damn flat.

I’m at the foot of some hills, but I don’t have to ride up them, I can just head out towards Market street and ride my sweet one speed through one of the flattest parts of the city.

And.

Yes, there are people out (and I was horrified to see people lined up to get into Ross Dress for Less.  Really?!) but not nearly as much as there would be, see previous note about pandemic, and there were very few cars and buses.

It was a glorious ride.

I rode all the way down Market and then along the Embarcadero until my legs got a little sore.

I knew better than to push it.

I don’t want to be sore tomorrow and it’s been a while since I had ridden.

Easy does it.

And easy does it again.

For I will be riding a lot more.

I am going to get my parking permit for my neighborhood this week and then I don’t plan on driving my car anywhere for a while.

I won’t be going into my office for a while yet, so no need to drive there.

My office is small, even if I wanted to socially distance I couldn’t.

I will continue to be doing telehealth for the near future.

Which means, aside from once a week when I need to drive to Daly City to work at the youth health clinic, I don’t need to move my car.

And now that I got back in the saddle, I will definitely be using my bike.

It was dreamy.

I pumped up the deflated tires and I got my messenger bag out of the closet, grabbed my Ulock and my Palmy lock, my wallet, hooked my keys on my belt loop, grabbed a Sigg bottle of water out of the fridge, put on my bandana mask, a pair of sunglasses and hit the road.

Like I mentioned.

Little traffic, either car or foot, some, but not a lot.

It was surreal, I have not been downtown since shelter in place went into affect and it was surreal to see it, and there are people out, like I said, line for Ross, but not that many, certainly nothing like what I would normally see on a Sunday in downtown San Francisco.

I felt really good biking again.

And on my return from the trip I swung into the Farmer’s Market at the Civic Center plaza and grabbed some stone fruit from a vendor as the market was closing down.

I cannot tell you how happy I am to be so close to a farmer’s market again.

I got yellow nectarines, which tasted like how I imagine sunshine should taste like, sweet, and thick, and full of light and golden tones, and I got apricots.

So good.

Came back to my place, stashed the bike in my bathroom–which is huge and my bicycle fits without any trouble, and prepped fruit for the week and stashed it in the fridge.

I’m home.

My bicycle is home.

My Ihome pod is set up.

My home is set up.

My pink couch is hella cute in my living room.

I got up privacy shields on the bottoms of my windows in my bedroom and living room.

I got cute little coffee tables to flank my couch.

All that’s left is to set up my bike stand so that I can store my bike standing up in the closet (I have a walk in closet in the living room) and to get my book shelf delivered and set up.

I feel happy.

I am very grateful and very lucky and very aware at how good my life is right now.

Even without being able to really engage with and connect with my friends and fellowship.

I am in a good place.

And I am.

Very.

Very.

Very.

Much.

At.

Home.

Another Sunday in Quarantine

May 25, 2020

I didn’t go outside today.

I wanted to.

I didn’t.

Well.

That’s not exactly true.

I did go out on my deck.

I am so grateful for my deck I cannot even begin to tell you.

It has saved my life.

I went on a long walk yesterday, I am grateful for long walks, and it was not the best walk ever.

Too many people

So many people.

Go the fuck home people.

Sigh.

I love the area that I live in (although I don’t love where I live exactly, deck excluded, the landlord and his wife are not sustaining very well right now and they fight a lot.  A LOT).  It is beautiful. I’m within a five minute walking distance to Golden Gate Park or to Sutro Heights Park.

I can make Land’s End in fifteen minutes.

I’m a three minute walk to Ocean Beach.

Except.

Well.

Dodging the people not wearing masks or walking in clumps makes the time a bit longer.

I know to avoid the beach.

I know it makes me upset to see so many people out having their sunny beach day.

I want to holler, “it’s my fucking neighborhood, go home!”

But.

Well.

I don’t.

I just stay home instead.

Yesterday’s walk was focused primarily on walking the steep hills around my house so I didn’t run into as many people as I would have if I had gone down hill.

I took one look at down hill and headed right up.

I got pissed and then I thought, just stay on the hills, walk away from the beach.

It’s a constant conversation I have with myself.

I know people are getting squirrely.

I know that folks are tired of shelter in place.

Me too.

Me too.

Me too.

And.

It’s not over yet and there are still new cases getting reported and people are still getting sick and I cannot be one of them.

I only have myself to rely on and so I walk wearing a mask.

I walk six feet plus away from people.

I walk out into the street to avoid contact.

I don’t go out much on the weekends.

I didn’t go out today.

I don’t know about tomorrow.

It is the holiday after all and the weather is going to be nice.

That’s a part of the problem.

The beach doesn’t get beach weather.

Most of the time it’s cold and foggy and windy.

But when it’s sunny, over sixty degrees, and there’s little to no wind.

Packed.

I know if there wasn’t a pandemic, it would have been bonkers yesterday.

Or today.

And what I saw was bad enough.

Also.

Since the city closed down the parking lots along the beach.

Everyone parks in my neighborhood.

Or at the SafeWay grocery store on Fulton.

Last Sunday I tried to go for a walk and I got so overwhelmed I headed home, it was nice last Sunday too.

One too many groups of young adults wearing masks on their foreheads, elbows, and knees, but not over their mouths and noses, drinking Boba tea and taking up the entire sidewalk, for me to cope.

I walked past the SafeWay on my way home and the lot was full.

FULL.

But.

There was no line to get into the grocery store.

The parking lot was being used by all the beach go’ers.

I wanted, as I have wanted on a few occasions to call the cops.

And.

Fuck.

I cannot do that.

Waste of money.

Waste of time.

But what I can do is stay home, take care of myself, and let people do what they’re going to do.

I cannot control anyone.

I can only control my own actions.

And those not all the time.

Although, aside, I did not reach out to my ex today, which is miraculous, I felt the pull of him in my blood like the sunshine on my skin.

Oof.

Hard.

Anyway.

I decided today to just forego outside and walks for the rest of the weekend.

I made phone calls.

I had FaceTime.

I wrote a lot.

I printed off the dissertation proposal.

Four pages of instructions.

I worked on my CV.

Very proud of that actually.

I sat outside and ate my lunch on the deck and got my sun that way.

I kept the sliding glass door to my deck open all day.

I heard how busy the neighborhood was.

I kept to myself.

I felt much better.

Even though I missed taking a long walk, I did not miss getting agitated.

I have a big Monday.

I have seven clients.

No Memorial Day off for me.

I’m ok with that.

I am beyond grateful that I can work.

I will go for a long walk on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and maybe Friday, depending, I’ve a lot of clients Friday too.

I will keep hitting up the Zoom meetings.

I will stay positive.

I will eat well.

I have not eaten any take out since shelter in place.

I don’t really when there’s not a pandemic.

But I did like going out to eat.

Saving some money cooking all my own food that is for sure.

I will work on my dissertation proposal.

I met with my dissertation chair yesterday morning for an hour and mapped out a plan for the summer.

I want to be defending my dissertation proposal the weekend of August 27th, 28th, 29th.

There will not be an intensive.

It will be via Zoom.

And that’s ok too.

I have a plan.

I will stay busy with that, my clients, and the new position with the Daily City Youth Health Clinic–I started on Friday.

I scheduled my first client yesterday.

I will get through this.

And one day.

Hopefully, not too far in the future.

I will take a walk outside without a mask on either.

This too shall pass.

What Day Is It?

May 22, 2020

I mean.

I know it’s Thursday, but honestly, I had to check a few times today to remember.

The days they are blurring together.

I’m not upset about that, it is just interesting, how malleable time has become.

I have a good routine.

I got up with an alarm today.

I had group supervision on Thursday mornings.

Since shelter in place I get to “sleep in” on Thursday mornings until 7a.m., days when I would have driven cross town I would have been up at 6a.m.

There are some benefits of shelter in place, I won’t deny it.

There are many drawbacks, but I bet you already know what those are.

I’m just going to keep it on the up and up for the most part, at least today, whatever day it is, whatever month it is.

I had a client mention the three day weekend and I was like, what three day weekend?

Oh.

Ha.

Memorial Day is Monday.

I don’t have plans.

Well.

Not true.

I have hella clients.

Monday is my busiest day.

I will have seven client sessions, some weeks I have eight.

I definitely start the week off with a bang.

I also have some down time in the middle of it so it doesn’t blow me completely to bits, but yeah, Monday won’t be a holiday for me.

And I will soon really be in it as I will start picking up teenagers next week with the contract position with Daily City Youth Clinic.

I am going in tomorrow to do the last bits of orientation and pick up a “stack of files I have waiting for you,” from my newest supervisor.

I will be slamming right into the work.

Which is great, I am not complaining.

Again, it will keep my busy, it will keep me from ruminating or feeling lonely.

It may also blast out my brain a bit, I am a little concerned about being on my laptop so much.  I am definitely booking a lot of screen time.

With picking up another batch of clients that will only increase.

I was actually not sure about blogging tonight.

I mean, I wanted to, but I also was thinking I might want a break from my screen.

But, oh, the siren song of writing a blog and not writing something academic.

Well.

It surely called to me.

So here I am, on day whatever it is, writing to you about my day, which really was pretty chill and not dramatic and simple and when I am honest in my heart, very sweet.

I didn’t hang out with anyone but myself, and I like myself quite a bit, so I’m like, you know, fantastic company.

I had some really great phone calls.

I went on a long walk up and around Sutro Heights Park, which overlooks Ocean Beach and it was gorgeous and stunning and filled my eyes and heart and soul with goodness and beachiness and the smell of the Monterey pines and the Eucalyptus was so good.

So good.

The bright peppery smell of orange and yellow nasturtiums, the blooms of jasmine, the roses, pink sherbet swirled, lulling fat fuzzy bumble bees in for sweet repose.

It was good.

Then I walked the avenues for awhile.

I’m out on 48th Avenue and up a hill, so not many folks out walking and that’s nice.

I even took a break from calling people names, in my head, I don’t do it their faces, about not wearing masks.

Who am I to tell another how to live.

Funny, though, how often I have been prescribed a specific role.

Funny how I often say, um, no thanks, I’m going to do it my way.

So.

I know that it’s not helpful to tell people what to do and saying douche bag in my head only affects my experience.

I’m trying to gently curb it.

Sometimes I substitute, “oh look at you and your cute privilege!”

But even that snark doesn’t do me much good.

The best thing for me is to gently remind myself that I can only police myself and act with integrity in all my affairs.

I don’t have to tell others what to do, I mean, I have had plenty of experience with that and it’s no fun.

Keep my side of the street clean and move the fuck on.

And walk where there are not so many people.

And call my friends.

And make plans for when this moves away and it will, I don’t know when or how, but this too shall pass.

Go see my dear friend in Florida.

Go see my best friend in Wisconsin and as long as I’m in that neck of the woods, get in a visit with my oldest friend from high school in Minnesota.

Go to New York and hit up the museums, New York has really been on my mind, maybe because I am wearing a dress I bought here in San Francisco that I associate with New York–I bought it specifically for the last trip to New York I had.

I wore it to the Brooklyn Museum to the David Bowie installation and walked around Judy Chicago’s beautiful piece The Dinner Party.

It was hot.

The dress is red and I felt and feel pretty in it.

It makes me think of warm summer nights and wandering through the city.

I love New York.

There is still a little piece of me that thinks I should live there, but I’m here and I love San Francisco too, and well, frankly, it is prettier.

Although I sense I might have more adventures in New York than I have here, but that’s speculation.

New York just holds a special place in my heart.

I also want to visit my best friend from my Master’s cohort in Paris.

Paris, my love, I am ready to see you again too.

Hell.

I’m ready to see the rest of San Francisco.

Sit in my favorite cafe and drink a really hot latte and have girl friend time with my best girl out here.

Go get a mani/pedi.

Oh!

Eat lunch at Souvla.

Yeah.

I know I could get take out, but I want to sit in the back patio and stare at the sky and people watch.

I have a good routine.

I have many, many, many blessings.

I am grateful.

I am graced.

I also have feelings and I miss things and travel and adventures.

I miss people.

Even though I am good company to myself, I miss the touch of another’s hand, a hug, a shoulder to set my head on.

This too shall pass.

This too shall pass.

This too shall pass.

 

 

You Know You Love Some One

March 28, 2020

When you record yourself reading “All The Hippos Go Berserk” by Sandra Boynton.

At top volume and with much expression.

I got some of the sweetest little voice messages from the littles I used to take care of.

The family and I did a FaceTime session early in the week and I have been getting all sorts of pictures of them and their adventures during shelter in place.

I miss them a lot and I miss the snuggles.

Tonight, while I was in session with my last client of the day, the mom sent me voice recordings of the kids saying “I love you.”

Oh my God.

I just about died.

I have been thinking about sending the littlest guy a recording of the “hippo book” as he calls it.

“You read me the hippo book!”

I bought the book and “Belly Button Beach”, also by the same author, as birthday gifts for him when he was two.

Listening to him repeat back the words to me still makes my heart melt.

I often would read them to him at nap time.

“I’ll read the hippos once and then nap time,” I would tell him.

The last time I did that was the last time I worked for the family, my last time putting him down for a nap.

My last time reading him the hippo book.

When I finished he said, “sing me song.”

That undid me.

I sang him my standard lullaby, “Hush little baby,” and choked back the tears.

Might have been the hardest lullaby ever to sing.

He fell asleep holding my hand.

Oh, my heart.

Such a sweet guy.

So, after receiving the sweet voice messages I knew I had to record the book.

I have the damn thing memorized, so it wasn’t too hard, and I threw in a little commentary for the little guy too.

We would have our own little conversations about the story and what all the silly hippos were doing.

Then I sent it to the mom and asked that she play it while he looked at the book.

They sent me back video of him looking at the book while my voice was reading it to him and he talked back at the phone like I was there.

“I love you Carmen,” he said again and again.

That was the best part of my day.

It was a pretty good day too.

Only cried three or four times.

Mostly during supervision with my supervisor talking about my clients and all the fear and anxiety and terror that so many of them are going through.

I have had 21 therapy sessions this week, I have one left for tomorrow, then Sunday off before I dive back in.

I am doing pretty well holding it all, but it does leak out at times.

It is right there at the top of my heart and I can’t always contain it and the tears spill out of my eyes and roll down my face.

I am so grateful for my individual supervisor, she really held my stuff today and let me process all the stuff and work my way through the muck.

Most of the time I am really good at shaking myself out when I finish with clients and I have little routines and rituals at my office that help me do that.

But right now.

My office is my desk, which is also where I study and work on my homework–which frankly has suffered this week, I will not lie.

My office is my desk, my laptop, my phone, the video camera in my Macbook Air, all of which are located in my house.

My one room studio.

Thank God it’s a big studio, but it’s still a challenge.

I am also aware of how lucky, really, really, really lucky, it is that I can work from home.

Despite how much I love and adore the family I used to nanny for, I would not be able to nanny right now for them even if I was still employed.

The timing of the situation coinciding with me making the full transition over to being a psychotherapist still astounds me.

I am beyond grateful.

And I am working my ass off to stay stable and grounded, to eat good food, to cook nice meals, to take walks when I can, to wear nice clothes, put on my makeup, do my hair.

The only concession I have to the fact that I am doing my therapy practice out of my home right now is that I wear my Tretorn sneakers instead of my Fluevog heels.

I had a fleeting, and I do mean fleeting, moment when I giggled to myself, I could do my therapy sessions in my bunny slippers.

Um.

NO.

Bad idea.

Not just because I couldn’t take myself seriously as a psychotherapist if I was doing sessions in my slippers, but I love that at the end of the day I can slide off my shoes and put on my slippers and that indicates to me that my day is done.

That was what I used to do when I was coming home from the office and my day out in the world–get home, kick off my shoes and put on my bunny slippers.

Yeah.

I know.

I am a 47 year old woman who wears bunny slippers.

I once had a lover tell me he couldn’t take me seriously when I was wearing them.

Of course that just made me want to wear them more.

In fact, it is almost slipper time.

I have had a good day.

It’s ok that I cried and it’s ok that sometimes it’s hard and it’s ok that I’m not keeping up with my my homework.

Actually we are on “Spring Break” so I don’t have any thing due, but I have a lot of work to do for two big up coming papers and a class that I am going to be teaching.

But over all.

I am ok.

I am making it through and staying grounded.

It definitely helped to get silly and record myself reciting the story, helped remind me of how loved I am and how lucky I was to have the nanny job with the family for the three years and three months I worked with them.

And.

Really.

Bunny slippers do make things a lot better.

Seriously.

Today I Got Pissed

March 22, 2020

It started out a little off kilter as I missed a calendar alert to be in on a Zoom meeting with some of my cohort and my committee chair and the TA to my Methods class.

Thankfully I was up and puttering around and making breakfast when I noticed the incoming email from the TA as a reminder to get the call.

Shit!

Fortunately I was only two minutes late.

I have had homework on the back burner this week.

It’s time to move it up front.

I have a draft of a large, very important paper due in tomorrow for this class.

I am so grateful that last week, before all the crazy shelter in place hit, I worked a lot on the paper and really turned in a polished draft to my peer reviewers.

Who did not really review it.

Guys!

Ugh.

Granted both my reviewers said it looked great and they both said, “Wow!” so that was nice, but no comments, no questions, no observations about how to make it stronger.

I know my TA, she is going to find something and kick my ass and make me do a bunch of rewriting.

Which is fine, but I also don’t want to send in a draft that I have not laid eyes on in a week.

Tomorrow I throw myself back into school mode.

I have to.

I actually will have a fairly busy week this week.

I have 22 client sessions, meetings (FaceTime) with three sponsees, and homework due for all three of my classes.

I’m not super stoked for shelter in place, but I am not going to have any issues filling the time.

I’m actually a bit happy to be back here blogging on the daily again.

It feels real nice.

Really, really nice.

I have missed it.

The processing my day at the end of the day while I listen to music.

I have definitely been listening to lots of music and taking dance breaks to move my body around.

Which I needed to today after making my way out into the world.

I helped a friend out who doesn’t have a car and ran her to get groceries and supplies.

On my way I drove past Ocean Beach.

And that was when I got pissed.

There were so many people at the beach!

What the fuck people.

SERIOUSLY.

This is not a fucking tornado drill.

Get your dumb asses off the beach.

Get your GROUPS OF PEOPLE the fuck home.

I LIVE HERE!

This is my neighborhood.

A few days ago I was making my way to the beach and thought there were going to be days of long, quiet walks around the neighborhood.

Then yesterday I noticed a really big up tick in the number of people there and today, fuck.

It actually freaked me out.

I live in a quiet residential neighborhood, but when it’s nice in the city the beach gets packed.

Today was nice.

Yeah.

It wasn’t as packed as say a regular Saturday with nice weather, but it really was overcrowded considering the situation.

I wanted to yell out my window, “go the fuck home.”

My friend in Spain told me that she can only go outside to walk to the grocery store, no where else.

And.

That all the beaches are closed.

All of them.

I sort of want that now.

I really thought to myself, I should call the fucking cops.

I should tip off the news.

I should mind my own business.

I cannot afford to get worked up over this.

And I can be the change I want to see.

I can avoid the beach.

There are other places I can walk to be outside.

I can also sit out on my deck and get outside time that way.

So.

That’s what I did today.

And a lot of dancing, which felt really good.

Tomorrow I need to stay on schedule, get up, shower, be mindful and do my morning routine, do some writing, go to the laundry mat (ugh, my one thing about my current situation that I just do not like, I have no laundry here that I can access, I have to go to a laundry mat, but I won’t sit inside the mat, I will walk while my laundry is washing and drying), Facetime sessions with lady bugs, then work on that paper.

And walks away from the beach for a little while.

It’s not worth getting angry about.

I need to stay calm, cool, collected

I have, and I am lucky to have it, a busy week ahead.

Be in good health and take gentle care.

And.

Avoid the beach.

Seriously.

Ground Hog’s Day

March 21, 2020

I’m beginning to not know what day of the week it is.

That is a little surreal for me.

I am still sticking to a type of scheduled and since I have had group supervision and individual supervision the last two mornings, I’ve actually been setting alarms to get up.

Which reminds me, I need to do that for tomorrow since I have a video session in the morning with a client.

I sense tomorrow and Sunday are going to be the weird days for me.

I had supervision, an online meeting, and two clients today.

Plus a long phone call with a dear friend from my Master’s program and a long walk through the park.

I was actually a little upset today on my walk.

The beach was busy!

I mean, I sort of get it when it’s a nice day and the surf is good, but people, we got a shelter in place happening and further admonishment from the governor to hunker down.

I was surprised to see so many people and so many groups!

I had to take my judgmental self away from the beach.

It was too busy with people and the parking lot at the Balboa side of Ocean Beach was packed!

I headed instead to Golden Gate and hit the horse paths.

There’s horseback riding paths that criss cross the park and they are not nearly as trod as the regular walking paths.

I didn’t see a person and when I did pop out of the park on the Fulton Street side to head back to my house, I graciously gave everyone a wide berth or crossed the street to not make contact.

And.

Even with that decent amount of activity I felt it begin to creep in, the malaise of being confined to my own space.

And I really love my space.

So.

I had a mid-afternoon dance party and I did some meditation afterward.

That felt better.

But it is beginning to all blur together.

I had zero, and I mean like none at all, motivation to do school work.

I know I will have to this weekend and it will help break things up to focus on papers and drafts and getting work in.

Which also reminds me, where the hell is the draft I turned in last week?  I need to get it back so I can make revisions and implement changes that the professor wants.

Tomorrow all I have is one client.

I did make plans to meet a friend on the other side of the park to go walk her dog on the beach.

Her side of Ocean Beach on the Outer Sunset side, won’t be as busy as my side on the Outer Richmond side as my side has parking and a lot of surfers hit the break out here.

No break on the Judah Street side in the Outer Sunset the next nearest break is Noriega, so there won’t be cars and surfers and big families playing soccer (that’s what got me, a big group of I’m assuming family, playing soccer, there were just too many folks too close) and she and I can walk apart and let her dog frolic in the waves.

I have connected so much to the neighborhood this week, I am grateful for that.

I have taken long walks every day in the afternoon either before or after lunch and I have seen things and walked parts of the park that I have only driven past.

That has been lovely.

I also know that I am very lucky to be so close to such a large park too.  It is big enough to give wide space to others when I come across them.

I am also going through parts that aren’t often used, like the backside of the archery field or the horse paths.

I figure I will also do a longer hike at some point and really explore Sutro Baths and Land’s End.

If we are not under martial law at that point.

I keep hearing rumors about that, but I’m trying to stay out of the rumor mill, it does not help me keep my equilibrium and that has to stay in place.  I have clients to support and therapy to do.

I have also given up the office I just started subletting a few months ago.

I only use it one day a week and the woman who is my individual supervisor and my landlord has given me more access to the main office I am in.

I now have access to it in a full time capacity.

So I called the woman I sublet from and told her I had to give it up and I gave notice.

I will still have to pay rent on it for this month and I think also next month and possibly the month after.

If we are able to go back to work in our offices I may use it a touch more, but I doubt that is going to happen.

My agency is preparing for three to six months of this strangeness.

Most of us have the feeling that we won’t be going back on April 7th when the three weeks of shelter in place is up.

I’m preparing myself mentally for a longer haul.

Of course I am hoping that doesn’t happen, but I am preparing myself for the possibility.

So, yeah, gave up my Monday office.

And it’s all going to be ok.

I have food, I have shelter, sunlight, access to my deck, places to walk still (hoping that will hold out a little longer), friends to have long conversations on the phone

Oh yeah.

And.

Homework.

Sigh.

I still have lots of that.

Dance Party

March 20, 2020

Because ain’t nobody watching and I need to move my body.

And why the hell not?

I’m officially on day, what, three of shelter in place, and it’s getting goofy in here.

I live in a one room studio.

Thank God I have a deck.

My own deck, not my landlords, no access to anyone else, a good distance away from the neighbors, on the second floor, above the backyard that is never used (it’s a tangled jungle of over grown weeds and bushes), my deck floats, a little tiny haven.

A tiny piece of heaven.

With two white Adirondack chairs and flowers in pots from Sloat Garden Center that I bought a few months ago when only the faintest of faint whispers of the corona virus where in the air.

I do have to say, though, it felt like something was coming.

I didn’t think it was a virus.

I thought maybe the tech bubble was going to burst in San Francisco again.

I moved to SF a little while after the bubble burst and I was also here during the crash, it had the same feeling, something was looming.

But this?

I had not predicted this.

Shut in, shut down, shut away.

So yeah, I got my dance party on for a little while tonight, I still have the music going nice and loud.

I am alive.

I am in good health.

I am sheltered.

I am really grateful.

I am extraordinarily grateful.

I can still work.

I am still “seeing” clients.

Not in person anymore, I was the last woman standing in the building where my office is on Monday, I had thought I was going to have a full week of connecting one last time with my clients and I had just literally sent out emails to all my clients saying I could meet until March 23rd.

I was actually upset the first time I got that date from my agency, I was petulant, don’t tell me when I have to stop seeing clients in person, but I also recognized that this was not about me and that I needed to follow along, especially since I work for an agency and they are the ones signing my paycheck.

The money from my clients does not go into my pocket.

It goes into my bank account that my agency controls–I can put money in, but I can’t take money out.

So.

Yeah.

Need to comply, even if I felt really secure in my health and the protocols I was taking at my office to make sure that it was clean and sanitary and safe.

Sigh.

Therefor I was a bit bereft to get the email saying wrap it up and switch over to telehealth by the 23rd.

I stomped my foot a little, but I did draft all the emails and I did comply.

And then.

Ha.

Shelter in place was announced.

Literally twenty minutes after sending out the last client email saying, hey (much more formal, thank you, I’m not a complete heathen) there, happy to continue seeing you at my office, unless you don’t feel comfortable, then we can do video or telehealth, but yeah, I’m here all week.

Nope.

I am not in fact.

I get the email from my agency saying shelter in place is going into affect and I have to the end of day to see clients.

Well.

Fuck.

I craft a new email and start sending them out, while also fielding emails from clients who were coming in that day who didn’t want to anymore because, mother fuck, got to run to the grocery store and secure more toilet paper and beans and rice.

More sighs.

Of the five client sessions I had scheduled, one showed up in person, two did a video session, one rescheduled for later in the week and the other said, hey, we’ll get back to you once we figure out our lives.

More sighs.

I didn’t charge any cancellations fees, I sent out copious telehealth consent forms, I got myself together and I went into my office to see my last face to face client for who knows how long.

The shelter in place is at least until April 7th.

I have to say, I think it may go longer than that.

So I also did some pro-active things on my end.

Because even though I can work from home, I knew I was going to lose clients.

Lost one today.

And client sessions, either due to cancellations, clients running out of money who aren’t working, parents homeschooling kids, panic, fear of financial insecurity, etc.

That I knew I had to take care of myself.

I paid April rent early.

I reworked my spending plan and I cut out $700.

I might even be able to trim a little more.

I’m obviously not going anywhere.

I canceled, ugh, my trip to San Luis Obispo and my weekend at the Madonna Inn.

Bless their hearts, they gave me a full refund on my room.

Which I promptly spent stocking up on food and toiletries at Rainbow Co-op.

I have actually never spent as much as I did on one grocery shopping trip.

Mostly because I bought coffee in bulk (y’all worried about toilet paper, I’m making sure I can sustain my caffeine needs) and toiletries in triplicate.

I did buy plenty of food too.

My fridge has more in it than I think I ever have seen.

I shop two to three times a week since I don’t eat sugar and flour, I cook a lot and I eat fresh foods.

I managed to secure a lot o fresh stuff, but I also did get food to prepare and freeze and can.

And back up of my favorite breakfast foods and some nice sugar free chocolate, because I’m going to need a damn treat once in a while.

And though I cannot see where this all leads, I can see that I am really lucky that I live in my own beautiful space.

It may be a studio, but I don’t have room mates.

And.

Oh thank God.

I live two blocks from the beach.

So every day I have gone outside and walked to the ocean and watched the surfers still paddling out and felt the wind on my face and walk through Golden Gate Park and breathed in deeply the fresh air.

There are people out, but we give each other wide berth and there is much kindness when doing so.

There may come a time when I can’t go out and walk, but fingers crossed that won’t happen.

I do know, though, I cannot peer into the future and I can’t live in the anxiety of not knowing.

I have to stay present and presented minded and strong.

I have therapy clients to help.

I have service to do.

I need to stay focused and clear.

Which is why dance party.

I had to shake the ya ya’s out.

Big love to you and yours.

Be gentle and stay in good health.

And.

When the mood strikes.

Dance.

Really.

No one is looking.


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