Posts Tagged ‘student loans’

Buried Alive

August 29, 2019

This is it folks.

You may not see or hear from me in weeks.

In fact.

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

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

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

Then.

Add in two more classes.

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

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

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

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

Holy fuck.

Anyway.

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

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

That in and of itself is full time work.

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

My calendar looks crazy.

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

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

I have a lot to do.

This is by far the heaviest work load.

And.

In a sense the most clear cut.

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

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

Plus.

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

So, that’s positive.

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

So first the chair.

That will officially happen in November.

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

Two of the professors I talked to for an hour.

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

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

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

So my courses are lined up.

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

I’m going to bring it.

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

I need that time.

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

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

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

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

This is the semester to get my literature together.

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

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

There is so much to do.

It’s exciting too.

I’m not going to lie.

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

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

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

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

Which means she moves right into her dissertation.

I’m all for it.

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

It will knock out time and a lot of tuition.

Fuck my student loans are big.

But you know.

I am so fucking worth it.

And so is my idea.

I can’t wait to show it to the world.

Until then though.

You will not see a lot of me this semester.

I literally am going to be buried under books.

I might come up for a breather around Thanksgiving.

But for now.

Well.

See ya.

I got shit to read.

So much.

Ouch

December 2, 2018

My poor mouth hurts.

I am in a lot of pain, but I know, from last years experience, that it will get better.

I had to get another crown put in.

I cracked, yet again, another tooth.

This is tooth number two.

My dentist told me that I am grinding my teeth in my sleep.

Great.

I’m not stressed, really.

Bwahahahaha.

Sigh.

So, two weeks ago I got a temporary crown.  What had been an appointment for a teeth cleaning became a three-hour session in the chair.

And cost a fat $1475.

Then today, two weeks later, I got my new crown in and dropped another freaking $465 to get a mouth guard because my dental insurance doesn’t cover mouth guards.

But I tell you what.

When my dentist says I need a mouth guard or I run the risk of cracking more teeth and having to get more crowns, I’ll fucking pay it out-of-pocket.

Happy birthday!

Merry Christmas!

Yay.

Dental work.

Oh well.

At least I had the money in my account to just pay it out with cash and not freak out.

I wanted to sort of freak out, but I don’t have to.

I still have some student loan money left over to get through the rest of the semester and I will be alright.

I always am.

There was a time that dental work of this nature would have blown me out of the water, but I have a touch more experience with padding my bank account with my student loans.

I told a friend today what my student loans were at, around $104,000 and he blanched.  He’s also from country that doesn’t charge its citizens to go to school, so he’s not really accustomed to what it means to be an American with a great big heap of student loan debt.

I don’t care though.

My education is worth it and hey, I took out a big chunk to help with my move into my new place and I have no regrets about it.

I am interning at a non-profit and plan on working for them for the ten-year period that the federal government asks one to do if you want your student loans forgiven.

I can do that.

So it’s ok if I have them.

And yeah, they’ve helped with more than just paying tuition at my super expensive school.

I’m worth it and I still get to live in San Francisco.

So, there’s that.

I’m not on any pain killers for the tooth though and it feels big and hot and ouchy in my mouth.  If I remember correctly from last January it passed within a few days, the big pain by the next day, hopefully that will happen for me as well.

I expect that there will be some tenderness and hot cold sensitivity for a while, but it does pass too.

I will say I am not in the mood to do any homework and since my landlord is having a party I’m not really in the space to turn my attention and focus to homework.  I’m playing some pretty loud French music right now and trying to not think about my tooth.

I also did some apartment hunting on Craigslist.

I’m happy with my new place and not happy at the same time.

I had to move all of my things out of storage in the basement today, which I was not planning on having to do.  When I moved in the landlord offered me space in the basement to store stuff as my unit as no storage space, just a tiny closet that doesn’t fit all of my clothes, I got a big dresser and a rolling garment rack to deal with that.

But I don’t have anywhere to put my camping/Burning Man gear, nor the boxes of notebooks and text books I’m not currently using.  Fortunately my boss offered me space in her storage unit.  So tomorrow I get to get up way earlier than I was planning for on my one day off during the week to take my stuff across town to the Bayview to put in storage.

Two weeks ago I had asked my land lord that the basement be unlocked, I wanted to grab my Christmas ornaments a something to wear to the Burning Man ARTumnal event I went to a few weeks back.

It was at that time I was told that I was going to have to find another place to put my stuff as the landlord’s wife is pregnant and they are going to be renovating a room into a nursery and needing to store stuff in the basement.

FUCK.

I was floored.

I was also fucking pissed.  Where the hell was I going to put my stuff?

And.

I hate to be a bitch.

But fuck my life, I moved in here partially because I was assured it was a really quiet space that I was going to be able to study and not be disturbed and all was going to be chill.

A new-born living over my head is not a quiet living environment.

Now.

Don’t get me wrong, I love kids, I adore babies, for fuck’s sake, I’m a nanny.

AND.

I’m a nanny, I deal with crying baby at work all the time, I don’t want to come home to crying baby.

Ugh.

I might be making too much of it but that coupled with a few other things, like the unit is not nearly as sound proof as I was lead to believe and that the landlord and his wife have had two knock down screaming fights with each other where things were smashed and doors slammed since I’ve moved in that makes me think I will be looking for a new place to live when my lease is up.

I’m not going to break the lease, unless something extraordinary gets dropped in my lap, but I do think I may not be making this quite the permanent place I had thought.

And really, not that permanent either, I wasn’t planning on being here longer than my PhD program.

I sort of figured that I wanted to get settled in and cozy and then not have to think about moving until I was finished with my program and by that time I would be making good money with my private practice and could afford a one bedroom instead of a studio, or even, maybe start looking at what it would take to land a house.

I really do have the  dream of owning my own home one day in San Francisco, crazy as that may seem, I have my hopes and I have seen stranger things happen.

So.

Yeah.

A tooth ache and a loud party upstairs are not conducive to doing homework, but I thought, I can blog!

And there you have it.

I’m back to the blogging and my, it does feel fine and I just realized my tooth hasn’t hurt that much while I was writing.

Win/win.

Salad Days

July 7, 2018

After some lovely eating in New York last week I have become a kale salad girl today.

I needed some roughage and being back in California with a semblance of actual summer in San Francisco, I have definitely gotten my salad on.

I forget sometimes that I will have these little runs of certain types of food.

I always identify kale salads with sitting outside on the back porch with my feet up on a wrought iron chair soaking in some sunshine.

I will miss salads on the back porch.

I don’t know where I am going to be yet, but I can’t imagine being here much longer.

Even though I did so much inventory yesterday and prayer and mindfulness, even though I had a clear feeling for what needs to happen next, I got up in my head last night and couldn’t go to sleep.

I kept having angry conversations in my head.

I literally said out loud, “enough!”

I tossed and turned and sleep took too long to come.

I was mostly angry.

But a few times I cried too.

I would distract myself from the angry with pleasant thoughts and then those would turn around and bite me on the ass and become sad.

I gave up.

At some point I did fall asleep, but when I was supposed to get up and go to an early morning yoga class, well, I just couldn’t.

I will try again tomorrow.

Today I just let myself have the extra hour of sleep that I should have gotten last night.

I kept myself busy today to try to not ruminate too much on what is going on and to be in the uncomfortable place of not knowing.

I really don’t know how this is all going to turn out.

I feel like I am in a very dark hallway.

So.

I took whatever actions I could today to be positive and to take care of my own business.

I made a car payment.

I paid my phone bill in advance.

I paid my student loan in advance.

Yeah.

That.

I had not known that the loan company was going to sock me with a payment, I got hit when I was in New York and it made me burst into tears.

I had spent many minutes on the phone a few months back, right before I had graduated, making sure that my student loan company knew that I had been accepted into a PhD program, that I was enrolled and registered.

I was assured that all was good.

Except.

Well.

Haha.

Jokes on you.

The school hadn’t sent in my deferment paperwork, so the loan company went ahead and pulled money from my account.

I called the school and they told me that there would not be deferment paperwork sent out until I had completed my first weekend of classes.

Oh for fuck sake.

So I am basically paying on my loans.

Which was not in my plans.

Then again nothing this summer has been quite in my plans.

God laughs when I make plans.

Anyway.

The next payment would fall when I am in Paris and I decided that I would rather have it out of my account now than when I am in France and see something pretty and want to buy it and then go spend money that I should be spending on my student loans.

It felt good being proactive.

I’m glad I did it.

I also picked up a scooter cover today as well as getting a new bathing suit.

I got a competitive suit.

I tried on a pretty lounge by the pool suit first and I was like, um, no.

Hello boobs.

Good gravy.

Not going to work.

I like a little coverage.

I found the competitive swimsuit section and had much better luck.

I also immediately, without much thought, grabbed suits that I would have worn on swim team in high school.

Racer backs in black in a size 38.

I tried them on.

I squeezed myself into them.

I was like.

Hmm.

Not quite the high school fit.

Got to go up one size.

I was a touch bummed out.

But then I thought, wait, I’m only one size bigger than my high school swim suit size?

How many folks can say that?

I’ll happily keep eating kale salads all summer!

In fact.

I might actually go swimming this upcoming week.

I bought the suit because I will be going to Il de Re, which is an island off the West Coast of France, with my dear friend whom I am staying with and there is a pool at the house we will be staying at.

Plus.

Well.

It’s an island, there will also be beaches.

But I will get a chance to break in the swim suit this Wednesday when I go visit a friend in the Berkeley Hills who has a hot tub and I just checked out the schedule for lap swims at Sava Pool and there are times that I can make it next week that I normally would not be able to go swimming.

Mid to late afternoon.

I have debated many times getting up and going to Sava during the week, they have lap swim M-F from 6:00 am until 7:30a.m.

It’s tempting.

It could fit into my schedule and then I would be getting a bit more exercise than I have been.

Plus.

Well.

I love swimming.

The thing is though.

6 a.m.

Ugh.

But if I got up at 6 a.m. and just climbed into my car and drove there, wouldn’t be more than a ten minute drive, I could be in the pool for a half hour to an hour and then drive home and have breakfast before having to leave for work.

It’s a thought to tease around.

I’ve wanted to explore the pool before making that commitment and I don’t know that I would want to always get up that early to swim.

I would probably not do my morning pages.

I don’t know.

It’s something to think about.

I’m just happy I got the suit.

I am also happy that I picked up a motorcycle cover for my scooter too.

Tomorrow after I do my morning yoga I’m going to start my scooter up, clean her off, top of the gas, ride her around the neighborhood then cover her up.

My previous cover was stolen.

I will be locking this one down.

All in all.

Not a bad day.

Plus two clients and conversation with my friend about the paid internship I am exploring.

Pretty damn good for a Friday.

Pretty damn good indeed.

Earthquake

May 15, 2018

Screaming child.

Long day.

Kid home from school.

Reflux from hell.

No response from messages sent out earlier.

(No response is a response)

Crazy drivers.

And still.

A pretty good day.

Although I had a moment.

The screaming child was hard to handle.

I almost, not really, but I thought about it, knocked on the office at my internship to say please be quiet, but not really my business and I was just hella grateful I wasn’t doing therapy with the child.

I mean.

The child was fucking angry.

Screaming so loud that I could still hear him when I was in my office down the hall with the door shut.

I cannot imagine what the clients in other therapy sessions on the floor must have been thinking.

Grateful that my first client cancelled and by the time my second client showed up the child was done and out of session and off to scream elsewhere.

The earthquake also startled me.

I didn’t realize it was an earthquake until I got home and saw it posted all over social media.

I thought a truck had hit the building.

It was disquieting.

And then my client came and fuck.

Wow.

Intense session.

Took me a minute to get grounded.

Like maybe an hour now.

I also needed to eat.

I just had dinner and that’s helping.

My head was aching from the reflux and even though I didn’t feel hungry I knew that I was.

So some food and I’m feeling a bit more in my body and a bit less like I’m going to disassociate.

It was also a long day at work.

The middle child, the little lady, was home sick from school.

She wasn’t sick.

I adore this child but she will not hesitate to use the I’m sick thing to stay home.

The mom knew it too, after an hour or two of being at home it was pretty evident.

I wanted to suggest that she just pop her right back into class, but instead, I got out the colors and we did lots of drawings and I made her lots of snacks and she talked to me a bunch about how she’s going to miss me and how she’s sad about it.

The family will be gone for five weeks and she was feeling sad about not seeing me for that much time.

I will miss them too.

Although I am very, very, very happy for the down time.

The mom was sweet today with me too and asked me what I wanted for graduation and then she added, “I know you won’t tell me, so I’m not sure why I’m asking, but if there’s anything you need please let me know.”

She’s right.

I wouldn’t tell her.

It doesn’t feel right to ask for something from my boss for graduation.

I think it’s astoundingly kind that she wants to give me anything.

My needs are minimal.

And met.

Although I was feeling stressed about getting someone to come and get me from my endoscopy, it got covered.

I doubt that’s the kind of gift she meant.

I wanted to blithely respond, “cash.”

Or.

“Make a payment on my student loan,” but that didn’t seem appropriate either.

So I made a joke and then the baby was crying for something and the conversation ended.

It’s sweet that they want to give me something and I’m honored that they’re going to come to the party in the first place.

Speaking of.

I got the rest of the bevvies for the party and one more pack of hotdogs and buns.

I now feel set for food and beverage and I’m quite happy that all those things are procured.

I was going to do another shopping run tomorrow in between work and therapy but then the mom reminded me that the oldest boys class is doing a beach clean up at Ocean Beach.

Yes.

That’s right.

I will be leaving my house, by Ocean Beach, to go to therapy in the morning in Noe Valley, and then driving right back to Ocean Beach.

To?

Exactly.

Right where I am having my party on Saturday.

It’s rather hilarious.

I’m not annoyed about the extra driving, the mom paid for my gas money, I just would have liked to have had the time between therapy and work that I normally have.

Instead I’ll be driving.

Oh well.

It’ll be nice to be out by the beach with the baby.

So.

When I realized my late client was not responding to the offer that I had made about taking the earlier session, remember first client cancelled, I realized that the client wasn’t going to come in until their regular time and I had an extra hour between work and seeing the client.

I was able to pop to the grocery store and get the rest of the supplies!

That was nice.

A busy day, a full day, a bit of an unexpected day.

But a good day.

Hell.

It was always going to be a good day.

I mean.

The morning was pretty awesome.

I TURNED IN MY LAST TWO PIECES OF PAPERWORK TO CIIS!

I’m done.

All the “t’s” are crossed.

All the “i’s” are dotted.

Every form, every piece of paper, every evaluation, every application, my therapy verification forms, the site evaluations I did as well as my evaluations from my supervisors, my verification of face to face client hours, all of it.

ALL OF IT.

Is turned in.

I am done.

 

 

Locked Out

May 5, 2018

But not for long.

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

I need to apply for a Grad Plus Loan.

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

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

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

And yes.

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

So.

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

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

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

So.

First.

I have to reset the password for the umpteenth time.

Then.

I am told that I have to wait 30 minutes.

What the fuck.

Come on.

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

Isn’t that fucking enough?

Meh.

Anyway.

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

Plus.

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

That was good news.

The not so good news.

UGH.

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

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

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

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

Listen people.

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

Stop it already.

Seriously.

So.

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

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

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

But.

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

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

We shall see.

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

Private practice goals!

Speaking of.

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

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

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

Then I got a scooter.

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

And found parking!

So nice.

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

Of course.

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

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

It means so much that love and support.

I am so grateful for it all.

And grateful that this is it!

This is the last weekend of the program.

Today was the first day, I have two left.

And already a slight change in plans.

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

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

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

I was ambivalent about it anyway.

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

That’s where it’s at for me.

And.

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

Fingers crossed I get my new password correct.

Heh.

I Didn’t Get It

April 7, 2018

And I can’t say I’m surprised.

Disappointed.

Yes.

Surprised.

No.

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

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

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

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

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

I didn’t get it, where’s the e-mail?

Maybe I got it.

When are they going to let me know?

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

I don’t think I got the scholarship.

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

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

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

And there it was.

The notification letter.

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

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

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

Like buy my car.

Travel.

And, you know, pay rent.

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

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

And of course.

Tuition.

I’m not going to be too upset though.

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

Maybe another scholarship.

Maybe I win the lottery.

Maybe I come into money.

Maybe I just take out more student loans.

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

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

I will be ok.

I always am.

Sigh.

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

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

The money will come.

It will.

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

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

I will be taking five classes my first semester.

Three are credited courses and two are not.

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

Neither of those will really affect me time wise.

Money wise.

Yeah.

The intensive runs I think at least $1800.

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

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

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

I think.

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

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

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

I did my case presentation.

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

I got some really nice feedback.

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

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

Wow.

That was fucking nice to hear.

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

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

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

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

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

So different.

I really feel like I am doing a good job.

And that.

Just that.

I need to recognize.

I am a good therapist.

I am in the right field.

I am doing the right thing.

I am on the path.

I have a career.

I am a therapist.

Granted.

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

I will get to practice for a long time.

So.

Yeah.

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

And for that.

Well.

I have only gratitude.

 

Where Do I Start?

April 2, 2018

It’s been a really busy weekend.

You may have noticed.

I was quite absent from the blogging.

Which is unusual and not like me, but things came up and I got to have some amazing life experiences and make some connections and also.

Yes.

Get some much deserved sleep.

Sometimes lying in bed is just the best option.

I got to do that today, and I cannot begin to express how lovely it was.

So lovely.

I did  a lot today too, which, really, when I think about it was fueled by that laying in bed, by the leisurely way I let myself be this morning, by letting myself have a late start.

I actually got a fuck ton done.

I met with two ladies, did all my laundry, bed sheets, duvet, name it, it got washed, and I worked on my case study presentation for my Integrative Seminar class, getting all seven pages polished and just now sent out.

I hung out with my best friend.

The best fucking time.

Seriously.

The best.

We had an amazing brunch.

The company, well, spectacular seems an understatement.

I also met with my person up in the Castro, did the deal, and went to my Sunday night commitment and had great connections there.

I got to share my big news.

Which was lovely.

I mean, really so nice, to share that with folks in my community who have watched me all these years change and grow.

Of course.

The big news!

I haven’t blogged since receiving it.

Dear Carmen, Congratulations! I’m delighted to inform you of your provisional acceptance to the California Institute of Integral Studies Doctor of Philosophy program in Transformative Studies for the 2018-19 Fall Semester.

That’s right!

I got in.

I’ll be getting my doctorate!

I nailed the interview, I mean, I just nailed it.

Best interview I think I have ever done, I was a little surprised to hear the things coming out of my mouth, but I didn’t let that surprise stop me from talking.

I was told that my story was fascinating, that I have so much to offer, that my dissertation idea is unique, not one that the department has ever had or heard of.

I was told my writing was really good, compelling and deeply insightful.

I was rather blown away by how I was received, it was an amazing experience that ended with me being told I was accepted into the program!

Although, the head of the department said, “unofficially accepted, they keep telling me to not tell anyone that they’re accepted, but frankly, you’re being accepted.”

I just was asked to not make it an official announcement until I received the letter, which I did.

I got in!

The provisional part is that I have to graduate from my Master’s program.

I’m so close!

So freaking close.

I have my next weekend of school coming up and I just finished the third part of the 30 page final thesis paper I have to write for Integrative Seminar-the case study I will be presenting this weekend in my class.

I’m the first one up.

Hoping to hit it out of the park.

I don’t think it will be a problem, I’ve been working with this particular client for ten months I could talk about the client easily for the 20 minutes I need to present.

I wrote up a seven part, seven page case study and zipped it out to my writing partner for any editing suggestions.

I will present on Friday.

I’m so ready.

I also have done all my reading for my other class, Research Methods, and I feel really on top of that work too.

I still have to write a final research paper for that class, and, but it will happen.

I still have a month.

In the last month of school I am going to have a lot to do, get all my graduation paperwork ready, get my paperwork ready for the BBS (Behavioral Board of Sciences), and of course, finish the coursework.

So the provisional acceptance means that I have to do all those things, then I get to keep going to school.

Which is great because I can defer my student loans for another two years.

Those motherfuckers were Johnny on the spot, I got a letter a couple of days ago about my loans coming out of deferment and how I will need to start paying on them, one month after I graduate.

But.

hahahaha.

No.

I’ll be taking out more student loans instead to get my doctorate.

Which is fine, I keep telling myself that it’s ok, that the money will get paid back and that the investment, me, is so fucking worth it.

I really am.

I am super happy to be able to continue on, to get a doctorate is a dream that I haven’t told many and as the process was unfolding it felt so surreal that I am actually able to continue forward, that I am going to get it.

The program is intense, four semesters, a five-day intensive at the beginning of each semester, a cohort of 30 people, on-line classes and forums, but also, I don’t have to go to class, I don’t have to show up on campus, so that’s the bonus, the way that I can do it, that I can still keep working full-time and seeing clients and accruing my hours towards MFT licensure.

There’s lots of work, but I know I can get it done.

Before all that though, I just need to get through the next few months.

Ack!

Not even months!

I have to get through the next six weeks!

It’s happening, it’s all really happening.

So grateful I gave myself this weekend of fun and joy and sleep.

Ready for what the week has to bring.

Really ready.

One step closer to being Dr. Martines

Luckiest girl in the world.

 

First Payment!

January 4, 2018

And I made it a double.

Just because.

I just did my first payment on my car loan for my new car.

There was some confusion regarding what I needed to do and I was a bit perturbed today that I had to make a lot of time to email back and forth with the sales person at the dealership to figure out what to do.

For some reason, and I don’t believe it’s because they wanted me to have a free car, I was never sent the bank information regarding my car loan repayment.

I knew from reading over the paperwork that my first payment was due tomorrow, 1/4/18.

I sent the dealership a message on 12/3/17 to make sure that I was ready to go and it being the holidays and all, which is why I’m assuming things slipped through the cracks, that I should have it set up before the new year.

I was assured the paperwork was being sent out to me, but I never received anything and right around New Year’s Eve I realized that hmm, I still haven’t gotten my loan paperwork.

Three e-mails later and it’s now the 3rd and the payment’s due tomorrow and what the fuck?

I was getting snippy and I ended up taking a big deep breath at work and resending an e-mail apologizing for being short, saying that I felt a little dropped and was concerned that I was not going to get the information needed to pay the loan payment and I had to laugh at myself, really laugh.

Because.

There was a time when this would have not been a concern, not a worry, not a blip on my radar.

A. I would never have bought a new car, I would have been doing too much blow to be able to afford a new car.

B. If I had somehow finagled a new car, it would be their fault that I didn’t pay the payment on time and I would have played the victim card.

Nope.

Instead.

I just made my last e-mail a simple one of, hey, forgive my shortness in my prior e-mail, I’m concerned and want to make sure the payment is made, please advise.

And.

That worked.

The salesperson apparently, which of course, makes total sense, has nothing to do with the loan company and it was the dealership itself that dropped the ball getting me the paperwork.

Which is odd, as I did get my plates and registration.

And so she, my salesperson, found out where the loan was being held and got a hold of the number for the bank and forwarded that on to me and as of a few minutes ago I made my first payment.

It felt very nice.

I made a double payment and I am going to try to do that as often as possible.

I want to always pay more on the loan than I need to.

I would love to pay it off faster than the financing on it.

Less interest and I just like taking care of my bills in a timely manner.

I could have actually put a little bit more on it, but I also have been advised to have a year’s worth of payments in my prudent reserve, so I have that and if anything should happen, I’m ok.

I’m not too worried though.

I just got a nice raise at work, 5% thank you very much.

And I should get a good tax return.

Plus.

I won’t have to start paying back my student loans if I transition right into the PhD program at school.

I’ll take the summer off from school, but as it’s just three months, I won’t have to start payments on my loans for school.

If I took off more than six months I would.

So it’s important for me to apply for this fall to get into the PhD program.

I want to anyway, I want to keep my momentum going, I want to be in the habit of school and classes and keeping one foot steady in front of the other.

I see a lot of folks take time off from school and it just gets drawn out further and further.

I prefer to get it all in now, line up my ducks, knock ’em down, getter done.

I’d like to pay off my car by the time I get my PhD.

I think that’s entirely possible.

Paying off the car within three years.

At the rate I’m supposed to pay it off it would be done in 2023.

But if I make double payments, well, that’s half the time and it would put me around 2020, same time I’d be graduating with my PhD.

It will helpful as well to have the car loan paid off before I have to start paying off the student loans.

Anyway.

Numbers and money and time.

I’m just really grateful I didn’t have to ride my scooter in the rain today.

I’m super grateful I got to listen to music going to work and coming home.

I’m über grateful that I found good parking in my neighborhood.

And very, very, very happy I made my first payment a double payment and that I got it in on time and I was nice to the salesperson.

Patience, tolerance, kindliness, and love.

That’s what I want this year to be about.

Oh, yes.

It’s definitely.

All.

About.

The.

Love.

Step Up

November 20, 2017

Do some service.

Get the fuck out of your head.

Worked like a freaking charm.

I sat and listened to an amazing woman today for hours.

I did a lot of reading.

I did some client work.

I got asked to do a speaking engagement and did that too.

It was fantastic.

To get to be my complete self, lit up, on fire, alive, in love, all the things.

I don’t remember what I said, which is good, that means I wasn’t trying to manipulate how people saw me, I was just sharing.

And my God.

The gratitude.

I smiled so hard.

My face actually got a little sore from smiling so much.

And.

Yes, of course, there were some tears, and love was talked about and I got to reflect on how much love I have been given and how much I still get to give back and out into the world.

It’s amazing.

I was also told this, “you sound like a psychologist!” A sweet man told me after.

That was really nice to hear.

I am grateful for so much in my life.

I have a life, I am alive, that is the start, and you know, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, it bears repeating, if life were fair, I’d be dead.

Life is not fair, I have more than I can have ever imagined or asked for.

I have extraordinary people in my life.

I have people I love and who love me.

I have a full heart.

I don’t do so many of the things that I used to under the guise of it makes me feel better, but really it just made me feel worse, temporary solutions to the pain I was living with.

Like smoking cigarettes, man, I still forget that, I haven’t smoked in twelve years!

No sugar.

No flour.

No booze.

No cocaine.

Sure.

I still use salt, but please, really, don’t take away my last white powder!

I also do things that I always wanted to do but I would just talk about doing them, I didn’t actually do them.

Like.

Oh.

Writing.

I write every motherfucking day.

How amazing is that?

That I consistently give myself the gift of sitting down to paper and pen and getting honest with my heart.

It is no easy task and it always gives so much back to me.

So too, this little blog.

I do love the writing, I love how my fingers fly over the keyboard, I love how the words pour out of my hands, a direct conduit from the love in my heart.

I have a great job.

I have a site to get all my practicum hours so that I can graduate in May.

Jesus.

I get to go to grad school!

How many people actually get to do that?

Granted I was getting hella frustrated with the FAFSA online tools which kept telling me my passwords were wrong and wouldn’t let me access my student account.

I have to file for the 2018 financial year.

I have not applied to school yet, but I have some fairly serious ambitions to do so, to go for the PhD, I’m thinking that I would get in Transpersonal Studies, which is a two-year program at my school.

I have to flesh some things out, when I would apply, what I might want to dissertate on.

“You should totally do it!” My therapist enjoined me.  “You find so much richness for yourself in the academic world.”

I had not thought of it like that.

I had thought of it, like I want a PhD, ego stuff.

Then.

When a professor I highly respected told me that I could be of more service in my community with a PhD I thought, yeah, I should do that.

Then.

Well.

I know this sounds kind of crazy, but it also sort of makes sense to me, it would mean being in school two more years and that would give me two more years to acquire hours at my internship before I have to start paying back on my student loans.

I am not in a paid internship.

I’m not sure that I could swing paying back student loans on top of getting my hours.

Then again.

I just keep saying, it’s God’s money, it will work out.

I do believe that.

But.

When my therapist reframed the continuation of school by reflecting to me how much I have gotten out of school, just personally, how much I have grown, that I am giving myself an opportunity to learn more and grow more.

I really liked thinking of it.

So grateful for my therapist.

We started in on a hard piece for me last week.

It was something that I have been holding for a while and I knew eventually it was going to have to come out and the work would need to be done on it.

I have done a lot of work, but there is still more to do, still places of pain that need to be touched into, places I need to grieve, things lost that I don’t know I’ve really let myself see that I had lost.

I don’t want to wallow in my past.

I don’t.

It doesn’t really serve.

But I do want to integrate those experiences, grieve what needs to be grieved, and let it go.

My therapists face when I was getting into some of it, how she pulled me back, grounded me, settled me back, ran over time with me to make sure I was calibrated and strong enough to leave the office.

I had tears on my face and many crumpled tissues, but I also felt a kind of inner awareness that this is where the real work is going to happen and I can get through it all the way.

I wasn’t collapsed in, I was strong, I was lightened, I lightened the load a tiny bit and left a good bit of it in a tissue in the wastebasket.

I have the strength to get in there, dig it out, and let it the fuck go.

So grateful for that.

I am resilient.

I have inner love and joy and strength and light.

I have been given so much love in the last few years, so much more than I thought I deserved, so much appreciation for who I am and what I do.

I really am loved.

I really am lovable.

I am enough.

I have enough.

And.

I get to give it all away.

Which.

Oh.

Glorious paradox.

Is.

The only way I can keep it.

The only way.

 

Yes!

April 27, 2017

I made it through the financial aid rigmarole.

I had to fill out one more piece of information when I got home today and finally, all of it is done.

I will be getting an award and I was notified that I would get it once the last form was filled out and sent it, that it would take 24 hours to process, I would get an award e-mail and then I hit accept.

The school will receive monies to pay for my summer practicum internship and supervision–$2380.

There will be a little left over from the award, enough to get me two more months of therapy over the summer.

I don’t have to touch my travel savings and I will have tuition paid for.

Thank God.

It all worked out.

I never really thought it wouldn’t, it was just some unnecessary stress that I got to work through.

I also spent some time checking in with my employer about summer hours, I’ll be working a little more than I do now.

Currently I’m pulling 35 hours a week, three weeks a month.

The other week during the month I work 28 hours–the week I’m in school.

During the summer I won’t have school on Fridays.

I won’t have official classes, I’ll be doing my internship at nights and on weekends and my outside supervision and therapy two days a week before work.

I ain’t gonna lie, it’s a lot to juggle.

But I see all the pieces coming together and it should work.

For my work schedule I’ll change-up to a slightly early start on the days I’m not in supervision or therapy before work and I will work 8 hour days on those days.

I’ll go from working 35 hours a week to 38 with the flexibility to go to 40 if the family needs me to.

I’ll do my internship in the evenings after work.

Four nights a week I’ll be doing the internship, and one day, Saturday.

I’ll be putting in a lot of hours, but the investment is worth it and although I am sacrificing a lot, more of my social life than I can imagine, as it’s not much at the moment, although, got to say, proud of myself for hanging out for an hour between work and doing the deal tonight.

I was so tempted to blow it off and just do my homework, but I made myself put down the books and walk to Java Beach and play a hand of Speed and socialize for an hour.

It was really much-needed.

I have been told repeatedly this week to have fun.

“Go get laid, have fun, blow off some steam!” My person told me when I met with her on Monday.

I’m trying to figure that out.

Not much by way of nibbles on the dating front and though there’s interest in me to pursue, I’m not really sure how to go about that right now.

Putting out to Universe.

I need to get laid.

There.

That should do it.

Hahahahahaha.

I actually reached out to an old lover last night and then immediately thought, ah, that’s not going to happen, why did I do that?

Not that I’m afraid of rejection, more that I can go bark up the wrong tree.

There is no squirrel there dear, go look elsewhere.

And there wasn’t.

As I have said to myself many a time, no response is a response.

My feelings are facts, but sometimes it feels like I either try to awful hard at this whole thing or I could give a fuck and I just bury myself in school and work.

There is an in between I’m sure.

Dating can also be a distraction from dealing with the thing at hand, but I am wanting to do it.

I am.

When have I not been willing to date?

I have tried lots of things.

Maybe this therapy thing will help.

Ha.

I can usually recognize when I am not on the right track, but sometimes, I get stuck and I go chase after someone and there is nothing there and I’m like, stop it, enough energy expended there.

Move on.

So moving on.

And being open to see whom God wants me to see, not whom I want me to see.

Those are different people, I am sure of it.

I’m listening to Lilac Wine as sung by Jeff Buckley.

I had to pause.

I had to sing.

I don’t even remember what I was whining about.

Luxury problems.

I’m alive.

Jeff Buckley is dead.

I saw him once.

At the Barrymore Theater in Madison, Wisconsin on tour for his album Grace.

It was one of the best concerts I have ever seen.

There are concerts that I remember because of the power of the music or that something momentous happened, or because of whom I was with when hearing he music.

Jeff Buckley touring for Grace.

Soul Coughing, Ruby Vroom.

Beck, Odelay.

Paul Simon and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Summer Fest in Milwaukee, 2001.

J. Davis Trio, at the Angelic, but also the show in Chicago where I got so trashed I was hung over for two days.

But my God it was worth it.

Anni DiFranco, Not a Pretty Girl, Civic Center, Madison.

Primus, Coliseum, Madison, WI, can’t remember if it was Sailing the Seas of Cheese tour, but I think it was.

Moby, Play, Civic Center, Madison, WI, and also Moby at Lightening in a Bottle three years ago, I was up front and it was amazing, I felt like I was on fire with the music.

Underworld, the Fox in Oakland and also two years later at the Warfield in San Francisco.

Paul Simon at the Greek Theater last summer.

Mike Doughty, three times, small show at Cafe Montmarte in Madison, his first solo tour after Soul Coughing broke up and he heckled my friend who was shrooming.  Then the show at the Fillmore when he covered Ruby Vroom and I was the only person in the audience that caught the Edna St. Vincent Millay reference, and got a smile and shout out for that.  And last summer the 2016 Living Room tour where I got to meet him in person, and talk about Burning Man.

Spearhead in Madison, Wisconsin, I forget the venue now, but they were on tour for their second album and Michael Franti pulled me up on stage and danced with me for a song.

Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes, Barrymore Theater, Madison, Wisconsin.

Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine, Coliseum, Madison, Wisconsin.

Sleater Kinnery at Union South, UW Madison Campus, holy shit was that amazing, they were just on the floor, no stage, four mikes and a couple of amps.

I went to a lot of shows in Madison.

Goldfrappe at the Fillmore.

Gary Newman, also at the Fillmore, here in San Francisco.

I’ve clubbed a lot here in San Francisco too, so many djs–Mark Farina, Teisto, Sasha and Digweed, Paul Van Dyke, Oakenfold, Kid Beyond, BT, Dmitri from Paris, Derrick Cater, Frankie Knuckles, Sunshine Jones with and without Dubtribe, Tortured Soul, Eric Sharp, Carl Cox, Armand Van Helden, James Ziebela, 2ManyDj’s, Basement Jaxx, fuck, I’m forgetting a lot of shows.

So much music.

I haven’t been out to enough shows.

Maybe I’ll focus on that instead of dating.

Heh.

Right now though, sleep she calls.

Homework is still on my plate and work has got to get worked out.

I’m still listening to the glory of Jeff Buckley.

Hallelujah.

 


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