Sunday, December 28, 2008

watch the soup simmer - hmmm a metaphor

Things improved as the night went on. Sort of like simmering soup - it can really turn out well even if it didn't seem like it would. So, yes, life is like soup.

I always have this strange guilt for writing about how I feel, especially in regards to family. As if not everyone knows that families are complicated. But for me with the way my family is complictated (or some of the ways) it ebbs and flows so quickly.

I feel bad for saying that comparatively this was the worst of my trips home. I love my family and seeing them - it was in viewing how hard and emotionally challenging it is, how much fighting and how out of the ordinary it all felt. Including how much I felt and acted like a kid that I make this unfortunate estimation.

I would like to take a moment to blame graduate school. There's the passing of tonight's buck. They rip us up and throw us to our families for the holidays - knowing that we are vulnerable and our brains are spinning. It's a messy system.

Oh and I'll blame divorce. When I was married I was less likely to be treated like, or to respond as, a teenager. I think.

So being single (in the married sense) and in graduate school have had a negative impact on my holiday. Yes, I have NO culpibility.

That's the making of a good therapist.

Here's the making of a good soup:

1 Anaheim Chili Pepper - cut to preference
(I keep them about an 1/2 inch long and pretty thin)
2 or 3 cans of Coconut Milk (depends on serving size of course but also thickness)
1 can Garbanzo Beans
1 Can black beans
3/4 teaspoons of green curry
Onion if you like (when I add it I make it big enough to notice so I don't ACTUALLY eat them just flavor with them)
You can add a little garlic

Put the coconut in the pan, heat and add the ingredients - I add the curry a 1/4 teaspoon at a time.
(the pepper is best when you've sauteed it a bit so it is softer in the soup)

It may sound odd but it is delicious! Watch those pepper seeds though - it can get spicey really fast. Even my little sisters liked it - the one who dislikes all foods liked it. Quite the feat.

why? why? and again, why?

How come if you catch yourself getting upset and try to stop it, it is still too late?

Like tonight, I knew I was over-reacting but all I wanted to do was walk away. And by the time I stood up to do so I was very much acting like a child. Even though I said, "I am over-reacting so I need to walk away."

And then when I came back and said, "I know I was over-reacting that's why I walked away." It was responded to with a lecture about how I am allowed to over-react to other people but not my own parents and to accuse them of mocking me - even though everything pointed to the idea that I was being mocked. I said, again, that I had to walk away and I went to pack and because I did not come down stairs when my mother sent my littelest sister to get me because I was, sincerely, packing they went to bed (parents). Good thing I stayed home to spend time with my family.

It's really sad. This is probably my last long trip home and it was my worst trip since I moved - or since Steph's wedding at least (trips leading up to that were bad because I was an unbearable wreck).

I mean there was a lot of great that happened and I got to see a couple of friends and have a good visit with a lot of people -family/friends- in general - but if I were to line up all of my visits this was the most heartbreaking. I haven't fought with my parent's like this since I was a teenager. It's like everyone exists in some weird time warp. Like Twin Peaks meets Northridge.

Anyway, there was just a lot of sadness. Watching other people be in so much pain and dealing with my own things. I will miss my family and I am REALLY sad that I didn't get to see most of my friends and that I missed this reunion thing tonight but I am tired of feeling alone in the place where am actually NOT alone, so going home sounds good.

You know, ironically, I am more alone - literally speaking - in Portland where I can't even find a ride home from the airport because I have so few "active" friends there (or who live close enough to the city), here I don't think that would happen. But I have felt lonely and broken here - and not just because Kyle is far away (though that doesn't help) but because it is all so messy.

Understand, I know I am complicit in all of this - from the stuff here to the friend situation in portland. But all in all I am just tired and want to curl up on my own couch the next time I cry. Except I don't think I will make it until tomorrow since I am crying right now.

Better go finish packing.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The buildings crumble.

They were shaking but I pretended they were still.

They were pounding but I pretended they were silent.

The pieces fell to the ground – crash after crash.

Ears covered, eyes closed, I curled up small.

I hid beneath the tall trees, stared at the rain.

Watched the clouds and prayed they would take me in.

That they would make it go away.

Block the truth.

And they did.

They hid it from my eye, my sky.

For then they hid it.

It came back - pretending is harder.

The crumbling doesn’t miss – crash after crash.

I stand in the middle of the pieces.

The trees will not shield.

The stars not reach down.

The tears shake and loudly fall.

I don’t know what to do.

So I cry and ache and wait.

I watch and stand so close but look from so far away.

And some days I don’t look at all.

Even when I should.

Because looking is painful and the pieces start to build.

The walls come up and swallow me.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Who is Herald?

This is what my sisters asked me the other day. They said, Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Who is Herald and why does he have angels?

The last couple of days have been hard. They have made for an uneasy visit. My mom and I had a huge fight, my cousin and his boyfriend had to hear it, my sisters too. It was all around terrible. And it was her 50th birthday - so score Heather for the goodness and kindness and holiday cheer. (and yes, I can see the irony of a future family therapist being 30 and having HUGE fights at home - but one needs training for their work, right?)

It doesn't feel like Christmas. It feels like something I can't explain. That spirit that always exists is missing. I am sure I am contributing to that. It will be nice when my sister and her husband get here though.

My professor in Human Growth and Development said that a key goal in our program is to have us essentially gutted. To deconstruct the schemas we have and shift the way we see ourselves and the world. She said on the last night of class (I paraphrase), "I hope you all have difficult holidays" Okay that wasn't her word, it was something much worse. It may have been "horrible" or something even less charming. We study, of course, so many aspects of family and human relationship in general, and with family roles we discuss the reality that who we are in our lives vs who we are in our parent's home is so different. This is not because of anything we want to do, or anything we do do, or don't do really, just because that's life. She believes in the possibility for change of course, but I have a feeling she also subscribes to Douglas Coupland's philosophy, all families really are psychotic.

I was feeling pretty confident that I had finally learned how to have healthy interpersonal relationships. That all that therapy had paid off (haha) and it felt like it didn't this week. It felt like I was in high school. 30 going on 15. It was terrible. But I know that this isn't really who I am, or not the whole story. I know that there is more to it than a difficult week away from my regular life and that all of interpersonal skills are not ruined or my work undone - it just sort of feels that way. (was it DCFC who sang a song about not believing what you feel to be real?)

So I will just shift my perspective and seek the positive and the hopeful and celebrate Christmas. There is a reason that I had "it is" emblazoned on my ankle, because I strongly believe that life is what IT IS and we are what makes the difference. We choose to. (well that is 1/2 of the meaning, the other spiritual but i will write of that later).

Good luck to me - haha.

Wow, this is a terrible blog. :/

Friday, December 19, 2008

Into the Void I Speak

I am at my parent's home, the end of day 1 of 10. This will be a quick 10 days - so much is going on with family, holidays and birthdays. I feel like so much is going on everywhere and I am unsure of how or where to focus, what to do, how to decide. What do I do about school? What do I do about a job? How do I balance? How, why, what? Flashing before and behind me are questions. And yet I tend to make nonsensical statements and seem to remain on a relatively irrelevent surface, brushing through the day to day.

It is nearly 10pm Friday, and I have, more or less, been up since 7:30 am on Thursday. It was intentional for most of it, then the terrible sleep at the airport and on the plane - that sort of blank sleep where your body feels numb and your brain shuts off but doesn't really rest. And then another hour of that on the couch in my parent's living room tonight. Then? I went to bed. That was at 8. Am I sleeping? No. Have I really tried? No.

I am, instead, writing and brewing tea. Listening to the rustling of leaves and the whistling of wind. Feeling at home and yet homesick. Like most things worth thinking about it feels like a paradox. There are two quotes I like of Madeleine L'Engles on the subject of paradox:

"The deeper and richer a personality is, the more full it is of paradox and contradiction. It is only a shallow character who offers us no problems of contrast."
(A Circle of Quiet)

"We cannot seem to escape paradox; I do not think I want to."
(Walking on Water)

We are always in the process of becoming, of being, of moving, flowing, rushing, like the leaves outside or the wind - like the flames beneath my kettle. Everything is in motion. Like our very selves -in motion, changing. I was told last summer that, not in so many words, there was something wrong with me for not having known who exactly I was by the age of 24, 25 or 27 - that I always had to find someone new inside me. That even now at 30 I have set out a new plan (grad school I presume they meant) to try to do that. I am okay with not having known, I like mystery, so does God, that's why He never gave us blueprints.

I think in many ways our core never changes, who we were made to be in the truest essence is consistent, but the process of emergence is different for everyone. Because we are never the same from moment to moment, thank God, we have the chance to grow into a better and more loving person than the one who you knew before. This is from The Developing Mind, by Daniel Siegel (an amazing book on neurobiology and interpersonal relationships):

"We are always in a perpetual state of being created and creating ourselves. We will never be the same, and we have never been quite the way we are right at this moment."

If that isn't an example of the craftsmanship of God, an example of His intricate ever emerging design, I'm not sure what is. I will never be the same, I am thankful for that.

Angels in the eary morning . . .

Angels, in the early morning


Angels, in the early morning
May be seen the Dews among,
Do the Buds to them belong?

Angels, when the sun is hottest
May be seen the sands among,
Parched the flowers they bear along.

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson did not name her poems, she numbered them. She did not write them in a book, but on the back of receipts and napkins and she bundled them in her desk drawers.

The cab will be here in 2 hours to take me to the airport. I am going to see my family and friends for Christmas. I love Christmas - yet it is the absolute hardest time of the year. From October 10th - January 19 for the past 15 years, there have been many of the most painful times or worst choices of my life. Some for no reason, for others, reason indeed. . .

Tonight I couldn't stop crying. I was so sad that I won't be with Kyle for the holidays. See, I am so excited to see my family and friends, but because this time is so scary it makes the distance feel like gaps in my soul. Like there are areas in need of patching. It doesn't make much sense and when I am there it will be just fine. But the prospect is hard.

So I will think of this poem and the gift of being up so early in the morning. I love flying out during sun rise, or just after, the sky is amazing and the clouds so soft. However in this weather I imagine it will look different. But it will, nonetheless, be like finding the fairies in Kensington Gardens - difficult at best. So I will look for the Angels in the early morning and maybe on the dew on the plane's wing I will see them stooping—plucking—smiling—flying and guiding us safely.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Change of Plans

I think I am going to drop to part time for school and try to work more.
What's 1 more year, right?

I don't think I could handle the stress of a full time load anyways. Think someone outside social/human services will hire me when all I know how to do is place kids in foster care and wrangle wild children?


Would It Be A White Christmas?

I doubt it, but I wonder, were I staying in Portland would I get my first white Christmas? I am trying to think if there was any snow when I was in Paris for Christmas in 2002(that sounds rather pretentious, doesn't it?). I know it was icey and cold outside Notre Dame. I have this memory though of walking down this path outside a movie theatre just after seeing the Lord of the Rings (with French subtitles) where I could see white lights in all the little trees and the Arc de Triomphe in the not too far distance and I think there were remnants of snow. But I may be romanticizing that because it was, after all, Christmas in Paris.

That was the only Christmas I ever spent away from my family and there I was in Europe, 24 and missing them like crazy. Funny. Guess that's why I always go home for Christmas. I think the first time I ever saw it snow fall was that year too. Oh Southern California how you deprive us of weather.

And now I do not know what to do with it - weather. So I stay in my apartment and watch the flurries fall down on my patio. It is getting too cold for snow - which I think it strange. See, I didn't know that below freezing was too cold because I figured that was the perfect time for it, you know, when it is cold.

Huh, crazy climate changes.

The Beautiful Messiness of Faith: Intentionally Placed

The Beautiful Messiness of Faith: Intentionally Placed

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


my brain was full of fantastic stories. after a day on the bus, in the city where i so enjoy the rich material of my surroundings and encountering people in this anonymous fashion- and then one little thing broke this - shattered my sense of wonder and my artful soul was crushed.

i hate that.

so much for beauty today.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My foe fettered to my brain, insomnia why must you remain?

Apparently there are very few quotes on insomnia. While I haven't combed through the whole of the internet I found these:

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep. ~Fran Lebowitz

The bed is a bundle of paradoxes: we go to it with reluctance, yet we quit it with regret; we make up our minds every night to leave it early, but we make up our bodies every morning to keep it late. ~Charles Caleb Colton


What all so soon asleep; I wish mine eyes would with themselves shut up my thoughts.
- William Shakespeare

Not Quite:
The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world.
~Leonard Cohen

O sleep, O gentle sleep, nature's soft nurse, how have I frightened thee, that thou no more wilt weigh my eye-lids down and steep my senses in forgetfulness?

What I hear when I lay in the dark wishing for sleep:
To sleep, perchance to dream; ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.
- William Shakespeare

In the movie White Christmas Bing Crosby says (sings) that we should "count our blessings, instead of sheep," but I've tried that too.

Insomnia is my greatest foe for it effects my nights and days and everything in between.
The Beautiful Messiness of Faith: "Silence"

Saturday, December 13, 2008

We Wear the Badges - We Are Trauma Junkies

I was talking with my co-worker tongiht about an acute psych place he used to work - we didn't get to talk about it much but he mentioned getting strangled to the point of passing out and having his nose broken. I wanted to say (but had to get the butter out for a client, I am at work) oh, I don't work in acute settings anymore because . . . insert injury story. Instead I said, "so, you a crisis junky?" "Oh yeah," he replied smiling.

Nurse Bob at SubAcute used to tell me that people who worked there or at the psych hospital (people like him and at the time, me) were crisis junkies. We loved the drama, the trauma, the action. And I DID. I LOVED it. The reason I struggle with this job is that it's relaxed. I can read or play cards with the guys. I don't get the level of therapeutic conversations I want or need (for billing), but it is cool. I like busy. I like fast paced and stress. Why???

Because then you prove something. You can take on the worst. You can handle the hardest kids or clients and you can kick ass. That's right and you have war stories to prove it. And then you're expected to just take it and come back for more.

I could not come back. My badges became nightmares. And this made me feel like a fialure. I used to work with new staff who would all but panic when the kids would blow out. I would console them and listen to their tears and fears and I would tell them a few things. First I would tell them their strengths and then I would tell them that it is okay if they don't choose to work there - that it doesn't make them less in anyway but probably more normal than all of us who chose to. I wanted to give them permission to opt out without feeling like they failed - something my boss refused to give me when I got put in a choke hold my first week in residential in LA. I mean I used discretion with these conversations, but nonetheless I remember telling people that they didn't have to be like me.

And what was, "like me" like? Someone with what we jokingly called the SubAcute Swagger. Cocky and confident. Sure I cried and bled and yelled when I got home and swore I would quit a dozen times - but I loved the kids, I loved seeing the best in the worst situations and I loved the drama. Not that I ever liked restraints - because I didn't - or ever thought they should be anything other than a last resort -and I didn't enjoy the sadness of their lives, but the chaos? Yeah, totally my thing.

But now what? I don't want to be around violence. I am scared of it. Even here - well before I get here - I have these moments of fear. Which is unwarranted.

Anyhow, the point was I was just thinking about how we play this game - those in this field - and it's like, "who can take the worst beating and still be there the next day?" It's ridiculous but, honestly, I miss being able to do it. Besides in a job like that there is comraderie like nothing else. At least little civilian work that I can think of where someone has to have your back. And there we always did.

Just the truth. My badges are getting rusty, but I hope not to get any more.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Santa, stories and a little sadness . . .

This morning we had our "final" at my professor Steve Bearden's house. Steve is this brilliant, kind, thoughtful, welcoming human who seems to embrace all that is best in the world while still knowing the depths of darkness and pain. At the end of Steve's classes he has his class over for celebrations. Today our Spiritual & Clinical Praxis class went to his home, ate lots of tastey food brought by my classmates, talked to one another and then Steve read to us.

One of my favorite things as a child in school was being read to every day after lunch recess. It was soothing. For me so much of my understanding of self, love, faith, life, comes from the words of others. Many don't think me much the reader, but I find that nevertheless my identity has been so influenced by the authors who have spoken their hearts and imaginations out onto pages that I have been fortunate enough to read.

Steve read The Polar Express, Polar Bear Scare, Santa Cows and Owl Moon. I had never read any of these books - I know, how have I never read The Polar Express? I thought it seemed boring - but he read it to us and it was wonderful. Then he asked if anyone had holiday traditions. And people began to share their family's traditions - cutting down trees, staring at lights, sleeping in the living room all together and watching It's A Wonderful Life - experiences, shared experiences. And I found myself crying. I was so very sad.

I don't remember us really having traditions growing up - and I really wanted some. We opened one present on Christmas eve - always pajamas and yet often seeming a surprise and I was ever enthusiastic about that one gift. But did we have more?

When I was married we decided that we wanted traditions, things for our family. And even though our family was just the two of us, it seemed right to begin our traditions when we were engaged. One was this "first christmas" ornament that had a scroll inside - every year we would write on that scroll. Another was how we got our ornaments - we got a special one for us each year - our tree was going to fill up with special memories building each year on the last and to the next - like our love was.

And I became so sad and I wept.

And I longed for my old life. That sense of family. That feeling of forever and building and togetherness, promises and hope.

Christmas to me is a lot about hope. Hope for new beginnings, for life, faith in something good and right. And since I love Christmas - the music, the lights, the smells, the traditions I have found that remembering can be bittersweet.

I couldn't understand why I wanted so much for this Christmas to be special for me and Kyle. Why I was so sad that we would be apart for 10 days - aside from the normal expectation of missing him. Why us not celebrating in some unique way just broke my heart. And I realized today in my professors living room, it's because I want to build on our story. It is hard when your stories have to change, when dreams end and starting over is part of life. And even when your identity is new and your faith renewed, your heart still has memories that your brain doesn't think of consciously.

So here I sit watching the lights twinkle on my Christmas tree and try to wrap my head around a world of feelings and I know, my lizard is not dead (if you go to school with me that would make sense). And it's okay for the lizard to still be alive - because then some of the kittens made it too. But some didn't, and for those and for parts of what the lizard meant, I cry.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

"I'm sorry, but do I know you?" said the kitty

Apparently my cat is having some very Memento moments. Granted I have only been her human for . . . well, less than 36 hours (though barely that)so it makes sense for her to not be TOTALLY adjusted - but she seems to know who I am most of the time. Or she did until I went to bed and then when I could not sleep she was excited because I came out of my room, BUT then when cold I put on a sweatshirt and kept the hood up which apparently turned me into some sort of a monster. She was scared! I didn't realize it and it was not until I removed my hood that she began to like me again. THEN I went back to bed (some hours later) and when I again woke up she was on the stairs. I didn't turn on the light so apparently she didn't recognize me (again) and so she ran down the stairs and in the dark I could see her turning back to me and then walk/running backwards. Finally she scrunched back and it was like she was recoiling! It was sad. Then she tried to curl up with my computer and now she is missing. Well, she's not, but it's dark and thus she is out of site.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Be Still

In the stillness, in a darkened room, things can become clearer. Brighter.

The greatest sins are not the things I do, but the things I do not do.

I do not love enough, I do not give enough compassion, I am not still, I do not wait upon the Lord - or anything. I need to pray because I don't know what God's up to, but I do know that I do not have enough love, compassion, patience.

You could look at my life and see the glaring sins - the things I do that are traditionally recognized as sins. You could make a graph, a chart and see the steadiness or irratic nature of each of these. Some are just the way I live.
But that is the way that man would like to see sin - by the tangible. The things understood.

This is not a judgement on all mankind, it is recognition of our common desire to make sense of the world - we try to orient ourselves in this massive place from infancy on. The pieces that we live outloud and outside of us are so much clearer - but the inside is not.

Someone said in class once that imagine if we wore posterboards to church on Sundays revealing our true sins - the one's we conveniently leave out, or intentionally do, the ones that we hold with shame or reluctance, or that we have accepted are things we will do that are between us and God but know/fear the objection of others. The pieces of our lives that may not separate us from God (the definition of sin, right?) and the things that are notably considered un-Chritian could count too.

But the greater sins I commit each day are what separate me from God. I look away from poverty, I close my eyes. I choose not to love. I judge my classmate, my colleague, even my neighbor. I judge a friend or loved one. I don't forgive - myself or another. The list of what separates us - me & God - is not a tangible. And it is not finite.

While there are many concrete things that do - right now I get that the things that keep me away have much more to with with my unwillingness to dig through this clutter, come down to the calm, the stillness and start and know God.

I finally get it, I don't want to (or need to) understand God - I want to know Him.

Disclaimer: I know all sin is considered equal, but that is not how it feels or is treated. It is easier to get caught up in the obvious and tangible sins etc.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Recovery and Relationships

I am taking a substance abuse class and as part of this attending a few meetings for persons in recovery. So far I have only gone to one AA meeting. Have you ever gone to one?

I have a professor who said that people in recovery are possibly the only people who truly understand how to be in relationship with others. They have once had this stripped from them, or never had it in the first place, but through recovery they have learned that there is nothing to hide behind and you are out there. And they can experience true relationships, true relational experiences.

After attending just this one meeting I could see the truth to this statement. I am not a big drinker, I drink some and I know it is sometimes because I find them tasty, sometimes because I am nervous at a party and it does soothe some nerves, but sometimes it is just because. That same professor said that so many of us just have the glass of wine, create a social symbiosis of sorts - it's sharing in a group experience, it is loosening inhibitions. It is pretending to let go - when really it is just giving in.

This is not to say that I think social drinking, or limited drinking is a problem. It is that the beauty that I have seen in my research, in the books I have read and the meeting I attended, as well as the inspiring woman I spent about a half hour on the phone with today is amazing.

Alcohol and drugs ravish people's lives. And whether in recovery you come from a disease model, an AA powerless approach, a inner power to overcome approach, whatever, you come to a place of change. You come to a relational experience.

This sounds terrible, I do not want an addiction experience - I do not want that struggle, the pain that is caused to loved ones or anything irrational like that - but I do want that community. That acceptance. That revival from brokenness. It is beauty incarnate.

There is so much more to say on this - and this is probably a terrible representation of how I feel and I fear belittles things which is not at all my intention, but mainly it is meant to be a small statement of respect.

The process to reach recovery seems to me to be difficult and scary. I have so much respect for people in recovery - whether they attend meetings or don't - whatever their practice is in their life, I think it is amazing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

That's Right Kids . . .

That's right kiddies, listen to your parents and brush your teeth!

When I was younger (much so) my step-grandpa (Umpa as I call him) overheard me say, whilst complaining about my teeth issues - the ones that I have had my whole life - anyhow, I said, "I should just pull 'em all out and get dentures. I'll probably have them by the time I'm 30 anyways." That is the day that I learned that you don't laugh about dentures in front of someone who has them.

I have a whole new respect for the pain that one must go through to get there. And a new respect for those who are elderly and who have had them sometime because I can only guess that the process of removal, the medication etc., has improved.

Oh and being 30 now I see how I had a very different opinion of it in my early 20s. And I have a whole new respect for being 30 too. :)

On that subject I was listening to something depressing on the radio and they were saying how problems with childbearing etc. increase over 35 and by 37 are . . . the story went down hill. And this is what rushes through my head, some simple mathematical equations.

I'm 30 and it is almost 2009. I will graduate in 2010 right before I turn 32. Ok, so, hopefully Kyle and I will get married sometime before I turn 32 and at the earliest START to have kids when I am 33. Even if I got pregnant RIGHT AT 33 then I will be close to 34 for having a kid and perhaps I would like more than 1 and this puts me quickly over 35. That is all saying that I get to have kids. This is not whining, this is just that I know not to take for granted the gift of having children. So I am not adding that in to this particular equation.

Other than that I was thinking earlier how I hope our kids don't get my teeth - well visually they can, but health wise, nope, they need his.

Oh I could go on but thank goodness my latest codeine tablet (no, no I haven't taken one in at least 8 hours and this time I took just 1) is kicking in. I hope to sleep!!

Where's the Tooth Fairy When You Need Her?

I had the post put in for the long term process for what will eventually result in my having a fake tooth in July. When did this saga begin? January 2008 I had my tooth removed. This involved them having to essentially shatter my tooth and unfuse its' roots from the bone. The bone which now has a post in it and in July will have a tooth on it.

I feel sick now. Trying to be awake is causing this.

The acetemetaphine with codeine + the ibuprophine is finally helping . . . 3 hours later . . . but now I am feeling siiiick and my head still hurts . . .

Head hurts too much to figure out why I am typing . . . or what . . .


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Need Some Carrots

I still have to make those calls.
I am a bit calmer.
I am keenly aware of all that I have to do in the next week - and then some, but I'll start with 1 weeks "to-do's."

I was really disappointed in myself today. I went into therapy and heard myself whining (for lack of a better word) about this liteny of things and suddenly it was like the last 2 years of work weren't there. I mean as if my progress had disappeared. I wondered if my therapist sometimes asks herself, "Really? Will she never get it?" I don't think she REALLY does . . . well, I don't usually think so.

But she did ask me to ask myself some good questions:

1. Is this anger a red herring?
2. What am I getting out of it?
3. What purpose is it serving?

In discussing my sadness in regards to friendships and my experiences of loneliness (really of late compared to the recent past):

1. What does loneliness mean to you?

This was a difficult question to answer. I had never thought about. How could I describe it? It is a numbness. It is a lack of hearing others' stories. It is not being part of "something," something bigger than me maybe? Even just any "thing."

She said that what she sees is that loneliness means that I cannot see my "self" and so, yes, it is numb and it is empty. Because for someone (me) who is so relational having no one to interface with all day means I have no one to see my own reflection in. And this does not mean people who I can mirror or who I am similar to, but people. Interpersonal experiences.

Thus, I must wrestle with some internal demons. Some that I have already wrestled - it's like the 2008 Championships - Demons vs Heather.

Part of this, I have come to realize, is the impact of facebook and myspace. Feeling a false community makes me feel lonelier. In some ways it is great because I can connect to people I have not spoken to in well over a decade. In others it makes me aware of the gaps. Other times I just see that I do not get messages and experience the whole "last kid picked for the team" feeling. Either way, for me, it is this sort of false reality that, while it has its benefits, is risky.

Don't know if any of this really makes sense. But what I know is that I need to have a pretty clear agenda for the next week. A schedule - probably to the hour.

Starting with now.

I can read for 45 minutes. Then I have to go to an AA meeting for class. Then tomorrow dental "surgery" and more and more and more. . . BUT one day at a time with a dedicated schedule. My therapist said that if I am not doing homework anyways I need to schedule things like coffee dates or something. Or since I won't let myself watch TV in the day she said, "you're not studying, so study from 1-3 then you can watch something." Permission for tv viewing? She said it is like dangling a carrot.

(More on the role of TV in a healthy measure for creating relational experiences another time . . . )

For now? I need some carrots.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Hate Bipolar

Current state: Freaking out
Cause: Health Insurance
Problem: Multiple.

They claim they'll pay my doctor's visit, now they won't. I have to call them and write an appeal. I have to resubmit documents previously submitted. I have to call my old insurance company. I hate calling people when I am likely to cry and get upset, possibly unreasonably so when it is not the fault of the people I will talk to.

I have to not freak out when these things come my way.

My fears:

1. Can't afford my bills
2. Can't go to the doctor
3. Can't go to the psychiatrist (which I can't find one ANYWAY since their - Aetna but the crappy student version - website had few listed and most with wrong numbers - 9 out of 11 sought out were incorrect, of the 2 I called, 1 sounded like Vincent Price and the other? Her number was wrong too but I tracked her down with a different number and she has not called back. Guess I have to call Vincent again)
4. Get a psychiatrist but cannot pay them
5. My insurance won't pay for my meds which are almost $700 without insurance ($120ish with as long as I don't want my Lunesta - but hey, not sleeping is really good for my current state anyways)
6. Will freak out more because this is a really bad month for more to go wrong
7. This will kick up an episode - I just had a mild manic one, it's Fall which is the season for episodes and I don't want to hang out at EITHER pole.

I flipped out tonight, ranting about how anyone who doesn't agree with public health care is a bastard. I targetted Kyle's aunt because she targetted me previously about how my views on public health care are limited and that I don't understand the impact it could have on people like her (people with money and property).

My flip out? I want her to look me in the eyes and tell me that I am not a valuable enough human being to deserve health care and instead it is okay for me to suffer.
I want someone to look me in the eye if they believe this. (And I won't even start how looking ME in the eye is cake considering I am a person of privilege - albeit one who will be in debt roughly the worth of a house soon - but I am an easier person, comparatively, to say this to)

I need guts to stand up for my beliefs and I think others should get them to stand up for theirs. If you really don't care about people then you should have to tell them. Dehumanize them in person.

Shoot! My thoughts are not slowing down and the crying is starting again. No no no no no no no!!!!

Wow, why do I let things like this enter into cyberspace?

No self-respect?
No discretion?
A desire to let other's know what this feels like?
A need for a community?

It is not for pity I know that. Maybe for hope? For someone to validate it (other than my wonderful boyfriend who is calm to my crazy)?

I should try to sleep . . .

so . . . tired . . .

so . . . tired . . . hate . . . insomnia . . .

read for school for 2 hours.
went through and deleted like 300 emails.
categorized all but 30 more - some that need to be responded to others . . . it's 3am, so i don't know.

want to sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bread and butter . . . and fire . . . (written 11/08/2008)

So there was not actually fire, but there sure was a lot of smoke . . . and some awfully black toast.

My therapist is right, I need to treat myself to a toaster. She said that, after all, toasters were created to stop such burning of food and in my case sometimes flesh.

Once I move and get the counter space under control, I'm all about the $20 toaster. Mmmmm, not burnt and equally toasted on each side, toast. Fancy, fancy way to live.

Bread and butter . . . and fire . . .

So there was not actually fire, but there sure was a lot of smoke . . . and some awfully black toast.

My therapist is right, I need to treat myself to a toaster. She said that, after all, toasters were created to stop such burning of food and, in my case, flesh.

Once I move and get the counter space under control, I'm all about the $20 toaster. Mmmmm, not burnt, equally toasted on each side, toast. Fancy, fancy way to live.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Deposit is Down - Moving to Commence 11/30

What's that about a sweet 2 story, 2 bedroom, 1 bath townhome with a patio off each bedroom, giant closets, a pantry, a washer / drier, a dishwasher and a large patio off the living-space (no divide for a dining room) looking out at the pool? Oh, it's my new apartment? NICE.

Location isn't ideal. No pretty leaves outside like now and really no parking (1 spot) and a crazy busy street with no on-block parking - unless you don't mind being hit by buses or being towed. BUT fortunately I will be IN the apartment more than dealing with all that, once the car is parked that is.

It's really nice and the rent is only going up $25 from what I pay now. Well $12.50 each technically. :)

Now, just need to pack and move. Ugh.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Did he REALLY? A posting from Obama

Message from Barack: "How this happened"
From Barack Obama

Before his Election Night speech last night, Barack sent out this message to suppporters:

I'm about to head to Grant Park to talk to everyone gathered there, but I wanted to write to you first.

We just made history.

And I don't want you to forget how we did it.

You made history every single day during this campaign -- every day you knocked on doors, made a donation, or talked to your family, friends, and neighbors about why you believe it's time for change.

I want to thank all of you who gave your time, talent, and passion to this campaign. We have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and I'll be in touch soon about what comes next.

But I want to be very clear about one thing...

All of this happened because of you.

Thank you,


Oh, I thought we wanted a better world, not just our own agendas met. Silly me! Grrr.

The world, the country, does not depend on one certain issue. Things are so much bigger. The president is not the key turning point in abortion, gay marriage or many other issues. They are pieces. Yes, the most powerful person in the country, yes the best chance we have at changing for falling into miserable despair (i.e., the current status quo or worse) but there are checks and balances. The president leads us, he is not a totalitarian.

Here is something I was just talking about today. Part of the Progressive Christian Church is a movement towards consistency in certain areas. Like saying, if I am against abortion then I am also against capital punishment, war etc. If one murder is wrong, then why is another okay?

I am Christian, I do not agree with abortion, I think that there should be a lot of education around things, but I don't think that rights should be stripped. Not because I really even support the notion of "my body, my choice" or whatever, it is because there are times when horrible things happen, times when people are going to have abortions either way - and no, I don't think, as some have said to me, that it is their own fault so they can just go and have a back-alley abortion and suffer the consequences. I think we are a smarter people than that. Or should be. I think we should have humanity - for all!! And I don't think legislation should also determine the "rape only" and similar rulings, because then women won't really have any right to choose, a court will. Talk about government being in our lives.

Isn't that a key part of the Republican party? Less Government intervention? According to the Republican party the government shouldn't really be involved in our health care or helping the less-fortunate, or supporting people in general because we Americans can take care of ourselves. Hell why not privatize Social Security - because capable as we are, people can make better choices on their own. Clearly it would be that easy, I'll just go get me a financial advisor. Or not because people don't need help with understanding those things - I'm a very intelligent, well-educated woman and I couldn't do that stuff! (And oh, by the way, the stock market, personal investments, not too hot right now). BUT the Republican party does want: To be in our bedrooms, at our weddings and in our doctor's offices. Where is the logic in that? You can't have it both ways.

You can't decide that you are laissez-faire most of the time - you can claim it is laissez-faire business but not social - but then if you care about the social matters, then why not care about the actual people? If you want that baby born then you best be kicking down some better support systems. Because the "right" comes down hard on welfare but wants babies born by people who cannot care for them and they obviously WANT them born because so many are against ACTUAL sex-education in schools. Abstinence is obviously not the practice. So kids are being set up to fail and then forced into a life of ridicule.

Again, I do not agree with abortion and it sickens me how high the rates are and how many women and girls don't really get options or feel they have no options. I am heart broken by the lack of counseling services that come before or even after an abortion. But currently I see them as a necessary evil.

And frankly they are not the only lives being lost right now. People are dying everyday from starvation, from murder, from poverty, from the cold, from a poor (literally and figuratively) social and human services system where the workers are over-worked and underpaid, where the policies and red tape are insane, where the aviailability of needed services is rare. People are suffering from the divide of the rich and poor - the significant gap in the classes.

So, yes, babies are dying. It is horrible. But it can't be prevented without actually helping other people too. I'm not even starting on the murder of innocent people in times of war either or talking about other countries, I am sticking to simple domestic affairs. Domestic deaths.

It drives me nuts. And seriously if someone tells me they are against abortion and for capitol punishment then I would like to pull the plank out of their eye myself.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

. . . unyielding hope . . . that's a big statement

Tonight I felt what I imagine people felt many years ago when words of wisdom and hope fell on their ears. Words about a dream for a better society, for a nation that would rise up and live out the true meaning of: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal," words inspiring us to step outside ourselves, to ask not what our country can do for us, but what we can do for our country. These were words with power, goodness, richness and promise. Awestruck like a little girl, excited like a grown woman carrying the past 30 years in her heart, the fears, hopes, dreams, broken faith - in people, the world, politics, humanity, anything and everything at different points in time - I sat, watching our new President walk to the podium and speak.

Now, I am hopeful for the opportunity to play a part in rebuilding our country. Thankful for a leader who has faith in the people.

I am scared by those who want to crush this dream and saddened by those who, with big pocket books and fractured souls and sensibilities, cannot see the better good of many things. [In all fairness I imagine I wouldn't be seeing it the same either if things were switched, hence the whole cammel and eye of the needle thing - the world looks difference when your pockets are lined and you were born with well strapped boots -I am probably too harsh on those with greater means, I know this is not an across the board sentiment, even though it often feels like it]

It mgiht be easier when you have little more than the promise of debt to rely on to be lofty in your dreams because the only thing to lose then is your hope. But isn't that the most valuable thing to hold? Hope.

Tonight mine, and millions of people's, has been restored.

For a moment in time, a moment in history, I can hear the silence that resonates through the valleys and trees. The whisper is coming of a new season. Just like the first frost of winter or the first crisp morning of Fall. It is time for a new era.

An era of hope.

This time in our country, in our world, this chance to make a change - it's a gift - we best treasure it and make it live - brightly, loudly, truly, completely.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Morning . . .

I have only been at work for 2 hours, it feels much longer. I was going to hang out in the living room to watch election stuff with the guys, but there are 2 couches and they have occupied them both. So I will return to the office to write this and then go read in the dining room - at least it shows that I am moderately invested.

Anyway I was standing outside while one of the guys was out there smoking and it is this perfect crisp, or cold really, morning and the trees are all kinds of beautiful colors and somehow it made me think about how my life has been worked out.

I used to be a morning person, not that I am grumpy in the morning or anything, but like I could wake up in the morning and experience the day. But why was I this way? Because I had an early morning job. In fact so much of my identity and life is based on these jobs - time punctuated by employment. And for many years by the men that were in my life.

I have a pretty good memory, up to about 2002 when I was taking a medication that turned my brain all swiss cheesey and poor Jason had to put up with a girl who couldn't remember that we went on a vacation for my birthday - there would be this hole and I would say, "Hey, how come last year we didn't do anything for my birthday?" And he would say, "Heather, we went to Catalina, remember?" Once prompted scenes of that trip began to reveal themselves. Like how someone remembers childhood - once triggered snippets and sometimes whole stories come back.

Well, about those punctuations. I know myself by titles - sales associate, coffee girl, assistant, receptionist, probation assistant, youth worker, psych tech, manager, group leader - most of these are not correct titles, but these significant pieces of my life are wound around them - for better or worse. I can see my successes and failures. Dissapointments are often easier to see but really just in my last full-time job. I don't like who I was there, but I also always saw the worst in everything - it was pathetic. I like who I was in most other positions. I was cheery, excited, sometimes drained and negative, but more than not I was invested and not just because I HAD TO BE, but because I wanted to be. I loved helping kids, which meant actually working with them. I loved being an assistant - some would think that odd, but I got to make sure that my boss was happy and doing well. I loved to learn new things. I was not "management material" because I didn't want to be totally in charge. I wasn't ready and I was so burnt out on life and had no rejuvination because I didn't work with people. Especially younger people, even with struggling lives they still had these glimmers of hope in the most dire of situation - well not so much that last one I worked with, but I still believe that there has to be hope for her. Because I have to believe it and I want to believe.

I remember so much about those experiences - vibrant memories of emotion and relationship. The smell of coffee, the different presentations of me - fashion, demeanor, walk, talk, style.

Anyhow, this is already so long or I would move on to those other punctuations. How they were more of my view of my "self" than an actual internal self. I think I finally got me one of those - an internal self. I like it. It is how we are supposed to be.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Quest for a New and Hopefully Improved Apartment

You never realize exactly how much you love your apartment until a new landlord decides to evict you and all your neighbors with 30 days notice. An eviction that puts all of us at odds looking for the same two bedrooms in the same neighborhood. An eviction that comes right as the rains should reach a torential time in the season, all of my assignments in my crazy classes peak and just before the Holidays. Oh I'm sorry, we wanted to come up for Thanksgiving but instead we'll be moving. Maybe we can grab a fast-food Turkey sandwich. Maybe the 24 Hour House of Pancake & Steaks will serve up a holiday special.

So last night the hunt began. I drove by the many apartments I found on craigslist. I found the perfect one - sans the $200 rent increase - which makes it the, no way on earth despite it's awesomeness, apartment. I found one that looks like an unstable MC Escher painting and one that in the picture has an awesome spiral staircase but is on an incredibly busy street. There was a basement, no natural light cheap apartment but a questionable "Inn" (motel) right next store and the area is just at about the point where Portland turns into Felony Flats, land of the Prostitutes and drug runs. Yes, I am a snob.

See when I sit at my desk in the morning I look out at a pretty little unkempt yard with birds, squirrels and the kittens that unsuccessfully hunt them. I can walk to 3 different coffe shops within 6 blocks. When I go to my car I walk through the crunchy fall leaves of a beautifully tree-lined street. Of course there is the mold growing do to poor ventilation (?) in my apartment, the fact that it is freezing cold and that the bathtub has a gaping hole above it - but the rent is cheap, location awesome, trees pretty and did I mention I can look out a giant window and read or write at my desk?

Also I have to sale my beloved dresser. I love this 250lb 6 foot long dresser. But poor Kyle has moved this dresser for me 3x already and this would make 4. Seriously I love this dresser but it has to go, especially if I get a 2 story apartment. Or if I don't get an apartment at all.

I am whining I realize.

Well, back to work for reals this time!!

What day IS it?

I imagine I slept maybe 4 hours - most of those were restless and involved waking up in fear of over-sleeping. But here I am 1 hour into work and only 2 clients to spend the day with. I will get them up for medication and imagine they'll be back to sleep until at least 10. I'll read in the living room in hopes of an earlier riser. Not a bad plan for the day. However I don't really want to read for school - I want to read my chic-lit book. It's much more fun. It does not, however, require a paper written summarizing it on Monday evening.

If it did, it would go something like this:
In the vein of favored romantic comedies of the past, Carole Matthews, "Bare Necessity," is humorous, heart breaking and involves an uncanny circle of mistaken love and identity. Hilarious in the way that only British books can be Matthews provides fascinating and wildly entertaining characters. When teacher to children of the stars, Emily Miller, shows up in a naughty santa picture on the internet, posted by her long time boyfriend all hell breaks loose. Emily is stranded, living with her friend, Cara, a new age mistress journalist who accidentally aids in the publication of this story with photos of Emily posted all over the news. Thestory takes over popular media and Emily ends up lost, single and seeking a new life, love and potentially a new career. This madcap story keeps the reader interested and excited about where these characters will arrive next and how much power of the universe it will take to get them there.

See a way easier and funner read than, The Developing Mind: How relationships and the Brain Interact To Share Who We Are. Truely fascinating but reading it requires an intact brain. An intact brain tends to require sleep.

Back to work.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

To sleep perchance to dream . . .

I am only concerned about the dreams in the sense of the need for REM. What I really want is to be able to close my eyes and not be completely awake. Sometimes I lay there only to realize that not only am I awake but my eyes are wide open and staring at the ceiling. It's weird, that would seem that I am sleeping with my eyes open but it's something else.

I remain jealous of those who can sleep. I have been taking Valerian root this week but because I have to be up at 5:15 instead of 8:30 like usual I thought just taking my lorazepam and going to bed at 9:30 would be enough. Silly me. If I take the other stuff (Lunesta for example) I always risk over sleeping or having that medicated hang over.

I am tired and I think have managed to give myself these stomach pains from stress. Stressing myself into pain - I am a clever girl. :)

I also have developed I-Don't-Wanna-Go-To-Work sickness. It's the cold and flu that I've been fighting and have technically (sans that cold periodically) won. But lo and behold when do I feel it? When I know I have to wake up early and go to a job I don't exactly love.

But what should I be saying to myself: I liked it the last time, it is a well paying part time gig that is interesting and great for my experience. It helps me define what I belong doing. Or something in proper english.

I had a friend who used to tell me: Tell yourself you love it. Lie to yourself enough and eventually even you'll believe it.

Here goes:
I want to go to work.
I want to wake up at 5am.
I love work.
It is fun not boring.
I want to move.
I love packing - it is a chance to minimize my belongings.
I want to do all 11+ projects I have in the next 3 (2.5?)weeks.
I love the challenge.

So I'm GOING TO THE MATTRESSES! Literally and figuratively.


The Beautiful Messiness of Faith: Integration

The Beautiful Messiness of Faith: Integration

Distraction Retraction

I mispoke.

It is a distraction from my homework. But the two reasons I wanted the internet at home:

1. To write to my friends and family because I miss them
2. For school work

It is the bad side of my distractibility that is the problem. The one where I might as well be a kitten and I will just follow shiny things. At least the computer doesn't run around the apartment, I can put it away and get some work done. :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yes He Can

Can one person make a difference in this world? The other night someone said that they didn't believe that it ultimately mattered who became president - because who ever it was they would not be able to fix things - we have to fix things, they said. And they stressed that one man could not change things. I did not speak up.

So I will speak up here. One man can change the world. The famous Ghandi quote rings true here: Be the change you want to see in the world.

Obama is being that change - and he inspires me, and so many to be that too.

I just watched the 30 minute "ad" that he had made which came out tonight. Like the first time I heard him give a speech, I was left silent and with tears in my eyes. Tears of hope for a future that I do think my great grandparents believed in. When they came from Bristol, Oklahoma to Bakersfield, CA during the Dust Bowl it was with the hope for a better future.

My grandmother, with not a high school diploma, worked hard every day of her life and was so proud when my sister went to college - the FIRST in our family to actually go and graduate. She saw that there was hope, that hard work can pay off. My grandmother owned her own home, drove a good car and did what I imagine her mother wanted her to do, lived a strong life and provided for her children.

I believe in this country, I believe in its people (okay, most of them) and I believe in Barack Obama and Joe Biden. His platform hasn't changed, his motto hasn't changed, the only thing that will change is the country.

I know everyone has their opinions, but this is mine. We are lucky to have this man, this team. We are blessed to have someone who has scruples, goodness and brilliance - and also I believe humility and a sincere grasp on the importance of humanity, on the need for greater humanity, integrity and for honor to be returned to the White House and to this country.

When my friend said no one president has ever made a difference I thought, but that is not true. He said the only thing JFK did was become a martyr, he died before he could do anything. I couldn't refute him, because I don't know much about JFK and I was too disappointed in myself for not spekaing up to begin with! But he was wrong about so many other presidents he didn't say anything about FDR or LBJ, or Jimmy Carter or even the bad things that one president could do, like Reagan's impact on the mental health care system in America. One man can start the domino effect for good or bad.

I am going with Good.

John McCain is a good man, I don't mean to make disparaging comments on him personally - I am not saying he is a bad man, I am saying he is the wrong choice. He and his running mate will not help heal the country - the will help make things worse. It doesn't matter that they have done good things in their pasts (or not done them) what matters is their potential for serving the future. And they don't have what is needed to serve the future well.

Barack Obama is the right man. God Bless us with him as president and sooth the craziness of the violent and hateful people who are against him.

This is a chance for healing. A chance to actually fix things not continue to put bandages on gaping wounds.

Okay, I think I have gotten the point across.

I am humbled by Barack Obama and I am voting for him as our next President.

Internet = Distraction = Reflection

So . . . I have not had the internet at home for 4 months and I don't have an office job and am only at school when I have classes - so waking up to an in home internet connection has seriously distracted me. I got caught up on some emails, I changed (or tried to but it is weird now) my music on myspace . . . I did lots of non-homework things. And then I started my homework . . . but 2 pages in here I am at my laptop again. See it wasn't far away because I am listening to Bach on Pandora Radio. Bach helps me study.

I will get better. I have to get ready and leave for a couple of hours but upon my return . . . there will be only studying. Why? Because it is not optional. :)

On to other matters. I have been working on centering my self a bit more - seeking some calm. I get riled up fairly easily, though less than in the past. Lately I have not guarded my tongue like I am trying and have often spoken and felt awkward after. I am not reading my companions well before I speak. Maybe it feels worse than it is but I think it feels worse because it goes against that which I am trying to do. I am trying to LISTEN. Listen to the words, the tones, the unspoken.

In part I am trying to do what I will start doing professionally in just a matter of months. So I am NOT therapizing my friends but I am thinking about who I want to be as a clinician and as a better person in this life. And part of that is being present in other people's stories.

Also I am aware of how my strong opinions or tendency to take others statements as either personal or inflamatory isn't helping anyone. Even if it is personal - well it's their choice to throw something at me, I can catch it, duck or get hit. If I catch it I can respond or let go. If I get hit, I'll get reactive or hurt or even bitter. If I duck I have let them throw into the world what they want and not let it be mine. Own what is yours, not theirs.

Also I am aware of my current fortunate situation. Sometimes I start to panic about things like school work, the economy, the presidential election and subsequent dangers to the world, and about HOW MUCH IN DEBT I am becoming (a truely staggering number that will take my lifetime or more to pay off). Other's I think of how homesick I am and how many friendships I have lost in this distance and in my letting go of them (through neglect or meanness) and for my few friendships - some being tenuous or situational - here. But in the day to day (which is what I want to be thinking about) I am blessed and the little things can bring the joy.

I have been hearing the stories of friends and family lately - there is so much pain going on. I can't really disclose much but I have a colleague whose life has turned to, well, shambles. I cannot figure how to be any help or support. I don't know who can. I have other friends and family experiencing fearful situations with loved ones and loss. I hurt for and with them and hope for healing and grace in their lives.

I am not happy because I am not in a painful place, I am thankful that right now I am where I am. Life cycles this and that way, I know that. I am gifted with a time to reflect, pray and hope for my friends and family. To take responsibility for my part in things and support others, even if it is a silent presence.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

john's posting (10/28/2008)

In the words of (one of) my birthday twin(s)...

"The first step in any addiction recovery is acceptance that you have a problem.

Every night for the past two weeks, I have gone home and freebased honey...sometimes with peanut butter, many times without. I can't get enough. It started with the cheap stuff - Sue Bee, often considered a gateway. Then it's on to the coffee blossom stuff I brought back from Kauai. Late this week I moved on to the serious stuff - Tupelo.

I don't know if this addiction will ruin my life, but it certainly is out of control."

I lied

I went home. I think that the TV has magical healing powers, but only when you are in its presence. So I curled up on the couch and watched Northern Exposure - which is JUST like being in Human Growth & Development since my professor did show us a clip from it and say that there MUST have been a psychologist/therapist on set and in the writing room for that show.

Then I ate chicken noodle soup - the condenced kind that I love. And Butter Crackers!! (Club)

And then I took NyQuill and slept for like 13 hours.

I feel better. Not 100% but I figure I should tell myself it is 100% and then magically it will be!!

What's that about the power of positive thinking? Especially in someone like me who is WAY TOO mind over matter.

Back to try to sleep!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Why Am I at School?

I have a fever.
I am sick.
I got soup, but the smell of food is miserable.

Why am I not going home?
1. Tonight will be a good lecture
2. She will explain the big project due in 2 weeks

Why should I go home?
1. The flu is really contageous (contagious?)
2. I feel sick
3. I am sick


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Graduation Spring 2010

Well it looks like I can graduate in a year and a half! This is really exciting - but also scary. I have SO much to figure out for the "how to" make this happen. But I really want it to be then and not dragged out. Well part of me wants to drag it out but that is just the part of me that is afraid. Now, the problem? It will be really hard financially. And it will be absolutely crazy. I need to try to find an internship that will start in July as well.

Anyhow, I think this is the best plan. I think. I think. I think.

Other news on that, I am trying to decide what name to put on my diploma. I am thinking my professional name should be my maiden name. Ideally I will eventually change my name again (i.e., get married and take his name) but I can have a different one professionally. I am crazy and paranoid I realize but I don't want it to match that of the one people will know me as. Like clients vs friends. Just in case . . . there is really absolutely no reason to worry, but it's me and I indulge my neurosis sometimes. What to ya think?

Yay! Graduation!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Vision is TOTALLY overrated, right? - Did I spell that correctly? I can't really see . . .

Whilst walking to the coffee shop to work on my paper, look at a friend's paper and panic more about my paper . . . I apparently lost my glasses. And this is an actual lost. I have scoured for them, Kyle has too, they are gone. I thought they would be hiding amongst fallen leaves. The glasses are a copper color, the leaves brown and orange with tinges of yellow and red, some green. They would likely hide them well.

Now I think someone either stepped on them and threw them away or even better found them and thought, those are some awesome and probably REALLY expensive frames - I'm totally keeping them. Don't mind the girl who probably needs them to see! Who cares about that???

So I am wearing my old glasses which now feel ENORMOUS on my face and that are one prescription old - not too different. They are, incidentally, broken. Well they are staying on for now but in need of serious repair on their arm.

I am now going to have to return to my earlier punishment where I look like a 1950s librarian. Glasses on a chain around my neck. Not being Bridgette Fonda in "It Could Happen To You" I do not pull this off in a cute or darling sort of way. Just in a silly and sort of matronly way.

Back to studying . . .and wiping off the coffee I just spilled all down my shirt and face.

I am trying to find the bright side in today. Any suggestions?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

VP Debate - On a Serious Note

Joe Biden has helped make the world a better place and he and Barack Obama can help bring this country back to life. I have so much hope for this nation, as long as Obama/Biden win this November.

Joe Biden was brilliant tonight and the idiot pundits saying Palin "killed" and who are claiming that she won the night in some way were clearly NOT watching the same debate as me. It is insulting to hear that people think that her circular, unclear, "home spun", poorly phrased, buzz word responses were representative of the makings of a good debate.

Okay, I cannot write more now. I can just say that there is one path to hope for this country in November and there is one path for destruction. Can you guess which I see as which?

VP Debate - on a less serious note . . .


Soccer sidelines
Well, now's an important time to really figure out if the economy is good or bad.
End this war - no! - yes! - no! My son! Your son!
Tolerance. Tolerance. Tolerance. (I hate that word now)
No gay marriage.
Sure the "gays" can have this . . .
"That's for sure."
"Well darn't."
The Talibanee.

Wisconsin called - they want their accent back!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Day 1: tales from suburba-land

Looking across the park I watch the happy people. The moms, the one dad, pushing the kids in swings or on teeter-totters.

The tennis ball smacks back and forth across the net – hit better by the man in fluorescent green. Perhaps because he matches the ball.

The giggling gets louder; the partial nuclear families are flocking. 11a.m. – outdoor time.

The one dad looks out of place and a little disheartened as middle class moms take over the park – some with Starbucks in hand others just have it in their blood stream.

Is there a coffee cart in this park? This suburba-land? A station for an IV hook up where you can still see the swings?


He looks at the woodchips, his stomach starts to hurt. He feels like he is flying, faster covering more ground. And then a sudden jolt – a stop. His mother tugs at his sweatshirt and makes him place his feet on the ground ruining his swing experience. He can no longer be an astronaut and must now be an average 3 year old. So like mothers to spoil our dreams.

Inside there is a voice nagging that asks, will I be a mom like this? I won’t live in the multi-million dollar homes that surround this park, but it is only one neighborhood over from my apartment – a short stroller’s walk. Would I ever fit in? In my clashing cry of anti- & longing- (for) suburbia, can I truly join the community? Can I wear velour or soft cotton matching zip ups? Can I watch the 3 year old, hold the 10 month old and be cold because I’ve forgotten my sweater? Or must I be someone else? Would we be at coffee shops with the many pierced lips and watchful eyes? Will the onesies all be rock bands and hand painted? Where will we fit? Left of suburbia? Out in a country setting? There in the city? Or in the sub-city, sub-suburbia fringe? Will my little girl wear rainbow tights and half pig tails, run and squeal across uneven grass towards deep red swings? Will her 10-inch tall legs make it across the path? Will we need our own park?


There are many dads now. One so clever as to carry the bunny doll in hand, the frisby-ish device in the other hand and the ball to bounce in his sweatshirt hood. The older kids are getting here. Will there soon be a parade?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Bipolar Puzzle

Yeah, so I come into the coffee shop (oh my gosh I have to say my coffee at home is certainly not this good - oh tasty Italian Panache goodness in a cup!) and there lay New York Times Magazine with the cover of a blurred raged (or so it seems) child behind the words: The Bipolar Kid.

I have mixed feelings on diagnosing kids with bipolar. I do sort of prefer the earlier view of things - the depressive disorder as a teen, not considered truly bipolar til like 20 following a major episode. . . but what do you call it then? How do you treat it? I just don't know.

What did bother me was the "label" they used. The "Bipolar Kid" because there is no differintiation between the kid and a potentially HUGE and possibly debilitating disease/disorder. Nope it is just who he is. I have struggled for years to not be my illness.

For so long I tried to hide it - in fact no one could tell I was really bipolar. I was a little off-beat, depressed, passionate. Depends on what age I was, how you knew me, the setting. I was "eccentric" but sometimes I was just sick. I don't know, can bipolar be like a really bad cold? Or like consumption? Or some sort of illness that acts up every now and then? No. It is ever present but it is not who I am. What I am.

But it sure felt like it. Manic for months, major depressive episode, rapid cycling -also known as 2005-2007. I am so lucky for the people who were there through most of it. For the people who literally saved me from me. I felt like there was no more, that where I started and where I ended was enmeshed within an evil disease. BUT if I still lived that way, how could I live?

I used to want to be a great advocate. To travel and lecture on the fact that not all bipolars are crazy. But after I had that huge break down (again, 2005-2007) I lost my faith in that. I wanted to show how normal I was and that the face of bipolar could be a normal girl. The more people I know with the disorder, the more I lose faith in that. It is ugly, it can kill a marriage, frienships or take a life. But it still gets a bad wrap. No wonder people who struggle with bipolar struggle so hard and feel so isolated.

Bipolar was / is a buzz word. Someone acts abnormal they are probably "bipolar" like someone coughs they have the consumption, not a cold. Yes I realize I have used that term twice.

Okay, I have to go to work and work with the "schizophrenics" oh, no, wait. The men who have schizophrenia or something like it.

It's a crazy world covered in diagnosis, labels, identity theft (in the figurative way) and strange egos.

This sounds crazy doesn't it? Well, I am bipolar. . . (that's a joke).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Oh manic monday . . .

I started a fire. I should be banned from the kitchen.
Nothing burnt down.
But, that was the downside of my afternoon.

I knew we should've bought a fire extinguisher!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Academic Madness Ensues . . . or is it Insues?

Questions, like that above, are why I had to change majors in undergrad. English Lit was just wrong for a girl who can't spell.
Oh George Fox . . . somehow in my infinite wisdom I have managed to (sort of) fall behind in my studies. How is this possible? It is because both I, and my school, syllabus and professors, are disorganized. How hard is it to make a clear time line? Or to tell us what books to read when? I like structure - they like chaos. CLEARLY!!
So last night I finished my first treacherous paper and it was at the cost of finishing 2 books for tonight/tomorrows class (that' right, 2 weekends in a row and this is Fri. night 4:30 to 9:30 AND Sat. 8-5). Ironically I discovered that the interesting parts were really in the last 200 pages! Who knew? And now I just have to skim 150 more of the other book . . . but first I think I will go to the doctors, go fight with the pharmacy for the third time this week, call work and go to the gym.
I think I need more coffee for this - I might need an I.V. or to follow in the footsteps of Meagan and give it up all together and rely on natural energy (what?!). Apparently if I did this, on the rare occassion that I might drink coffee it will send me through the roof. That is unlike my current experience where the coffee serves as a tease to my tiredness, pretending it will wake me up and then falling asleep itself. Your caffeine should NOT take naps.

Okay, off to work!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Graduate School Troubles Reach Level Orange

It is my second full week of school and last night I had an unfortunate melt down. I was working on this annoying APA conversion thing and sort of flipped out resulting in two rather important pages torn out of my APA manual and a lot of crying. Was it really just the APA? No. I am sort of in a mild career crisis - trying to quickly think if this is what I really want. I realize one should think of that BEFORE they spend quite this much money but it is only in the actual Graduate School experience can I ask: Is this what I want? Can I even DO this?

I looked at my stuff from Azusa and apparently I was kind of smart. Ok, I am smart, I know that. But I took these hard classes with what I considered to be (mostly) amazing professors and did really well. And even though I had my doubts about my ability to make it, I never doubted that it was where I belonged. Never doubted that it was RIGHT.

Is it still where I belong? I guess in some ways it is a means to an end but it is just hard because I had such an amazing experience at APU. I miss the "trinity" and the set-up and even the campus. I miss it more than I can explain. This school is not well structured and makes questionable academic decisions, there is no consistency and all in all is not what I had hoped for. I guess that is saying that I had hoped. Wasn't it in part an escape from a miserable job?

I don't know. I am trying to put this in perspective. I can probably do it - it is just hard. I mean I look at my work from 2005 (APU) and it's good. For some reason I don't remember any of it (oh right, mania is a funny thing, like a mental eraser). I see that I have written things about topics I studied last Spring here, topics that I thought I was studying for the first time - weird.

Anyhow I am in class now studying my professors: Theological Anthropology of Human Nature. It is interesting, I promise. Confusing, but interesting.

Oh maybe this is where I belong . . . who else would find this stuff interesting? Hmmm.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day 1 - Not an Office Job

People are interesting. Some people strive to be, "normal" and people who qualify as "normal" take for granted what it is like to not have to try. I shadowed at my new job yesterday and met some of the guys I'll get to work with. They all have some sort of diagnosis in the schizophrenic realm. We get stuck - you, me, mental health professionals - on how people with such a diagnosis must be "crazy." And we imagine crazy to fit inside a certain sort of box. There was a guy, that I didn't meet but was told about, who has an alternate universe, a Utopia where everything is better. He firmly believes that it exists and is learning to reconcile it with this reality. The woman who was telling me about him said this: Who are we to really say it isn't real? To decide that there isn't something that we just don't see.
Logic tells us that we are to say, but our brains are wired in all kinds of funny ways. That guy is on all the meds that it should take to get ride of delusions, voices etc.; but they are still very real for him. That is what led to that statement.
One guy talked about how he processes the things that aren't real - how talking about them when they are happening can help distance him. Hearing how he works through this was fascinating. Listening to him and realizing how desparately he wants to not be noticed as different was, well, it's hard to say exactly what it was. See, he's the sort of guy that you would NEVER notice was "different." A handsome kid, energetic, bright and he happens to be schizophrenic. I guess when things get bad for him they are terrible, but otherwise you would never know. Unfortunately for him meds require cycling a lot, meaning they don't work as long as you would hope without you needing to alter them.
With my bipolar I can relate, not in the same way exactly, but generally speaking. If only doctor's would listen though (they don't because if I am not actively trying to kill myself and am still able to function when I have to so clearly the meds are working JUST fine).
Crazy isn't what you think. It is different for each of us. It is real for each of us. What some of us used to say in the crisis center and people I've known who have working in locked mental health places: Sometimes the biggest difference between us and the kids in there is that we have the keys.
We aren't all so normal - and other's aren't all so crazy. I mean it isn't the same but you should be thankful for your good mental health. We should open our boxes a little too.

Always the Cute Girl

There she sat - pig tails in her hair.
She was 21 years old.
She was a grown up - she kept saying.
Almost 22.
At work every morning and school most nights.
She was getting married someday.
She was always a cute girl. Always adored.
She was always a cute girl, sometimes little more.
Flashes of red, black, grey and deep blue -
The cute girl was almost 22.
She dreamed things would be normal.
One day they would feel fine.
She curled up at night and balled her hands tight.
She was always a cute girl, sometimes little more.
She cried in bright red. She screamed in deep blue.
Her floors were hardwood and windows closed tight.
The draft was strong, the comforter light.
She painted. She sobbed. She'd spin in her room.
Her home was so small - but enough room for her dancing feer.
She was always a cute girl, just a little off beat.
Soon things would be normal.
She bought a pretty white dress.
Found the right man.
Painted the right life - with her brush.
No more finger paintings for this grown up cute girl.
She hung flowers in doorways, a perfect day.
She was always the cute girl - and well on her way.
She was a grown up - less bohemian than before.
She had new things and wore button down shirts.
She combed her hair straight.
She wore pretty girl skirts.
She forgot how to dance.
She forgot how to cry.
She lost the cute girl - there was more inside.
She'd always been the cute girl.
Where is she now?

Monday, September 8, 2008

And so it begins . . .

Today I had the HR orientation for my new job - don't be mistaken with this meaning I was oriented in the slightest about my actual job, I just did fun paperwork. Oooodles of fun.

It is funny, I feel really overwhelmed. You see, I went from famine to feast as far as responsibilities go. I had NOTHING for a long while and now I have 2 jobs and school and just thinking about it sort of stresses me out - which is really silly.

I think I am very afraid of on-call work, which is what I will be doing, because I love stability. I mean, I am happiest when I have a full time job. It is predictable and it is scheduled and for a rather chaotic girl (internally at least) I love me some structure. Today when I went in for my orientation I saw the people in the building, stopping into one another's offices and I thought, "(sigh) I wish I worked in an office." What?! How did THAT happen. I miss a desk and wouldn't mind some paperwork and a place for my coffee mug. Sigh, apparently I long to work in an office with recycled air, deadlines and bad florescent lighting.

As for the struggle with on-call, I work best when I am confident, of course. And I am confident when I am well indoctrinated and know what I am doing and who I work with. Change really, really, really scares me.

Oh well. Time for a lot of it.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Coming soon to She's a Work in Progress' blog: "How John Hughes Can Ease the Politically Ravaged Soul"

"How John Hughes Can Ease the Politically Ravaged Soul"

Soon I will share tstory of heart break (Sarah Palin and the lady from ebay) and restoration . . . (The Breakfast Club at the replay house in the Clinton district, SE Portland). Like Xanax for the politically ravaged soul, John Hughes restores my faith in America (sort of).

But for now I have 425-ish miles to drive . . .

Friday, September 5, 2008

Trees and Desert and more trees then . . . a prison town?

Here I am in the Hilton Garden Inn in good old Redding, CA. Actually, who knew? Redding is beautiful. From my hotel window you can see the river (the . . . River, named after the . . . tribe). Anyhow, Kyle and I drove down here to meet my Dad and his brother, Albert, to change cars. I have officially inherited a 1984 Mereceds named Mel, it's yellow and apparently has more issues than I thought - but I'm thankful for it. At least it doesn't need a new transmission . . . yet. Not like Tommy the Tank who is on his way to LA as I type. Why do I not like the 9 year younger and better car? I just don't know. Some iron deficiency in my brain maybe . . .

So it was only 425-ish miles to get here, which in my head did NOT translate 8 hours (7 driving, a good lunch and gas and one rest stop due to dizzy car sicknessy feelings), but in reality it did. But Southern, OR is lovely, albeit freakishly long. From Portland to the tip (I live off of i5 exit 301) to Oregon and down to exit 675 in California. Growing up I don't remember the exits being numbered, if I had I would've had a better idea of how big the state was or where we were located in it. In Oregon the names of the exits are far less useful than the numbers.

So, I still don't have the internet at home since I am waiting to find out if everyone will be evicted since the building sold - or if our rent will just go up. I never thought I would hope for my rent to go up . . . but I prefer it to moving! Thus I have forgotten how to be interesting in a blog.

On the road again . . .

Monday, September 1, 2008

A New Kind of Post . . . a new blog to accompany it

Here are some thoughts I have had of late in regards to faith, the church and life. I will post my first of these blogs here and then I am going to have a blog that is more spirituality specific, it can be found at:

I wrote this last week in response to some readings I had for school:


I want for tradition, I long for roots. In my life I have craved many things, but none so true as these: the peace that I have experienced in the presence of God, my need for true community and the taste for history in my faith. As a Christian I am tied to millions of people that I do not know. As a teenager I found great comfort in this – I knew that no matter how alone I felt that there were kids in other cities, in other youth groups, schools, homes that had similar struggles, but that also shared the same hope and faith. When I was lonely this brought me a strange sense of community.

Now I am 30 and I still long for community and roots; those in friendships and in worship. I have not attended church in a long time, and lack in community. My lack of attendance has much to do with my decision to claim myself as a non-practicing Christian, though not a non-practicing believer. This is a matter of practicing in the public sense, I felt that since I do not exemplify what I have been taught, and have in turn taught others, that I should not attend a church because I would feel dishonest. I preferred to abstain from church unless I was living by the rules that I have prescribed to fit God, though many of these rules are based in the tenets of Christian biblical teachings –they are also to fit man’s incarnation of God in the modern church. Which leads me to this question: Would God have me be separated from His people (through my own actions mind you) because I do not than abide by these precise rules?

Some have deemed this an act of self-condemnation; because I believe that I do not meet the standards that I once set for myself. But the question is: Are those standards or are those legalistic rules? Having previously lived in what was possibly a relatively black and white view of the world and of Christianity I have struggled greatly with what it means to experience the different colors of the world in light of the pure beauty and light of Christ. I was asked today why I thought things had changed for me and I said that I feel I once lived in a safe box, things made sense. In that box I knew right from wrong and could define the difference – it was not supposed to get this messy. “Why then,” she asked, “did you not go back into that box?” And the answer is both simple and true, “Because I no longer fit.”

For the last few years I have found that when I crave God I also crave community and history. It is as if there is a call for tradition woven into my bones. I blame Madeleine L’Engle for bringing into focus my want of something more ritualistic, for craving something liturgical. And now this desire for something with a calendar and prayer book, something of an active history in a living church has grown and the more I read the more I long for it in my life.
The problem? I have always misunderstood the practices of what I defined as “traditional” churches. I was brought up to believe, or at least with the room and often guidance to interpret, that the role of Saints in a church, for example, was usually an act of idolatry. Perhaps in some cases this is true – but in many cases it is not.
When my sister began to attend All Saints, the “mecca of liberal” (I quote) Episcopalian Church(es) there were a few things I did not like about it. First was the liberal stance of the church, the churches permissiveness (or what I viewed it as). Second was what I perceived as the role of politics in the church – essentially mixing church and state in a way I was uncomfortable with. The third and final reason, it seemed painfully boring. The rising and the kneeling, the script that was handed to you when you entered (25 pages! Detailed, word for word outline of the service!!). And if that was not enough, communion that felt forced and condemning instead of freeing and that, well, used real and relatively bad wine. I could not see any imagination there – I did not feel alive. But I also did not want to see anything I liked there, which may have had an influence on my experience.

That aside, at the heart lay this: My longing is for roots. Now, I don’t mean to say that the contemporary protestant church is lacking in roots because it is not, but perhaps those I have attended are lacking in what I desire to practice. In reading Kathleen Norris’ book The Cloister Walk she discusses the saints and their presentation at the Institution in the monastic community. Sharing the story of Saints is anything but idolatry. It is an example of God’s work in the lives of His people. They are people who lived with such depth that sharing their stories is a beautiful opportunity.
I want an ecumenical calendar. I want a prayer service. I want a Sader. I want a community of imperfect people that I can love and who, despite my poor and improper practices, will love me.

Negative capability . . . [is being] capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries,
doubts without any irritable reaching after fact and reason. – John Keats

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Quick Question . . .

I have worked with some pretty crazy kids . . . does anyone think I can work with a former rapist, and / or former axe murderer? I mean the latter is in his 60s. And there was seriously co-morbidity going on (lots of drugs with serious mental illness). But, really, can I? I am trying to decide this. Opinions are not only welcomed, but requested. This would be some interesting experience and, well, I could probably study on my shifts there . . . hmmm. And, well, I need a job, I want to work with adults, but I am also very focused on working with survivors. Can I work on the otherside??? Oh, the youngest client is 49 and I am sure they are all heavily medicated . . . so safety, not so bad. I hope.

House Warming

In short - because I am outside and it is raining and I am waiting to be picked up from this cold coffee shop patio - seemed to be a success. Maybe I was wrong about the whole friends in Portland thing. Maybe it is coming together. So there aren't deep roots like old trees - but there are awesome people. And one knew what weebles were - that's right they wobble but they do not fall down. I could go all metaphorical with that . . . but I won't. More on this later but in short, I am just happy that it went so well and for the wonderful people who came. I gotta say, the people who were playing catchphrase in my living room were people I would NEVER have imagined playing catch phrase together. It was highly entertaining - hilarity definitely ensued.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cars & Computers = Crying = Curse is Proven

Just a side note really . . . all cars I encounter are cursed. Sort of like computers. To protect all such things keep them away from me.

Here is my evidence:
Age 17, 1997, I get Seymore the Toyota (EVIL money pit 1981 Tercel)
Age 19, 1998 I get Geeves the classic Mercedes
In 1999 whie driving him I have to take him to the doctors so I borrow my dad's car (aka the Blazer aka The Death Trap - death by sand and random problems with the car turning off whilst driving), that car breaks down. I borrow my sister's car (aka "mycar" - its name) it breaks down. This is all within 2 weeks.
Age 21, 1999 I get mycar the Nissan, spring of 2000 mycar gets totalled on Hwy 101
Age 21, 2000, Frank the Truck is purchased, a reliable Toyota that is randomly rear ended by a Mercedes SUV who takes off
Age 23, 2002, Toby the Amigo, I fall in love with Toby, best car. Love him. Random acts of internal death rendor him useless and he is purchased in a relatively shady cash exchange and moved to Costa Rica, never to be seen again.
Age 25, 2004, Cricket the Beetle is purchased on eBay, a trek to Chicago and travels on Route 56 to home
Age 27, 2006, Bring Beetle to Portland and it is fine . . . until Spring of 2007 really.
Age 28, 2007 Belief in the imminent death of the Beetle is rising
Age 29, 2007 Tommy the Tank, a 93 Mercedes is borrowed from parents in LA
Age 29, 2008 Tommy & Cricket exhibit different but equally disturbing behaviors, they are driven back and forth for a few months
Age 30, 2008, Tommy's secret transmission problems are revealed and a $1500 min. bill is made clear while Cricket remains dead in my driveway
Age 30, 2008 - passionate hate of cars grows

2001 or 2 or 3 Holly Preston the HP is purchased
2006 Holly has a random and irreparable death
2006 a mistaken purchase of Gertrude the Gateway is made, shortly after her keys jump off the board on a fairly regular basis and eventually (by Christmas) she spits broken plastic out of the disc drive
2007, Tina the Toshiba is sent from my BF4E in Denver (pity? perhaps)
2008, Tina is struggling to breathe having gone through 2 power chords in 6 motnhs, she has chugged along for some 7 years faithful to humans, but she needs rest
2008, Dolly the Dell moves in. Let's hope this story does not continue for sometime . . .

The curse is not lifted. Feel free to pray for my cars, doomed finances and computers. Ack!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Gift of Therapy (stolen from Kristie's blog, "Growing Up Loved")

My friend Kris posted a beautiful blog and in it was the paragraph below, something she was told by "Grandpa Mel" who is in his 80s at this point. I am posting it here for 2 reasons: 1. We rarely get this gift in human form, we get unconditional acceptance and someone who intimately knows our story, weaves it with us actually, from Jesus. 2. For those of us becoming therapists it is important to hear this. Dr. Manock (one of my favorite professors) speaks a lot about how privileged we are to be in the room with the client - it is a gift to hear this person's story and we need to be humble before it. That being said here is Mel's take:

"You know after Bernice died I was real sad. She was the center of my universe, and well it's been really hard so I went and started going to see a counselor. Do you know that this counselor is really a lovely woman and the only thing she wants to know about is me. She hasn't got an agenda. She just wants to know about me. So, we talk for the hour or so and she gives me the gift of unconditional acceptance. When I start to get real self-critical, she won't accept it, but helps me see that I can accept myself too. She's given me a real beautiful gift. I hope you will give that to people. You know, all they need is someone to want to know them and then you know...people just bam! blossom! They just become. It's the best medicine ever you could give someone," Mel finished.

He is telling this to my friend Kris who is a Director of Children's Ministries and who has, for as long as I can remember, loved to help, serve and work with kids - I bet she does give this to them.

I hope we give this gift to people in our own lives too.


I’m homesick. Ever since I went home it’s like I’ve come down with the California-fever . . . and not the one on TV or in movies where you long to surf or lounge under shade-less palm trees – but the one where I just wish I could call up my friends and meet for coffee, play board games or chat. I know I can “chat” from here but it isn’t really the same. It isn’t the act of making new memories.

I love Portland. But I miss home. I was looking through a list of friends, planning to have some over for a BBQ and I realized that my list of local friends was very, very short. That is not including my mutual friends that Kyle brings to the relationship, which is great – but it isn’t totally the same (except for one successful shared friend). I have my new friends at school and, from my old work? I realized I don’t really have any. There are some that I miss, one that I really miss, but it just looks like those 2+ years were what jobs often are, jobs with co-workers. That would be okay except on nights like tonight, or days like today, I really miss my friends from home and it would be nice to believe there was hope, probably the wrong word, but something here, in some way that things felt different. It takes time . . . I know, I know. But, anyway, this sounds all pathetic, but it is just me being homesick.

Kyle says we cannot both be sick – but he has the flu, that should be gone in 24 hours. When will this go away? In many ways I hope never, but maybe it could feel a little less like it does today. Well, there are dishes to be washed and clothes to hang up . . . so the domestic goddess will return to her work. Or watch The OC, you know, one or the other.

About Me

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Portland, OR, United States
I am a daughter, sister, friend, wife, counselor and colleague. I am a work in progress. There may be some pieces out of place and things might be messy, but it's okay. I would rather accept that I am still unfinished than think that this is it. You can find my comments on faith and spirituality on my blog: And my comments and anecdotes on life at:

Books That Matter. Well, some of the many that matter.

  • Magical Shrinking: Stumbling Through Bipolar Disorder, Chris Wells
  • Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen
  • An Abudance of Katherines, John Green
  • Dave Pelzer
  • Franny & Zooey, J.D. Salinger
  • I Was Told There'd Be Cake, Sloane Crosley
  • The Cloister Walk, Kathleen Norris
  • The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are, Daniel J. Siegel

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