Thursday, December 31, 2009

goodbye, 2009.

my year in review:

i went to the sugar shack. and to israel, in the middle of a war. i hit a person in a crosswalk. well, her suitcase. i saw wicked. i was completely overwhelmed in life. i went to tahoe with my family and brought the roommates. i worked with late age adults and at a pace program. i interviewed and got a job with kids. i started sharing what i'd learned about dementia. i traveled to chicago with my mom and we saw oprah. i saw some good movies like paper heart and away we go. i thought a lot about feeling exactly what i'm feeling. and giving "strong" people a break. i made bread. and i baked and baked and baked. but only until july. i met a grouch. i spent easter in yosemite, again. i got to be in julie and nathan's wedding. i worked at usf. i heard sam beam live, again. i said goodbye to dan. i said no more to my easy availability and you who freely takes. i threw the best three day birthday party. i voted in may. and november. lisa and chase came home. lisa came to visit. we swung on swings. i went sharking and the fish left the sea. we tried again in september and had success. i graduated with a masters degree and impaled myself. i made my own big girl car purchase. i had a very bad night on may twentyeighth. and redemption occurred on june eighteenth. i drank a lot of wine with five sixths of the informed ladies. kristy and alex came to visit, twice. i went to a few weddings: micah and cg, zack and laura, julie and nathan, brett and janelle, chris and tim. i rode in a hot air balloon. dwight talked to me. i realized that i love the contemplative tasks at martin's. i became not-the-youngest at martin's. i went camping in santa barbara with my family. i said goodbye to al; oh what a terrible day that was. aiden and maddy were born. miles arrived. i got officially licensed as an intern. barb died. i went to san diego for italian food. i became pretty good at the neutral face. i traveled to kansas city. i experienced true fear in november. we visited keith and leslie in napa. i joined yutes. i rode a trolley with the yutes. sean came to town. i went to the sugar shack, again. and i realized i have some intense allergies.

and that's normally where i end with these recaps. but this year has been different in all the years i've been writing on this thing so it calls for an addendum: two thousand nine can be separated into distinct halves... school / graduated. working for free / getting paid. joy / loss. but if there's one thing that was constant through the entire year, it was the wisdom and loyalty of three friends who prayed for me when i had no energy to pray for myself. these were friends who allowed me to question; what does it mean to be good enough? they reminded me to sit in my pain and not know the answers, caring for me as i consistently lost control and adjusted my expectations. and they held me when i realized it was about me and they reminded me when it wasn't. and if there's one life lesson that i am continuously reminding myself, it's that i can't change you; i can only change myself.

goodbye two thousand and nine; i'm indifferent toward leaving you.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

i tried to make one of those lists.

but didn't get very far.

the best birthday gift: lesley's emailed video.
the best political quote: “Let’s cut to the chase. Let’s just do one amendment that deals with gay illegal immigrants who want abortions at Gitmo.” — Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), responding to the Republicans proposals during an Oversight Committee markup.
the best dinner: foreign cinema.

then i quit. because i haven't packed for tomorrow's ski trip.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

almost time to say goodbye.

to two thousand and nine. year in review video by jibjab.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

christmas traditions.

it may not be the longest set of traditions, but whatever.

i always spend christmas eve night on the couch at my aunt and uncle's.
i always get woken up between six and seven to watch the opening of the presents.
i always go back to sleep after the commotion.
i always see a movie. and sit in the front row because we arrived late.
i always fill up on the most wonderful meal made by my uncle.
and i'm always grateful to be with my family.

my twentysixth christmas warmed my heart and fostered an even bigger sense of gratitude. making space for advent this season created a bigger purpose and more meaningful christmas, too.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

made me laugh.

"i think you're going to get promoted one day. you're more organized than the container store!" said to me by abbey. on the day after our six month anniversary at our agency.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

dinner seems more fun than shopping.

we postponed the third annual gingerbread house making party and spent the money on dinner at nopa. i suppose you could call the choice selfish or lazy, but i prefer delectable. i mean really, forty people with crappy candy treats or three bellies full of fresh and local cuisine paired perfectly with a pinot bianco? the latter. most definitely.

i have not completed my christmas shopping. in fact, i've purchased two of seven gifts. i'm currently a hot mess.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

i learned to screen print.

if you ever come to san francisco and choose to stay awhile, workshop is worth your time.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

don't wear an underwire bra.

that's what an attorney told me today. odd? not really. i was telling her that i'll be visiting a PRISON soon. and that was her advice for me. apparently the last time she visited a client in prison they made her remove her underwire bra and put on a janky ol' thing from THE BOX of gross non-underwire bras. made her.

i think i'll take her advice since i'm going to PRISON. for a visit. because occasionally when you can't find kids' family in the community, you find them in the prison. and BAM. you have a wealth of information about the paternal side of things. (or maternal, depending.) and now we've got a family tree and then we conduct a us-search and then, what do you know, there are people related to these kids who CARE ABOUT THEM. and the good news? not everyone who's in prison is related to prisoners.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

following through.

i think i've realized that something i deeply value is follow through. there's real power and trust built when someone does what they say they're going to do. must be the reason the words what i believe is not what i say i believe; what i believe is what i do sit by my bed.

yesterday we celebrated trent's twentyseventh. funniest guy i know? quite possibly.

Monday, December 14, 2009

seven days.

you have worked way too hard for way too long to let seven days come between you and your freedom. literally, your freedom. i'm hoping, just hoping, that the color of your skin and the way you look are the reason behind this.

[i really have to stop crying at work.]

Saturday, December 12, 2009

dumb, dum dum dum, dumb.

another email that can be categorized in the best of two thousand and nine.

the subject line read: "thanks for not dumbing it down..." and it arrived from my all time favorite professor at westmont. it was sent to twenty two women who sat in her class at some point in time and did their best to not dumb it down. the email contained a link:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Gretchen Carlson Dumbs Down
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

here's to renewing my commitment to not playing dumb.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

one of the best emails of two thousand nine.

i received this email tonight...

a conversation I overheard:

"Yeah, so the class was kind of a waste of time."
"I know, that teacher's weird."
"Yeah, she's like an ex-Jew and teaches marriage counseling, but she's not even married."
"What can she know?"
"Yeah, why would they let some single, Jewish lady teach marriage counseling?"
"Waste of time."
"And she made us talk about porn!"
"What does that have to do with marriage counseling?"
"No idea."

Perhaps I should have spoken up, but this did make me think of you though (on the spot, I promise). And how relieved I am to know that single, Female, Jewish, marriage and family therapists are upsetting young Christian girls all up and down the coast.

holler. i'm so glad i could have been the person these girls were talking about. didn't you know that because i haven't experienced a traumatic event, i can't help with ptsd? or because i haven't been addicted to drugs, i can't help addicts? shit, guess i'll stick to working with middle class white girls in their twenties.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

when i listen to beirut's newest cd.

i feel like i am at the electrical parade at disneyland.

side note: today i met one of the creators of invisalign. and he'll be overseeing my teeth straightening up process. i guess i'm in good hands.

work update: i'm gaining hours and understanding the work more. fourteen days until my six month anniversary, which is pretty much like a six year anniversary at my agency. go me, go.

weird weather: it hailed in san francisco yesterday. and later a snowflake light came on in my car. not sure if the car is confused or if san francisco is confused.

last random tidbit: i was getting my tire fixed the other day and the guys at the tire shop thought it would be fun to fix the tire while i was still in the car. normal, right? sort of. cause then they started to raise the car up, WHILE I WAS STILL IN IT. so there i sat for a good ten minutes, suspended in the air, while they laughed at the confusion and terror on my face.

Monday, December 7, 2009

bring this into your vocabulary, part two.

merriam webster just emailed me and asked me to define intellectual sex, one of my all time favorite terms. of course i obliged.

main entry: intellectual sex
pronunciation: \ˌin-tə-ˈlek-chə-wəl, -chəl, -shwəl, -chü(-ə)l\ \ˈseks\
function: noun
date: 2008

: the sum of stimulation between two minds in conversation.

i don't often say there are many things better than voting. but intellectual sex? it's better.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

continuing the search.

two people on completely different life paths have dinner together. and learn they're searching for the same thing, and probably always will be.

sean is one of the most authentic people i know from my time at westmont. the opportunity to spend time with him doesn't ever get passed up and i'm always grateful; he teaches me about food and silence and thoughtfulness and giving. he is probably the least judgmental person i have ever known.

i think he thought i was texting someone when i took this photo.

Friday, December 4, 2009

trolleying with the yutes.

"merry christmas, sir!" we yelled. and we danced. and we caroled. but for some strange reason, the most memorable moment was singing journey's don't stop believin' with the kids. and they knew every word, even though they weren't even born when it was released. hell, i wasn't even born in eightyone.

and there's something about being with these kids. they're the ones who aren't my clients and who i don't work with. it feels different. i can't quite explain it but i feel calm and natural around them. and so. i think i'll stay awhile.

all this in continuing the mission to surround myself with givers and people who appreciate me for me, and not something i can't ever be.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

answers to the [rhetorical] questions would be much appreciated.

the other day i thought of dan when i heard joe purdy on the internet radio. i emailed him and said, "hope you're well?" the question mark was an invitation to respond. he'll know that's what i meant. but it was a day of questions.

why are my hands so dry?
why is faking it 'til i make it so hard?
have i really done my best?
what would it be like for women to not use their bodies to feel desired?
what does it feel like to be from the middle east living in america?
when did language choice become so important to me?
why do i have trouble trusting you?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

it brought me way back.

one of the girls in the high school youth group had a choir performance tonight. oh man, did it bring me back to the days of black velvet topped dresses with a crunchy gold poofy skirt. kimberly laughed hysterically when i told her i was in the blazer choir. i'm not sure why she thought it was so funny-- she must not have known that choir was cool at my high school.

that's all.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

giving thanks for kids who will grow up with [relatively] healthy lives.

riley brushing miles' teeth.

me, ella and cousin brandon.

clara, ella and riley are intrigued with baby maddy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

driving to the celebration.

thanksgiving, that is.

looking forward to belly laughter and reminiscing.

Monday, November 23, 2009

which one of these is not like the other.

supporting our crisis line and a great show. oh what a night.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

i always love napa.

but i love it more when chris and hope fly up and we gather at keith and leslie's for a weekend of relaxing. rips the pup loves me too, so that makes it even better.
chris, hope, dillon, dan, julie, trent, me, leslie, keith.

Friday, November 20, 2009

the most helpless i've ever been.

last night was my worst night in san francisco.

two friends attacked. different locations. one at gun(s) point, one with pepper spray. both sets of attackers wanted the same thing: iphones and wallets.

last night, i was utterly helpless. thank God, really, that my two friends are alive.

Monday, November 16, 2009

the joy in life.

is hugging you, deb, with tears in our eyes and our bellies pressed up against each other as we both laugh deeply about something that isn't funny at all. but it's how you cope. and in this space, i am with you.

rejoicing with those who rejoice. mourning with those who mourn.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

this lady works.

while at laura and zack's wedding rehearsal, a few people revealed they read this thing but they had confusion because it's pretty unclear what i do for work. and in thinking about it, i guess i've never told you so i'll take the time to do so. not because i think you really care, but because my grandparents called me the other day trying to tell me to change careers. the light went on in my head: i don't think my family knows what i do and how much i like my job; they just hear about the crazy stories and tears, which probably sounds awful. with that said, i certainly don't want to be dooced, so bear with me in my explanation.

i am a registered marriage and family therapist intern. i am trying to gain three thousand hours of experience in order to take a really hard licensing exam. once i take (and pass!) that exam, i will lose the intern ending and just be a marriage and family therapist... i'm in the midst of getting those hours.

so far i've earned six hundred hours working with late age adults who, for the most part, had dementia of some sort. i love love love late age adults. i miss them terribly and hope to work with them again in the future.

now i work for an agency that i will not link to here. i work in a community based system of care called wraparound, specifically with foster care and probation youth. it's fun and hard, especially when i have to give the neutral face. it makes me cry, A LOT. every day is different; no client is ever the same.

wraparound, huh? ya. it's hard enough to explain so i'll just tell you that it's the highest level of care one can receive, assuming they are still part of our community (as in, not in a locked facility or hospital). i don't so much sit in a room with kids doing fifty minute therapy sessions. it's a lot of case management and unofficial therapy for all team members. it's behavioral; trying to figure out antecedents as well as the function of a behavior. it's sustainable; we try to utilize as many natural supports as possible (the people who aren't paid to be present in the kid's life). it's the most challenging thing i have ever done, hands down. one minute i'll be doing a treatment plan and the next i'll be problem solving for a kid with somatoform disorder, or even in the emergency department for hours on end. i'm often leading team meetings or making cold calls to find my kids' bio-family members. my job is insane; it's like finals week ALL THE TIME. you always can be giving more (or, in the case of finals, studying more). it's a major test in boundaries, that's for sure.

i can't tell you the hours i've spent crying while simultaneously reading VOLUMES of reports from these kids' child welfare workers. they have been abused and rejected. they have the worst odds of succeeding. they have been born to fail.

and if there's anything i've learned in the last five months, it's that [these] children are the most resilient beings on earth; they are so loyal. they are fighting like hell to stay above water and do what it takes to make it in this world. and these days, they are the reason i'm getting out of bed. i am privileged and i have something to offer; even if it's just a little empathy and even less hope. this really is the Kingdom of God at hand.

Friday, November 13, 2009

getting older is.

going to bed early on a friday night because you worked too hard all week.

it's also creating better boundaries so you don't become a workaholic.

either way, i'm getting older.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

i'm beautiful, he likes my hair and i have nice shoes.

what more could matter in life?

Monday, November 9, 2009

my two worlds collide.

a really cool agency was featured on npr's the california report this morning (listen here). though i don't work directly with the intensive treatment foster care program, it's a good summary about foster care and the direction it's going.

we still have a lot to learn.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

my job is not hip to the kids.

one of my younger clients told me i embarrass her and she hates me and never wants to see me again. i thought, on the scale of big deals, this is NO big deal. i've been spit on and seen things no therapist should ever see. bring on the hate, buddy. she went on and on and on while i did my best to keep my neutral face and not roll my eyes.

and then i got a hold of her reality and my empathy. i really did embarrass her when i talked to her at school. she doesn't really hate me, she just hates that people keep leaving her and i'm the newest member of the team. she's protecting herself from when i might leave. she's brilliant, really. resilient, too.

it ended with her still pissed off at me. who wants to tell their friends that they have a social worker or therapist and that they're a foster kid? last time i checked, that's not a cool thing to have or be. so i sucked it up. i owned that i made a mistake and totally embarrassed her. and i sat there, eating my humble pie while she walked back to class. i tried to remember what it was like to be a pre-teen. i was so impressionable. and so is she.

always learning something new: waiting by the water fountain for you to talk to me first.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

word to the mental health professionals.

make sure that when i google you, i can't find your facebook page where you are dressed up in an inappropriate outfit. and also make sure i can't see your twitter feeds, ya know, the ones where you're complaining about work.

our kids are just as smart as us. they will google you and find out all that you post, just like i did today.


in case you couldn't tell: a duck, mr. potato head, tinker bell.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


recent jaw drop: it made me say DOUBLE YOU TEE EFF. can you believe this? i'm surprised the judge wasn't fired before he quit.

recent deal: invisalign. thirty percent cheaper at uop and ucsf's dental schools. holllllllller! yes, i'd be seeing a student but also a professor. totally worth it, right?

recent observation: everything on twitter is about following. how do you become a leader?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

friendly reminder from your neighborhood voter.

it's the first tuesday of november, pretty much my second favorite day of the year.

as the drama ends in afghanistan, it's a good reminder to get your vote on. today. utilize your privilege and do something with it.

oh, what's that? you didn't know we vote today? that's okay. go here and find out where you need to be before the polls close. hurry, you're running out of time.

Monday, November 2, 2009

the iphone is changing my family's life.

all of my sibs have iphones, it's official. i noticed it today when my sister-in-law, courtney, sent me an email with a photo of her newly earned dublin marathon finishing medal. the bottom of the email had the "sent from my iphone" message.

i write this not to be pretentious, but to tell you that the weekly voice memos and video clips i get emailed to me from my nephews who live eighteen hundred and seventy four miles apart is revolutionizing not only our communication, but our relationships. i am in awe.

sort of related side note: i highly recommend the family plan with whoever your cell phone carrier is. saves me thirty dollars a month. booya.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

the secret to apple pie.

is thinly sliced apples. (thinner than the ones in the photo)

best sunday in a really long time, anyone? church, facials, and making a beautiful mess in the kitchen.

julie and i made: armenian apricot soup, curried apple couscous, and FOUR gingery apple crumb pies (with thinly sliced apples, of course).

i am making a conscious decision that this week is going to be better than the last: too many tears, spit, and headaches. thank you, michele, for the best cheer-up-cause-you-kick-ass card.

Friday, October 30, 2009

winks and brows.

my mom and i ventured to kansas city last thursday through sunday. my brother, daniel, and his wife, autumn, have a two and a half year old, samuel, and a six week old, aiden. my mom told samuel that we would be having a four day party so the kiddo was high on candy and the excitement of presents the entire time. apparently you can throw four day parties if you're a grandma.

the trip included ribs, too many mcdonald's ice cream cones, an iphone adventure, a gingerbread house, going to a pumpkin patch, lunches and coffees and dinners, candy stores, river fire down the missouri river, a fire truck, a carriage ride and live jazz.

miss my fam already!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

okay samuel, you can have one pez.

"wait. buddy. where'd all the pez go?"

"in my mof, aunty em, see!"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

universal plane rule.

i would like to pass a bill in congress. no, i am not a senator or a congressperson. however, yes, i am an informed citizen who has much experience with sitting in the middle of three seats on airplanes.

the middle seat is so awful. you can be stuck between two people who hit it off and want to talk over you the whole time or you can be sitting next to someone who thinks it's okay to pass the imaginary boundary line of thigh space. but the worst? the one thing that we should make into law? the arm rests. if you are the one who must endure the middle seat, you should be entitled to both arm rests. BOTH. not one or none but BOTH. it should be like compensation for having to fly in such awfulness.

call your local congressperson or senator today in order to fight for your armrests, and your rights as an airplane goer.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

she doesn't know i'm doing this.

some of us were fortunate to get an email from our dear friend michele stating that she FINALLY started a blog. and some of us were fortunate to know michele while we were in college. and some of us were even fortunate to get to work for michele after college. but few of us are fortunate to call michele our mentor, wisdom provider, or tell-you-how-it-really-is-no-bs-involved friend. if you don't fit into any of those categories, i feel very sad for you. HOWEVER! now she has a blog. which means you can fit yourself into a NEW category! it shall be called the fortunate enough to read michele's blog category. now go. bookmark it and soak it up like a sponge. what are you waiting for? go, already!

mm: the pressure is on. password: spoon.

Monday, October 26, 2009


is not fun when it lands on you.
is not fun when it intentionally lands on you.
is not fun when it intentionally lands on you from an angry person.
is not fun when it intentionally lands on you from an angry person who you're providing care for and have been working your ass off to see get better.

actually. i can't really think of a time when saliva is fun.

this is it. i'm in it. it's the trenches. ladies and gentlemen, it's community mental health and today i was spit on. (and, to be honest, it got FAR worse than that.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

well needed vacay.

i'm back and ready for work. an update with photos and details to arrive at a blog near you soon.

and while i sleep tonight i will think about samuel saying, "i wuv you auntaem!"

Thursday, October 22, 2009

stinky kicks.

i'm realizing that all the shoes i have that are cheap are all the shoes that stink.

i'm deducting: quit buying cheap shoes. or ones made with fake leather. or! start wearing socks. nah.

i'm in kansas city, eating bbq food, i'm sure. hanging out with sam, sammy, samuel. the two and half year old that says "wuv you aunty em!"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

aunty em times four.

today madelynn grace was born to my brother adam and his wife jenn. riley is a big brother to a precious girl who is healthy and a whole seven and a half pounds. photos to come soon.

i'm leaving tomorrow in the am for kansas city. as someone at work put it, why the hell would you go there? well, i wouldn't if it weren't for my other brother, daniel, and his wife and their family. i heard i'm supposed to eat some ribs and pulled pork or something. we'll see.

my latest contemplation: investing in invisalign for my teethsies.

Monday, October 19, 2009


i can't help myself. i see a cookbook that i want and all of a sudden i need it. and then i own it. it all happens so fast, i don't even know how to explain it.

it's drugs for some people. clothes for some women. and me? it's cookbooks.

i'm a freak. and a consumer. guilty as charged.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


i started work at seven o'clock on wednesday morning and i had a four hour break between two and six am on thursday. i just got home and it's six fifty eight on thursday evening. thirtysix hours minus my four hour nap equals thirtytwo hours of work.

all i can say: san francisco general hospital really is as real as it gets. holy shit.

and i still like my job. weird.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

i hung out with a priest-in-the-making.

and he said something that made me stop in the middle of my bite of spicy tuna roll.

i ignorantly asked, "is it fair to say that protestant denominations are the same as catholic orders?"

and he said, "no. not at all. protestant denominations have different theological beliefs. all orders [are supposed to] have the same theology. their difference lies in their focus; some focus on social justice and some focus on the contemplative life, for example."

GET OUT. you mean to tell me that catholics are on the same page regarding fundamental theological beliefs [for the most part] and it's the protestants who are reading different chapters, if not different novels? no way. i am so naive.

if it were my nineteen year old self at the dinner table, i would defensively respond, "at least the protestants have a personal relationship with jesus." thank the good Lord my narrow lens has been expanded.

of course he said all kinds of other really great things about life, causing me to tear up and think about death and phd's in organic chemistry and post docs and solitude.

Monday, October 12, 2009

dear men who i hold dear to my heart.

blog post removed because a friend of mine reminded me that i made a commitment to not be passive on my blog.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

last week i baked again.

it had been ninetyeight days since i baked in the kitchen. and then i broke my spell. and now i feel like i'm feeling again.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

alone but not lonely.

the boys are gone for the weekend.

excited about:
not falling in the toilet.
walking around naked more than i already do.
turning off the heat. pansies.
riding their bikes. (dillon, if you're reading this: i'm the best hipster around. i figured out how to fishtail on your fixed gear and i didn't even wear a helmet.)

all jokes except the toilet, heat and nakedness. miss you already!

Friday, October 9, 2009

it's all about the self care.

so i went to get a massage today and my friend (who subsequently is my massage therapist) had the song touch my body by mariah carey playing in the background. hahahahiliarious.

this is not a joke. this is my life.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

the current state of my affair.

recent obsessions:
politics, music and drugs by slowreader.
passively reminding people to put the seat down.
voting in approximately twentysix days.
thinking about and avoiding change.
catching up on dooce. something about unfollowing?
greys, pp, and b&s. crying my eyes out every time.
"all songs considered" while straightening my hair.
figuring out how to not pay my parking tickets.
cleaning out my sig bottle. vinegar?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

you're surprised i can't function without facebook?

how about functioning without a microwave?

since the boys and i moved to this not-as-nice-as-the-last-place-house, we've been microwaveless. and it hasn't been that bad. until tonight.

something about melting butter for these amazing chocolate chip pumpkin muffins. i was at a loss. i stood there, looking at my oven for a good minute and a half. this can't take that long, right?

well, i'm here to report that melting your butter in the oven at threehundred and fifty degrees takes about twentyfive minutes. it's pretty much like waiting for your toast to toast when you're in a hurry and already late for work.

other than tonight's experience, i highly promote going microwaveless. it really limits your frozen food intake. (like i really care about that.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

the neutral face.

[if you know nathan, then this post will make more sense.] i am realizing that i'm getting really good at the neutral face. so good that i'm doing it when i'm not even meaning to! it's becoming a habit.

the neutral face is exactly what it sounds like: a face.. that's neutral. you can't tell what i'm thinking or how i'm feeling. i'm just listening and trying to wonder and understand more about you. i first learned it from nathan and it's being refined at my job. i started doing it with my clients and it's becoming very useful.

"i dropped acid last weekend for the first time. care to join me?" neutral face.
"do you have a boyfriend? i want to hook you up with my uncle. he's on the streets right now, but he'll be clean soon." neutral face.
"you're sort of round." neutral face.
"my goal in life is to be a teenage dad." neutral face.

it's definitely a learned skill. practice practice practice.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

laura and zack got married and all i have to show for it is bloody knees and elbows.

i wish i had photos to show that laura and zack got married. and that it was awesome.

a westmont reunion, incredible dancing and a relaxed couple.
i had so much fun.
we ALL had so much fun.

the ceremony was hilarious and my tears were jerked. the rings were delivered on kittens and john and nancy's words were powerful. laura's uncle pretended to be her parole officer and the photographer rocked, especially when laura strutted around in her heels and spanx. the wedding party followed my directions and the djs had everyone on their feet (thanks sean and bo). chris mollkoy showed me that his moves are legit and michele and anna totally stabilized me.

it was a success. and a goodbye to the twothousand and nine wedding season.

congratulations, laura and zack! YAY!

ps. no more coordinating unless you can confirm that there will be no blood. i'll give you sweat and tears. but no more blood. or broken toes, for that matter.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

today is my last wedding of the year.

laura and zack are getting hitched! (read: westmont reunion.)

more details and photos to come.

Friday, October 2, 2009

he cried when she died.

this picture says so much about who barb was. (pictured: the dalai lama, barb's partner, barb)
"rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." romans twelve:fifteen.

still mourning.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

dollars and forks. vote vote vote.

on tuesday, my friend teri called me up: hey, what are you doing tomorrow night? i'll be with a client until about six. why, what's up? have you ever heard of michael pollan? the guy who wants me to eat real food and more plants? yes, that's him! ya, i've heard of him. do you want to hear him speak? GET OUT! my day totally sucked until you called! so.. you want to come? YES!

so we went...quite the dynamic speaker!

the good news: i'm now inspired to read more than the bits and pieces i've read before from his books.

the bad news: he was preaching to the choir. it's nice to talk over and over to affluent white america about food and health (especially in berkeley). but it's not them/us who need to hear it. it's the people who we classify as low income. it's the ones who are type two diabetic and on the verge of heart disease. it's probably not you if you're reading this.

so now i feel stuck. his message works for me but not for everyone. and my reality is that i hold the privilege to make a difference. the question that won't leave my head: how can i help influence food choices in my community to help the poor? how can i actively stop the perceived and real gentrification that is occurring around food?

deborah dunn told me i vote with my dollar. michael pollan told me i vote with my fork. at this point, it's the same difference, really.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

it's the week anniversary.

of the ban on flavored cigarettes. (read: CLOVES!)

booo, ban, booo. even though i don't have the habit of smoking cloves, i'm not going to deny that i enjoy one every once in a while. not anymore, i guess.

Monday, September 28, 2009

remembering barb.

one third of the master mind that is martin's passed away on september thirteenth. i attended her memorial yesterday and i realized what an incredible woman barb was. when the dalai lama heard of her passing, he cried (not a joke). when barb spent time with mother teresa in the eighties, she roller skated around as they discussed who was their favorite, mary or jesus (also not a joke).

if there's anything that i learned in the short time that i knew barb, combined with all the words said about her at the memorial, it is that the highest form of compassion is giving without expecting anything in return. and that is what barb did and who she was. she defined compassion.

read her obituary here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

it was a first for me.

gem organized a progressive dinner. am i so boring that i've never done one before?

wine and cheese at kimberly and dan's.
salad and appetizers at stephan and robyn's.
main course at the golden girls' house.
dessert at the cole house.

it's nice to know so many people in nopa.
maybe you should move here, too.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

hip hip.


i haven't received my actual paper license that i need to post, but i have received confirmation that i'm OFFICIALLY LICENSED. (ie: if i make a [big] mistake, my ass is grass.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

unconditional care.

the non-profit agency i work for has this idea... it's one that is strange in the field of community mental health. in fact, we might be the only agency in san francisco who follows this principle. it's called unconditional care.

what do i mean? well, i work better in examples. let's say i'm working with a client who is draining. exhausting. kicks. bites. maybe even threatens homicide or suicide. (what? not my clients. never.) and i've had it up to here (take your hand and position it right above your forehead, almost like a salute). i could walk into my boss' office and say, "THAT'S IT! I'M DONE. IT'S ME OR THIS KID!" my boss would sit back in his chair, take a deep breath and probably say something like, "unfortunately, it's you. see ya."

okay, okay. maybe it wouldn't play out quite like that. but my point is this: we provide unconditional care. all of our kids have faced rejection after rejection. group home after group home. we are their last resort. and we aren't going to give up on them.

now, i tell you this not to boast about the great agency i work for. but to tell you i'm tired. yesterday was my birthday and it was the worst work day yet. by far. the crisis (defined as: all the adults don't know what to do) snowballed and got worse as the clock ticked on. this great birthday dinner i was supposed to experience felt like it was going to get canceled. i cried in front of my boss and muttered something like, "worst birthday ever." at which point he felt horrible because he had no idea it was my birthday. it was a bad, bad work day.

and then i laid on my bed at home, waiting to attend the great dinner. and thought: why am i doing this? why am i tired and exhausted and overworking myself? i sat in silence for a good while; my brain trying to function. and then... it came to me. i really do believe in this principle. and i really believe that the world can change because of this one simple idea: no child will be ejected from our services because of their challenging behaviors or service needs. EVEN the client who took part in ruining my birthday day.

of course, a few friends and pear cider came to the rescue. and the top seven best dinners i've ever had. here's to my three month anniversary at my job. cheers.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

an open letter to myself.

dear emily,

you would like to think that a fourth of your life is over. it could even be a third, or somewhere in between. i think you should be optimistic and say that a fourth of your life is lived, rather than over. either way...

what i know about you after being with you for the past twentyfive years: you struggle with rejection, acceptance and control more than anything else in this world. your alcoholic beverage of choice is wyder's pear cider. you spend an enormous amount of time listening to kai ryssdal, terry gross and ira glass. you are sensitive. language choice is extremely important to you. you care deeply for your friends. you try to use your privilege to help those who do not have what you do. you value what people think of you. you don't always like your family, but you always love them. you really enjoy getting things done. you are curious. and you love God and you are enamored by your sin and His grace.

and in this next twentyfive years, i hope you get better at: living with integrity, generosity and humility. caring less about what people think of you. developing as a therapist. drinking more water. being kind. doing the best you can, especially when it is good enough. flossing your teeth. serving others. using your words to help and not hurt. loving yourself. being gentle. and knowing how to love the people around you, by giving of yourself without forgetting any of who you are.

you are doing a good job.


Monday, September 21, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, twentyfive of twentyfive.

more than anything else in this world, i value being known.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

the wedding of the century is over [insert sad face here].

we cried, we laughed, we danced, and we took a million photos in the photo booth. julie and nathan's wedding was perfect; people were comfortable and God's love was reflected in the entire celebration. exactly what they wanted.

all the bridesmaids at the rehearsal:

san francisco bridesmaids (wimberly, deb, julie, me, pryor, mary flynn):

all dressed up, about to get on the trolley:


me and julie:

the dance party at the reception (sf ferry building):

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, twentyfour of twentyfive.

therapy is vital to the well being of my existence.

takes one to know one. or: takes someone to have had an incredible therapeutic experience to want to give that to others.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, twentythree of twentyfive.

i am privileged because of the color of my skin. it's what i do with that privilege that truly matters.

ps. today one of my best friends marries her best friend. i'm also privileged because i know her. and him. and now them.

Friday, September 18, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, twentytwo of twentyfive.

it's [generally] not about me.

in my teenage years, it was all about me.
in my twenties i've reminded myself to quit wishing it was about me.
i'm sure by my thirties i'll be living in reality. ehh, probably not.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, twentyone of twentyfive.

some friendships are for a reason, some a season and some forever.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, twenty of twentyfive.

[i'm learning] not to judge other people's romantic relationships.

married at nineteen,
twice or thrice divorced,
never married,
or married at sixtyeight.
i'm not in it.
i don't know the story.

and there's certainly not room for more
than two people in a romantic relationship.

i'm constantly reminding myself that there's always a story.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, nineteen of twentyfive.

[folk] music has healed my heart.

there's something about a stranger putting words to my feelings; feelings i didn't even know i had.

Monday, September 14, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, eighteen of twentyfive.

thin skin for you. thick skin for me.

i try to live by this.

when i'm advocating for someone, i think about this.
when i'm talking about race, ethnicity and privilege, i think about this.
and when you tell me i suck, i [try] to think about this.

imagine what the world would be like if we all did this?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

three times an aunt.

well, four if you count miles.

aiden charles was born on thursday, september tenth at six twentysix pm. yay for a healthy boy and sister-in-law, autumn!

autumn, daniel, samuel (two), and aiden (two hours):

precious aiden:

big brother samuel and aiden:

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, seventeen of twentyfive.

thank you notes and hand written cards are the best way to show appreciation. technology has made the practice less and less common... which is why it is more and more valuable.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

reelin' in a fish... and a bird.

a spontaneous trip to san diego made itself to be well worth it. i'm excited to be eating yellowfin for the next month.

carter, me and my twenty pound catch-- a yellow fin tuna:

two twelve pounders that were reeled in at the same time:

this bird ate my bait and barfing kelly played veterinarian to save the bird's tongue:

carter, me, mom:

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, sixteen of twentyfive.

"...a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody." samuel pepys.

it's true. i've learned that there's something about food and eating together that changes the dynamics of a conversation, a relationship and a disagreement.

Friday, September 11, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, fifteen of twentyfive.

making a regular time to volunteer has taught me how small i really am. and how much i really have.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, fourteen of twentyfive.

communicating with inanimate objects (ie: cupcakes, clothing and hair) makes the world a happier place. and it mostly reminds me not to take myself so seriously.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, thirteen of twentyfive.

balancing hope and my expectations is difficult.

especially when it comes to friendships.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, twelve of twentyfive.

be prepared, be confident and realize there's [generally] no need to fear.

when i worked at the urban program we would have a person speak to the students about the importance of being safe in the city. this talk never got old to me; i loved every part of it. i think it was because so much of the message could be translated to tangible behaviors that i could accomplish: know my surroundings, have a plan, carry my cell phone, etc.

today when i walked through part of san francisco's public housing (aka the projects) where people don't look like me, talk like me, or have the same financial status as me, i was not scared. i didn't think to myself, "holy hell! i'm going to die here!" or even, "this is unsafe, i might get raped!" instead, i walked tall, knew my destination, had my cell phone in my pocket, my whistle (not even kidding) on my keychain close to my person, and had a plan. i also had realistic expectations: homeless people aren't going to hurt me, people who live in public housing aren't going to shoot me and i'm not going to be abducted by some crazy on the streets of san francisco.

now, i'm not saying none of this couldn't happen. and i'm not saying that it's not possible that i'm in the wrong place at the wrong time. i am, however, saying that i've learned to be street smart. i've learned to quiet my anxieties and be realistic. and i've figured out that there's generally no need to fear.

Monday, September 7, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, eleven of twentyfive.

feelings change like the weather. it's what you do with them that matters.

this relates to me as a christian, therapist, friend, and katz/smith/carter family member. actually, it relates to me as a human. and you, too.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, ten of twentyfive.

the cost of making an effort far outweighs the enormity of doing nothing. (especially when it comes to voting!)

for me, an example of this would be taking part in the blog, "informed in 08" with five friends. we set out to research and become informed for the two thousand eight election year and i'd say we were pretty damn successful. it doesn't matter who we voted for or that one of us was a poll worker, it matters that we took the time to learn, engage and discuss our right as citizens in the united states.

i've always said i wouldn't date a non-voter. mark my words.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, nine of twentyfive.

doing something as a side job because you're good at it is totally worth it... especially if the idea of doing it forever sounds awful. and if it means you get to bless dear friends in times of UTMOST STRESS. (fyi, if you didn't know, planning a wedding for some people can be equated with going to hell and back, twice.)

shout outs: yay for anna j, jenn k, leslie w, janelle s, julie y, and laura o getting married!

Friday, September 4, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, eight of twentyfive.

my siblings (and hopefully yours) will always have your back. blood really is thicker than water. [thanks boys!]

Thursday, September 3, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, seven of twentyfive.

"don't let your school loans hold you back!"

i was told that in the midst of my extremely expensive private school education (who's a snooty white girl now?) and i'm doing my best to make ends meet. but i've made the conscious choice to not let my school loans defeat or paralyze me. the lesson is that my life cannot be controlled by my finances. especially because education really is the best investment you can ever make (a recession can take your house, but not your education!).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, six of twentyfive.

i worry about the smaller things, never the big stuff. and i am sometimes defeated by this anxiety. the lesson is the coping skill i've learned: allow myself to be an external processor and surround myself with friends who are expert listeners and know the appropriate time to give unsolicited advice.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, five of twentyfive.

different families have different rules.

i say this all the time to my clients and to myself. this was something i learned early on but it's the reality that there isn't one way to do family. (obvious, right? not always. if you're like me, it's easy to fit yourself into your own perception of an american dream.)

Monday, August 31, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, four of twentyfive.

traveling and living in amazing places is great. but it's not worth it if i'm doing it alone or with people who don't know or understand me.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, three of twentyfive.

dating when i'm lonely only makes me more lonely.

story: february and march of two thousand and seven. we were both lonely and we attracted each other. and it ended because we had the realization that we weren't what each other needed. and so we stopped. you taught me a lot, though. you were the first one to voice, "you will know how much a person cares about you by their actions." in that short amount of time i realized that i wasn't a romantic girl who needed surprises; only thoughtfulness which made me feel known.

when it ended i realized i was right back where i started.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, two of twentyfive.

my screwdriven finger extravaganza symbolizes risk to me. all the risks i take are accidents, never planned.

lesson learned: surround myself with risk takers.

Friday, August 28, 2009

lessons learned in a quarter century of life, one of twentyfive.

i shouldn't drive for more than two hours if i'm going to be by myself.

story: i once got pulled over for driving north on the one-oh-one when i was behind a cop and i fell asleep at the wheel, swerving across three lanes. it was the first time i was ever pulled over so i somehow got out of the ticket. it was also the first time i got pulled over when the cop was in front of me, oppose to behind me.

lame life lesson? nah. totally a good thing to know about myself.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

just an observation: it's a problem.

i went to the calworks (welfare) office today. i realized that there is a fundamental problem with our country as not one person waiting patiently in line was caucasian. not one person.

yes, i am in the city and county of san francisco which is abundantly diverse. and yes, i was uncomfortable waiting there as i stood out like a blond girl in uganda.

and then i sat there. sunk in my chair, unnerved at my realization.

there. is. something. wrong. with. this. picture.

and i have no solutions to this problem. but i start with the realization that this is, indeed, a problem.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

goodbye, ted.

"Edward M Kennedy - the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply - died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port [Massachusetts].

We've lost the irreplaceable centre of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever.

We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all.

He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it's hard to imagine any of them without him."

no thoughts. just a sad heart for the american family who has endured so much tragedy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

blowing bubbles.

finally made it to the dna lounge for bootie (bi-monthly mash up party) and trent made it in the newspaper. out of control. let's just say this was a true san francisco experience.

Monday, August 24, 2009

tightly wound.

i had a fantastic and redeeming conversation with my boss today. i asked for feedback and then mentioned that i needed him to tell me i was wound tight. (what?! who does that.) because if he told it to me then i would have to relax. makes sense, right? not so much. his response, "i will not say that to you until it's affecting your clinical work. and at this point, it's benefiting you."

there went that plan. i guess this a journey i'll have to travel alone. (i hate that idea.)

calling all loosely wound people. influence me!


a weekend with no plans.
a weekend with no responsibilities.
a weekend with the freedom to catch up on my life.

it's been a long time since i've been ready for work on a monday.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

a san francisco secret.

that's not so secret anymore.

NOPALITO, a sustainable organic mexican kitchen. so close to my house.

it opened probably six months ago and i just made an appearance with kyle. everything about it was incredible: local and organic good tasting food. cheap. rad ambiance. strawberry sangria. the best four dollar tostada i've ever had. a cute waiter. it had it all. put it on your to-do list for when you come to san francisco.

ps. it's good to be friends with someone else who's in a romantic relationship with their job. makes me not feel SO crazy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

show me your friends and i'll tell you who you are.

that was said at the rehearsal dinner last friday night.
it's sort of hard to swallow.
for me.

blah blah blah.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

what do you like about your supervisor?

for the purpose of not wanting to be dooced, i have removed content from this post.

....i'm just trying to make an "i like this" / "i hate this" list. regarding supervision. THIS IS NOT EASY, PEOPLE.

last week my old supervisor asked me why i'd been working so much. i starred at him for about eleven seconds and then shifted my head so i could look straight and only see him out of focus. the clementine formed in my throat and one tear fell from my eye. "i'm working this much because i have a lot to do. and. well. i'm doing whatever i can to avoid my personal life." and then many more tears fell from both eyes. he asked if i wanted to talk about it. and that's where i drew the line. i've learned enough about keeping the professional professional (and not personal) to know that i could answer but then it would warrant follow up responses. so i declined. and that was it. he didn't pressure me. he didn't dig. he didn't even give me manipulation eyes. and in that moment, i felt totally known by someone who has known me for all of fortyseven days.

all that to say: top on my list of what i like in a supervisor is someone who cares enough to ask, even though they can sense rejection is on the other side.

Monday, August 17, 2009

quote for the day.

i sent out an email titled, "MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR PROBLEM."

the response received was: "Cheer up, he could turn out to have the personality of an asshole!"

here's to hoping he's just that. julie says he's not. great.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

once upon a time.

brett and janelle got married. one year of awkwardness and two years of love-- it was about time.

highlights from the weekend:
coordinating the day. it was a total success. yay!
anna reading a letter janelle wrote three years ago about brett.
seeing friends: meg, jess, sara, adam, nick, etc.
rain, the site coordinator. (that's a lie)
the wedding party, in general. especially hayley on crutches.
janelle's tupperware experience.
brett's dance moves. out of control, really.
lunch with the mollkoys.
lattes (or hot chocolate) with anna, leah and crew.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

one thing i've noticed lately.

when people know there's something wrong,
instead of caring for you,
they run.
makes you wonder if they even care at all?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

the almost middle of august.

monday and tuesday had tears.
wednesday had hope.
thursday brings driving.
friday equals bouganvilla cutting and directing.
saturday is love and coordinating a smooth party.
sunday is for reminders and reflection.

Monday, August 10, 2009

completely devastated.

you see, i've been seeing a therapist for over a year. it's been one of the best experiences of my life. how often do you get someone to sit with you and listen to your thoughts and feelings without them relating it back to their personal experience? or someone who doesn't even know what it means to judge? or someone who knows more about boundaries than henry cloud himself? practically never. (which is generally a good thing- relationships need an element of personal experience. it would be a one way relationship if you just talked about yourself the whole time, right? right.) i digress.

with graduating from usf includes losing my (not so free) free therapy. tomorrow will be more devastating than today as i will say goodbye to my therapist. and it sucks because i would say (and i think michele and julie would agree), i could use his help in processing NOW more than EVER. damnit. bad timing.

i completely promote therapy for all genders, ages, shapes and sizes. my experience has been different as i have no dsm diagnosis and i didn't start going because i had this "problem" to "fix". i went to keep myself in check and to be consistently reminded that i can't change people, i can only change myself. (maybe the most important life lesson, ever?)

i guess it's never really goodbye. more like, see you later. cause let's be honest. his voice will be in my head for at least the next seven years.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

chris and tim, marriaged.

throughout my masters program, katie, chris, tara and i ate a lot of godzilla sushi between classes. we occasionally studied and we mostly just laughed a lot. and then chris got engaged and we got invited. it was yesterday at the sir frances drake hotel. we dance dance danced.

tara, me, katie at the cocktail hour.

tara, chris, me (with some hot dance hair.)

tim giving chris the "we talked about this" look.

i am slightly jealous as chris and tim are on some island in greece and moving on to paris next week. tough honeymoon, eh?

Friday, August 7, 2009

and now for a something a little more lighthearted.

lines from this week:

"so. i'm not getting my professional needs met. can i get some help with that?"

"i really think you should shadow my cousin. she helped this virgin woman have sex after being married for thirtynine years. pelvic floor stuff. fascinating, really."

"i'm allergic to broke."

"please say san quentin is a small town with cute little people and not just a prison?"

Thursday, August 6, 2009

i should be overjoyed.

[when i have the magic touch.] being in the midst of a major depressive episode and, for SOME REASON only God knows, you chose to get fresh air with me.

[when i think about what i've got.] i have two parents who love me, siblings who think i'm great, friends who write me emails titled, "reasons why i love emily," a graduate degree, more than one pair of jeans, the luxury of grocery shopping at the end of the month, and a roof. i may live in a closet, BUT I HAVE A ROOF.

and i SHOULD be overjoyed because (today) i had the magic touch and i SHOULD be overjoyed because i (always) have a support network. but i'm not. my heart hurts when i come home. and my eyes are eternally heavy from working twelve hour days and my brain stings from attempting to treatment plan.

the way i see it, i've got two options. suck it up, get used to it and become jaded. OR continue the way i'm doing things and live in permanent sadness. obviously i'm being dramatic and obviously there's a balance between the two. it's just a matter of navigation.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

what are you doing to take care of yourself?

going with the bff on opening day to see paper heart. can't wait.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

have you ever written a mental health note?

i hope your answer is NO. i hope you never have to write a mental health note... or medicare note. no bueno, no bueno.

i've been writing so many of these dang notes that i'm starting to think in mental health note language. for example, i was being consoled by my boss and i was thinking to myself, "supervisor worked with employee by normalizing and offering alternative solutions. supervisor reframed and engaged with employee by utilizing active listening and asking open ended questions. employee responded positively and gave positive feedback." which really translates to my boss listened to me, gave me some advice and asked some questions. i thanked him.

this new language is taking over my brain. i can't seem to figure out how to switch back and forth! HELP.

Monday, August 3, 2009

jaw dropping wedding invitation.

remember when i was asked to be a bridesmaid? how could you forget. last week i received the invitation:

creative bride: julie ann.
design credit: mok duk.


ps. happy twentyninth adam robert katz.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

the perfect escape.

my grandma is one of eight and my mom is one of six. that makes for a GINORMOUS family. there are thirtytwo of us here, mostly representing the smith family and there are over eighty all together. more details and photos to come.

thirtytwo of us: me, brother adam, second cousin jeremiah, fiance michele, great aunt myla, uncle rasmus, great uncle jerry, aunt susan, cousin derek, second cousin noah, second cousin kyle, grandpa robert, cousin kyle, second cousin kylie, cousin tess, aunt molly, cousin emma, aunt suzanne, cousin hunter, sister courtney, brother carter, great aunt judy, grandma judy, cousin jordan, mom amy, uncle kevin, second cousin julie, sister jenn, nephew riley, cousin parker, cousin sofia, cousin kevin.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

looking forward to...

...a family reunion camping trip! i will depart right after i meet with lawyers, probation officers, support counselors, and lovely law-obeying clients. teenagers. gotta love 'em.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

this process totally sucks. let's be honest.

tonight, my dearest friend said, "emily. you don't have to respond. you don't have to know the answer. and you certainly don't have to know why you feel that way." essentially she was giving me the freedom to sit in my pain and not know the answers. for an enfj, that's REALLY hard. but i'm trying.

it's all about the process. instead of making this about you or you or you, the reality is the only person i can control is me. i can only do something about my response, my behaviors, my thoughts, my feelings.

i really want to blame you or you or you. [because that will make me feel better!]
i really want you or you or you to go away. [because this will never happen again if you're gone!]
i really want to trust you or you or you again. [because that will mean you changed!]

so here i am. feeling this big (imagine i'm pinching my thumb and pointer finger together). and hoping just a little bit, that by not avoiding, not being passive aggressive and not running from the pain, there is wisdom and growth on the other side.

please, oh please God, let there be wisdom and growth.

Monday, July 27, 2009

why sean and doggie are good friends.

"SEAN! SEAN! bon iver is coming! let's get tickets?"
"em. i already got them."
"aww. damn. oh well."
"but i have an extra. you can have it."

oh yah, AND he and kyle graciously helped me move a very large item LOCATED IN SAN JOSE into my house and made me dinner on saturday night to celebrate my being done with grad school. mmmm. kebabs.

all i'm sayin' is: you must not have been thinking with your smart cap on if you ever broke up with one of these guys. fantastic friends, really. givers.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

july is over in my mind.

move. check.
finish at the ioa. check.
finish my very last class of my masters. check. (two hours ago.)

finally. i don't have to say, "no. i can't. i have to write a paper." or "i can't go to your wedding because i have class on saturday." or "i have to go to bed now. i have class tomorrow."

yes, i'll miss it... knowledgeable professors, my cohort, academic learning, all of it. being in the classroom is such a valuable experience and i don't deny that i'll be back, but i'm ready for a break.

here's to reading for pleasure. check.

Friday, July 24, 2009

my twin sized bed.

You look so defeated lying there in your new twin size bed.
With a single pillow underneath your single head.
I guess you decided that that old queen was more space than you would need.
Now it's in the alley behind your apartment with a sign that says it's free.

And I hope you have more luck with this than me....
You look so defeated lying there in your new twin size bed.

-death cab for cutie

Thursday, July 23, 2009

it's been on my mind for a while.

and i haven't come up with the answer. i'm struggling with this now, and i imagine i'll struggle with it for the rest of my life. here's the question: what does it mean to be good enough?

Monday, July 20, 2009

to buy a parking sticker?

mostly settled into the new apartment. feeling good about the change. feeling good about my cubbyhole. shortest post ever.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

one of the things i hate most in life.

the process of moving.
everything about it just sucks.
there are things that make it better:
julie(s), nathan, chad and nick helping.

side note: i'm moving into a closet.
(think: armington ra room)
more details to come.

ps. thanks for the calls, hugs and emails
regarding my work tears.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

he knows my name.

he's always been one of my favorites even though he's never taken a liking toward me. and he always does the same exact thing: stands in line, smirks and asks for the plain (no brown sugar, no raisins) stuff, with a heaping pile, two scoops please. and a plate underneath. and please don't touch it.

once he arrives back at his seat he spoons the oatmeal onto his plate and folds his napkin just so. the oatmeal gets spread out and he slowly takes a bite just after cleaning off his spoon. everything is very precise. very very precise. he has never been friendly: no smile, no small talk, nothing. i was never offended, always intrigued.

and then he disapeared. for six months. there was nothing i could do except hope for him to come back.

and finally about a month ago he showed up again and he's like a whole new person. (or has a new set of medications.) lately i've been brainstorming with the crew: "what can i ask him today? help me think of something open ended? i want a conversation!" they just laugh at me as i get nervous. today i told him to "take care" as he left. he responded, "you too, emily." i about wet my pants right then and there. HE KNOWS MY NAME?! i think i just died and went to oatmeal heaven. i love thursdays.

**side note: my brother just emailed me and explained that this post makes me sound like i want a date with this guy. FALSE. this is a man who is probably in his forties and most likely has ocd personality disorder. two things i'm not really interested in. at all.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

i was wondering how long this would take.

it was only the sixth day at work and it finally happened: i broke down in the bathroom. why the bathroom? because no one can see me in the bathroom. i just started crying as i stared at myself in the mirror, helpless. the whole ordeal lasted about four minutes and i finally wiped off my smudged liner and tried to just breathe. what i was crying about is going to be a consistent issue for me, at least for the first six months of this job: i feel so inadequate. i am overwhelmed by what i have to learn that it's paralyzing me. i don't know what i'm doing.

self care is a huge topic at work. as i left last night, my supervisor said, "emily, what are you going to do to take care of yourself tonight?" i paused. i had no idea. i told him i'd get back to him.

as i got on my scooter, (which had a nail in the tire. bad, bad news.) i knew what i was going to do to take care of myself: purchase an eight dollar pint (yes, i said pint) of my favorite ice cream from bi-rite. half a pint later, i felt better.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

you don't owe me jack.

i haven't read the organic God, but i've been told i'd dig it. this quote makes me want to read it now:

"The times in my life when I get the most hurt in relationships, the moments when I am most tempted to pull back, are when my expectations are out of line. When I expect someone to respond in one way and they choose another, I get disappointed or hurt.

Jesus offers a word of wisdom and encouragement: drop your expectations. I have interpreted this in my own life to mean that people cannot give you what they do not have.

Whatever the reason, when I realize that they did not give what they did not have, I am set free. In my heart, I can be kind again.

A renewal or restoration takes place when I give up the sense that I am owed something. I am able to give freely, not expecting anything in return. I can put aside the fear of exploitation."

just when i think i know someone, i'm surprised. it's something new, something different. however, when i sit down and really think about it: i'm not surprised at all.

in this next season, i am committing to dropping my expectations and sticking to my boundaries. thanks for the consistent reminder, mm.

Monday, July 13, 2009

"isn't it cool that we're going to know each other when we're eighty?"

yes, julie, it is cool. it blows my mind.

it's been a long year since julie's last birthday. we've both grown a ton and she continues to teach me more about integrity, generosity and humility. and for that, i get to publicly embarrass her. because i love her that much.

happy twentyfifth. ytbe.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

seventyfive days until go time.

one of my favorite people in the world is getting hitched on september nineteenth and to celebrate we spent the weekend in napa. bachelorette parties wouldn't be complete with out games, girl talk, wine, sunning by the pool, two hour naps and hot air balloon rides. alright, maybe the hot air balloon ride was an added bonus.

back: deb, julie, sarah, wimberly, pryor. front: kelly, liz, mary flynn, me.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

i'm really starting to hate july.

minus the bachelorette party weekend, starting a new job, bridal showers galore, jeffrey's wedding, and the family camping trip.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

happy "thirtysecond" birthday, michele.

i hope that when i'm your age, i'm close to half the person you are. seriously.

you are an incredible role model.

Monday, July 6, 2009

i never forget the dessert.

whenever i cook for community group i try my best to accommodate all the food allergies: no peanuts, no dairy, no glutton. i think it's a challenge, almost like a puzzle, really. and with starting the new job, finishing my last class, terminating with my other clients, friends visiting, and trying to move, my life has been a little stressful. [just a little.]

and tonight.. i forgot the dessert. i know this doesn't sound like a big deal, but it is. to me. it's evidence that my life feels out of control. i am adding things to my day and still trying to figure out what to subtract.

as i sit here in the dark, i remind myself that this is part of transition and part of change. instead of feeling paralyzed by all that's going on, i am choosing to reframe and look for a different perspective. i think i'll start with this verse from sam beam's trapeze swinger:

"please, remember me...
i'm in the fallen trees.
fast asleep...
my misery."

maybe next time i won't forget the dessert. but if i do, it's okay. i am giving myself permission to forget it on purpose. i think that's a better expectation to have, don't you agree?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

operation tabby cat.

my vocabulary is so limited. the only word that comes to mind when thinking about friday and saturday is fun:
having shonna here was fun.
poleng was fun.
face flap photos was fun.
madrone was fun.
calling becky was fun.
calling nick was fun.
mission beach cafe was fun.
getting ready with my bestie was fun.
running for the bus was fun.
the bbq was fun.
grilling was fun.
kings cup was fun.
operation tabby cat was fun[ny].
ryan in denial was fun[ny].
double dutch was fun.
frozen yogurt and the curiosity shoppe was fun.

of course there were things that weren't so fun:
big mouthed boys.
the ride home.

overall: an eight. lisa is about to get here so that bumps life up to a ten.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

eat yourself some watermelon.

happy fourth of july from my two year old nephew, samuel.

photo credit: his mama, autumn.

Friday, July 3, 2009

the best city to people watch: yan.

kyle and i weren't getting anything accomplished when yan was exercising on the street while waiting for the bus. turns out he caught us laughing at him so he came in to chat it up. he decided we both don't smoke, and we should learn mandarin-- he could teach us, of course. he offered us his number. we declined. when asked about his exercising, he responded: "i don't waste time. i keep it." genius.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

bring this into your vocabulary.

main entry: therwear
pronunciation: \ther-wer\
function: noun
date: 2009

: garments worn by therapists.

therapists CANNOT wear flashy. they have to be semi-boring. most fit into the mold of therwear. ya know, it's the looser fitting, earth tones that aren't revealing in any way, shape or form. floral patterned floor length dresses work well, too.

if you wear h&m it's distracting. if you wear a suit you're over dressed. if you have cleavage you're creating transference. it's best to wear a monotone top, pants, and very little jewelry. it's even better if you're a man and you can grow a beard.

pretty much: being a therapist equals dressing boring.
look out world, here i come.