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.)