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?

video

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.

confidants.

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

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

recents.

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.