57/365/2015 Hope SPRINGs Eternal


Ok, I’m off. I’ve been off for several weeks. I’ve been off since the winter storms and weekly kiddo dental appointments started disrupting my routines. I miss going to work for a full day on a regular basis. I feel out of touch with my people. I mean, when I’m there, it’s good, and I have technically only missed 2 days. But dang. First there was winter break. Then two days of court as a witness (excused for civic duty). Then the snow started flying and the dental appointments began. And today, that culminated in trading my Spring Break for listening to my children bicker with one another on yet another snow day. I’d hoped to trade that break for time with my older kids when they visit in April…and when my younger kids are also on spring break.

I’m behind on my homework. No, I mean behinder than I have ever been in my life, and I just don’t give a hoot. I better start giving a hoot, I have two assignments due on Monday.

And finally, I miss being outside. I now walk from the apartment to the van to the train station or into work. And back. I also walk from the train station to school and back on Mondays. But I don’t think it counts if I am huddled into a heavy coat and cursing the wind. Yeah, pretty much sure that doesn’t count. I want to sit on the balcony and read a book while sipping iced tea.

And I know some of you will say that this is because I live in Maryland now, and it’s colder, for longer. But I got this way in North Carolina, too. It starts with the time change in the fall and it builds and builds and builds until the time changes back to “normal” in the Spring(ish. Depending you know). By the end of February, every year, I am over life in general and ready to start slugging people. Thank God, I can flip the clock this weekend. It’ll take me a week to adjust, but then….I’ll be golden until next November. It is this weekend, right? Right?!?

So, today my daughter was going out and I asked her to bring me this planter thing I saw last night and passed up. Because Spring will come as surely as Winter now embraces us. I have no idea what I am going to put in there, but it was 50% off at Rite-Aid, and I wanted it and now I have it, for just 7.94, tax included. There are four pots total, you can’t see one of them in the pic. I think… I think since I have potting soil here already, and some tea leaves to put in the bottoms, I’m going to put aside this paper I am not writing anyway and put my fingers in some dirt. And if I get done with that, and still have soil, I may go pick up another set of these pots. But not this afternoon, because kids home because snow. Maybe tonight.

P.S. The dresses I bought yesterday are too small. I will try to exchange them when I am back there next Wednesday. That is yet another reason I want to get outside–I need to walk to get rid of some of this chubbery blubbery me. In fact, I would like to get rid of about 20 pounds of me. And bucket loads of stress and undifferentiated anxiety. I need to walk it away. I can’t do that sitting inside drinking chai latte, no matter how good that chai latte may be.

I could meditate the stress and anxiety away, if not the weight, but have you ever tried to do that with kids around? Hahahahhahhahaa, yeah, that’s the sound of my maniacal laughter.

54/365/2015 Twenty-two and Dropping


It will be around 10 degrees waiting for the train tonight.  It’s cold,  I’m cranky, and my motivation is sorely lacking.  I am always through with winter before it is through with me.

Time to set some personal goals to get myself over the hump.  Last night,  I started saving my used tea leaves for fertilizer.  I’m going to plant some things. I know that a seed in the ground is hope in the heart. And also a way to give this arctic blast the finger.

42/365/2015 Beauty is in the Eye


I don’t know if it comes through in the picture, but this was beautiful. The way the light hit the tree, and then didn’t. Red-orange on brown, against a blue sky. Beautiful.

Today was a mixed bag. I had a great social work moment. I took a man a bowl of thick grits and saw him smile for the first time in weeks. That may not sound like social work to you, but it was to him.

Then I had some uncomfortable conversation about polyamory. And then I had to chase thoughts around in my head about that. Thoughts like:

It’s about me, and who gets to call the shots on my life. I chose poly in the beginning because it gave me autonomy in all areas. Once men know they don’t own my bits, they leave me alone about everything else: my kids, my money, my lifestyle, how I spend my time, my hobbies. All of it. It’s MINE.

If I stop seeing the old guy, the new guy gets left to wonder when I will find another new guy and decide to stop seeing him. And I don’t think he gets that I face an equally unsettling dilemma: he’s monogamous. I get to worry that he’s gonna meet some “nice monogamous girl” and decide to quit seeing me.

You know, part of me wants to say “ok, I’ll be monogamous” because I don’t want to “lose” him.
But if I do that I am already loving him in a controlling way. I am not being non-attached because if I make changes to ensure the relationship, I am going to expect he will do the same. I won’t be accepting him just like he is. And accepting him just like he is …this is what allowed me to not hate men who have come and gone before, because they were perfect in their selfness. They may not be people that I want to spend a lot of time with going forward, but as long as they are true to themselves….I accept that.

I won’t lie. That viewpoint required constantly deciding and constantly enforcing that mindset with myself. It all goes together, the non-attachment and the poly and just loving people. He says he thinks you can’t love someone as much if you do it in a non-attached way. I think you can love them more because you love them true.

And one thing I didn’t say, but part of the conversation: “If you’re not so afraid to lose someone, then you’re free to love them as much as you want.”

All of which led to this: There are days when I am glad I live my life based on guiding principles I ironed out for myself in advance instead of momentary feelings. This is one of them.

So there ya go. Some raw honesty for you about what it’s really like to try to find balance and integrity in polyamory. Because in the end, it’s not about him or him or him. It’s about me, and how I treat myself, and by extension, those I care about.

37/365/2015 Random Friday at Home


Given an unexpected random Friday at home (mostly) alone, I will clean the kitchen, do three loads of laundry, epilate my entire body (that hurt worse than I remembered), give myself a mani, AND a pedi, and write an actual blog post. I’ll also play a lot of computer games. What I won’t do, apparently, is homework or play catch-up. And I think I am okay with that– it’s been an interesting week.

You know how sometimes, two events happen in temporal proximity, and that’s the only thing that connects them? My supervisor has mentioned, twice now, that I don’t seem as invested in my residents as I used to be. And I know this to be true. Now she says, and I agree, that I am still doing good social work. It’s more than adequate. But some of the joy of interacting has slipped away. I’m trying to say….I used to go looking for my people just because I had a few minutes. But lately, I’ve been making sure I see them before I have to write a report, or because it’s time, and not…not just walking down the hall and popping in to see how things are going. Like I used to do, right?

So I’m thinking. I’m thinking about when that changed. And why. And it started changing the day my favorite died. Which happened to also be the day I had a significant and unpleasant shift in my personal life. Two unrelated things. But I think I must have tied them together in my heart and head, because…I know my own behavior patterns. When faced with professional pain, I throw myself right back into other clients. But my tendency, when personally confused or hurt, is to withdraw from both physical and emotional contact. I’m pleased to say that I did not withdraw physically this time, so that’s better. But emotionally? Probably. From everyone? Yeah, mostly.

So now, the challenge is to put myself back out there. I need to say…okay, time has passed, the gaping hole has closed to a small scab, and let’s get on with loving people. Because that is what I do. It is the absolute basis of my practice. It is what moves me from a good social worker to an outstanding social worker. And I am not bragging. I just know that’s my strength. It’s not in writing reports, or generating notes. There I am adequate. But in allowing a client to bask in unconditional positive regard? To smile at them with my mouth AND my eyes? That’s where I’ve got it going on. And they can’t bask if I keep my unconditional positive regard locked up with me in my office. I have to take that out to the floor. Again.

I started yesterday. I took my art supplies, which I basically haven’t touched since I wrapped up my art therapy class, and sat in the dining room with a couple of folks and we just chatted it up while they made art. I made a small piece based on a comment one of them made. It felt good. Both the relaxed visiting, and the art making. I should do that again on Tuesday.

In the long run, I need to learn how to not take home to work. My undergrad experiences went a long way toward teaching me not to take my clients home with me. I guess the grad lesson will go the other way. That’s an important skill in a profession that requires therapeutic use of the self.

In case you didn’t notice, this is a pep talk. From me, to me. Sometimes I have to do that.

36/365/2015 Somewhat Behind


I’m sitting at the dentist’s office waiting for the girls to get some work done.   The problem with sitting is that, lately, I fall asleep when I do it.

Also I’m hungry.  Really hungry.  I packed breakfast today but not lunch, because I knew I had to leave right after lunch to do the dentist thing.  I didn’t seem right to take a lunch break.  I don’t know what I thought I was going to eat,  but this air is not very filling.

Maybe if I give in to the nap attack,  my stomach will quit rubbing against itself.

35/365/2015 I Got Nothing


There wasn’t much to talk about for today.   I went to Prevention and Management of Disruptive Behavior training, where I met a tall white middle aged male who had never experienced bad customer service.   We all laughed and tried to explain OUR world.  Later, the trainer told me she’d like to have me as a trainer.  I told her I would let her know if I got hired in.

I had a wonderful nap after I got home.   It was a pleasant day.   Nothing fixed, nothing broken.

25/365/2015 Random thoughts


This is my grocery cart. $135 of reasonably healthy foods in modest proportions for the week. Those of you who notice details will see that I have spaetzle there. Underneath are the loin chops and mushrooms that will go into jager schnitzel. There is bacon and potatoes for kartoffelsalat. And Rotkohl. I’m cooking Germanesque on Tuesday night. Other tasty goodies this week include baked eggs with spinach and cream; cucumbers with oregano, feta and pine nuts; ham steaks to go with risotto; and some boneless, skinless chicken thighs that I will do something with–probably stir fry or pot pie. That last pot pie I made was so good it bears repeating. I’ll likely make a frittata at some point as well.

By the way, I wore my fat jeans today and they fit. Well. It’s time to get serious about what I’m putting in my face. This applies to both quality and quantity. Better food, cooked in smaller portions, and eaten with intention. Mindfulness as applied in the kitchen. I’m not planning to go on any type of “diet.” I don’t think that’s sustainable in the long run. I just plan to do less “quick and easy” where all the flavor comes from fat and salt. This includes avoiding fast food, meal splitting in restaurants, and many fewer meals consumed while I do other things.

The other thing is I want to feed the fridge less. We waste a lot of food that way, because unless I take a lunch, it just sits there and goes bad. So, again, smaller amounts of food–enough to go around and make the required lunch plates. The end. Saving my money and my health at the same time. This works for me.

All that said, I had Baja Fresh for lunch today. If you haven’t eaten there, I recommend it. The shrimp baja burrito is divine and a meal in itself. I split mine with a friend in exchange for some of his salad and we both walked away full–and with leftovers.

In other news, it is supposedly the eve of our next snowpocalypse. I decided it was time to invest in some sort of snow and ice removal device for the van. Apparently, when you live in Maryland you cannot get by for the entire winter just using an old credit card to clean your windshield. Who knew?

I also stopped by Michael’s and picked up a bottle of Mod Podge since I had a 40% off coupon. And some post extenders, since the last time I got ready to scrapbook, I wanted to put the pages I had started in a book but couldn’t because I was unable to lay my hands on the post extenders that I am sure I have here somewhere. If classes are cancelled tomorrow, and they may be, I’d like to make a collage. Or something. And I am half hoping they do cancel classes. The kids started getting sick, one per day so far, on Thursday. My cousin got sick on Friday. And guess who now feels fuzzy-headed and feverish? Yep, me. It’s not even 7pm and I just want to go to bed already.

On the other hand, if they don’t cancel class, that’s exciting, too. First days always are. I have the syllabi for two of the three academic classes already. Not sure what the hold up is on the last one, since classes officially started last Tuesday. But hey, whatever. I haven’t started the reading yet anyway. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof, and my classes start TOMORROW.

Alrighty then, my to-do list still has several items on it, and I need to get prepped for the week ahead. I am sincerely thankful that every weekend for the next 15 weeks is a three-day weekend for me. I’ll be able to make it through the Mondays with that thought in mind. I hope. Three three-hour classes is a lot to cram in to a day.