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Category Archives: Goals

Publishing and Consignment


I am not sure if I have lost my readership.  I first took a very long hiatus, then had to go into treatment when I went off my medication again.

Since then, I’ve published my poetry book, and the owner of a new bookstore in Old Town Salinas has told me she’ll put my poetry books and children’s books in her store on consignment.  She said also that she might like if I do a poetry reading on her grand opening.

Two Pluses and One minus Equals One Plus, Which Puts Me Ahead of My Game


Rainbow over Monterey

Rainbow over Monterey (Photo credit: JamesMoberg)

English: The Monterey Institute of Internation...

Image via Wikipedia

Seal of the Monterey Institute of Internationa...

Image via Wikipedia - Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS)

I don’t really like that title, but I could think of none better.

Sometimes the old adage goes, “One step forward and two steps back.”  Sometimes not.

Last Friday, I lost my personal items on the bus.  I may have posted about this or I may not.  Either way, I lost the following in my purse which was beautiful and had a nice rainbow glitter design on the front with a zipper and was the kind that could be worn cross body style because it had a nice long strap.  It was dark blue, and I think I bought it while I was in my undergraduate years.  I lost the following:  One pink small-size eco-friendly moleskin (certain type of journal/writing book) made with 100% post-consumer materials — this said it would be recoverable only I didn’t have the foresight to actually register it at the website like they suggested, one wallet with two debit/credit cards (credit union and major bank), two or three checkbooks, a bunch of receipts, some cash, my set of keys (with apartment keys & mailbox keys), random lip balms, maybe some lotion, and I’m sure other stuff I’m not thinking about.

This week has been partially about backtracking.  My credit union knows me even though I only just started with them this year.  They were kind enough to allow me to withdraw cash although I do not have my ID (oh, yes, that must be one of the things I forgot to list!).  I had to get back to spare key I had given my husband to get in on his own.  He no longer can do so.  I’m waiting for my friend who works with the management of my apartment complex to call today so that I can get into my mailbox and get my mail to include my beginning-of-the-month check that I receive from a certain fund.  I will go over and remind her gently after lunch.  I may just hang out with her in the office for a while.  I’ve called the post office at both the distribution center and the regular post office where I would receive the keys.  I left a message, but I will have to call again after lunch as well.  I’ll hope I can go on Monday.  I’ve been so busy lately running around to other parts of town to visit my son on Tuesday, before that visit my husband, also go to see an Episcopal-Lutheran priest yesterday with him (although I am of neither denomination; I am Unitarian Universalist).  I haven’t even had time to go and volunteer this week.

I’m supposed to make a list of activities that I will be doing with the peer center in Monterey called Our Voices.  It’s another center run by peers mainly in Interim, Inc.  The link to that organization is provided, of course.  I haven’t done this yet, but I will today.

The other thing I did (bigger) is that I contacted Monterey Institute of International Studies online this morning and requested information about their program where a person can get a Bachelor of Arts in International Policy and a Master of Arts in another field within three years total (for both programs).  I decided I would find out about various language programs.  I’m interested probably in the Translation and Interpretation program although I started out looking into the programs where one would teach a foreign language or maybe English as a Second Language.  The admissions person said they would have a particular person talk to me about that all next week, someone who advises based on all the language-oriented programs.  This venture is really exciting to me because up until now, I was looking and looking and never had found a calling.  I’m approaching a resolution to the search that I’ve been having for about two years.  I will be proud to be on a road.

My husband and I talk of moving to Monterey or Marina, which is closer to the Peninsula where I live.  I’m in a more landlocked part of our area.  It’s somewhat safer on the peninsula and more pleasant overall.  The atmosphere is different, and it could be much more comfortable.

We’re going to be attending this Episcopal-Lutheran church every other week.  Christopher did not like the idea of every week.  I guess he feels he needs some Sundays to stay at home or relax.  I recommended that we could still be in touch with the reverend regardless.

I would love to live in the part of Monterey near the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS).  It’s the downtown area where there is close access to all kinds of shops, activities, some friends who live near there, and there is Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods both close by.  Plus, this would be closer to both of our respective mothers.  It would make life much simpler and more peaceful, I believe.

Christopher has started to volunteer with a non-profit organization called Loaves, Fishes, and Computers.  Their mission primarily is to sell refurbished computer systems at a very low cost to create a greater access to these resources.  It’s great experience, and I’m impressed with him for doing this because he has never really volunteered before.  He has always wanted to get into a job with computers (currently is a landscaper for Interim, but he wants to expand away from this to his greater interest in computers and technology).  He does not have formal training but is very knowledgeable with figuring things out and is very personable when he is relaxed.  When he’s experiencing anxiety, he can be contentious, but more of the time he is fine.

I see if we take things easy, allow the time of transition to pass and look forward to the days when, as the priest says, our son can make a choice about having a relationship with us in future years, focus on the present without looking backward to create depression or too much into the future to create anxiety…. If this all can be achieved, then we will be on a healing and wonderful path.  This is my goal, my prayer, and it is my wish.

Today is a Day for Art


Often I feel words on a page have life.  I used to walk around my university as a freshman and sophomore with poetry running through my mind describing my inner philosophies and illustrating my current life through verses that I never remembered but which kept me entertained on my long walks around the largeUniversityofCaliforniacampus inSanta Cruz.  I enjoyed all the walking, and I enjoyed all the thinking.  I enjoyed them probably too much because I did not notice that my life and my consciousness were disintegrating without my awareness, as is the nature of a shift of this sort.

Since I lived in words and thoughts, when I stopped being able to express myself lucidly due to a lack of cognitive ability or clarity, my depression started, and my world seemed to dramatically shut down.  My mood became dark, and my motivation screeched shut.

I didn’t care about anything, not even enough to brush my hair.  I was paranoid about food content.  I was vegan in those days, but I was paranoid that not only were things I might be eating possibly non-vegan, but that this non-vegan-ness, this contamination, well – it might make things poisonous.  In response, my housemates, made a very involved vegan dish of lasagna that I always made myself normally, a gesture they made in an effort to encourage me to eat.  I would not eat because of my paranoia, and the girls grew increasingly concerned.

A few days passed, and the girls took me to the hospital.  I became violent, acted out, and screamed for my rights in the unit, the whole nine yards.  I was hysterical.  They gave me some kind of medication, probably a sedative or maybe a mood stabilizer.  I could not tell you what because it was so long ago and I didn’t care what it was then, anyway.  I didn’t want to take medication.  I felt they were toxic, poisonous, and I just wanted to get better on my own, get back to school and continue on my work with my part time job and my ambitions in life.

Life doesn’t always go as planned.  In fact, in my experience, it rarely does.  Whatever you feel is the path maker in life, it’s not usually governed only by you, I or anyone who makes plans in life.  Sure, we can decide to make changes in our lives, and we can make decisions to improve our lives.  We can succeed at these things, definitely we can.  Still, there are always events, fortunes that present themselves as hurdles.  Life hands you lemons, you can add some sugar or you can find some limes and make it more interesting.

As I went along in my early and mid-twenties, I always had one step forward and two steps back.  I felt I had overcome my hurdles and there would be no more.  I would get to the highest level of wellness I had felt in a while, try new things that I felt I was able to do as a reward and a challenge, telling myself that since I was healthy I could handle more now.  I just sometimes forgot to be cautious.  Sometimes I forgot that I need to be safe with myself and love myself enough to know my limits.  This was not a sign of weakness but a measure of strength to know myself enough that I would not let anything in life make me crumble again.

Time and time I made the same mistake, trying new goals, falling backwards, falling further down than I had been the previous time.  This is related also to the most recent episode with my son, in which I had tried to handle my separation with my husband, new responsibilities as a single mother, my own mental illness challenges, my grief about my father’s death still lingering, and my goals about getting an advanced degree in my field.  I tried too much all at once, and suddenly the inevitable happened.  I broke.  I didn’t break to the point of being unable to be fixed.  I just broke temporarily.  I got back into my groove again later, but I lost a part of my life that time.  I lost a part of my life that I had always wanted even before I had it.  I lost a piece of my connection with my son.

I had always wanted to be a parent.  When I was a young child, I used to take care of other young children.  When I was in fifth grade, my parents wouldn’t let me go to science camp because my father was overprotective.  I helped out in two classrooms with the younger children instead – preschool and third grade.  I have always loved people younger than me.  I love people older than me, too.  I just love people.  They are frustrating and tiresome, but I love them anyway.  It’s a blessing and a curse.

There is an art and a science to being a parent that I wish I had mastered earlier on in my relationship with my son.  I never understood until I was away from him for a little while. I had a lot of input from various sources, including professionals of all types, government officials, a few family members, church members, friends, medical individuals and more. Sometimes too much input is just too much, though.  There is an art and a science just like (and I hate to say it because it sounds crude) there is an art and science to cooking or painting or doing anything that requires precise measurement and ingredients and skill but is still up to the individual to a great degree.

Parenthood is the ultimate version of this, and it is more important than any of the others because it not only affects the parent and the child but it affects the whole world.  That is because this little person who had entered the world through the vehicle of parental attachment will someday contribute to the world in ways that no one will ever envision.  The world will change that child, and that child will change the world.  We know this of course, but I’m not sure I thought of it so much, and I don’t think I gave it precise awareness all the time.  It could be a daunting undertaking if you got too scared about it for all these reasons . . . and so I did, I became scared . . . and I fumbled.

My mothers’ friend who helps her with driving told her that “fear is wishing for things we don’t want.”  Maybe that’s like that converse of the power of positive thinking.  Maybe it is the opposite of that movie/book phenomenon they called “The Secret”.  I’m sure I do not know enough about that to comment, but what I can say I do know is . . . I did not want to lose custody of my son, and I was afraid that this would happen.  This fear made me anxious, and this anxiety made me scared to do almost anything at all.  Fear can paralyze, and I believe it did in my case.

There is a long connection between my experiences with illness, my son, and the introduction of my story about words on a page and their life upon that page.  The connection lies somewhere in the meaning of my own words, my own experiences, what is possible for myself and/or others to learn from them, how I can use what I have to be of benefit, and how can I as an individual, a writer, a mother, and any other person with a role in life – how can I understand these events in relation to myself?  It’s about a relationship with me and a relationship to my life.

I once wrote a final paper in college about a hypothesis I had concerning how the spaces, the nuances, the shapes of words that take form by the author may reflect feelings, even cultural beliefs or reactions pertaining to physical realities about space.

My main thesis in this paper had to do with First Peoples (in particular from North, Central and South America) who had a traditionally oral language (not normally written down on paper) but which still had been converted to a transcribed form when the European inhabitants exchanged elements of language and cultural practices.  I postulated that there were some psychological elements of cultural and linguistic productions that show up in the physical placement of words, sentence structure and overall layout as well as composition as they are presented.  Perhaps, I thought, people from different cultures might show (for example) more open space if they experienced more openness in their physical lives or in their physical space, particular their living environment.

I am sure one could do research about this idea. Perhaps a survey could be gathered between different cultural groups, including subcultures, even communities within a certain culture that differ in living arrangements, perhaps even include institutional communities.  If a correlation were found between physical placement of words on a page or in some other document, perhaps this could be connected to psychological characteristics such as happiness or health of some kind.  Who knows, right?

Maybe people are already doing this?  Who am I to say?  I haven’t read a psychology or other academic paper since sometime the first half of 2010.  That was for an online class that I attempted at the University of theRockies, which is a university inColorado, primarily for different types of psychology but offers some other coursework as well.  I am always so unsure what I want to do in life.  I waiver and hesitate and think I will choose something, then choose it momentarily, but something holds me back.  Sometimes I want to start back into graduate school, but I am unsure what I want to do.  I am afraid if I start on an option, I will start but not like it but want to finish anyway because I have already started.

I already nearly finished a teaching credential program – Special Education with a specialization in Mild/Moderate disabilities, but I was considering getting a certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from the same university.  I was studying locally atCaliforniaStateUniversity,MontereyBay– a university with a lot of support from Leon Panetta, who is a local of my area and now I believe is the head of the CIA.  I am not bragging at all.  This is just the facts, ma’am.

Today I engaged in some creative processes:

(1) I talked with a grandfather who was with his grandson, a boy younger than my son.  The boy had long hair and sometimes people thought he was a girl.  He was beautiful, not in a girly way.  Beautiful does not have to have a gender.  Maybe it never does.  The man gave his grandson some chewing gum.  I listened to the man talk about how he is taking custody of this child for his daughter.  I wondered to myself why I can’t take care of my own son.  I realized there is no use wondering this.  Either I take action or I don’t, and if I don’t, I have still taken an action in making a choice and sticking to that decision.  Either way, the decision is made

(2) I attended Breakthrough H’art, an art collective through Interim Incorporated, the mental health agency with which I have been connected for a few years.  I also volunteer with them in two different places.  I started to work with watercolor pencils for the first time but it ended up just being a pencil drawing.  There is a professional artist who helps with the collective, and he made a number of suggestions as I was working on my picture (featuring a tree, hearts, orange Ohm symbol, a variety of colors) as well as saying how I liked it very much.  Others agreed that I had talent.  I felt good.  He said if he had a child he would not send them to art school because he feels once you are trained, you start thinking too much.

3) I was up into the wee hours looking into a way to sell art online through FineArtAmerica, a page which I will make available in time through this blog.  I may post a link on my art section.  Currently, I have only figured out how to make a few pictures available as greeting cards.  Hopefully, there will be more in the future.

4) I agreed to work on a mosaic for a housing community with Interim called Sunflower House.  This is going to be on Wednesdays.  I have to get in touch with the woman in charge again.  I will ask on Friday when I go back to do more art at Breakthrough H’art.

There may be more that I have not though of including as creative such as making dinner and writing.  These are givens, and I do not need to list them.

To me, life is all an art and a science.  It is a balance, and the balance doesn’t have a correct formula so much as one which works best for a given person at a given time and in a given way.

Applied Behavior Analysis, Open Adoption, Newsletter Editing, Ideas for New Writing Projects


For the sake of order (a quality which I often lack),  I will provide a list of topics at the beginning of this entry.  It may not be necessary, but at least, you will know which will interest you the most and it may even help to assist you in deciphering the information as you read.

  • Applied Behavior Analysis – A field in psychology in which behavior is understood as resulting from various causes and will always have an effect, similar to the laws of physics having predictable outcomes (although most people do not regard human behavior quite this precisely, there are noticeable patterns which may be observed and measured)
  • Open Adoption – The result of the hearing was termination of parental rights with a recommendation for continued contact between our son and ourselves.
  • Newsletter Editing – I am coagulating the information that has been submitted to me by members of our mental health community in my county.  It is a big job as I am finding out.
  • Ideas for New Writing Projects – I have various ideas for other children’s books: one is about turtles, another is a longer nonfiction account of my experiences.  I am playing with ideas.  The children’s book is more tangible of an idea for me.  I am also just slowly beginning to market my book.  I need to email someone at a local art gallery/used book shop.

That’s pretty much it.  My husband is over for the weekend.  I’m trying to learn to be a better cook.  I went to see the adoption social worker.  I need to get in touch with a program called Kinship Center (link is on the front page, sorry for not linking here, lazy).  They have a support group for people who have given up a child to be adopted.  It would help me probably to talk to others.  I don’t want to get overly involved since there’s a lot I’m actually doing right now.

The Applied Behavior Analysis is something I’ve considered in the past.  Someone mentioned it to me by way of a college recruiter.  I don’t know if I messed up by asking them to call another time or send an email.  I hope that is not too much of a problem.  I think it would be a good fit since that is what I do much of the time anyway.

Open adoption; I will not mess that up.  The family is very kind.  I hope I can support my husband to become more comfortable with them.  I don’t know how to do so in an effective and gentle way.

About the newsletter, I’m just in the assembling process.  It’s my first time working with Microsoft Publisher very much.  I may have used it for other projects, but maybe it was a long while ago.  I don’t know.

My writing ideas…. I have to get them down.  Maybe I will post my story that I told aloud to my husband today while at the bus stop.  It involved a turtle and he sees a rock.  The rock is not what it appears to be.  It’s a story for children, but I feel adults would enjoy it too.

I get to see my son along with my mother on the 27th.  I’m going to try to see what I can do about what’s happening with my husband and his contact with David, but I don’t know if it’s my problem.  I do feel it’s in David’s best interest to know his birth father.  I don’t want him to completely shun him.  So far, he seems to be distancing himself.

Wilma the Conqueror: Winning the Battle of the Bulge


This title might be preemptive.  I have not yet lost more than about 15 pounds.  Still, I am going to lose over a hundred pounds, no matter how long it takes me, preferably within a year.  If it takes me longer, I will keep going.  I will pursue my objective and I will not give up.  This is not just about a number on the scale; far from it.  This is about my self respect as a human being, as a mother, as a wife, as an individual, as an American, as a lover of possibilities, and mostly just as Wilma, I, me, myself.

 

I have hemmed and hawed and pretended to care and pretended to try and made promises to myself and pretended again, and the reason I saw no results was that I was pretending and lying to myself.  I didn’t want to really lose weight; I just wanted to tell everyone I did.  I wanted to pretend that I loved myself when inside I was filled with self-loathing.  It’s a hard thing to admit and talk about in public, so I kept the feelings quiet and dormant, then just pretended to be health conscious and went about my merry business shoveling my face full of French fries and ice cream.

 

Oh, I was in denial of the worst sort.  I was in denial that I had a problem.  It was a thin denial, translucent, because on the other side, I was sure that everyone could see that I really wanted to be healthy.  I just didn’t see the need to try.  I would try for a week or two then give up.  I’d eat something I knew wasn’t helping me, and the whole thing would be over.  I’d gain more weight and be back to business as usual, vegetarian but fat, and not healthy, not caring about myself, and not succeeding at the business of caring for others either (which I thought I was doing rather well).

 

Fast forward to “The Now” as they call it and you’ll see someone who really understands that you cannot care for others until you take sufficient care of yourself.  It’s a lesson I had to learn time and time again.  I’ve stated it in another entry of this blog.  It’s an important point, though.  To be a caring person, to care for anyone, truly, one must care for oneself.  This is what was lacking in my past.  This is what I’m putting into practice In the Now.

 

 

On education, employment, and following through


“Focus, fusion, and following through are the keys to fitting in” according to an old television show, Clarissa Explains it All, an old TV show about a teenage girl who in this episode gets a lecture on “fitting in” because the guidance counselor is telling her the importance of being “normal”.  I’ve never been normal, never hope to be, and never expect to be so.  Still, I hope to succeed in life.  In my opinion, “normal” can mean one of two things or both: statistical average or denial.  No one is normal in my book, and that is a good thing.  If we were all the same, how would people have different jobs in life?  How would new ideas emerge?  Creative people do not produce normalcy, they produce other things: Music, art, film, inventions, books, blogs, companies, whatever.  Or they simply hold onto their ideas for themselves.  Either way, normalcy is not an important element of the equation.

In my Ideas page of this blog, you’ll see some ideas, mostly about work and school.  They are not things that are in stone.  They are not even altogether focused.  They are just meant to be ideas to get them out.  I can do only do this so much, though.  I need to focus, as my husband and another good friend say, on something, finish it and decide if that is something that I like.  I need to act more than to think.

I have an orientation scheduled tomorrow at 11:00 am at Department of Rehabilitation in Salinas.  It’s in the Social Security building but upstairs.  I’m not applying for SSI or SSDI, though.  I am applying for services with Department of Rehabilitation to find out what education and employment opportunities are available, whether they would recommend working or going to school (or if it’s up to me).  I would like to take at least one class.  I want to know if I would be wasting my time at a community college if I took classes.  I want advisement on pursuing a graduate degree in psychology or what to do about the credential in Special Education that I did not finish.

I would work with a counselor, I guess.  I would let them know about my situation, any information they need.  I hope it is more helpful than the last time I worked with this agency in Monterey.  The reasons it didn’t work before may have been due to my state of mind at the time or other issues.  That really does not matter.  The real point is to move forward and not go backward in time mentally.

As an aside, my husband is employed but wants to eventually move onto something less physically strenuous and maybe something more enjoyable.  He doesn’t mind his current work as a landscaper, but he knows he is capable of more.  He attends Peer-to-Peer through National Alliance on Mental Illness.  He is much better at being focused and keeping things simple than me.  I tend to get wild ideas, and now he’s able to ground me mentally and bring me back to where I need to put my energy.  This is very valuable.  I have a hard time with grounding in particular.  Perhaps I should focus on that in some meditation/mindfulness exercises sometime.

My longtime interest is in the general area of psychology as well as education.  That is the most likely general range of education and career goals.  I also would like to market my children’s book, maybe take creative writing classes, at least one, even if I didn’t actually major in that.  I would like a multifaceted life while still having a steady job.  By multifaceted, I mean doing a little writing/art/crafts/other hobbies on on the side while having a main occupation.  That would be how I see myself in my ideal life.  Eventually, I would like to be able to have a job and steady income that allows me to own a house, have the freedom to invest some of my money without worrying about losing some, and I would like to be able to leave a good amount of that to my son as well as any children he may have later in life.

There may be a question of dividing things into steps.  I don’t know how to think about that yet.  In my weight loss website, they say to make short range goals if your ultimate goal is long term.  I still need to do that in my weight loss efforts.  I will probably need to do that in education and employment as well.

Stepping stones, maybe?  My mother used to go to to a cognitive-behavioral therapist who called her method “Stepping Stones”.  I never understood what it all meant, but maybe it’s about making gradual steps toward improving your life.  It could also mean success by approximation.  There is probably a psychology term that I forgot somewhere that talks about that.

Geez, I miss my psychology classes.  Maybe that is a sign I should maintain my original educational goal?  I love studying psychology.  It’s not just with the goal of helping people; I truly find it fascinating.  My father was more of the clinical psychologist.  I’m more interested in humanism.  I’ve looked closely into a program at Naropa University in Colorado,  a private university named after a Tibetan Buddhist monk.  It is non-sectarian, but many of the programs involve meditation and other practices related to Buddhism.  I really like it.  I was interested in two programs there:  Creative Writing and Transpersonal Psychology with Ecopsychology Emphasis.  The psychology classes look much more interesting to me.  I’m not wedded to the idea of traditional counseling.  I’m not sure I even believe in that as productive.  There are so many more ways to heal than to follow the advice of a “doctor” or a “counselor.”

There is one program that includes counseling, though.  It’s not online, but it’s in Washington State — Bastyr University.  It’s a Master of Arts in Nutrition and Clinical Health Psychology.  This looks really interesting.  I also like the sound of the university and the idea of living in Washington (for at least a while).  Chris might not be up to moving until he has a job.  He seems to question this.  I should probably have at least one more option to consider.  There’s always the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto (doesn’t have great reviews), and there’s one other that someone I know from high school mentioned.  I would have to ask.  The main focus in psychology, I think.  Maybe it could just be humanistic in general.  Never can tell.

Maybe I have an opportunity around the corner.  Maybe I should be prepared to have my home ready for inspection when it enters.  I do want to make a good first impression after all.

Back on Track in the Morning


I’ve been lazy and disorderly for a while.  Let’s face it.  Time to change that.  Adios, chaos.  Hello, semblance of order.  One, two, three. Left, right.  Double time!

 

P.S.  I added more to the Ideas and Poetry pages of this blog.  Check ’em out if you have a moment. Caio bella.