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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.


Some Things Just Are Not Important

Sometimes my husband and I quarrel over the silliest trifles.  Gameboys, brunches, bread, dinners, and these become names, and the names become volcanoes of venom that would probably end it all if we weren’t the small amount of careful that we are.  We walk a fine line between love and hate.  But we never hate each other.  We always love each other, but maybe it’s what we define as being love that changes our perception of one another.

This goes back to something the minister’s wife told me, recommended to me at one point: A group, kind of therapy but in someone’s private house, kind of a workshop, involving restructuring one’s expectations including what we want versus what is necessary.

For example, I might think it is necessary in my definition of love that my husband leaves here every time he goes away with a kiss and a very long goodbye.  I might think it necessary that he does little things for me around the house.  I might think it also necessary that when we get home from a day together that he would want to spend even more time together.  But no, maybe he just wants to spend his time with his Gameboy, and that’s all right.  He can do that.  I need to respect that.  There’s nothing wrong with him playing a game and me writing or working or watching a movie or reading.  Neither is better.  I don’t need to judge our time together.

I don’t need to be so dramatic.  Drama sucks, and I need to be mindful of its effect on people.  I have a tendency to be melodramatic even if I don’t admit it.  That can affect our relationship.  It can make it harder for me to accept situations in our lives.

Simple.  One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to be more simple.  I think I’m going to take some time out after doing chores today and working out to write some more about my resolutions.  Also, I’ll let my thoughts out about my son.  I can’t bottle them up, but I don’t need to talk about them every waking moment with Chris.  Balance.

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.