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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.


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.

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.

Few Steps Forward, Few Steps Back: Also the Waiting Game to See About Possibilities

My last rootbeer

So I had decided since last week not to interview for the Greenpeace job. It would have paid well, given good benefits, and even a 401k (not so sure what that means, but I’m sure it’s a good thing to have). I’m looking instead at going back to school at University of the Rockies. I would still be in the Master of Arts in Psychology only my concentration would change from Mediation and Conflict Resolution to Non-Profit Management. I’m waiting to see if I am eligible. Enrollment/start of school starts in less than a week. I’ve called twice yesterday when a guy named Robert in the enrollment department said he would call me in the afternoon yesterday but did not. This caused some anxiety. I was trebitatious already about “giving it another go” in school. His lack of commitment to calling me back after he talked me into starting earlier than I anticipated was not reassuring to say the least.

I’ve been enjoying my visits with David. My munchkin is so sweet, and he’s grown very attached to his soon-to-be adoptive family without losing his feelings toward myself and his birth daddy, it seems. He has two families. What baby could be more lucky? So much love going around. Aaaah…. Feel the love!

And feel the fat building up all over my body, as well. I intended to stick to my Joel Furhman Eat to Live plan, but I have still not been very successful. I asked my mom to give me some nutrition tips last night because she used to be about as overweight as I am now, and she lost maybe 40 lbs. If I could get to at least below 200 lbs, I would feel like I had accomplished something. Maybe that’s just it. Maybe I am setting my goals too high (or too low in this case). Maybe I don’t need to make unrealistic goals to be super skinny again. Maybe just to get to an upwardly healthy weight would be enough. I could make my goal to be to get to the higher edge of healthy for my height and body type. And not have a crazy unrealistic goal like eating only fruits and vegetables. Maybe just calorie counting and eating lots of fruits and vegetables and cutting out soda and high calorie items, and portion controlling, maybe all that would help. Maybe having realistic expectations without being too restrictive and hard on myself. Maybe in setting unrealistic goals, I was in actuality setting myself up to not follow any of it.

I ordered pizza and fatty pastas and two kinds of soda and cinnamon bread yesterday for dinner. So bad. My clothes are not going to fit soon, and these were the clothes that I got that were bigger because I needed new clothes after I had the baby. So potentially depressing.

I can’t keep expecting to lose weight if I stuff myself with chips, pizza, soda, and junk food of all types. There’s no way. I have to make a concrete choice. Do I want to eat junk food all the time or do I want to lose weight? Maybe cutting out junk food forever is not required, but having it so often, especially at the beginning when I’m trying to have a real impact and lose those first few pounds…. Maybe that is an act of self-sabatoge. I have to be stronger than that.

The thing is: I don’t know why I think I need junk food. I think it is habit. I think I believe it will taste good, and for a fleeting instance it might. However, when I get to the end of eating it, I don’t feel good, I don’t feel proud of myself, and I haven’t done myself any favors. So what’s it gonna be: Junk food and junk in the trunk? Or a proud, healthy, conscientious person who respects herself enough to care about what goes in her body? I say option number two.

Now, to pour out the soda. It’s time.