My Life as a Social Worker Lady Friend

 

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A month and a half ago I packed up a Uhaul and drove my dog, cat, and self back to the Columbia River Gorge.  I gotta say, there is something about being in the cab of a Uhaul with your favorite furry critters and driving across state lines that is quite liberating. And also gives you time to convince yourself that you just may have diabetes because you have to stop to pee so much.  I have had many times in my life where I have been in the cab of a truck with a cat or a dog and my belongings in tow. These little journeys are the highlights of an always emerging and changing journey.

Growth be hard.

Sometimes, I half ass wish that I could just be content with being stagnant… Being forever stuck and happy (and really believing that those two things could exist together).  You know, be 55 years old, have a looney tunes tattoo, and just not care that all of my relationships are drama filled shitshows. But, unfortunately, I read more Brene Brown than I probably should and I become completely passionate about things like “personal growth” and “learning to not be an idiot.” I am a therapist after all.

And, we all all know that while hard (sometimes excruciating), growth, becoming, and deepening are exponentially rewarding.  So much so, that I don’t even have much guilt/shame when I tell my friends that I am turning in early on a Saturday night to go take an epsom salt bath and read about metaphysics.  Or that a hike to the top of a hill in Hood River where I can see two mountains at once (shout out to Mt. Hood & Adams! holla!) gets me all euphoric in a way that booze can’t rival, so I’m out for happy hour some nights.

But mostly, I am just working on laughing a lot.

I am living with my good friend until I can find a place that will accept me, the pooch and the cat. We have earned a bit of a rep with our friends for our, well let’s face it, nerdy existence. We get real excited about green smoothies and the farmers market.   We have conversations on the way home from yoga about how it makes no sense that pizza and beer are allegedly bad for us because our bodies want them so bad. We talk about how it might be necessary to hide the amount of wine consumption from my roommate’s amazing and well intentioned but hardcore acupuncturist. Yes, life with a domestic life partner is pretty sweet! Our good friend (who is obviously blind with insane jealousy) calls us the “sister wives.”  This started after we declined an invitation to happy hour because we were abstaining for health and invited her for dinner.  Apparently a dinner sans ETOH, grains, dairy, and sugar was not very alluring.  Just wait till she sees my DLP4Lyfe lower back tattoo on Monday. Hopefully my new hand sewn floor length high collar floral print dress will show it off. Eat your heart out Inked Magazine.

I have taken a new job as  a therapist for a school based treatment center.  It is pretty much the best job in the world if I do say so myself.  At work we have rules like “No kissing people who aren’t family members” and “you have to ask before you give hugs.”  A typical day includes a student projectile vomiting because he smelled another kids fart while trying to hug said gassy kid, or at the lunch table a little guy telling us he wore his grandma’s clothes last weekend. And then following that up with, “I had to because I pooped my pants.” I wish I was making this up. Everyday is magical and hilarious and sometimes makes you want to plunge your car into the Columbia River on the way home.

I am so grateful.

 

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Love is a Beezer

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You know it, I know it.

The Wolfman has left the Dreamboat and he is out howling at the moon somewhere. I am not going to profess that I have any good advice to give about the nature of love. There are some things that they don’t teach in grad school. But if there is one thing I know, that is broken hearts. And I know how do get through one of those.

1. Avoid Red Wine at all costs. While we all know the good ol’ vino is the nectar of the soul, it is also a living nightmare waiting to happen if you combine it with a broken heart. Red Wine will make you romantic and sentimental and will make you contact your heart’s desire by text or very embarrassing phone call.  You will say idiotic things about how this person is obviously your soulmate and you will love them until your end of days. If they do not pick up the phone or respond, you will likely rapidly decompensate from yearning love to a ragefull antisocial and tell them all the reasons they were the worst person for you and how much you hope they suffer.  Luckily, I learned this rule earlier in my career of love fails when I called an ex and professed my undying love and convinced him to move in with me. The next state over. Broken Heart Fail.

2. Go pantsless in your apartment all the time now. And no, don’t even worry about that disdainful look the dog keeps giving you.

3. Take walks in nature with your dog (it is important to wear pants while doing #3).

4. Do not, and I repeat do not, watch the movie Like Water for Chocolate. This is the movie equivalent of red wine and will lead to the same devastating results.

5. Remember what a dreamy babe you are and have fun with your rad self. Make elaborate dinners still. Take yourself to the movies. Even if it is to the cheap theater to see The Wolf of Wall Street. No ones judging!

6. While you may want to listen to a lot of sad sack music like MMJ or The National it might be best to rock out to Jay Reatard on the way to work.

7. Call up your friends. Have a lot of friends to call so you don’t wear any of them out. Having a close group of soulmateys is so important and what life is all about. With these friends, laugh yer ass off. A lot.

8. Have a sister. If you don’t have a sis, maybe you could get a stand in (see #7).  Sisters are amazing and they don’t mind (or at least don’t let on that they do) if you chose them to call every 30 seconds with a changing mood, about something your ex did, about something your ex didn’t do, how you will never love again, how you are better off anyway, how you found one of their socks, how the dog and cat are obviously depressed now, how it is hard to go to Trader Joes,  or anything else your crazy ass brain can come up with at the time. Sisters will weather these stormy seas with you and be the embodiment of unconditional love and acceptance.

9. Start an art journal. Fill it with a lot of feels. Make weird images from the depths of your subconscious. Write little poems and one liners. Blame it on hallucinogens if anyone ever finds it.

10. Paint, listen to music, draw, get some plants for the house, take a lot of baths.

11. and of course, keep that heart wide open. There is so much to love.

Oh Pishaw, My Grandma

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This weekend I was going through some old boxes and I came upon three very large, antiqued, ivory bras.  As I pulled them out and they unfolded in all of their parachute sized silken glory, I thought to myself, “these must be my grandma’s old bras.”  Now, even though I had a small stint as an employee of Victorias Secret in my early twenties, I am not deft at guessing cup sizes upon first glance. I did not know these were my grandma’s bras simply because she is the only woman I know who fits the criteria of having 1. Enormous breasts and 2. We are emotionally intimate enough that your bras may somehow end up in an old cardboard box of mine labeled in sharpie as “Nicole’s stuff” and “poop” on the underside. No, there was a small telltale sign that was characteristic of all of my grandmother’s articles of clothing, placemats, furniture, and pets.  A cigarette burn hole. Yes, aside from using her bras as a seemingly bottomless storage container for packs of generic cigarettes, lighters, tissue, wads of money, etc., her bra apparently also was a landing pad for the cherry of a GPC or King Mountain or whatever brand of ultralight cigarette that was on sale at the reservation that month.

My grandma’s name was Grace. Grace Ford. And she was amazing.  People who crossed my Grandmother thought that she was pure evil.  She read alot of murder mysteries and sometimes got drunk and told us about how to kill people and get away with it. To this day, part of me still believes that she was capable of cold blooded murder. Once, I watched out her kitchen window as she gathered a bag of the neighbors dog shit out of her yard, walk it over to his house in her in muumuu, place the bag under his welcome mat, and jump up and down on the mat that covered the bag of crap making sure to really grind it in to his new deck.  For a woman that acted feeble and helpless much of the time, I had never seen her be so physically active.

Yes, Grandma had a temper and an insane propensity for revenge thinking and grudges.  This was something that did not translate to her grandkids.  There were eight of us all together and there was nothing that we could do that would make grandma angry at us. In fact, one summer my cousins and I decided to heat our kiddie pool by carrying large pans of hot water from the bathtub to the back deck and dumping them in the pool.  Caught up in our genius idea, we had no care that we were scratching the shit out of the finish of the brand new bathtub grandma just had put in her bathroom.  Most kids would be sent to live in an orphanage for pulling that kind of shit, but grandma did not punish us at all. She left that, as usual, up to our exasperated parents.

Once, when she lived across the street on the bird farm (there were peacocks, pheasants, turkeys, ducks, and a hawk) with my grandpa, my cousins and I were spending the night and were upset that He-man and She-ra weren’t on at 11pm at night. We must have been tired of watching the Stephen King movies and murder mysteries we rented earlier that evening.  Grandma acted outraged that our favorite cartoons were not on exactly when we wanted to watch them and pretended to call the network and complain and demanded that they put on our cartoons. The word entitlement obviously was not in her vocab.

She endearingly called us her little “poopsies” or her “pussycats,” which, as her blood alcohol content of cheap vodka and tap water went up would devolve into a slurry “pussscayt” and then just straight up “pussy.” Hearing your grandma ask you “Pussy can you pour me another teensy” was awkward, naturally.

A teensy was my grandma’s signature drink. She did not mess around with any of the frills when it came to her booze delivery routine. She bought gallons of the cheap plastic jug vodka from the bottom shelf at the liquor store that would make even a bum throw up a little in his mouth.  She would drink this vodka with a splash of tap water. And that was it. That my friends, is a teensy. Of course, a teensy is always accompanied by chain smoking and Fox News blaring in the background.

Despite her alcoholism and temper, Grandma did alot of laughing and alot of loving.  She would get drunk sometimes and break out an old acoustic guitar that she had in the back room. I learned all my favorite Hank Williams songs from her.  She pretty much just played the G chord, but there was something about her singing old country songs, without her teeth in, drunk off her ass, in her muumuu, pulling another cigarette out of her bra (even though she already had one lit in the ashtray and another on the dish drain) that just made your heart sing. She provided the unconditional love and magical thinking that all kids need.  She taught her grandkids that the sky was the limit, and that we were good enough and smart enough to achieve great things.

“You can be anything you want to be Pussy,” she would say, “now can you do your ol grandma a favor dahling and pour me another teensy.”

The Time Jay & Nicole Got Buddhist

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While living in undisclosed aforementioned rural town, I discovered that there was a Buddhist monastery in the same zip code. And they were having an open house.  This thrilled me more than anything had in the previous few months. Basic cable and Whole Foods paled in comparison to the possibility of wandering around a monastery and meeting some enlightened monks.

I know this is sheer nerdery. This is not lost on me. During my teen years, when other girls were doing all the usual (like getting boyfriends) I was trying to decide where to set up my meditation cushion and purchasing books about Tibetan Buddhism with the money I earned working at a housewares store at the mall.  This was all in complete secrecy of course out of fear that my mother would think that I was godless and my siblings would make fun of me and tell mom.  You could find me on a sunny day, suntanning in the backyard and reading a book about a Canadian woman who ventured to Bhutan and lived out most of her days as a monk between my issues of Seventeen Magazine. Yes, the perfect blending of consumerism and learning how to be constantly dissatisfied and non-attachment and radical acceptance.  Bhutan has been in my daydreams since this time. Who wouldn’t want to go to this little country by Nepal who measures Gross National Happiness instead of Gross National Product? I learned alot from my readings and to this day love to use mindfulness skills in therapy.  Mindfulness is invaluable and I honestly think it has saved my ass.

I got home that evening and announced to Jay my exciting find, fully expecting to be ridiculed get an eye roll, a heavy sigh, and to be told “You are such a hippy.”  Much to my surprise Jay said that he would go with me to the open house.  This was a complete shock, as Jay usually avoids any potentially awkward situation at all costs. Little did we know, this agreement launched into motion probably the most awkward Saturday morning of our relationship.

When the morning arrived, we were both feeling really nervous. “Will the monks like us?” “Will the monks think that were idiots?” Seriously, we were concerned that people who practice non-judgment for a living were going to take one look at us and tell us to hit the road.  Naturally we drank too much coffee and sent our anticipatory anxiety skyrocketing. We arrived late to the monastery which added to our fears of the monk’s judgments. According to the schedule, we were supposed to meet in a room for meditation.  We trekked up a muddy hellaciously steep and long hill. By the time we reached the lodge I was sweaty and breathing like a pregnant rhino. We walked through the door into a room of, oh about 20 or so, people meditating.  The room was dead silent. You could cut the theta waves with a knife.  We scrambled around trying to find somewhere to put our shoes, and as quietly as possible take off our coats. You could hear every little sound, every movement. Each one of my labored rhino inhales. Then we had to  try and sneak around all these zen meditators who were trying to focus on nothing but the present moment. We sit towards the front between two uncomfortably close rows of visitors and monks sprinkled in. My cushion is the size of a doily and Jay is so cramped his knees are up in his face.  We tried to settle in and quiet. My stomach started grumbling louder than it ever does, and I could hear Jay’s bowels churning next to me.  My leg instantly fell asleep and when I tried to shift to a more comfortable position, I kicked the monk in front of me.

Looking around at the monks, I noticed that they were all women. In the usual monk style, their heads were shaved and they were clothed in orange robes.  Most of the monks looked middle aged or older except for a few younger ones.  There was even a monk with some pretty sweet forearm tattoos from her previous non-monastic life. She almost looked like a character from Orange is the New Black, switch the orange coveralls for a robe. I noticed really beautiful tapestries on the wall.  There was a big smiling Buddha at the front of the room.  I started to settle in, getting ready for meditation.

Then the chanting started.  This wasn’t your run of the mill, monks chanting “OM,” oh no, this was sing chanting, which unfortunately felt really embarrassing. The monk leading the meditation read from a book and everyone in the room began to sing chant very quickly. How did everyone know this chant? Why the singing? When I get nervous, I laugh. The more inappropriate it is to laugh in any given situation, the stronger the urge becomes.This used to get me in trouble whenever I had a class in high school with my cousin, my mom gathered all of my siblings and I to yell at us for something bad we did, or any time I ever had to go to church.  I knew if I looked over at Jay it would all be over. I tried to look at the book and follow along, bite the inside of my lip hard, get mad at myself for laughing at a sacred spiritual practice and so on. Nothing worked. I fought my urge to scream laugh in the middle of the meditation for what felt like eternity. My Nirvana wagon had veered off the eightfold path.

After we were done meditating we were invited to go have a potluck lunch in another building.  Jay and I got up to walk to lunch, and as we slowly made our way to the door I noticed no one else had moved. They were all facing the center row with their palms pressed together in front of their hearts. This was because our honored guest and teacher was walking down the isle following Jay and I. We were bumbling around like idiots when we should have waited in our spots and paid our respect to the teacher monk by letting her go first.  Everyone seemed to just know these unspoken rules.  Trying to be friendly with other visitors, I noticed that none of them would meet my eye contact or return a smile. The monks of course all were the picture of a wise heart. They smiled generously. We all walked in silent back down the muddy hill to the next building, and I could still barely look at Jay. When we finally made contact, he basically pleaded that we get the hell out of here now. But due to our problem with people pleasing we did not want to upset the monks by being rude. It really is funny the things that we project onto other people. At the time, monks  taking it personally and getting  angry because we excused ourselves didn’t seem that all far fetched.

After another awkward sing chant where I desperately tried not to laugh or look at Jay who probably was seriously considering murdering me, we were instructed to sit in silence for the first half of the lunch.   The only sound was clinking silverware on plates and the annoying sounds of mastication. I knew this shouldn’t be making me feel awkward.  I was supposed to carry only gratitude in my heart right? The purpose of eating in silence was so I could be fully present in the moment and the activity of eating instead of engaging in idle chatter.  When we were finally allowed to talk again, I wished that the whole lunch would have been in silence. Jay and I sat next to a couple from a local white rich people town.  “Yes, this is rather nice, is this your first time here?” asked the linen clad husband. Was it that obvious? Had he seen me trying to stifle the laughter  and pretending to appear pensive?  “Yes, well I learned to meditate while in India…” he said without waiting for me to answer and I suddenly wished I had heeded Jay’s pleas to leave the monastery when we had the chance.  The wife sat pretend listening to her husband. She was draped in scarves, a Patagonia jacket and yoga pants holding her cup of tea with both hands up to her face without drinking it.  Saying “mmmmm” a lot and nodding her head as if she was clinging on to every profound word he spoke. This was a couple who talked at the same time to you.  They blathered on for the rest of lunch about their upper middle class privileged lifestyle.

Lunch finally came to a close, but not before we had to do more chanting.  This time, the monks chanted quicker than Busta Rhymes.  All by memory. It really was amazing, I just wish it hadn’t been so awkward.  As soon as we broke to move onto the next building for the next activity, I looked at Jay and said “lets get out!”  “Oh thank god” Jay said, “I didn’t really want to say anything because I thought you liked this!” We got in the car and drove out as fast as possible. At this point, we didn’t even care if the monks thought we were bad people, we just needed to escape so we could burst into laughter.

“Let’s just go to the Food Court and  get deli food,” Jay said.

“Sounds good,” I said, enlightenment can wait.

The time I lived next door to Sasquatch

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In trauma work, it is often the case that we need to have time to process traumatic things that happen to us, lest they get stuck and continually trigger us.  I think that enough time has passed for me to finally feel okay to talk about my traumatizing move to rural WA, and hopefully this post will help with further catharsis and processing.

Earlier this past Summer, Jay and I packed up all of our belongings, stuffed the dog and cat in the car, and moved to an insanely rural part of North East Washington state. Rural is actually quite an understatement.  I wish there was a word that is a hybrid of “Ghost Town” and “Hillbilly Mecca.” It would be something like that. Now, don’t get me wrong.  A place with natural beauty, less traffic, cleaner air, abundant lakes and rivers, and stars so bright only astronomers wouldn’t be jealous isn’t a bad thing. We decided to trade in our life in Oregon for something slower, more peaceful. Little did we know, we were actually moving into the 10th ring of hell (yes, the 10th ring does exist).

My descent into clinical depression came on gradually.

First, there was the hour drive one way to work on a pitch black two lane highway.  The wildlife was great aside from the problem of the furry critters liking to cross the road at quite inopportune times, like when you are barreling down a two lane highway, eating your breakfast boiled egg, in a rainstorm, while scream singing with your eyes closed to My Morning Jacket. To date, I have almost careened into: a ton of deer, a family of racoons, dozens of wild turkeys, a herd of cattle, squirrels, and a moose. Actually I didn’t almost run into the moose, but I did see the magical matey on the side of the highway once. I imagine seeing a moose would be kind of like seeing a Sasquatch. He was so big and lumbered around in such a surreal way in the fog along the highway, it felt like I was seeing something that I wasn’t supposed to.

The town itself, had about, oh, 560 people. Plus two including Jay and I. There is one grocery store called the Food Court that from the outside looks like something in an apocalypse movie.  From my field research, it seems that the residents of this town only eat fried deli food such as chicken gizzards and pizza sticks, and get the rest of their sustenance from cheap beer with camo print and graphics of bucks and other enticing game to hunt. This is my best educated guess given that the produce at the Food Court was slimy and rotten and the meat section was mostly old hotdogs and weird looking bacon. There was not a single coffee shop, and the locals (including yours truly) bought their coffee at the gas station.  Early in the morning before work, I would go to the gas station where the local octogenarians met to sip drip and talk about the goings on in the town. I would ask for the same thing every morning; “Double Shot Americano,” while I ignored the awkward glances from the country folk judging my complicated order. It was the same look I got the first time I asked a befuddled deli worker at the Food Court if they had hummus. The first few times I ordered this, I was asked to taste my coffee after it had been made to “see if there is enough coffee in it.”

The mayor of the town was a twenty-something party animal who basically got her position because, according to my Dad, “No one ran against her.” She is also a bartender at the local shithole/watering hole.  She ran around with an arrogant young man with a Farmans Pickle tattooed on his upper arm.  It is always on display, even in the Winter time because he rips off all the sleeves of his shirts.  Nothing says Washington pride like a permanent tribute to a pickle made at the base of Mt. Rainier.

Party Mayor, unfortunately, turned out to be a total racist. Jay and I decided to get real wild one Saturday night and we went to the local bar to drink club soda with limes. There was an underage kid in the bar with his girlfriend, the drunkest lady I have ever seen in real life, and the mayor, slinging drinks behind the counter.  Drunk lady ordered a drink, which I was only able to deduce because she waved her empty cup in the air towards Party Mayor bartender while slurring something completely unintelligible and almost falling off her barstool. Again. To my surprise instead of giving this alcohol poisoned Grandmother a cup of water, an IV bag of electrolytes,  or even just straight soda, the bartender filled up her glass with more booze. And grandmother with the world record for highest BAC of all time, hugged my brother and talked to him like she had known him all his life in her crazy drunkspeak. Just when I was convinced the night couldn’t get any better, our lovely bastion of All American values bartendress turned off the lights of the bar around 10:15pm. When I asked if the bar was closing she replied, “The Mexicans are starting to come in, so I am pretending we are closed.” I have never been so close to throwing a punch in my life. Night over.

I think I was the first one to break. “I hate this place!” I told Jay one night at our house after feeling bored not being able to get any internet or cable. Being the wonderful and supportive boyfriend that he is, Jay tried to convince me we just needed to hang in there. It was just growing pains.  A few days later, he was ready to crack and most likely was thinking about drinking the rubbing alcohol in the medicine cabinet to black out and forget the incessant nightmare that we had gotten ourselves into. But the insanity didn’t stop there.

Our local bank manager was relieved of her job for asking patrons coming in the bank to deposit checks if she could borrow some money. All the high school kids wear camo and think it is cool to be obsessed with Duck Dynasty and be racist/homophobic. Everything closes at 6pm. The main attraction is the high school football team and all the residents go out to games to scream at the poor high school kids fucking up their underdeveloped brains with concussions about how they aren’t doing a good enough job at “kicking ass.”

I think the breaking point came when I started to cry at a restaurant while having lunch with Jay.  “We have to get out of here no matter what!”  Jay looked worried, and probably half out of fear to talk me down, and half out of being at the end of his own rope, agreed with me. And that is when we committed to moving back to the city. We didn’t care that we were like Ikea loving,  small batch coffee drinking, city elitists who liked to have cell service at ALL times while at our house or within our zip code. We had our tails between our legs and did not give a shit. Despite the natural beauty, the country just wasn’t for us.

Of course the restaurant we were sitting at was an hour away from where we lived, because our town had no restaurants. Funny restaurant story: when we went into the “Bar and Grill” in town, a man with a pretty amazing mullet set down his beer that he was swilling with a table of friends, to jump behind the bar and offer us a drink. When we asked for a menu, the bar fell silent and the patrons all looked at us with the “they must be cityfolk” look.  “We actually don’t serve food anymore, and the bartender is out right now….” said the mullet coiffed man in a tracksuit (who later we found out was also the wrestling coach), “I just thought you all wanted a toddy or something.”

No thanks friend, No thanks.

Liebster Award

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Well How-Day! jodysscribbles.wordpress.com nomintated me for the Liebster Blog Award! I am still new to all this blogging biz, so I am not quite sure what it means, but it appears that she thinks my blog is at least worth visiting to look at the pictures. Thanks so much!!

Here are the answers to the questions that she asked:

1. What is the main reason you have a blog? I realized one day that there are alot of funny things that happen in my life. I think that my friends and family are tired of my recycled stories, but the blogging community has no idea who I am, so it is a novel experience for them. They don’t know what a blithering idiot I am yet! I never have been a serious writer, but have always enjoyed it. This is basically a great creative outlet for me.

2. What is most important to you in the world? Jay. Of course, I am going to give the ol’ cliche, it is the people that I love. A close second you ask? An open mind. Tied with humor. Love, my smarts, and laughing.

3. If you are experiencing writer’s block, how do you overcome it? This is probably a pretty boring answer, but I commute a long ways. I have an hour + drive to work and then back every day. It gives me alot of times to work things out in my brain, when I am not feeling too tired to rub two brain cells together. I also keep a list of little things that I would someday like to put into a blog/letter to a friend/bestselling memoir.

4. What most inspires you to write? All of the characters in my life.

5. Who was your greatest role model as a child? I wish I was an awesome kid that loved Tich Nhat Hahn or Gloria Steinem. But that just doesn’t really fly in elementary school. Actually my Godmother was an inspiration to me. She is a pilot for United Airlines, and a lady piloting a plane back in the day was actually a pretty big feat. (Obviously people have not been reading their Steinem). She taught me to see past my little window out into the horizon. She’s pretty awesome. For artistic inspiration, I just have to give a shout out to Bob Ross. No qualifier needed.

6. If you looked back on your life, is there anything you wished you had done differently? Played more. Seriously, I am a worrier. I wish I did less of that.

7. What’s your favourite post you have created and why? I think my post about social work. It  was speaking straight from the heart vs. my prefrontal cortex. But I am sure I will have more faves as I get going. Right now I only have 3 posts.

8. If you could go anywhere in the world, past, present, or future, where would you go? Oh boy. That’s a toughy. Where is the place where you can find all the answers to the secrets of the universe? That is where I want to go. There and Morocco.

9. What would you like to be doing in 5 years time? Therapy/Social Work, painting, and hanging with those I love. Oh, and throw in some good food to that equation.

10. What do you hope to achieve by writing? I wanna make people laugh. The first time I read a David Sedaris book I was laughing uncontollably in a library much to my embarassment. Not that I will ever rival Sedaris, but I want to make people at least almost laugh. Or think “that is kind of funny maybe.” Also, I just wanna speak someones truth and have them connect with my writing.

My Top 10 Nominees

I am sure that there are tons of really fantastic blogs out there. I have only been on wordpress for a few weeks so I have not had the chance to read them. I am sorry if I left yours out. I am sure I will come across it sooner or later and it will change my life.

1. Wizard Turdz – You won’t find a post here yet, but it is sure to be a hit!

2. Wine Tits and Hysterical Fits – this beautiful lady and I went to high school together, slacked off in PE, and started a blog in our 20’s

3. Jody’s Scribbles – an adorably lovely lady from the UK is going to Social Work School

4. The War in My Brain – A beautiful & authentic blog about living with OCD

5. Mister G Kids – this blog is hilarious! The comics are awesome!

6. Ryan Boltons Notes – Great photos.

7. The Belle Jar – good reads

8. You & Mie – cutest baby photos ever!!

9. Queer Landia – I used to live in Portland. This blog is way better than Portlandia.

10. Cute Overload – daily dose of adorbsies critters

My 10 Questions for the Nominees:

1. What is the message of your blog?

2. What is meaningful for you in life?

3. How do you seek happiness?

4. Favorite Recipe?

5. Funniest Story?

6. Who is your role model/models and why?

7. What inspired you to start a blog?

8. What do you hope others take from your blog?

9. Band we should all be listening to right now?

10. What you wish you knew then, what you know now?

Keep Calm! I am a Social Worker…

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Two weeks ago, while at work,  I was punched square in the ass cheek by an angry six year old. I am a social worker.

And I love what I do.

To be a social worker, according to popular belief, you have to do two things: 1. Buy a pair of the ubiquitous social worker shoes: Danskos and 2. Mainline coffee. Not really, but my guess this is what most people think about social work.  This job is straight up crazy, but not in the way that you might imagine. If anyone ever wanted to make a hit TV show with all the drama, betrayal, catfights, neuroticism, and humor of your best after hours cable series, make it about mental health workers. Woody Allen characters ain’t got nothing on therapists. There is the old saying that people get into the mental health field to work out their own “stuff,”  and I half-heartedly agree. The problem, however is people don’t actually work out their stuff, they just spew it all over the place thickening the plotlines and making work more interesting.

The clients, in my book, are absolutely amazing. I have been so inspired by my clients over the years. I have seen the depths of suffering and also those moments of sheer joy, and everything in between. I think that I have had the privilege of seeing every part of the naked human body at one point or another. I once had a client who answered her front door pantsless, as casually as ever, and I had to have a conversation with her about how a large t-shirt with a large picture of a cat as her only article of clothing was not appropriate attire for the social security office.

People with no money are often the most generous.  I had a client who used to be homeless for a good part of his life. He finally was about to get an apartment, which for him was more of an inconvenience.  He always complained about the “responsibilities of indoor living.” It’s understandable, and I think we all get that urge to run away from our lives every now and then. He barely had any money to live on, but every Christmas he would donate money to charity. My clients, with almost nothing, would offer to buy me a cup of coffee or volunteer at a local shelter. They were always there to help out friends and family with an open heart.

Being around this kind of struggle, from the obstacles mental illness brings, to poverty, and to the stigma and discrimination of people impoverished or who carry this diagnosis or that, has put things into perspective for me. This is good and bad. Good, for example that I now can give two shits about most capitalistic consumerist bullshit. Bad, because now I don’t have all the energy in the world to deal with drama. At all. If you know a social worker, and most of the time they would like to spend their time taking baths, drinking a glass of wine with a mind numbing book (Twilight anyone?), or watching some HBO series (I love you SOA!) this is why. It is called vicarious trauma, and it is exhausting. It is also called perspective and it is liberating. Because deep down each therapist knows the key to happiness is keeping things very simple and Buddha like. Get mindful, love, laugh, and ditch all the drama and basically everything else.

Aside from being slugged in the ass, I have also been screamed at, hung up on, and had things thrown at me. I have lost my patience, cried at work, cried at home about work, and dreamed of absconding to Southern Italy to open up a flower shop. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Cause I have also had my mind blown, my limits tested, have grown exponentially, held a lot of love in my heart, learned a lot about myself, and been inspired. I have helped little kids defeat Grumpy Gorillas, taught women how to stand up for themselves for the first time in their lives, and helped people living with schizophrenia to make a friend and join a community.

It’s pretty sweet.

The Kitten.

photo

As a result of what I suspect may be out of control baby fever, Jay and I had been wanting to get a kitten for a while. When we moved to Washington this summer, my Dad’s slutty ass cat just had yet another litter of kittens.  We picked out the cutest one and took it home when it was old enough to be adopted.  We chose not to heed any of the warnings from his previous family such as the obvious red flag:  “One of the kids dropped that one on its head…”

The terrorizing started almost immediately. Apparently we had hand picked the most emotionally needy yet violent cat ever. I stopped letting it sleep in the bed because it would bite toes, fingers, and what was most shockingly painful to discover, noses. The little fucker also liked to scratch with its kitten needle claws as well. It particularly like to sleep on my neck, I think so he could have easier access to my exposed nose. Anyway, I started kicking him out of the room and shutting the bedroom door. In the beginning he meowed insanely loudly outside of the door. All. Night. Long. After time, he somehow learned to ram into the door and force it open. There was no escaping his reign of nighttime brutalizations, so I started putting him outside at night. All the while, secretly hoping he would run away to a more forgiving and patient family or get carried off by a bird of prey.

Most cats are afraid of my dog. She isn’t particularly mean, but cats especially annoy her and she loves to chase them away and bark at them. The kitten, of course, seemed to have NO FEAR OF ANYTHING, and would try to eat the dog’s food while she was eating, scratch the dog’s face all hours of the day, and for no reason I could figure out, it would get a running start, leap into the air onto the dog’s head, and launch herself off from her head and run away.

It was not scared of cars either. In the morning I would go out to start my car to leave for work. The kitten would either stand in front of it without moving, or it would jump onto the hood.  No amount of speed, braking, me screaming “Get Down! GET DOWN! GET DOWN YOU LITTLE IDIOT!”, or car horn would deter this kitten’s mission. I would have to get out of the car, take it off the car, jump back into the car, and try to speed off.  Unfortunately the little shitball was very fast and he would jump back onto the hood or the roof before I could speed away. This progressed (or actually regressed would be more fitting) into a morning routine of me jumping out of the car, picking up the cat, throwing it into the yard, running as fast as I could and jumping back into the car, slamming it into drive, and speeding off like a madwoman without even my seatbelt on. Most of the time I would have to swerve to miss the cat who had already made it to the road. Once as I was speeding off, he jumped up to try and get on the car and ended up slamming into the side of the car. I can only imagine the scene from the neighbor’s point of view.

It ripped up all my plants with his wolverine claws and shit in all of them.  He also liked to pee in all of my plants eventhough he was outside all night and most of the day. It is like he waited all day to come inside and do his biz in his own personal houseplant toilets.

Once, he ate a whole Ribeye steak that was vacuum sealed and defrosting in the sink.

The end of my rope came one night when the power went out. I was reading Game of Thrones by candlelight like a nerdling maiden when I decided to let the cat in the house. I opened the door and just as he crossed the threshold I noticed something in his mouth.  Just as I blurted out “Oh fuck is that a mouse!?” He dropped the alive mouse in the middle of my very dark living room.

I am not a Wolfman. Or a Dreamboat.

Jay blog pic

But I sure do know one. This is my bf Jay and this is the picture that inspired this blog. Actually, Jay and I were both talking about starting blogs one night in bed after watching the last epsiode of Season 2 of the Sopranos. We talked about a blog about coupleship called “I Liked us Better Before We Started Farting in Front of Each Other,” but decided it might 1) limit our creativity and 2) Be a lie. Seriously, no one wants their belly to hurt all the time from trapped gas. In a continual effort to outdo me in everything, he decided his blog is going to be called Wizard Turds (WURDZ for short). It will be much better than mine I am sure. He’ll win a Nobel, and I will end up banned from the interwebs.