Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 39: Sept 23rd-29th- Dissertation Proposal Defense=SUCCESS!!!

First off, let me start by saying: I SUCCESSFULLY DEFENDED MY DISSERTATION PROPOSAL!!  I passed! it was approved!!
Granted, I have a laundry list of changes that need to be made including but not limited to changing my entire data analysis section and rewriting/reorganizing my entire literature review.
BUT IT WAS A SUCCESS!!! Regardless of how much I need to do based on it, it is no longer standing in my way of applying to internship!!

My 5 things:

1. I left practicum early Thursday,  I decided I needed some extra time to clear my mind and decompress before the big day (I defended my dissertation proposal on Friday morning)

2. Baked some pumpkin Nutella swirl cookies in an attempt to distract myself from the anxiety overload on Thursday night.

3. I SUCCESSFULLY DEFENDED MY DISSERTATION PROPOSAL!! Ok, ok, I know I already said that...but it deserves repeating...and making the list!

4. J and I went to dinner Firday night to celebrate. We decided to try out a new place in Oakland, I voted for Italian...mostly just because I wanted to free bread you get ASAP ;)

5. J and I also treated ourselves to a movie Sunday evening. SCORE because it was $5 movie day at the theater in downtown Oakland. We saw the movie Prisoners...which was AMAZING!! Such an awesome suspense-thriller-mystery with an incredible cast. We had never even heard of the movie, just decided to treat ourselves and looked at what was playing. When we left the theater J said "Now, that is worth owning".

Monday, September 23, 2013

Week 38: Sept 17th-22nd: Saying goodbye to my dear old companion

I have to defend my dissertation proposal this Friday. I'm fighting off an illness as we speak and I'm totally not prepared for my proposal defense. This upcoming week is going to be hell.

As for last week...

My 5 things:

1. Took the original Riley in my life, the Jetta to the junk yard of Friday. Now, this was actually really difficult for me.

The Jetta and me before parting ways 9/20/13
  I cried. Even though the Jetta's been parked in the garage, not being used for over a month now and even before that I was not the one driving it, saying the final good bye was hard. I owned that car for 11 years... 11 YEARS! It had 67,000+ miles on it when I got it, and it ended with 194,000+ miles. I was really hoping to take it to 200,000 just like Marshall had hoped:
From the episode Arrivederci, Fiero: How I Met Your Mother

2. I baked my very 1st apple pie. I cannot believe how SIMPLE it is to make fruit pies. One of the easiest desserts ever. Granted, it wouldn't be so if I was not using a premade crust. Someday, I will make my own crust but for now, the ready-to-bake crusts will work for me.

3. I took a nap yesterday. I'm fighting off sickness and have waaaaay too much coming up soon that I need to be present, alert, oriented and WELL for.

4. We have some house guests staying with us so J has been acting as a tour guide and showing them the sites of San Francisco. It is fun to tag along, since the only time I ever seem to go over there is when I'm with people who are visiting.

5. Spent a whole day doing laundry, going grocery shopping, cleaning house, preparing dinner. Taking care of the home. It's a bitch to do some times, but it really is worth it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Week 37: Sept 9th-16th=MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING!!!!

This past week has been CRAZY!!! (so, by default I'm late posting but I spent 12 hours on Monday driving, so....)
J and I got up at 3am on Thursday to make the 11 hour drive up to the PNW for my best friend's wedding. Not only was I the maid-of-honor, but J was going to officiate the wedding! Yes, I'm not dating a reverend ;) He got ordained so that he could officiate their wedding, is that not just the sweetest thing?
Any way, so we were both a couple of VIP wedding guests and hit the ground running as soon as we got into town and it was nonstop until we left on Monday morning.

My 5 things:
1. I got to spend some quality time with my best friend and my sister. We went up the the lodge they were getting married at a day early with my goddaughters and niece and had her "bachelorette party" which included pool time and dinner with 4 children under the age of 9 :)

2. I was able to give a speech at the wedding as the maid-of-honor. She said I didn't have to and that she  didn't expect me to, but I really wanted to, both for me and for her. I somehow managed not to cry for most of it, although the beginning was shaky.

3. I got up super early the morning after I arrived and put the finishing touches (2 hours worth of editing!) on my dissertation proposal and got it sent out to my readers. Last Friday officially marks 2 WEEK until I defend. YIKES!!

4. I got to see a fair amount of my family because they were at the wedding. That is the good thing about being friends with someone for 20 years, your friends really do become your family.

5. We (well, mostly J) got a 2nd (well, techinally 3rd but the Jetta is useless and needs to start living at the junk yard soon) vehicle. J wanted a work truck so he hustled and we figured it out and got him a truck. Made the almost 12 hours drive home a little harder since it was just me in the wagon the whole way back but we made it work. Our little Ford family:

Monday, September 9, 2013

Week 36: Sept 2nd-8th. Struggling to stay awake.

This last week was actually pretty tough to come up with much. I have really been lacking energy in a major way and battling just to be awake at any given time. This makes it a little difficult to go above and beyond baseline.

My 5 things:

  1. I went running 1 time. It saddens and frustrates me that I'm not doing this more. I'm noticing a negative impact on my body from my lack of exercise but I just cannot seem to find the energy or motivation for it. I know I can't be running every day, but I could be doing something active. I wonder what it is going to take to get me out of this slump?

  2. Baked strawberry banana muffins. I chose a healthier recipe than my usual, which didn't taste as good but made for excellent grab and go snacks throughout the week for J and me.

  3. I had an issue come up with the residents recently. Apparently, only 2 weeks in and I had already made a name for myself and I believe the name they used was “bitch”. I wrestled with how to handle this (should I let up a bit, am I being too hard on them?) but then I decided instead to ask the other counseling trainees to step up their authority and meet me closer to where I am at in terms of holding the residents accountable for their actions and enforcing the rules (the things I did to get the label of “counselor everyone avoids”). The other counselors really did a great job and we're now all less liked than before, but at least it is a general dislike instead of a targeted hatred toward me...but most importantly it is for good reason. I'm glad I decided to handle it the way I did and not just slump down in defeat or suffer silently. I spoke up for what I believed in and for what I stood for, and asked that others support me in this.

  4. I arranged a phone meeting with a former intern from one of the sites I'm planning to apply to for internship. I despise phone calls, talking to strangers, and most importantly talking to strangers on the phone... but I decided it was a smart move to reach out. I got some great feedback, advise, and overall knowledge about the site and it was definitely the right move. 

  5. I bought shoes and earrings to go with my dress for being the maid-of-honor in my best friend's wedding. About time too since the wedding is THIS Saturday.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Weel 35: Aug 26th-Sept 1st- closing the chapter on the methadone clinic

This past week marked the end of my practicum at the methadone clinic. I decided to look back to this time last year and see what I had to say when I was just getting started. This entry was just after my 2 weeks of training: August 31st, 2012:

A list of concerns prior to starting my last practicum:
  • It is working with substance abuse issues
  • It is at a methadone clinic
  • There is an element of mandated treatment (which gives you quite a bit of resistance from clients)
  • I'm going from my prior caseload of 2 clients to (currently) 6 but that number will be 10-15 within the next month.
"I'm actually curious to see how I react to this experience of working at a methadone clinic.
I'm sure there are going to be many stressful times ahead, but I'm looking forward to seeing how it impacts me, in what ways I end up growing as a clinician and as a person in general."

Now, after a year's worth of 4am alarm clocks, avoidant patients, endless paperwork, and hour long commutes (one way!) I have completed this chapter and I must say, it's almost like it never happened. I cannot believe I was there for an entire year. Where did the last year even go? Oh, perhaps I was half asleep through all of it!
I learned so much about myself as a clinician, about my limits, and the lengths at which I can push myself. I'm sure these lessons are just the tip of the iceberg for what I will continue to learn throughout this process called graduate school.
I've already started my new practicum at a residential setting for women in recovery who are also mothers and some have their children in the program. It comes with a whole new set of concerns and after being there 2 weeks I can already see how this site is going to stretch me thin and test my limits. Hopefully, I'll be able to come out of it with the same admiration for my clients and my co-workers that I've left the clinic with.

My 5 things:

1. Got a new planner! This is a HUGE thing for me. I could not survive without a planner and I do not think that is an exaggeration. At some point in community college my best friend and I discovered a planner that I have been hooked on ever since.  Here is the link to their site I promise it is  The best planner you'll ever use.
 I have been using these types of planners since... probably around '03 or '04. I've even tracked them down depending on where I was living (they are not sold at most stores). There was a year where I thought I'd try a different type because I was having a hard time locating one. BIG mistake. Thankfully, they're easier to find these days and I even managed to find some sold in Hawaii and California.
They're August to August, which is pretty perfect as a student. Apparently they make January to January now as well, but this one suits my lifestyle pretty perfectly and has for the past...10 years. Wow, I've been in college 10 years now? Oy!

2. I took a few naps, which I rarely ever do anymore but my schedule proved to be just too much for me.

3. I turned in my 3rd draft of my proposal on time! There were actually a few things I could/should have done more to it, but I did what I was able to and that just has to be good enough. Time is running out, I am supposed to defend my dissertation proposal on Sept 27th!! Yikes!

4. Despite this absolutely crazy insane schedule I've had, I managed to turn in some of my internship application material drafts to my Faculty Internship Advisor EARLY!!

5. Yesterday I started on some wedding things for my best friend that I've been put in charge of. I will have to post photos of the process of my crafts when I am finished. It is hard to feel like a maid of honor from 700 miles away when I won't be there until basically the day before the wedding. Thankfully she's put me in charge of some things so that I can feel like I've contributed (plus I think it is a relief for her not to have to worry about).

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Week 34: Aug19th-25th- Zombie woman going through the motions

I'm how many days late posting now? That just shows you where my mind's been at this past week. Doing double duty for practicum at both places just about killed me. I've fallen behind on pretty much everything so it is no wonder I'm almost a week late for posting.

My 5 things:

1. I had a meeting with a professor from the "Office of Professional Development". It was not mandatory, but I wanted to meet face to face and go over my proposed site list for internship sites and see where I'm at. This professor was also one of the ones on the committee that initially rejected me for applying. She said they were on the fence about me, so they rejected me to see my response. They weren't sure I was ready. Apparently, my appeal did exactly what I had hope it would, and it made them realize that "oh, no this girl is actually ready". She said I needed to take that kind of writing and apply it to my application materials.

2. I met up with a girl from my program who used to work at the practicum I just started at. We met up for coffee (I had ginger lemonade, yum!) and I got to ask her questions about the site, the people, the rules, etc. This discussion naturally lead to internship talk, as most of my conversations do lately.

3. We took a day trip to Dillon's Beach, one of the few beaches that allows off leash dog play. It was the pup's first time to the ocean.
Felt like we were back home on the Oregon coast :) He only know California as of now, but he'll soon get a taste of WA & OR.

4. I completed 33 weeks of this "5 beneficial things". That isn't exactly an amazing accomplishment, but I was struggling for coming up with things, and that is still pretty good. How many people can say they're still upholding their New Year's Resolution?

5. (Went to bed that Friday at 8:30pm. I was soooooooo zonked from doing double time, I obviously needed it.

I'll be back tomorrow with this past weeks 5 things. Over and out.