Veteran's Day Weekend 2017

Start of the three-day weekend. Sending gratitude to all the veterans out there.

I had a positive week, but today I had conversations with my department head and coworkers that kind of stressed me out. Now my neighbors are playing music and talking loudly...it's only 9:30pm, and I know it's their prerogative, but I sure wish the walls were more insulated!

Anyway, earlier my department head said that I will be getting the same assignment for spring, so that's good, but she said after that the college counseling department will not be providing counselors to my program. I had heard rumblings of this before and my program director said that counselors are necessary to run the program and they would find a way to pay for them. But what does that mean exactly? I started thinking more about possibilities and questions came up: Would we be paid at the same rate? Will the employment criteria be the same (i.e. if the high school district pays, would we need a high school counseling credential)?

I know a lot can happen in six months, but I appreciated my job in this program as the solid ground I could depend upon. If college counseling and teaching hours opened up at my campus or the other campus 20 minutes north, I might decide I prefer to work those hours and let go of the extra stress and complexity of dealing with a high school program. On the other hand, I have come to deeply care about my students and feel close to my colleagues. So I do enjoy it much more than when I started in February. I need to keep calm and find out more information before I jump to the alarmed phase. I will talk to my director when she returns from vacation next week.

My friend is coming tomorrow afternoon and I'm both excited and curious to see how I will feel spending time with him. The house is cleaned, and Zoey has had a bath. I look forward to walking around downtown, going out for meals, and helping him spread his parents ashes - that will be meaningful. I hope we get nice weather for that activity on Saturday. Even more so, I hope the winds of passion fuel a fire between us. lol


Halloween-time Happenings

My new neighbors are SO LOUD. Argh, I guess this is my new reality. The man speaks incessantly and is especially loud. Two thoughts at the moment… I will likely make greater use of headphones and YouTube meditation/relaxation channels while I work, and when I'm placed with an infant and they are wailing or yelling at all hours, I will not feel guilty. My previous neighbors were young and relatively quiet, and I was a little worried when I thought about the difficult adjustment to infant/toddler noise.

In other news, I went on a date Wednesday night with a guy about my age who I met online. I had a good time, even though he talked quite a lot for a professed introvert. We had dinner, then went on a pleasant walk around the local neighborhood. We did end up kissing and holding hands, which was nice. At the end, we talked about seeing each other again, but now I'm having doubts. He's fit, but not really my type physically. I'm pretty solid for a woman, and carry a few extra pounds. I prefer a guy to be bigger and bulkier than me. He's cute but I'm not sure if there's enough chemistry there, though I did feel attraction on our walk.

A definite plus is that he seems to be, not just open, but positive about the idea of adoption and being in a parental role again (he has a 22-year-old son in college). Oh, and he "vapes;" isn't that weird?  Do any of you know people who do that? I guess it's healthier than smoking and doesn't have the smell, but it's still an addiction and not awesome to be around.

As far as I know, my friend from the central coast is still coming next weekend, as well. I haven't heard from him at all, which makes me wonder if he's positive he wants to come up. I think I'll give him a call in a little while.

No big Halloween plans. I may wear some sort of minor costume on the actual holiday. I need to find out when is the official trick-or-treat night around here so I can have some candy available. I do love to see kids costumes. It's strange thinking back to the last two Halloweens...The last one dressing up and watching a movie while handing out candy with my roommate, and the one before doing the same thing but with S. I'm pretty sure this year Zoey and I will be solo.


A Visitor

I'm writing a short post before I need to get ready for church. Looking forward to our small group support circles starting next week, which will add to my sense of local connection.

I also have some interesting news about a past connection coming to visit… When I lived on the Central Coast, I had a good friend, RC, who I met through a dance community. He lived not too far from me, and we would carpool to dance, attend community events, and sometimes get together for dinner or hiking.  When we first met, he was interested in possibly dating, but I was focused on someone else at the time. After that, it seemed like he usually had a girlfriend, and my efforts at ttc'ing also were perhaps a barrier.  

I do remember at one point talking with him about being my donor… He previously had a vasectomy though, so that would have been, not impossible, but, too complicated. We were not super close best friends, but good friends, and I remember he helped me pack up and transfer things to storage before moving to the Bay Area. We have been Facebook friends and talked here and there over the last several years, but hadn't talked for probably a couple years at this point. 

Then, the other night, I had this, well, fairly tame but none-the-less erotic dream about him. In the rosy afterglow lol, I felt compelled to reach out to him and see how he was doing. Interestingly, he said he had just been thinking of me, as well. We had a good catching up phone call, and we decided we would like to see each other. So, long story short, it looks like he's coming to visit weekend after next! 

I'm not holding much expectation, but it's something fun to look forward to and, at the least, it will serve as a catalyst to get my house in order after this period of neglect. More details to come later...


The Fires

It feels like we are beginning to pull out of the worst and scariest part of these wildfires. I'm grateful that I live in a town about 20 miles from the nearest fire zone. We opened evacuation shelters here but did not have to evacuate any neighborhoods ourselves. The first (and worst) night, I woke up and smelled smoke. But I thought the neighbor was smoking nextdoor and didn't realize it was from the fire until the next morning.

The people in the this area are really kind and neighborly and the shelters were quickly overflowing with volunteers and donations pretty early on, I decided that my role would be to support our students, many of whom live in towns to the north most hard hit by fires. I spent a lot of time messaging and calling students on my caseload to make sure they were okay. Three or four of our students did lose their homes and many were evacuated and went to stay with family or in shelters. A couple went to wait it out  in hotels in San Francisco.

I was actually glad to connect with students when I started doing outreach because I was needing some human connection and just to talk with people about what was going on. It was also good to feel useful.  On Monday a few colleagues and I got together and created a tentative plan for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week, then went out to lunch and just processed with ourselves. When we open tomorrow and we're going to have some food for the students and time to talk with one another and participate in a healing circle. Our Director is going to talk about what to expect in terms of feelings and experiences and when someone should get help. We're also going to do some meditation and mindfulness. So definitely a soft start.

I can't believe over 40 people died. I felt horrible when I heard two people had been found, then the number kept rising all week. Apparently the fire just moved so fast because of the wind that some people didn't have time to get out. A lot of these folks who died were older, in their 70s, 80s, and 90s. On Monday, my Director pointed out that many neighborhoods in this beautiful area have a lot of retirees. I was initially thinking it was only because of mobility and communication issues. I do still think that's sadly a piece of the puzzle, though. It's such a loss. Secondary losses include hundreds of thousands of acres of wildlands, several thousand homes and structures, and several wineries and vineyards, which are key to the local economy.

So glad historic downtown Sonoma didn't end up burning. The Firefighters are huge heroes who held the line there and many other places, preventing additional loss. Praying for families who lost loved ones or homes and for the ongoing recovery process.


Mysterious Melancholy

Does anyone else feel kind of out of it right now? I don't know if it's the change in the season and drop in temperature, or maybe it's that I've gone into more of a waiting versus action mode around the adoption process? I don't feel depressed, but I'm acting kind of depressed, as far as feeling lethargic and unmotivated. When I think of heading into holiday season with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, I feel excited, but that's not translating into energy and activity.

Yesterday was super hectic, beginning with a monthly school community day, which included dialogue about an emotional issue that's been up for the students, then lunch with my teammates, then us all visiting another charter school site to get ideas, and ending with me meeting with a new client for the first time.

The new client, even after signing an agreement, decided she had reservations committing to a four-month counseling package. So I had to do my least favorite thing, at the end of a long day: have a sales conversation, communicating the value of my work. Blech. It reminded me why it's really important to invest in the initial phone consultation, so that the connection is firmly established and all questions are answered. She ended up switching to a shorter package to start with, but we went on to have a really good session and a positive ending at least.

In an effort to cheer myself up, I'm going to make a short list of what I hope transpires before the end of this year:
  • I am placed with a healthy infant before Thanksgiving and we start our journey together as a family. 
  • The other local client I consulted with last week pays his invoice and schedules his first appointment this weekend, and I begin working with two more new clients in the next month. 
  • I find the energy and initiative to get my house in order and get my self in order, as well!  I need to color and cut my hair, do my nails, and get another professional outfit or two for fall. 
I have a training called Nurtured Heart with my adoption agency next Friday, so I am looking forward to that. It occurs to me maybe I'm subconsciously feeling some grief about leaving the nonprofit and my friends there.  I do miss them and the laughter and conversation we shared.

 How are you feeling at this turn of the season?


Turning the Corner

I finished my final day at the nonprofit yesterday. I felt sad when I worked on Tuesday and even the week prior, but yesterday, I felt a relief to be done and to not make that commute anymore. My supervisor was really sweet and gave me a beautiful orchid plant with bamboo. I'm looking at it now, and it's very peaceful. I also received a card from her and the director and a yummy pastry. Next Wednesday is the official staff send off at a local restaurant/bar, which has a lovely outdoor patio.

I will now have Tuesdays off, and since my scheduled college class did not go forward unfortunately (seems the concurrent enrollment process was not planned well), I plan to use Tuesdays to work on my business and sign a couple of clients in this area. Towards that end, I also scheduled a career transition meetup group for next month at a local restaurant. Fingers crossed I'll connect with a client that way, as well. It feels good to be putting energy into my business again; I've missed it and enjoy getting back to the creativity, planning, and writing skills it requires.

On the adoption front, I haven't heard anything from my placement social worker yet this month but wasn't expecting to until the next week. I feel like I'm in a void right now because, after a year of paperwork, action steps, and getting my home ready, there are no specific tasks I'm supposed to be completing.

I do have a training coming up in October through my agency, so I'm looking forward to that. Can you think of anything further I should be doing to prepare during this time? I'm remembering some video training links in the notebook the social worker gave me… Maybe I'll check a couple of those out. If you know of foster adoption blogs, I would appreciate hearing about them in comments.

I'm seeing all these people taking trips on Facebook. My summer was over a long time ago, even though it feels like we just turned the corner weather-wise. I'm actually in to working and making money right now, and as mentioned, building my business again. My boring weekend consists of doing some cleaning and laundry, and finishing a business newsletter to send out. As the temperatures drop, I do find myself looking forward to the holiday time, starting with Halloween.  Praying for a placement before Christmas.


A Lowly Adventure

Yesterday, I had the most unpleasant adventure. I was going to pick up a few things at Best Buy in my town, but realized after driving there that what I thought was Best Buy was actually Staples!

So, since we're having an outrageous heat wave, and I wanted to stay in air-conditioning as much as possible – including inside my car –  I set the GPS for a Best Buy in the next town north, about 20 miles away.

I blame it on the heat, but I failed to remember I was a bit low on gas, until that is I was 1 mile from my destination and pushing on the gas pedal with no response. Aargh! It's been forever since I ran out of gas, and I felt like a irresponsible teenager.

I demonstrated my dramatic side on the phone to the roadside assistance dispatcher, all but saying I was about to die in the heat. The wait could've been much worse, there was even a breeze, but I was so relieved when the roadside assistance arrive to save the day with a gas can.

Apparently, I was bored and needed to create some adventure in my life, but this was really the bottom of the barrel in terms of adventures!