Saturday, October 22, 2011


Lately I've needed permission to step outside of my routine and engage with my creativity. I have spurts of creativity, but they are short lived and usually I have to go back to work and put the project brewing in my head or on the page to the side. It's an uncomfortable feeling, but there are bills to be paid.
Logic would say I could just come back to it when I get home. Emotionally? Sometimes I am chomping at the bit to get home and get back to work. Sometimes I just don't have it in me.

For a long time I believed whole heartedly that my job, with the drama and chaos that is inherent in a mental health facility as well as the insidious and abundant amount of paperwork, would kill my ability to write a coherent sentence outside of the typical and generic. That belief  did not do me any favors and it did what I was afraid of my work doing. It zapped my ability to create and overtime I just grew more and more frustrated until eventually I  gave up writing all together. I write here a couple times a month. When I first started this blog I had thought to commit to posting 4-5 times a week.

I seriously do not have that kind of energy. Lesson learned and I began posting only when I wanted to. Problem with that was that I forgot I had a blog when something fun or interesting would pop up. I of course remembered the blog at a later date and began posting a little more regularly. I think 2x a month is my average.I did not look at the actual information and am just flying by the seat of my pants on this number.

And then creativity came back, just like that. It just re-appeared as though it had disapperated and went on holiday in Fiji and came back when I least expected it. But when I sat down to write, what I wrote was very stilted, awkward, and it looked very forced. This, I believe, is exactly as it was supposed to be. I am grateful inspiration struck again. I am glad that I was able to step out of my routine, play a little hooky, and spend the day alone and playing. The funny thing was, right before this occurred, I had contacted an old writing group acquaintance who I knew was some kind of coach. It just so happened she is a creativity coach. She and I had met once or twice and communicated a bit on facebook.  We met for coffee and had a nice chat and I learned a thing or two. Things I had not stopped to really know about myself. 

I am a very hands-on person. I like textures, I shop for clothing by feel first and second by sight. Yes, I have bought some hideous things because they were comfortable. I knit, I crochet, I was a potter for 10 years, and I am most at home when my hands are involved and there is some kind of physicality to the project. At these times it is also when I do the most processing, digesting, and formulating. I don't have to have silence, but noise that is intrusive is not my friend. I am a person who likes her solace, who believes everyone has basic human rights and I have believed this since childhood. So with this information she told me write when the impulse strikes, do not sit down and write every morning or night at the same time for the same amount of time. I should create with my hands first, my mind will follow. And it does. When I am working on a blanket or scarf or hat my mind is on my knitting, but it is also on other projects. I build worlds and people when I am doing something that requires a high level of concentration and silence. Writing is not second nature to me, not anymore. But I think with time, as I use painting, fiber, yarn, tile, glass, and grout I will increase play in my life.

I was asked to get some house paint and paint a wall, somewhere in my house. That immediately reminded me that I have never finished my reading room and right after I parted from her company I went to my preferred Home Improvement store and bought my paint. A beautiful dusty red called Rhubarb for my reading room and a caramelly brown called corkboard for the bathroom I have wanted to work on for a few years.

So I shall see how this goes!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Some of our plants are in!

Whew! The garden is ready to be planted! We had taken 1 week off because I needed some time not doing anything and then the next weekend the irrigation flooded us out. 2 weeks off and grass we thought we had killed had already started to come back. Grass in the desert does not die. It hibernates and waits for moisture then springs up again green and lovely. That would be nice if I wanted a lawn, but not in my garden!


We finished the job today. And boy, my whole body aches. It was a tough job. The tiller that we had planned on using had a bit of an issue and was not working right so we had to turn the soil by shovel. That was not so bad, but I hope to never do it again!

We planted 3 different varieties of tomato plants, 2 bell pepper plants,  1 jalapeno plant, and several carrots.  Next weekend we go back and plant the onion sets, leeks and lettuce.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Good Reads Give-aways

I recently started making use of my Good Reads account. I had been signed up with them for quite sometime, but I stopped paying attention and pretty much forgot about them. Somehow I ended up there again and realized I had set up an account and added a few books to my "shelves." I signed in, changed some of my email settings and started getting emails. One email I got recently was about give-aways.

Like most people I love free stuff, but a free book is heaven!  I am an avid reader. If I could make a living reading I would do it in a nano-second. I will read nearly anything. So I signed up for a giveaway of a book that appeared to be somewhat entertaining. A few weeks later I got an email saying I had won and to expect my book in 4-6 weeks. I was thrilled. 3 weeks later the book arrived!

The book's title is Born to Bark: My Adventures with an Irrepressible and Unforgettable Dog By Stanley Coren. It is a memoir of a psychologists life with his many dogs, how he came to study animal-human behavior, and his wonderful Cairn Terrier, Flint.There is a bit of training tid-bits in there too. I was very surprised that someone finally wrote a book about these wonderful little dogs who really do think they are big dogs. The book is written in a down-to-earth manner that allows you to see the human writing it, rather than the psychologist (there are bits of that too, but it is not a research book.) I am also glad that the author writer in a tone that is intelligent and not too terribly main stream. He is honest about how he chooses a puppy and about the breed. It really is a worth while read.

So if you do not have a Good Reads account and love to read you may want to check them out. Free books are a mighty nice thing!

For the few that actually look at or read this blog you may know my husband and I are owned by a six year-old Cairn Terrier named Emerald. I say 'owned' because she does own us. There is no other way to put it. Em is one of the best dogs I have ever had the pleasure to live with. She was simple to house-break, easy to train (heel, sit, stay, patience,take it, leave it, car ride, Petsmart, and relax are all in her vocabulary and she responds appropriately to each- "quiet" is hit or miss.)  Her spirit, her sense of humor, her ability to insist that certain things are done her way (walks,) the fact that she upholds the house rules and head butts the cats if they are scratching the furniture or decide to get near the dinner table when she has heard them told no or we are setting the table or eating.She is protective of her home and her humans and cats. She lets you know when there is something on the other side of the door and adores people, especially small humans. Her bark is that of a bigger dog and many a delivery person has been shocked to see a 20 pound dog on the other side of the door scrabbling at the floor to greet them. She is very independent, not a lap dog, and would prefer to have more work to do around the house then to herd cats.  I think perhaps some gardening would be her best job and once it cools down we intend to take her to the garden to give her something to do. She is affectionate, but prefers the kind of affection that usually includes a toy, a game of chase, or a treat. She is a comedian and a curious boxy little dog with some serious self esteem.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I ♥ my Kindle

     I am not an early adopter. I have a difficult time buying the latest and greatest gadget because Apple or whomever put it out and it is "all the rage." I just don't care to follow the pack and waste money on something that usually does not have all the kinks worked out just yet. It's a waste of my patience to learn the hard way that something is buggy, especially if I paid several hundred dollars for it.
     I am also a book snob. I like to think I read all the good books (I don't, I have pretty select and not so select taste.) I like the feel of books, the smell of them when they are old and new. I like to hold them in my hands as I read and tote them around with me. Hardback books can be a challenge because I generally like small cross body purses that will not allow me to take everything but the bathroom shower along with me. But they too come along with me, one way or another.
      So Because of the size of my purse I eventually purchased myself a 3rd generation Kindle. I buy most things from Amazon and find that Barnes & Noble is just too overpriced and their Nook was no exception. Not to mention the Nook would not allow me to download from Amazon and that bugged me. The Nook also was back-lit and if I wanted to read my books on a computer screen I'd download a kindle app and read them on my computer. Which is something I just cannot do. It detracts from a book reading experience. Again the tactile part of book reading is by and large why I did not order a first generation e-reader.
       What I have found with my Kindle is I can get new-releases and not have to lug a hardback around. I can also get daily deals from Amazon and pay next to nothing for a new book. Not that all of those titles are good, but if I am short on money and need a new book to read a $2.99, $.99 or FREE book is where it's at. I also love love love the sample chapters. First 2-3 chapters for free so I don't waste my money. I have wasted my money on one of the books on my kindle but it was $2.99 and not $12.99.

So what is on my Kindle:

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson - GREAT READ!

The Churchill's in Love and War by Mary S. Lovell -GREAT READ

The Sisters by Mary S. Lovell - GREAT READ

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer - GREAT READ

Howards End by E.M. Forester - My first free-be :)

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Spy by Eric Metaxas - still wading through this one, its ok, but can be boring.

The American Heiress: A Novel by Daisy Goodwin - good and light

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson- meh, it was ok.

The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller - great stuff

Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley - IMHO the author had a great idea, but the book fell short 

Island of the Swans by Ciji Ware - Couldn't make it past the 3rd chapter, it bored me to tears. Thank goodness I got this one on a daily deal.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Dinner

We had to take a break from the garden this weekend. It had been one helluva a week and I just needed to be still and not do too much. So instead I stayed home to tend the home fires which was mainly cooking, cleaning, and sleeping.
Some of this weeks Menu:

Slow Cooker Turkey- Butternut Squash Ragout - this recipe is a members only recipe so if you are not a member you may not be able to see it.

Garlic and herb marinated chicken breasts with broc and green bean in herbed butter saute

The Lady's Cheesy Mac

The Lady's Cheesy Mac is something my husband requests all the time. It also makes pretty good left overs to take through-out the week.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Equinox

Believe it or not the weather here in the desert is finally changing. Granted, it still is the triple digits, but there is a huge difference between 110f and 102-105f. I can hold my own till about 107f, but as soon as the thermometer tips one more degree I am absolutely wilting. The mornings now are cooler, again there is a big difference between 96f and 80f. Thank god we are now having 70 and 80 degree mornings! There are other signs of cooler weather; The shadows are growing longer, the sun is setting sooner and rising later. These signs can only mean one thing: The season of Hell is drawing to a close and I am ecstatic.

So ecstatic I have started drooling over some new autumnal recipes sure to fill my waistline out just a little bit more. But rather than use that horrible "D" word and start restricting myself from the luscious flavors of fall I am diving right in with a plan. PORTION CONTROL. Will it work? I shall see!

So in celebration of cooler more snuggly weather what are the meals you are going to roll out?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


This morning as I was bumbling around the kitchen way before any normal human being should be awake I heard tell that Starbucks is now offering books as part of their Pick of the Week program. I read a lot, more than most. I will ready nearly anything if it has a hook. I wonder if somehow I can download it onto my Kindle. I will have to give it a go!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Garden Happiness

     It's been more than a decade since I planted a garden or had my own fresh vegetables.  Now that I am free of school obligations I am taking the time to live and do what I held back from doing when I was too busy thinking about school, going to school, or just trying to survive my work day. One of those things is gardening. I love playing in the mud, I love the smell of a garden vegetable that I or someone has grown.
     In the desert there are 2 growing seasons; winter and spring. The summer heat and sun fries everything so you usually have most of the veggies out by June. And it's not worth the frustration to try to keep tender or hearty plants alive. This being the perfect time to start a winter garden we decided to give it a go.
     After a few scheduling conflicts we were able to make it out there. The plot is lovely! a nice sized rectangle with 2 wire trellis for growing squash, peas, beans, cucumbers; all vertically. Then two large squares on each side of that. It is also in need of some work. It sat for several years collecting nesting chickens from the neighbors "free range" chickens. (free range as in there is no fence to keep them in the backyard so they just wander from yard to street to yard laying eggs and foraging.) It is not as bad as it could be, but we're going to have to spend a weekend or two getting the grass out. Then tilling it and refilling it with some more soil.
You can't see them very well, but the tarp is covered with tomato cages!

After we removed the tomato cages we lifted up the tarp to see what lived beneath. An enormous amount of dead and not-so-dead grass. The sprinklers are still in good shape so we won't have to do too much maintenance on them.

    I am not complaining about the hard work its going to take to make this plot lovely and productive.  But I do have office butt and have not really done much manual labor since I moved into my house 7 years ago. I do have to take it easy so I don't throw my back out.

De-grassing the 1st square.

Oh! There is a sprinkler head.

The middle section is cleared.
I wish I could go during the week to get this done, but it's too hot after work to stop and work a bit. It will have to wait for next weekend. This Thursday the irrigation will do its monthly soaking. Perhaps the ground will be softer and easier to work with.

What are we going to plant for our winter crop?
Peppers ( Poblano and Bell )
Cilantro ( not sure if it will survive the winter but we shall see)
Swiss Chard
Leaf Lettuce

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fall Gardening

My husband and I live in a small townhome without a yard. For several years now we have craved a garden of our own. A garden we can plant vegetables in and let the dog dig in. She will have her own garden when we move, of that I am convinced. Being a terrier it is only natural that she should be able to dig and roll in the dirt/ mud and we as her humans should happily accept that as part of her. I do. I hope my husband does when she flops down in the mud happy as a pig in its stye or digs with wild abandon spraying everything around her in dirt and grime. 

For several years we have had access to a family members old over grown garden, but have not taken it on. We are lazy, no bones about it, but I desire to get out and about in the fall this year, to do something new and different and be able to serve my home grown vegetables at my own table. 

Our last adventure in vegetable gardening was a big fat FAIL. We had utilized my husbands recycled sub-irrigated planters ( as seen in the above picture.) They had worked wonderfully for our house plants- he has a garden in his office, but nothing edible.They did not do so well for Tomatoes. (I'm guessing not nearly enough room or water) The glorious tomato we hoped for was reduced to the size of a thimble.  All four of them were bright red, and tasted like tomatoes.

So this time I decided to start investigating what I could plant in the fall that could cope with the hot flashes Arizona has in October and the possible freezes that January and February could bring. And I came across a lot of really useful stuff I hope that we can use! Apparently University of Arizona has a published Master Gardener Manual online and a planting calendar!

Now we just need to find a plot to start planting and make a plan :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011


The Chipotle Chicken Tacos from Homesick Texan were amazing! So good that I took the chicken and salsa to work on Monday and shared with co-workers for two days. One co-worker, who is on a diet, was in heaven and was so pleased that there was not any added sugar.

The rest of the weeks menu got a little skewed. It was a tough week full of other people's problems that were a little more than what I could handle and it threw my desire to cook or be in the kitchen at all off.

This week we are going to try

Tex-Mex Stuffed Peppers  I think I will use seasoned ground chicken and some black beans and corn with a small amount of rice in the stuffing.

Greek Meatballs eaten in flat bread with homemade Tzatziki Sauce

My husband has requested taco casserole which is simple and easy to change to taste. It was inspired by an old Betty Crocker Recipe  out of a cookbook I have had since college, but has been changed over the years to be somewhat healthier and more nacho like. I prefer crunchy tortilla chips.

So here is my recipe

1 pound browned meat (beef, chicken, turkey)
1 14-16 oz can of Bush's Grillin' Beans or Seasoned Chili Beans
1 cup salsa
2-3 ripe tomatoes
2-3 green onions
Sour Cream
shredded cheese (experiment with what you like on tacos - Monterrey jack and Colby are great!)
Fresh Cilantro
13x9 inch baking dish

brown the meat and drain the grease
after the meat is drained add in the can of beans and 1 cup salsa
heat over medium low

meanwhile preheat oven to 350
chop tomatoes and green onions and a handful of Cilantro (if you like it) and mix them together

when the beans,salsa, and meat are hot add to the baking dish, spreading it out to make an even layer.
Top with the tomatoes and green onions. then sprinkle on cheese.
bake at 350 for 30 minutes

You could add the sour cream between the meat and tomato/green onion layer, but I have not had a lot of success with that so we add it to our dish after its cooked.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sunday Dinner

For me the phrase 'Sunday Dinner' deserves to be capitalized, it's one of the big deals in my life. I love to go all out. Sure, there are The Holidays, but I think it's silly to shove all your affection and appreciation into a couple of stressful nights a year. So Sunday Dinner is my time to show my love.And this past Sunday I made something simple, something every American makes at least once..Good Ol' Yankee Pot Roast. It was so nice to slow roast a piece of meat in the oven all afternoon.

And I got my kitchen groove back! Thank God! I had been floundering in sandwiches and tacos. Once this Southwestern girl lost her taste for tacos she was quite desperate! I have found all sorts of new food blogs and recipes and am very excited to try them. So what's in store for this Sunday Dinner?

Sunday: Chipotle Chicken Tacos - I love Homesick Texan's Recipes! Try the Texas Sheet Cake sometime! Also her Migas recipe is so yummy! This is a blog I go to when I seriously need a true southwestern meal.

Monday: Baked Zitti - that recipe is in my head and its kind of a gut thing.

Tuesday: Orange Chicken

I think Wednesday and Thursday will be fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of nights. They are usually hazy and I generally abandon the menu for something simple like eggs or sandwiches just to save myself the dishes.

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I am sending in my withdrawal forms to ASU tomorrow. Ugh. As freeing as the decision was it still is sad. I have to admit I have always been nostalgic about my undergraduate years... I made some of the best friends that are still a large part of my life and learned so much about myself during that time, but that time is past. That time has been past for *cough* ten years.

I do wish the DBH could have been worth it, but I just don't see how going to school for a degree that will not really help me get a different license in my field or even a raise would help me.  Well the raise that I could get if the Holy Grail were to come through is ok, but it still doesn't make up for the $63,000 I'd be spending + the compounded interest + the stress of homework and working full time. All of this is based on "Ifs" and I am really tired of "ifs" when it concerns $63,000.00!

I feel really solid in my decision to pass it up and continue on my merry way just as I am. I really believe that right now I have enough. I don't need more or to be more than what I am. It's an amazing feeling. I wish everyone had this feeling.

Writing has been going well. I tend to write a lot of character journals, build them from the ground up and get the characters voice in my head. They get a psychology that way, childhood crap that shaped their personality and made them what they are or will be. I confess I like the growing character. The one who changes over the course of the book. I also really like the double agent and the evil ones. They are really fun. The more I work on these journals the clearer their voices and attitudes come through. Sticking to it can be hard, I get distracted and wander off or frustrated and stop.  I've never heard of or met a writer who thinks what they are writing is golden. Never. So I have decided to introduce the concept of "enough."

Ya know, Do I have enough info? Do I have enough descriptive words? Do I have enough screwed up shit that happens to propel my character forward? Is there enough tension to propel the plot forward? Have I taken out enough adverbs?

But I digress

This  is a concept I introduced to my life years ago, I think it came from an email about a father wishing his daughter "enough" you have probably seen it...

I find as I get older and more content with my life (angst less?)  I am really happy with what I do have. I feel that I have enough and am enough. Bizarre! In my early 30's I had the concept of "enough" but it was not really applying to me. In my early 30's I didn't really have enough and certainly did not feel like enough. But now I am enough. I can feel that each day even when I have a crap day when nothing went right. I can still feel like I am enough and that whatever crap that the day had brought I did the best I could for that day.

That and the Marmoset song helps :)

I wish you enough!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Its bizarre how free I feel after making the decision not to continue school. I hadn't even started, but it had always been on my mind. For years it was on my mind. I work with a lot of psychologists and psychiatrists. To them school is a necessity. To me? I can learn what I need from books now and trainings. I don't think I need to enter into school to still be on a level playing field with them.

So what is it I am going to do with all this "free time" Live, be me, knit. crochet, and write.

I write from time to time and have been slowly building a world for a fantasy novel I have had in my head for years. So I will dive back in and see how far I get. I'd like to find a writers group of like minded folks and in the past have found some folks, but people have lives. People have emotions and frustration seems to be a nig one for me when I get stuck in my writing. So we shall see this time if I find a group of other like minded folks. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Holy Grail

I think everyone has a Holy Grail that they aspire to get sometime in their lives. Mine just happens to be a piece of paper and acceptance into the Licensed Professional Counselor club. I am a Substance Abuse counselor, not by choice, but by necessity. In 2006 after I graduated from my Master's program at Prescott College I applied for the LAC. They lost my application and money order. I reapplied. They found me deficient. I appealed with all my supporting documentation I could muster. They still found me deficient.

I took out private student loans and took most of the classes that I was deficient in then ran out of money and did not have the heart to re-apply for more private student loans. It was exhausting keeping up with Satan's own lender, working full time, going to classes 2 nights a week for 6 hours a night and doing homework. I also was really irritated with the other students. So I applied for the substance abuse license. I took the test, passed, and got a nice piece of paper with my name and license number on it.

I was satisfied for a time.

So this past fall I made the decision to return to school and get those damned classes I am deficient in. I was accepted into a Doctorate and celebrated.  I now have a major case of sticker shock. The school I was accepted into is charging me $370 per credit hour in fees. I guess this is paying for the fancy new buildings they have built or will build. Who knows! They say its for contracts and supervisors....Maybe, but I don't feel that that is my responsibility to pay their contracts when I am not going to be a part of said contracts and I have my own damned supervisor.

So I went on the hunt for a school that had minimal fees. There are 2 online schools that do, they are CACREP accredited, the tuition is a good price. Yipppe! Then a dear friend of mine slaped some sense into me....She suggested I  sit down and total out the length of time it will take to get this shiny new degree and the Holy Grail. What do I want it to do for me? Where do I think or want it to take me? Is it going to be better than what I have now? Am I going to be moving to another state?

Their programs take 3-4 years to complete, then I apply for the Associate Holy Grail. I then work another 2 years as an associate and then I actually am worthy enough to have my own Professional Holy Grail.  The amount of time it would take just for that is approximately 6 years. It will not help me to move up in the company or in life. Only time and good decisions do that. The Holy Grail itself will give me a 6% increase at work. I don't plan on moving anywhere although I do fantasize about it often.  My life will be no better after this new degree then it is now. Hell, it could be worse...I'd have more debt and perhaps struggle to find a job in the National Health Service Corps.

This brought some clarity to my self imposed crazy making.

I am not 20! I am not a kid anymore. I haven't even really given a real thought to having kids because I never thought I'd stop trying to reach this stupid goal.  Who the hell cares what kind of license I have as long as I have one! I have been practicing as a counselor in a community mental health setting for 6 years. I love what I do even if sometimes the clients scare the bejeezus out of me. I owe a shitton of money to student loans as it is, why on God's green earth do I want to spend more money and time on this when I have a life to live. I am not going to live forever and I don't want to waste my life seeking out this Holy Grail . It is not going to get me the corner office and it sure as hell is not going to get me any closer to paying off my debts I already owe. So I am doing something drastic (for me) I decided to get real and cough up the money every month to pay my student loans debt off and forget about the Doctorate.

I have not ruled out taking those 2 classes and applying to get said Holy Grail one last time . But I am not going to enter into a program and waste another 5-7 years of my life on this craziness. It really is not worth it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I have been busy!

This is a hat I knit recently for an old friend of mine.
The pattern can be found here :
I love this pattern! It is fast easy and I have made it in the past. 
I did try to use Crystal Palace's Mochi Plus, but was not impressed with the handspun yarn. So I purchased Knit Picks Chroma in Prism. It was a much better yarn in my humble opinion.

And Another. This hat was an impromptu gift. When I try a pattern I use cheap acrylic. I used Micheal's Impeccable in Eggplant. It was a lovely color and the yarn holds up really well if washed in a gentle cycle.  I do wish the picture showed the stitch, but oh well here is the pattern.
The pattern itself was really easy. It was my first time knitting a lace stitch and it knit up really well. I split the repeats by stitch markers and that made it super easy!  

And one more! For another great old friend :)  This is the Fish Hat [Dead or Alive] by Thelma Egberts. It was so much fun to make. My stripes did not jog too much, which was nice as this was my first try at Stripes. I used Michael's Impeccable Yarn for this one as well. It too was my first try at this pattern.  I am in the process of making one for my lovely 4 yr old nephew. I am sure it will last him for years!
The pattern can be found here:

The hat was a swap item and we got a lovely table runner. My girlfriend being a weaver made us a beautiful all purpose table runner....which I do not have a picture of! oops!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


In April I finished my application for the Doctor of Behavioral Health program at Arizona State. It is an exciting new program that does not have a license to go along with it as of yet, but they take masters level counselors that already have licenses. Which I do have. I hope to get a second license though, the LPC (licensed professional counselor), while I am attending. I tried in 2006 and 2007 to get that license, but first  in February, the board lost my application and didn't bother to contact me after I had called them several times and then they lost the money order in September . By the time they had found it I had cancelled the money order and they required me to submit a whole new application and money order.... just in time for the rules to change! I was hanging in there, hopeful that my application would be reviewed before the rules had changed January 1. I was found deficient. Bummer! I had much more to say about it at the time.

I had spent 60K for a masters program that did not meet the qualifications the board wanted and the school did not give me enough guidance to stay a little longer and get the classes finished that I needed then allow me to graduate.  While I may not be overly interested in college pedigree's I will say a state school will at least give you decent guidance!

Long story short I was not able to afford a retainer for an administrative law attorney to help me get the license....I was missing psych testing, helping relationship, multicultural counseling (they made me take that over) career counseling, and the chemical dependency class (I have worked in chemical dependency for 2 years by this time) and 100 hours of pre-practicum supervision ( I had 104 hours of supervision). There was no option to test out. I was deficient. Case Closed. Not knowing what else to do, I took out some private loans to pay for classes. I took the majority of those classes, but ran out of money and steam. I was tired of dealing with Sallie Mae to get a loan. I had the credit rating but they made it nearly impossible to get a check to the school on time and twice I had to get loans from family and friends to give the school a deposit even though they had the paperwork showing I had applied for a loan and Sallie Mae had approved it and it was in process.

So this will help me to get that stinking license or if I wanted to take the necessary courses to get a psychologists license in the state of Arizona. Problem is I am not sure of a psychologist program that is not APA approved. I feel like I may be tempting fate, so while I may go that route and get the psychologist classes and extra supervision. I am going to bloody well make sure I have that LPC under my belt first.

I applied for the regular DBH program.  And nearly 3 months later they contacted me for an interview. School starts in August!  I am excited. It's a cheap doctoral program, I can work and go to classes without too much of a change in my routine. It is a professional program which I prefer. I love school, I want to eventually teach, but I want to get out there with a real license - I have a substance abuse license that keeps me employed but it will not get me into the Health Service Corps, serve my 5 years and have my loans paid for me! Every last red cent will be paid off in 6 years. So I can focus on my life without feeling like a beggar when I call the loan servicing center and keep asking  for another postponement of payment because my job at a non profit can't pay me enough to pay for me to live and be able to pay back this enormous debt I owe.

I really find that the price of education is inflated when compared to what people earn. I know I am not the only student or alum that has complained about this. I also know I am not going to be the last.

If you are interested to see if you qualify for the health service corps check out their website:

Good luck! 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A view of Lent from the outside

    Not being of any particular religion and having only a smattering of experiences as a child and a young adult with Christianity I can't say I know alot about Lent. My first experience with Lent was trying to rub the ashes off of the forehead of a devout Catholic school. Seriously. "Hey, you have something on your forehead."  I reached out only to have my hand batted away with such force I thought he loathed my touch. His sister jumped in and explained immediately that it was Ash Wednesday and he had been to mass.  I felt pretty ridiculous, but it was one more lesson learned about Catholicism. For some reason having ashes rubbed on your forehead in the shape of a cross was a good thing. 
    That year in Catholic school was like being in the center of an experiment. How will the godless girl get along in a sea of god-fearing Catholics? I remember sitting in one of my professors offices trying to explain how odd it felt to be there. How strange it felt to watch people go to mass every Sunday. She too, was on the outside looking in. She had been raised Protestant, a Scot from Aberdeen. 
    I remember being in awe when the school made its pilgrimage to the cathedral for the start of the school year.  I sat in the pew, next to my catholic roommate and stared wide eyed at the stained glass, the pillars that were cracked and knocked off kilter by the last earthquake. The heady thick fragrance that hung in the air. The cadence of Latin and the procession of believers as they knelt to take the host. I remember I had a million questions for my graduate advisor, a priest, who appeared to loathe me being in his presence for longer than 15 minute increments.  
    The Cathedral was not the only beautiful religious structure in Helena, Montana. The chapel in the basement of my dorm was magnificent. Small, but intimate. It was more the devotion people gave to the religion, some of the priests at the school, and the architecture that impressed me. The beauty of the paintings and the literature. I still think back to those days and have respect for that place, those people, and this religion, but there is one burning question I have. 
    I look upon Lent as a time for change. A time when you toss a bad habit, but what I do not get is why people do the 40 days then go back to their old ways.I get no meat on fridays- I get cutting stuff out of your diet for Lent. I can even get no sex during that  time. People are going to go back to eating meat, chocolate, or having sex. There isn't a human being that is a civilian out there that is going to willingly cut sex out of their lives forever.  But some people's grandiosity seems to influence them to make these wild sacrifices. The alcoholic who cuts it out cold turkey on Ash Wednesday only to make his way through 40 days and nights to binge on the feast day.  It makes no sense. If you are giving something up, sacrificing it for whatever, why do you take it back after the 40 days. Its like un-gifting. "Oh here you go, I bought you this lovely present." then 2 weeks later taking it back because you liked it so much. It just does not make any sense.  Anyone have any words of wisdom for me? 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I am not really an armchair historian.I love history and nothing beats a good historical non-fiction book or fiction novel. I love them. (please leave the bodice rippers out of it as they bore me to tears.) I love historical movies and I love the costuming. I wish netflix had more on instant play as I can only watch Bright Star,Wuthering Heights, Sense and Sensibility, Dangerous Liaisons so many times. Sadly, Sophia Copolla's Marie Antoinette is not an instant play item. Booo! And recently Downton Abbey was added to the list of great series to watch.
If you have not seen Downton Abbey look it up, the costuming and story is fantastic!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


This past Friday I had to adjust my weekend routine so my husband could have the car to go to work on Saturday and Sunday. So I made my list of groceries and after dropping him off at home I made my way first to Hobby Lobby to stock up on some Caron Simply Soft Brites! Yarn (to keep myself occupied) and then onto the grocery store. 2 hours later I was back home and getting ready to throw together some calzones.

That adjustment to the weekend schedule freed up my whole Saturday to focus on me, what I wanted to do, opposed to what I had to do. It was very freeing. I love my husband, but sometimes I just need our house to myself and it could not have come at a better time. 

This past week I ordered and received some great books from Amazon. I will add the books in the sidebar in a little while. I also bought myself a journal. I haven't journaled consistently in years. I last committed to one in 2001-2002. After 2002 it turned into an after thought. I started again in 2007ish. I bought a big sketch book, crayons, colored pencils, colored pens, and markers and was pretty consistent for about 6 months. But I got tired of the morning schedule. I get up earlier than God and it was draining me to get up a half hour earlier to write in my journal before all the other words, judgments, assumptions, emotions could rush in. It was not working. 

This time I am writing in it as I did in 2001-2002. It worked then to wait for quiet time or when it struck me to write, and I did it everyday. I usually did it late at night, before bed, emptying my day onto the page, working out the dilemmas of the day. This time I am going to use some of those fantastic books I bought and a book called Creative Journaling to help me along my way. 

So what did I do this weekend? Cleaned up my computer for a start. It had been freezing up and needed a tune up- so it got one. I continued to work on my personal statement for the MSW program I am applying to. I did some laundry, played soccer with the dog, and worked out how to crochet a hexagon using Lucy at Attic 24's instructions. I finally worked that out today and am adoring the colors I chose. I hope that when I send these to the little girls I intend it to go to it will be loved and toted around for years to come. Last but not least I journaled every single day. I have been examining some of my behaviors and irrational ideas. It was a great place to start putting it down.  

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Last summer I became frustrated with writing. So frustrated I tossed the lot of it and gave up.  Giving up is not something I do easily and so when I actually said to myself  "I give up" I thought I was serious. Recently, I have re-evaluated.  I miss writing. I miss creating something that is purely my own. Thus, I will dig out my last notebook and begin again.  There is a fair amount of decent stuff in there.

So I guess I need to fake it til' I make it. This is the winter slump, it has been a long, cold winter and soon enough it will begin to heat up and by the middle of July I'll be dying for it to cool down. But this issue is also more than just the winter blues. I get frustrated with myself because I can't stay focused. I am easily distracted and then I forget what I was doing. So I have decided to start simplifying. And as much as I hate schedules and routines I am going to have to start one, just to get myself used to doing the things I enjoy on a regular basis and not get distracted by something with sparkles or worse....says its urgent when it is anything but!

I guess more people in my life are going to start hearing " After I have finished with this."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Flu Season

It is Flu Season and since I work where I work and with what I work with I usually get a flu shot.
I bypassed it this year due to timing and now I have the flu. Blargh! But on the upside I get some sleep, other people do my grocery shopping and cooking, and I get to concentrate on feeling better. I just hope it does not last longer then 3-4 days. I can only feel miserable for so long before my head explodes because I want to get out of bed.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Awakening Practice

It is a lovely 4 day weekend, but I have not allowed the extended time off to stop me from Yoga. Keeping with one of my refocusing activities for 2011 I rely heavily on  to keep my focus. Jason Crandell has to be one of my favorite's at Yoga Journal. His no-nonsense approach, straight forward explanations of the poses and (of course) his soothing tone of voice is a wonderful thing to wake up to in the morning. I do wish at 3am I had the fortitude to practice, but I am lucky if I remember how I got into the shower and what I need to do while there.  So today being a holiday I was able to wake up gracefully, on my own time clock, and start my day with Jason's Awakening Practice.

Wow! I have only just started the 21 day challenge and have been relying on my old copy of Living Arts All day yoga for beginners, particularly the PM practice with Patricia Walden 3 times a week. The past weeks videos from Yoga Journal have been great, but some were a bit beyond my reach and so I decided  to save them for when my body was a little more used to moving into poses. Not to mention ready to deepen my practice and stop a rut from forming.

When I start exercising there are three agreements I have with myself: I should not do too much at once, only do what is comfortable for my body, and slowly work my way into a 90 minute practice. I start with 3days a week then increase slowly (depending on need or want) to 6 days a week. If I jumped whole hog into 90 minutes I don't think moving afterwards would be an option. Not to mention it would make the practice, which for me is a joyful experience, very unpleasant. And that in itself had been what always influenced my excuses not to do it. Thus stopping me from achieving this goal of a 6 day practice.

The awakening practice was a nice challenge for me. It allowed me to experience some new poses as well as old standbys. I used to hate Downward Dog. Hate it. It made my legs burn, my arms ache, and I was always frustrated with why I could not get my heels to the ground. Then one day as I was in down dog and wishing for the next pose I realized that I had too many expectations for myself, was competing with people who had practiced for years and sometimes decades that eventually got their heels to the ground. I let go and allowed my heels to hang where they fell. I began to enjoy the stretch of down dog and found my heels began to sink lower towards the floor.

Jason Crandell's Awakening Practice will be one I use much more often and become as acquainted with as I am with Patricia Walden's P.M  yoga practice for beginners.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

21 Day Challenge

I adore Yoga so when I picked up the February 2011 issue of Yoga Journal I was so pleased that they put together a wonderful 21 day challenge to help beginners as well as seasoned teachers deepen their practices, get out of their ruts, or just get moving! I signed up and simply planned to spend each afternoon for the next 21 days (starting January 10th, but you can join at anytime thereafter! ) doing something that I love for me and me only. Part of this is that I want my practice back. I want to feel good in my own skin no matter what my size is. I want to feel that I am doing something for my own personal development and Yoga has always been the way for me.

And for some reason when I start talking or thinking about the connection I feel with yoga the topic of Spirutality comes up. Or at least for me it does. So briefly...I am agnostic. I haven't any idea what is out there or if anything is,but I just can't possibly believe nothing is out there. It could be little green men for all I know! I was raised by folks who had been burnt by religion so my spiritual education boiled down to my fathers half cocked personality and Roman Catholic upbringing mixed with a couple of years of sunday school at a Southern Baptist church and a relic/prayers that apparently brought me from a 20% survival rating to 80% in one night when I was a kid. It was an interesting combination.

We shall see how it goes!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

2010 in review...

 To start 2011 off right I thought to put together my 2010 achievements and lessons learned together. Something to give me hope, to nudge me forward, in my search for...I don't know what. Maybe by the time I've put this list together I'll have seen a pattern. This list is off the cuff.

(+) = Achievement
(*) = Lesson Learned / Will find time to refocus in 2011 and get better at it.

+ Organized and decorated my sanctuary/craft room/den/office.
+ Had two lovely out-of-country guests.
* Got frustrated with writing and stopped.
+/* Started having dreams and nightmares again.
+ Hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house.

+ Practiced Yoga for 3-6 days a week for about 7 weeks straight.
+ Realized that the reason I love Yoga is that it is all about me, for me, and that is OK.
+/* Started working with the body that I have rather than planning to work with the body I want.
* Made excuses to not practice Yoga at least every other day.
+ Meditated more regularly

+Read and loved Judith Lasater's Living Your Yoga
+ Learned the concept of self compassion.
* Did not practice self compassion for long.

+ Restarted my practice 
* Stopped my practice shortly thereafter with more excuses

+Picked up knitting again and completed 5 hats, 1 scarf.
+Crocheted one very large couch blanket for snuggling
+ Failed to mail said blanket in December as a gift.

+Decided to apply to an MSW program to get out of my rut and start working towards what I want in life rather than settling for what I have. ( I want to be a professor at a university.)

+Walked my dog about 10 or so times
* Got freaked out by psychodog and her drunker owner
* Let fear of psychodog and not knowing how to fend her off stop me from walking my dog ( I wonder if Tazers work on dogs)
* Made more lame excuses not to walk my dog ( thank god I have a husband who walks her!)
* Criticized other dog owners for tying their dogs out and not walking them.
+ Realized I was being a big fat hypocrite.

+ Had a good cry.

+  Dental Health is on track
+  Flossing is now routine ( I still hate it)

+ Saved enough money to take a wonderful trip back east in November, met some amazingly good people, and spent some time with one of my best friends ever.

+ Decided it is time for a change

* Continued to smoke cigarettes
+ Barely drank at all.

+ Made a delicious Cornbread stuffing in the crock pot of all places.

+ Allowed myself to be uncomfortable and survived.
* Allowed my depression to affect my work performance.

+ Ordered a wonderful Hiking Book for my husband and bookmarked the trails I think we would enjoy.

+ Stood up for myself even if I spoke a little too loudly, baldly, and said things that other people just did not want to face. 

+ Taught relaxation techniques to Substance Abusers who still request it 2x a week.

* Still talking about that Mountain Bike I crave to own and ride ( god I love biking)

+ Managed to put a little more trust into my father.
* Didn't see my mom often enough.
* Realized that children may not be in the cards for me and my husband.
+ Stuck to my guns about not taking hormones to try and get pregnant.

+ Ate more veggies 
+ Saw several movies at the theaters with my husband O and our friends Beth and Sean  who have moved far far away.
+ Realized not all Indian food is good.
+ Became much more confident in my knitting.

* Didn't see enough live music
+ Made really good chili
+ Made treats for Christmas but not too many.
* Didn't take enough pictures.
*Didn't make enough phone calls to people I care about.

+ Held my tongue 
+ was impulse impaired a few times less than 2009.
+ Addressed issues in a more adult way.
+ Continued to strive toward Child-like versus Child-ish.
* Did not get any bodywork.
* Did not give any bodywork to humans.
* Did not get more than one pedicure.
+ Continued to be a person who does not share other peoples secrets.
+ Enjoyed Playtime with Em
+/* Still not sure how marriage works and sometimes feel like we're headed in different directions.
 At the start of the list I felt like I was flogging myself, but then realized that while another year has passed I am still alive, breathing, taking in sustenance, and able to make changes. To make them slowly, subtly, will be the key. And so as 2011 gets moving I have plenty of opportunity to move forward and make the slow changes that are required to make me happier , more at peace with myself, and with others.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 The Year of House and Home Renewal

I don't buy into making "New Years Resolutions" but I do make goals for myself to accomplish in the next year.

2011 seems to be the year of the House for me. Our home needs some help, updating, and replacing of old worn out things that we have held on to because they worked for us. We should be getting our window flashing replaced sometime in this new year. That's an odd thing to be vague about, but our property manager was an incompetent fool that could never give a straight answer and our HOA board seems to be as non-committal. Bad combination so the property manager was fired and we have retained a new management company that started work today! So here is to hoping that mess gets figured out sometime this spring!

Then there are my knitting and crochet projects. I usually have myself on a 2 project diet, but it got a little out of control with the holidays and now I have no idea where I stand. I know I have 2 ribbed hats on needles, one is on DPNs and I am slowly finishing that up. The other is almost ready for DPNs as well. Both are for other people and I would like to get them complete this winter so that they can be used! Another hat I told a friend I would make for her, but the yarn that was bought was complete crap and I had to buy something different. It has not made it onto needles as of yet.

I also have a swap that I am doing and now that it is after the holidays- well not quite, but it will be soon. I will need to finish her hat. It is the Fish Hat [Dead or Alive] .I love this pattern! I did not start it on DPNs as the pattern says. I used a 16" circular and I used a US size 8 rather than the 7 the pattern calls for. It is a fun pattern! I am also making one of these for my nephew, but I imagine he wont be getting it until I can get those 3 other projects completed.

And then I have a ripple throw that I am working on. It has been intended for my nephew, but Crochet kills my wrists something fierce and I had to abandon it when it was only 12 or so rows in. But I have since re-evaluated my mania for needlecraft. I love doing it and so I will go on these marathons of knitting or crochet. No more marathons and I am just working a row or two each night.  Knitting does not irritate my wrists nearly as much as the motions of crochet, but I ache just the same when I spend 4-6 hours doing it . Duh!