Sunday, November 30, 2014

Identity Crisis

Well pretty much an entire fall has escaped me without a single blog post.  Not that I didn't want to blog - I did.  And not that I didn't think of things to blog about - because I have a list I keep on my phone of ideas.  But due to a multitude of factors, it didn't happen.

I don't know what this blog will end up being.  It's having an identity crisis of sorts.

I still have things I'd like to blog about that are design oriented in nature.  I'm still obsessed with beautiful imagery, photography, lovely kitchens and luxurious bathrooms.

Is this not the prettiest room in the universe? Does it not make you happy just to look at it???

But I also have things I'd like to say or share about good mental health.  Since I'm working on becoming a licensed therapist, I have some doubts at times about how much or what I want to say about that given the possible likelihood that future clients may stumble on this blog looking for information.  That could be good, and has the potential to be something positive, but it's something I really need to think more about.  In fact, I need to take a good look at whether I want to keep the blog at all (or if I should just make it private - which of course no one would read and then it would just be a diary, and I have another diary app for that purpose really).

This thought is at the root of how I see therapy - helping clients see and think a little differently so that they have the tools to create solutions in their lives, live life more fully, and have peace.

I've had this blog since 2005 - I'm not too keen to totally give it up really.  It contains a lot of thoughts, feelings and ideas that really represent me and I like the idea that if my grandchildren wanted to know more about me someday, reading my blog might be valuable (sort of - or they would at least know what sort of interior design I really liked back in the "olden" days).

I often feel like blogging parenting advice, because the longer I work with kids in case management the more I feel like I did a pretty good job with my own parenting and I think it might be valuable information sometimes. 
I feel like I could write loads of lists like this...

It's more an abundance of things that I would like to blog about that makes it confusing and difficult to focus in on one thing, rather than a dearth of ideas.  This blog doesn't know what it is anymore because it wants to be too many things and therefore, slowly, is is just quietly humming along with no new posts.

I still get around 200 unique hits per day (way down from the days when I got around 500 per day and largely due to me not posting new posts) and if you check out pinterest you will see many of my blog posts are re-pinned there, and that still happens almost every day too.  There's something oddly satisfying about that which I don't really want to completely give up.  It makes me feel the tiniest bit like a writer (though I know that's a ridiculously crazy way to call myself a writer).

Screen shot of my blog posts people "pinned" in the last week or two 

So coming up you may see posts on the adorable nursery my son and daughter in law put together for my (impending!) granddaughter.  Or I might tell you about how to raise children who have a good appreciation for arts and literature.  I might talk with you about the single most important piece of parenting advice I can give anyone.  Or it might be that I'll share some ideas about good mental health. It might be some photography that I decide to blog about.

Or maybe I will still be quiet for a while longer.

But I doubt it.  I feel like I've been quiet quite a bit, and I'm ready to not be quite so quiet anymore.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saving My Sanity (or Ma Santé Mentale)

I discovered something that has been saving my sanity lately.

Some days I am so busy and things are so crazy at work, I don't know how to slow down when I get off work.  In fact, sometimes I am genuinely surprised at how overwhelmingly busy work can be.  Sometimes I look at the clock and it's 3 pm and it feels like it should be 10 am and I am slightly panicked about how much I still need to accomplish before the end of my day.  I never end my day having accomplished everything I set out to do in the morning.  My job will always have a never ending task list that I will never actually reach the end of.  I  have accepted that but it does make my brain a little crazy.

Once I leave work I generally probably have some sort of school work I should attend to.  If it's not reading it's a paper, or articles, or presentations or a test.  You get the idea.  I read and write all day at work and then I read an write at home and if I have free time I am always trying to squeeze in either more reading that is also in relation to school and I feel will just help me be a better counselor OR I collapse on the couch and stare at The Real Housewives of Orange County for a hour while my brain does almost nothing.

It feels like I am either in full academic/psychology/behavioral health mode or my brain needs to completely escape.  And this is frequently a problem.  Because I find that my brain does not want to turn off.  Sometimes I literally cannot sit still for a whole episode of the Housewives just because my brain is still too engaged.

My other thing I have been experiencing lately is this feeling that this schedule is relentless and never ending.  Sometimes it really doesn't seem there will ever be a time in my life again that will involve free time of the sort of would like to find.  Or vacations.  I can't find the time to do so many things I would like to do because at least for the next year and 1/2, the time to do those things just doesn't exist.  I know I will get through it.

Saving my mind right now is Duo Lingo.

What the heck is Duolingo you may ask.  Well it's a phone app on which you can practice language skills in several other languages and the best part is, it's free.  

I learned some french in high school and college but I have never been proficient.  I LOOOOOOOVE this app.  When my brain can't turn off I just flip open this app and start practicing French and feel myself just completely in some sort of fantastic zen space.  Sometimes I can't stop and I have to force myself to move on to other tasks.  My french is getting so much better.  Yesterday on NPR there was a press conference in french which they translated - but I understood well over 50% of it before the translation.  It's awesome.  

If you want to brush up on a language you once kinda sorta learned a little of or if you want to learn one you've never tried I highly recommend it. It's like playing a video game but it's not a waste of time. 

Also.  I really want to go to France when I have a different situation wherein I can actually leave my house for an extended vacation at some point in the future.  My goal is to go the year I turn 50.  So learning French better feels like it is increasing my likelihood of having a better vacation. 

Which brings me to my one other sanity saver which I've discussed before.  Pinterest images of the places I'd like to go in France. 


French Riviera



Neptune Fountain - Versailles

French Riviera





But for now it's back to two papers I need to write.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Why I think it's still okay to tell people to "do what you love"

a short rant on something that's been bugging me for a while...

Recently there have been a few articles, social media commentary, and some backlash in general on the idea of imparting advice to people that they should "do what you love and love what you do".  The reasoning seems to be generally that it is a somewhat snotty idea that people actually have this as an option - that not all of us can be photographers, and film majors, and craft heirloom yak yarn on our wooden spindles while listening to indie folk rock and sipping on $8 Oprah Chai Tea Latte.  Or something like that.  I guess the idea is that only a privileged few get these sorts of options and it is both delusional, and unhelpful to suggest that everyone will have the economic freedom of choosing a career based on what you "love".  Also, there seems to be a bit of a backlash based on the fact that "work" indeed involves (or should) actual "work" and that we should recognize and applaud those who do jobs no one "loves" particularly but which must need to be done because society would literally fall apart if everyone picked "twee" careers like costume design and hand blowing glass because where would we get garbage men?


But I totally disagree.  And the reason I totally disagree is that it sends a really dumb message to either young people feeling out their futures and to adults who want to go back to school or switch around what they are doing.  The best advice by far is still, and probably always will be, do what you love.  And the reason is relatively simple.  If you do what you love you will likely be good at what you do.  And if you do what you love you will likely be satisfied with your work.  And as well you will likely excel beyond the other people who are also doing that thing - especially if they are not doing it because they love it.  And the biggest reason is probably the dictum if you do what you love you actually work a lot harder but it won't seem so much like work, thereby, increasing your likelihood of further success.

The world is always going to be full of people who hate their jobs, are terrible at their jobs, do a job just for the paycheck, who can't keep a job to save their life, who are never satisfied and who feel totally stuck.  And this is usually due to a variety of reasons and one of them is that they aren't doing what they love, they aren't working towards doing what they love, or they have no idea what they would love.  It's not the only reason - there is some general other issues at place which of course sometimes is lack of opportunity, socioeconomic barriers, and other societal issues.  And while this is always true in the MACRO, it is very rarely true in the MICRO.  And by that I mean that I tell all my economically disadvantaged youth who I case manage to DO WHAT YOU LOVE.  Because there is usually always some way to make that happen.  I see talent and potential in almost everyone -  and yet, very often they believe due to their circumstances, or poor advice their parents give them, or because they don't believe in themselves, that they may be stuck doing things that they don't want to do.  Usually it is a lack of self esteem and the ability to believe in themselves.

I sometimes hear college educated people say "college isn't for everyone".  I mean really?  That sounds about as classicist as anything I've ever heard anyone say.  It's not for everyone but it is for you right?  In my job I very often get to see people's IQ scores.  It is shocking to me how often some poor kid who is doing terrible in school and generally comes from a background where no one has gone to college and no one expects anything from this kid - how often these kids actually have a relatively high IQ score.  These are kids who get told "college isn't for everyone" "school is hard and it's not for everybody".

It's probably true.  School is not for everyone.  Some people really do struggle with school.  But often they have other talents and skills.  It's totally cool if that talent is welding, cooking, dancing or a plethora of other things.  Sometimes school is important and sometimes, less so.  But learning your skill, craft, and honing your talent is always going to be important. 

Someone is always going to be the dude who digs the ditches - either because that dude actually likes digging ditches or because that dude got stuck through a series of circumstances, digging ditches.  Society is never going to just be full of people who play the lute and hand raise goats and make artisinal cheese. But gosh darn it if that's what you want to do, you should totally go for it.  There are always going to be people who will just do a job for the paycheck.

And this is not to say that just because you decided to open up that little antique shop like you always wanted that it's not going to be work.  It sure as heck is going to be work.  Most jobs, no matter how much you like what you're doing, have acumen for it, or are otherwise suited for your career, will be easy.  But it will be easier, than doing something you hate.  The worst day at a job you're well suited for is better than the best day at a job you aren't.

I'm super glad that at the age of 46 I am working towards doing what I really want to do.  It feels good even though it is a challenge.  If I wasn't doing this I can think of at least 3 or 4 other things I also would have loved and probably could have done as well and all of them probably would have been challenging to obtain success at.  But all of them would have been worth it.

Don't let anyone rain on your parade.  Go do what you want, what you love, what interests you, what you're talented at, and what you feel like doing.

Jobs that I think I would have loved besides being a counselor:

art curation/art historian

(this is Jill Dawsey, she's been a curator at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, SF Museum of Modern Art and Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.)

Interior Designer

(I've said before I'd like to BE Mary Mcdonald, but if I can't actually be her, I think I also would have loved to be an interior designer who is as successful as her)

boutique owner

(Georgeann Bryant owns local Frances Boutique, it is absolutely charming and lovely and when I was younger I used to think I would love owning a boutique - it still sounds appealing, but I think the "business" part of it might be challenging!  Even still, if you have the right personality and skill set, this would be an awesome career)

Fashion Editor

 (well we can't all be Grace Coddington, but what an awesome job!)


(and we can't all be Don Draper either - BUT, I often believe I could have been good at a career in advertising or marketing, I even like the idea of being the person who does the focus groups and travels all over doing that)

Jury consultant: 

(this always appealed to me I think for the same reason psychology and counseling appeals to me - but in this job you're just figuring people out and making hunches about behavior rather than dealing with them directly.  I still think I'm really good at being able to do this.  I can predict people's behavior pretty accurately)


(when I was young I really only wanted to be a writer more than anything in the world.)

English or French Teacher:

(last, but certainly not least, I did consider becoming an English or French teacher - I think I would have liked it and been pretty good at it too)

All of the careers I've listed are careers someone might try to talk a person out of for a variety of reasons, either because they seem too hard to achieve, or it's too competitive, or the pay isn't particularly good.  There's always a downside it seems to everything and if there is, you can be sure people will feel they have to let you know what that downside is.

But take heart - there are plenty of upsides!  Decide what you most want and then work hard for it.  SOMEBODY has to do the job or have the career you're dreaming of - it might as well be YOU.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

This is a Public Service Announcement

this week a saw girl with a really giant sign on her forearm that said REPENT,  a girl with a purple unicorn, a teen with a saying that was misspelled ("tomarrow may never come"), and a man with a spider web on his face.  so this post is a public service announcement to assist people looking to get a tattoo. 

first off, I don't really want you to get a tattoo. not for some of the reasons you might think, but mostly because I think it's really really hard to know that you are actually going to want something permanent like that. I have art at home that I love, but I am not even sure I'll keep all of it forever you know? so there's that. And then the other thing is there are so many terrible tattoos in the world and I just feel that you don't need to contribute to that trend. and even though you don't think you are going to chose a bad tattoo - well, I am worried that you might anyway. and you won't even know it. not right away. today i saw a woman with elvis on her arm. I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time but I can assure you that it was not. so mostly probably if you are thinking of getting a tattoo - maybe don't. but if I can't talk you out of it. here are some that I approve of. I know how condescending and awful that makes me sound. but I don't really care. I just really want to see a world with less bad tattoos. maybe that means no tattoo for you. maybe that means at least get something good if you're going to do it. k? ok.

you know - more like this...

And less like this...

See also HERE

that is all.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

How Pinterest Saves My Sanity (and some other stuff)

Remember when I used to blog like, oh I don't know maybe 10 times a month or something?  It's a vague faraway thing - but I kinda remember it.

Dudes.  I really like to write.  I like to blog.  Maybe someday, but that someday is not now.  Actually sometimes I think if I can just get through school maybe I will write like for reals, just because I do love it and I keep imagining a world where I craft expertly perfect sentences that convey all kinds of intriguing and irresistibly genius thoughts.

I think sometimes my problem is that I am way too interested in way too many things.  And right now I basically have time for like one of those things.  And I feel like my brain is getting stuffed with all kinds of useful things in that one area - but I feel kinda sad sometimes that my brain does not know much else.

Things I love and that skitter around in my brain seeking attention:

Interior Design
New Restaurants
Old Restaurants
Road Trips
Foreign Languages
Politicky stuff
getting lost
figuring stuff out
driving at night
pop culture
warm air
big ideas
little ideas
white on white on white
bold colors
things that smell awesome
curated stuff
colors on colors on colors
spiritual enlightenment

I do think sometimes that I have a possible tiny bit of adult ADD - because my brain has a hard time turning off.
almost every night before bed I have a ritual where I can look through my pinterest feed and categorize and chose things I love.  It is hard to explain how gratifying this can be.

I may not have that many people who religiously follow this blog, but I have 1500 people who follow me on Pinterest.  Which is kind of weird and gratifying at the same time.  At least when I feel like I don't have time to really convey my thoughts anymore, there are some people out there who look through their pinterest and by seeing some of the things I pin, are understanding a little bit about what I am thinking about at the moment.  

I'm not sure what this all means - from a psychological standpoint.  But I spend all day thinking from a psychological standpoint - so I'm not going to overanalyze it too much.  

I'm just going to keep pinning for now.  

(and I'm going to go ahead and pat myself on the back for some of my clever captions on my boards - because sometimes you might as well pat yourself on the back)

These are clothes or people I find ridiculously beautiful and believe they need to be admired the same way you might admire a work of art

I may not be able to wear some of these IRL - but in your fantasy life you can wear anything you want

I never went to prom.  this should explain all you need to  know about this board. 

sometimes you see something and just sticks with you, and later, you can call it up as  "happy place"

architecture or architectural details I think are swanky.  and bee tee dubs, don't be surprised if I try a pink door someday. don't say I didn't warn you or something. 

Oh sigh.  House Interiors are my drug of choice. 

sometimes I get a genius idea for a room color scheme 

lights are just cool, i wish i had more carefully chosen the ones in my house currently, so i like to imagine how i will change things if given the chance

art i would like to own, or see, or admire or think about or whatever

stuff related to movies or music i love 

sometimes I dream of getting away - or going back 

I like to torture myself with lists and lists of books to read when I already dont have time 

its' creepy slightly yes.  

I never tire of looking for accessories i may or may not buy

actually I have bought almost every perfume I've ever pinned because I pin it after smelling it as a reminder to myself to buy it or ask for it.  it's a good strategy 

sometimes I care about new make up ideas 

I'm not a natural red head, but I try 

things that are nostalgic, but weirdly, usually end up in my decor somehow after I pin them 

you'd be surprised how many times I wander over to this board to bouy up my spirits 

children are adorbs and so are there clothes, plus i figure someday, grandkids 

sometimes I show things on this board to my talented daughter and she actually creates them in her advanced ceramics class and brings them home 

sometimes I PRETEND that I cook

I may never have to plan another wedding but who cares.  women have been buying stupid wedding magazines since the dawn of time and we will keep on doing it as long as there are pretty flowers and dresses and general gorgeousness involved.  if we don't use it ourselves we will use it to judge someone else's wedding and why they did it all wrong. 

I don't know.  there's something so appealing about this stuff

I like parties dude. 

If I am being kind to myself I might consider some of these things as healthy options 

I dig mens fashion almost as much as womens. maybe more so sometimes. 

children's lit is the best 

I consider chairs i can't afford just for the hell of it, and just in case I find a good knock off or can offer advice to someone who can afford the chairs.

when I am an old lady I will return to stitching the heck out of stuff for the pure zen pleasure of it all 

sometimes I imagine I will buy the perfect gift for people.  then I get too busy and shop at the last minute and suck at gift giving.  but I like the ideas. 

I know people say this all the time - but generally speaking, I would be such an awesome wealthy person.  I would not buy frivolous crap or blow all my money on a really expensive car or a too big house or the wrong kinds of stuff.  

I know all the right kinds of stuff. 


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