Wednesday, January 4, 2012


If there is one thing I am good at, it is nesting. Although I am sure the habit is hereditary and existed from birth, my nesting skills were first documented in high school, when I was described in a short essay (by a now renowned author) as “ wherever she settled there was a flurry of things surrounding her, spilling from her backpack,”. The trait has persisted; a graduate classmate remarked that she always liked sitting next to me, as I created a homey environment in my little nest of things. Perhaps the fact that my nests historically sprung from a backpack was prophetic of the need for mobility; my nesting abilities have been an enormous benefit in my life’s pattern of rapid geographical changes. For those who have previously admired my nests I have provided pictures and documentation on my current location (however first hand visiting to experience the full effect is greatly encouraged!).

My newly rented little row house is in a neighborhood of Baltimore called Patterson Park. I have included info about the neighborhood from various websites below. It is near the more well known neighborhood of Fells Point. It is only a couple of blocks from a very large lovely park. The park has played a role in several wars as it was a high point in the city ( civil war, war of 1812 and so on). It has a random pagoda which has been around since at least the early 1900’s, (it’s point or significance seems to escape all records about it).

what the row house looks like.

I have a pleasant roommate ( Side note-when is one too old to have a roommate?- I decided you are too old when you can afford to live without one- I am not there yet). The said roommate has a little furry dog and excellent style in d├ęcor. Due to the weather, season, and the blessing of work, I have I haven’t been able to explore my neighborhood too much, but what I have seen I like. There are coffee shops, restaurants and interesting sites within walking distance.

From the web: Tucked away between Canton and John's Hopkins Medical Center, you'll find Baltimore's up-and-coming neighborhood -- Patterson Park. A designated historic district, Patterson Park is within walking distance of a variety of the city's best restaurants, nightlife, and cultural activities. But what it really boasts is a true sense of community. Patterson Park is a small town in the heart of the city--where neighbors greet each other on the streets.

The park itself spans 155 acres and is frequented by not only by runners, bikers, basketball, soccer players and other sports enthusiasts, but it has also become a popular setting for families, community gardeners and bird watchers, among others. In addition to being a free and open space to the public, Patterson Park hosts community, cultural, and artistic events.

the park

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My address

I got a mail, box, not a home yet but a box

5004 honeygo center dr suite # 102-160

Baltimore MD 21128

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Yeah about that..

It strikes me as meaningful that three years after I began this blog, my title is still relevant. I am still on a journey, having just moved to a whole new city for the 4th time in the last two years ( there have been a total of 6 moves with 3 cross continental trips).
Oye, it takes it out of a girl, wait a women, because I am almost 29 (more on this in the next blog).

My only excuse for not writing this last year is a final year of graduate school, a thesis, several moves, being in a cold city i didn't want to be in, and confidentiality. Since my internship is where I spent most of my days, most of interactions and thoughts involved confidential information. I would be mortified if I discovered that my therapist had a blog and was discussing her clients, even if their identities were heavily veiled and what not. So I wrestle with that. No, I am not in therapy but all therapist should be, so I will be when i can afford it.

Since most, neigh all, who read this I have talked to in the last nine months I won't do the back story thing, and start where I am.
The stats-
Living in Baltimore Maryland-
Still unemployed-
Spent the last month and a half studying for a licencing exam that I discovered I had to pass before being employable in this state.
This exam was a good "growth opportunity". I have inherited, and nurtured a talent for procrastinating, "winging it," and making it by in many things. It is self protection technique. You see, If i fully apply myself, try my hardest and fail, than I am inadequate, whereas if I wing it, than my procrastination rather than my capabilities is to blame. Things usually work out for me and I make it by when I "wing it", so this behavior has been reinforced repeatedly. Afterwards, I usually slap myself on the hand and say i could have done better if I tried, but alas do not.
My Thesis experience made me face the inadequacies of my approach and in myself. It taught me I am not that great at writing and that this approach is inadequate for graduate level work. (perhaps this contributed to my lack of blogging as well). Through many tears, anxious editing, revisions and support from loved ones I faced my shortcomings and increased my understanding of writing and how not to procrastinate... somewhat. It is a HARD habit to break, to not fall back on when I may not feel one hundred percent.
Soo when it came to test taking, (something several tests have proved I am bad at- yes i took tests that told me I was bad at taking tests) I was faced again with my inadequacies in a big way. If i didn't pass the license exam, I had to wait 3 months to re-take it. And thus I anxiously procrastinated, studied, worried, and reviewed everything I had learned. Turns out social work is alot of common sense and arbitrarily applied "technical terms" defining common sense. The test was all mutiple choice scenario questions and term definition recall. Although I did procrastinate ( it took me way longer to study than it ought to have) when I took the test I felt prepared and more calm. And i passed. YaY!

So I am back to job searching, in a place with few connections, and but does have possibilities. As with all job searching the potential for lots of rejection ( yay) and tedious work that requires attention to detail ( another weakness of mine). I realized I need to learn about this city and its' dynamics as I apply to "social work" jobs in the community, I need to better understand the social climate and needs.

OH- Incase you are craving more of my handiwork, or looking for something to help you fall asleep, I have linked my thesis. But if this doesnt work, send me an email and I would be happy to send it to you! BTW- A hugmoungous thanks to all those who helped edit, proofread, held my hand while I cried, or reminded me that I will make it through and that it is not THAT big of a deal.

Upcoming blog topics--
Thoughts on Baltimore, on being 29, and many more riveting things I promise.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

are ya feeling it?

So my goal was once a month.
Lets count this as October, I will hit ya up again in NOV.
The basiscs of life:I am in Denver, have a place to live in a cute house, in the city, a ten min bike ride to downtown, my dog Oliver has come to join me in my little abode. I live with a nice women who has two dogs, who Oliver has bonded well with ( the dog and the lady). The Veteran’s hospital is treating me well. I have 7 clients I meet with on a weekly basis, and am attending several groups, which I am slowly becoming a facilitator for as well.

Right now I am learning about lonliness. IS this a struggle everyone has? Or is it that those who are struggling feel lonely? SO many of my clients talk about how alone they feel in the world, that it seems like no one understands them or can relate to what they are going thru. I have to be careful not to see those I see in a professional setting as a cross section of humanity, although I think it does represent many themes that exist outside of those who are seeking mental health.

I have held a belief that marriage ( a healthy, solid, good one) would be the antidote to the pain of loneliness. Once I find the person who I want to fall asleep with and cant wait to share the next day with, to learn and explore the world and share my thoughts and ideas with, who I can always come home to, loneliness would no longer be the white noise of my life. I understand that this picture is a bit of a mirage. No one will I always like, nor enjoy sharing my space with.

But i wonder, once I no longer call it loneliness, because we have "found each other", does the pain just morph into not being understood, or unappreciated, or some other sense of disconnect?
I look at all the married people around me ( they are most of you  ) and I see that they are not alone anymore. I envy the comfort of sharing meals and details of life with the same person. someone to be there to struggle over the fears, and challenges life rudely burps into the stream of living. I know and see though, they are no more or less “happy”, content than me. They are able to point out the bliss my existence holds, lazy mornings, spontaneity, a bounty of people I am able to connect and be with. I have freedom, flexibility and guilt free selfishness.

So clients come to me when they are being swallowed by their pain. The military folk have been taught to deal, cope by shoving it down and holding it together. Don’t talk about it, or feel it or do anything that might make you touch “it”. But this stuffing processes becomes all consuming, it’s all you can maintain, and it erodes at your ability to function, to have relationship, let alone experience positive emotions. So they come to me, sit across from me and ask, what can I do? Is this fixable?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Neva and me and Neva,Oliver and mom from camping extravaganza family trip

My summer Roomie ( aka my sanity and angel) from the summer and our dear friend Sara

Another Smithy favorite, my dear Catherine. at one of our many summer potlucks ( we gotta eat right, even if we are studying non stop) :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So many homes and so homeless

Instead of reflecting, summarizing on all that has passed, I will leave what has been lived as life, and start a fresh.
I appreciate everyone's comments to keep on blogging on and they are the main reason I am restarting after my lapse we'll call it.
I have arrived in Colorado. My second and final smith placement. I didn't choose Colorado for a placement, my top priority was working in a VA. Many professionals I have talked to have expressed how valuable of a place it is to be in as an intern, so that is what I asked for. And thus I am at the Colorado VA.

My moving, restarting has me pondering the idea of a home a place, a community.
I was sadden to leave North Carolina ( more than I realized originally) I had connected with really wonderful people and the community, space was beginning to feel like my own place, people.

This past summer I returned to Massachusetts, and fell into the ease and comfort of my smithy friend community. The friendships that were started last year continued to deepen. The need for one another is mutual as everyone is away from their home and loved ones. Sharing food, woes, complaints, swimming, wine, and study time eased the stress and intensity of the "Smith Summer". I felt thankful to not have to navigate making new connection with people, but have a "group" to be with.

As I returned to Oregon for a week with my family, I realized that it wasn't home for me any more. It is my beloved parent's, family's home, my favorite place on earth with some of my favorite people, but it was no longer home.

The thought that followed was, where then? I am almost 28; I am homeless.
This whole blog has been a record of my wandering. I take great pleasure in my adventures, my travels, my varied and rich experiences. But they do leave my roots without grounding. I am so blessed by being loved by Sooo many different people, I have such a wealth of relationships and support in my life. I am sure I have slept on the couch/ spare bed of almost everyone reading this blog.

But what makes a home? I know not literally homeless, but as in my place, my space, a community I leave and return to.
IT is not belongings, I know those don't make a home ( although I do envy married people's excellent cookware)

It takes time, familiarity, a sense of commonality with those around you, perhaps?
What else acceptance. Is this why we seek people like ourselves? Because they are the easiest to feel accepted by, the more we are like someone the more likely they will feel familiar and accept us.

I see this need for familiarity with the Veterans I work with. Only with one another do they really feel understood and known, what they have experienced and how it has changed them isn't something they could explain to anyone, so only with each other do they understood.

Maybe this is why I lack the feeling of a home, because I seek people, places and experiences that are unique, new to me, and I alone experience them, the combination of them all that is. I love the unknown, I uproot myself to feel and experience the world, feel blessed to skim the depth and breadth of diversity that exist. But these experiences, as they are experienced in my singular state leave me unknown, connected in such a scattered way.

Maybe it is not a lack of homes, but the abundance, I have been blessed to feel so connected in so many places, with such a variety of people, I have a lot of homes to miss, but not one to call my own.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

HOBO= homeward bound

Time? Where does it go, when did it pass? So surprising it never slows down, no matter how far away the future seems.

When I become more diciplined in another phase of life I promise to get better at this. I am living and find it hard to reflect while I am in life,especially when there are no events, just a full life.

But transition, changes are upon me and I find myself contemplative, full of emotion and thus ready to blog. I also have many to do's, assignments, demanding of my attention and thus my profound skills of procrastination make me blog.

I am sitting in the coffee shop where nearly 8 months ago, I sat crying silently to myself as I blogged, for I knew no one, had no where to live, no money, and no idea why in the world I choose such a place to do my internship.
I'm tearful now as I think of leaving those who have become my community, the fullness of my days, my challenges and life here.
No worries, Its finals prep time for the colleges, so being a crying 20somthing in a cafe makes me blend in well.

My life has been full of the lives of so many others.
five days a week I walk into a a corner a huemongous hospital, up four flights of stairs ( at least at lunch I take the stairs) Through two locked doors and into the lives of 18 people who are in crisis. When I think about my time on the Unit. I think- so many people, so many faces, stories, families, unknowns, puzzles to solve.
There are those who come on a monthly basis, unable to have the support in the community they need to get them the medication and treatment that would prevent themfrom getting to such a debilitated state every month.

There are the 20 somethings with a family history that predisposes them to psychosis,who due to the stress of a break up, or school pressure, or some other unknown have a psychotic break.

And those for many reasons, (usually trying many times over) have unsucsessfully tried to kill themselves.

I problem solve with the Dr's as to the reason, the source, the right medication, course of treatment, consider the insurance, find community resources for them, talk with families to get the history their impression and needs, and do my best to explain what is happening to their loved one. Those are the interesting days.

Many I sit at a desk, checking boxes on a form, calling people who don't return my calls, seeking help that doesn't exist for the Patient's that won't get the help they need, but is leaving the hospital. I know why insurance sucks and health care needs reform, but I also know, we are very very far from a solution.

Oh and in case your still reading you must be very dedicated to knowing me, so i'll tell ya I'm going to Denver in Sept. I asked to be placed at a VA hospital where I could do work in an outpatient setting, meaning doing "real" therapy, with "real" patients, long term, psychoanalytic therapy. I will be doing work with people who have experienced trauma ( military), which is also an main focus area for me. That was the most important to me, and Denver is where they sent me! Geographically not my top place, but i will make the best of it.

I'm in NC till may 10th, visiting home for the month of May and then will head to Massachusetts for my second summer. ....

Im 27, the youth and the age strike me every now and again when I think about my hobo state.