Saturday, December 5, 2009

I'm Not Dead Yet

Hello out there!
I bet you all thought I was...well...gone! I'm not. I have just been so darn busy. It's all good.

I love my job! I work with wonderful girls (Catholic High School) and great faculty and staff. I could not ask for more.
I admit that I am not a morning person, so getting up early and getting there on time is a bit of a challenge, but I find myself staying hours after everyone has left, so that I can get my work done.
I am one one of those counselors who tells kids that I am busy, come back later. I am there for them NOW. I think one must be there for the kids in the moment, or how can we be effective?

Anyway, I don't mind. I find that I do not take lunch breaks, either, but rather I eat lunch in my office as that is the time that the kids often come in to see me. I am aware that I need to be careful of burnout, so I will have to figure out a way to get a break at some point in the day.

I think that once I have been here for at least a year, I will have figured out how to work it all out, break included. For now, I am still learning parts of the job and how it all works here.

I know how lucky I am to work at this school. In fact, it was voted Best of the Bay in 2009 and Best place to work. Boy they were not kidding. It really is a good place to be.

I realize that every place of employment may have one or two people that get on your nerves, but for the most part...well aside from one big blow out fight that I had with my dept head early on...hahaha, it's all good really is a good place to work! We had one big fight, but I think it needed to happen. It is perfectly fine now.

I am also in the process of high school applications for my oldest son. In San Francisco, that is a HUGE deal. The public schools here are not good, so we send our kids to Catholic or private schools. It is a huge ordeal and extremely competitive. Our kids compete with kids from all over the Bay Area for a spot in a SF private matter how smart, talented, etc., the child, everyone freaks out. You must apply to at least 3 schools and see what happens. You may get into one or all three...or none. You find out in March.
So in addition to writing college letters of recommendation, I am doing this!

Now I am off to my son's schools for yet another event! Just wanted to let you all know....
I am alive and kicking!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fingers Crossed That This Works!

I have been trying to post in this thing for so long and it has not worked. I thought I would give it a try now as my luck has seemed to have changed as of late.

Not sure if I was able to post when I landed my one day a week at a private school. It was a small thing, but it really helped. I loved the work and the people. Oh, I was the counselor. It is a job I had as an intern in graduate school and I loved it.

Anyway, the school could not afford me more than one day a week (they gave me my asking price) so I ended up donating another day as I saw that they needed more time. I was happy to do it. 

One day a couple of weeks ago, I was at my Mom's house for some reason, just chatting with her and  my Auntie Dell (her dear friend since high school) before I had to go pick up the boys from school and my cell phone rings. I looked at the number and thought, hmmm,that person called before and left no message, wonder who it was. Well,turns out it was the principal from a high school, where I have wanting to work. She told me that the position that I have been wanting is open and would I like to come in for an interview?

OMG!!! I was so excited! I don't think I was able to contain it. We did chat for a moment. She explained that the position would entail college counseling as well as personal counseling. I told her that I had been looking into UC Berkeley's extension program for the college and career counseling certification. She told me that was not necessary. Really! Cool!

When I got off the phone and told my Mom, I remember jumping up and down in excitement. Yay, I am that mature! But, you see, I have been wanting this position for two years...this exact one. 
I went in to see the Assistant Principal one day when I was at the school attending the play with my son's class and asked her for a job. I went back later that day with my resume. I have been calling her and visiting her once in a while ever since.

I knew her way back when. She was MY teacher. She was soooo young then. She is actually still pretty young. How that happened, I am not sure. I am going to have to get her to give me her secret. Anyway, I also went on a trip to Mexico with her for intercession. I will explain intercession later.

So when I went for my interview, I was only nervous because it turns out it was a PANEL INTERVIEW!! I bomb those! Linda came to bring me in to the interview and said it was an informal round table. I told her how I hated panel interviews, that they make me nervous. She said, " Oh, me too! Remind me to tell you about MY experience some time!" I was so relieved by her words that I relaxed. Thank  you, Linda!

I was fine! There were five people. The principal (who is this amazing woman who sits on all these boards in the city. My principal at our school, who is a public figure in SF told me she is on a board with her at USF and that she is a brilliant woman. I am so glad Mrs. A didn't tell me all these things BEFORE the interview), two counselors ( one is a priest, but went through the same graduate program as I did at USF) and Linda, the Vice  Principal, whom I turned to for comfort. I never thought Linda would be someone I turned to for comfort when I was a kid!

I had to come back after to give Linda my transcripts and references. When I returned she handed me the sweatshirt I purchased (no, I am not a kissass, I love my high school and was going to buy one from my friend who is graduating and this was more convenient....REALLY!) I was talking to the drama teacher when Linda saw me and handed me my sweatshirt and she whispered in my ear, "That went really well!", referring ,of course,to the interview that had taken place an hour earlier.

Fast forward a week.I was soooo nervous. I had not heard a thing. I knew they were still interviewing. I also knew they wanted to make a decision before the end of the school year. I was so nervous. Finally I get a call...damn...missed it while I was in the shower. I have to call back. The Principal does not give any clue by the tone of her voice in her message which way it went. I nervous calling back. 
"Hello Laura, I am calling to....."

Calling to what?...tell me that you went with another candidate? OMG! My job! I swear I thought that is where she was going. Her tone of voice sounded like that! BUT NO!!!!
She continued...

".....offer you the position!"

Yes, Yes, Yes. Came out of my mouth.

So, I am the new counselor. I got it over 5 other people they told me. They see me as the dept. head in time, once I learn the technical aspects of the job, etc...couple years, I guess! 

I found an old lotto ticket in my purse today on the way to the gym...yup, it was a winner! I won a dollar. I was in 7-11 saying, " YES! I WON THE LOTTO!" Hey, a dollar is a dollar!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 17, 2009


Just a little quickie while the kids are having their picture taken by their photographer father.
It is Easter vacation for us and we have been having a lovely time.
First of all, my oldest boy turned 13 last week. I will write about that when I have more time. It was a little bit mind blowing for me.

We have spent the week being tourists in our city. San Francisco is a fun city and we just don't get the chance to do the tourist we did it this week.

We went to Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park and rented the paddle boat. That was so much fun. It was so beautiful. We often walk there, but have not rented a boat for many years. They used to have motor boats, and that is what we used to get. Now they have row boats and the paddle boats. When our hour was done we fed the ducks and sat on the shore where this older Japanese gentleman comes and feeds the huge carp and turtles. We sat near him and just watched. It was so peaceful and beautiful.

Another day we took the street car with some friends to China Town and just roamed around all day. The kids were starving and I could not remember where the dim sum place was that we had gone to with the preschool. One does not usually to to China Town to eat, so I am not familiar with the restaurants, so I had to ask. We went into this little bakery/restaurant. It was a nothing, hole in the wall. The fool was mediocre at best. When the check came I thought it was a mistake....$139!!!!! YIKES! Next time, I will ask friends in advance and know where I am going!

The next day, my sister-in-law and her kids came to the city from Novato and we went to  Fisherman's Wharf and Ghiradelli Square.  My oldest boy had a party to attend so all the boys decided to leave at about 3, which left my SIL, my 17 yr old neice and myself. We shopped and then went to Macy's in Union Square to find her a prom dress. I actually loved shopping for her. It was a lot of fun. When we finally got home, we ordered Chinese food, because they love it and she never gets up in Novato, and then she stayed until, oh, I don't know,  midnight.
It would have been fine had I not had work the next day.

Today was pretty mellow. I took the boys for haircuts. They were pretty scraggly.  They two younger ones were SO mad at me. But they can't have long hair in their school. It is not uniform! NOT my fault boys! But I am glad all the same. They look great, even though they were soooo pissed. 
After I took them to Noah's for some lunch, they seemed OK. I think they had low blood sugar, which is always a bad thing for my kids.
When we were done, I drove to the Haight. They did not want to get out, but I made them. I just wanted them to see the tourists and the cool stores. Once they walked into a store that had the coolest athletic shoes, they were sold! They loved it!!! Turns out, Mom was right. It was a pretty cool thing to do for an hour, afterall.

My favorite part, I have to say, was when my oldest boy walked into one store that had all kinds of drug paraphernalia and looked around. As he walked out of the store, he says to me" That store is messed up, Mom!"
I said,"What do you mean?"
"It has all kinds of things..."
He was totally disgusted!
Yay! Drugs are stupid!!!!

Tomorrow we are off to Sacramento for a basketball tournament and maybe our last rugby tournament, if we can fit it in. It will be a LONG weekend of sports with my boy. I will miss the other boys, but it is always nice to have a couple of special days with my oldest boy.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I went to the faculty meeting yesterday to meet the teachers at the school where I will work one day a week. So, first of all, I thought I had it in the bag for next year, but then the principal says it is only guaranteed until the end of the year. This he says, really, to the teachers. The hell?
Alright. I am going to a job faire Sat. for the Archdiocese of SF Elementary schools. I am hoping to make some contacts for a position of some sort. We'll see. It will be swamped. So many people are looking for jobs right now. I missed the High School Job Faire two weeks ago for the Catholic Schools. I was pretty bummed about that as a job in high school would either lower my tuition or eliminate tuition for high school for my son in two years. Tuition is in the 18-20 something thousand a year range. So you see why I am desperate to find a job!

The 8th graders found out where they got in on Friday. It was a HUGE thing! In San Francisco the public schools are so bad that they really are not an option. There is only one public that is a college prep. Lowell High School. It is very difficult to get into. I am pretty sure my son has the grades for it, but he doesn't want to go there...course not. He wants either Saint Ignatius or Sacred Heart. He really wants to play sports and Sacred Heart recruits their players from two AAU team in particular and that is not his team, so he fears he will not be able to play basketball there. Maybe football, though. He plays rugby on one of the top teams, at least in the Bay Area, SF Golden Gate. Crazy Game, but he LOVES it!
Anyway, so now the kids have to ramp up their community service, make sure they do every extra everything, win every contest, get straight A's and then maybe, just maybe, they will get into 1 or 2 of the 3 or 4 schools they apply to.

Our Principal was furious, I heard, and ranting, even at the last Women's Guild Meeting. A few kids only applied to two schools and did not get in to either. She had to go and fight to get them into a school. I can't believe it is so difficult for our children to get into our local schools. 

Perhaps if the peninsula kids went to their local schools and Marin kids went to their local schools and we did not hold a certain number of spots open for these kids and leave San Francisco kids out in the cold. I don't even want to get started on the athletic situation!
Done with my rant....for now!

Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Don't Think About Your Belly Button

I really have learned that lesson well lately. You know where you try to think of other things, but you simply can't. You tell yourself to focus on other things and the only thing you can focus on are the things you are trying  not to.

I have also learned how when you are starving the only thing you think of is food. Oh, my hunger is not for food. It is for employment. It is for peace. It is for a situation where my children don't have to go without all the time.
I am so focused on those things that I am really boring and even I don't want to talk to me.
I have nothing else to say. 

Living each day in a panic is just not going to cut it.

I do start working one day a week at the Armenian School. I am actually  very stressed about that as I will be creating the counseling program out of nothing. Not that I can't do it. I am sure I can. I think I have been so depressed for so long that it even the simplest of tasks seems daunting....and this one is not really that simple. I need to think of everything necessary for this program to work. I feel as if the success or failure of it is on my shoulders. 

I am trying to figure out what I need legally at the moment and then what they need so I can go in there and seem like I have it somewhat together.

Honestly, the job I a covet is at a Catholic High School. My former high school said I was the next therapist they would hire, BUT I am just waiting for someone to leave. I have been waiting since last year. I called the assistant Principal yesterday, who was one of my teachers all those years ago. I just wanted to keep the connection going and let her know that I still wanted that position. She said she was thinking about me and actually had a picture of me staring right at her in her office. You see, I was on a trip to Mexico that she chaperoned and the group photo was recently hung on the wall. Last year when I went to see, she had found that photo and showed it to me. It was one of those cool panorama ones. A bunch or silly girls!
Anyway, that job would be so sweet for several reasons, actually. First of all, I really want to work at an all girls Catholic High, really I do! I really love that school and would love to work there. It is such a great school for girls. Secondly, I think that job would help me with high school tuition at at least one of the schools my son wants to attend in two years. The tuitions are like 20 thousand a year and, well, I am just screwed right now!
Oh, financial aid! He had to really start doing community service, like right this second, if he expects to get in with a  tuition break. 

Before I end, I would like you know that I wrote this whole THANK YOU  for all of your support. I thanked you for your kindness and generosity. I thanked those of you who emailed me over the months to check up on me. I just wanted to let you all know how much it meant it meant to me. Sadly, the entire post was lost when I hit publish and I was VERY frustrated. However, please know that I am very thankful to all of you for your kind support. It has really meant so much to me.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Crossing Harder!!!

As I was driving my little guy to basketball today I get a call. I did not recognize the number so I thought I should answer it as I have so many calls out there to prospective employers. Turns out it was the Principal from the Armenian school. He apologized for not getting back to me sooner but reminded me that they were in the throes of their WASC accreditation. I had not forgotten and in fact, had told my mother about it when she asked me what happened to this job prospect.

Anyway, he said if I was still interested he wanted me to start working one day a week next week. Sure, I'm in! 

Schools often have you either work two days a week or full time, which can be everyday. One day is really not much, but hey, it's a start.

The charter school director emailed me yesterday and told me that she is, in fact, opening up a position called Learning Support Professional. This position will be that of a case manager and counselor. If I am interested in the position I was to contact her. I called this morning and hope to hear from her soon. I know there would be many in line for this job, and she may already know who she wants in the position. Whatever, I want a chance to interview for it anyway.

The other good thing that happened today, but not in this order, occurred while I was at yard duty at my boys' school. The principal shocked me first by coming over to talk to me. I was really pleased by this act alone. She was really nice. Then when the topic of jobs came up I told her I was looking for a school to work in (she knows I am a therapist). She then told me to contact the archdiocese of San Francisco and that I should talk to a specific person and tell me what I do and what my credentials are so they can have my resume on file when a position opens up. She then volunteered to give me the number as soon as I was done at yard duty. When I went into the office, she was standing there holding a piece of paper with the number. I was so appreciative.

I have an interview in Marin tomorrow and I really don't want the job. Not only will I pay 5-6 (5 dollars with a fastpass/6dollars regularly) bucks a day to simply cross the GG bridge, but it is just not a job that I would ever want. Besides, I don't think I can have it if I am taking the school job. I suppose I will have to tell them I can only work 4 days. That might be enough to not get the job. I really just want the school counseling positions or something challenging. Not the job that I am interviewing for. We'll see. 

I am going to be wearing every good luck charm I can find, and praying my little heart out!

Hey wait, does that mean the undies I am wearing are good luck undies?
Maybe it's my scarf....

Friday, March 6, 2009

That Icky Feeling

I know what it is, too. I feel like I'm walking through jello again...
that feeling of anxiety just won't leave my chest or stomach
I can't seem to get anything do
I had hesitated to write about any of this because, well, frankly it is just so darn unpleasant. The truth is, my dear friends, I am not only in a really bad financial way, I am kind of stuck in a situation until I get my finances in order.
See Yasmin, I am not exactly divorced....yet. 
I really should be...I really need to be.
I have not wanted to write this as I always feel like maybe someone reads this who is connected to my work, even in the past. Past clients do come back from time to time.
I cannot leave my marriage until I have the financial means to do so. Sadly, he drained any possibility of my doing that without my knowledge. He said I knew. Well, I didn't. He paid bills with everything we had and with our freaking line of credit. Oh, and the house belongs to me. He will sign it back over to me when the time comes.
Anyway, I will not go into why I think I married him now or why I married him. That is for a future post. For now I will say that he is very abusive, mostly emotionally. He goes for very long periods of time without speaking to me and will get the kids to ask me questions. I have asked him to stop putting them in the middle and to stop allowing them to see this, but he is too selfish and narcissistic to stop. He twists things so the kids think it is me who instigate situations. I almost don't care anymore, I just really want this marriage over. I am to the point of hatred. There are no more tender feelings left. None.

I am sure that once we are living separate lives for a while and he is no longer mean that I may soften up. That by no means means that I will have feelings for him again, it simply means that I will no longer harbor these hateful feelings which I find so destructive. I think that is why I am feeling so depressed. How can I not be depressed when I feel such anger when he walks into the house and treats me badly each and every day. His refusal to speak and when he does it always rude and mean.

He spent years working on destroying my self esteem and then had the gaul to say it was Me who damaged HIS self esteem. He used to tell my oldest child terrible things about me, like I was useless, basically, when the boy was only 3 years old, thus being abusive to both him and me. 

I know I should not publish this post, but I feel like I must. I feel like I hide this from the world and I am so tired of it. I try to keep up appearances with most people in my community and so I never breathe a word of this. Only a few of my closest friends know how really bad the situation is. My mother also knows. She is actually the one who has said I have to stay until I get enough money to pay off some bills and take care of myself and the kids. 

I guess I left some things out. My dear Husband is self employed. My mother purchased his second business, which he really didn't hustle enough at. Although he is talented, I think you can guess, he lacks some self-esteem. He could have made big bucks and didn't. He got us into huge credit card problems and got my mother to bail us out. I mean HUGE. I told her not to. Did I mention that she gave me/us this house? She was afraid of us losing the house. He promised to make payments on the loan she took out...but guess what...he couldn't. She might now lose her house in several years. He also maxed out the  line of credit behind my back and our cards again. Why did I not work all these years? Because he said that he made so much money with each job and my work doesn't make as much and that I could work nights. I screwed myself by not working For someone as now no one wants me. That and the economy issue..I know.
Ok, so there is some of it. I need to get my kids out of this situation. They cannot be raised in this kind of home. I just have to find some sort of employment.

I just know that there is something better ahead...right?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Crossing Everyingthing I Can!

I am praying and crossing whatever I have to cross! I called my friend and former supervisor who told me that the Armenian School was looking or counseling support. Well, he told me of another school, a charter school, that is looking for a counselor. He spoke to the principal today and she said she did want to get someone in there. 
He told her about me. I am not sure what she said after that but I do know that she inquired about interns. So he gave her the number to the lady who places the interns from the USF program where he works (where I went). She actually was in the program with me....used to be a principal and became a mft (marrige, family, child therapist).
Anyway, Chris told me that she (the charter school I losing you yet?) gave him her email address for me to send her my resume. He said "GET ON IT NOW!!! Send it right now and make sure you spell check it!" 

He said that because I am pretty sure, that in my haste yesterday, I sent out a cover letter or two with mistakes. I came home and saw what was on the computer and freaked! I stuttered in the first sentence! OH. MY. GOD!!! I was trying to think of a way to reach back into the mailbox to retrieve them and correct them. The recipients are EDUCATORS!!! OH MY GOD! I just kept freaking out. But then I realized there is nothing I can do about it but move on. That and do better next time!

OK, so, I emailed my cover letter and resume to that lady and am now praying. Praying HARD! She said she wanted a full time counselor. That would be so perfect. I need a full time job. They really would do better to have an experienced therapist in there rather than an intern. I am not just saying that because I need the job, but really, if they could do it, it would be best to have both, but for the sake of continuity. Otherwise, they are replacing the counselor EVERY year. I know! I was an intern in a school. I think it can actually be disruptive in a school community to have people coming in and out. Children really need stability. That is so important. I could go on....but I won't.

I just want to thank you all for your sweet comments. They are like warm hugs.
I have missed you all my dear friends!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Remember Me?

I feel like I have been gone for so long. 
I guess you can tell that I tend to isolate when I am stressed out and depressed. I don't think it is a thing to do...but it is what I do. I really need to learn to reach out. So much of my life is out of whack at the moment. Some things can be put back together, and sadly some can't, really.

Ok, let's start from where I left off. I have sent out hordes of resumes and cover letters and even gone on a couple of interviews. I was terribly over qualified for the two jobs I interviewed for and still did not land them. I do not know if that is why I did not get them, but it only served to squash my self-esteem that much more...sigh.
I applied for any and every job on the internet. One person even called me and said..."Well, Ok, maybe you can have this job, but you over qualified. How about I put you in for this other position?" Well, I never heard back from the person in charge of the "other" position. It really was alright, though, because the job would have taken me very, very far from home and very late at night. I don't think I could have done it with three kids. Well, not easily. 

Today I went to talk to a principal of a school. I have worked in schools before and really enjoy that work. I have wanted to get back into the schools for a very long time, but had really hoped to find a job where I might make money and get health benefits. I don't that is going to happen so I had better start rethinking and doing what I do and what I love. I love working with kids and families. I feel like I am all over the place, so I will try to stay focused here....sorry.
Anyway, he was really nice and very, very interesting. He wants to have a counselor in the school and was interested in what I can offer them.

After a two hour meeting, we decided I would begin by working one day a week. The school is really quite small (112 kids - it is preschool through 8th grade....private school) and has some budget issues as well. I was fine with that. I just need to get another school or two and then I will be fine. If I can get two or three schools plus a few private clients in the evenings, I will be OK. 

I need to be able to pay insurances, the house bills and tuition. I am so stressed about my oldest boy going to highschool the year after next. I have no idea how I will pay for it.
His father you ask? Don't even get me started! 

I am going remember to breathe and continue to do what I am doing. I am going to plug away at this until I find enough work to support myself and my children. Mom might just be right. Today may have been the beginning of things going a new way. 

I feel as if I have been gone so as not to bitch and moan at you all. I have been nothing but desperate. You know that feeling where a cry is right there in your throat? It is not exactly a cry but somewhere between a cry and a scream and a groan or something. That feeling of desperation. I am becoming more clear on the steps to take now, but grow impatient waiting to take them. It seems that something always has to happen before the step can be taken. Does that even make sense? I am more of a "just get off your butt and get it done" kind of a person".
I am not very good at waiting or being patient. I like to know the ends of movies before I see them. I guess what I am saying, in essence, is that I like to be in control of my life and when I am not it just makes it that much worse. I am not a control freak or anything, I just hate being out of control for extended periods of time that this.

I guess I had better go do some Mom things now. 
Thank you for listening. Please know that it means a great deal to me.