Monday, February 27, 2006

stress and disappointment

We've started having Clinic at school this semester, that is, we're starting to see real clients in the student therapy center. Thankfully, we only have to see one client during clinic for the first two weeks to give us more time to get acclimated to the environment. We start seeing two clinics each afternoon starting this coming week. My first session last week went fine -- nothing extraordinarily amazing or traumatizing about it -- but I think that's how it goes. We just do our thing, and it only gets hard when we get a tricky client. (i.e. one who either has a lot of medical conditions that we have to take into consideration when we're constructing the treatment for the session or just has a challenging personality.)

I wasn't terribly worried about the session yesterday, just some mild anxiety which was generally in check. I think I've been doing pretty well keeping myself mentally and emotionally balanced. Pretty well, that is, until we got the schedule for the day and I went to look up the file for my client for the day. Because the file wasn't there. Or at least, I couldn't find it where I thought it should be. The writing on the schedule was a little hard to make out, but I was pretty sure I read it correctly. I tried some alternate spellings, looked through most of the surrounding files (because sadly, some of our fellow students really can't manage to keep that whole alphabetizing thing in their heads), but eventually I gave up and called down to the front desk to see if they could confirm the spelling, and then later told them that they should give the client a new form to fill out when she arrived.

So now I was going to have to deal with a new file. Which in and of itself isn't such a big deal, but normally, a client would know about it in advance and would be told to show up early in order to fill out the paperwork. Because she was going to find this out when she arrived, it was going to eat into her already attenuated massage (for the one hour session, clients are expected to understand that some of the time would be spent with an initial intake interview and a brief exit interview). Basically, this situation was generating potential hazards for the session. And, I had burned so much time trying to find the file, I was late for our pre-clinic class meeting and hadn't set up my clinic area yet. And of course, for me, the most difficult part of clinic is getting everything done in the allotted time.


So, the session starts at 4:00pm. A call comes up. Has my client arrived? Did we get a correction on her name? Is she pissed? No, actually, she's cancelled. Actually two people cancelled, just as the session was starting. And it turns out, there's also a no-show. And interestingly, all three of us who are stuck without clients...? Male therapists. I wonder if this is going to become a pattern.

I guess I should be glad that I don't have to deal with the stress of a session with extra time pressures. But I have to admit that I'm a bit disappointed, since the whole point of clinic is to get experience interacting with the client, managing different medical conditions, working within a schedule. Instead, I go over a bunch of the Safe Practice Consideration sheets we use in the clinic (admittedly helpful) and do some filing. A bit unsatisfying. And afterwards, when our class had a short debriefing session before heading home, I felt a bit disconnected, on the outside, like I had missed out on a shared experience. It was a passing feeling, but it was still kind of a bummer.

* * *

In other, unrelated news, I've woken up at 5:40am, 5:30am, 5:30am and 5:00am the last four nights... which seems to correlate with my most recent acupuncture session. So it seems that it's doing something. The jury is still out as to whether this most recent adjustment to the treatments is a good thing or a bad thing.

UPDATE (Feb 28): Woke up at 7am this morning! Whoo-hoo!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Get all Uppity! (redux)

Become Republican!

[via Monkeyboy's Links]

Blogger ate my post

Interesting... I can't seem to find my "Get all Uppity" post even though it did show up in my RSS feed. Actually, it only seems to have shown up in my local client (Thunderbird), and not my online reader. (Rojo)

Friday, February 17, 2006

An Apology

Originally uploaded by tallasiandude.
I had a break-of-sorts between classes this past weekend so I decided to take advantage of a cheap fare on AirTran and grab a short trip to the windy city. Just a two-day trip, because while we just finished our second semester, we still had classes this past week -- Wednesday/Sunday -- but at least I didn't have to worry about a quiz early Sunday morning because we were starting a new module. A good opportunity to spend some quality time with the SOOTTAD. She'll be back in Boston next weekend, but she'll be spending most of her time at the Sci-Fi Marathon, so I don't know how much I'll actually see her.

The plan was to fly in Thursday evening, work from her apartment during the day Friday and fly out in the early evening Saturday so that I could be back home to get some rest and make it to class at 8:30am Sunday morning. It gave us two evenings, a good chuck of one weekend day and potentially six meals together, which seemed to have good EV and didn't feel too crazy. I think signal-to-noise was something like 9:2 (46 hours together, 10 hours of travel time, including getting to/from and waiting at the airport.)

I don't think I've hidden the fact that I don't care much for Chicago. The city has stolen my girlfriend, after all. And then there's the matter of the availability of Chinese food (we hit the much-raved about Lao Si Chuan and Ed's Potsticker house and were verily underwhelmed) and quality ice cream (Margie's just wasn't all that). And there was the whole matter of being frequently thwarted on my first visit in May. And while I admit that the Korean BBQ and Mexican food has been excellent and I appreciate that the bars don't throw you out at 1am, I just have to say that I'm just not much of a fan.

Things started out well enough on Thursday night: my first Chicago Italian Beef and finally got the SOOTTAD to see 40 Year-Old Virgin and all the extras on the DVD. Friday: work. Thank you, modern technology. Thank you, internet. I love that I can "work from home" from Chicago, actually busy trying to get things done so I can roll off onto another project. Hit a lull in the early afternoon, but started getting back into my stride when the internet connection randomly died. Check the router. Check the modem. Try power cycling each in turn. And wondering if there was any service getting to the house, I finally tried the TV.


I call the SOOTTAD at the office, get the number for Comcast. Deal with voicemail hell. Get disconnected. F. Try again, eventually getting through to a customer service rep who is of no help except to schedule a technician to come by the house on Sunday. (because the SOOTTAD can't wait around the apartment at the timeslot opening they have on Saturday because she's going to accompany me to the airport.)

Damn you, Chicago! *shaking fist in air*

Saturday, a delicious brunch at Lula Cafe, a walk around Logan square, followed up by a tasty BLT and fries at Johnny's Grill. Ah, excess. We get back to the SOOTTAD's apartment around 4pm, plenty of time for my 6:50 departure, which is scheduled to arrive back in Boston a little after 10. Plenty of time. Oh yes. I figure we should give the airline a call (phone? yeah, internet is still down) to see if the flight's on time. Is cancelled a time? Right, the Nor'easter. While I'm on hold waiting for customer service, the SOOTTAD calls several friends around New England and confirms that the storm isn't showing up until after midnight, well after my flight should have landed. It turns out that I've been rescheduled for an 8:30am flight, like that's gonna fly. (nyuk, nyuk) And as I'm thinking it while talking to the service person, that flight gets cancelled. She ends up booking me onto the 6:50pm flight on Sunday. Shit. Now I'm not going to get back in time to make class. Shit. Shit. Shit.

Chicago, you're fucking with me again, aren't you?

I'm frustrated, annoyed. But I slowly realize that it's because I feel like I'm getting screwed over by large corporations that don't give a shit about the people they're trying to serve. I saw my flight cancellation as an arbitrary business decision -- hey, that Saturday flight hardly had anybody on it, let's just cancel it and save a few bucks and stuff that guy on the Sunday flight. I'm pissed at the why.

Eventually breathing resumes and oxygen returns to the brain. If the storm is canceling flights, they're probably going to cancel class. And I get an extra two days with the SOOTTAD! Yay, me!

It seems like Chicago was just giving me another chance to give Chicago another chance. And we saw the awesome Shaw Brothers film New One-Armed Swordsman at the Gene Siskel Film Center, ate Chicago-style Hot dogs, drank Old Styles at a local dive bar and even found a decent looking Shanghainese restaurant in Chinatown that we'll have to eventually try.

The situation was totally FUBAR and it worked out to be a great weekend. kat mentions the twists and turns life sometimes takes, and's totally like that. (There's also some business about faith and spirit which is sync'ing with me a bit today as well, but perhaps I'll delve into that some other time.)

So anyway, I think I kinda owe Chicago an apology.

Sorry about that, dude. Are we cool?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Common threads...

It seems that my brain has been busy, busy, busy, analyzing, organizing, making connections. That's what it's there to do, after all. Making sense of all the random events that happen day to day, trying to make order from chaos, playing games with statistics.

Went to the dance last night and overall I had a good time enjoying the dances, feeling good about my dancing. Maybe 45 minutes into it, I consciously noted how well things seemed to be going, in fact, how inordinately well they were going and how good I was feeling. Dancing on air, one might say. (iew, did I just say that?!) I was digging the tunes, feeling the music, dancing well and having fun. And the followers seemed to be having fun, too.

And with it, there was, just maybe, the ever-so-slightest bit of fear that it could instantly all come crashing down around me. (I wonder whether I should just cut and run. Leave the party while it's still fun, as the SOOTTAD has sometimes said.) But no, silly thoughts. Just let go of the negativity and self-doubt, be present in the moment. Appreciate it. Let everything else go.

I'm there to dance, so I dance.

And just a few short minutes later... I'm being self-conscious, I feel like my leads suck, my dancing is boring, and the followers don't like dancing with me.

I am always amazed at how quickly the feelings turn. In a moment, and the moment is gone. And I know that I just had these amazing dances, and yet I can no longer recall the feelings of elation, of joy, of happiness. The high is so fleeting. This is what it must feel like when the drugs wear off.

After the fall, I have a few dances that are pretty good, but nothing like the ones at the start of the evening. It's like some magic has been lost. I'm feeling a little sad as I head for my car after the dance. I know it'll pass, and I try not to dwell too much on it, but: whoop, there it is. Life is all about ups and downs, and I recognize that it's not that I'm supposed to try to stop feeling bad, just that I shouldn't get stuck there, mired in the lows. Don't dwell.

So anyway, I've had this book on meditation and being mindful (a birthday gift from a few years ago) that I've finally picked up again. It has a lot about what I've just been saying, and what I've been thinking about recently. Over the last few nights I've been reading a short section or two before going to bed. And what do I read last night?

... Just feel what you are feeling, all the while cultivating moment-to-moment awareness, riding the waves of "up" and "down," "good" and "bad," "weak" and "strong," until you see that they are all inadequate to fully describe your experience. Be with the experience itself. Trust in your deepest strength of all: to be present, to be wakeful.
Sometimes it's good to get a little reinforcement. A bit of corroborating evidence that I might be on the right track.

And maybe it's yet another manifestation of the connectedness of all things, a positive feedback loop keeping me on the right path. And then again, maybe it's nothing. Just randomness and statistics. The meaning of it all being the meaning that you yourself give it. Which, oddly enough, happens to be one of the themes in Watchmen, a graphic novel by Alan Moore, which I recently reread for a book club. Which I suppose is another thread, tying it all back together again.