Archives for posts with tag: job

I’ve been dealing with some serious shit recently. One of my clients died a week ago. He was a little guy, under 10. If you live in the Capital Region you’ve probably heard about it, but I’m not going to go into detail. Suffice to say, I’ve been caught in a maelstrom of grief, anger, disbelief and worry. I found out while I was on my on-call week. I got a phone message from CPS asking for information about this kid, and that he had died. I had to kind of sputter into the phone to the answering service that this was *my* client. I hung up the phone and promptly burst into tears.

Jarak was home as it was Saturday. I told him what happened and he just held me while I cried. All I knew at that point was that I needed him to be there for me. And that all that was keeping me held together was his touch. If he hadn’t been there last weekend I honestly don’t know what I would have done. He was there in between all of my phone calls to hold me. He didn’t ask a lot of questions, he was just there. After 3 years, he knows what I need when I’m upset and I’m so grateful for him.

The grief keeps hitting me in waves. I’ll be ok most of the day or evening, and then it will slam into me and I can’t work or do anything except go home and cry. And Jarak is just there for me. More than any other time, I’m realizing why we have partners. We have partners, husbands, wives to support us when things go to shit. To hold us when there are no words and the only thing that will make us feel better is human touch and connection.

We drove down to Maryland for my cousin’s wedding this weekend. The wedding was amazing and beautiful, if absolutely nothing like ours will be. I’m so very happy for them. We spent Friday night in Philadelphia with one of my college roommates and our cake maker. I haven’t seen her in 6 years, and we picked up right where we left off. There is a reason we were such good friends in college. And our cake is going to be Epic.

Going to a wedding, visiting old friends, and seeing family after this past week was a welcome break, but probably the best part of it was spending 3 uninterrupted days with Jarak. I fell asleep on the couch last night snuggled up with him. I’d been anxious since we got back into New York, but something about touch makes it all go away. We’ve been through a lot as a couple, with 2.5 years of long-distance and financial issues, and learning to communicate, but this week and this weekend has really hammered home to me that there is no one in this world who I’d rather have with me than him as I tackle the rest of the adventure of life. He makes it better just by being there, and that’s what makes him the perfect partner for me.


It’s been a hell of a week. No, literally, hell. I’m on call at work, which means that I can’t ever relax completely on my “off” hours. I always have to have my damn work phone with me. Add that to the fact that I’m seriously overworked and underpaid, and my bosses don’t appear to care, and it’s been a very rough week. Like coming home, throwing my keys on the table and pronouncing “I hate everything” and then throwing myself on the bed. Apparently I turn into a four year old when I’m tired and stressed out. Fortunately, my on-call week ends at 8am tomorrow morning.

Jarak, fortunately, has been wonderful. I’ve been careful to let him know that I’m not mad a him, I’m mad about work. And he’s been taking care of me. I’m super lucky to have him, and he has made things better. He took yesterday off of work, and we spent the whole day together. It wasn’t some grand trip or event, it was just puttering around the house, running errands, lunch at the Indian grocery, and then making dinner and bottling the stout we brewed at the end of August. (It fermented for something like 73 days. It’s nuts) Having a full day with him was wonderful.

On a different note, we’ve been doing lots of wedding-y stuff. It’s going slowly…We’re working on our website (by we, I mean Jarak built the thing, and comes to me for design approval on things. He’s awesome and creative like that.) We ordered our save-the-date magnets from a local printer who neglected to proof them beforehand, and our 3.5×4″ magnets were rotated 90*, so our photos were squished. Jarak grumped at them mightily about that, and they’re reprinting them for free, but still… argh! It took UPS 3 tries to deliver our box of envelopes because the driver rings the doorbell and then leaves… We have purple envelopes! And they’re local and recycled paper! Yay!

I’m trying not to compare our wedding to anyone else’s. What I know is right for us, and fits our budget/style/personalities is in some ways totally different than what is expected by people for a wedding. My cousin is getting married in March, and our good friends have invited us to be in their wedding next September. There will be huge differences in style, budget and aesthetic among all 3 weddings.

Other than the fact that we’re doing this on a (relative) shoestring, the main difference is how much we are doing ourselves, or are asking for help from friends and family. We have made our mead, will be brewing 2-3 batches of beer, and I will likely make some sort of yummy for the reception. Both of our families are full of amazing cooks who we are asking to help provide food. My college roommate who is a fantastic pastry chef is making the cake.  My mother is altering my dress. Our friend who used to be in a band is providing our PA system. We are focusing a lot on local businesses for things that we can’t make or do ourselves.  Our rings will likely be made locally (I have yet to find a pre-made ring that’s exactly to my liking.), our flowers will be from a local farm, the wine will be from a local winery, and perhaps best of all, Nick and Britin Foster of All Good Bakers have agreed to provide sticky buns for the morning of the wedding. These are all things that we believe strongly are important. And we are so blessed to have so many amazing people who are willing to help us out and make our day an awesome success.

Neither of us are particularly religious, and as such we are getting married outside with a friend doing the ceremony. Our siblings and my Bestest Friend Ever are standing up for us, and are standing up by family, instead of by gender. We will likely have an uneven number of attendants. Jarak and the boys will not be wearing suits. (Seriously, outdoors in late June? Shirts and ties are fine.)We will not be having champagne. All of these are things that we’ve been questioned/challenged on already. Fortunately, the questioners have graciously accepted our explanations.

Still, it’s hard to not slip into the mode of “oh, she’s getting/doing that? why can’t I do that?” Or “I wish I could afford that.” Even if it’s not something I want or need! Stupid wedding industrial complex and the cultural expectations that are wrapped up around weddings. Defending our choices is easy now, but I worry that I’m going to be sick of defending and explaining them come June when someone decides that I “have” to do something or we “must” buy this thing.

On a related note: in light of the “something old something new” rhyme, I’ve gotten it into my head that I’d like to borrow a sapphire/lapis necklace from someone. It feels rather silly and minor, but I think it would be a neat way to roll the last two parts of the poem into one. My engagement ring is my something old something new. The amethyst was in a necklace that my father gave me when I was 12.

I wrote this last Friday, but it didn’t want to post. So I’m posting it now. So there :p


I had a 7:30am meeting at one of the schools I work at. I usually get up at 7:30. I have nothing scheduled today except a meeting with my supervisor  this afternoon. I’m trying to figure out how to effectively use my time today, and it’s not going well. Rushing out of the house this morning meant that I made coffee, but not breakfast or lunch. And I forgot the new John Lee Hooker CD my brother sent me for Christmas.

I’ve started meeting with families. Family work is so different from the individual work I’ve been doing for 5 years. I am definitely in need of more training around best practices and how to work art therapy into sessions. I’m good at individual work, I’m good at group work, but this family thing? Totally unexplored territory for me. I’m looking at the diagnoses that these kids have and reconsidering them. Intermittent explosive disorder does not occur in a vacuum, and if someone’s got cruddy self-esteem, and poor communication skills, I’m hesitant to continue with the IED diagnosis.

I’ve been meeting staff at the schools who all want to know when  I start and what my schedule will be. I’m waiting to figure out what my required meetings are before  I put down a definite schedule, which makes this in limbo thing tough. There are so many acronyms, so many new people and a maze of a school to learn. It’s a bit overwhelming. I’ll be seeing kids at one school starting next week, and the second school maybe in 2 weeks. All of the systems are different. I’ve never had to deal with billing before and now I get to worry about that in addition to all of the other stuff. Ack! The minute I get settled into the schools I’ll have a caseload of 15 minimum probably. There are a lot of kids who are just waiting to be seen.

Jarak and I looked at an apartment yesterday that on paper sounded great… cheap, nice neighborhood, etc. We walked in and it was a shoebox. Less than 700sq ft. We are both large-type humans, who have books, and art materials and brewing equipment. There is no way all of our stuff would have fit in there. We’re not willing to sacrifice liking our apartment for having it be cheap.  The search continues…

When your first post-Christmas purchase is a pocket guide DSM-IV. (For those of you who don’t know, it’s the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, basically our diagnostic handbook.) Yeah, I’m a therapist. There are a whole list of books that I want to get, mostly about family art therapy.

I saw my first kid/family yesterday. I have another one coming today at 2pm. I’m starting to get a sense of how acute these kids are. I’ve got two with autism spectrum disorders, which I haven’t really worked with much, and an older teen girl with some distinct Axis 2 issues. Whoo boy. I have to keep telling myself  “I am an experienced therapist, I am an experienced therapist, I am an experienced therapist. ” Moving from “keep you in one piece until you go to court” to “long term therapy to try to fix you” is going to be an interesting transition. Good, but interesting, and certainly challenging.


Apartment search continues. We looked at one last night which was instantly vetoed because of a galley kitchen. I could barely cook dinner in there, let alone brew beer.  Trying to find an inexpensive two bedroom place that takes cats, is in a decent neighborhood, and isn’t more than a 1/2 hour drive for either of us is turning into a challenge. I was hoping for a shorter commute, so was The Boy, but our jobs are 15 miles away from each other, and the middle ground apartments are too expensive and/or don’t take cats. Grrr…

The Monday after I moved I started my new job. It was a half day of orientation, so not much else happened that day. Tuesday I  met with my supervisor and started Learning All The Things. It’s a new system, and a new state, but I’m realizing that when you’ve been a therapist for a while, notes are notes, intakes are intakes, and kids are kids. The details may change in how I have to write stuff up, but it’s still the same basic set of information. The agency is moving to an electronic records system, so I get to start using that as soon as I have kids. Learning curve will go straight up for a week or so, and then I’ll get it. They’re being nice and easing me into having a caseload. The fact that I started the week before Christmas, and then the kids are on break for a week means no clients until after Jan 3. I’m doing lots of reading, and lots of recertifications for things that I need to prove that I can do what I need to do.

I’ve been walking around amazed at all the perks I get with this job. Lets do some compare and contrast between this job and the last job.

Last job: shared an office with a woman that I didn’t really get along with. Finding space to do sessions was tricky.

This job: I have not one but 3 offices, all to myself! I have offices at both of the high schools where I will be working, and one at the clinic.

Last Job: Jail, where anything sharp/breakable/pointy or remotely dangerous was banned. No glass or ceramic containers, no metal flatware, no candles, etc.

This job: Outpatient clinic and high schools, where I can bring glass containers with my lunch in, and have ceramic coffee mugs on my desk. We had a yankee swap the second day I was here and there were multiple candles given, and multiple ceramic mugs. Lots of breakable things. So strange.

Last job: I had to fight with IT to get me an email address, and was using my own email for the first 8 months or so. I didn’t get a state email until about 4 months before I left. I had one computer. I couldn’t get onto any of the state computers until about a month before I left. IT was consistenly a problem.

This job: I got an email address, access to my computer and access to almost all of the online programs I need within the first 3 days of working here. I have access to all but one now that I’ve been here for a week. IT is upstairs and they’re made of awesome. I also get a laptop and cell phone because I work at a remote site. No having to use my NH cell phone to call clients when they don’t show up! And I’m 100% encouraged to turn it off when I go home for the night.

Last job:  I was one of 2 caucasian people on the unit, and the other woman was the program director. Most of my coworkers were lovely people, but I had very little in common with them, and having a sense of community was tough. Even after 2.5 years I didn’t feel very connected to them.

This job: Many more caucasian staff, and many people who are in similar situations as I am. (long term boyfriend, planning to move in/living together, not quite getting around to getting married yet though.) I had instant community when I got here. I got invited out with one of them for a NYE shindig. It’s awesome.

Last job: Barbed wire, locked doors, electronic controls, handcuffs. Squirrels and stray cats outside the windows.

This job: Therapy Dogs. There are 2 on the floor, and maybe more once they get certified. An adorable little pit named Nia and an older golden/water dog mix named Bocce. They are so cute, and make me happy!

On a slightly unrelated note: The Boy needs a new nickname. As do I. Mr. Moustache is in the running for him. I’m completely at a loss for myself. Help?

Hey all!

I’m A. I’m embarking on a new adventure in the next two weeks. I may come up with a new/different/more awesome nickname for myself and The Boy, but for right now, I’m just going to be A.

Why a single initial? I am an art therapist who works with teens, and as such, I like to keep my private life private, at least from the kids and families that I work with.  Nothing is entirely private on the interwebs, but I’m going to make an attempt. There are a number of other art therapists I know who blog as well.

What is my new adventure? I’m moving 200 miles west from Boston, MA to Albany, NY.  I moved to Boston in 2005 to start graduate school, and stayed here to start my career. In June of 2009 I re-met and unsuccessfully tried to hide my infatuation with the older brother of my best friend from college. We fell madly in love with each other, and for the past 2.5 years have been in a long-distance relationship, he in Albany and me in  Boston.

We knew fairly soon into the relationship that this was Serious Business, and that one of us would have to move. Without a whole lot of discussion I decided that I would move to NY. Partly because he has a small business that he runs, and also because although I love Boston, I really only wanted to live here for my 20s.

So I started looking for jobs about a year after we got together. I decided that I would start after I had passed the licensing exam. That was August 2010. Shortly after passing the exam I applied for my clinical license in Massachusetts and in New York.  It took almost a year to get my New York license, it took less than 6 months for Mass.  Prior to getting my license I got one job offer for something I didn’t really want to do, and for less money than they had promised me, so I turned it down. In late October I interviewed for a position as a therapist at a high school. I aced the interview, and they offered me a job.

So my adventure is this: I am moving 200 miles away from the place that I have grown into an adult. I am moving into an apartment with the love of my life, and my cat. We are going from two households to one, and from long-distance to seeing each other daily.  After spending 4 years learning about the human services infrastructure in the Greater Boston area, I get to start from scratch in not only a new city, but a new state. At some point on the horizon may be something sparkly on my left hand, and a big party with all of our friends and relations, but we will have that adventure when we come to it. This is the first big step. I hope you will join me.