Sunday, November 29, 2009

Just wow

Yesterday, by the grace of God, C and I both had the day off and nothing planned. We took advantage and headed to the mountains. Driving up, we saw this. Fog is really the only "hazard" around here (you know, besides earthquakes and heatstroke). This picture makes the slow drives seem worth it though. Isn't it amazing?

Friday, November 27, 2009


This was maybe one of the best Thanksgivings ever! The only think that would have made it better would have been to be closer to family. As it turned out, it was just the three of us, and it was easy and laid back and relaxed. The food was pretty delicious too! E was a big helper in the kitchen this year, helping me make the pumpkin cheesecake and cranberry sauce. C deep-fried the turkey (yum!) and no one blew up or had to be hospitalized. All in all, a total success.
I've been thinking a lot lately about how I get bogged down in the daily stuff. There's laundry to fold, dishes to wash, meals to cook, boys to wrangle, bills to pay, money to worry about, animals to ignore, work to do... The list goes on and on. If I let myself, I forget that these things are the result of all the great things that I have in my life and the things that I most thankful for.
A job. I may not love it yet, but it's getting a lot better. And I get paid to do something that I really, really like and that I'm pretty good at. There are a lot of people right now who would give anything for the same opportunity.
A house. And clothes to wash. And meals to make. And dishes to clean. Heat and running water. If the worst thing I'm worried about is affording premium cable, I'm doing alright.
The animals. They get the short end most of the time, and they take the brunt of my frustration when it gets overwhelming. But the truth is, our dog has been an amazing companion for the last ten years and doesn't ask for much in return. She's kept us safe, tolerated babies, and hung in through three interstate moves. She's a good dog. Our cat used to keep my home rodent free and play with the baby. Now she pretty much just provides comic entertainment by her sheer size and obnoxiousness, but we love her. She also makes sure that I never get used to sleeping past 6:00.
And of course my family

This guy

And this guy

And for this one too, who hasn't gotten the attention he/she deserves yet. We are so thankful for you Bug, and we can't wait to meet you!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The job

I've been stalling on this post because the jury's been out on the new job. It most definately isn't what I expected, or for that matter what I'd been told it would be. However as my husband, who has picked up a little too much psychology over the last 10 years, says, I do this with every new job. So I remain optimistic and try to find opportunities to find my own place in this new environment. So from the beginning...

The new job, and the reason that we moved, is a staff psychologist position at a large women's prison. From what I understood, I was going to be starting a chronic pain program and carrying a caseload of therapy clients. The reality is that I'm part of this program that is not quite developed yet. It's me and one other psychologist who's never worked with inmates before, which is a whole other issue. We'll talk/rant about that one later. I'm also doing this triage thing where I essentially hang out in the living units and see everyone before they get referred to a therapist. I also deal with any emergencies that may come up in my area. The kicker though? The best part? On the days that I'm on the units I may be expected to ride a tricycle. Seriously, a tricycle.

The chronic pain program, and it's other groups, are still totally undeveloped. The mental health staff is bigger than any other place I've worked, and there's all these political cliques that are complicated and super nasty. I'm working my way through them, but every day feels like I'm walking in a minefield. Also, no one uses first names. At all. Ever. So every meeting, every walk down the hallway, every silly chat in the mailroom sounds like some Monty Python skit. It's only been a couple of months since I've been able to officially use the title, but I'm already tired of being called "Doctor." On top of that, some people, including my new partner, shorten it by just calling people by their last names. So now I'm being beckoned by people just yelling "Chiconky!" in the courtyard. I don't have an office, or a desk, or even a drawer to keep my stuff. That's been pretty humbling in and of itself.

It's not all bad though. My boss seems to really like and appreciate my style (even calling me "abnormally normal"). Because the program is so new, I have the chance to develop it in a way that works for me, and because my partner is new to the population I can take more of a leadership role. The needs are so great that I can start pretty much any groups I want and there will be a need. For example, I'm going to start a group for sleep issues while I get my pain program up and running. The population is awesome and the officers have been great. I've already had quite a few really cool opportunities, like sitting in on a treatment team meeting in segregation and seeing Condemned Row. I've also met a few really great psychologists. My supervisors are great, and a lot of the staff is right out of internship. It's nice not to be in the minority.

So like I said, the jury's still out. I'm hoping that as I get more comfortable I'll begin to like the job more. It's definately not what I signed up for, and a lot of the time I'm thinking to myself "What the f*$# is going on here?", but all in all I think it will be okay. Plus, E and C are doing so well that it makes it a lot easier to put up with some of the BS. C says "There's a club for people who don't like their jobs. It's called 'Everybody' and they meet at the bar."