Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I came out to blog for this?

Yes, I did. I was challenged by Captain Awesome, and I felt I had to respond.

Bold the ones you’ve read, underline the ones you read for school, and italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Crime and Punishment
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Don Quixote
The Odyssey
The Brothers Karamazov
War and Peace
Madame Bovary
A Tale of Two Cities
Jane Eyre- and might I add, it sucked the whole, long, boring way through.
The Name of the Rose
Moby Dick
The Iliad
Vanity Fair
Love in the Time of Cholera- this was unexpectedly boring, given how much I loved One Hundred years
The Blind Assassin
Pride and Prejudice- Read this once for school, several times since for me.
The Historian: A Novel
The Canterbury Tales
The Kite Runner
Great Expectations
Life of Pi
The Time Traveler's Wife- I resent all books that identify the main character by their relationship to a man
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Atlas Shrugged
Foucault's Pendulum
The Grapes of Wrath
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Mrs. Dalloway
Sense and Sensibility
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Sound and The Fury- Again, read it for school, then read it for me.
Memoirs of a Geisha
Brave New World
American Gods
The Poisonwood Bible
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Picture of Dorian Gray
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
The Satanic Verses
Mansfield Park
Gulliver's Travels
The Three Musketeers- Come on, I read The Man in the Iron Mask!
The Inferno
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Fountainhead
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
To the Lighthouse
A Clockwork Orange
Robinson Crusoe
The Scarlet Letter- Hated it!!!
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
The Once and Future King
Anansi Boys
The God of Small Things
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Dubliners- read it again as an adult, still love it
Oryx and Crake
Angela's Ashes
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
In Cold Blood
Lady Chatterley's Lover
A Confederacy of Dunces
Les Misérables- I read The Phantom of the Opera, though!
The Amber Spyglass
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
Watership Down
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation -Come on, who knows which translation they read? I read Grendel too.
The Aeneid
A Farewell to Arms
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
Sons and Lovers
The Book Thief
The history of Tom Jones
The Road- Does this mean "On the Road"? Because if so, Yes.
Tender is the Night
The War of the Worlds

PS- This week marks the 1/2 way to baby point. Hooray!

Monday, March 31, 2008

I Quit!

Since mid-February I've known that this is not the job for me. The people I work with are great, the kids are generally great, but it just isn't a well-designed position and I hate all of the insurance work. The question became, then, how to quit.

At this point I already knew I was pregnant (we found out on Superbowl Sunday, for those who are counting). I've never had a real post-licensure job before, and I've never quit a job in my life. I initially wanted to give only 3 months notice* and to blame my quitting on my pregnancy. Fortunately, I have wise friends, and I am wise enough myself to listen to them.

I waited until my 3 month review earlier this month to break the news. Per my wise friends, I started out by effusively thanking my boss for taking a chance on a newly licensed psychologist with no prior experience with eating disorders. I talked about all the things I love about the job (which are many), then launched into a reasoned critique of the things with the position that I believe are real problems. To my boss's immense credit (she is really awesome) she was very on-board with all of my criticisms and asked my permission to pass the feedback on up the food chain.

All of that took about 50 minutes. Then I told her I was pregnant. It was very hard, and I did tell one lie: I let her think it was an accidental pregnancy. Well, I didn't know we'd get pregnant in 5 minutes, did I? So that part was... unexpected, at the very least. She was very excited for me, and we agreed that this isn't a job that can be broken down to part-time; as that is the case, she was sad but supportive of my decision to leave. I'll be staying through the end of July, which works nicely for me as it gives me 2 months (more than I need) to prepare for the baby, while also allowing me not to be unemployed all summer. So that's the plan!

*3 months may sound like a long time, but to fill a very specific professional position like this it is really a necessary amount of time. Legally I could ditch them in 2 weeks, but I really want a good reference and to leave on a good note, so I would never do that.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Stretch Pants

The reason for my prolonged silence is this: I got pregnant, and wanted to blog about being pregnant, but wanted to wait, and couldn't think of anything else to talk about. So, fyi, I am 10 weeks pregnant. Hooray!

This means, of course, that I needed new clothes. I'm not a frequent shopper, and mostly I enjoy sales, the internet, and outlet malls. My friend Dr. C and I made a maternity shopping date together in Union Square, thinking that surely in the heart of San Francisco's shopping district there would be choices galore for the expectant-yet-fashionable woman.

I might add, the day before our planned excursion I had a little free time, so I went to the Stanford Shopping Center. Do you know that no women in Palo Alto or the surrounding area of the Peninsula ever get pregnant? True story! Because there is not a single store in that mall, boutique or department store alike, that has any maternity clothing. And, if you are uncouth enough to ask a saleswoman at Macy's if they have maternity clothes, you will be rewarded with a sneer and condescending put down that will make you slink from the store feeling guilty for having had the audacity to get knocked up after four years of lawful marriage.

So: San Francisco. San Francisco Shopping Center. Concierge Desk. Nice man, who kindly told Dr. C and I that, interestingly, it is rare for San Francisco residents to procreate either, as the only stores in all of Union Square that cater to my kind are Old Navy (cheap, basic) and A Pea in the Pod (designer, very expensive), neither of which are in the SF Shopping Center. And no, none of the stores in the shopping center offer maternity clothing. In case you wondered.

We set off. Did you know, my friends, that unless you want to buy $200 designer maternity jeans (which come in actual sizes), maternity jeans only come in Small, Medium, and Large? Did you further know that I am somewhere in between a small and a medium, if I am to allow myself room to grow the extra 4lbs on my ass that the average woman gains during pregnancy? True story!

Also: Do you know that trying on maternity tops is one of the more depressing adventures in shopping a woman can have? Stuff your giant-er boobs into a printed mumu! Fun! - this is if you are at Old Navy. Or: This top is amazing! I could wear this t-shirt now, it is awesome! Oh, it is also $85. - also true-- I tried on this great black shirt at A Pea in the Pod that Dr. C totally wanted for herself, despite being totally un-pregnant. I did not buy it, although I dream about it sometimes, minus the price tag.

The final insult is that, naturally, as I am a wee person, I had to get everything hemmed. This put the final tab up another $100. The tailor's grandson was there in the store when I got the price quote for trimming my bounty to wearable length, and his reaction was priceless.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Settling in

After getting a job in early December I was pretty thrilled- this is what it has all been about! I'm licensed, I'm employed, people call me Doctor all day long- good stuff!

It is good stuff. It is. But I find myself feeling less satisfied than I thought I would be. Part of it is that this is not my dream job-- I'm working very hard for not much money, even though I do like the work. But a big part too is that feeling of stagnation.

For the past, oh, 25 years I've been working towards a goal. In school, mostly. Now it is up to me to stimulate my brain, to set myself challenges, and to not get stuck in too much of a stiff routine. The transition from grad student to just "employed" has been a surprisingly emotionally laden one.

It is true that much might also be attributed to our serious desire to move out of state and truly settle down. I think that if I knew this was to be a "career" job, I would either not have taken it or would have a different attitude towards it. But as it is, this job is a place holder for the time we remain in California. It just feels hard to be as invested in this present than I used to be in my future.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

My license, in dollars and cents

Hooray! Last Friday was the first payday at my new job, meaning my first payday as a newly minted licensed psychologist. I was really happy about finally getting off the Captain Awesome dole and feeling like a true participating member of our family. We weren't going hungry without my paycheck, but it is something we have both been looking forward to, naturally.

Friday morning CA checked our bank account: no direct deposit. Well, we all know that it takes time sometimes for the direct deposit to kick in. I thought that maybe I'd get a paper check for my first income installment. But by Friday evening, after checking the mailboxes at work and at home, I still hadn't received a check. Hmmm.

Saturday morning I emailed my boss, politely sending the message "WTF???" Saturday afternoon's mail brought hope: a paycheck addressed to me! Dr. M! Very exciting.

I opened my paycheck, and was flummoxed: it was a check made out to me for the princely sum of "Zero Dollars and Zero Cents". The attached printout duly noted that I had worked 80 hours over the past pay period, but maintained that my compensation for this time was "00". This could not be good.

I emailed my boss again, updating her on my growing body of evidence that there was no money coming my way. Monday morning we faxed a copy of my empty paycheck to HR, who to that point swore that I had been paid. "Check your bank account," I was told several times. "Um, dude, you haven't paid me," I replied. "Harrumph," they responded.

By Monday afternoon we were finally all in agreement: I was a pro bono psychologist. My boss ended up writing me a paper check on Wednesday so that I wouldn't have to wait another two weeks to be paid.

I'm keeping the original check, though. It is good to know that six and a half years of blood, sweat, tears, and student loans all added up to Zero Dollars and Zero Cents.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Santa came early this year

When my mom and sister came to town for Thanksgiving I somehow talked them into posing with Mall Santa. Mall Santa was a good sport and even had my mom sit in his lap. When he asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I said "a job".

Thank you Santa! For the past two weeks I indeed have had a job. I am working now as a psychologist (hooray!) at a residential treatment program for adolescents with eating disorders. It is not a place I would have expected to be, but I am finding it quite to my liking. The girls (hell yes, it is all girls) have either failed out of lower levels of treatment or just come from psychiatric hospitals and aren't ready to go home. I see them for individual therapy 3x/week, family therapy 1x/week, and group therapy 5x/week. This doesn't include all of the other psychoeducational groups they attend that I'm not involved in, like nutrition, body acceptance, self-esteem, etc.

I'm having fun! I get to do all the things I like- individual, family, and group therapy. I get to be a bit of a boss, as I'm one of only two psychologists. I get to be called "Doctor M___", which is fun. I feel so lucky to have fallen into a job that I really like, when I was simply looking for a job I wouldn't hate!

Of course, Captain Awesome and I are still pursuing our place in the California Brain Drain, but that won't happen for at least another year. Until then, you'll know where to find me!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The 500 calorie breakfast

Today I bit the bullet and joined Weight Watchers. Yes, I did. In the past 8 months I've gained back 10 of the 30lbs I worked so hard to lose, so I knew it was time for a different approach. I thought maybe some added information and accountability would be a good start.

I am now the proud owner of 20 "points" per day that are mine to play with. As the meeting ended at 1pm, I immediately came home and calculated my breakfast into my daily equation.


What I thought was a pretty healthy breakfast- well, I guess it still is in some respects- ended up costing me 12 of my 20 daily points based pretty much on the high number of calories. I usually eat about a cup of Kashi cereal (basically Grapenuts), some slivered almonds, and some blueberries with 1% milk. I'll admit my own negligence- I never looked at the calories on the Kashi. Did you know that shit is 210 calories per half-cup???

The moral of the story is to read labels. And to ask for help when you need it. And world peace.