On a Sunday in NW Portland.
today i would just like to say, again, that i am profoundly, immeasurably, and to the core humbly changed by my clients every day i do this work.  i am stunned at the resiliency and vulnerability they embody in session.  i do not know how they do it.  except i do.

but still.  it's stunning.

also.  i have more to do in the next two weeks than i have had since i have been in this graduate program.
the workload is staggering.
and, we're moving shoes this week from the vineyard town to pullman.
with that, i'm gracefully signing off until about the first week of march.

(i keep telling myself the end is near, i'm almost done, the end is near, i'm almost done, the end is near... )
last sunday, driving my dear friend Elizabeth to her car after seeing the musical "beauty and the beast", i found myself talking about my exercise routine.  running.  plyometrics.  free weights.   Elizabeth said, "I'm not sure what that (plyometrics) is."  before i started, i didn't know either.  so i said, "squats, then jumping out of squats, and lunges and lateral moves."  and Elizabeth said something akin to, "i stopped listening at 'squats'."

that makes sense. now that i think about it, it sounds absolutely terrible.  i mean, terrible.  and i certainly don't think it's for everybody.

the first time i tried it (shoes and i are sharing P90-X), i made it halfway through and then very distinctly remember a 5 minute period in the bathroom when i was sure, absolutely confident, i was going to lose my cookies.

it was that bad.

i didn't lose my cookies, though, and kept on alternating running with plyo.  this sunday evening after working out, i pinched the side of my hip in my absolutely scientific way of seeing how much fat i've lost and noticed it wasn't nearly as much as before.  somebody came in the dead of night and stole my belly fat away.

i mean, i don't want it back, so it can stay gone, but i was absolutely shocked that a good diet and regular exercise helped.  what can i say?  i'm a hard sell.  i remember when i got hired on at the juvenile detention center  and we had a physical test and corrections academy to attend.  the first time i hit the track i thought i was going to die. (as we all know, that story turned out ok and it turns out i am very good at a figure 4 takedown.)   i've never been a sports minded person, never played sports, never been athletic, had no idea what i was doing.

STILL have no idea what i'm doing.

one of my favorite counseling questions to ask people is, "how did you know how to do that?"  or "how did you know you could do that?"  i think about that now.  how did i know i could stick with it?

here's my answer:  i didn't know.  i had no idea.  but i think about some of the women in my life i know (Sarah, Rebecca, Kathleen, Jenny, Rikki) who decided that they were going to get healthy and then they got healthy.  and i remember thinking about how gracious they were about their progress and how they weren't preachy and they just had fun and LOVED their bodies as their bodies LOVED them back.  they just ... started moving.

ladies, that was a very powerful message.

there are some things i really like about my changing body.  i love that i can wear a favorite old blue dress again.  i love that i can see a muscle forming on the inside of my thigh i've never seen before (i don't even know what it's called!)  love that i can race up the stairs to the 6th floor of the parking garage i usually use on campus.  love that my shoulders are gaining shape.

loves, i know busy.  i work 16-20 hours at the hospital, spend 20-25 hours at my internship, spend 6 hours a week in classes, spend an ungodly amount of time in the car, and have more reading, research and writing than i know what to do with.  i'm also planning a wedding.  and my partner lives 4 hours away, leading to lots of travel time.  simply put, i don't have time for the gym.  and i had to get over that.  i also have a studio apartment.  some of the things i do to work out might better be considered acrobatics or gymnastics in this little space, but it seems to be getting the job done.

it feels good to move.  it feels good to have energy.  it feels good to sleep well at night.  it feels good to have the positive effects of exercise counter my rather impressive innate ability to worry and be anxious.  (my dear friend B. said on Saturday - and i completely concur!! - that my GAF would never be above an 80 for all the worrying i do!). it just feels good to be able to do something new.

i'm registering for classes tomorrow.

that's not a non sequitur.

i only have one more class to take for my master's.  hallelujah & praise the lord.  but i need to be at 9 credit hours, so i'm also registering for a cardio kickboxing class.  i don't really know what that is, and part of me is absolutely terrified i'm going to look like a complete fool.  the other part of me is ok with that, because i know something now i didn't know too well before:

we all start somewhere.  and it starts by getting up and taking the first step.

so class participants:  apologies if i fall on you.  or fall on myself.  or trip.  or accidentally kick you (it is a kickboxing class after all, and this clumsy girl can make no guarantee about where her foot is going to land.)  i may be the worst kickboxer there ever was.

but nobody's going to smile through the class like i can.  this girl's got to move.

i have some resources that inspire me.

i like Oxygen magazine, great food ideas, but who am i kidding?  i also like to look at their fitness models.  here's the thing though, there's a looooooot of crazy things that go into photo shoots (full disclosure) and i actually don't aspire to look like them.  that's not reasonable for me.  with my schedule, that type of weight training is also not even remotely in the cards for me.  but sometimes they have fitness flash ideas or new ideas for what i can do with my free weights.  that's pretty helpful.

i also like Fitness magazine.  it's nowhere near as intense as Oxygen and usually has articles about how to get up (for the first time) and keep moving.  in the last issue, i found a helpful url that lead to a pdf re: how to start training  for a half marathon ... for people who haven't run before.  i also just saw on their website they have an article about getting up and start walking.

and this website is also pretty helpful for me:  pfitblog.com.  it's just motivating.  and i love that they're real people.  and i'm talking real:  i usually find a few typos in their posts.  (it just makes you human, pfeisters, and i really love that.)


cheers to moving.  to eating healthy food.  to living well.

Portland is extremely sustainable, it's true.
But drinking reclaimed city water from the top of this post?  I don't know if I know anybody who cares about sustainability that much.
or i would lose my mind.
halfway through this term and i've hit another wall.
i had to clear my calendar, not see clients at the community outpatient mental health clinic, and give the anxiety a chance to loosen its grip on my brain.  it was a little hard not to go in yesterday, but, i know i do good work.  and i needed a chance to trim some of my fraying ends.

i like numbers 1 and 2 the best. {i didn't get to number 7!}

i did, however, get to number 5.  and that is because Sister Cheryl, B., and i traveled to NW portland to spend a lovely, cozy, late winter evening picking out invitations for the wedding.  (the wedding website tells me there are 184 more days.)

{psst.  i chose the one on the right.}

o, ladies, what a huge help you were.  thanks for going over envelope and lining and font decisions with me.  and thanks, elizabeth, for weighing in by text!

it's back to community outpatient mental health for me today.  a full day of meetings and clients await.  but i'm a little more rested and a little more prepared to join with families in therapy.

{the weekend will be focused on the Bowen paper.  and the readings on mood disorders.  oy.}
Shoes came down for one of his last Portland visits.
We had  much to accomplish.
Dinner at Bluehour.
Exploring in NW.
Dinner with Vineyard Town friends.
And wedding planning.

Lisa:  "For the invitations, should we say, "request the pleasure of your company at the celebration of their marriage" or "invite you to celebrate in their joy when they exchange marriage vows"?
Shoes:  "Yep."

Lisa:  "Reception to immediately follow" or "Merriment to follow"?
Shoes:  "Yep."

Lisa:  "Accepts/Regrets" or "Can't wait/Can't make it"?
Shoes:  "Yep."

Lisa:  "Can I just make this decision?"
Shoes:  "You sure can."

Taking my sweet friend, B., and Sister Cheryl to a stationer on Thursday, where we will surround ourselves with girl power to get this part taken care of once and for all.


Shoes and I have lunch at Cha! Cha! Cha! Tacqueria in Sellwood.
I can finally share with you what Shoes and I have been grappling with for the last 3 months.  Three months of applying, interviewing, interviewing, interviewing, interviewing (did I get them all? - so many interviews), conversing, pros and cons, tears on my part (yep), weighing options, and wishing we had a crystal ball.

We never found a crystal ball.

Darn it.

Shoes has accepted employment with the Attorney General's office of Washington, representing the interests of Washington State University.  He's moving to Pullman at the end of this month.  I'm moving at the end of June.

But this isn't a general life update post.
Not that easy.
This was kind of a terrible-awesome decision.

I moved to Portland 3 years ago to come to graduate school.  I decided to move away from the Vineyard Town and go to graduate school because I needed to do something for myself.   I had, in previous years, gone through a soul crushing divorce and needed to know that inside me were still the things that would get me through the rest of my life.  I needed to be on my own.  It took a year of therapy and two years of divorced lady excercise classes at the Y to be able to come to that decision.

Before I moved to the Vineyard Town, I told former husband that I would follow him anywhere and that we would make it work (which landed us in the Vineyard Town).

In 2008, I said, "No more following boys around.  I've got clinical SKILLS (picture that like this:  SKILLZ) and they need to be honed and I need to be working with people (picture that like this:  the clinical world NEEDS me, yo.)."

It's 2012.  At the end of the school year, I'm following a boy back to rural Eastern Washington.

This is after I've rocked the house with my GPA and my abuse/trauma scholarship (man, social work school gives out depressing scholarships) and my job at OHSU and just got told yesterday that my internship would consider hiring me.  If they had the funds.  (They don't, though.)

Get it?

Oh, how I love this boy.  Deeply, genuinely, truly.  And oh, if you could have heard our painfully honest conversations about this move.  If you could have heard him say over and over and over again, "I'm not sure this is best for you, Lisa.  What about your licensure?  What about your career development?  What about urban social work and racial disparity and access to mental health services?" (He really said all of those things because his ears work very well.)  If you could have heard me saying, "I'm just not sure I can follow a man to a town I have no connection to".  (I really said that.)

But what's the alternative?  I stay here and maybe find a job and wait for something to open up for Shoes.  (Forecast is kind of yucky right now.  Mental health clinics taking massive cuts.  And Shoes has technically been looking here for a year and a half.  Even with his law experience, he can only find unpaid internships.)  I could move back to the Vineyard Town ... and cry every day ... where the chances of me finding a job are far less than staying here.

Or I move to Pullman and pull every trick out of my hat to find a job.

The compromise is this:  if no job in 5-6 months, I find a job in Spokane (79 miles away) (of which, oddly, there are jobs for people like me) and we rent a small studio apartment for me to stay in when I'm too tired to drive back or the weather is crazy.  The other compromise is that we don't bail for at least 2 years, but if in 2 years it's no bueno, we do bail.  We save ourselves.  We save our marriage.  We save our careers.

I'm no mathematician, but I think an hour and a half (Pullman to Spokane) is LESS than four hours (Vineyard Town to Portland).  (Right?  Graduate school hasn't eaten that part of my brain, right?)

Neither of us are sure this is the right decision.
But what's a "right decision"?
It's impossible to tell.

We move forward. 
And moving forward seems like a very good idea.
I get weirdly excited about antiques.  So much so that they are central in my wedding.  I may regret this later when we have to lug all of them to the venue and then back home again.
I feel overwhelmed with gratitude when I think about the fact that I'm marrying Shoes in just six months.  And that we (might) get to live in the same town, much less the same house.
I can’t stop thinking about how Shoes and I are going to make the next year work.  Long distance?  No distance? New jobs?  No jobs?  Every morning at 4:00, my mind springs into action.  Every morning at 5:00 I curse my mind because I just want to go back to sleep.
I just want to eat Ben and Jerry's.  Yep.  Despite my move to whole foods, I dream about those two geniuses a lot.  I would consider entering a plural marriage if I could keep Shoes and those two as my other two husbands.
I am kinda a bad person and sometimes think I'm smarter than other people.   It's something I'm ashamed of and something I'm actively trying to let go of, but I can't stand obvious, pat, superficial answers.   Which, of course, is a synonym for critical and judgey.  And oddly enough, this really doesn't happen with clients.  But it does with other professionals.
I wish I could dye my hair a rich, stunning, shiny brunette.  I've been dying it blond for the past 11 years - after one of my friends assured me she could give me highlights with an at home kit.  (Which prompted me, first thing the next morning after the disaster of the at home kit, to visit a salon.  Which prompted root grow out.  Which prompted another visit to the salon ...)
I just don’t understand the allure of Twilight.  Take away my woman card now, I guess.
I can’t believe how close I am to graduating.  Three years of work, and just 5 months left.  Or getting married.  Or working as a professional with a graduate degree.  Fill in the blank; there's a lot of change that's about to happen.
I strongly consider spending a lot of money on breast augmentation.  Didn't see THAT one coming, did you??  Yeah, well.  You try being a 5'9" and the size I am.  Take away my feminist card now, I guess.
This post is inspired by Sam at Young People In Love. Copy the bolded portions and link up!
and this post is not  meant to belittle any culture.

Fair warning.

Sister Cheryl and I were having a beer a couple weeks ago at the campus pub.  It's a dive.  It's freezing.  It's an interesting assortment of students, artists and homeless people.   Even with all of the treasures in Portland, it's our preferred place to meet.

Sister Cheryl was telling me about a Korean TV show, in which one of the character's names is "Kim Sam Soon."  Apparently, this is bizarre and a large part of why the show is funny.  (I don't know what "Kim Sam Soon" means, actually, and so if it translates into something bad about your mother, apologies.  I'm sure your mother is a lovely woman.)

As I sipped my IPA, I wondered aloud what an American version would be:  something Americans find hilarious but wouldn't translate well culturally.

Cheryl sipped her IPA, gazed into space and said softly, "I can has cheeseburger."

funny pictures - toof faeiree wuz heer last nite

Well played, Sister Cheryl.  Well played.

It snowed in Portland.
And the world didn't end.
... we discuss the concept of filial maturity and the maturation of sibling relationships.

I think we are all secretly wondering if we have reached that point.  I think about my own relationship with my siblings and hope so, but it's true:  sometimes I revert back to old patterns.

And a classmate from South America pipes up in the middle of class discussion and quips, "When my grandmother died, she left a lot of money.  A lot.  And there was no will.  So what to do?

We had a pinata."
Alternatively titled, Lisa jumps on the whole food bandwagon (not to be confused with Whole Foods the grocery store, a place at which I cannot afford to shop).

Last term was a scary time of busy, lonely, rushed, exhaustion, blah, blah, blah you already know all of that.  During that time, my diet hit an all time low.  And we're talking low.  Daily morning mochas. Most meals eaten out during the week (and  not at Hipster Vegan spots, either).  A lot of Easy Mac when I was working at the ADHD Lab.  In the spirit of authenticity, I also ate a lot of Ben & Jerry's.

This term I decided that, although it would take some work, I had to do something differently.  And I am proud to tell you that I am off the mocha-easymac-fastfood circle of doom.

Hello, my name is Lisa and if it has no nutritional content, is chock full of chemicals and preservatives, but tastes delicious, I will put it in my mouth.

Since the first of the year, it's been whole foods, whole grains and lean proteins.  Very, very little processed goods.

But last Sunday Shoes walked in the door with a small bag of potato chips and a 7 Up.  I had already had a "cheat" meal on Friday night and knew I had already used my weekly free pass.  But man, I wanted those potato chips.  So freaking badly.  I could taste the wonderful, sweet, tangy, smoky barbeque taste on my tongue by just smelling them.  Shoes hit the road for the Vineyard Town at about 6:30 pm (another all too brief weekend visit come to a close) and I set to the internet, desperately searching for a way to satisfy the new craving I had for crunchy salty amazingness.

And that's when I stumbled up on the Kale Chips phenomenon.  As in, all of my internet searches took me to the same place of Kale Nirvana.  And I decided to follow the path to inner healthy fake potato chip peace myself.

The kale before I ripped it up:

Wow.  That's a lot more than I thought it would be and I still have half a head of kale left.  (Is it called a head of kale?)  Also didn't want to crowd my little kale friends so decided to do 2 batches.


The result?  One happy, still eating healthy, graduate student.  I never would have thought I would say it, but these little greens crisp right up, are crunchy, airy, light, salty and so stinking addictive.   My internet advisers assured me the kale chips would keep, so I let them dry out a little more on the counter, put them in airtight containers, and the next morning experienced kale fail.  They were no longer crispy, but back to their leafy selves.  I'm not sure what happened; commenters on Kath's blog recommended leaving them out and not bagging them up right away.  The first result, however, made the effort entirely worthy it.

Kiss my foot, barbeque evil.

If you search the internet, you'll find recipes everywhere.  I got this one from Kath Eats Real Food and will be re-visiting her website again.  And again.  (Her recipe at the bottom of this post.)

And, just in case you're curious, I also love these websites for delicious, don't feel bad about putting it in your body, food.  (Has eating whole food made a difference?  10 pounds lost, more energy, less moodiness, clearer skin and a focused mind say absolutely.  Will I ever fall off the whole food bandwagon?  I probably will!  And it will be delicious, maybe even worth it, and then I'll collect myself and get back on.  We can only do our best.)

The Gracious Pantry
Clean Eating Magazine
Clean Eating Club

Kale Chips

*  Preheat oven to 375
*  Tear off leaves of one head of kale into bite sized pieces and spread on cookie sheet
*  Drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil
*  Add parmesan, asiago or seasoning of your choice (I went with just a little light, sea salt and pepper)
*  Bake for about 15 minutes, until kale is crispy, edges are brown, and kale moves around in pan