Tuesday, March 31, 2009

some of our favorite things

One fun thing about living 10 minutes from my sister Steph and her hubby is that we can do fun things together even on week nights because we are all so close by. When we get together we always do one (or more) of our four favorite things: play games, eat sushi, watch The Biggest Loser, and enjoy spirits :) A great evening involves all of the above and an excellent evening includes my favorite activity of all: eating food that my brother-in-law prepares. He is the best cook I have ever known.
Yesterday Donovan got to go to Monday's sushi happy hour with both of them where all of the sushi is $1 or $1.50 (and it's all the same food!). Too bad I work every Monday night. Booo. But tonight is the biggest loser so that will make up for lost family time (although I'm still hungry for some good cheap sushi!).
Above is a picture of them last Friday at the happy hour we went to at the Raccoon Lodge. They have a Happy Hour Portland book and we have gone to about 7 happy hours since October with them. So fun! Raccoon is good for their Raspberry beer and nachos!

Monday, March 30, 2009

goodbye again

Yesterday my sisters and I went over to my mom's house with our husbands and divided my dad's things. It was like a whole new wave of sadness crept over me. I love seeing my family but now there always seems to be something bitter attached to our meetings. The next time we meet will be Easter, another celebration yet another reason to cry: our first holiday without all of us there. I was so so tired when I got home last night around 9pm and just collapsed on the couch. It surprised me that it hit me so hard, as the last week I have felt more at peace and more able to live daily life without being interrupted by feeling down, crying, or being easily distracted from tasks (all symptoms I experienced very heavily the first few days and weeks). Oddly, yesterday was the first month anniversary of his death... we didn't plan it on purpose to be that way though. Things that get me through: watching movies about cancer and/or grief, taking it slow throughout the day and forgiving myself if I can't be productive, crying, being honest with those who are close to me, and just telling myself to take it slow and that it will hurt for a long long time.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

On Saint Patty's Day my sis and I went to Split and tried out their happy hour. It was great! Then we did had to stop by McMennimen's and have a Ruby together (an amber they make there). We ended off the day with games and Biggest Loser. I love my sis!

This week my private practice shrank to 5 clients. Wow! This is my first real ebb with my client load and it made me really start reevaluating how to make my private practice an effective business. This is something that doesn't come natural to me so I started reading a book on building your private practice and I'm meting with a Fuller Alum group on the web and talking with them about private practice stuff once a month. They're cool people!

In the midst of all of this I am communicating with the Board of Oregon and almost fully done with my application to be an intern in Oregon. It takes a while, but during this time I am still accruing hours (even though I don't have my number yet).

All of that coincided with a call from my potential employer at the eating disorder clinic saying they found someone else. I was very upset at this news and felt like his preemptive offer for the job was unkind in light of the fact that he changed his mind and had very little good reasoning for it.

So... on Friday I took a mental break from all therapy/job search/intern paperwork/stress related things and visited Stephanie's Japanese classroom. I love being there and working hard. Yesterday I graded papers and cleaned the classroom again. It is such concrete work and it feels like a job well done at the end of the day. Therapy is so often ambiguous and hard to quantify... when is work ever "done"? Although I've been thinking about more seriously implementing research into my practice (maybe a pre and post therapy eval?) I haven't actually done it yet.

Steph joined Autumn (my friend from high school who I haven't seen in years) and I to Pambiche for Friday happy hour and had great Cuban food. We stayed away from the beer this time though because we had some driving to do... we went to the Oregon State Dance Competition! Steph grew up in a dance family and although she didn't compete in high school she had lots of fun watching again. Autumn and I danced together and we reminisced about the year and about some of the traumatising things dancers go through (i.e. helmet hair, yelling from the coaches, pressure to be thin, etc). It was a really fun night. Today they compete again and they get placement awards for the year. I think Lake Oswego just might get first place! They were so good.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

mt angel concert, dog fun and more

We went to watch Donovan's mom perform at the Mt Angel church this weekend. It's set in a rural area of Oregon between Salem and Portland. The cathedral was so beautiful and the singing was so good it relaxed me to the point of sleeping for a short moment. The music was interpreted into English in our booklet and it was very meaningful theology which I found helpful to contemplate on during this season. My mom is one of the best singers too :) Here are some pictures of the building, my in-laws, and the beautiful sky that day.
The only other things we really did last weekend were relax, go to a new coffee shop in SE Portland, and help my mom around her house with some chores. Earlier in the week my mom and I took the sunny day as an opportunity to take both of the dogs on a long walk, it was really fun. Even though the walk was only a five minute drive from my mom's house I had never done it before (a part of it but not the whole thing). I took pictures of them on the way there, they are so cute! My little babies! I really enjoy being a dog aunt... I don't have to do any of the hard stuff and get to enjoy them from time to time. Sometimes when they get out of control I say "boys and girls!" or "ladies and gentlemen!"... Dimen is our first girl dog in a long time so it's fun to find new names for her. I call her "sister" a lot lately and she has totally taken to it and responds when I use it.

The weekend before we went to the United States Barista Championship and watched the top three baristas compete and awards ceremony. This is my poloroid camera application.

I'm looking forward to this evening... Melissa, Steph and I have a girl date planned... this time it's in Lake Oswego. Fun!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I interviewed at two places: one a community based clinic the other an eating disorder clinic. I called the owner of the eating disorder clinic and am talking with him more about the possibility of working together. He hasn't returned my call yet, so it's all speculation at this point. I'll let you all know what comes of it!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


My sis is a Japanese teacher. Today I visited her in her classroom to give some sister-love and see what she does every day. I was a good Teacher's Assistant.

-I was introduced to the Japanese II class and they asked me questions in Japanese. Of course, my sis had to feed me the answers ("I'm 25 years old" in Japanese) but she said I did really good! There are 33 kids in her Japanese II class, it's so crazy full!
-I helped finish a poster project that she needed done by tomorrow. It's been a while since I did high school things like make posters... about 7 years!
-Steph and I went out to lunch at Taco Del Mar. It definitely felt like high school when we had to take our half eaten food to go and run so we weren't late to class. Lol.
-I was introduced to the Japanese I class and for some reason had a harder time saying that "we went out to Taco Del Mar for lunch by car" than how old I was. Maybe her compliments got to my head :)
-I cleaned the classroom and realized how high schoolers are still into doodling on tables... crazy kids!
-Our last five minutes of class was me talking about my trip to Japan in 2004 and letting them ask questions. It was fun! I can't believe it's been 5 years since then, I'm getting old.

That was my fun and random day. It all started with a text from me to my sis: "Do you want a TA for the day?"

In other news, I'm thinking more seriously about the two interviews that I did before my father died and thinking about committing to one of them. We'll see how that goes!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

moving beyond death

As many of you know my father died last week. My trip to Pasadena was canceled and we tired ourselves everyday with funeral plans and sleepless nights. To track my emotional process through this all I have been writing letters to my father. In an effort to stay connected with my blogging family I will post one of these letters from a few days ago. I am also planning on sharing other thoughts about my dad's life, my relationship to him, and my process of moving through grief.

I have been overwhelmingly welcomed to talk and to cry with family and friends and in many ways this has been a bonding and a community experience... the kind I have been looking for ever since I moved back to Portland and felt a real loss of my Pasadena community. It's tragic that it happened in that way, but I am so glad for the love and support I have. There are moments in these letters where I feel so alone, but I want my blogging community to know that things are okay and even though I may feel lonely I know I am not alone.

March 7, 09


It feels like it’s been a million years and it has only been one week. We were so busy answering phone calls, eating the gifts people shared, making song decisions, and doing everything with half of our brain present that the week was both a blur and a long, long continuous moment... a moment scattered with tears and hugs and memories. The closer we got to the day of the funeral the least I wanted it to come. I kept thinking to myself, how could I possibly wake up the day after your funeral? What would I do? How could I go to work? Or get out of bed? Or eat? The day after... it seemed too real, too final, too over. As long as I was busy making plans for the funeral it was all still real... we were all still aware of your death, of the unfairness and shock of it all, of the pain that we felt because you were gone. But the day after there would be no more calls, there would be no more flowers, and even worse, the flowers we had would start to die. I just couldn’t bear it.

The morning of your funeral I woke up and my bones felt old and heavy. I startled awake at 6am and didn’t fall back asleep.... but for a long time I just lay there and couldn’t move. I kept thinking about strange things and my mind was wandering. It was better than the previous few days where I would find anything and everything to do until the wee hours of the morning when I crashed with fatigue. One night I lie awake next to Donovan’s sleeping body and listened to every breath, anxious that he would not take the next one. It helped me the day before the funeral to be busy getting my hair done and buying a nice dress. I’m sure had you seen me in this dress you would have thought that I looked very pretty but you wouldn’t have had the nerve to tell me so.

Somehow, God only knows, I found myself walking down my front steps, fully dressed at 8:30am ready for the day. The car ride was so quiet. It was like the night that you died... that long terrible car ride from my house to yours. It’s plenty long enough to think about millions of terrible things. I passed by the church on the way to mom’s house and cried. I thought how ironic it is that you almost died on the Tualatin River (the pre-Easter car accident when the drunk lady hit you) and now you are here at the church, a pile of ashes in an urn. It’s hard to reconcile it all. Just last week we were talking together, laughing together, and I was worried about forgetting to call Molly and Al for you. Now you are gone. In that way it seems so sudden and so unexpected. I realize that this doesn’t make sense because in some ways we had months and years to know that you would be gone soon, but it doesn’t mean I could have known how it would feel to be in my twenties and to be without a father.

I remember small bits of that day. It’s all blurry though. I was in the rain and it didn’t matter. I was in the limo and I was laughing and taking pictures. The limo pulled up and we saw the bucket trucks all sitting there. It was too much to bear to see your bucket low and bent over and the others as high as they could go. I remember holding Doug Cutler and crying... I remember that feeling that I was comforting him with my hug more than the other way around. I remember crying into my hanky. I remember thinking it is all to formal, how the Pastors should have to stop and just cry for a while for it all to feel right, but they didn’t. I remember thinking how much you would have liked to be there, to see Gina and Ken, to see Paul and Dale, to see Jim and Helen, to see people from all over the place hugging and smiling and crying. I kept thinking about how you always talked to the one who was left out and so I talked with Jim and with Helen and with Paul and with Grandma because I know you would have tried too. I remember “Unforgettable” and totally loosing it when I heard the song, I remember the smell of PGE jackets and how comforting it was, I remember sad and understanding eyes. I was so hungry afterwards because I couldn’t eat all morning. I remember eating and thinking that you would have loved the idea of feeding all of your family and friends, and having them all sit down together and have you take the tab. I’m sure you would not have wanted to be the focus of the day. Surely you would have asked others how they were. Some at the funeral mentioned that about you; I wonder if that was actually your greatest fault.