Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Me and Manny

Okay, so I feel a bit like Manny Ramirez of the Dodgers here...Glad to be back with the "team" (blogosphere patrons of course), but a bit ashamed of my absence from the game for so long (of course, I didn't use steroids so I'm still scrawny ol' me).

That said, thank you to those of you who encouraged me to get back to the keyboard and fill everybody in on the last I-don't-even-know-how-long-it's-been since I've blogged.

Prior to July 1st, I was finishing up my practicum at CHLA, saying goodbye to the awesome kids and teens I was so fortunate to spend time with. They taught me so much about how a child's illness (whether physical or psychological) really tends to affect the entire family. It was my great pleasure and honor to be a part of their treatment and support team both during their treatments and, for some of them, years after they have been deemed to have beaten cancer. I had a lot of fun with them and hope that they learned something about life and how to take something positive from even the darkest times in life.

Now, as some of you already know, I finally have started the FINAL stage of my Psy.D. training by beginning my internship this summer. I'm working full time for San Bernardino County DBH and my first rotation is at CONREP (Conditional Release Program). I'm working with severely mentally ill clients who have diagnoses ranging from Bi-Polar to Schizophrenia to Major depression. In addition to the great range of diagnoses they are facing, each of the clients at CONREP have committed a crime: anything from grand larsony to murdering a parent. All of our clients have either been deemed NGI (not guilty by reason of insanity) or MDO/MDSO (mentally disordered offender/MD sexual O). Needless to say, it's been an interesting first month and a half.

So, what do I do with these oh-so-very-interesting individuals? I'm glad you asked! I lead groups addressing anything from problem-solving skills, to cognitive-behavioral therapy, exercise/sports activity, trips to Lake Perris, process-therapy groups, individual therapy, case management (handling their finances, housing, school-decisions, etc.). The staff are great, especially my supervisor, and I really enjoy my fellow interns. We're all at different clinics, but we meet on Fridays for group supervision.

Overall, it's been a great start to what I hope will be a year that preps me for getting a good port-doctoral position or, dare I say it, a JOB!?!? Well, I won't get ahead of myself too much here, but generally I'm really enjoying my still busy schedule, but with a shorter drive and only having to commute to one location every day.

Oh, and I suppose an update wouldn't be complete without saying that softball rocks! and that I'm enjoying still playing for one of FCC's men's teams and playing with some of Kira's fellow scientists at UCI.

Until we meet again...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Yes, I am alive.

Okay, so this is the pre-post to be written in a bit. Just wanted to let anyone know who cares that I am, indeed, alive. I'll be back.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

the Mighty Ducks

Kira and I have a small collection of kids movies (mainly Disney) that we have started, knowing that we won't want to buy them all at once when we have kids someday. At least that's my excuse. Truth is, I sometimes like to snuggle up with a blanket on the couch and feel like a kid again. I recently had the urge to watch The Mighty Ducks and decided to buy it (on eBay, where they have EVERYTHING!!!). I watched it last night and it was fun to see how little the kids looked compared to when I first watched it. They're so cute! I have to say I remember them looking much older before. I know I'm not that old yet, but it's still nice to remember things from "a long time ago." (I admit that it feels cool to be able to say things like, "It's been a decade since I..."). So, until we have kids, I'll use the excuse of building an early collection for them; but secretly, I'm indulging the "little Robbie" inside. It's a nice escape from having to be grown up all the time. If I'm anything like my dad, I'll love having kids because I don't think "little Robbie" is going away anytime soon.

Monday, March 16, 2009

home run!!!!!!!

For anyone who has not seen me play softball before, here's a sample of my work tonight. I was 2 for 3 plus a walk. Not bad, especially since the two hits were home runs (my first two of the season :)). My fourth at-bat I flied out with two men on...very sad. We lost by four. :( Oh well, it's always fun to run around with the guys and get my exercise for the week.

My first three at-bats I got home quickly enough to pinch run for Larry (of the FCC gospel quartet) who bats right behind me. I'm still trying to catch my breath. I know, it's sad, but I'm a graduate student. Maybe I'll have time to exercise next year. So, anyway, here's the clip. Enjoy at-bat number two.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I like the rain

I'm currently listening to a book on CD called "The Curious Case of the Dog at Night." It is read/written from the perspective of a high-functioning autistic teenager. I've found it very interesting, funny, and especially informative (about the inner world of an autistic person).

I was listening to it this morning as I sat motionless on Interstate 5, and I began to resonate with what the character was saying. He talked about how sometimes he will groan and rock until all he can hear is himself and then he feels safe. I certainly don't take things to this extreme, but I definitely identified with a comment he made about the rain. He said that he loves the rain because it makes things blurry and if it rains hard enough, the drops explode when they hit the ground and make noise loud enough that the rest of the world fades away for a bit.

I like this about the rain. This is why sometimes I sleep best when it's raining out...and why I like to sleep with two or three fans on...and why I used to lie on the floor in my room when I was younger and turn on Metallica when I felt sick or had a headache. I sometimes like when there is enough going on around me that I don't really have to think about or feel any one thing in particular. I can just be. I let the noise just fill me. Sometimes worship is like that. Some of my favorite memories from church services and church camps have been when the room is full of the roar from guitars, drums, keyboards, and voices. Sometimes I don't sing. I just stand, lean my head back, and let God fill me with his music.

I've really enjoyed this book so far. It's a great read. I feel like although I am quite different from the main character, I have found at least one thing we have in common. One way I can be inside his shoes and understand him on a deeper level. This allows me to get lost in his world on my way to work. It's really nice. It's kind of like it's raining really hard in my car, but I don't have to change when I get to work. :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How YOU doin'?

I'm just curious if this is just me here...

So I overheard something today that always bugs me. I'm in my office and I hear from around the corner on speakerphone:

"Hi [Joanne]. How are you?"

"I'm fine. How are you-so I was wondering if you...blah blah blah."

The part that bugs me you wonder? [Joanne] saying, "How are you" and then just steamrolling right into what she wants to get to. Do we really need to say this little "pleasantry" everytime we get on the phone with someone? So many people don't seem to care anyway. Is it more rude, I wonder, to not say, "How are you?", or to say it, and then not wait for the answer and keep walking past the person or start talking about what you want to say?

I personally try to keep up with social norms by consistently asking people how they are doing. I try to mean it, too. I don't always do it though. If I ask you how you are doing, you can be sure that I actually am interested in the answer. Unfortunately, I feel like I'll always be wondering if people actually care to hear how I'm doing. I'm sure that's partly just me, but also in large part it's having seen too many times when the above interaction prevails.

Hope you all are doing well. :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Boo Yah!

Alrighty. So next year I get to actually feel like a psychologist. I'll still just be a therapist / intern by true definition, but I'll finally be working full time in psychology and getting paid for every minute of it. No more of this practicum / "the training is your pay" stuff. 

So where will I be? I found out yesterday that I'll be interning with the San Bernardino Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) from July 1 2009 through June 30 2010. I was placed with my first choice of rotations there: the forensic and outpatient mental health program. This means that I'll spend half of my year either working with the juvenile hall/courts system doing mental health intakes, crisis assessments, and some therapy, or working in a day treatment center for conditional release criminals. At this center the individuals are court-mandated to comply with treatment by taking their prescribed meds and attending therapy sessions as well as just spending time at the center during the day (can be 2-7 days per week depending on their release conditions). The other half of the year I'll be doing therapy and psychological assessments with patients within one of the many outpatient clinics in the San Bern. county system. I'll find out where sometime between now and July.  :)

So, a year of paid, APA accredited internship awaits me. I get to graduate next year. Life is good.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Drumroll please...

I MATCHED!!!!!!!!! I don't find out where until Monday, but I know that I get to graduate a year from now! YAAAAAAYYYY!

Monday, February 16, 2009

3.5 more days!!!

Only three and a half more days until I find out if I got an internship for next year. AAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

every 6 months or so...

I just got back from the ARC (Anteater Recreation Center) where I participated in my bi-yearly basketball game. I say that because as great as it would be to play once or twice a week, I only seem to manage to drag my butt over to the gym every six months or so. I think if I were able to get a few more games in each week that I wouldn't feel like I was going to pass out and die of exhaustion, collapsed lungs, or (is is possible?) a face that is simply way too red.

I got a compliment of "good hustle" from one of the guys I played with tonight. For any non-athletes out there, this phrase is code for "You only shot two-for-seven, but at least you didn't just stand around. I guess you're not as big of a loser as you could be." (Maybe not quite that harsh, but something like that.)

Then I got home and (after a 30-minute coughing fit; still trying to shake off the residual effects of a cold from a couple weeks ago) took a jog with Kira around our apartment complex. It was a nice night. (The calm before the rain storm that's supposed to hit tomorrow.)

It doesn't hurt that the Lakers won again either.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Out of my hands

On Saturday night I finally certified my rankings for the 7 internship programs I interviewed with. It's nice to finally have washed my hands of it, and know that my future is now solely in God's hands. I feel like I did the best I could, and now I just have to wait until February 20th to find out if I got placed, and February 23rd to find out where. Wheeeew.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Angry and Sorry

So I'm at CHLA right now and I JUST missed seeing a patient I've been trying to get in touch with for about 10 days. I would like to see this girl and her family in person instead of calling them. However, this will no longer be possible. She had an appointment in one of the hospital departments this afternoon at 2pm. I called said department at 1:30pm and requested that I receive a call upon her arrival so that I might pay a visit whilst she and her family awaited their appointment.

Fast forward to 2:15.

I have not heard from the department and assume that the family is either very late or I have been forgotten. Rather than feel rude and call down to bother the receptionist again (I hate being a nag), I decided to make the 7 minute trip to the office. As I arrive I am informed by the receptionist that the patient and her family have JUST LEFT! AAAAHHHHHH!!!! So frustrating. So, now I'm blogging to give them a chance to get home before I attempt to reach them by phone. So angry!

So the I'm sorry part of this? As I reflect on my experience I am reminding myself that I am pehaps the most forgetful person in the world. I have angered many a person in this manner. I am sure that I have provided many opportunities for growth in the area of forgiveness and patience in my time. So, if you happen to be one of the people who has felt toward me what I am feelign toward a certain receptionist right now, I am truly sorry. And lets face it, anyone who cares enough to read this post to this point has been the victim of my forgetfulness, etc. at some point (if not many points (Kira)).

So, again, I still love you and beg your forgiveness for my future transgressions against you. As for the receptionist, I think I've learned that the next time I just need to either be a nag or just make the choice to waste 20-30 minutes of my day rather than relying on someone who has no idea how frustrated I'll be if she forgets. Alright. I'm done ranting now. Thanks for listening.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Guilty Pleasure

So, I just thought I'd share with you all exactly why I will die at the ripe old age of 30. I was in San Bernardino for one of my last interviews before matching in February on Tuesday. I had some mini powdered donuts for breakfast on the way there. No harm done, right. Then I had what I thought was a great interview. Then, I was hungry and looking to start killing some of the 6 hours that remained before my tour of another facility later on that day. So I hit up a Jack in the Box for some brunch: chicken sandwich and an eggroll (yes, this is typical breakfast fare for me).  I killed some time at a Big Lots, wandering around and buying a shoe rack, headphones, beef jerky, jumper cables, the usual. Then I found a AAA office and picked up some free maps of the area. Still about 2 hours to go...so I hit up a different Jack in the Box for a little linner: four chicken strips, fries, and two cokes. I had the tour (boring, yet somewhat informative), drank half a bottle of water, and drove home. There I made myself some chicken quesadillas and settled down to watch "A Man Apart" (Vin Deisel singlehandedly takes down a drug cartel) (excellent man movie for a night when Kira was out with a friend, and definitely believable). So, if anyone wonders where I have disappeared to at 30, I'm probably unconscious on the floor of a Jack in the Box somewhere in San Bernardino where there is not much to do unless you like discount store shopping and eating fast food.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I'm a 75 year old grandpa

So after four days of reading manuals and tinkering (gently) and feeling very stupid and frustrated, I was finally able to record my guitar with the new recording hardware and software I purchased a couple weeks ago. It's one of those things where after you do it you think, "Really? It was that easy and it took me four days? I am really dumb!" Sure, I can surf the web, write papers, research scientific articles, etc., but I really hate that I know next to nothing about what my computer can do. It's really frustrating sometimes. 


Last night I definitely know how my grandma felt when I changed her home page address and she freaked out because she didn't know I just had to retype it in her options tab to get it back. It seems I have become a 75 year old grandpa when it comes to recording equipment. I was just thinking "God help me" so I won't get too upset so I can't get anything done. I bet God would probably appreciate it more if I did something for myself and sought the help of one of his gifted sons and consulted Billy again. I'm glad somebody knows what he's doing with this stuff.                                                                          

3 FreAkinG hOuRs!!!!!

Oh my gosh! So apparently some tanker truck driver decided he wanted to take a swim in the oil he was transporting yesterday morning on the 210 freeway . This guy crashed his truck and spilled 50,000 gallons of oil on the freeway. Thanks to this unfortunate little accident (which may have created jobs for many workers for the day, so really some kudos to the guy as well) the entire 210 was closed down both directions, and every other major freeway in the LA area was also affected.

So here I am, leaving my CHLA office early (3:30) and figuring on beating some of the traffic to worship team practice at FCC. After sitting in traffic on side streets I ended up taking the 5 to the 10 to the 110 to the 105 to the 605 to the 405 to Beach to get to church. Oh so very fun drive. 3 hours later I pulled into the church parking lot. Right on time. Kristi gave me a hug when I got there and rehearsal went well. I got to see my mom who's singing this weekend too. I guess it could have been worse. 

Then on my way home, the stupid Lakers had to go and lose to the San Antonio Spurs. Awesome. At least the drive from Huntington Beach to Irvine was quick. Watched my new favorite show with Kira when I got home. "Big Bang Theory" is ridiculously hilarious. Nice to have something to look forward to at the end. Anyone like myself who's been a nerd at some point in life (although I tend to believe "once a nerd always a nerd" to some degree) needs to watch this show. Oh, and if you have a DVR, record the blurb after every show. Funny stuff!

Friday, January 9, 2009

On being a therapist

I just feel compelled to share with the world a little something I shared with Kira yesterday. I spent the day yesterday doing therapy with several people (individually) who al seemed pretty hopeless about thier chances of finding a decent person to be with who would accept them as they are, and who would remain committed to them long-term. So yesterday when I came home one of the first things I did was tell Kira how much I appreciate her when I'm doing therapy. She gives me hope that I try to pass along to clients when they are despairing. I know it's not always my job to be a ray of sunshine when people just need to sit in the darkness for a while, but I try to carry hope for them when they aren't able to find any.

So a little party in my heart yesterday on behalf of love, acceptance, and hope. I love my job. It brings such great perspective to life. I pray that all of you out there get to feel as lucky as I do someday. (I know, cue the sappy love song music, etc.) Just thought you should know.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Awesomeness at Kona's

Last night was sooooooo much fun? We all (much of t he worship team + Billy) got to perform a few songs on behalf of APA at HBHS. Tons of people there, good food, and other great performers as well! Kristi nailed "Love Song", playing the keys and everything! Curtis was awesome on vocals and keys. Jeff rockekd the Leopard guitar (as always). I did my best with a Kenny Loggins #. Don was workin the ivory (plastic, whatever). I think my favorite part, however, was when Dave Yaden was playing keys with a blues artist after our set. He is a joy to watch. A lot of the time he looks like he's in pain or confused, but it's just such a blast to watch him work the keyboard! I just wish he could learn to have a little fun up there :). (Those who have seen Dave at work know that there is nothing but fun running through his veins when he performs). All in all, a great night of music, food, fun, family, and friends. 


So today started just about as good as I could have hoped for. When I showed up at the Counseling Center, I found out my 8am client had cancelled his session. My next session was not until 9:30am. Thought to myself...hmmm...I have this room booked for an hour and a half...I have a nice comfy couch that is the same as my couch at home...this room is just dark enough with the blinds closed. Yup, NAPTIME! I was a little groggy afterward, but left myself some time to wake up before my next appointment showed up. Good next session, and a good nap. Couldn't have planned it better myself.