On seeing a counselor

So I suppose a normal person would sweep this under the rug, but I don’t have a rug. That means it will be as out in the open as anything else I do.

What? I know I have a rug. It was a figure of speech.

Anyway, I’ve started seeing a counselor because the stress at work and at home is driving me a little nuts and I need some help figuring out the best way to handle it.

Of course, after seeing her for two weeks, I have realized that I am probably  going to have to get a different one because this one makes me feel all stabby inside. That isn’t the effect I was hoping for. What’s wrong with her? Well, for one thing she has no idea what to do with someone who has an issue with food. For another, she is absolutely insistent that I have a soul and that working on doing things to feed my soul and get me in touch with my spirituality will help me a lot.

Those of you who have had discussions with me about my soul and spirituality are ducking right now. For those of you who are not in the loop about my soul, here’s the very high level summary: I don’t believe I have a soul in the traditional sense of the word, and I do not define myself as having  any sort of spirituality. I think that people are who they are and how they are because of the chemical makeup of their physical bodies.

And I sure as FUCK don’t want my spirituality to be the focus of any sort of therapeutic plan.

Stephen, Paddy and Robin: you  just be quiet right now. We are not going to discuss how spiritual I am. I’m not spiritual, I’m observant and grateful for being alive. It has nothing to do with a  soul. I notice things that are cool in the world and point them out, in much the same way that I notice things that are wrong.


In addition to those issues, she seems very focused on finding a diagnosis instead of working with me on concrete ideas that I can use to get a handle on the issues I’m struggling with. Like figuring out why I have trouble letting go of people, or why I have been working for the same company for 27 years. Or why I eat instead of dealing with my feelings. She did agree with my observation that it’s probably all for the same reason, then wondered what diagnosis she should put down for me.

She suggested that she put down mild depression but, well, I’m not depressed. I’m overwhelmed and having trouble coping. Apparently being overwhelmed and having a coping deficit isn’t something that she can write down on her piece of paper. Maybe I should look it up online and let her know what it is. Should she really be asking the patient anyway?

Maybe this is normal procedure for counseling sessions, but so far I am finding her even less helpful than the  friend who suggested that I  “try being happy for a change.”

She gets one more week.

Aren’t  these all first world problems anyway? Very much so, and I have no doubt that there will be a future post about my issues with entitlement and privilege and how fucking lucky I am  to have the amazingly good life that I have had. This is about me confessing that I am such a loser that I got a counselor.

OK, OK, OK. I know. Getting a counselor doesn’t make me a loser, it makes me someone who recognizes that I need help. It means that I was  smart enough to get help instead of continuing to struggle on my own like I usually do. It means I am actually capable of learning from my past mistakes.

It also means that someone  is getting paid to encourage me to talk about my problems, so none of you have to listen for free anymore!

(It doesn’t mean that, if you love me you still have to listen.)

It’s not like I am even  unhappy once you get me out of the cesspool of despair called work. I still laugh a lot. There’s usually a genuine smile on my face. I still think I know all of the best people in the world. I still notice things like the nifty turtle cloud I saw in the sunrise this morning. I still life. I don’t even mind being single, except for the lack of affection.  But my focus is shot, I’m sleeping badly, and I can’t even read a fucking book. I need a little boost. So I am getting it.

You know it’s bad if I can’t read. I always read.


Maybe I should try just being happy for a change….Counseling isn’t cheap, and I may be unemployed soon!

Superstitious much? Or, I still love my Ducks!

Oregon, our Alma Mater
We will guard thee on and on
Let us gather round and cheer her
Chant her glory Oregon
Roar the praises of her warriors
Sing the story Oregon
On to victory urge the heroes
Of our mighty Oregon!
Go Ducks Go!
Fight Ducks Fight!
Win Ducks Win!
–Mighty Oregon

I am not normally superstitious, with one big exception: Duck football. For whatever reason, I have several superstitious behaviors related to going to football games or just watching them on TV.

Firstly: I have to introduce new game day clothing items (like jerseys, football shirts or Duck jewelry) during early season games, the ones against teams like the Santa Barbara State Quilting Academy. That way the clothing or jewelry article gets good luck on it before it is worn in a real game. I do not have to stop wearing the article if it is involved in a loss, unless it is something branded with a particular bowl game. My 2011 BCS championship hat and 2010 Rose Bowl hoody can only be worn in the off season. The crazy thing is that for home games I feel compelled to wear the officially designated color even though I am completely cognizant of the fact that getting us all to wear a specific color of shirt is purely for increasing merchandise sales.

Secondly: Fireball must be consumed just prior to going into the game if it is a home game. The twist on that? It must be consumed by everyone at the tailgater who is of legal drinking age. Even if they don’t like Fireball, or are of a religion prohibits it, they must lift the bottle to their lips. For standard away games, It is optional, but preferred. For bowl games or championship games it is again mandatory for all in attendance at the viewing.

If we don’t drink Fireball before an away game starts, and the Ducks get behind? It will be fetched from the freezer, and everyone in the room will have to drink some. If we are at a bar, shots will be ordered.

All things considered, it is now clear that I should have had at least one more shot of Fireball last night.

Thirdly: all of my lucky bracelets must be worn on game day. This has become a burden because there are a lot of them. I may need to decrease the number at one of the early season games in August.

Fourthly: I must begin each game day, either home or away, by tweeting and updating my Facebook status with the following phrase before I even get out of bed.

Gooooooooooooooo Duckies!!!!!!!!

After which, I must like any status update involving any Go Duck-itude and also respond with Go Ducks. And if anyone else responds with Go Ducks, I must like that response. If I am at Autzen, the responsibility ends once I lose my Internet connection. If I am watching an away game, I am on the hook through the entire game.

It’s tiring.

Then, there is the necklace.

Every year before the first Duck football game of the season, I put on my lucky Duck necklace. I used to only put it on for home games, but at some point last year I forgot to take it off between games. We won. Then I couldn’t take it off until the end of the season.

This year, I was lucky enough to be able to wear it for the most possible games it could ever be worn for. Fifteen of them. It has been on my neck all the way from August 30, 2014 until January 12, 2015.

It will be nice to get my neck back again.

It must be said that I am fully conscious on an intellectual level that none of the above superstitious acts have a damn thing to do with the outcome of the games. The outcome is entirely to do with the staggering amount of hard work put in by the coaching staff, support staff and above all the young men who make up the Duck football team.


That time I forgot two of my lucky bracelets in Portland and had to go to a game without them? I was uncomfortable.

When my parents gave me a Mariota jersey for my birthday on the day of a Stanford game a couple of years ago, I opted not to wear it because it didn’t have any luck on it yet. We lost the game any way, but I didn’t feel like it was my fault. I forgot to wear it to an early season game last season, so I didn’t get to wear it until this year.



But superstitions are a way for a spectator to participate in the game. A way to be a part of the team tribe. For me, it goes along with wearing the team colors, and yelling as loud as possible when the Ducks are on D at Autzen. High fiving all the people around you. Thanking the nice people who bought a round of drinks because you shared your table and they won at Keno. Clapping until your hands hurt. Jumping up and down. Throwing the O sign.

So even though I know it’s silly, I will keep right on doing all these things. Even though a loss does suck, I will remember that in spite of how much I enjoy it, it is only a game. The thing that really counts for me, even more than the amazing athletic feats, is the time I spend cheering for the team with my family and my friends.

The other thing I will keep doing is supporting my team through both the wins and the losses. Even tough losses like the National Championship. They’re still my Ducks, even after a loss.

I’ll take off my yellow shirt, and I’ll put away the bracelets and necklace until September.

Next season seems awfully far away.

Go Ducks!


Post-mortem cosmetic needs

I want all the self conscious girls who try to hide who they are with makeup

You know it’s the girl with a frown with the tight pants

I really want to shake up

–Louis XIV/Finding Out True Love Is Blind


The other night, a couple of us were talking about the importance of looking good while dead or dying. It’s not the first time I’ve discussed how I want to look while dying or dead with a girlfriend, and it probably won’t be the last. It’s something a lot of us think about with some regularity. Women often have very particular ideas about what we want to look at the end of our lives. Maybe men do, too, but they don’t typically wear cosmetics so they probably aren’t as picky as we are.

At my grandmother’s viewing, my aunt had her brother and me act as lookouts so she could fix her mother’s make up in the coffin without being busted by the funeral director. She just didn’t think her mother looked like herself with the wrong shade of lipstick on, and she was right.

My friend Mollie wants to attend her own funeral wearing tan fishnets, lipstick  and false eyelashes. Presumably also some sort of dress, but that was not her priority. She’s got a cat suit that would make quite an impression at a viewing. I’ll suggest that.

I want a bob and black eyeliner to be maintained for me if I’m ever physically unable to keep them up myself. If hair is a problem, you can shave my head and put dramatic scarves on me but the eyes have got to be done.  Have me cosmetically tattooed if no one wants to come over every day and do it. It’s not that I’m vain about my looks in general, but I feel very strongly about having eyeliner on.  Always. People won’t know me without it. While you’re doing the eyeliner, prop a book up on me somewhere too. After I’m dead, send me to the crematorium with my eyeliner on. I won’t care after that.

Is this an insane thing to worry about? Well, it would be if you actually spent time worrying. I enjoy thinking about it.  To me, it’s sort of reassuring to know that my friends know how I expect to look so they can yell at my caregivers if they fall short of perfection. Sort of like Shirley MacLaine in “Terms of Endearment” when poor cancer-stricken Debra Winger doesn’t get her pain meds on time.


There’s nothing like a big yelling scene in the hospital to make me feel loved!