Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Working Girl

OK. Now that I've survived the hazing/training week at Mo's I feel much better. I think I can manage all these jobs AND also have a life. Sunday was just tough. Of course, I'll be working Sundays, but at night and with Cindy and she's awesome. :)

Today Justin and I tried to walk the two dogs I walk together and it was a disaster. It seems that even though Chewy is a short boy Corgie-Lab-Hound-like mix and Dakota is a black lab they have alpha-dog and jealousy issues. Both of them wanted ME to hold their leash, Dakota wanted to be in the lead, and Chewy wanted to mark everything. Also they wanted to wrestle, which doesn't go that well on leashes in downtown San Diego. Needless to say, never the two shall meet again.

Alrighty, now that I know my Mo's schedule, I just have to contact my Executive Editor and modeling bosses to tell them when I'm available for their jobs.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

One More Time

I forgot to list another job: leading kids in arts and crafts classes at a pet shop in our neighborhood.

There are no words for how tired I already am. Though, I am typing, so I suppose there are.

I will try this life for a month. And then if it's too much, I'll start shedding jobs one at a time. Maybe I'll quit one each week. Just for the practice of saying "no" to people. There's something I haven't done much in my life (shut up, kids... asking to use your cell phone to call your mom during a test or get extra credit for writing your name in glitter and then hearing me say, "no" does not count!).

Hell, maybe I'll quit something tomorrow.


(Justin just cheated at reading one of his sci-fi novels by looking ahead in the series to see if the character who "might be dead" is still alive. I on the other hand cover the opposing page of a novel just to keep from accidentally jumping ahead when I'm desperate to find out what happens to a character. I don't want to miss any of the beautiful words... I don't want to miss the journey...)

If I keep all these jobs when will I read, write or paint? Leave alone photograph anything?

Sweet Jesus. I'm already cracking.

Good night, folks.

And don't forget to tip your hostess. ;) or your teacher, entertainer, blah blah blah blah....

Saturday, March 24, 2007


After a year without a job, I now have several.

In typical Olaina-fashion, I tossed out a bunch of lines and got bites on all of them.

So now I just have to hope I can reel them all in, instead of being yanked into the water and drowning--back to square one.

I walk Dakota and Chewy, which I love and don't want to give up (I mean, seriously, I get unconditional puppy love and exercise at the same time).

I am a mystery shopper (not nearly as glamorous as it sounds, and not profitable, but relatively worthwhile).

I am a hostess at Mo's (in training every night until Tuesday--at which point I'll finally have only two shifts a week instead of working every night til after midnight, which isn't really good for my health).

I model for art classes (haven't actually been paid for this yet, but again have lots of lines out... and find it quite relaxing to sit perfectly still for long stretches of time. It's like I get paid to work on being mindful or meditating).

I am the new Editor of Vision Magazine, a monthly publication described as such on their website:

VISION MAGAZINE is an elegant balance of informative stories and inspiring viewpoints; rich, vivid color juxtaposed with appealing editorial, community resources, and calendar of events, each providing tools for living in a more peaceful and sustainable world. We currently print 90,000 copies of the magazine, which is distributed at over 1800 locations throughout California, Northern Arizona and Hawaii. . . . .Our readers are proactive toward their health, consider their well-being to be a top priority, and are comprised of 57% women and 43% men with a household income of $65,000 or greater.

(I'll be assigning, writing and editing stories as well as working on the design of the magazine. It's a cool little 10"x10" newsprint publication, and I'll basically be doing what I did as a journalism adviser except I won't have to deal with the ads, 46 kids or anyone's parents, or conventions. So it's about a third of the journalism work I did while also teaching four other classes).

I also still want to stay aware of taking care of me--doing my GRAPES and making sure I do yoga, choir, church and art on my own, including writing, painting and photography. Plus I need to maintain my friendships with people, keep our household running and my relationship with Justin healthy. And I need to be sure I get enough rest--including sleep and just plain old down time. Apparently people need that sort of thing.

So I'm thinking I have too many jobs. But if they are all really as part time as they claim to be--and I get the feeling (from my history of over achieving and what all my bosses say) that I AM IN CHARGE OF MY TIME, then maybe I can reach a healthy balance. If not, I'll have to let some of the work go. On the upside, since I have the Editor position, I don't have to stress as much about getting enough work at Mo's or modeling to be able to pay the rent. I just have to be really Zen about all of it.




I'm telling ya, folks, it's a whole new world around here.

Though I do I still need to clean my house.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Today my parents marked their 39th year of marriage.

I was sitting on a bar stool yesterday, watching someone order a green beer on St. Patrick's Day when I remembered our small group therapist last year reminding us we couldn't drink while we were in the Sharp Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program. "OK. Maybe one green beer, but that's all," she said.

I am thinking of doing something special to mark the anniversary of my hospitalization or my discharge from the hospital--or both.

Tomorrow I will find out if I get hired to be a magazine editor.

I know it's not really worth thinking about too much because we live in the present, not the past. But thinking about the contrast between last year's March madness and this year's march into the future makes this madness seem so surprisingly pleasant. The difference between a woman who felt half dead and a woman who can choose her future instead of waiting for it to happen to her is remarkable.

I have to maintain a careful balance in my life. Enough gentleness, rest, fun, exercise, relaxation, accomplishments.... I don't have to be the best at anything. I just have to be. I've held those trophies for "best"--they're not nearly as wonderful and memorable as spending time with my husband or friends, or painting, or taking a beautiful photograph, or writing, or enjoying walking the dogs or those other jobs I have....

I just have to be.




Monday, March 12, 2007

The way memory works

You know how sometimes you see something and it reminds you of that time before... Like if a shampoo sample comes in the mail, and you use it, and the smell of the suds remind you of that boy and that first date all those years ago.

The former nun, our neighbor two doors down, has decorated her window for the upcoming holiday. Four leaf clovers. Rainbows. A leprechaun. Happy Saint Patrick's Day! in green.

Last year we moved into this apartment on St. Patrick's Day.


Our landlord gave us a card.

We actually had the apartment for a while before that, but since Justin... well, you know, medical school.... blah blah blah.... tests... blah blah...

I came to this place in shifts, with shelf paper and scissors and a few blankets and pillows so that there would be something to sit on during breaks. I made it a nest, and much like the futon-island of the past couple of weeks, found myself napping in the middle of the room for a lot of the day. Spent from a life of almost-nothingness.

It's a blurry memory, but about a year ago, there was shelf paper, and then boxes, and then boys helping us fill a U-Haul, and an old garage full of things for sale, and a bookshelf in the new living room and books separated by categories, and then a call to Justin from one hospital, asking him to drive me to another one so that I would not have to take an ambulance, and giving him my wedding rings and crying and some visitors and the boys on the ward and sleeping in that room with the windows to the nurses' station open and my toothbrush locked away with everyone else's shampoo and razors and mouthwash.

There are four leaf clovers on our neighbor's windows now.

About a year ago, I thought I'd die.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Same Scene, New Actors

In AA, I've heard, they say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again hoping for a different result.

I do not want to be that insane.

So when someone drunk, too drunk to do what he's supposed to do, puts drinking before doing what he promised me he would do or doing his job, I have to let it go.

I mean, I am concerned for my friend, I am concerned for why he did it or whether he'll get help or what is wrong with him, other than being an alcoholic... but I can't make it my problem or my solution. Once again, I have to remember that I have to put myself first and learn to take care of myself before I try to take care of anyone else.

It's sad to watch someone be so sick. Someone young and talented and full of potential. But it is not my responsibility. It is not my fault. It is not my job to save him. I can watch. I can maybe be a friend, though I do not know what a plain old friend does in this situation. I am so used to being an enabler. But I can't play that role anymore. I can't lie to cover it up. I can't provide anything but the willingness to be there and to hope that he will get help for himself.

Does anyone know what the healthy friend of an alcoholic does? There must be a role somewhere between abandonment and enablement. That's a job I need to learn. Anyone?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Pills

Now each morning there is a giant collection I must swallow.

Two big ugly brown-orange capsules.
Two funky little white ones.
One light blue.
One light yellow.

And I'm still not taking my vitamins, iron or calcium. Partly because I can't take them at the same time as all the ones mentioned above due to some funky interaction that makes the whole swallow moot, and partly because I just don't want to.

It's not so much that I'm on strike from taking care of myself; I'm not. I sleep, I eat, I shower and do what I have to do during the day. It's just that at night I have to take the funky little white ones again and it all seems like a lot.

I suppose I could make the ones that are actually good for me--and that everyone can buy--part of my lunch.

But I don't want to be one of those old ladies who carries around a giant pill container marked with the days of the week and a.m., lunch, p.m.

But I do want to tell you all that I had the funniest conversation with my dealer, I mean, my psychiatrist yesterday.

After he determined (duh) that I am still depressed, and that even though my mood chart looks just like last months I am actually more depressed (last month I just averaged out the highs and lows of my days, now I only have lows unless something good happens in the day), he asked me about drugs.

"Have you ever experimented with drugs?"
"No." I've never even smoked a cigarette. I think I said, "no" with as much incredulity in my voice as I could muster as I stare at the ground and focus on my I'm-trying-not-to-cry-from-frustration-with-this-ridiculously-long-game of let's-see-if-this works thoughts.
"Diet pills? Dexa-[something]?"
"No." Where is he going with this. Has he SEEN me. I weigh 110. Or so. And yes, I do eat. Now I'm looking at him.
"What affect does caffeine have on you?"
"It wakes me up. And I get addicted to it really quickly. And if I don't have it I get really bad headaches." I started to get the bizarre feeling he was giving me ideas of drugs to abuse because he had already explained that alcohol was actually a depressant and that even if it makes people feel good initially it makes them crash later--which is not good. (duh) I know these things. I've taught these things.

Then he started talking about the fact that they sometimes put people who they haven't been able to pull out of a long depression (keep in mind this is now a year long project of ours and it's only sort of showing progress) they give them other medications. This is when I realize he's essentially talking about uppers. Karen from Will and Grace flashes in my mind. My God. I'll have so many drugs at my disposal. Uppers. Downers? Stabilizers? Huh? Me? The one who holds a huge debate over whether to take Tylenol or Advil or a nap when I have a headache?

I remember when I was given my first prescription for an anti-depressant. I got in my car and I sobbed. I felt I had lost control. What happened to jogging if I felt blue? What happened to calling a friend if I needed to talk? How did I get so sick?

And now I have this mini-pharmacy to sort through each day and the doctor is talking about enlarging it.

I can't even imagine the kind of high he is concerned I could reach with the new drugs he is considering. I don't think I have ever felt that good--though he does make it sound like MOST people never feel that good, that this kind of good he is talking about is actually another kind of sickness unto itself.

But ooo. I could maybe use that kind of hit. (Not that I'm going to go and try some drug or another... Jesus, my body is so pickled as it is. I like being a healthy girl who has never even smoked a cigarette.)

But I am SO CURIOUS about feeling that good.

So curious.

I think when I walk the dogs today (which offers a certain kind of high all in itself), I will look again at all those posters about crystal death. Those people look really awful. I don't want to go there, not even with the guidance of my (seriously I have one of these?) psychiatrist.

God, this is an exhausting little trip I've been on for the past year and three months.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Model behavior

So totally over that...

But here's some pictures one of the artists at the figure drawing class took:

and of course do not forget: Olaina Photo Gallery by Rob Thuleen