Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Bird

Paul and I stayed overnight in Boulder, CO for our one month/my birthday/VDay celebration, and then played around Boulder the next day.

In a cute little Boulder shop, I found this:

I LOVE my bird. She is going to have quite the ego because I keep taking pictures of her. She looks good anywhere in the house, so I move her almost daily.

Tweet tweet

Friday, February 25, 2011


So, over the last 6-7 months I have gone through a Career Identity Crisis. It has not been pretty, but it has a happy ending, or middle, or whatever.

My last job traumatized me. I don't even think I'm being dramatic. Seriously, for some reason, it was BAD for me. I only lasted 8 months there, and it would have been a lot less if I didn't have a coworker that I loved and didn't want to leave. I'm still trying to understand why it traumatized me so much. But it probably doesn't really matter. For some reason it did.

My CIC has consisted of three parts: 1. The badness. 2. The breakthrough 3. the what-the-heck-am-I-doing-with-my-life.

1. The Badness

Example 1 of the BADNESS: Go to work one day to run the Jail Diversion Program. Tell intimidating-lady-that-runs-the-office-and-always-gets-her-way psychiatrist and team that Bob was not approved to be in the Jail Div program. Psychiatrist (who is like unto God in the mental health world) says, "So you are going to let Bob go to prison for 15 years?"

Wise Tessa would have said: "He is not appropriate for the program, and he is putting himself in prison for 15 years due to his crimes that HE committed."

What Tessa actually said: "That's right." *try not to cry, no big deal, just hold your ground*

Psychiatrist said: *staring. angry look.* "I am going to have to leave before I say something I regret. I am so angry right now." *Walks out of room*

I proceed to have a break-down in front of team, and the next 2 weeks are full of awkward encounters and avoidance of psychiatrist.

Example 2 of the BADNESS: Go to work one day and head to the jail to do some assessments for the program. I am talking to a booking officer so he can bring me someone I need to assess. All of a sudden, I hear really loud yelling such as "You b#$%#"... , and, okay, even trying to clean it up would still make it a pg-13 blog. I turn around to realize that Dude is yelling at me. Then I recognize him as Dude we revoked from Jail Diversion program and turned down appeals he made through lawyer to get back in the program. Dude continued to yell at me loudly for thirty minutes throughout the whole assessment.

Now, I am not stupid. I know that he was just mad because he wanted to get out of jail, and he messed up his chance. He was just taking it out on me. I had made the right decision, and here he was proving it. However, I do NOT do well being called horrible names and being yelled at for 30 minutes, no matter how much I know it doesn't matter. The officers let me out a side door, so I didn't have to walk right by him again. They were so nice to me it made it a little better, but it was HORRIBLE. And it still gets to me. I know his release date, and I think thoughts like, "What if I see him at Wal-Mart and he's still that mad at me, but he's not in a cell." I'm sure nothing would happen, but it kind of shook me up.

Example 3 of the BADNESS: I go to a Friday morning meeting that apparently was scheduled during the same time as my manager's meeting that I was apparently supposed to know about but I didn't at all. The staff (okay, one in particular, we will call her Bully, with her ever-faithful follower who gave Bully all the power) proceed to tell me a long list of what they thought I was doing wrong. Now, I do a lot of things wrong, and heaven knows I did in this job! But I was very falsely accused and bullied in my perspective and was completely defenseless- nothing but my word to back me up. Dreaded going to work every day.

During all the badness, I told myself, this isn't a big deal, just keep going, you need this experience, you are just over sensitive, this is the real world, just keep doing your job as well as you can and you'll be fine. But the badness was causing a lot of anxiety, crying, dread, dark cloud-ness.


2. The Breakthrough

My poor husband (fiance) Paul had been wanting me to quit this job since month 2, and I kept putting him off. How dumb would that be to quit without giving it at least a year? I had definitely toyed with the idea, but I was determined to stick with it.

I was on the phone with my friend Julia telling her about my job (warning there's going to be a swear word... She is one of my 3 mormon friends that swear, and I actually really appreciate it sometimes) and she said, "Tessa, why the hell are you still working there??" And I said, "I don't know." And for some reason, that was the moment.

3. The What-the-heck-am-I-doing-with-my-life

So, I quit the job about a month after that conversation.

Weird- I have LOVED all my social work jobs with eating disorders, ER crisis work, men with autism etc. But I have NO desire to do anything social work-y right now. I hope to come back to it at some point (I think?).

I found a job that I started last week as a secretary at the local Community College. Can I tell you how much I love it? I LOVE it. I process job applications, I file, I answer phones, etc. I don't have to decide if someone's going to serve jail time, I don't make decisions that keep me up at night, I don't have anyone that hates me. No one has yelled at me yet. I am SO HAPPY and just thinking about my new job makes me smile. Ahhhh.... life is bliss.

So, yeah, what the heck right? I just spent two years and some decent money on this master's degree. But I am happy. My coworkers are professional and NORMAL (okay, I know no one's normal but you know what I mean) and I don't have to convince myself every day that I'm just over-sensitive and that things are okay when they aren't. And this is just right for me right now.

Congratulations if you read or even skimmed through my whole CIC process. I'm going to catch some peaceful Zzzz's now. Love to all- Tessa

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

29th Birthday Trip: Day 2

On Day 2, Diane showed me around her neighborhood and I got to experience the Arizona warmth again.

Here Diane is getting Matthew ready for our morning walk. We walked through the desert (okay, on a pathway) to a playground where Matthew was soooo happy.
Then, Diane and Matthew showed me their neighborhood which is one of those community neighborhood places (what's the official name of those?). It was pretty dang cool! Matthew introduced me to some other children, and showed me the choo choo train.

Matthew took some time to stop and smell the flowers:

Matthew was lucky enough to get a piggy back ride but unfortunately, his mother couldn't see:

During Matthew's nap time, Diane and I ran to WalMart and got to see:

Then we did Valentine crafts for the husbands:

That night, Diane took me to an amazing Italian restaurant. Oh. my. gosh. Anyway, then I flew out at about 7 the next morning:( SUCH a good birthday!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

29th Birthday trip: Day 1

I would highly recommend last-minute, impulsive trips. They are usually the best! Paul had to unexpectedly work about 70 hours during my birthday week, including 2 overnights, so we shipped me off to Sunny Arizona to spend my birthday with bff Diane. Oh my, what a treat!

Diane lives in Tucson, but we drove up to Mesa on Day one because our good friend, Nikki, happened to be in town at the same time! Nikki let us pick fruit off her in-law's trees:

Nikki's Hallie and Diane's Matthew held hands for about ten minutes and even interdigitated! It was sooo cute!
Nikki and Diane treated me to some Mexican for my birthday. Luckily there was a sombrero there, which has historical significance in Diane and I's relationship:

We got to walk around the Mesa temple as well, and it was 70 degrees and sunny on February 10th. Mmmmmmmmm.

Cactus Garden at the temple. (Diane said I look like a model in this pic, so I have to include it.)
This is how we entertained Matthew during the four hour total car time.
Diane had birthday cake for me when we got back to Tucson. The highlight was the buttercream icing that I couldn't stop eating.