Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Repost from turtle_dove
Monday, December 20, 2004

Well, it was 1990 when I went to graduate school (at the age of 24) to start getting my Master's in Social Work. I interned the first year at a Teen Pregnancy program, to learn some of the basics of casemanagement. And the second year, I interned at an outpatient mental health agency, doing child and family therapy. After I graduated, I went to work for a similiar agency in the part of Portland that has a high percentage of low income and African-American families. I learned the ropes there about what it really meant to be a child and family therapist. I was there about 3 years. After that, I went to work for a similiar agency in the suburbs. Big change in ethnicity, but still serving families on medicaid primarily. There another 3 years. Then I took a job in Vancouver, WA, for better pay. It was a bit more modern agency, with computerized documentation and state of the art approach, etc. I was there also for about 3 years.

It was at that last job that I became a foster parent. My mother was a foster parent first, for a program for teens in drug/alcohol treatment. She wanted me to become a respite care provider, so I could take her girl(s) on the weekend. I was roped into taking a girl of my own on the first phone call I made to inquire about the program. Within a few months, I was roped into a second girl. It didn't end well. I was way overloaded. When I finally quit that program, I decided I was totally burnt on social work. That was 5 years ago.

I moved to The Dalles with the plan of switching careers. I actually worked for a season on a factory fishing boat in Alaska. That was a truly character building experience. But it also taught me to be thankful I get to work in social services. And I decided to return to doing what I do. Unfortunately, with the geographic move, my options for jobs were limited.

So I finally got hired with Head Start, first as an Early Head Start home visitor, and quickly I was promoted to Family Services Coordinator, and eventually Mental Health Specialist. The whole 5 years I was underemployed though. And I was bored. And stressed. And frustrated. It was a highly administrative series of positions, influenced in large part by the program being Federally funded.

So my new job* is like a rejuvenation. I am finally back on track. I am doing direct service with families and children. I can leave the administrative piece to others. I get to actually work with people. Phew! Plus, at Head Start I was the one mental health professional on staff. It was isolating and lonely. Now I'm one of almost 100. Yay! I have a community again. It's so cool.

*My job [was] Child Mental Health Specialist for the System of Care at Mid-Columbia (Children's Council. oops) Center for Living. This is a wraparound program. I will be doing child and family therapy for children to young adults in Hood River county. I will be part of team that also provides a variety of other services besides therapy. It's going to be pretty exciting, although the agency I'm working for is going through a lot of transitions and growing pains.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

[Today] I work[ed] as the Children's Clinical Supervisor and Child mental health specialist for the same mental health agency in the Columbia River Gorge area. Before that I was a Child & Family Therapist (LCSW=Licensed Clinical Social Worker) for over 10 years in the Portland/Beaverton/Vancouver area. In my current position, I provide mental health services to children receiving wraparound services. I have a B.A. '87 in psychology from Reed College, and a Master's in Social Work '92 from PortlaBoldnd State University.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Now I've been back on the regular mental health team for several [years]. I took a voluntary demotion. I am much, much happier.

August 3, 2010


I started a part-time private practice in 2008 http://janerekas.blogspot.com/ a collection of resources now... You can choose a topic from the index

When I turned 40, I had people over to play pictionary.
While I have some pictures of my 40th birthday here, I have no record of my 30th. (At right is me at 33*). What I can remember about it, and why I wanted to include a mention of it, is it was a big deal to me. I am sort of sentimental about numbers, the birthdays with zeros and fives on the end. At the time, my husband (who was 15 years my senior, with the birthday of 10/22 to my 10/27) had his 45th birthday just before me. As I recall, we each had a birthday with friends over. I could be wrong, we might have combined it. I vaguely remember sitting around the table in the house we got married in. We got married on the Solstice, June 21st, but I can never remember which year.

But the other thing about turning 30 is I finally felt like an adult. I've always had a baby face and I finally wasn't being asked by clients, are you 18?

*Note on picture: This was when I got my first of many digital cameras. I can remember the day that I took that picture, setting the timer and discovering that if I placed the camera in a window, it was a great lighting source.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

My Vision Board
christianity 2.0

New Year's of 2006/7, an AA friend of mine named Jill and I went to the Coast for an AA convention. After that I started a love/hate relationship with a certain Christian church called The Vineyard. The development of my spirituality has been heavily influenced by the experience at this church and Jill's support.

The Vineyard and Vineyard Music


"Historically, the Vineyard Movement has been rooted in both renewal and church planting. Instead of the mainstream charismatic label, Vineyard leaders and members over the years have preferred the term Empowered Evangelicals – a term coined by Rich Nathan and Ken Wilson in their book of the same name – to reflect their roots in traditional Evangelicalism, as opposed to historic Pentecostalism.

Members also sometimes describe themselves as the "radical middle" between Evangelicals and Pentecostals, which is a reference to the book The Quest for the Radical Middle, a historical survey of the Vineyard by Bill Jackson. Vineyard philosophy has also played a key role in the development of the transformationalism school of Christian thought.

John Wimber is considered a leading founder and evangelist of the movement, although the first Vineyard churches already existed before his Calvary Chapel church in Yorba Linda, CA, joined the movement in 1982. The first Vineyard Church is claimed by many to have started as a bible study in the living room of singer/songwriter Larry Norman's house and have been attended by many popular actors/actresses and musicians including Bob Dylan."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Well, it wasn't until after my divorce (at age 32?) that I became Buddhist. It was a lot of nice, distant concepts when I was married to my husband. It wasn't until I sort of had a new round in recovery and needed yet again to find some kind of spirituality to call my own that I saught out a dharma center. Actually first I took an Intro. to Buddhism class with Michael Conklin, who happens to be the Lama at KCC. It was that class that led me to his dharma center. It was Tibetan rather than Zen, which appealed to my monkey mind better.

I have a Buddhist name "Karma Sherab Pelmo" which means Glorious Wisdom.

I was a pretty intense student of Buddhism formally for about 2 years, but informally ever since. I took refuge and received a Buddhist name: Karma Sherab Pelmo. I don't know that that has any lasting meaning, but it was very significant at the time. (Looked up the meaning: Radiant Woman of Higher Knowledge). I went on a rather special meditation retreat on the practice of Tonglen at the time as well.

One of the best things about that dharma center was they did Green Tara puja [prayer time]. I was able to find a deity that was female. That's why I eventually got my Green Tara tattoo.

My spirituality took another turn after I had a relapse for about a year and a half. My relapse happened in a relationship with someone who didn't support my being in 12 step recovery, or any spirituality really. During that time, I relocated from Portland OR to the Columbia Gorge in The Dalles. (I only moved to Hood River last year). When I got out of that relationship and wanted to get back into AA, I did so in the little, very conservative, very Christian town of The Dalles. So many AA members went to one church or another. Eventually, I dated a man (m) who was, as they say, "on fire for the Lord." I attended his Bible study and was "given the gospels" and shortly thereafter baptised (on Ground Hog Day).
I have taken the liberty to explore many denominations. I even found this cool test which is a christian denomination selector. Probably U.C.C. church fits me the best. But I like modern christian music, with worship teams and powerpoint words, etc., too. I've attended charismatic churches with some ambivalence. I also like Unity churches. I currently go to a christian coffee house, called Soul Cafe.
What I believe and where it came from....
As I was leaving college, I had absolutely no spirituality (that I can recall now). I was raised an atheist, with only the free-love spirituality of hippies. (Actually my mother had some influence of Buddhism even back then). The only church I'd ever attended was Unitarian, and only a few times, with my grandmother.

I think I was more political, as much as my little naive mind and spirit could handle, and influenced by going to a very political school, Reed College, and having a very political grandmother. I had read the Bible and other materials as literature, I had taken cross-cultural religion courses. I was educated, but empty.

But there must have been seeds, because after college, I worked in a bookstore. I was open. I saw many, many titles on spirituality (Starhawk and Joseph Campbell stand out). I was identifying mainly as lesbian at least politically (though having no luck with that romantically) at the time. So my very first spiritual leanings were towards paganism and wicca. This religion fit with my long time study of astrology, since age 15.

I guess I need to have God be female. My father's absence made it very difficult to see God as male. My counter-culture childhood made Christianity impossible for me. I always felt like an outsider.
I started my journey into 12 step recovery in about 1989. It wasn't until I did that I even really thought about needing to find my own personal higher power. So for a long time, I didn't say God in meetings. I said Goddess. I even changed the pronouns if I was asked to read any literature in a meeting. I spent a lot of time reading books like Many Roads One Journey and A Woman's Way Through the Twelve Steps, which encouraged tailoring recovery material to fit women's needs and experience.
During my marriage, I was exposed to my husband's spirituality. He was raised reformed Jewish and he was also a Buddhist -- affectionately known as a Jew Bu. He was the first person who prayed at holidays in my life. The first person who saw the world through the lens of Buddhism, which has become so trendy in our popular culture, actually.
to be continued...
The Catbird Seat Bookstore
First Practicum 90-91: Insights Teen Parent Program Gosh, I was so young, but those mommies were younger!
Second Practicum 91-92: Parry Center for Children Talk about OJT!
First Real Job: Center for Community Mental Health 92-94 - Northeast Portland, lots of great kids, lots of learning, hard stuff, no pay!
Next Job 94-97: Lutheran Family Services, Beaverton, growing up, figuring things out!
Next Job 97-99: Children's Center, Vancouver, WA - really started to get burnt out, even though I was totally gaining in competence.
Next Job 2000-2004 - Head Start Mental Health Specialist
Next 2004-2010 - Center for Living Mental Health Specialist

Portland State University, 1990-1992, Master's Degree in Social Work (MSW)
Anyone who has gone to graduate school knows that it sucks. It was so very stressful. I was trying to work 32 hours while going to school the first year. By the end of the second year, I was only able to work 8 hours a week. I was so incredibly stressed, mainly due to undiagnosed social phobia. I ended up returning to my food dependence and putting on some weight.
I think I got the right degree for me, but I sometimes wish I'd received more clinical direction. That's the trade off for not having gotten an MS in counseling psych, but oh well.
I am the only child, two halves made whole, of mythical beautiful young parents, who live on if only symbolically in my mind. They were both tall, thin and beautiful. From them I received those potentialities. I think a seed in every partner I have been attracted to is a yearning to recreate the myth of their connection.

My parents lived for a period of time on the island of Formentera off the coast of Spain.
Brian: 1990-1997

Brian became the bookkeeper at The Catbird Seat the last year I worked there. Our desks faced each other. He was awesome. It was as if we were the same person in (very) different bodies. At the time, I honestly thought he was gay and vice versa. Eventually, when I started to go to school to get my MSW, he was the one person at work that I missed the most, so we started going out. It was not dating in my mind at all, until finally he admitted he was interested in me. We were together for seven years. We never argued that I can remember. We were extremely accepting of each other, perhaps to a fault. We indulged in overeating like I never have. Eventually, I got depressed and then wanted relief and starting changing to lose weight and feel better. This self-preservation growth spurt eventually led to the end of our marriage (long story very short). We are still friends. He is awesome. He went to live in New York at a Jewish renewal center and later moved to Philadelphia. He became a Gestalt therapist.

Lessons Learned: Brian and I had "overlapping T-squares" which means that we share incredibly similiar karmic lessons in this life. We were truly psychic twins, despite occupping such different bodies. I learned what it was to be known deeply, to trust a human, to commit long term (7 years). I also learned that safety can be less than empowering and ultimately that indulgence is not always helpful. We are still friends.

Undergrad: Reed College, 1983-1987, BA Psychology

I went to school at a small, private college in Portland, Oregon. I went there because my mother went there, and her parents went there. That is where they met and married.
It's an amazing school. It tends to attract misfits and loaners and brainiacs, who study way too hard, and ultimately party way too hard.

See the building in the background? That's Eliot Hall in the center of campus. I loved those army pants and one of many, many pair of converse.

My freshman year was a solid year of panic. I vowed to never drink and kept that naive promise the whole year until Renn Faire (end of the year). The first time I ever drank, I got completely drunk on beer and tequila. It was downhill from there. I always drank to get drunk and blacked out on a semi-regular basis. I also experimented with recreational drugs, which I am blessed to never have had a dependence on.

When I was a softmore, at age 19, my mother entered into AA/NA recovery. I thought she'd joined a cult, having never really heard of 12 step programs. Thank God she paved the way for me to follow her later.

I originally wanted to major in education, but they discontinued the Master's Program in education while I was at Reed. So then I wanted to major in Anthropology, but was intimidated due to intense level of coursework on Marx, etc. I did love Psychological Anthropology, so ended up majoring in Psychology.
My final visit to see my Father (Age 30): By the time I was 30, my father had been diagnosed with throat cancer and suffered with it for several years. I ended up making the trip to see him because I was contacted by his half-sister, my only aunt, Miriam Tinguely, who was living in Seattle at the time. She paid my way to visit Felix, because she was concerned that he was dying and she went to see him too (although we did not travel together; I have never traveled to Europe with anyone from my family.)

This visit was to Ibiza, off Spain, where my father had a second home. It was a very painful visit as well. At that time, I had reached my highest weight (222) and he had reached his lowest (he was 6'4" and probably weighed 90 lbs.). It was so awful, I could hardly speak with him (and his wife) the whole time. I was devestated and extremely depressed.
I will look for pictures. I didn't find many, it was an unhappy visit. I took this photo of myself in their bathroom mirror. My head is blinded by the flash. Pretty much represents the trauma of this visit.

My father died six years later, 4/29/02, when I was 36.

This is a picture of a statue by Jean Tinguely that I was able to see during this visit, while I stopped off in Zurich. He was my aunt's father.

My father, shortly before his death.
My Third Visit to Switzerland (Age 24):

My brother paid for my third visit to Switzerland because the whole family was attending a tattoo convention in Amsterdam. I guess it was like a family reunion.

Here is the only picture of me with my father. It is also the last picture of me without the tattoo I got from Filip on that visit, which is shown in the photo below.

This is me after I got my first sleeve tattoo, so it's 1990. I was 24. I got those shoes in Switzerland. I loved them. I'd still have them if a roommate hadn't thrown them out when I moved one time.

This particular visit was terribly painful because I was no longer drinking and using, so I had to view my father with clear eyes and nothing to medicate the pain that he was never going to be the father I might have dreamt of.

Second Visit to see My Father (Age 19): When I was a sophomore in college, I spent winter break in Switzerland with my father and his family. It was a 5 week visit, the longest I ever made. I only visited him 4 times in my life. I am going to post about those visits, out of sequence, because they are such odd interruptions in my life, with very little connection to the exterior of my normal life. During this visit, my mother became clean and sober. She discusses this in her own blog and autobiography, so I won't go into it here in much detail. Suffice it to say, that I had to leave the continent and stop enabling her for her to get into recovery. I say this half jokingly, because I know that I didn't have that much power either way. When I first met my father at age 17, I was very straight laced, at least with regard to outward appearance. I also had done no drugs, alcohol or dating. By the time I visited again at 19, I had changed all that in college. And I wanted to fit in with what my dad expected of his children, which was to participate in his "drugs, sex, rock n roll" lifestyle. A lifestyle which I'd been sort of avoiding my whole life, out of fear. Again, I need to find a picture of me at the age of this visit.

Sometime after this visit, my brother and sister came to visit me at college in Oregon. At that time, Filip gave me my first tattoo, which is on my right shin, now 20 25 years old... I can't believe it.

Look at the difference in my appearance in less than 2 years. I got rid of that silly perm somewhere in my freshman college year. And then I started dying right above my ears blonde. Not sure why... though it was cool. Sometimes I died my hair black. I was goth before it was cool to be goth.
MEETING MY FATHER (Age 17): At the end of my senior year, I was very involved with my french class and the french club. The teacher planned a trip to France (and neighboring European countries). My great aunt Marjorie decided to fund my going along, with the secondary agenda of my meeting my father. He was a Swiss citizen, and was living in Lausanne. At about 5 days into the trip, I met him in a hotel lobby, with my four half-siblings and my step-mother (actually she may not have been there that day). I wish I had pictures, but I don't. I then spent 5 more days with the french class travelling around. I could hardly focus. I didn't care that I was seeing some of the most amazing sites in the world, I had just met my father. After that, I returned to Lausanne and spent 10 more days with him and his family. It was incredibly life changing. It was almost like what I imagine it must be like for adopted people to find their birth parents. It was scary and stressful and intense. I remember I had a permanent in my hair. I hated it. It was my grandmother's idea. I felt so ugly. Anyway, my father took me and my two older siblings on a trip through the Alps. It was amazing. When I came home, I looked like a different person.

The building in which my father and his family lived in Lausanne, Switzerland.  I last saw this building when I was 30 on my last trip when I saw my father in Ibiza but went to Lausanne alone.  It is now torn down I hear.
HIGH SCHOOL (1979-1983): Guess what I mainly remember about starting high school? I started my period. My memory has it that I started it on my first day of high school, although somehow I think that is unlikely. Do you ever wonder about how many of your memories are actually accurate?

I do.

I also remember that my mom would drop me off at school at about 7:00 a.m., because she had to get to work early. I think she was working at the hospital? or the college? She's always worked as a secretary, or administrative assistant or medical transcriptionist.

Anyway, I would get to school early and sit by my locker.

I was lonely in high school. I was a geek. I was a loner. I was a loser. I had very few friends. I helped others with their homework and wondered how it was that they could be so... well... stupid. It honestly puzzled me. Although I believe I was compassionate about it.

In fact, I was too compassionate. I was a total bleeding heart.

I never went to a single dance or on a single date during high school.

Oh god, what a frosh geek, circa 1980.
that's the longest I've ever had my hair - the barrettes ruin it

Sophmoric, 1981.

Junior, bit more like it, 1982.
pic a bit damaged

Senior stuck up loner, 1983.

I remember when John Lennon died. I could NOT believe anyone who didn't care. I also played his song "Imagine" in my speech class during one speech to all the conservative classmates whose speeches were on anti-abortion and such.

I NEVER dated or went to a dance in high school. I often wore my mother's clothes. And they smelled of her cigarettes and cat piss.

I gained weight. I was depressed. I hated myself.

So high school was pretty normal.


Top Songs of 1983: the year I graduated from high school.

Every Breath You Take, by the Police
Billie Jean, by Michael Jackson
What a Feeling, by Irene Cara
Down Under, by Men at Work
Beat It, by Michael Jackson

Graduating: What I remember about graduating from high school was already being very counterculture and political, in an immature shy way. I had a friend who was going through the graduation line with me and we decided to take colored electrical tape and write things like "ERA NOW" and "NO NUKES" all over our gowns. It was something I would repeat in future graduations. When I graduated from Reed, I wore a green silk suit and elected not to wear the gown.

MIDDLE SCHOOL: (1976-1979) I went to middle school in the seventies. It was just like what you see in the movie, Dazed and Confused!

I think I almost hated middle school more than high school. I just remember realizing that I felt like a child among all these preadolescents. The other students seemed to be embracing the change, which I was totally disgusted with. I did not want to become a young woman. I was so painfully shy, that I could hardly handle the socializing that happened in the hallways when I got into my locker for school books.

I attended one school dance during 7th grade. A boy asked me to dance and in my mind it was a set up, a joke. I walked home crying. (I look back on that and realize that I have a certain social paranoia/phobia to this day).

I had a friend who was middle eastern. Her name was Wafa Katan. At her house, I remember eating eggs with sheep brains in them. I don't remember being disgusted. I wonder whatever happened to her.

I also remember that I really never got in trouble. In 6th grade, I was in a rare playful mood. There was a drinking fountain in the classroom. I remember spitting a mouthfull of water on a friend. The teacher I had that year was so disapproving, making a comment about not expecting such misbehavior from me. That really made me feel bad and returned me to my shell of compliance.

In fourth grade, I went to three different schools. At first, I was going to school in San Rafael, and then we moved to Berkeley. My mom made an attempt to go back to finish her B.A. Before fourth grade ended, we moved to Oregon to be near her parents. At that time, my mother was progressing in her alcoholism and was unfortunately unable to handle the pressures of school and single parenting.

Berkely was scary for me. It was during the time of school integration. I was bussed across town to a mostly black school. My brother was bussed to a mostly white school. I remember being so afraid to use the restrooms at school that every day after school I would run around the back of our apartment building and jump onto our balcony (not sure how) and pee my pants.

1921 Delaware, Berkeley, CA

I always think of this time as the birth of my sugar addiction. For some reason, I remember being allowed to get off the school bus at other locations (which seems unbelievable to me now). I can remember where the donut shop was, and the asian store with candy, and the gas station with candy bars... etc.

We moved from Berkeley, California, to Corvallis, Oregon, in the summer of 1974. My grandpa came down to drive us all up, with our cats. For awhile we lived with my granparents, until we found our own place. We mainly lived in various cheap apartments or small run down houses in Corvallis. It was quite a culture shock moving to a fairly well-to-do small town after living in CA. Luckily it was a college town (OSU) and had a lot of exchange students. Nevertheless, most people thought my brother was adopted (and Mexican instead of half caucasian, half African-American).

My grandparents were like second parents to me. I often had meals there. My grandmother bought me a lot of school clothes, etc. We had our holidays with them. I had spent a few summers with them before we moved up to Corvallis, so I was familiar with my grandparents home as a haven of sorts. Here I am in my grandmother's bedroom, with the daisy wall paper. I always think of this image as representing my inner child.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Even though I have lived in Oregon most of my life, I will always be a Californian. I would move back if it weren't so expensive to live there, or at least that's the excuse in my mind. After living in San Francisco, my mom moved with me and Josh to San Anselmo, Fairfax, San Rafael (Marin Co.), and finally Berkeley. We stayed in the Bay Area until I was 9, in 1974. Then we moved to Oregon.

What I remember about California was sunshine and freedom. I remember a cumquat tree down the street. I remember a male babysitter with a motorcycle. I remember a floor heater over which I melted crayons on wax paper and made pressings. I remember lots of kittens! I remember this boy that lived upstairs, David. And a box of playboys at the top of those stairs. I remember rollerskating! I remember falling in love with candy. I remember being thin and happy. But it was also crazy with people and sometimes scary. I remember being so poor we took donations from outside Good Will in the dark.

Info. from mom:

In April 1969 we moved to the house in San Anselmo. 1431 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. with a woman named Donette at first and later the rock band folks - Steve and Florence and their 2 kids and various others. Our room was in the garage and had a sliding door to the back yard. We watched the landing on the moon in this house.

In April 1970 we moved to Fairfax, somewhere on Bolinas Rd., a little house with back yard on a very busy street. I started working for the Marin County Economic Opportunity Council. This was the house where you had the male babysitter named Chris, I think. He rented our enclosed front porch for awhile.

We moved to San Rafael in July 1971. 116 D St.

lemons on christmas

We were here until some time in 1974 or so when I moved us to the apartment in Berkeley and a term of school at UC.

My late brother, Josh, was born May 9, 1968. I was 2 and a half when he was born and my mom tells me that I treated him like my own doll. I remember a story that I used to put his hair in multiple pig tails. His father was an African American man that my mom had only dated. My mother continued single parenting, to this day. Ron was a lot more involved in Josh's life than my father ever was though. He saw him about once a year and has participated in many Christmases. Ron Stallings [was] a successful saxaphone player, who plays with Huey Lewis.

Anyway, I was no longer the baby and no longer an only child. I now became the first born oldest child. I have always felt emotionally closer to my mother, but that she was emotionally closer to my younger brother. I think this is how an oldest often feels. They watch the baby get the cuddles. And Josh being mixed race always drew my mother's protective mother instincts out for him.

Info. from mom:
221 Downey
We moved to the Haight and 221 Downey St. in February 1967. It was a lower flat and we shared it with Barbara and Megan and various other people over the coming months. Our room was in the back of the flat and had a great view. It's the room of the photo of you sitting up on a stool with no clothes on drawing on a table. We were still living there when Josh was born in 1968.
2436 Jones St.

In June 1968 we moved back to North Beach - 2436 Jones St. - (you could mapquest all these I suppose).

Here we lived with Leah and Shoshannah and various other people.
In August 1968 we moved in briefly with my friend Linda (and Sylvia and Shekinah) who is now Electra.

95 Scott St.

By October we had found a flat to share with some other women at 95 Scott St. The 3 of us had one big room. It was during this time that I went to an encounter group.
1822 McAllister

In October 1968 we moved to a little apartment next door in a building to Leah and Shoshannah on 1822 McAllister. I think it was near Golden Gate Park. It was here that I began to scheme to move to Marin County.