Posts Tagged ‘learning’

Boy do they ever.

Earlier this month I took a fantastic labor doula training with Rena Koerner, and started my labor doula certification process again. I feel better prepared, with a better understanding of the physiology and psychology of birth, which is just huge when you consider that as a doula you’re a part of what is one of the most important events of a person’s life. Several people’s lives, really, the birthing parent, their partner, and the baby!

But the sad truth is, I just can’t afford to also retrain/recertify in postpartum right now. I want to, but I spent so much money on trainings with T-O-O-T-S-N-B-N* last year, there’s just nothing left. Which frankly, really SUCKS.  I just feel like there’s a lot more to learn so I’m trying to get in to skills workshops as I can. TO that end, I took advantage of a one day training with Giuditta Tornetta here in LA today, an advanced pp skills workshop. It really shifted a lot of my paradigms around new babies and their parents. She reframed so much for me.

I think the biggest thing I took away from today’s workshop was just a sense of reconnection to the humanity of it all. The spiritual and emotional sides of birth-work. The fact that babies are tiny humans and the importance of respect and connection in the way we relate with the people we serve. Which was always why I wanted to be a doula in the first place.

I think it’s not surprising that I completely lost my desire to make art and sunk into such a deep depression last year, it was kind of like I cut myself off entirely from everything rich and soulful and real, in some attempt to make myself over into… hell I have no idea what. But I see the connection and I’m glad to see it. It reminds me that I have a choice about who I want to be and what I want to bring to this work.  It reminds me that there’s something a lot deeper and I just forgot that I could tap into it if I wanted.

I feel so humbled and grateful to have essentially a second chance, to start over, and to be making connections with such amazing people in my local birth community.

(*the other organization that shall not be named)

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October might be shaping up to be a little bit crazy! Along with getting married (!!!) and having a honeymoon, I’ll be attending the ProDoula Conference in Kansas City and expanding my professional world a little bit. So of course, October seems like the perfect time to schedule in (on top of folding 1001 origami cranes and crafting all the other wedding decorations) participating in a planner challenge. If you’re interested in playing along at home, the challenge is being hosted over on Instagram by @boho.berry, @prettyprintsandpaper, and @tinyrayofsunshine. You can find and follow at @PlanWithMeChallenge.

Because you definitely need to plan this much shit out.


I have to admit that I’m a little bit of a planner junkie, and finding the right system is something I’m always refining. I also really suck at sticking to it so I’m taking the next 90 days and focusing on making it a daily habit. Pretty sure my doula business, certifications, and other projects will thank me. Finding a planner setup that I like has been a slog. I’ve tried SO many planners (please don’t recommend any, I promise you that if it’s a popular planner on the market, it’s 99% sure that I’ve already tried it) and I think I finally found my Holy Grail system of both short and long term planning.

I’m a big fan of the Bullet Journal system but I absolutely suck at doing my daily planning in the BuJo because I get really distracted by all the things. I like going back to read collections and look at the shiny future planning and project tracking. Love the doodles and decorating and creative aspect you can work in if you choose. It’s really hard not to get enthralled by the shiny in my BuJo. Easier to migrate the details (like people’s birthdays) over to a smaller planner for the daily.

The Daily Action Planner is simple, doesn’t include a lot of fluff and nonsense, has monthly, weekly, and daily spreads, easy tabs, plenty of room for a daily brain dump, and no wasted space on things I don’t want. It is a nice A5 size, plenty of room but not too much room. This notebook lets me focus on taking action and accomplishing tasks in the short term and that’s super helpful.

Carrying multiple notebooks is a pain in the ass though, and to that end I love the idea of using a modular Traveler’s Notebook system to keep it under control. After much research, I’ve decided that the Chic Sparrow “Mr. Darcy (size A5, in burgundy)” is the best option to keep my DAP notebook, BuJo, and other smaller modules collected. I have promised myself that if I keep this up for 90 days, I get to buy Mr. Darcy as a reward in January.

After the apathy and depression and disorganization of the last few years, after the chaos of trying to run Honey&Ollie, work the Faire circuit, and get the doula thing off the ground, it feels good to feel like some of the brain fog is lifting. I guess some of us need a little external organizational assistance in our lives to get shit done.

And with a wedding in 2 and a half weeks, I have a LOT of shit to get done!



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Captain Sexypants and I rolled back into Los Angeles last night, exhausted but happy after an intensive 3 day workshop in metal fabrication at Revere Academy in San Francisco. Our instructor, the awesome Karen Sprague, is a master metalsmith who has been teaching for over 20 years, and wow did we learn a TON of great stuff from her in the 3 days we were there. I also met Alan Revere, more’n a little fangirl squee going on there, let me tell you. Along the way we stopped for kittens, friends, great food, and some post-metal-smithing-pampering at a spa. And as if that weren’t enough, we got two days of camping in the gorgeous, autumn hued, Santa Cruz mountains and then a leisurely drive down the California coast, with a stop in my favorite little town, Cambria. By the time we got home, we were exhausted but so happy. Truly I am kind of in this euphoric daze of, “Wow I love my life!” this morning.


Anytime you go out of town, it helps if you wind up staying with kittens.


We got to stay with my friend Miss Kimberly, of Miss Kimberly’s Finishing And Sweetening Academy For Wayward Kittens, and right now she’s pretty full up. Gandalf, pictured above, was in pretty poor shape when Kimberly got him, but he seems to be really coming around.


Here, Tommy (who is actually still kitten sized, believe me) is keeping two of the tinies warm while he sleeps.


Each morning we’d head off to BART (the local train system) and head into the City for class. It started pretty early. We were seriously grateful for the drive thru Starbucks on the way to BART, and the Starbucks downstairs from our classroom. On the second day we found some truly epic local coffee around the corner. Whether by the Mermaid or something roasted a bit closer to home, we kept ourselves pretty well fueled.



The weather in San Francisco was fairly amazing the entire time we were there. Balmy, warm, with comfortable temps even into the evenings. I’d packed a ton of stuff to layer but honestly didn’t really need it. I tell ya, if you’re going to visit San Francisco, you can do worse than during their glorious Indian Summer!


Lotta crazy in San Francisco, though they’ve cleaned up the downtown/financial district a whole lot since my teen years (which is really the last time I spent any real time in San Francisco.)


Sometimes it was really beautiful, even if it was a bit cracked.

I was grateful for the chance to revisit the City, bash around and explore a bit. The Bay Area has changed a lot since I’d lived there last, but a lot of it is the same. The bones are not any different. People are still people. My boots did more’n a little walking and exploring and I found my heart expanding maybe three sizes as I fell back in love with the town I left a long time ago. From little old men with sandwich boards to homeless men sleeping on the street, the crazy shouting kid on the corner and the women singing gospel on BART, I loved and blessed them all.


So why did we go? Why did we spend ALL that money, close the store for two whole days (oooh the lost revenue), and take all that time to go to Revere (when there are perfectly good places to learn these things at home?) Well… I invested the time and money (a lot of money) into taking this particular class in this particular place because it’s simply the very best place you can go to learn. I did it because improving in this craft really matters to me and I don’t have time to waste.

While I enjoy the wire wrapping and metal clay aspects of my art and I enjoy the jewelry I have been making, there’s so much more. So many things I see in my head that I can’t execute. Things I want to make. Frankly, my work just isn’t good enough yet to make me happy. I’m not there yet. Still striving. So much to master. It’s a lifelong journey and I’d started to plateau. Frankly? I was bored and dissatisfied.

Adding some traditional metalsmithing to the mix excites me, not to mention the joy of learning to do something well. I guess I come from a long line of folks who get excited by tools – woodworkers, machinists, you name it. My dad has always worked with wood. Now he makes fiddles in his spare time and my grandpa, well there wasn’t much that he didn’t make with his hands. It may have taken me a few years to find my niche, but it’s oddly comforting that the family tradition actually does run true. It makes me feel closer to my roots, to pick up a metal saw or file and ring clamp. It connects me back to something I didn’t think I could claim as my own for so many years.

I took this class because I want more.

It is really, really, really okay to want more, by the way. It’s good to strive.

I tell you, I’ve never been so filled with fear, apprehension, worry, joy, and exhiliration as I was when I sat down at the bench and stared at this battered up bench pin. It was comforting to me to see the saw marks and drill holes, the file scuffs and wear. It meant I was in good company. I stopped being scared pretty darn fast.


It is really good to set your feet on the path and know you are moving in the right direction.

Tomorrow, a bit more about the actual class itself.

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