Thursday, February 27, 1997
12 pm. First Session with Christina Herald. Christina arrived a bit late for our session but in high spirits, as though this was some great new adventure that she was embarking on. She is a young woman, almost 23, small and lively, with shoulder length brown hair and large hazel eyes. Her face is round and dimples when she smiles, which is often. Her eyes are expressive, and her face is extremely animated, showing her quickly changing emotions clearly. Her face could almost be called cherubic if it weren't for the glint of wicked intelligence in her gaze, and the slightly cynical tilt to her smile. There are shadowed circles under her eyes, indicating a serious lack of sleep which was her initial complaint when she phoned for the appointment. She was dressed casually, in a long broomstick pleated skirt and a t-shirt, with Birkenstock sandals on her feet and carrying a backpack. She is a graduate student in education at the University of California at Berkeley; I guess you could call her outfit Berkeley Basic. Her hair is tied back in a ponytail. She speaks rapidly, almost with a hint of challenge underneath her words as though she's ready to defend her point of view at any moment. She was thoughtful and serious when she discussed her panic attacks, almost self-recriminating. Christina seemed very curious about me and my office. I saw her carefully survey all of the items in the office. Evidently she satisfied herself eventually because she became quite focused towards the end of our session together. Christina describes herself as both assertive and bossy. She worries that she will alienate people because of her directness, to the point of interrupting herself to ask whether an innocuous remark of hers has somehow offended. But Christina was quite willing to jump to the heart of her complaints with little prompting. Christina has been suffering what she describes as panic attacks since she was 15. Apparently aggrevated by being away from home and by caffeine, she nevertheless suffers them when her life is otherwise seemingly well ordered. The panic attacks are sometimes accompanied by claustrophobia but not always. They do, however, always involve a cardiac component. She suffers heart palpitations, pounding heart, and accelerated heart rate. She also describes nausea or a smothering sensation, and a feeling of dizziness. Although agoraphobia is sometimes linked to panic disorder, Christina reports no symptoms suggesting this. Although Christina reports that her panic attacks last for hours, I suspect that they follow a standard pattern--a sudden onset of the attack which peaks within minutes and persists for a duration of between five and thirty minutes. Her report of symptoms of longer duration probably represents either a recurrence of panic or mild symptoms that continue after the attack. Christina believes that her condition may be hereditary as she shares them with her female relatives. I note that there are some twin studies which suggest that she might be right. Apparently there was approximately higher concordance rate for anxiety disorder among monozygotic twins than dizygotic twins--45% compared to about 15%. I will confirm my observations during our next session, but then I will want to send Christina to a good internist to rule out possible physical disorders which could mimic panic disorder--hyperthyroidism or supraventricular tachycardia come to mind. I should also explore Christina's willingness to explore somatic options: I've had very good results with serotonin reuptake inhibitors. At a minimum, Christina's caffeine intake should be lowered--the anxiogenic effects often exacerbate the disorder. And I bet that Christina is drinking espressos at Caffe Roma or buying her coffee at Peets--which would have a much higher caffeine level than the 50-150 mg. commonly quoted as in a cup of coffee. I gave Christina some standard Relaxation Training exercises, mostly for her insomnia. Christina's previous experience with a psychologist counselor was somewhat unsatisfactory and she did not continue beyond one session. I'm hopeful that she will return next week as she promised because I think I can really give her some relief.

Thursday, March 6, 1997
10:51 am. Telephone Conversation with Christina Herald. Christina called to cancel her appointment citing the press of school work. She was breathless, jittery, and agitated in her speech and affect. I asked her if she had been drinking a lot of coffee and, after first denying it, she admitted that she had. From the background noises I could hear over the phone, apparently she was calling me from the espresso bar. She said that she's been joking with the servers that she should just have an IV drip set up to administer the caffeine more readily. But I'm afraid she might really be suffering from caffeine-induced mania leading to panic disorder. I advised her to drink a lot of water and do some exercise to try to flush the caffeine out of her system as soon as possible. My sense, though, is she might try these measures after she's had just one more cup of espresso for the road.

Thursday, March 13, 1997
12 pm. Second Session with Christina Herald. Chris arrived for the session with her hair wet, dressed in jeans and a gray sweatshirt. I thought the emblem on the shirt was a college crest until, on closer inspection, I saw that it said "Psychotic State University." I think I should put in a supply of the shirts. Christina's emotional lability was high during today's session. While maintaining her constant movements, she ranges from calm and reflective when she talks about her ex-boyfriend Kevin to disgusted and angry when she talks about her father and stepmother. Apparently, Christina initiated a break-up with Kevin, who she describes as both gorgeous and good in bed, because he wasn't intellectually challenging. However, he is clearly a trigger for some of her panic attacks and she seemed emotionally exposed when talking about him--I sense that there are some unresolved issues surrounding that relationship. He was not merely the romantic diversion that I believe she is trying to imply. Christina described her fractured family life. Christina was an only child until her mother and father divorced and her father remarried Joanne who had a daughter, Monica. Together her father and Joanne had a son, Jonathan. Christina is clearly hostile to both Joanne and Monica (she believes both to be vapid) while she feels a protectiveness towards Jonathan, who seems weaker than she. Christina was clearly proud of Jonathan when he took a rare stand against his father over his choice of career. Christina also rushed to Jonathan's defense. Her father wishes Jonathan to take up business or law--a profession that would be valuable in a corporate environment. Jonathan wishes to go into veterinary medicine. Christina describes her father--Herald the Horrible is a nickname around the office--as a soulless control freak. After the conflict with her father, Christina made it home before having another attack. We talked about the genetic basis for panic disorder and I suggested that Christina think about the possibility of somatic treatment. Christina is hesitant to take drugs. She feels that she has her quota already with caffeine and nicotine. I asked her to make an appointment with an internist and recommended Doug Halsey. I'll call Doug to make sure that he concentrates on conditions which could lead to a differential diagnosis such as hyperthyroidism, hyperparathyroidism, pheochromocytoma, diseases of the vestibular nerve, hypoglycemia, mitral valve prolapse, and supraventricular tachycardia.

Thursday, March 27, 1997
12 pm. Third Session with Christina Herald. Christina apologized profusely for missing her last session. She told a tale of woe that involved her ex-boyfriend Kevin using guilt to convince her to lend him her car. He used the car to go on a drinking spree which ended with the car being totaled and his being arrested for driving while intoxicated. She spent the next morning at the police station instead of on my couch. I told her that I had spoken with Doug Halsey and that she is in good health. Christina even indicated that she was cutting down on her caffeine intake. I asked Christina to take a California Personality Inventory exam. Christina brought her cat Lancelot into the session, hiding it under a coat in a little animal carrier. I didn't even know it was there until it started making these horrible strange animal cries, completely uncatlike but very angry. When I first heard it, I thought of something being strangled. It's a cute thing though; a gray kitten about 2 months old. During the rest of the session, it wandered around my office, sniffing at things and actually very well behaved and completely harmless. In any case, Christina still keeps a record of her panic attacks, although she didn't show it to me today. But she told me of an incident which has added to her stress levels. Her younger brother Jonny, who looks up to Christina as an understanding and doting big sister, came over to dinner and then announced that he was a homosexual. Christina didn't have a particular problem with that, and they spent an hour talking about the "juicy bits" of male celebrities. The stress came when Jonny pleaded with Christina that she be the one to tell her father that he is gay after he has left for college in Minnesota. Christina tried to beg off, but she herself sees the logic in Jonny's choice of a messenger. Christina, though, feels herself buried under the bulk of other people's problems. She sees herself as a person who copes--who deals with problems instead of just whining about them. But that approach isn't without its drawbacks for her--witness the panic attacks. Not unlike her father, actually, Christina is obsessed with success and control. She told a story about publicly vilifying a professor who had just given her an A minus on a paper. Minus! How dare he gave her a minus! She surprised me at the end of the session by saying something nice about Kevin, whom I thought she was thoroughly disgusted with even prior to his totaling her car. She said that she left him because, although he was pretty good as a romantic partner, he didn't match her fantasy ideal, and she doesn't want to be bound to someone else when that perfect mate arrives in her life.

Thursday, April 3, 1997
12 pm. Fourth Session with Christina Herald. Christina arrived in something that seemed almost like a daze in the beginning of our session. But surprisingly, she seemed well-rested and her complexion seemed to have lost that sallow look. She really is quite attractive, when she regains that impish joviality that seems to most typify her personality. She quite purposefully avoided talking about Kevin, who is presumably languishing in jail somewhere unless he has raised bail. Instead, she seems to be beginning a romantic attachment to someone named Malcolm who accompanied her to the session and waited in the outside room. I caught a glimpse of him as I was saying goodbye to Christina. He is an impossibly tall man with short black hair, a goatee, numerous body piercings and an impressively muscled physique. My impression of his personality was that he was somewhat gloomy and forbidding. The mental image of him and Christina together in a romantic way is somewhat ludicrous, but it's probably best not to dwell on that. We talked mostly about the amount of activity, both physical and emotional, which Christina is taking on herself. Although she's cut back on caffeine, far from shedding some of her responsibilities, she is taking on more--to an impossible degree. The professor whom she has always reviled had a heart attack and, while recuperating, settled on her as his choice of teaching assistant. It appears that they really have a substantial mutual fondness for each other, which they each do the best to mask through vociferous arguments. But a full time academic schedule, coupled with her assistant manager position at the bookstore, and now her work as a teaching assistant--not to mention the emotional demands which Kevin and Jonny and her father are all placing on her--all are conspiring to increase her panic disorder.

Thursday, April 10, 1997
12 pm. Fifth Session with Christina Herald. This was a strange session. Christina started almost buoyant and yet soon fell into a sullen reverie. She was surly and generally uncooperative. She snapped at me when I tried to probe beneath this bland, completely atypical mask that she had assumed. She fended off any questions about her intimate relationships, referring to them as relating to her sex life which she claims makes a certain kind of sense to her. She took this attitude even though it seems that she is being ineptly stalked by her ex-boyfriend Kevin. In fact, Malcolm, that dour stick man from last week, actually assaulted Kevin outside of Christina's apartment building. Her tone when talking about Malcolm is especially guarded, as though she is almost afraid of the reaction that any details will elicit. Instead, Christina launched into a discussion of the duality of her nature--an impetus towards art (writing) versus one towards practicality (teaching). She sees her artistic side as related to her mother, who left her family when Christina was three years old to pursue a career as a theatrical wardrobe mistress. And she sees her practical side as owing to her father, whom she described with a certain degree of sympathy given his predicament of being left with a three year old daughter to raise alone. She's afraid that the practical can subsume the artistic--indeed, she had to make an effort to begin writing again, jealous of the time it took from learning how to teach. Christina's hands looked like they had been scratched up, probably from kitten claws. She is now wearing a new ring on her thumb that has a black stone. I'm no expert, but it doesn't look like onyx--rather it has that lava glass look that I equate with obsidian. But I've never heard of obsidian being used for rings before because it chips so easily. Christina has been relatively free of her panic attacks recently, although she's afraid that this might be the calm before the storm, which she's anticipating around the time of her finals. I felt that Christina had some real issues that were troubling her during this session that she felt the need to hide from me, for reasons that I can't fathom. But her mood of happy cheerfulness at the beginning of the session seems, in retrospect, to be almost certainly consciously assumed as an attempt to shield her true conflicts. And it does look like Christina could use a vacation.

Thursday, April 17, 1997
12 pm. Sixth Session with Christina Herald. Christina was in quite an ebullient mood during our session today. She's given glimpses of this mood before, but she is really quite endearing when she's relaxed and in a good mood. Her attitude and manner was much more conversational and friendly this time. Funny and intelligent, with a penchant for goofiness, I even detected that she was wearing make-up! I had left the office for a candy bar just before our session, and when I returned, she was on the couch with her shoes off and her feet up, blowing bubbles out of one of those red plastic bubble pipes. Atrociously imitating Sigmund Freud, she started doing psychiatry shtick. At the end of the session, she presented me with the pipe. I was pleased that Christina is feeling so comfortable in my presence. Anyway, we soon moved into her family relations, including those relatives from both her mother and father's sides. Without going into detail, Christina has a good relationship with her mother's sister Sarah, who served as a surrogate mother during part of Christina's childhood. Sarah is a computer freak and has something of a private computer museum, keeping her old models up and running. She has a poor relationship with her step-mother Joanna, whom she thinks of as an idiot. She has a cousin Gavin, Sarah's son, that she likes as well. Her mother's mother, Grandma Strauss, is apparently an old lady who spouts German invective and isn't particularly concerned about tact. Except for her paternal grandparents, her father's large Canadian family she doesn't much care for. One exception is her father's maternal grandfather, Great-Grandpa Maguire. He is from Ireland, taught Christina some Gaelic--probably mostly Gaelic curses--and together they villify other family members. Christina talked a bit more about Malcolm this week. He seems a somewhat dangerous fellow, actually. A hot-head trained in the martial arts, my guess is that he seriously assaulted Kevin several weeks ago for calling Christina from the public phone across the street from her apartment. That same night was the first, and apparently only, time when Christina and Malcolm have had sexual relations. I questioned her about safe sex, but Christina told me that she is extremely careful on that score. Apparently, she has terrified her gay brother as well into safer sexual practices. Jonny prefers taking the dominant role in his relationships, which Christina believes makes him less likely to contract AIDs, although she still insists that he take thorough precautions. Christina's relationship with Malcolm sounds quite out of the ordinary. At the end of the session, he appeared in my waiting room. Christina reacted as if she was not expecting him, and not overjoyed to see him there. Christina is tired of being treated as a simpering rescued maiden, as she put it, by the males in her life. She wants to be the hero of her own journey.

Thursday, April 24, 1997
12 pm. Seventh Session with Christina Herald. Christina came in today, quite relaxed and was voluble. She said she was hungry and brought in a huge plastic bag filled with Chinese take-out, which she proceeded to eat with gusto. I noticed that she used her chopsticks with a great deal of expertise, not spilling a drop on her white blouse. She still seemed tired, but didn't have the dark circles she used to. I also noted a reddish mark on her shoulder, near the neckline of her shirt. Not a hickey, it looked more like a bite, presumably inflicted by Malcolm. Does the guy think he's Dracula, or what? Christina's Grandma Strauss arrived in town and moved in during her visit. When Malcolm walked in without knocking one evening while Christina was out, Grandma Strauss brandished a kitchen cleaver and drove him from the apartment. Christina confirmed that Malcolm is indeed the same Malcolm that Eliza Raven told me was the ex-boyfriend of the promiscuous band member, Camille. Indeed, Malcolm is going together with Christina and Jonny to the concert tomorrow. Given Camille's pregnancy, and the fact that it has been ascribed to Malcolm, who is still unaware, there could be some fireworks in addition to the music. The obsidian ring that Christina wears on her thumb is Malcolm's, and with the ring, he seems to feel that he has legal claim to Christina. Malcolm has some sort of criminal past in New York, and is probably a fugitive. Christina had no details, and couldn't even rule out the possibility that Malcolm had committed a murder. But Christina justifies her continued relationship with him as a walk on the wild side, prior to settling down to a life of domestication, Christina style. Christina slipped in her anti-caffeine resolve--"dove into a lake of cappuccino," as she puts it. In any case, Christina left me a notebook that has a week's worth of journal entries in it.

Thursday, April 24, 1997
Christina's Journal Entries for April 17 to April 23, 1997. Christina's journal entries reveals that she writes much as she talks--very fluidly and with a conversational style, she jumps from item to item, almost as if she was writing a letter to a friend. She reveals that she is a bit frightened of Malcolm, and realizes that she should terminate the relationship, even while she is feeling stimulated by the rush of danger. She also had tea with her mentor, Professor Carmichael, who is now home from the hospital. She credits his heart attack with making her realize how important he has been to her education. The tea went well. Grandma Strauss arrived like a German whirlwind in Christina's life, madly cleaning everywhere and, in the process, misplacing a number of Christina's papers. But Christina ultimately describes her as easy to live with. And Christina describes breaking her caffeine fast and finding herself having a temper tantrum and a panic attack. Apparently, too, I've become her conscience. She keeps saying, "Doc is going to be disappointed in me."

Tuesday, April 29, 1997
12 pm. Ninth Session with Eliza Raven relating to Christina Herald. In a series of bizarre coincidences, Eliza hooked up separately at her concert with two of my other patients, Peter Hossfeld and Christina Herald. Christina came as Malcolm's girlfriend. Apparently, Eliza's best friend was Camille--the spiky-haired lead guitar player who was elaborately pierced in every conceivable place. Camille had a relationship with Malcolm. Now Camille is claiming to be three months pregnant with Malcolm's child, and she dropped this bombshell on him after the concert on Friday, in Christina's presence. Malcolm's reaction was ugly enough to inspire Luke to call the police, who took Malcolm away in handcuffs. In the tumult, Camille inflicted a blow to Eliza's face which was still visible. Eliza also said that Malcolm's girlfriend, Christina, was left somewhat shaken by the night's events. Eliza gave her e-mail address to Christina so that she could fill her in on Malcolm. Looks like Christina will be in particular need for my assistance on Thursday.

Thursday, May 1, 1997
12 pm. Eighth Session with Christina Herald. Christina thinks of herself as completely invulnerable, and yet she has found herself shaken by circumstances that were clearly beyond her control. Her flirtation with her dark side, through "bad boy" Malcolm, has injured her pride, I think, more than anything else. Christina went with Malcolm and Jonny to the rock concert that Eliza's group put on Friday night. As Eliza told me during her last session, Malcolm and Camille--the "underage chit" as Christina calls her when she's being charitable--had their fight and Malcolm was arrested and taken away in handcuffs. Christina went back to the apartment of one of the band members--Anders--and got quite drunk. She passed out there until two the following afternoon. When she finally got home, she had to comfort her terrified grandmother, who'd assumed that she had been murdered by Malcolm. The members of the band, including Eliza, told Christina a lot of information about Malcolm, and all of it was quite unpleasant. Malcolm believes that he now owns Christina--the ring which he gave to her is a sign of his ownership and she is not free to return it to him of her own accord. And Eliza, now communicating with Christina via e-mail, told her that Malcolm was a suspect in the murder of his fiancée in New York, who was apparently found with her neck broken on the floor of her parent's living room. And, so the story goes, the prospective father-in-law was extremely rich and believed that Malcolm had committed the crime. Malcolm fled New York, but told Eliza that he was innocent and that the girl's father had Mafia connections which had actually committed the crime. I find this story almost impossible to believe. Malcolm now sports far too high a profile to be a fugitive. And, if the father was really as wealthy as all that, he would have supplemented the police's efforts in locating Malcolm and extraditing him back to New York. Furthermore, how would Eliza and her group have all this information? Would he have volunteered it? Did they know him from his New York days?--hardly consistent with a fugitive cutting his ties with his past. Hiding in California from troubles in New York is not a very effective means of eluding authorities. Most of the people here seem to be ex-New Yorkers--like me. I suspect that Malcolm is burnishing his image by carefully creating a colorful persona. And Christina seems to find the dark side of him to be his most attractive feature. I'm not sure that if he was the computer science college graduate he is supposed to actually be, that she would find him particularly appealing. She seems all too eager to believe, to be thrilled by and then to forgive him his past. At one point during the session, Christina cried, although she quickly recovered and brought herself firmly under control. It was quite a contrast to her usual cheerfully tough attitude, and revealed quite a bit of the vulnerability that I know she has been feeling, but which she normally cloaks under her arrogant good cheer.

10 am. Third Session with Decker Jenkins relating to Christina Herald. By the weirdest coincidence, this is the second time in a week that one of my patients has become romantically interested in one of my other patients, and neither of them involve contacts through SII. Decker told me about this girl who came into the bar and won his heart by ordering a double bock, which they didn't have. I remembered Christina Herald telling me how disappointed she was that some bar didn't have double bock. He then floored me by saying that her name was Chris. She talked to him in a friendly way at the bar, but I assume she has no idea of the conquest she's made.

Thursday, May 8, 1997
12 pm. Ninth Session with Christina Herald. Christina got her hair cut and it certainly alters her appearance. She appears much older and more sophisticated with her chin-length short hair, although she still has ringlets. She referenced Little Orphan Annie, but she doesn't look it. Christina's most serious dilemma is with Malcolm, whom she slept with again. She didn't start out to, but it sort of happened while he was making his apologies. Christina is having a hard time reconciling the Malcolm she knows with what she has been told about his past and his run from justice. After their night of passion, Christina fell asleep and didn't wake up until after Malcolm had gone to work. She overheard the answering machine pick up a call from someone who appeared to be Malcolm's mother, and she played the message back so many times that she memorized it. The woman, an older New Yorker, was leaving a message for her son Michael. The gist was that she was happy that he now had a girlfriend after his two years of grieving. Christina doesn't know what to think. On the one hand, the fact that his name isn't Malcolm but Michael and the reference to grieving add credibility to Eliza's story about the murder of his fiancée. On the other hand, not many people on the run from the police and the Mafia are likely to have their mother calling them long distance, expecting return calls as a matter of course. I suggested that Malcolm might actually have suffered some tragedy in New York and felt a need to leave those memories behind and create a new persona with some extra mythology as a way of dealing with that tragedy. I think that Christina had already come to a similar conclusion. I told her that she was going to have to confront this issue with Malcolm if she wanted to continue her relationship with him. But Christina doesn't know which direction she wants that relationship to go. Christina met Eliza for lunch yesterday. I hope that I don't end up with conflicts between them. Today, she was met at my office by her aunt Sarah and cousin Gavin. As they strode off down the hallway, arm and arm, they looked like a very close-knit family.

Wednesday, May 14, 1997
Christina begged off from attending her session tomorrow because she is in the midst of finals. I wished her well and we agreed that she'd come in the following week.

Thursday, May 22, 1997
12 pm. Tenth Session with Christina Herald. This was a very interesting session. Christina came face to face with her bad boy fascination and found that it was merely an act. Malcolm turns out to really be Michael, a computer science graduate who works at SII. Behind the dour, dark facade, he is just a normal guy who genuinely likes Christina. In fact, she seems to be the first person to penetrate his mask since the very real tragedy that involved the murder of his fiancée in New York. But, contrary to the story, he had nothing to do with that killing and wasn't even a suspect. He did move west and change his character to try to start again. And after an interlude with Camille, he found Christina. Although Malcolm née Michael still possesses some violent impulses, I found myself feeling sorry for him. I think he really does love Christina and he was worried that if he lowered his mask, she would lose interest in him. And, in fact, that's pretty much what happened. Christina was interested in Malcolm, the bad boy who titillated her darker side, rather than Michael, the ordinary man under the mask. Christina has now graduated and she describes a continuing sense that there is one last paper to write or one last class to take. Christina analogized the sensation to the phantom limb phenomenon--she still has that nagging sense that something about school needs appeasement. For myself, I remember that for months after taking the boards, I had anxiety dreams where I hadn't completed some requirement regarding the endocrine system or something. Anyway, Christina's family gathered, reunion-style, to celebrate both Christina and Jonny's graduations. Unfortunately, Christina's graduation party was not everything she could have desired. When her family got together, a family secret slipped out and became a catalyst for a lot of anger, yelling, and screaming. Christina's Dad had carried on an affair with his ex-wife's sister, resulting in the birth of Gavin. So Christina found out that her cousin, to whom she has always been close, is really her half-brother. In a manner somewhat reminiscent to particle physics--where particles are slammed together and what flies out is analyzed for clues as to their internal structure--the various participants reaction to the surprise family disclosure strongly illuminates the characters and dynamics of Christina's relations.

Monday, May 26, 1997
10:30 pm. I visited Eliza in the hospital (related to Christina Herald). I got a call from a Slavic sounding man who identified himself as Eliza's father and told me that she was in the hospital asking for me. I hurried down to the CPMC Cherry Street campus, and found Eliza in the cardiac ward. Apparently, she had been complaining of sharp, undifferentiated pains in various parts of her body and someone thought she might be having a heart attack when she was admitted. She wasn't. This evening, she was having a party at her mother's mansion mostly for the purpose of allowing her to introduce her new friend, Christina Herald, to Peter Hossfeld. Well, seeing Peter at the house must have been too much for Luke, who burst in and started to bodily threaten Eliza. Peter intervened and got Luke away from Eliza, and Luke assaulted Peter. Malcolm happened to arrive in what must have been either an extremely provident coincidence, or Christina is dating Malcolm again. Anyway, his martial arts skills came in handy to immobilize Luke until the police arrived. So Eliza has her restraining order, after all. Eliza wasn't hospitalized as a result of the assault by Luke, although her pains might have been triggered by the assault. I talked to the attending physician, a Dr. Culter whom I didn't know. He said that Eliza's pains were probably a reaction to the shock she experienced. He planned to hold her overnight and then release her in the morning.

Tuesday, May 27, 1997
12 pm. Thirteenth Session with Eliza Raven relating to Christina Herald. Eliza was released from the hospital and came to our session at her usual time. She admitted that she had tricked me into disclosing that Christina Herald was my patient--annoying, but I saw no reason to make a big deal about it. Christina strikes me as the type of woman who would have freely told Eliza the name of her therapist. The revelation which is most sensitive to most patients is the fact of undergoing therapy at all, which Christina freely discussed in her conversations with Eliza. At any rate, Eliza threatened to conspire with her new friend Christina to fix me up on a date. My experiences with blind dates have left me less than ecstatic over the prospect. Eliza described in a bit more detail the events at her Memorial Day soirée yesterday. It turns out that Malcolm was there through a romantic effort by Anders to reunite Christina with Malcolm. Eliza doesn't think it likely that Christina will take Malcolm back--both Christina and Eliza feel angry that they were lied to by Malcolm, although Eliza feels grateful that Malcolm saved Peter yesterday.

Wednesday, May 28, 1997
4 pm. Sixth Session with Katherine Lippard relating to Christina Herald. Katherine has made her peace with Frank Herald. She had the talk that I urged her to have and found that Frank, far from setting her up as the scapegoat, has really just been distracted with family problems--specifically the revelations that Christina Herald told me about the undisclosed half brother that her father had with her aunt.

Thursday, May 29, 1997
12 pm. Eleventh Session with Christina Herald. Christina came in sporting an impressive black eye. Although I already knew the story from Eliza, I had to pretend that I did not. Luke hit Christina while she was at Eliza's house to meet Peter. Luke burst in and assaulted the people there--especially Peter, whose injuries I haven't heard about yet. But Malcolm rushing in like a knight in shining armor didn't hurt his cause with Christina. In fact, Christina found herself seeking his comfort in the lobby of the hospital when she finally allowed herself to feel the events of the evening. Her reaction to the events in Eliza's house could best be described as almost amused, even given her painful eye. Christina is still very defensive about how she feels about Malcolm although she is starting to be a bit more honest with herself. I think that she is afraid of falling in love with him--but it might be too late for her. Christina told me that her brother is dating Greg, and their romance seems to be blossoming, and she told me a bit about her new job. She has a principal, Mr. Gottleib, who seems like he is drawn from central casting--if one requests an over-the-top parody of a lisping nerd. And she told me about a history teacher, Aaron Fraiser, who she liked but also thought was very familiar--but she couldn't quite place him. Christina is moving to her aunt's condo--which sounds more like a divided house than an apartment. She seems happy about the move. And she finally got her cat spayed.

Thursday, June 12, 1997
12 pm. Twelfth Session with Christina Herald. We talked about five themes running through Christina's busy life--her teacher, her brother, her parents, her boyfriend, and her house. I almost get the impression that Christina is so busy reacting to all the events swirling around her that she has little time to figure out how she feels about all of them. She seemed extremely wound up during this session, jumping from subject to subject. I also noted that she was a bit sunburned on the tip of her nose and her cheeks. She also might have colored the ends of her hair a slight golden color--it looks nice, actually. She told me that she became a sort of nurse to professor Carmichael who fell and broke a leg. She waited on him a bit and sneaked pizza into the hospital. It seems he also has a fondness for daytime soap operas. Her brother, motivated by his love for Greg, finally told her father that he was gay, and her father took it exceptional well. Herald the Horrible was supportive, accepting, and tender. On the other hand, his wife--Jonny's stepmother--was not. Apparently--not speaking technically--she blew a gasket. The venom she spewed in Jonny's direction so enraged his father that he ordered her out of the house. Christina assumes that they are going to get a divorce, though I've seen breakups like this reconcile countless times before. Christina, on the verge of what she assumes is their parents' separation, actually bonded with Monica--Joanna's daughter. And she said that she feels that she underestimated her father. At least Christina doesn't have the sole obligation of telling her father about Jonny's sexual preferences. Christina and Malcolm are tentatively beginning to date again, although Christina believes that there is something missing either in Malcolm or in their relationship. She thinks of it like a missing jigsaw puzzle piece, and she needs to find it before she'll really feel comfortable with Malcolm. She said that she felt its lack even prior to the destruction of Malcolm's facade. And Christina told me about an old relationship she had during college with a man named Kurt whom she believes suffered from delusional schizophrenia. And although Christina knows that it sounds crazy, she thinks that she may have a ghost living in the house that she's renting from her Aunt. The disturbances that she mentioned, however, just sounded like some of the peculiarities common to old houses.

Thursday, June 19, 1997
12 pm. Thirteenth Session with Christina Herald. Chris breezes in wearing a tall, stovepipe hat that is patchworked in about a hundred different colors and fabrics. As if she owns the place, she flops down on the couch, pulling her feet out of the sandals she's wearing and resting them on the couch's arm. It is nearly impossible to be irritated with her when she's like this, though. Again, her impish joviality seems to be riding herd over her personality today. She is wearing a t-shirt with the picture of Einstein with his tongue stuck out screened on it, and cutoff shorts. Even in this decidedly casual dress, she still has the slightly different edge to her attitude. As I mentioned during the session, she's a woman rather than a girl, student, whatever. She tosses the hat onto the couch after a while, leaning forward with interest. She's relaxed and friendly, and it's easy to slip into casual conversation and away from the professional mien if one is not paying attention. She maintains the cheerfully exuberant demeanor all through the session, especially when showing me the pictures. Bessa looks extremely attractive, tall and blonde, dressed in black even in a photo shot in the summer sunshine. Jonny and Frank Herald do indeed resemble Chris a lot, Jonny being a clean-cut, curly-haired teenager, thin and wiry, whereas Frank is a short but solid man with silver hair and a mustache. The dimples are unmistakable, though. We spoke of three main subjects: her frustration with the monotonous unoriginality of the high school students' papers on King Lear; a budding friendship with a history teacher co-worker that Christina feels some sexual attraction for, although she's busy repressing those feelings; and her growing relationship with her father. Frank had a barbecue for the express purpose of meeting the boyfriends of both his son and daughter. He seemed to like both Malcolm and Greg. Frank seems to be busy trying to build bridges to his family even while his relationship with his wife seems to be coming to an end.

Thursday, June 26, 1997
12 pm. Fourteenth Session with Christina Herald. Christina came in sporting a tattoo. It was between her shoulder blades, and depicted a Celtic knot in the shape of a circle, about three inches across. The knot is outlined in black, then colored in with blues and greens. I'm not a big tattoo fan, but it actually looked quite nice. It was done on impulse. She spent much of the session lying on the couch on her stomach, with her head propped up in her hands. I guess she didn't want to aggravate the tattoo. Christina began the session tense and upset. She said that she was in a state of relative calm with regard to external events--she seems to require a certain degree of chaos in her life to achieve equilibrium. Christina is thinking of taking a vacation, perhaps to the United Kingdom. She picks that not for it's literary history, as I was expecting, but rather for verdant countryside dotted with sheep. I teased her about the sheep, actually. She would like to see Shakespeare performed at the restored Globe Theatre--I've heard that it's in the center of London, a theater restored to be as it was five hundred years ago. Remarkable, really. Christina questioned whether her continued therapy was really necessary--I got the sense that she was mostly concerned with wasting my time. I told her that I thought that the sessions had continued therapeutic value and that I thought that she had improved a lot--she is not suffering from panic attacks with anywhere near the frequency that she was at the beginning of our sessions together. Near the end of the session, Christina asked me about Eliza, although she was clearly uncomfortable doing so. And I was uncomfortable as well. I really couldn't tell Christina that Eliza was in a psychiatric facility, but Christina was obviously concerned about her physical well-being. I told Christina that Eliza hadn't been physically injured and that her parents would be able to get a letter or present to her. Christina grabbed at the suggestion and tactfully changed the subject.

Thursday, July 10, 1997
12 pm. Fifteenth Session with Christina Herald. Christina started the session by saying that she feels like an outcast now. She had a story to tell, and I let her tell it. It seems that Andrew Fraiser, the co-worker for whom she feels some attraction, was more than just a mere acquaintance back in the Medieval Rec Club high school days. He was Christina's first major romantic involvement. But their relationship had its own Iago--Nicole--who was bent not on fomenting jealousy, but rather misunderstanding. Nicole had introduced the two of them, but she was jealous about the relationship they were forging. So, in the manner of high school miscommunications, she told lies to each of them about how the other felt. She tried to redirect Andrew's affection to herself, became pregnant by him, and they married. They had a son together: Duncan, now five. But their marriage is dissolving in what Christina said is a messy divorce, which includes a custody fight. Christina is getting all this information from Andrew, who now professes to have never really loved Nicole the way that he did Christina. And Christina remembers all the old attraction and has some new feelings as well. But she is wary. She is concerned that he might be in rebound--not wanting to be alone--or that he might be searching for a mother for Duncan. And Christina feels cheated by Nicole; she said that she feels that Nicole took more than just Andrew. In some way, she feels that Duncan should have been her child. But while Christina hasn't reconsumated her relationship with Andrew, they've become physically intimate. Anders walked into the apartment without knocking and became aware of that intimacy. He insists that Christina let Malcolm know about Andrew. And Christina believes that she should tell him as well. But it sounds like she doesn't know just how far she wants to take this relationship with Andrew. She sees Malcolm as stability--ironic considering that she was attracted to him initially because of his "bad boy" qualities--and she sees Andrew as passion. But she wants both in the same man. She doesn't seem ready to dismiss Malcolm just yet--as she put it: "Any man who gives you emeralds is not one to be taken lightly." She was sporting a pair of understated emerald studs to our session. So she has some things to sort out. Fortunately, she's decided to go on vacation--to England to stay with her mother and "Thaddeus the Twink." Although they have mostly been in abeyance, Christina has suffered a couple of panic attacks during the last several days. I told her to lay off the caffeine--she was clearly unhappy with that suggestion--and try to relax. I walked her to the door and she just quickly turned and kissed me on the cheek. It startled me, but she seemed to have a bit of sport at my expense as I grew embarrassed. She said that it was her habit to kiss friends goodbye, and I don't think she was testing my reaction--well, maybe a bit. Mostly, it was her calling attention to my embarrassment that was the test, I think. And if it was a test, I don't think I passed. I didn't realize until she'd gone that she'd forgotten to leave her journal.

Thursday, September 4, 1997
5 pm. Sixteenth Session with Christina Herald. Christina came in after almost a month and a half of absence. She was dressed in a completely new style--like an adult, she informed me. She did look much more like a teacher, and much less like a college student. I didn't notice at first, but she was wearing a diamond engagement ring. She kept regarding it with a wary eye, as though she were wearing a live hand grenade on her finger. Christina is a leader and is caught up in the crises of the lives of her friends. It was a devastating blow to discover that her friends were able to manage during her vacation to England. Their lives went on, even without Christina's management. Christina defines herself in terms of her usefulness to others, so when Malcolm declared that he was the only one who still really needs her, he made just the right pitch. She found it difficult to say no, especially after he issued an ultimatium--marry him or lose him. She claims to love Malcolm--although she admits that he isn't the true passion of her life--but her obvious reaction to the notion of marrying Malcolm is one of feeling trapped and hopeless. I might have stepped over the line, but I advised her not to marry him if the prospect made her so unhappy. She seemed almost freed by my suggestion that she could just say no and her life wouldn't be over. I got a sense at the end of the session that she'll give the ring back to Malcolm. Oh, and as a nice Jewish doctor, I really hate that German thing she does!

Thursday, September 11, 1997
5 pm. Seventeenth Session with Christina Herald. Christina broke it off with Malcolm, and from what she described, it went exceedingly well. But I can't help but remember some of Anders statements implying that Christina was Malcolm's property back when Malcolm was in his "bad boy" phase. It's hard to believe that persona has been completely usurped by one who would criticize Christina's china as inadequate to grace his new house. I suspect that Christina's jubilation over the ease of breaking off her engagement is premature. Christina's father also announced that, after his divorce from Joanne is final, he is going to marry Sarah, Joanne's sister. Christina and the rest of the family are very happy--even Jonny, who is Joanne's and Frank's son, seemed happy by the news. Christina herself seemed as happy as I've ever seen her. She was a bundle of energy and laughter today. Her whole attitude and expression conveyed the utmost joy at her father's upcoming marriage, and her eyes absolutely shone when she talked about seeing her childhood friends again. When she recounted her malt shop visits with her father, her expression was punctuated by a flash of her dimples and a somewhat wistful nostalgia, although the memories still make her smile. She left the session in much the same breezy, jubilant manner that she arrived--it's pretty obvious that she's back in good form. Her clothing even attests to the fact that she felt like herself again. Although still dressed professionally, having just come from work, she wore colors rather than a conservative shade of navy, and her curls were back. She looks much better this way--avoiding all the austere implications of her conversion to adulthood.

Wednesday, September 17, 1997
4 pm. Eighteenth Session with Katherine Lippard relating to Christina Herald. Katherine started the session by talking about her boss, Frank Herald. As I have already learned from his daughter, Christine Herald, Frank is getting married in a few months. But the news of his marriage plans have greatly impressed Katherine. She seems envious of his happiness and position in life. Frank is now where Katherine wants to be in some not too distant future. He had a very good career; he's made a lot of money; he is on the verge of early retirement--as of Christmas, I believe--and he is in love. It's the later that I think Katherine is reacting so strongly to. She sees herself as achieving all that Frank has accomplished and even doing it in a shorter span of time. But she's worried that she won't be able to achieve what she called "freedom." Although Katherine tried to define what she meant by that--using as examples the lives that Phil and Jake lead--she never quite managed it. I believe that what Katherine is really reacting to is her feeling of dissatisfaction with Jake. She watches Frank openly happy, in love, and preparing to spend the rest of his life with his soul mate and I think Katherine is afraid of never experiencing those emotions herself.

Thursday, September 18, 1997
5 pm. Eighteenth Session with Christina Herald. Christina came in a strange mood today. She was a bit cranky and restless and clearly tired. I was tired as well, so we weren't off to a good beginning. But I thought that this might be a good opportunity to sum up what we have accomplished and take stock of Christina's progress. Personally, I believe that Christina has learned how to manage her emotions better and is a lot more sure of herself than when I first met her. And Christina feels the changes, too. She told me that in the last two weeks, she only had two bad panic attacks. The first was during her break-up with Malcolm. And the second attack occurred during a student fight in the school that Christina is teaching. Two rather large students got into a scuffle in front of Christina' class. She felt helpless to stop the fight and had to endure the wait for security to show up. But I suspect that her reaction to both situations was a lot milder than it would have been just a few months ago. What is substantially reduced are panic attacks without obvious external triggers. Christina believes that her panic attacks now are usually triggered by situations in which Christina is out of control or is being forced. After a while in our session, Christina appeared to relax a bit--actually, relax is probably the wrong word. She seemed to visibly sag with the crankiness flowing out of her as though it took too much energy to maintain. She reports being mostly successful in eliminating coffee from her diet and has noticed a positive effect. Christina described to me a recurring dream that she's been having since the age of five. The dream has Christina struggling from the back seat to gain control of a car with no driver. She never gets further than the front passenger seat before waking up. I find it interesting that this dream first occurred at such an early age for Christina. I asked about her home life at that time. She described a fairly rigid structure--set times for dinner, homework, bed time. For most children of that age, structure helps develop a sense of security--an ability to understand and predict what will happen next. Children without a stable regime in their lives usually experience more stress and anxiety. But not so for Christina. She said that her home life made her a "little crazy." Christina also told me that she's been trying to let go of her need to take care of everyone around her. She no longer tries to take on everyone else's problems and to solve them. I'm not sure I believe that. But I'm glad that she notices it as a problem and is trying to resolve it. At the end of our session, Christina gave me a little present--a small stuffed sheep with curly woolen fur--a reference to the sheep jokes that we exchanged before her trip to England.

Thursday, October 2, 1997
5 pm. Nineteenth Session with Christina Herald. Christina showed up with a large paper plate of cookies today. She baked them herself--oatmeal with crushed hazelnuts and toffee pieces. Despite their looks, they were very good actually. I guess Chris is trying to take care of me--last week, she kept urging me to get a cat, and this time cookies. I didn't know I was such a sorry case. Chris was in a good mood today--upbeat and in her usual tempo. It didn't take her long to get over her broken engagement with Malcom. She had a pretty nasty cough. But when I asked if she'd seen a doctor yet, Chris just brushed me off--it was bronchitis, she thought, but now she's better. Moreover, she admitted to smoking cigarettes through her whole illness. I was going to preach the virtues of quitting smoking, but it was clear that Chris was not receptive to that lecture at the moment. As always, she'll quit when she's good and ready. She said that a student had spied a tattoo on Chris's back and she was worried that it would get back to the principal. I said that many people her age have tattoos and are now in professional positions. She got quite defensive with me when I referred to her as "people her age." Apparently, Chris suffers from some insecurity on that score. She's short and young and worries about whether she's being taken seriously. I tried to reassure her that I certainly respected her and thought of her as an adult. But the truth is that when I think of Chris, it is not the serious intellectual that I remember. It is something of the impish personality that stays with me. Perhaps that quality in her personality is what Chris finds incompatiable with her desire for recognition as an adult. Chris told me that her cat had an accident a few days ago, and she even thought that he might die. But while ministering to Lancelot, the vet managed to proposition Chris. She was thinking of accepting until she noticed that he was wearing a wedding ring--he was appareently married but was still asking her for a date. She was almost insulted, as if his interest somehow showed that she had been reduced to a low rung on the dating ladder. Chris also said that her grandmother has decided that her personality is like that of a long deceased great-aunt Helen, who died at the age of 25 well before Chris was born. But Grandmother Strauss has decided that Chris should inherit great-aunt Helen's possessions, so Chris will be receiving a trunk in a few days. She's looking forward to that with interest.

Tuesday, October 7, 1997
1 pm. Second Session with Rachel Tanner relating to Christina Herald When I talked about the loss of freedom that the OCD has occasioned and how she must feel trapped by the disease, she broke down and cried. I guess I panicked a bit, because I gave her the tissues and impulsively gave her the sheep which Christina had brought me back from England. Rachel seemed to genuinely like the sheep--it seemed to make her feel a bit better--so perhaps I found it a good home after all. I hope that Christina won't comment on its absence.

Thursday, October 9, 1997
5 pm. Twentieth Session with Christina Herald. Christina confided in me that she has become the confidant of one of her students--a fifteen year old Catholic girl who believes she is pregnant. As Christina described the problem, I had an opportunity to see her work herself up into the beginnings of one of her panic attacks--not a pretty picture, actually. Her respiration became shallow, her face became flushed, and her hands shook. Christina was effective at mastering her emotions and stifling the panic attack, although afterwards she still looked fairly miserable and more than a little embarrassed. It took a considerable act of will for her to regain control of her composure, and even so, she felt the need to go home and take a nap after our session. I wonder if it was merely pride which kept her from really working herself up. Christina's natural inclination to make other people's problems her own has found expression in the difficulties of her probably pregnant student. Christina is understandably concerned about the ethics of her position. Even in a situation where the student was clear in her desire for an abortion, I can imagine a Catholic family raising holy hell over a teacher's assistance terminating their underaged daughter's pregnancy. How much worse if the student is conflicted herself about her desires? I didn't need to say it, because I could see that Christina was not about to impose her own feelings about how she'd deal with the situation on her student. And, frankly, that would have been about all the advice that I could give. While she can give information about the options available, Christina has to allow the student to come to her own conclusions about what course of action is right for her. At the beginning of the session, Christina really frightened me when she brought in a tiny and quite adorable kitten. I was certain that she meant the cat for me. Before I had a chance to make a complete fool of myself, Christina explained that the kitten was in her care and that she was not going to foist her on me. But I ended up holding the kitten during most of the session and at the end, though, I found myself making a quite self-destructive request to be kept informed about the availability of the kitten. Like I need this? It was an exceptionally appealing kitten, though. Mostly, it remained curled up on my arm, purring like a vacuum cleaner.

Thursday, October 23, 1997
5 pm. Twenty-First Session with Christina Herald. Christina has decided that I need companionship and she has gone on a mission to make sure that I adopt that kitten, Clio. Great. I've become a charity case. She launched into a discussion about how wonderful her father's new dog is and how important pets are generally. She was becoming more and more puckish, until I called her on it and told her that I realized I was being set-up. Then she got this delighted, impish grin and told me knowingly that I must need companionship. She left me a photo of Clio, apparently for my deliberation. In the photo is just the tail of this other peach-orange cat that apparently Bessa is adopting. Christina's pregnant student dilemma seemed to resolve itself in a rush, with the parents ending up more supportive than anyone had guessed. The student plans to have the child and then put it up for adoption. But the girl's brother is apparently bad news, and he's targeted his sister's boyfriend for some calamity. Christina was worried about her student, but clearly not so wound up by the situation as she was last week. Christina's real complaint is that she finds herself without a boyfriend now, although she professes to be picky and says that she doesn't mind waiting. But she describes her hormones as going on a rampage.

Thursday, October 30, 1997
10 am. Eighth Session with Decker Jenkins respecting Christina Herald. However, a charge such as rape is obviously extremely serious. I told Decker that we should wait to see what might develop, but I am a bit uneasy, especially because I've never satisfied myself as to the actual facts surrounding Karen's death. I honestly don't know if Decker is incapable of committing a violent assault such as rape. To make matters worse, Decker told me that he met a girl back in the bar who turned out to be none other than Christina Herald--the double bock drinker. They made an innocent social date, but Decker is alternating between not showing up and fantasizing a long future with Christina. I can't warn Christina without breaking doctor/patient privilege, but frankly I won't be overjoyed if they decide to begin a relationship together.

Thursday, October 30, 1997
5 pm. Twenty-Second Session with Christina Herald. Christina was more upbeat and genuinely cheerful this session than I've seen her in a long time, and it was infectious. She is clearly looking forward to her date with Decker, and I had no way of letting her know that he was under my care and that she should be cautious. I think it will probably be fairly uneventful, actually. They're just meeting at a museum to look at baseball artifacts--and Chris is fairly savvy. She even questioned whether he might be a neo-nazi after a look at his shaved head. She can take care of herself. The driving engine of Christina's enthusiasm seems to be the large trunk of her great aunt's which she was given by her grandmother. One of the treasures it contained was a quite beautiful silver filigree locket that looked old and tarnished. And apparently there is a large collection of notebooks which are bound to contain some fascinating recollections of personal family history. At the end of the session, Christina pulled out a collection of thickly iced, bright orange cupcakes topped with grotesque plastic spider rings. I could hardly refuse. When she left, it was with a cheery wink, and with the express purpose of shopping for an utterly outrageous Halloween costume--something that would suffice for an outing with Anders. This is San Francisco, and Halloween is not to be taken lightly.

Thursday, November 13, 1997
10 am. Tenth Session with Decker Jenkins respecting Christina Herald. Decker also told me about his date with Christina. He said that he believes that she really likes him--and he affirmed that he really likes her. The way he describes the date, he comes off as impossibly shy, but she apparently used her ignorance of baseball as a lure to draw him out. He plans to ask her out again. I'll find out from Christina how she viewed the date. Perhaps she was not as enamored of him as he was of her.

Thursday, November 13, 1997
5 pm. Twenty-Third Session with Christina Herald. I'm not certain that I'm doing Christina any real good. Sometimes, it feels like we're just two friends who get together to talk once a week. I guess I'm feeling a bit guilty because she spent much of this session educating me about cat ownership. I asked her for the kitten who I've named Portia and I received some invaluable consulting from Chris on cat food, entertainment, and nutrition. The one area that I might have actually been of some use to Chris--warning her away from her budding romance with Decker--is ethically foreclosed to me. And yet I'm very concerned about his possible violent tendencies. But I have nothing concrete at all, just the circumstances of his mother's death--he was cleared by the police--and his statement that there is a woman in Chicago who may have wrongfully accused him of rape. Perhaps I should spend some time with Decker exploring whether he has any violent ideation. Chris, in the meantime, positively gushed over her date with Decker. I think that if I did have actual knowledge that Decker was a danger to Chris, I would warn her--ethics be damned! She was also inordinately pleased with herself when I confessed that I wanted the kitten. Her student, who was pregnant, suffered a miscarriage. Chris has also been escaping--almost time traveling is how I think she put it--into the trunk which contains the journals and possessions of her great aunt.

Thursday, November 20, 1997
5 pm. Twenty-Fourth Session with Christina Herald. It wasn't really a session at all. Christina called to cancel, but said that she'd stop by to drop off Portia. She came and I now have a new kitten, just in time for Thanksgiving. I'm leaving town for the weekend, and I'm not certain what I'm going to do with this cat. Portia has grown up a bit--the cloudy blue eyes have turned gold, and the black and white fur that was fuzzy is now longer and thicker. She stepped lightly out of the carrier and sat down on the floor, blinking up at me before jumping up on my leg and then up to the desktop, where she sat on the blotter as if she owned the place. But she's very appealing. Chris looked exhausted, but she didn't really give me a clue as to why she might be losing sleep. She didn't really look unhappy, though. She said that her unspecified problem wasn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things--which, of course, could mean anything. She's working with Sarah in planning a surprise retirement party for her father. She said that it promises to be "quite the event."

Thursday, December 4, 1997
5 pm. Twenty-Fifth Session with Christina Herald. I'm concerned that Chris is taking the world's problems on herself again and that she may end up with a new series of panic attacks. She swears that she isn't slipping back into her caffeine addiction, but I'm concerned, that even without caffeine's added amplification, she's taking on too much. In addition to her normal classroom duties--including finals--she's in charge of her father's retirement party and wedding, and she's in some volunteer program assisting people in getting their GEDs. Furthermore, she's in charge of Jonny's emotional support (turmoil in his relationship with Greg), and Gavin's (he impregnated a "pretty little vegan coed"). Although she was tired, she seemed in find form. Despite my concerns, I must admit that she seemed to be taking her load more in stride than she used to. She was fairly relaxed during the session, wearing jeans and a sweater for once instead of the professional clothes that she has been sporting. She looked better this way--more like the Christina that I used to know.

Wednesday, December 17, 1997
4 pm. Thirtieth Session with Katherine Lippard respecting Christina Herald. Katherine is looking forward to assuming her new position as Chief Financial Officer. It happens officially on the first of January. She said that it actually came home to her at Frank Herald's retirement party. It was interesting hearing her describe the Herald family through her own particular filter--they are a group that I've come to know well through Christina Herald, but of course Katherine doesn't know about that. Her impression was of a family that was free of tension. She described Frank's gay son and his date; Frank's daughter by Sarah--a charming hippie dating a total flake; and Christina--composed, organized, polished, beautiful, and educated. She wanted to introduce Christina to Phil, but thinks that she's too mainstream. I couldn't resist tweaking Katherine just a bit on her newfound liberalism.


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