Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday inspiration

It's sunny and gorgeous here, so I'm soaking it up because it'll likely rain the rest of 2013. OK, I exaggerate, but when you live in the Pacific Northwest and have been soggy for months, you enjoy sun and some signs that spring might actually be arriving.

Which leads me to a couple of things I saw this week that I wanted to share.

For when we are too hard on ourselves...

And this picture I found on the Facebook page of a campaign we work with called Open Minds, Open Doors, which encourages discussion to help end stigma of mental illness.

This picture was captioned with this text: "This is one way to help fight stigmas, through humor and openness." I know I do, and it helps me feel better, too.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Down with DOMA!

I couldn't have said it better.

I am not posting this for debate.

I am posting this to express my support, and Mr. RK's support, for equality.

Separate is unequal.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Maybe I don't want to be crazy cat lady

I have always been proud to call myself a crazy cat lady, and see nothing ridiculous about liking my cats more than most of the humans I encounter.


We had to take Mandrake to the emergency vet this weekend (he's stable now, and home, thankfully), which required three trips. I had to make the last one because they forgot to give me the prescription for his prescription food. (Why do cats require prescriptions for special food, by the way? Do other cats and their owners routinely try to scam the people at the specialty pet food store? "Hey, my cat doesn't have urinary tract problems, but I want to pay three times the normal price for his food!")

Anyhow, when I came back the same poor people who were waiting there to pick up their cat when I left were still there, and this woman who was a pet photographer was going on about all of the different stuff she did to get cats to pose for her (different scents, etc. Weird shit.) Then she says, "I'm definitely a cat person." She was clearly flirting with the guy, who was maybe 40 (she was at least old enough to be his mom), and totally ignoring the wife. When she popped out to get the cat carrier, the wife said, "Why do older ladies love you so much? She never stopped talking!"

This same cat person had no sense of personal space. In the 5 or 10 minutes I was there waiting, she bumped into me without noticing several times, and backed up by me close enough to make me cringe at least that many times. I have met guys who wanted to get in my pants who didn't get that close.

Then when the harried staff came out, she plowed to the front of the line and said, "I'm FIRST! I have been STANDING HERE, WAITING for my cat to be seen!"

Mind you, all of us were here before. I really wanted to throttle her at this point, as I had been in the car for about three hours running around that day and worried sick about my cat all night.

The nice couple and I were helped in the appropriate order, and crazy cat lady had to wait. I would have loved to have seen the look her face, but I was afraid of bursting into giggles and sticking out my tongue at her.

If that's crazy cat lady, I don't want to be her. Or maybe she's trying too hard to be me? Maybe it's the combination of artist and cat person that gets into the toxic and the ridiculous? Inquiring minds want to know.

I just thought it was hilarious that she got her knickers in a knot about having to wait 3 minutes. Hopefully she'll never have to go to a human emergency room.

If she does, hopefully it will be for permanent laryngitis.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

More that I have learned from watching BBC murder mysteries, part 3

More things I have learned...

1. If the aristocracy is involved, there will be revelations of surprise children and sometimes incest. (That gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "Are you my mother?")

2. Revenge is a motive no matter how tenuous. "A bell ringer once ruined my ancestor! Therefore, will kill all the bell ringers in this village, even though it is 300 years hence!" (This was in an episode. Really.)

3. The boytoys and trophy girlfriends are always (surprise!) using the older partners for their money. Hey, at least it gets revealed in fiction, as opposed to real life.

4. A clue that will later reveal the mystery will be found in a book, or a song, or a diary.

5. The friendliest person or the person with the best accent is usually the sociopathic killer.

6. The American accents are terrible! Guys, find American actors to do American parts, and we'll do the same, yeah?

7.  Learning the language:"Workshy" equals "lazy bum." This is me improving my British.

8. The murderer, before being found out, will inevitably cry and say, "I loved him/her!" Not as much as a blowup doll, apparently.

9. Even in small counties, public safety offices have TONS of resources. Like enough to spontaneously fly a helicopter to Wales, for instance.

10. You make up the last one. I need some more laughs today.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Meet Mandrake! (Crazy cat lady post.)

Our dear Earl Grey lost his battle with kidney disease last week. My dad tried to console me that he had a great life, and paid me a backhanded compliment: "You're so good to your cats! You're almost as nice to people!"

We thought we'd see how Vasil McNut did as an only cat, but immediately, he turned into a needy, yowling fuckface, so we got him a brother.

Meet Mandrake! The shelter we adopted him from was calling him Candy Cane. We thought that was a bit ridiculous, and Mandrake sounds close enough that he already knows his name.

Does he look like a big Oreo cookie or what? And he has adorable white socks.

Doesn't he look serious? (Portrait by Mr. RK. I told him he could go into pet photography. And yes, there is a sideline of business in that area.)

He and Vasil are becoming buddies. Stay tuned for lolcats.

Oh hell, why wait?

My dad is right - they do lead the good life (see Vasil below.)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Do you find any of these things annoying on a Monday?

1. It's daylight savings time, AND the Monday after getting back from a trip the evening before. Translation: I'm fucking wiped.

2. People who keep mentioning how great it is that it's DST, because we get an extra hour of light tonight! Fine, then give me the extra hour of sleep you lost and we will call it even.

2. My boss forgot to bring some goodies for some of our volunteers that he went to meet with in another part of the state. That's not the annoying part. The annoying part is that I am totally inept at taping up a package with the tape gun. Why the fuck can't I master this thing? (OK, it's not just me; my dad has copped to the same inability.) It twists, it turns, it tangles, it won't tear, and the only time the spikey tear strip thing works is when it slips and the spikes get me.

3. A friend who texted last night about porn is texting today about work stuff. Would that be confusing for you, mentally? Perhaps it's just me and DST.

4. A colleague asking me about a question regarding something that he is in charge of, and that I have no clue about, hinting that I should investigate. This being the same coworker who doesn't ever offer to do anything outside his job description unless I specifically request it, and if I do, he then says, "I don't know when I'll have time..."

5. A large espresso drink just isn't large enough. I mean, size matters.

How was your Monday? And more importantly, can any of you handle the tape gun without any mishaps or injuries? Inquiring minds want to know.

In better news, though, I read that Tardar Sauce the Grumpy Cat is a bigger attraction at SXSW than Al Gore! Well, duh.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Old and boring, still paying for coffee

I was talking to my little brother B the other day, and I asked him what was new.

So I asked him what was old and boring.
He giggled. "You!"

I told him I'd remember that when he wanted me to drive him to get coffee in my cool red car.

And somehow I am still obsessing over that remark (you would, too!) I started reading a book yesterday and the main character is 37 (a year older than me) and some of the other characters in the book are starting in on her that she needs to hurry up and get hitched and multiply because she's pushing it at her age. Ahem.

Then I was talking to a friend who is several years older than me, and somehow we got into a discussion about this very topic.  Each year, he recruits a huge team (about 100 people) to bring to our walk, and they always have a theme. Last year they were pirates; this year, they're going as people from the 1960s.

I asked him if they were going to do tie dye and dreads.

"Maybe! It's too bad we aren't half an hour further north, or we could all smoke pot!" (Washington state legalized it a few months ago.)

Then we both agreed that we couldn't stand being around potheads, and that neither of us had smoked that in God knows how long and then we started feeling...old.

Here I am, hoping that my 17-year-old brother doesn't ever try a cigarette, lecturing my friend's 16-year-old son about drugs and drinking. Does that make me old? I'd like to think, if I make it that long, that I'll be the Ruth Gordon of my generation and wear miniskirts and be outrageous as a senior citizen.

Would I have listened to anyone about this stuff back in high school? Probably not...

Somehow, despite B's insulting joke, I still ended up bringing him expensive chocolate and I am sure I will be buying his coffees on this visit (I am in California with family for a few days.)

Old and boring is debatable, but definitely still a sucker!

Monday, March 04, 2013

I'm one of them

I had an exchange of emails with someone at work who was asking for resource assistance. The way her email was worded, it sounded like a provider, so I asked if she was.

She wrote back a kind of snippy reply, chastising me for my "assumption," and then she made one of her own: "I'm one of them, not one of you."

And then I had an email exchange with a volunteer today, agreeing that we really need to highlight the fact that our events aren't just about raising money, but about changing minds. Not "raising awareness." Changing minds. Blasting stereotypes out of the water. 

Every year I write a post to ask for donations for an event I'm in charge of at work, and the point isn't only to raise funds (and thank you for all of you who have donated, and for those of you who can't, thank you for the good wishes), but also to write on the off chance that someone who reads this might not feel so alone.

I'm one of "them." The one in four American adults living with mental illness. We're your neighbors, your coworkers, the people serving you at Starbucks - but most of us don't dare talk about it. So the upshot is that many people don't get help.

I have been very lucky in my life. I didn't know how lucky until I came to work where I work. I've always had support of family and friends, and, for the past nearly 9 years, a wonderful partner, during my tough times. I've always been able to afford, or have family help me afford, the treatment I needed.

I know when the nightmares happen, I'll have someone to hold me until I fall back asleep. When the days hit where I don't see the point of getting up and putting one foot in front of the other, there are people telling me I can do it.

So many people don't.

So many of them have no one.

So many of them can't afford the care they need, or if they can afford it, they can't access it.

Humorous posts aside, this is why I do what I do. My organization runs on a shoestring. We don't charge for any of our programs or services. We have tons of volunteers helping us out - many of them with their own mental health ups and downs, or family members' ups and downs - because we want people to be able to talk about it. And we want people to get the help they need. This can only happen in the context of a broader social conversation.

My walk team is named in memory and in honor of a friend of mine who never got the help he needed. He was shuffled through the Medicaid system and died of a preventable illness.

In short, he was treated, like many people in the system, like a throwaway person.

Adults living with mental illness die an average of 25 years before the rest of the adult population, mostly from preventable illnesses - just like my friend. And suicide is the second-leading cause of death of young people in my state.

It still blows me away. Such big numbers, so many people affected, but as a society, we don't talk about it unless something terrible happens, and mental illness is suspected as the culprit. So many suffer silently.

So we walk, although some days we feel like pounding the pavement, or even hitting it.

And that is why I ask for help, if you can. Whether that's a donation or simply giving people our information if you think they need help.

The conversation starts with you.