Meet Bo and Finn

So we got two new kittens this past weekend. Someone who works with Mom, his cats had a litter of kittens, and he couldn’t keep them all, so we adopted two of them.

Here is the best picture I’ve gotten of them so far. They’re holding paws. Isn’t that sweet?

boandfinn

Mr. Bojangles, or Bo for short, is the orange tabby.

Finnigan, a/k/a Finn, is the black kitten.

They’re both boys, and they are both so tiny and so cute!

They would be pleased to meet you, but they are sleepy, so we won’t bother them.

And, as I am still not feeling too well, I am sleepy, too, now, so I’m headed off to bed.

More later. Good night!

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What am I, really?

So at work, corporate often puts out a newsletter on the central internal website, loaded with different features and articles ranging from health matters to business matters to, heck, day to day activities of the workers. And they often ask for ideas for features and articles from us, the humble workers.

So I had an idea. How about an article on mental health and mental well-being? I mean, they push out so many articles about physical health and physical well-being, and we’re a very health-conscious workplace, where employees are encouraged to go out over their lunch hours to walk or run, and there are on-site fitness facilities that are free to use, and there are even on-site massage therapists and reflexologists. Heck, we’re considered a Blue Zones workplace! So why not have an article about mental health and well-being for once?

And it’s a noble concept, right? It’s an issue often swept under the rug in corporate America. Since our company prides itself on being innovative and forward-thinking, what better place to start a conversation than in this newsletter?

So why did it take me the better part of an hour to screw up the courage to press ‘Send’ for the email I typed up to corporate suggesting the idea?

Like Erika (my This Is My Brave cast mate), I can be very forward about being messed up in the head. I do not mind talking about it should the situation arise. Because it is a part of me. I mean, it’s not entirely who I am, but it is a big part of me. Once people know that, they can sort of understand me better….well, to a certain degree. You know?

But so far, it’s been an issue that doesn’t really pertain to work, with the exception of perhaps insurance. And then there’s my missing hours to keep doctor appointments. Plus everyone has told me no one at work needs to know. And I do mean everyone – I asked around, and everyone’s answers were an emphatic “Don’t tell anyone!”

But I have. Told someone on the job, I mean.

Back in December 2014, the company had a life coach named Heather come in and speak with our group about, well, how we could better our lives. As the presentation went on, a question began to buzz in the back of my mind, and it only buzzed stronger throughout. So it was a pressing question, one that I actually wrote on a piece of paper and handed to Heather because I was too afraid someone would overhear my talking to her about it.

My question was, “Should I disclose my diagnosis of mental illness to my employer?”

Her short answer was yes.

Well, what she really said was yes, I should let my immediate supervisor know, and then let HR know, if I was comfortable with that, in case accommodations had to be made. Well, no accommodations are needed in my case, but I could see what she meant.

As of today’s date, only one person at my workplace knows I have mental illness, and that is my immediate supervisor Diane. Even then, I hemmed and hawed about it, and waited until mid-January to tell her. I told her because I was afraid she would start to question me about all the appointments I was making and keeping, and I didn’t really want any questions about it. So I just outright told her. And she hasn’t questioned me since, nor has she spoken to me about it since. Which is good.

But what am I really? Am I just looking for validation of some kind? Am I just looking for attention? Am I trying to get myself fired? (I’m not, by the way.) Am I wrong for wanting to push an envelope, to open this particular can of worms? To start a conversation about something that really should be openly talked about?

If you watched the whole This Is My Brave show, you’ll know that, when Brooke asked the audience at the end to stand if they themselves or someone they knew suffered from mental illness, everybody in that auditorium stood up. Everybody! And she’s right – if that’s the case, why is there a stigma at all?

I guess my bigger question is, does it seem to you as though I’m ashamed of being mentally ill?

Like I said, it took me an hour to send the email. And it was only about a four-line email just suggesting the idea in the first place. And I couldn’t vocalize the question to Heather – I wrote it down, in case someone overheard it.

My short answer to that is no. I have nothing to be ashamed of. Certainly I’m not proud of the fact, but, like I said, it is part of me, and I have accepted it wholeheartedly. And I don’t see it as taboo. You know?

But sometimes I wonder if I keep quiet about it for the good of other people or for my own good.

I don’t know.

I guess it’s complicated.

Anyone have any insights?

(Pioneer Press: Molly Guthrey)

(Pioneer Press: Molly Guthrey)

(Found the above picture via a Google search for ‘scared to press send.’ I was looking for more of an email-related picture, but this one fits.)

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This Is My Brave, 2.0

New and greatly improved! (Video-heavy post ahead, just an FYI.)

Last time, I left you with just my story, because Older Sister had videotaped it, and I posted it here.

Now, you get everyone else’s stories.

This Is My Brave occurred exactly two months ago, on May 15, 2015. And what a night it was.

I was surrounded by kindred spirits, people who were not afraid to start and carry on a conversation about mental illness. Many of them have since become my friends.

Many, many thanks to Jennifer Marshall, and the This Is My Brave team for putting the videos out on Youtube.

Here is the whole entire show, running about 2 hours and 15 minutes:

Here it is, broken down by individuals –

~ Greg Thompson, with “Murmur.” Greg’s wife Jean actually wrote this piece, but Greg performs it. It is quiet, like a murmur, devastating, and powerful.:

~ Sandy Koloupek, with “Picture Perfect.” I myself would have thought Sandy was the sort of person who had it all, but I appreciate that she shares her story, that that isn’t so, but, as she puts it, that they are better for it.:

~ Ryan Hansen, with “A Boy.” I loved Ryan’s piece. It gave me a new perspective, namely that of men with depression. Like Chillipepperwild later, I would be very interested in learning more about men with depression. And Ryan truly braved it, having a hurt foot to perform that night!:

Anna Bandfield, with “Given the Chance.” While I cannot choose a favorite piece among them, Anna’s was one that stood out to me, firstly because she memorized it, and second because, in a way, she spoke the words that I’ve been trying to find to describe everything.:

Erika Miranda-Bartlett, with “The Spanish Butterfly.” Erika has inspired me to try my hand at becoming more snarky and witty. Maybe at the next This Is My Brave, I’ll have a stand-up routine, inspired by Erika. Love this!:

Hannah Twitchell, with “Peanut Butter Patterns.” I felt for Hannah, because she has a double-edge to her mental illness. You need to watch this video.:

Wes Forester, with “The Rain Came Down.” Wes’ story was so powerful, and I could identify with him. And the song is amazing, one of my new favorites ever.:

Heather Akers, with “What Not To Say.” I also felt for Heather. I can’t speak for her, but it’s almost as if she comes from a lineage where mental illness is still considered taboo, given her shroud of secrecy about taking part in the project. Hopefully, this will give her opportunities to speak more openly about it.:

Ted and Annie Potter, with “Dissonance.” A husband and wife team who personify ‘in sickness and in health, til death do us part.’ Ted and Annie were both very warm and open people, always bringing treats to rehearsals. Exceptional people.:

Libby Potter (Ted and Annie’s daughter), with “Looks Like Love.” Here’s a song that should be on the radio but isn’t. Thanks to Libby, it’s one of my most favorite songs ever.:

Me, with “Still Drying.” Just in better quality than what I posted before. I still thank Older Sister for filming the previous video.:

Diane Painter, with “My Journey Through Art.” Diane was a really creative and wonderful person. I actually saw her at the Iowa Arts Festival a month or so ago, but she didn’t see me, so I didn’t get a chance to say hello, even though I wanted to. Diane gave everyone in the cast a sample of her artwork as well. I keep mine safely tucked away, but in a place I can pull it out and remember Diane’s strength and bravery.:

Diana DeSerano, with “The Story of Her, The Story of Me.” Of all of my cast mates, Diana was the one I knew the least, sorry to say. I hope to change that. Her poem is tremendous. Plus, she was the cast hugger, as Brooke says.:

Margelea Warner, with “Keys To Recovery.” Margelea’s journey was an interesting one, and the key aspect is one I’d never thought of. I love the idea, the keys being a metaphor for recovery. Beautifully done.:

Chillipepperwild, with “Conqueror.” Like Ryan earlier, Chilli also brought to my attention a new perspective – African-Americans with depression, which is something I would love to learn more about and help out with awareness for. Chilli was truly the bravest of us all, given everything she’d been through, and everything she is still facing.:

Joan Becker, with “Use Your Voice.” Not meaning this in a bad way, but Joan was probably the most famous of all of us. She was speaking up on behalf of her son Mark. There’s not a lot more I could say about this without Joan saying it herself.:

Joe Sorenson, with “King for a Day.” This song is another one of my favorites ever. You will be able to say “I remember Joe Sorenson when….” because he deserves to be a household name. He is tremendously talented, and a great person overall.:

I hope you enjoyed the videos. It really was an amazing night, and one I won’t soon forget.

Me with my cast mates:

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39 Questions

Feeling semi-talkative. So here’s 39 questions I felt like answering.

And keep watching this space. Tomorrow will be good.

1. What you want to be?
~ Either an author, actress, or singer.

2. What am you wearing right now?
~ Pajamas.

3. Your last night out in detail?
~ I haven’t really had a night out in a while. I have days out, or evenings out, but no nights out for a while. Which is fine – I’m definitely not complaining!

4. First thing you thought about this morning?
~ “Oh boy, another day, another headache” a la the Muppaphone. I sense a Friday Funny coming on!

5. Have you ever wished on a shooting star?
~ All the time.

6. Your longest relationship and who it was with?
~ My longest relationship has been just about seven months now, and it’s been with Johnny.

7. What your last text message says?
~ “Aiight cool.” From Younger Brother. And yes, he did say ‘aiight.’

8. What kind of person attracts you?
~ I’m dating that kind of person. Someone who can make me laugh, who likes me for who I am, who likes various kinds of music, and who likes cats.

9. Is it hard to make you laugh?
~ No.

10. Do you act differently around the person you like?
~ I had this discussion with him. Sometimes it feels like I’m two different people – one with my family and one with everyone else, including Johnny. Eh, it’s hard to explain.

11. Does the last person you held hands with mean something to you?
~ Yes, because he’s my boyfriend.

12. What’s stopping you from going for the person you like?
~ N/A, because I’m with someone.

13. Who would you like to see right now?
~ Johnny. Gina. Younger Brother. Dad.

14. Are you missing someone?
~ Johnny. Gina. Younger Brother. Dad. Cousin Melissa.

15. What you find attractive in boys/girls?
~ What do I find attractive in boys? Physically, eyes first, then hands. Mentally, personality and sense of humor. Emotionally, well, if they can be emotional, that’s a good thing.

16. Do you drink?
~ Not alcohol. I drink water regularly now.

17. Is there anyone who doesn’t like you because of something you did?
~ Gosh, I sure hope not.

18. The one person whose arms you’d like to be in?
~ Johnny’s.

19. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?
~ Yes.

20. If you’ve done something you regretted very much?
~ No. I’ve done nothing I regret.

21. What was the last party you went to, and when will the next be?
~ I haven’t been to a party in a while. I couldn’t tell you when the next one would be.

22. The last time you felt jealous, and why?
~ I haven’t been jealous. Envious, perhaps, and perhaps it was because of my cousin Gina, because she was so happy, being newlywed. But jealous – no, I haven’t been. Not that I know of.

23. Last person you hugged?
~ My mom, just to say good night.

24. Your last kiss?
~ Was with Johnny.

25. What you wear to bed?
~ Pajamas. Currently, it’s my Minion shirt and a pair of shorts.

26. Your current relationship; if single, discuss how single life is?
~ My current relationship is going really well. I really like Johnny a lot; he’s sweet and funny and nice and really understanding. I appreciate that we can be open with each other. I am much happier in a relationship than I was single, so.

27. Picture of yourself?
me11218953_451663478335482_1206408176374498596_n

Despite evidence to the contrary, I really hate selfies….well, at least when I take them on my phone. Which I did, in the photo above. My phone doesn’t do selfies right at all.

28. Have you ever been deeply in love with someone?
~ Not yet.

29. The reason behind your last break up?
~ That would require having broken up first, which I have never done, so.

30. The last compliment that you’ve received?
~ That I’m beautiful. From you know who. He likes me for me. That’s the best ongoing compliment I could have ever received.

31. Your favorite actors/actresses?
~ Favorite actresses include Sissy Spacek, Natalie Portman, Amy Adams, Kate Winslet, and Audrey Hepburn. Favorite actors include Brad Dourif, Ian McKellen, Alan Rickman, and Daniel Day-Lewis.

32. Celebrity crush?
~ Nicolas Cage, still. And Tim Curry, always.

33. Your favorite book?
~ The Language of Goldfish by Zibby O’Neal. And then Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen. And then anything by Sylvia Plath or Sarah Vowell. There. Cover all the bases.

34. A famous person you’ve been compared to?
~ I haven’t been. I’d feel sorry for the famous person.

35. The best thing that has happened to you this week?
~ Being with Johnny.

36. Do you believe in abortion?
~ Yes. And let that be the end of that discussion, please and thank you.

37. What your last text message says?
~ “Aiight cool.” From Younger Brother. And why is this question on here twice? Did you notice?

38. Something you’re currently worried about?
~ Nothing, really. Or just piddling insignificant things, like what I’ll wear tomorrow. Nothing really huge is on my mind.

39. Your own question that you want others to answer?
~ If time flies, why can’t people? I figure there’d be a lot of creative answers to that one.

Feeling quite happy, though, despite the humidity.

Like I said, keep watching this space. I have goodness coming tomorrow….

Happy-Day

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Tune for Tuesday – Regina Spektor, “Wallet”

Woke up singing this song. So here it is.

Because who wouldn’t do this if they found a wallet?

From her 2009 album “Far,” this is Regina Spektor with “Wallet.”

Happy listening!

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Poem offering #13 – “Campbell’s”

A combination headache/slight toothache, plus the humidity, is keeping me awake. I have taken Tylenol for the pain. The humidity….well, nothing will get that to go away, except maybe autumn.

In any case, I shall try to get some sleep soon.

For now, I thought I’d share with you a poem I wrote many years ago.

Bonus points all around if you can guess what this poem is about. (Not like it’s hard….)

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CAMPBELL’S

Blue and white
Porcelain-bowl sky
People stenciled in
For good measure

Health, happiness,
And farming
Everyone’s cooking nowadays
Everyone’s “hot”
Racing their own clocks

With a beep
I look up
Words crammed in my mouth
Squish against my teeth
Scald my tongue
I slurp them back

My world
What good is it
My dented tin spoon
Slowly fills and sinks
Its lip out of sight
In that aging, yellowed sea

(c) Mouse, 9/23/2003

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Did you get what it was about?

Kudos if you did.

I won’t tell just yet. Have a go in the Comments section, if you’re so inclined.

Japanese-style-big-mouth-blue-flower-porcelain-bowl

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Friday Fosters Funny

So today’s Funny is one of my favorite episodes of one of my favorite shows, “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.”

A bit of background of the premise of the entire series for you: Mac, the boy, has an imaginary friend called Bloo. When Mac’s mom tells him that he has to get rid of Bloo, Mac takes Bloo to Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends in town. The deal is Bloo will never be adopted out as long as Mac visits him every day at 3:00. During Bloo’s stay, they meet Wilt (the tall friend), Eduardo (the big monster), and Coco (the bird), among many others. Cue hijinks and hilarity.

The first mini-sode today is “Sight for Sore Eyes,” featuring Ivan, a seeing-eye friend, and a sort of mystery to be solved. The second mini-sode is “Bloo’s Brothers,” which is just hilarious.

Watch it. You won’t be disappointed.

Many thanks to Youtube user Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends for posting the video.

Enjoy! And Happy Friday!

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License. (Just a disclaimer - no copyright infringement is intended, at all. All songs and music posted herein on this blog belong to its respective performers and creators. All songs and music posted herein was all legally obtained by the blog author. If anyone wants any song or piece of music removed from this site, please visit my “About” page and drop me an e-mail. Thank you.)
Moody
My Unkymood Punkymood (Unkymoods)
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