Thursday, September 8, 2011

It's Hard To Balance On This Soap Box While On My High Horse

I just read this article about the stigmas and misconceptions some people have toward mental illness. Although a little preachy, the author addressed some issues people with mental illnesses face.

In a world where being an individual is praised but being "different" makes you weird, mental illness is an awkward thing for people to deal with.

Having experienced it first-hand and knowing others who's lives have been affected by various mental illnesses, I know how it feels. You get cancer and people understand. You have a stroke and people understand. You get the flu and people avoid you for days, but they understand. You "get" bipolar disorder or schizophrenia or obsessive compulsive disorder and people don't always understand. If you're depressed, you need to "get over it".

Ok, ok I'll stop. Who's being preachy now? ;) But really, I was inspired to type this because of all the outrageous comments I read on this article. Some people feel the way I do, but others waved it off and basically spewed out every ignorant thing I've heard people say about mental illnesses. They obviously don't know too much about the subject and the debilitating effects.

I wonder if someone who tells a person with depression to just "get over it" would tell a person with cancer the same thing? Probably not. Can't we look at it that way? (Controversial material to follow): I mean, some people with health problems could've prevented it; alcohol causes liver disease, sun exposure causes skin cancer, fatty foods and a sedentary lifestyle cause heart attacks and diabetes type 2.

I'm not out to point the finger at these particular people, but I am trying to point out the fact that we feel sympathy for these people who's bodies get sick for whatever reason. But what about those with a mental illness? (Your brain can get sick, too, you know.) Why is it often so difficult to understand?

My hope is that people will educate themselves and stop and think when they notice someone who is a little "different". Have sympathy for those who are suffering. We all have problems. We are all on the sometimes rocky journey of life. We can pull together and be understanding and helpful instead of judgemental and afraid.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Stop taking pictures! This is embarrassing."

I love to take pictures when we go on our outdoor adventures. I have more pictures and video of our dogs than I'd like to admit. We fish and hike and explore and it's fun, but eventually I find myself settling down on the sand or some rocks and watching the action from a camera lens.

I watch James fish. I watch the dogs run around sniffing and exploring. I keep an eye out for danger, like creepy spiders or rogue seagulls.

After a while, the dogs get tired and find their way to where I am. Ofelia will make herself comfortable somewhere behind me, trying to get out of the sun. Simón always climbs into my lap and sits happily there as I fawn over him and continue taking pictures.

Yesterday, we had one such outdoor adventure at Willard Bay. I promise my little Simón loves his mommy with all his heart, but these pictures will lead you to believe otherwise.

Monday, July 4, 2011

American Psycho: An Unfunny Book Review

I finished reading American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis last night. It's the story of Patrick Bateman, a twenty-six-year-old rich kid living in the eighties who only works at his company to "fit in". He and his associates spend their time dining at expensive restaurants, frequenting trendy clubs, going to the gym, getting massages, facials, and manicures, casually cheating on their partners, and having in-depth discussions on the rules of fashion. Patrick also likes to murder people in his spare time.

This was a difficult book to read. Along with the extremely violent actions and thoughts of Patrick which the reader must endure, we must also be engulfed in the 'significant' things according to Patrick's yuppie view of the world: detailed descriptions of what every person in the book is wearing each time he encounters them; two pages devoted to his morning routine; two pages for his gym workout; three pages, five pages, eight pages devoted to various musical acts he admires; two pages describing stereo equipment; an entire chapter in which he and some friends comically jump in and out of call waiting with each other for three hours trying to decide where to have dinner and whom to invite.

I had seen the movie adaptation and had read reviews stressing the overly violent and sexual content of this book, but I merely shrugged it off thinking it was just the same old stuff I'm used to and some people are more sensitive to these things than I am. Well... There is very disturbing content in this book. It was nauseating at times. While I strongly believe much of the violent and sexual encounters should have been edited, I can't help but try to understand that there's a reason those scenes exist. Patrick describes everything else in excruciating detail to us, the readers, so why not this? He seems to think we need to know all the details of his self-absorbed lifestyle... But then there's a part of me that thinks, Really, Bret Easton Ellis, are you addicted to porn and gore? It really was too much.

That being said, I found the book very well-written and beautiful at times. It's written in first-person perspective, so we know exactly what's going through Patrick's mind. He is irresistibly charming, someone you can't help but identify with at times. I started out being entertained by Mr. Bateman, but then became sickened, offended, shocked. I found myself reading with mouth agape on many occasions. I went through a great deal of emotions while reading this book: admiration, shock, hatred, sympathy, glee, fear, sadness, hope, frustration, confusion, grief, amusement, appreciation, fascination.

I love this book because it plays with your emotions; it's not all black and white. It makes you think in levels and fill in some gaps yourself. I suppose that's what satire is all about. With all the painstakingly descriptive material, there are a few instances when you catch a glimpse of something Patrick can't identify and explain away. It's in these moments when he describes a foreign emotion or feeling, usually involving love or hope or compassion, that you identify with him, root for him, and feel sorrow for him because it seems he will never grasp any of these concepts or be able to experience them. He has a couple of opportunities to love women and have that love returned, but he quells his chances by brutally killing one and callously ignoring the other.

I struggled with this book, going through a cycle of loving and then despising the main character over and over. I love the movie, which I plan on watching again now that I've read the book. I enjoyed being sucked into the shallow world of Patrick Bateman and his associates. One iconic scene which I particularly love is when Pat and some business associates are comparing their business cards. Patrick becomes seethingly jealous over one man's card, even though they all look pretty much the same. The dark humor and matter-of-fact way they speak of ridiculous topics makes it worth enduring more than unfavorable violence, gore, and disregard for other humans, especially women and the homeless. However, this book is about more than a murderous man lost in a material world, falling into a spiral of mad violence. It's a look at what we've become and what we choose to ignore in our society and in ourselves. It comes to a very poignant close, but leaves the door open for introspectiveness and discussion. It left a big impression on me and I will surely be pondering it for a long time.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I'm Going To Take A Nap

Every morning for the past, oh, as long as I can remember, my husband has awakened at six. Weekday mornings, fine (gotta get to work on time, right?) Today is Saturday (which is a 'not-weekday'). He awoke like clockwork at six o'clock, got up and made some pancakes, ate them, and eventually got back in bed with me.

At this point, it was about eight and I had, as I most often do in this situation, been lying awake the entire time.

I'm a bad sleeper. When I crawl into bed at night, it takes around an hour for me to fall asleep. Then if I'm awakened in the middle of the might, it takes about as long to fall asleep again. Let's say my sleep is interrupted at six in the morning after getting in bed around eleven or midnight... You do the math; it's enough slumber to have gotten a night's sleep, but after not getting much sleep the previous week (or previous weekend) it's just not enough to satisfy a grouchy, morning-challenged person such as myself.

This morning was no different from the rest. This morning, our humble home was filled with the sleepy, scratchy-voiced, profanity laced rantings of a woman in desperate need of "just one %#@& good night's sleep".

I'm amazed at how friendly James is in the mornings. He's his usual self, teasing me and being cute with the dogs. He thinks it's funny when I'm grumpy in the mornings and most of the time is able to make me smile or laugh instead of groan and throw a tantrum. Any given weekend, he's more than happy to get up, whip us up some breakfast, watch a soccer game, and then fall asleep for a couple hours. I would love to be able to say, "I'm going to take a nap" and then actually accomplish just that. But my brain will not shut off and napping only comes on those rare occasions when I'm running on absolute empty.

Thankfully, my adoring husband is being patient and understanding with me this morning. He's currently snoozing in our bedroom with the dogs. At one point, he even jumped out of bed to come to my aid when a rogue ketchup bottle leapt to its death from our fridge and onto my foot.

I'm in a much better mood now though. My belly is getting full, I'm more awake, and I can laugh at myself. Life goes on, and of course there's always hope that maybe tonight will be the night I get a %#@& good night's sleep.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ofelia!

Daddy's Little Princess is one today!

Yes, she has her daddy wrapped around her little paw.

She and Mommy get along pretty well too.

Ofelia loves to nap.

She enjoys playing around outside...

...but doesn't like cleaning up afterward.

She also doesn't like wearing clothes and takes off her harness any chance she gets.

She loves to tease Simon...

...but they always make up in the end.

Happy Birtyhday, Little Girl!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, Simón!

Mommy's little Pooh bear turned one today!

His first day home.

He gets babied...

... a lot.

He and his buddy Ofelia are attatched at the hip.

He loves playing fetch with his futbol any chance he gets.
We go through a lot of them.

He also loves running around outside...

...but not so much boat rides...

...or the vacuum.

Happy Birthday, Silly Face!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

El Drama De Los Tacos

Last night, hubs and I were channel-hopping and landed on a Spanish soap opera entitled La Rosa de Guadalupe. We caught it maybe ten minutes into the show. A mother was in the hospital, her three children surrounding her bed. "Why," we wondered, half-interested, "was this mother in the hospital?" We soon learned the reason. Every few minutes her husband would appear out of nowhere and beat the crap out of everyone in his family.

I know this kind of thing isn't funny, but we had a great laugh watching it happen over and over and over. I mean, a couple of them would just be having a nice conversation and then he'd rush up and start throwing punches for no apparent reason. Like a mentioned, abuse isn't funny, but the frequency of it in this show pushed it to the point of ridiculousness.

I dunno... maybe it was just one of those "You had to be there" things.

'Papa' was the stereotypical male abuser, wearing the appropriately named "wife beater" tank top under an open white short-sleeve, button-down shirt. Jeans, stubble, and constant yelling. How could he be calm when each person in his family couldn't serve him his dinner without accidentally spilling it all over him? Idiotas! (This happened two different times, by the way).

The mother just couldn't bring herself to tell the police about him. While she was in the hospital, due to one of his drunken rages, I'm certain - you know what, I take that back; I don't think he even needed alcohol to become absolutely enraged over the slightest thing - he started beating the oldest daughter. She plotted to put rat poison in his tacos, but dropped them before he could dig in - she's so clumsy!

James was making me laugh, saying the show should be called Los Tacos de Guadalupe. He kept bringing it up over and over, and I giggled and giggled every time. Even as I type, I'm laughing uncontrollably.

Unintentional comedy aside, I was so enthralled with the story I had to watch it until the end. I could only pick up on a little Spanish here and there, but I could still figure out what was happening due to the "Oscar-worthy" performances. Papa ended up going to jail, only after the daughter poisoned him on her second attempt but then had some mercy and called 911. The family was better off without him and the show ended with all of them (minus Papa) laughing and thanking Saint Guadalupe for helping their family.

I was also laughing and thanking Los Tacos for a fabulous and entertaining close to my day.