I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous — everyone hasn't met me yet. ~Rodney Dangerfield


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Blue Unicorns

It took awhile for my parents to come to terms with to my diagnosis of bipolar disorder. For reasons we may never understand, my mother had a markedly easier time accepting the diagnosis than my father. 

But the other day, my dad told me he thinks he's finally understanding it. "I mean," he explained, "if you see blue unicorns running up and down Connecticut Avenue, who cares? Maybe I see red unicorns. The point is, we all have our unicorns."

"Well Dad, mine are actually pink."

"Well, I think they're actually white, aren't they?"

"Well, they actually don't exist so I guess there's no reason to argue about the color, but I see your point, and it actually means a lot."

"Just remember Peanut, we all have our unicorns."

Any situation that can prompt my  father, with his PhD in atomic physics to discuss blue unicorns with me simply because he's trying to better understand what I'm experiencing, makes me feel like if we look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling wee'll find that unicorns actually are all around.



Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Great and Powerful Oz

How do you explain anxiety to someone who has never experienced it? Anxiety lives in a bar at last call. And while he's always had a few too many, he's full of advice

"Aren't you a little old for the bar scene? That's what Carol said at least."

"Everyone here is more successful than you. We were all talking about it."

"Listen, I'm just going to say it that boyfriend of yours, he's cheating on you."

"You can drive home. Taking a cab means you're a pussy."

"That guy seems alright, just go home with him. Your friends think it's weird you're not already married yet."

Both anxiety and drunks are belligerent loudmouths who rely on a reality that's entirely fictional. Since both are immune to logic and reason, combating anxiety is a process that some struggle with their entire lives.


And while we'd never allow a drunk to drive our children to school, manage our stock investments, or even choose a paint color for us, it takes years of therapy and self-reflection to realize that a drunk's and anxiety's perceptions are equally distorted. They both owe their sloppy success to a combination of illusion, confusion, and control.

Anxiety treatment programs have begun to shift their f
ocus fr
om attempting to eliminate every possible anxiety trigger tand instead concentrate on an internal shift one's locus of control. Building a foundation of empowerment, self-esteem, and positive thinking can be accomplished through journaling, healthy habits, or civil service.

This makes it easier to understand Dorthy's epiphany at the end of The Wizard of Oz. After experiencing an esteem enhancing journey (which did involve killing someone, but we'll put a pin in that) she was able to see that The Great and Powerful Oz was not this all powerful omnipotent being, but rather a shadowy shut-in with a Mutchkin fetish, possessing all the wizardry skills of a rent-by-the-hour birthday party magician.



Friday, March 18, 2016

Multiple Sclerosis and Me: 5 Things I've learned about MS - Part III

5) MS Clusters are the perceived high number of MS cases in a specific time period or area. Clusters could provide clues to environmental or genetic triggers of the disease, however, to date cluster studies have not produced clear evidence for causative or triggering factors.
4) This year's World MS Day is May 25, 2016. The theme will be "Independance."  

3) A lumbar puncture, also called a spinal tap, is used to diagnose all types of MS. Although the procedure sounds alarming, it's completely painless, which makes my screaming entirely unnecessary. But it felt good to do. 
2) I tell ya MS is getting on my last nerve. 



1) Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is not affiliated with MS-13. So don't bother asking your doctor about it.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Multiple Sclerosis and Me: 5 Things I've learned about MS - Part II

5) The diagnosis process is like being on an episode of House


4) When my MS diagnosis emerged on the coattails of my bipolar dianosis, doctors used humor (e.g. "Well someone drew the genetics short straw!") to help me understand this new condition. 
3) Famous people with MS include: Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Jack Osbourne. Couldn't we have gotten someone on the A-List?
2) MS loves the ladies, affecting more women than men by a whopping 2:1 ratio.  However, disease severity is worse in men.
1) MS affects coordination and balance which can result in stumbling or falling. But the doctor says it's okay as long as my falling is hilarious.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Multiple Sclerosis and Me: 5 Things I've learned about MS

My family contains some of DCs finest armchair physicians. Until recently, bipolar was simply a condition I had made up to embarrass my family and make the neighbors uncomfortable. 

5) It turns out, there's a strong correlation between bipolar and Multiple Sclerosis. These two unexpected BFFs follow similar patterns of flare-ups and remissions, each magnifying the symptoms of the other culminating into what's medically known as "an arrest".
4) Multiple Sclerosis symptoms include pain, headache, dizziness, tremors, and bowel problems.



3) Multiple Sclerosis offers a sampling of four meet-your-maker options, which is very generous considering my bookie only gave me two. 
  • Relapsing-Remitting - clearly defined attacks lasting from days to weeks, with full recovery or with some remaining neurological symptoms and deficits upon recovery. Periods between relapses are stable and absent of disease progression. This is by far the most common form of the disease.
  • Secondary-Progressive – begins initially with a relapsing-remitting course that becomes consistently progressive and includes occasional relapses and minor remission. Deficits are accumulated without recovery between attacks.
  • Primary-Progressive – progression of level of disability from the onset without any distinct relapses of remissions. Temporary, minor improvements may be experienced.
  • Progressive-Relapsing – clear progression in disability level from the onset, but also clear acute relapses that may or may not include memory.
2) Can't stand the suspense of just how and when you'll join sweet oblivionBy exercising your Right to Die, an option most people select after working with an attorney. I trust that, when the time comes, my POA will lead me onto Brahmaloka, the fourth level of Tibetiam Heaven without incident.
1) Medical Science has skyrocketed over the past two decades with many advances in the treatment and maintenance of MS. Even if all else fails, God Willing, I'll still be able to go out with a pair of giant knockers.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving and Me: 5 Things I've Learned Before November 26th

1) Snoopy has appeared as a giant balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade more times than any other character in history, a whopping 38 times. Bet you feel guilty about how often you walk your dog.



2) An attra
ctive charismatic turkey named named Tom One received this year's Presidential Turkey Pardon. The charges from which Tom One was pardoned aren't shared with the general public, but I suspect they involve to the large quantities of snood he was caught distributing. Luckily he was a non-violent offender.



3) 
Since 1934, the Detroit Lions have "played" a game every Thanksgiving.


4) What does your favorite Thanksgiving food say about you?
5) This is Ralph the Thanksgiving Turkey. He was delicious.





Monday, November 16, 2015

From Paris With Love

I went to the emergency room this Saturday night. The doctor diagnosed me with the worst case of buzz kill he'd ever seen.



Exactly one and a half drinks into the night, and six weeks before the Paris Marathon three friends and I had been training for, I felt an overwhelming need to introduce my face to the floor of a local hookah establishment. It was a potential Code WGW (White Girl Wasted) and within minutes an ambulance arrived.

Many of you have probably heard assorted tales of interactions between athletes and medical personnel. When I'd imaged these stories they were always lighthearted in nature....

EMT: "I can't get a pulse over here!"
Patient: "Gotcha! I'm a distance runner, you see. My naturally low pulse rate is hilariously confusing."
EMT: "You rascal!"
Patient: "Now put that gurney away, drinks 
are on me!"

The reality of it wasn't nearly so charming. T
urns out, unless you're about to step onto an Olympic podium, doctors are hesitant to believe that it's exercise and not, say, opium causing your reduced pulse rate. And oh by the way all their machines are pre-set to beep if it drops below 50 so don't expect to get any sleep during your seven-hour wait.  

So me and my little brother 
 who deserves a very special shout-out here, for not only soldiering through a seven-hour ER wait, and being the first to call 911 following my face plant in the bar, but for also finding a way to put the other patrons at ease as I was hoisted onto a gurney in the middle of their shrimp tempura roll by joking, "She always finds a way to get out of paying the tab, am I right folks? This guy knows."  passed the time by Googling the potential diseases I could be dying from.

When I was fina
lly discharged it was at 4:30am, against medical advice, and with the discovery of an inverted T-wave on my EKG. What actually happened is still kinda a question mark.

But don't feel too bad for me, it just meant that my trip to Paris included a lot more cheese and wine and a lot less running 26.2 miles, which is, apparently, how most normal people travel overseas. It was the most beautiful, humbling, amazing trip I've ever taken. It's how I'll always remember Paris, except for the parts when we had too much wine.

"This is the way of peace: Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love." ~Peace Pilgrim




Saturday, October 10, 2015

If this, than that


Centuries have been spent studying why we're such terrible judges of character. The character of others, ourselves, my stuffed platypus Ralph. But despite hundreds of years of research we've yet to decide on the conclusive reason. For example:

1) If you think yo
u're good at reading people, than you've probably renewed your Match subscription for the seventh time. When meeting someone on a first date for coffee and a cookie, I'm sure I look confident and collected but studies have shown I actually look like a certain blue monster with an infinity for baked goods.



2) If you think you're likeable, think again. Forbes identifies 13 traits of likeability which include listening, genuineness, and interest in others. Absent these qualities, you're might instead just an asshole.



3) Unless you're a member of Mensa, you're probably not nearly as smart as you think. True intelligence can be found in the following traits: listening less than you talk,an overwhelming urge to  avoid drama, and being encouraging and supportive of people. So why are there so many loud-mouthed mean-spitted assholes convinced they have superior head smarts.? I blame Lifehhacks a recent phenomenon that offers up simplistic logic and tells us Steve Jobs has just shared the Secret of Life. 



4) For all you fellas convinced your wit can captivate a room, it's not just that you're not funny, it's also that you should be punched in the throat until we don't hate the sound of your voice. Cracked offers a lukewarm insight to how gender effects humor development but personally I think humor comes down to timing, topic, and tension. Jokes can have two of the three but if it's meant to be mean-spirited or hurtful, watch your one liner have the comical success of Danny DeVito's career. 



4) If you have even one of these 29 Signs from LifeBuzz that the things in your life are going better than you think. If you've made the best of a tough situation? If you've overcome the judgment of others, or yourself, if you've gone out of your way to help someone, than, don't worry Rock Star, it turns out you're killing it.

5) If you give a Mouse A Cookie you best watch your back, now that dangerous rodent knows where you live! 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Boring Work Days and Me: 5 Things I've Learned Before 5:00pm - #WorldAnimalDay

1) More than a third of Major League baseball pitchers are left-handers, about three times the average among the general population. But why? Science How Stuff Works rules out witchcraft so I've exhausted my theories. Instead it's explained with a lot of scientific and technical mumbo jumbo with frankly still sound a lot like witchcraft to me.
2) Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own me
mory, perception, and sanity.
3) The duck-billed platypus a semi aquatic egg-laying mammal indigenous to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. It is the only egg-laying mammal known to man and some of its more cuddly features include venous foot spurs and double cone eyes which it uses to see into your soul. But this terrifying creature can do more than simply be a crime against nature: "We have a case for you detective!" 




4) The rock band AC/DC's name is a tribute to the rivalry between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison

5) James Jesus Angleton, the left handed counterintelligence chief at the CIA from 1954 to 1975, suffered from crippling paranoia. 



But he like, these other unheeded paranoiacs, turned out to be right in the end. Read more and you'll see, you'll all see.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Southpaw

Approximately 13% of the world's population are southpaws. We don't talk about in front of strangers but my own father leans to the left. We'll never know the true percent of lefties because many were forced to change handedness during childhood by teachers, parents, or the Aryan Society for Right Handed World Domination (you didn't hear it from me).
bart-at-blackboard.jpg
    
While historically, we enjoy shunning and/or ridiculing minorities, according to Chris McManus this tiny percentage has produced an above-average quota of high achievers. The magnitude of famous lefties is truly outstanding considering there's no explanation for why people are left handed.


 
But if you've ever suspected you're an underground leftie or just need more research in order to infiltrate this fascinating group, visit The Left Handers Club  


Monday, July 27, 2015

If The Shoe Fits

Walt Disney is renowned for many things. His kingdom of animated wonders, a legacy of creative genius, the way he'd put on the Mickey Mouse suit and insist on being called “The Commodore”... But one thing he can never take credit for is a realistic representation of his Disney Princesses.

And despite recent efforts to portray more modern and diverse heroines, the Disney Princess line-up still largely resembles Thursday night at a Tallahassee strip club.



If you were a Disney princess which one would you be?

Criticism that Disney heroines represent an exaggerated and unrealistic physical standard of beauty is well deserved considering these films are designed for an audience of 5 to 10 year olds. Just who exactly are the pouting lips, doe eyes, and heaving bosoms designed to appeal to?



I like to think I'll raise my children in the sort of open minded, accepting household where we appreciated all bodies like pow, animated and otherwise, but it does it over simplify the complex issue of women's role and representation throughout history to believe that heavier, plainer Disney Princesses are the magic bullet to liberate them from oppression, misrepresentation, and limited social opportunities?


It's a difficult issue to address when you're up against an intimidating group of Disney Princesses all in hot pursuit of their Happily Ever After (all whom strangely resemble the Mean Girls from my High School). 



In Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture Peggy Orenstein writes a, frankly contradictory, albeit updated piece, about how women can be whatever they want. Just so long as it's not too girly, not too sporty, not too feminine, not too smart, not too pretty, not too dumb, and, most importantly, not too anything they actually want to be.

I'm genuinely glad to see Disney's outdated stereotypes modernized, but I'd hate to see one set of restrictive conditions on women's conduct replaced for another. I don't think our ultimate end game should necessary be that there's every possible Disney role model a young women could relate to telling her how okay to wear glasses, like books, or play sports but that instead we should foster a society in which young women can become their own role models.   

I think Cinderella herself said it best:




Thursday, July 2, 2015

Boring Work Days and Me: 5 Things I've Learned Before 5:00pm - 4th of July Edition

1) Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4, 1826. James Monroe also died on July 4, but in 1831.
2) Auto club AAA estimates that 41.9 million Americans will travel over the July 4th holiday, the most in eight years.
3) Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872. He also has the distinction of being the Nationals' latest Racing President.



4) The 4th of July by the numbers:
  • 14,000 — number of firework displays across the nation each year
  • 150 million — number of hot dogs eaten by Americans 
  • 9 — number of times I will drunk-dial my ex before I black out
5) This amazing firework display is from the 2012 Let Freedom Sing Fireworks Show in Nashville, Tennessee. After the 2:05 mark, you'll feel like a five-year old again.


Happy Fourth!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

#LeapSecond

Leap second is a one-second adjustment that is occasionally applied to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) in order to keep its time of day close to the mean solar time, or UT1. The next leap second will again be inserted at the end of June 30, 2015 at 23:59:60 UTC.

Trending in all areas of social media today is the thought-provoking inquiry, "What will YOU do with your #LEAPSECOND?!?!?!". 

I'm going to spend it mourning the last Twitter Trend.
But I'm not drinking the Kool-Aid at this particular dog and pony show. As if it isn't enough that we're already asked to live each hour to its fullest, spend each day like it's our last, now we're expected to account for every second we spend too. And it had better be amazing. I remember a simpler time when every iota of our day wasn't required to be as awesome as possible. It's like we can't just live we need to !!!LIVE XL!!! .

But haters gonna hate right?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Palm Pilot

I got a palm reading the other day. I could say it was on a total whim, or that I don't really believe in that stuff, or that no baby I've never tried it before but with right guy I might be open to it, but that wouldn't be true. 

So this palm reading was not, in fact, my first foray into the occultic realm. Betw
een palm readings, tarot cards, and aura cleanings I've spend a handful of dollars hoping for a glimpse into what my romantic future might hold. And while my little brother reminds me that this money could be better spent on pretty much anything besides crack, my most recent palm reader had an insight for me that I'd never heard before. She told me I've already met my soulmate.

There wasn't a need to flip through my mental Rolodex of exes, because everyone has "the one that got away." Not got 
away due to some kind of epic relationship fall out, or his arraignment hearing, or because he finally found the key to my sex dungeon, but got away because something, something small and nameless, in the relationship didn't quite work out.

Ladies and gentleman
 I'd like to present my potential lost soulmate:



Yeah, I know, you can't tell me anything I haven't already told myself each time I renew my Match subscription. 



Okay Universe, I get it. He's very handsome. 

We were college sweethearts. He never hogged the covers and let me dance on his toes. He taught me how to how to change a timing belt and I encouraged him to run his first 5K. I made him laugh and he fielded my crazy like Joe DiMaggio. 

But it didn't work out. And looking back there wasn't anything we faced that was so insurmountable it couldn't have been overcome on our path to soulmatedom... Why do so many modern relationships end this way; with the parties citing vague and unsubstantial reasons like "things getting too serious", "timing", or "escaping from your sex dungeon"?  

So maybe he isn't my lost soulmate. Maybe you can't just lose a soulmate like a misplaced sweatshirt that turns up years later in a Goodwill Lost and Found. Maybe it's sharing our lives that's more important than our souls. After all, if Merriam-Webster doesn't recognize soulmates, I maintain there's no reason for the rest of us to. Except when dealing with angry ex-sex. Obviously.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

She Works Hard

"I'm an English major."

"What are you going to do with that?"

"Die of starvation."

Ever since college where we learned fundamental life skills like living away from home, choosing a non-Liberal Arts major, and how to shotgun a beer, I'd resigned myself to the notion that the English major's lot in life was to see the nuance and beauty in an otherwise mechanical, left-brained world, and not perhaps drive economic trends, truly understand what a hedge fund is, or say things like: "Divide my assets between my 401k and my Roth IRA," or "We don't need to find a different ATM. My balance is high enough to cover the foreign ATM fee." 

And I'm okay with that. Truly fine with the notion that what I lack in capital, I make up for in my ability to shotgun a beer. Like the Chinese philosophy yin and yang, maybe society needs its career-driven capitalist every bit as much as its hippy humanitarians. Both the "Type-A" predators with their smart, aggressive life and career decisions, and those of us who are content to bumble through job and relationship choices with all the calculating ruthlessness of a nurse shark


  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Boring Work Days and Me: 5 Things I've Learned Before 5:00pm - Sports Edition

1) This clip comes to you straight from my home town where minor league manager for the Asheville TouristJoe Mikulik otherwise known as "Who?", and "that assshole" loses his damn mind over a call and a game for no other reason than to show his butt and amuse you good folks. Enjoy:



2) Okay, so maybe I'm partial to my alma mater but after the below video the next person to destroy a basketball athletic program this badly was Jerry Sandusky.



3) Considered by most to be the greatest athlete of all time, his most famous commercial is titled "Failure."




4) 
The Play or The Play to Beat the Band, refers to a last-second kickoff return during a college football game between is recognized as one of the most memorable plays in college football history and among the most memorable in American sports. 



Members of the Stanford Band had come onto the field midway through the return, believing that the game was over, which added to the ensuing confusion and folklore. Cal announcer Joe Starkey of KGO-AM 810 radio called the game. The following is a transcript of his famous call:

AND THE BEARS! THE BEARS HAVE WON! The Bears have won! Oh, my God! The most amazing, sensational, dramatic, heart-rending... exciting, thrilling finish in the history of college football!

5) If you haven't heard of The Miracle on Ice than your heart is probably made of it. A group of rag tag American hockey players rallied to win Gold over the Russians, who play the villains in nine out of ten Olympic movies. Team USA's performance eked out a slim 4-3 lead which they clung to for the final 10 minutes. But it was Sportscaster Al Michaels, who was calling the game on ABC, who delivered his famous call:


"11 seconds, you've got 10 seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles?! YES!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Boring Work Days and Me: 5 Things I've Learned Before 5:00pm - Part X

1) A digital footprint is the data that is left behind by users on digital services. It's often referred to by my perverted neighbor as an "electronic snitch."
2) When
 people see something adorable, like a baby or a puppy, our typical response is to associate it as something edible (e.g. I want to munch those little feet right off). We relate cuteness to dopamine-inducing scent, reminding us of food. The overlapping senses unconsciously create the desire to put cute things in our mouths. 
I could just eat them on toast
3) This video explains why Fight Club just might be the greatest movie ever. It also breaks the first two rules of Fight Club.
4) One of Google's 30 Most Epic Doodle's, is a tribute to Jackson Pollock's famous and unique style of drip painting. Or it's one of those three-D stereograms, but I've been staring at it for five hours now and so far nothing.
5) I'm not saying saying my Mother's Day Card is better than yours. I'm just repeating what she said in the shower this morning! 



Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Miracle Question

If you've ever read anything about business, studied for the GMAT, or drank myself into a blackout at my friend's grad school party last week, you might have heard a little something about two emerging but contrasting business ideologies: problem-focused and solution-focused

A stagnant economy, struggling enterprise, and diminishing middle-class give business theology about as much corporate credibility as pixie dust. And in all likelihood, 95% of board meeting run much like this:



T
"Solution-focused" ignores the cause, details, and nuances of your problem and concentrates your efforts soley on a remedy, resolution, and positive outcome. While "problem-focused" ignores potential solutions and concentrates your efforts on "Bats! Bats! Dear God how did all these bats get in here?!?!"

Solution-Focused Therapy credits The Miracle QuestionA basic thought experiment, its premise is simple: one night a miracle has occurred. All the problems in your world that would normally preoccupy your time and energy have magically been resolved. When you awaken the next morning, what's the very first thing, however tiny or insignificant, that you notice or experience which lets you know this miracle has occurred? 


Anyone else's miracle involve Alec Baldwin giving this pep talk 
as they get ready for work each morning?

The Miracle Question doesn't promise to make our decisions for us, but what it will do is take us to a solution that we already have. It rewires our thinking to ignore the flood of distractions that a hectic 1990s life holds. When left to their own devices, these thoughts can keep us trapped in a perpetual problem-focused cycle.  Only then do we we find our solutions, our resolutions, the lights at the end of the bat filled tunnels.



Thursday, April 16, 2015

Boring Work Days and Me: 5 Things I've Learned Before 5:00pm - Part IX

1) After spending an amount of time researching Jack the Ripper, I will describe only as "too much," I've concluded his identity: Aaron Kosminski. You're welcome. Now, can someone give my therapist Dr. T. Bear a ring?


2) Is this the way to Amarillo



3) The three most common types of poker are stud, draw and community card. Texas hold 'em is the most popular of the community card versions, owing its popularity to the highly televised, internet sensation World Series of Poker Lady Gaga.
4) I end each day with a gentle Guided Meditation by Lilen Eden to meet my Spirit Guides. They haven't offered much as far as guidance, and sure Greg still owes me $50 but the benefits of mediation has been shown to red
uce stress, restore memory, and increase cognitive function. He had this bank thing happen, it was weird, but he gets paid next Friday and he'll get me then.



5) Swiss Guard, Italian Guardia Svizzera, corps of Swiss soldiers are responsible for the safety of the pope. Historically, new recruits had to have been unmarried Roman Catholic males with Swiss citizenship, between 19 and 30 years of age, at least 5 feet 8 inches and able to dress faaaabulous!!