Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Festivus!

My dad is here and we are celebrating Festivus, comfort food, feats of strength and the airing of grievances.
It's the holiday season!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ooooh, more stuff like the last post

I just read another REALLY good article about mental health care in this nation, written by a psychiatrist.

Here is the important bit...

Because this boy was missed. That moment is now gone, and we as a nation are grieving with the consequences of the failure.
The only move left is for me to ask for help. And that’s exactly what I am doing.
1) The US Congress: Please create better laws to ensure the ticking time bomb is caught before it is too late. Make it much easier for a family to get a potentially dangerous person into mandated treatment. This means less paperwork, too. We need to support parents and mental health professionals.
2) The US Justice Department: It’s time we enacted a Health Law Court. Have doctors serve as judges and streamline legal proceedings for tough medical and psychiatric cases. Go to for ideas on how this can be done.
3) Health Insurance Companies: Man up. My main complaint is with you. You make it so hard to keep people in the hospital when they need to be there, and it’s even harder to keep them in intensive outpatient services. Please create protocols for difficult cases and loosen the purse strings for extremely troubled individuals –- before it’s too late.
4) Network TV: Please create some exciting television that is actually educational about mental illness. Or least give us a “Gossip Girl” who takes her medication and sees her psychiatrist regularly. Less stigma, better health.
5) Drug Companies: You are always trying to ply me with coffee and doughnuts. I have trust issues with you. Don’t want anything, thanks.
6) The Hollywood PR Machine: Please find the mental health community a really attractive celebrity to get the US mental health system some money. I am glad that George Clooney and Angelina Jolie are doing so much for Africa, but can we borrow one of them please?
7) High School Students: Tell the popular kids to stop being such dicks to the odd kids or the ones they don’t understand.
8) Community Psychiatry Health Researchers: You have kick-ass and innovative ideas for how to reform the system. Could one of you put on a sequin dress and walk a red carpet please? We need to get you more money.
Me? I will keep trying to do my job. But I want to be better equipped the next time the risk appears before me. Because these young men need help. We all do.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Blathering on about grief and anger and hope

We (Americans) are so f***ed up.
Don't get me wrong. I also think we are awesome and amazing and pretty dang fabulous, 
nevertheless, we are also deeply effed up.
Ya know, pretty much like every other nation in the world, but in our own unique way.

The way we aggrandize violence, ignore, marginalize, and refuse to treat mental illness, as well as our refusal to engage in any sane, national conversation about what sensible gun laws might be all combine to create situations like Sandy Hook.
Having one group shrieking, "No guns, never guns, aaaaaargh!" and another group raging, "Must haz ALL the guns!" is rather counter-productive to a well-reasoned approach.
The person who commits murder always bears the guilt of that act. I am not attempting to diminish that truth but I do think it is time we evaluate what our society is doing.

One of my Facebook friends posted this image as if it suggests a good solution to the recent events.

This is an elementary class in Israel with an armed adult.
 The fact that anyone thought this is a reasonable solution mystifies, angers, and grieves me. People in Israel live every day under fear of death, rocket fire, loss of loved ones. Are we really at the point in this country where we want to adopt the mindset and actions of war-torn nation, not because we are embroiled in an actual geo-political conflict but simply because we cannot be bothered to find a way to live peaceably??
I know people who've experienced the never-ending fear and uncertainty of surviving life in a war zone. They value the blessings of  peace and liberty extraordinarily highly and I believe you would have a hard time convincing them that the way to preserve and celebrate the American way of life is to embrace the life-style forced on those who live under constant fear of attack.

Let me be clear, I am not anti-gun. I support the right of people to own guns, hunt, target shoot, and shoot in competitions. I believe every single member of our armed services ought to be trained in handling weapons (and just in case you didn't know this, no, not all military members currently are trained in firing weapons). My children have both taken the hunter safety course in my state and gone hunting. They've been to youth hunter training offered by our local gun range and been train pretty extensively by my dad and husband about gun safety, gun handling, and responsible gun ownership. I am all for responsible gun ownership.
However, we need to speak truth on this matter.

It's time to quit pretending that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams wanted assault rifles in the hands of anyone who shows up at a gun show with the money to buy one.
I, for one, do not understand why assault weapons were ever subject to private ownership. I firmly believe that tanks, gun ship helicopters, and assault weapons belong only in the hands of military members and law enforcement officers. Nevertheless, they are in the hands of private citizens and the responsible owners; the ones who properly secure their weapons, use them sensibly, and follow laws and safety guidelines are not the people creating anguish. It is unrealistic though to behave as if this describes all gun owners.

Even more important than gun laws (because it is true that laws regarding guns only have an effect on those who follow laws) are the matters of how our society regards violence and how we handle mental illness.
This is a link to one woman's take on this recent tragedy and her connection to mental illness.

A gun ban is an oversimplified answer to this issue. We need to develop a culture of honoring life, non-violence, and caring for those with mental illness.

I hope we can honor the memories of these precious babies and their teachers by doing the best we can to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.

Friday, December 14, 2012

♪ It’s the holiday season, so whoop-de-doo ♫

I am getting into the Christmas groove... slowly.
I got a fabulous gift in the mail from Lime which helped, but the last couple years it's been an uphill sort of season. In 2009 this was a distinctly un-festive time of year and in the intervening years it's gotten better but November through January is still not exactly my favorite time of year these days. Which is a shame, because I have typically been really into Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, not to mention all the bonus holidays we celebrate in there (Winter Solstice, Festivus, Boxing Day, and Befana aka. Epiphany).

It's just the journey, and it's normal, and blah blah blah but since I like to imagine myself as incredibly strong, resilient, and unflappable I actually have to remind myself not to get affected about the fact I am affected. It's not a bad thing. 

I decided this year not to wait for the rest of the family to take point on the holiday prep as I have the last two years. I decorated for Christmas and today I am having some friends over for a little Christmas tea. I am sure it will be awesome once we get going but right now I am sitting in my bedroom, still in my jammies wondering why I thought this was a good idea.

Ah, good times. 

So, off I go to have some delicious Chinese tea from my friend and feel very loved and understood and then I am going to get dressed and spend some time with my friends and just get on with it already.

It's part of my gradual campaign to have less, "Bah humbug!" in my holidays and more, "God bless us, every one!"

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Stuff I did.

Ok, so, being a northwest native I have been on the Boeing tour before (it is a long time field trip fav of Washington schools) but I had out of town company and so we did this tour.
The Boeing factory is the largest building on earth (by volume) and in fact, it is actually like, screw with your sense of perception type big.

This next picture shows why it is so big. 
They make really big stuff in there. 

The factory tour is set up to let tourists walk through and gawk without interfering with the plant at all. You enter from the underground tunnels and then go up to areas that overlook the work area, so you get to view the whole deal without getting in the way.

If you've never seen large aircraft up close, you should try to remedy that. I prefer the SR- 71 but for sheer size you have to admire the engineering on these suckers. 

 Speaking of sheer size...
this is a Dreamlifter. It is a custom altered 787 that Boeing uses to fly in the components of the Dreamliners. We've seen them overhead and they sort of look like hydro-cephalic 787s. 
 Mmmmmm, more power.

 We also went to see King Tut. 

There were lots of artifacts from a variety of dynasties for starters and then a pretty cool set-up for the items that came from the tomb complex of Tutankhamun. 

That cheetah head was there, and there were lots of pieces from the different areas within Tut's tomb.

It was a very well staged display and it had some really interesting pieces.

You know what they didn't have?
Any part of the sarcophagus. Despite the fact it was the image all over the advertisement and there were pictures of it throughout, but NO actual bits of it... which was disappointing to me, a bit. 
 I guess the European museum deal spoiled us. We got to see real mummies, even cat mummies, in Naples and the British Museum has a truly outstanding Egyptology section.
I am glad we did it but I am also glad I waited til the mother in law arrived. I wouldn't have been willing to pay for it twice.

We also visited the Pacific Northwest Ballet Nutcracker. The set was designed by Maurice Sendak (author and illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are). It is pretty amazing.

The bit there in the center where the nutcracker's face is opens up to reveal Clara sleeping and down in front you see the nutcracker and the mouse king having their duel.

The Christmas party is rather gorgeous, the costumes and sets are wonderful.

Look at that tree, is it not awesome?

There are tons of kids in this production and they all do so well.

It is so much fun to watch them.
There are, of course, muscular men in tight pants as well.
 So it has that going for it too.

 There are also the requisite scenes involving skinny chicks flitting about in fluffy skirts.

Very well done and all that, I'm sure.

In the Nutcracker though, you also get some slightly more interesting spectacles,

and in Seattle's Nutcracker

they have a distinctly Sendak flair

which makes them even better!

 It is a holiday tradition

and a lot of fun,.

That last shot shows Kent Stowell on the 25th anniversary of the Nutcracker. He was the choreographer for the Nutcracker and the one who convinced Maurice Sendak to get involved in this project back in the early 80s. 
I am so glad he did.

RIP, Mr. Sendak, and thanks for making this ballet beautiful, fun, and something kids can enjoy.

So there ya have it. That is what I've been up to lately. 

Friday, December 07, 2012


I want to read No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It is about the Roosevelts and discusses this time period is pretty great detail from what I understand. 
Anyway, it's Pearl Harbor Day. Let's keep remembering. 

Sunday, December 02, 2012

The tenth month?

Well, it is December. Which mean Mr. Logo will celebrate his natal day and I am expected to do some shopping. 

 Additionally, my mother-in-law is visiting. While she is here we plan to go see King Tut and watch The Nutcracker. The PNB is suitably proud of it and the Maurice Sendak designs.

I am really looking forward to December 21st. The days will start getting long again, yay! Call me greedy if you like but I think anything less that 8 1/2 hours of day light borders on cruel and unusual. Clearly I would not survive in Alaska. Anyway, come on, December 21st!
I am looking forward to Christmas break; time to hang out with the offspring and getting to sleep in, yay!
It is rather odd to think another year is almost over though.
Times flies and all that.