Fandom Merchandise and Where to Find It

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​As I look at my Christmas gifts, and my recent birthday gifts before that, I am struck, but not terribly surprised by how much relates to the variety of fandoms and pop culture things I am involved in. Many of these things have stayed with me since my teen years, to the point that I no longer participate, but they still hold an important place in my heart. The one example that comes to mind was my getting a new messenger bag: ThinkGeek’s Bag of Holding. It’s so glorious that I’ll be writing a separate review of it. My son was a little annoyed that I would be getting it – it was a little expensive, but with the thirty percent discount that was offered, it was well worth it. He was still a little annoyed and exclaimed, “You don’t even like Dungeons & Dragons!” I think I may have snorted. I was momentarily speechless.

I don’t like Dungeons & Dragons?! Do you even know me?! I had been playing Dungeons & Dragons since high school. In our school cafeteria, we would use the half-pint milk container as a six-sided die. Every weekend in college, we’d get together in the blue room to play. Dave, our DM (dungeon master) would not let us have any alcohol. We got stupid. We were probably the only group on a Saturday night not drunk. We would play all weekend, talking time only to sleep before the next night’s game.

I met my college roommate in a study hall through a conversation about character sheets.

My oldest son used my original books when he and his friends played Dungeons & Dragons.

Not a fan?! Harumph!

Glancing at The Walking Dead trivia box, the Hufflepuff necklace, the Supernatural zipper bag, the Star Trek 50th anniversary gold ornament with sound, I saw just how many fandom things there are, and I also realized how difficult it was to get some of them.

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50-44 – Postpartum Depression

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​When you give birth for the first or second time, the expecting books, the online information sites, and the doctors and nurses are very much aware that this is new for you, and they take great care in giving you as much information as possible including on postpartum depression.

postpartum depression can occur in women who’ve had no other history of depression.

You are told very clearly what to look for: loss of appetite, fatigue, lethargy – because none of those things happen when you have a new baby unless you have depression, right?

Two other symptoms to watch out for are if you can answer yes to the following questions:

Do you want to hurt yourself?

Do you want to hurt your baby?

Since my answers to both of those questions were  resounding NOs, I knew I was in the clear.

Despite that I couldn’t make decisions or do anything that wasn’t taking care of the baby, or even lying on the floor with the tiny baby, both of us crying hysterically. It went on and on, and every time I thought I must be depressed, I need to see a doctor about this, I would go back to those two questions and answer them:

No, I do not want to hurt myself. No, I do not want to hurt my baby. I just need a vacation; a day off. And I muddled through. I just wasn’t strong enough to handle a second baby. I must be doing something wrong.

Not to mention that my mother had just died; eight weeks after the birth of my son, which came eighteen months after the death of my dad. Of course, I was depressed, but I wasn’t, you know, depressed.

It wasn’t until eight years later and actually becoming suicidal, wanting it all to just end and being diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety was able to look back at that time, lying on the floor crying, not wanting to do anything but sit in a chair, sometimes holding my baby, not cooking or wanting to eat, did I realize that I did, in fact, have postpartum depression.

It’s hard to look back and know that if only I’d looked deeper into it, I could have come to of it sooner. As it was, when I became pregnant with my third child, when my second was only six months old did the hormones kick in, pushed the depression away, and saved my life.

I was miserable, and I had help. My husband stayed home and worked as often as he could, especially after baby number  three was born, and my mother-in-law visited and stayed with us for extended periods to help us out and visit.

We need to listen to new or not so new mothers when they complain about how hard it is. Even if we complain all the time, we need to take a special listen after the baby’s born. Offer support; don’t wait until it’s asked for. By then, it’s probably too late and the request is coming from a shrieking, arm flailing door slammer.

The questions shouldn’t be will you hurt yourself or your baby; the question should be how are you, are you okay, can I help? Do you want me just to come over and watch you and the baby sleep for an hour?

postpartum depression is hard to recognize. I never recognized it until I was on anti-depressants and in therapy for about six months. I was lucky. I never wanted to hurt my kids. If they were with me, I wouldn’t hurt myself, but looking back it is one of the scary experiences I’ve ever had, more than when I was actually suicidal.

The good news is that I came out of it. I survived. I look at my kids everyday and I’m glad I’m here with them. I survived and I’m still surviving. I’m hyper-aware of how I feel. I have my coping mechanisms, which I’ve adapted to over time.

Don’t let anyone tell you you’re crazy or imagining things. Take care of yourself first. Love yourself first. Always keep fighting.*



[*Always Keep Fighting and Love Yourself First are from the Always Keep Fighting (AKF) campaign to raise awareness and fight depression through Supernatural actor, Jared Padalecki’s charities.]

Six Degrees of Social Media

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I have come to the social media phenomenon slowly, kicking and screaming the whole way, but go I do. My first social media was Live Journal before I really knew what social media was. The only one I didn’t question was Tumblr, I think. I don’t know. Maybe it was something else. I can’t remember. I’ve always followed my friend, Andy and as the months went by and turned into years – is it really eight years since I’ve joined the online revolution?! – I’ve refined what I do with my social media. I’ve gotten rid of some, and increased my usage of others. I’ve connected some and I love Instagram more than I think I should.

While my Facebook is primarily for family and personal things, I do follow pages and in follwoing certain pages, I’ve been exposed and introduced to others and so on.

And that is how I come to you to recommend seeing the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. It’s not typically my thing. I never read the comic  books, watched the animated shows or any of the other movies.

I followed Jared Padalecki because he’s on the CW’s Supernatural and he’s an all around good guy with a smile that is warm and inviting. I love his whole family. Whenever I’d see him or Gen or the boys on social media or in photos of conventions, it would make me smile. It would uplift my mood. I can’t explain why. It just is. All of the Supernatural cast & crew are very much like a family, and I love that and am drawn to that.

Well, he’s friends with Stephen Amell who is on Arrow, also on the CW. So I followed Stephen Amell. He spoke his mind and this got him into trouble sometimes. He’d apologize, sometimes, and this down-to-earthiness of his personality was what kept me following his Facebook.

I listened to his live chats and I loved seeing him with his daughter.

He posted the trailer to TMNT, a movie I have no interest in seeing. I watched the trailer to support Stephen’s Facebook.

I liked it.

It made me interested in something because I watched the trailer.

I watched the trailer because I follow Stephen Amell. I follow Stephen Amell because I follow Jared Padalecki. And now I actually want to see this movie.

This is how social media works.

At least how it’s supposed to.

My Top 5 Social Media Personalities
In addition to Jared and Stephen:
1. Misha Collins
2. William Shatner
3. Wil Wheaton
4. John Barrowman
5. George Takei

My Top 5 Political Pundits
1. Ezra Klein (Vox)
2. Connie Schultz
3. Chris Cilizza
4. Planned Parenthood Action
5. Chuck Todd

My Top 5 Writers
In addition to any on the other lists above:
1. Lin-Manuel Miranda
2. Danai Gurira
3. Adam Glass
4. Robert Behrens
5. Neil Gaiman

Others that I Love
1. Norman Reedus
2. Greg Nicotero
3. Kim Rhodes & Briana Buckmaster
4. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
5. Joseph Gordon-Levitt