Mental Health Monday – Avoiding Politics

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Politics are everywhere these days. I’m a political junkie, and even for me it can be a little exasperating. In the US we have an unhinged narcissist who can’t control his Twitter fingers and the media who used ot have journalistic integrity churning out pieces on his nicknaming habits, no follow up questions for outrageous lies, and more twattle than I thought humanly possilble. In the UK, Brexit is a disaster, no one gave a thought to Northern Ireland, Prime Minister Theresa May has resigned. The EU is in the middle of elections and fascists are everywhere. The Austrian government has basically fallen apart. And of course, there’s Iran and North Korea.

Amid this frenzy, I offer five ways to bring your blood pressure down and cope with the news of the day, no matter your normal comfort level:

1. Turn it off. Turn off the television, turn off your phone notifications, take a break from Twitter.

2. If you must stay on Twitter, only read Lin-Manuel Miranda exclusively. He is positive and uplifting and always says the one thing you needed to hear. Monday through Friday, he has Good Morning and Good Night tweets for his followers.

3. Read a book. NOT The Handmaid’s Tale. NOT 1984 or Lord of the Flies. Try Bill Bryson. Or James Martin, SJ. Or Becoming by Michelle Obama.

4. Treat yourself to a movie. Avengers: End Game is still in theatres. Other options: A Dog’s Journey, Aladdin, Detective Pikachu, and in the coming weeks: Men in Black and Toy Story 4!

5. Try a new podcast: The Hilarious World of Depression with John Moe wherever you get your podcasts. I listen on Player.FM.

From Autograph to Selfie Seekers

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​When I was younger, throughout high school and college I collected autographs. I couldn’t say who was my first. I’d write letters and receive replies. The objects of my fannish obsession ranged between television and movie actors to sports figures, both professional and Olympic when they were amateurs. I received a Christmas card and a post card from Bart Conner (Olympic gymnast) and a thank you card from Randy Gardner (Olympic ice skater). I have postcards from Jon-Erik Hexum, Robert Blake, Pierce Brosnan, and Linda Kelsey, one of my fictional journalist heroes. I met Telly Savalas in a Long Island diner once and waited outside the Nassau Coliseum to meet Don Maloney, Ron Duguay, and Mike Allison of the New York Rangers. I finally met Bart Conner in a shopping mall autograph event with his wife, Nadya Comeneci. My and and I both received separate lovely letters from Mr. Rogers, each one in tune for our individuality, his at five, mine as a bit older mom of a five year old.

I don’t know when I stopped.

Somewhere along the way, autograph collecting made space for selfies and social media likes. I was thinking about this earlier in the week. Ed Asner liked my tweet about his new book. It made my day. Sam Smith of Supernatural liked my post about  my Halloween cosplay as her character Mary Winchester. John Barrowman liked when I welcomed him to the 50 Club. Yvette Nicole Brown has actually comforted me when I was feeling lost.

These are all the ways we connect with the public people who help us through the day. They inspire us, they advise us, and they help us feel less invisible.

Our heroes have always been the ones who we can be, inspire us to do better, fill us with ideas of the things we could do with just a little positivity, a little encouragement, a little push in the right direction. I told Ed Asner that his Lou Grant was one of the reasons I began writing. Linda Kelsey was a female journalist on television at a time when there weren’t that many in real life. That show, and those actors were some of the reasons I took a journalism class in high school.

Yvette Nicole Brown, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Misha Collins, President Jimmy Carter.

And I will always get excited when  celebrity likes my tweet or instagram photo. It is ther same thrill as receiving the California postmarked envelope with who knows what inside. The biggest difference is the immediacy; the instant gratification of a response, although I suppose the anticipation of the autograph had equal value as the ping on the smartphone.

Our heroes are in the palm of our hands – their photos, their quotes, their memes, their ways of communication. We are much more in tune with each other, and much more available for one another.

Busy, Busy Weekend

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Beginning at the top, L-R: Our Common Home book cover, Wonder Woman Pop keychain, Wonder Woman cape hanging at the comic store, March for Truth art, Carnival, Pentecost, Gishwhes Tea Party art, green flower for my hair, Pride flag. (c)2017

Some weeks go by with nothing to do or that rare week that has one or two things every day just to keep the week moving along and easy to handle. Then there was this past week.
On Wednesday, I was invited to a Ramadan dinner, a community dinner to break the daily fast that Muslims globally follow. This dinner is one that the Islamic Center holds every year. It was wonderful, and I was glad to have gone. I’m already looking forward to next year.

On Thursday, I had a church  meeting but that was cancelled, so at the last minute, we decided to pick up my daughter’s friend and go to the evening showing of Wonder Woman. I’m not sure if Thursday counts as opening night or pre-openng night. The movie was amazing, and for a moment I considered going to see it again this weekend. Yes, it was that good. It was also a school night, but it’s Wonder Woman! We’ve been waiting a long time for this one.

On Friday, I started to read (for the second time) Our Common Home: Visual meditations of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’ by Michael O’Neill McGrath, the catalyst being the Trump Administration’s short-sightedness on the welfare of our shared planet Earth. I am reading it slowly, and I am planning on using some of Brother Mickey‘s artwork as inspiration for my own tonight. Friday night was also the school’s rec night for my daughter. It was an introduction to the middle school rec nights that they have throughout the year. Then her friend slept over in anticipation of Saturday.

Saturday began with Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast – a day late and a donut short for National Donut Day, and then we were off to our local comic store to celebrate Wonder Woman Day. Free comics, tiaras, and bracelets, pins, and key chains! Fun, fun, fun. After that my son had a birthday party that turned into a sleepover. We brought him home for a shower and a change of clothes. He and my husband went to buy him a bicycle that he’s been promised before the sale ended.

In the meantime, we took the girls out to lunch, then to a local carnival. They dropped me off at church where I was reminded it was Pentecost, something I will reflect further on later in the week. The Holy Spirit is something that I have felt my whole life without knowing exactly what it was that was guiding me. While I was at church, the girls decided on another sleepover at the friend’s house. I went home and drew some art for the March for Truth that I attended virtually continuing with the Wonder Woman theme by using her lasso of truth.

My husband and I began to catch up on Sense 8, only to find out that it wasn’t renewed for a third season. I’ve already joined the online movement to try and bring it back. It is just so much and so wonderfully well done. I can’t help but feel attached to the sensates.

We are currently at our local coffee shop – Starbucks. I’m wearing a green flower in my hair ane a matching Gishwhes shirt for the International Gishwhes Tea Party taking place around the world at this exact moment.

It is also Pride month, and I spent much of last night drawing and coloring a pride flag, mostly for my own amusement, but also to share.

So much done, and this weekend isn’t even over yet. We still need to get the kids back from their respective sleepovers, watch two more episodes of Sense8, decide on dinner, and then prepare for the return of Fear the Walking Dead.

Tomorrow seems just as busy as I renew my driver’s license and get my glasses adjusted. I’ve been getting headaches and they’re barely a week old. I’m definitely seeing better, but I’m not sure constant headaches are worth the benefit. I also plan to get my international driving permit for our trip to Ireland.

I’m not sure if I have time to catch my breath.

While I do, what are some of the ways you cope with the busyness of your lives? If you comment with yours, I’ll include them in tomorrow’s post of some of my hints and tips to get through our days.

InstaPops

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New Pops celebrating the almost end of the off-season. Ride with Norman Reedus finished yesterday, Major Crimes continues tonight, and Containment finishes tomorrow night.

We also just finished The Day After, a Russian drama with English subtitles on Amazon Prime. Entire first season, worth a watch.

Rundown and Reviews

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When last week started I thought I had all the time in the world. The first half of the week was an empty calendar, and I tried to set up the incredibly busy weekend, not only for us to participate in, but for me to write about. I have a long list of ideas and WIPs and I thought the early part of last week was perfect timing to get a few things started. And then it was Thursday. Ascension mass, catch up on Supernatural, writing class, get ready for the weekend. Sleepover, Free Comic Book Day, Lunch at Dairy Queen, mass for the anniversary of my friend’s death, seeing Captain America: Civil War, meeting my son’s new girlfriend, and Sunday for Mother’s Day and Fear the Walking Dead. This week started the same way.  Nice and quiet, time to write and yet still unused. Damn. Next week isn’t going to be much different. It’s feast or famine, isn’t it? Feast or famine.

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Let’s All Go to the Movies (*sung*)

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(Note: Links fixed.)

The first movie that I can remember was Disney’s Snow White. I believe it was a double feature with a live-action movie of Blackbeard’s Ghost. It is also possible that I’m thinking of Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights for that second movie. They kind of blend together.

The last movie I saw with my family as a child was Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977. 1977 was a big year for my family. Elvis died – my mom was a huge fan so this was news. Big news. We also moved to the suburbs. It seemed like we were all getting bigger and busier and we didn’t go out as a family except to eat after that.

So the first Star Wars movie was the beginning for fans, but the end of childhood for me in a way.

The first movie I went to alone, I think, was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I wanted to see the Harry Potter movies, but my husband wasn’t a fan. My son lost interest after about the third one, but it’s hard to say. Going by myself was a very self-conscious feeling. It gives off loser vibes which now I understand is the farthest thing from the truth. It’s kind of independent going by yourself, isn’t it?

My husband and son are making plans for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which comes out Easter weekend, the busiest weekend in the church. He wants us to see it as a family, and support the DC movie franchise. I think it’s too expensive, but we have until Monday to decide. That’s when the tickets go on sale.

The most recent movie I saw was two days ago with my husband. Deadpool. Yes, it’s a comic book character. No, it is not for children. It is way not for children. Even I blushed for a couple of scenes. I described it on Instagram as all the gratuitous, all the excellent. I’d say that was accurate.

Today, I am returning to the movie theatre. Alone. By myself. I am going to have popcorn for lunch. Because I am an adult, and we can do things like that. Triple 9 comes out today. Yes, I’m seeing it in the theatre to lend support to Norman Reedus, who is a current photography inspiration for me, and all around great guy I imagine. But the cast is excellent, like really great, and the story is something that, while I wouldn’t normally see on the big screen, I’d watch it over and over again on the little one.

I have a coupon to see a free movie on my birthday. I’m planning to see the next Harry Potter movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I will also see that one alone while the family is at work and school.

Enjoy your day. After the two or four errands I need to get done, I will be sitting quietly in the movie theatre enjoying mine.

Movies & Popcorn

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There are. many places to rent/borrow movies for your stay-cation movie day. In addition to Redbox, Netflix, Amazon Prime, your cable’s on-demand channel, don’t forget to check your local library. Hey, you might also have some of these movies in your own collection. While these are movies that my family watch, please use your own judgment on what’s appropriate for your children.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy

2. Ant-Man

3. The Harry Potter movies

4. The Avengers

5. The Martian

6. Brave

7. The Lego Movie

8. Annie

9. The Hunger Games Movies

10. Despicable Me 1 & 2

Others that were recommended by my kids (10 & 11):

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Minions

Inside Out

Tomorrowland

Pixels

Big Hero 6

Tangled

I don’t believe any of these are rated R, but some are rated PG-13. Please check before showing them to your kids. Several of these were movies that I wasn’t sure about. I knew the kids would like them, but I didn’t think they were for me. It turned out that one of these movies turned out to be my absolute favorite, Guardians of the Galaxy. It just kind of proves that you never know.