Friday, August 31, 2007

My Letter to the Commander

Another Minnesota young man died in Iraq this week. I don't know him. I never met him. Until yesterday I didn't know of him. What I do know is this. He was 22. He grew up in Northwest Minnesota. His father passed away when he was a kid. I know people who unofficial became male father like figures in his life. I know he had hopes, had dream and had potential like the thousands of other men and women who serve our country, and the thousands of civilians who live in places the US invades.

And this morning I want to know how we bring our sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, those friends, those parents, those loved ones home.

It's apparent as people of this country we were trusting, misguided and mislead. And now, now I want to know what the plan is and how are we going to execute that plan in a timely fashion? How do we balance peace, and oil, and two vastly different cultures while minimizing the loss of life? This isn't some Skull&Bones game at Yale, Mr. President. You are fucking with our future. Our tax payers, home owners, teachers, mechanics and leaders of tomorrow.

Sitting in Mpls, looking at the skyline I love dearly, I ask you Mr. President Bush, what are you going to do to get our everyday leaders, those moms and dads and sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, what are you going to do to get them out of the hellish Iraq you created?

You've got until January 1, 2009 to redeem yourselves to those you serve and to those families who will never see their loved ones again. Time's ticking. And it's not a terrorist bomb, what you hear ticking is the little conscious you might still cling to since your began your illustrious position of power as one of the worst Presidents of the US. I'm glad we were smart enough to limit our Commander-In-Cheif to two terms. Sometimes the checks and balance system is ahead of its time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Owen Wilson

photo of  Owen Wilson

I don't know if the Owen Wilson incident has shaken me up. Or even made me sad. I guess if anything I can relate. It was about two years ago to the date that I started losing it. It's easy to remember because August 26 was Hurricane Katrina (it hit FLA on 25th and was getting read to dump near the Gulf of Mexico), and when you are a person who is depressed but doesn't think you are depressed, your mind becomes your enemy. And it plays tricks on you, like how could I be suffering when I levee broke and millions of people are heading out with only the stuff on their backs?

At 24 I had a break down. I always knew through family genes that I was susceptible to mental health issues. Bi-polar, manic, depression, alcoholism, all part of the Iron Range family tree. But when you are an outgoing person who can role with the punches all of your life, you think "hey, maybe I'm the lucky one. Maybe it missed me, or I won't be affected." Regrettably, those thoughts did creep into my mind. If I made it to adulthood, through all forms of school and everyone else had been diagnosed at an early age, then I must not have it. I can't have it. I've made it this far, there is nothing traumatic in my life to cause depression, I should know the signs, the rest of my family has suffered.

You get the drift.

I won't compare myself to Owen. I don't think we really have anything in common. Never meeting the man, I'm not sure what his issues where that brought him to the hospital. But I can tell you there are prolly similarities that exist between Owen, me and the millions of other people that suffer from a mental illness, whether temporary or life-long. We think we have it together. We have had successes and failures and have coped. And then it's like a switch one morning -- your brain starts questions things -- things you had always taken for granted. And it snowballs and it consumes you, even though you think you are smart enough and are not being consumed.

I was lucky. And so is Owen Wilson. We both have families that intervened. I ended up on the 7th Floor at Southdale, adamant that "I am not a crazy person." And there are two things that make mental health really troublesome.
1. You can't see.
It's not like a broken bone or a bruise. To everyone it is invisible, unless they are smart enough to see some of the signs. But for the most part you can hide it, and you can hide it well and easily.
2. When you are admitted to a "psych floor" because of how mental health is categorized and if you are uninsured they put everyone together. I was/am considered temporarily depressed. My roommate at Southdale was a life-long schitzo who heard voices and would scream and had to have her wrists tied down in the middle of the night.

But because of mental health we were all herded together like the abandoned cattle that aren't good enough to be t-bones, but could make an ok leather belt or baseball glove eventually.

Our healthcare system, because of how it is set up with a profit-first then help people, won't give people with mental illness the attention and help they need, especially if they are uninsured, unless something irrational happens or a person attempts suicide.

Maybe it's because I enjoy Owen Wilson's work or maybe it's because of the timing. Sunday, would have been the beginning of 13 day stretch that I would lose control of myself, my thoughts and would end up on the 7th floor at Southdale, by actions of my own choice and concerns of my family.

People are strange. We become parts of packs and tribes that we want to be part of and ones that we aren't proud of. Owen, I and millions of others are part of a tribe, it just sad that people (those suffering, healthcare system and society) don't take notice until you try to take your life.

Monday, August 27, 2007

American Hardcore

It has been a movie binger at my house for the last four days. With fostering the dog, roommates gone and rain being on/off what better way to spend your time between Netflix and Twins games. And even the Saturday Twins game got postponed due to rain.

So what did I watch this weekend.
Weeds - Disc One, Season 2 (since I've completed Six Feet Under and Entourage this is my new favorite. It's that good.)

Before Sunrise and Before Sunset
Fever Pitch
American Hardcore

And for those of you who aren't in the hardcore punk scene (I'm not) but appreciate local bands like Husker Du and even The Replacements (there's a guest appearance) it's worth to put in your queue.

I like history of music and pop culture. Which is why I am always a sucker for a VHI DOCUMENTARY and don't get me started on Behind the Music which I salivated for every Sunday in college. Yes college, when I had cable TV. So the history of American Hardcore was fascinating to me. I had no idea that DC was so involved. Call me naive, but I thought the scene came out of two places -- underground California (LA and San Fran) and New York. Who knew that Senators kids in DC were all the rage in the scene. I highly recommend it for those into the scene and those like me, who appreciate music and documentaries.

photo of American Hardcore,
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Sunday, August 26, 2007

The remaining 50 things I want to do

Awhile ago I posted 50 things I wanted to do before I die. Well here's the remainder of the list. No particular order.

100. Make someone's day
99. Go sailing in New England then to B&B's
98. Tape myself doing something of interest to pass on to my future offspring
97. Teach
96. Learn to sing professionally
95. Take up piano lesson again
94. Have a better relationship with my mother
93. Not get hung up on the small things that don't really matter
92. Eat something I killed
91. Try a wild game I wonder never consider
90. Own a lake home up in Northern Minnesota
89. Love my kids unconditionally
88. Have more close knite female friends
87. Get at least two more tattoes -- possibly three -- for a total of five
86. No more piercings, except my nose
85. Pierce my nose with a cute stud
84. Live long enough to see each Major 4 sports team win a world championship
83. Never complain about "that racket I hear"
82. Believe in myself
81. Listen to my gut on a more regular basis
80. Get publicity or a story on Oprah
79. Adopt a kid from a different country or state
78. Learn to play guitar and harmonica
77. Memorize a movie
76. To always get along with my future in-laws ( so far, so good)
75. Have a pet
74. Place an article in PEOPLE magazine
73. Ghost write for ESPN
72. Make a short film
71. Write a screenplay or become a moderatley successful screenwriter
70. Learn to correctly apply make-up
69. Find out what make up colors are best suited for my skin type
68. Be more experimental
67. Let my guard down and trust more openly
66. Become someone I won't make fun in 20 years
65. Cut people more slack
64. Look into a higher power or explore religion aspects of life
63. Attend a black-tie event
62. Be strong enough to give a eulogy
61. Write a children's book or a book for my future children
60. Learn to snorkel
59. Give more white wines a chance
58. Visit Napa Valley or a vineyard in Italy
57. Sponsor a child in Africa
56. Meet The Format
55. Own a place in New York City (loft, perhaps)
54. Learn to try sticky cheeses more often
53. Always be philanthropic or give my time freely
52. Make amends with those who broke my heart
51. Go to Canada!

*The first 50*

1. Find someone to grow old with. (I don't know if marriage is in the cards for me, but as independent as I am, or think I am, I don't want to be alone all my life)

2. Skydive

3. Go to six out of seven continents. (only four more to go)

4. Go camping in the BWCA. I know. You'd think a girl from the Northland would have done something, but no.

5. Get a pilot's license

6. Hang glide.

7. Write a book

8. Get book published. C'mon people they are two separate tasks

9. Visit all of the MLB stadiums. I'm planning my someday honeymoon or some summer around this idea. I think it would be more perfect if I had a winnebago. Just the thought is like bad times on wheels. Two birds with one stone, that's what my book will be titled "The Good, The Bad and The Road to the MLB."

Wow. sometimes I amuse myself too easily.

10. Be a Roadie for a day.

11. Sit in for a song to play drums with any legitimate and relatively famous band

12. Learn another language

13. Avoid class reunions and go somewhere better that weekend

14. New Zealand, New Zealand, New Zealand!

15. White water rafting on Colorado River

16. Visit and kiss someone at Niagra Falls

17. Donate an organ to someone

18. Give enough blood over a lifetime to save a life

19. Adopt kids and maybe squirt out a few of my own

20. Tell my folks I love them on more regular basis

21. Streak when I'm in my 40s

22. Reduction of upper half. Not a lobotomy, but the other other half.

23. Learn to let go

24. Be completely vulnerable to someone

25. Hopefully never get divorced

26. Eat something that I caught myself or shot myself

27. Shoot a rifle

28. Always keep in touch my woman-girl self

29. Experiment with more recreational drugs in Amsterdam

30. Tip a cow. Kidding. Milk a goat

31. Try to climb on a horse again, after getting kicked off 20 years ago.

32. Always stand up for something

33. Always remembering my roots and where I came from, no matter where the wind blows me in this world

34. Remain open-minded to all possibilties

35. Threesome? Kidding, but maybe do something in that area that I wouldn't have considered. No specifics, though.

36. See any concert at Red Rocks

37. Finally see Radiohead in concert. Preferrably in the UK

38. Not have any cavities

39. Remain my firm butt and to not acquire mom butt -- ain't no flat thing, here.

40. Do an improv skit

41. Tap lessons

42. Learn to fox trot or waltz

43. Making a difference in someone's life, somehow for the better

44. Have a reliable job that I enjoy with benefits

45. To not have to touch my 401k until retirement

46. To reconnect with Z, wherever he is

47. To remain patriotic but questioning the government

48. Ski in Switzerland

49. Assist in Red Cross disaster relief efforts

50. Skate on XCEL ice with Brent Burns or other Wild players

*********Update 44 and 49 are off the list *************************************

I'm Starting with the Woman in the Mirror

Have you ever looked in the mirror to look at your soul? Not that your soul is a tangible thing. I guess I will define the soul I am talking about as the things that make you who you are, your beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, flaws, essence. That soul.

Sadly, some of us claim to not have a soul. I think they are missing out.

I know I am an self-reflective person. Always have been. I was that girl at slumber parties who would go off to a room by myself, sit in the dark, discovering or look to discover who I was/am. Or it could be 12 pre-teen girls all in the same room, got on my nerves, even then. But I like to think it was more the first than the latter, but prolly a combo.

At 26 I know who I am. At 16 I had a pretty strong case. I am the type of girl-woman who is who she is and makes no excuses for it. What you see is what you get. I don't pussy foot around stuff, I don't hold back and if something is on my mind or bothering me I think I tell you "what's up."

And this is an uncharacterstic trait for a Minnesota woman. Maybe it's because I grew up agnostic. Maybe it's because I have a small family. Maybe it's from iron range roots and having alcohlics and mental illness strains in my family. Who's to say? Not all of it is nature, there is nurture invovled, but I have always liked myself and now I really like who I am.

This isn't a self-rightous rant. There are a lot of other cuspX/Y people like myself who have come into their own. It's just sometimes I look in the mirror and I see the superfacial. Round face, eyes, hair, nice smile, small cheekbones, etc. But there is other times and I see these labels that society and ourselved put on each other.

26. Female. Life-long Minnesotan. Traveler. Lover. Daughter. Sister. Sarcastic. PR professional. Marketing Maven. Witty. Closed-off. Funny. Confident. Stubborn. Opinionated. Sports Fan. Music lover. Piano player. Cheese lover. Irish. Agnostic. Independent. Blunt. Easy going. Crass. Compotent. Not artistic. Friend. Foster parent.

So that's what I saw this morning. All of those things that make up who I am and there is a laundry list of others. But those things are my soul. Not the happy, good-natured, honest, bullshit that we think we want in ourselves. Those are other parts, but to me, the experiences are the things I like in other people maybe I bit more than charactersitics. Or maybe I'm just curious how other people would define me? Not because I care of their opinion, never have and never will, but when you self-reflect are you thinking of your "true self" or this other "better self?" And I guess I want to know if the "true self" is one's perception or if it's others?

This is what happens when I'm happy in all aspects of my life, I have to question shit. WTF?