Saturday, August 23, 2014

What's that sound? It definitely isn't Mensa calling to renew my membership.

Sometimes I think I'm smart.

Hate when the kids go in my room when I am not home.

Decided to lock the bedroom door.

Great. Except I locked my pocketbook, cell phone and keys inside.

Tried to pick the lock.

Tried every screwdriver in the house.

Flop sweating before work.

Took 30 minutes to get the door open.

Put the magic screwdriver that actually worked in my bag for later.

Late for work.

Came home.

Door still locked.

Good.

Got screwdriver.

Couldn't open the door.

Flop sweating trying to get to my room to relax.

Decided to try opening the door with a credit card.

Finally after 20 min, I got it open.

Sometimes I think I'm smart.

This was not one of those times.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Depression is Not a Choice, Sparky

I knew that there was going to come a day when I had to write this post.  It was really a matter of how long I could keep my mouth shut before exploding.  One of my greatest fears was that I would explode at a well meaning but uninformed friend or family member and I would never want to do that.  But with the tragic death of Robin Williams, mental illness, more specifically depression, is being discussed on an endless loop and the stream of ignorance and misinformation is so deep, it's about to drown us all.

There is nothing that grinds my gears harder than ignorance about mental illness.   There have been several people in my extended family that have wrestled with various different illnesses and as such, I had to educate myself. So when I hear ignorant viewpoints on the subject, my blood boils like the lava in Vesuvius.

For example, when I hear people putting down friends or complaining about family members that struggle with things like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or depression, I get angry. I get angry because someone who is suffering from one of those disorders doesn't need your disdain.  What they do need from you is the following:

1) Support:

Work hard to help that person get the medical and psychiatric support they need.  Make sure (within your power to do so) that they take any prescribed medications as directed by their doctor and help to make sure that they get regular talk therapy sessions in conjunction with their medication.  While it is understood that not everyone has insurance coverage for these things, there are clinics available that work on a sliding scale according to income.

2) Understanding:

The first rule of caring about someone with mental illness is to understand that they are sick.  They may do or say things that are hurtful, inflammatory or just difficult to comprehend.  Try not to personalize it.  It is not about you it's about their mental illness and they may be needing more support (see #1).

3) Love:
At the end of the day, they are your friends, family, loved ones.  Love them as such.

So, with you knowing what your role is and with the 24 hour news cycle spewing misinformation at a rapid clip, let's do some myth busting.

Depression is:
According to the DSM4 (the standard diagnostic manual of the mental health profession), depression is classified as a mood disorder.  A mood disorder is further described as such:
http://allpsych.com/disorders/mood/index.html

And more specifically, major depressive disorder, the kind of depression that is likely to need to be managed throughout your life and carries the threat of suicidal thought and action, is described as follows:
http://allpsych.com/disorders/mood/majordepression.html

Depression is not:
Depression is not a choice. Did you get that?  No? I'll repeat.  Depression is not a choice.  It's not because someone is lazy or just won't pull themselves up by the bootstraps.  Depression is not a time to practice "tough love" so that they "snap out of it".  Depression is an illness.  Would you tell someone with cancer to "snap out of it"?

The Cycle of Misinformation:
On the topic of ignorance,  there were many things that I heard this week that illustrated how far we need to come as a country around the topic of depression and mental illness.  Here are two of the most uninformed comments of the lot:

1) This was from several random news anchors - I'm paraphrasing here:  He had everything to live for, a beautiful family, a great career.  Why would he end his life? 

This comment is ignorant and diminishing as it assumes that  fame and fortune are the antidote to depression.  Again, the cancer analogy works here. Would you ask someone suffering with cancer how their fame and fortune didn't work to stop the tumor from growing?

2) Rush Limbaugh is actually quoted as blaming Robin William's depression on his political leanings. To co-opt someone's tragic mental illness as a means of advancing a political agenda is so morally reprehensible, I can't quite wrap my head around it. I won't dirty this page by quoting his ugliness, ignorance and general stupidity on the topic, but if you want to read it and have your mouth hang open like a trout, go here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/12/rush-limbaugh-robin-williams_n_5673626.html

Getting Help:

Crisis Prevention:
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs immediate support, it is best to get them to the emergency room of your nearest hospital.  If you can't get to them immediately or get them to the hospital, there are suicide prevention hotlines available, such as:  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  - 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
The signs and symptoms of a crisis situation are defined here:  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/learn/warningsigns.aspx

Finding a Psychiatrist/Psychologist:
There is no shortage of practicing therapists and Doctors that can help treat depression.  Finding the right one for you may take some research.  Here are a few avenues to find the right one(s) for you:

1) Ask your medical doctor for a recommendation.
2) Join a support group (these are often run in local hospitals) and ask for referrals.
3) Ask a friend or family member.
4) Consult your local yellow pages or search online for someone in your area.

Let's all work to stop the ignorance, fear and misinformation around mental illness. The world will be a better place for it.





Friday, August 8, 2014

Latest Spam - Telling His Secrets in an ATM Spam

Ever since I started my blog, I have been amazed at two things:

1) How little spam I get.
2) How poorly written and obviously fake the spam that I do get really is.

Allow me to share the latest gem to hit my inbox.  Let's make a couple of assumptions before we read on:

1) This is meant to look like a communication from a bank or other financial institution.
2) It is meant to be crafted with language that will entice me to respond with information.
3) The sender genuinely expects a response.


Urgent Attention,

your atm card has finalize all the necessary arrangement and
your fund $2.5usd is inside atm card this moment your atm
card is in atm card office waiting for your Address were to deliver
it.reconfirm

Your name___
Your country__
Your address___
You’re Age/sex__
Your occupation
Email:atmcardoffice184@yahoo.com)

Best Regards.
Mr.Mgbako Chubby

Now, I am sure that while there are many bankers that sit at their desk in a state of arousal, few that I know use that information as the closing to a written communication.  Well done you, Mr Mgbako and your chubby!  If that alone weren't enough to get me to reply, your promise of  $2.5 USD has me chomping at the bit.  I had been looking for sufficient funds to get a can of soda and a pack of gum.  Sadly, my couch cushions came up empty. You sir, have made my dreams a reality!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

July 4th. Woot.

This is about as flag-waving as I am going to get, so don't get your hopes up...

Where I live, it rained all day 7/4.   Luckily 7/3 was good and 7/5 is shaping up to be an amazing day.  So far, there have been two highlights of my long weekend.

1) This bitchin chili dog that tasted even more amazing than it looks.


2) This amazing offer that came in from Indonesianjavaville or someplace like that. Gmail has THE BEST spam filter, right?  USA! USA!  USA!

desi gervine gervine.sby@gmail.com

7:06 AM (40 minutes ago)
to deanmdearberrydearfriendsblogdearloridebajyoti.ghdebajyoti.palc.debbiedebbiebanksdebedeborahdebra_gravesdecourcydeden_270783dee_metrodeedeedeep.arjashadeepanwitadeepksharma2410deepti.mathurdeer732defensivendeidre.colsondeirdre.latourdel1458delabelle_beau.
Dear, The General Manager

With Respect
we are a garment company, Surabaya, East Java. Indonesia.
invite your company to cooperate in terms of work uniforms & accessories.
We provide the best service & price
I hope our presence can help and build the road to success together.
 amen....
If there is an urgent matter to discuss please call :

Garment Design Consultant
 Mr. DEAN :
031-838 11719 / (+62) 8785 319 6617


For your attention and cooperation we say thank you.
Yours sincerely & sucess

 Mrs. DESI
0888 0352 6390  PIN BB : 325E5F21

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I'm Over Here

A few years ago, I started a food blog.  I was disillusioned with blogging and it was starting to get tedious, so I figured, hey, I cook, I eat...food blog.  What I found out is that it takes a tremendous amount of work and dedication.  A whole lot goes into the process of sharing recipes, ensuring they are accurate and taking decent enough pictures to represent what you are sharing.

That being said, when I sat down to write my most recent post, I realized that it was far better suited to the old food blog than to this one right here, so I posted over there (for the first time in a long time).  Please take a pop over here to read today's post. 

Thanks and see you there.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Thanks Casey

I was driving home from the store on Sunday when a song came on the radio that I had a very unusual reaction to (for me anyway). I started bopping and giggling and waving my hands like I was meeting up with a favorite friend after a losing touch for many years.  While there are many old songs that are still played in heavy rotation, particularly if you listen to the decade channels on satellite radio like I do, some nuggets remain underground like buried treasure. This was definitely one of those nuggets.

I promptly pulled the car over to the curb and found the voice recorder on my phone and recorded a little bit of the song,  I then texted the song over to my most old-school music savvy friend and within seconds she had texted me back the lyrics to the opening two lines of the song.

I sat on the side of the road and let the song play out.  Then a familiar voice came on the radio and announced that I had been listening to "Gimme Dat Ding" by The Pipkins.  I looked at the display of my satellite radio and saw that the title of the show I was listening to was "Casey Casem Tribute", which let me know that Casey Casem had passed away.

In that moment, I felt a mix of sadness and joy as I recalled the decade of the 70's and how much Casey Casem was a part of it and of my childhood memories.   When I was a kid, not a weekend went by that I did not catch an episode of Scooby Do, so that I could see the shenanigans of Shaggy and Scooby.  I didn't know at the time that Shaggy was voiced by Casey Casem, but I knew he was my favorite character. Another weekend fixture was the American Top 40 broadcast, which my mom always had on in the living room, playing nice and loud so that she could hear it while she was working in the kitchen.

It's under truly sad circumstances that the world lost Casey Casem this past weekend.  The illness that he suffered from is one that I have a personal familiarity with, as a close relative of mine is currently battling the same illness.  It is a cruel diagnosis and one that brings unfathomable suffering.  But perhaps even more brutal than the illness itself was the ugly family battle that played out in the press between his current wife and his children from a prior marriage.  It is impossible to understand how family drama was allowed to take center stage in the life of a man that was suffering so greatly.  It was neither a dignified nor fitting closure for someone who brought so much joy and so many memories to so many people.

This week, there are many of us sitting out in the dark, listening to the silky and familiar voice of Casey Casem and recalling milestones of our own lives that he has helped us to mark along the way.   I know that he provided the soundtrack to my childhood and lots of laughs through the original slacker, Shaggy.  And even today, long after his last broadcast, I can be made giddy by a silly song on the radio and comforted by his familiar voice.  Thanks Casey. Thanks for the memories and all the good times.

If you'd like to learn more about Lewy Body Dementia, follow this link.

If you'd like to bop in your seat to the silliest one hit wonder of the seventies, click below.





Saturday, May 31, 2014

Romesick

Not a day goes by where I don't have a pang of longing for the city of Rome.  There have been a handful of cities that have captured my imagination and called me back over and over;  New Orleans, San Francisco, Manhattan, but none have the gravitational pull of Rome.  Sitting here at my computer and thinking about walking out of my apartment door down Via Giubbonari into Campo Di Fiori with the morning's first light, makes me well with tears.  The memory of a taste of cappuccino and cornetto at a local cafe each morning resonates in my memory to the point that I can recall the flavor of the coffee and sense the crunch of the crust and sticky glaze on the outside of the pastry.

One of the great things about living in the orbit of Manhattan is that we can take advantage of the amazing dining and entertainment options that are available.  As you might expect, you can find almost any food of every possible ethnicity in the NYC area.  Cornetti however, proved to be a challenge.  Luckily for me, my husband is a top notch researcher of such things and he found out that there is a restaurant that makes true Italian style cornetti (Pastry similar to a croissant) and bomboloni (The most amazing doughnuts,ever.).  This heavenly place is called Tarralucci e Vino, and the parties are so authentic that you can close your eyes and feel transported to Italy.   As the only known purveyor of these baked delights,  you need to get in early if you want to to be able to choose from the full array of pastry.  Arriving at 10:30 on a Sunday, we found ourselves taking the last three cornetti that they had and none of them were the ones that are filled with the faintly lemon scented pastry cream that is the hallmark of many Italian pastries and my personal favorite. Lesson learned.

That one location, while an option, is still 60 miles from my front door and unfortunately, there is no other bakery closer to home that even knows what a cornetto is.  I knew there had to be another way to get a taste of Rome that didn't involve burning a full tank of gas. It was this very conundrum that got me baking.

Naturally, I took to the Internet to find a recipe.  What I found out pretty quickly is that if you want a recipe for traditional Italian Cornetti, you need to find a recipe that is written by an Italian, in the Italian language. This presented a tiny challenge as my mastery of the Italian language is limited to menu Italian (I can pronounce the hell out of Bucatini all'amatriciana) and "Where is the bathroom?" (It's a survival skill.  I  believe that this is the one question that you should be able to ask in every language.). But I was undeterred by my lack of fluency and luckily, there were many print and video recipes available.  I must have watched 15 videos of Italians in their kitchens making cornetti.  All of them different, none of them seemed to yield a result that looked like what I was craving.  Finally after another dozen or so print recipes and a few more videos, I found what looked like a good one.  The cornetti looked well browned, plump in the middle and flaky.  Bingo!   Armed with plenty of butter and a couple of pounds of good, Caputo 00 flour, I set out to translate this video recipe:



What happened after about 100 viewings was this:






If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, tasted it with my own mouth and felt the crunch under my teeth, I would not have believed it was possible. A little taste of Rome, right in my own kitchen.   I even made a batch of pastry cream to fill them with, which was even more authentic tasting than the cornetti themselves. And while nothing cures Romesickness like a trip to the city itself, this mutes the longing and helps to make the time between visits pass a little more sweetly.