Tag Archives: wise witty and wacky wednesday

Riding the waves of depression.


Sometimes happiness seems very far away.

Sometimes happiness seems very far away.

So like many people I know, I have a large range of ups and downs. I have discussed this with a doctor. According to him I’m within normal range, if on the higher end of things. I do not do anything harmful or majorly self-destructive. Please note this is my experience, and if you have depression, please check with your doctor to make sure you’re safe 🙂

Anyway last night I felt a shift. I’ve had a few lower stress days, but my life hasn’t really changed, just my perception of how to live. I don’t know if I can explain it but I went from feeling overwhelmed and incapable to What can I do right now to make things better?

I can tell when I have a break through, as opposed to trying to give myself a pep talk because I flossed. YES, I should floss every day, but my barometer for how depressed I am is if I floss. When I get to the point that I don’t care, and too tired, or just don’t feel like flossing then I know I’m sinking and I do my best to be gentle with myself.

So last night I flossed, yay! And then this morning I exercised, another important tool in keeping my mood even. I’m hoping going to bed early will come next.

My focus for managing my depression is sleep, diet, and exercise.

Sleep is usually the first one to go under the guise of reading a book so good I can’t put it down, never mind that it’s a book I’ve read before.

Exercise? Now this one is tricky because even when I’m depressed, I will go to the gym with my friend. It helps temporarily, but it is the daily exercise and the willingness to do it in my home without anyone that lets me know when I’m feeling more stable. This morning I did a ten minute dance quickie, Hula Hoop for one song (I’m just starting out), and then did some yoga. I love yoga. I’m never sure why I don’t make time for it every day, but depression isn’t logical and it can take away things we enjoy.

This was not extensive, hard-core exercise—this was moving my body in ways I enjoy, getting blood pumping, and opening myself up. I feel better, and even if I don’t go to the gym, those few minutes will sustain me for the day.

One of the yummy meals my daughter made for me.

One of the yummy meals my daughter made for me.

Food? Now I am extremely lucky. My hubby does the grocery shopping, makes me breakfast, and my daughter makes dinner. This means when I get depressed and want to eat crappy food I have to go out of my way to get it, and when I’m depressed I don’t want to leave the house.

“But you could order in,” you say. And you’re right I could, but with my food allergies, even that is limited, unless I want to have migraines and curl in bed for days with painful stomach cramps. IF I WAS WILLING TO DO THAT TO MYSELF I WOULD SEEK MEDICAL HELP FOR MY DEPRESSION.

I used to fight these times of depression. My inner thoughts would become vicious and ugly, and I would ask myself why I couldn’t just suck it up. I’ve learned this makes things worse and once I recognize what is happening and can be gentle with myself, I don’t sink as deep and I don’t stay depressed as long.

I feel that now that I know myself better, I am stable for longer periods of time. A huge turning point for me, which just happened, isn’t about creating the perfect routine. My life isn’t that stable—things change too quickly and in ways I can’t control. So I now do my best to focus on What can I do today? How can I take care of myself right now?

Some days it's chocolate that makes everything better.

Some days it’s chocolate that makes everything better.

Some days it will be yummy salads, hitting the gym, writing 2000 words, and spending time with my family. Other days it will be five minutes of yoga stretches, crackers and hummus while I do paperwork, and reading while a child fitfully sleeps between throwing up until 2am.

How can you tell you’re sinking into a depressed cycle? What do you do to help yourself out of it?

Is It Manly Enough?

Alica Mckenna-Johnson, men, man work, manly, hubby

My hubby ready to do man work!

So the other day I had just finished dropping off the evil, um, precious children at camp, and the morning radio DJ asked for people to call in with the “Unmanliest jobs they had seen a man doing.”

My first thought. “Fuck You. How dare you! This question is part of the problem, you’re part of the problem!”
I let it go for a while, because I hadn’t eaten yet and that makes me tetchy, but two days later I still say, “Fuck you.”

What is unmanly? What do they mean by that?

Is it braiding your child’s hair?

Or baking cookies?

Or being a caregiver?

Or being creative?

And what the hell is unmanly about any of those??

The video of the muscle bound guys with tats caring for their children and cleaning the house, those are men, and they sure are hell seem manly to me. And according to this video, it’s important.

I love it when my husband make me food, and not just grilling—look—fire—me cook dead animals cooking, but vegetables sautéed in olive oil, baking gluten free bread, or bringing me a plate of warm from the oven chocolate cookies. I can promise you never once has my husband brought me food and I thought “how unmanly.’ Normally it’s more like, ‘when are these kids going to bed? ’cause that man needs some lovin’.’

When my husband bathed our kids at night and read them stories, and made daisy chains for my daughter to wear, I never thought him womanly. In fact if he was bent over I was probably thinking about his ass.

When my husband paints, or carves, or helps me plot, or designs a new garden I never saw him as less, because let’s face it—in this culture if a man is doing something unmanly aka womanly he is seen as less. What I did and still do see is someone I admire, someone I treasure and someone I intend to keep, so all you all admire from afar and keep your hands to yourselves 🙂

My husband can cook, fight, cuddle babies, fix cars, sooth boo-boos, wield a sword, create art, move boulders, sew, fire guns, break bones, and throw an amazing slumber party for eight year old girls, no help from mom needed.
And trust me, he’s all man.

Tell me about you, or your partner. What are the things you/they are good at that aren’t traditional gender roles.

Killer Potatoes


Alica Mckenna-Johnson, potatoes

They’re innocent until my children get a hold of them.

This is the kind of thing I have to put up with:

Daughter brings me dinner. “Here mom, I have dinner for you.”

“Thanks, honey. It looks good.”

“I’m not so sure about the potatoes. I ate a bite and then threw-up but maybe you’ll have better luck.” Laughing, she walks away.

Really? My daughter serves me killer potatoes. And this is why I never encourage people to have children. Do you encourage people to have kids, or do you tell them stories of your daily life to scare them?



Alica Mckenna-Johnson

Can you feel the evil?

So the other day I am sitting on the couch with my son minding my own business, when my daughter comes up and says, “Hey mom do you want to see something cool?”

“No.” This is the standard answer, it is always the answer, and always shall be the answer because in fourteen years of life, anything my daughter has shown me after that question has always freaked me out.

She grins, and I wonder for a moment if Satan is her father, then she drops into the splits. Well almost the splits. Her hands smacked the floor and I feared she would break her wrist as she stopped herself from tearing muscles in her legs, you see she can’t yet do the full splits.

I scream and cover my eyes. I don’t want to see my child break anything.

Boy child laughs and says. “It’s injurtainment!”

And that is how we made a new word.

Post Cupcake Sadness


Photo by thesparechangekitchen

Photo by thesparechangekitchen

My loving husband bought me gluten free chocolate cupcakes. For the sake of my sanity, we won’t discuss the calorie count of these amazing treats. Before I ate my cupcake, I asked my daughter to make one of the gluten free cake mixes.

She rolled her eyes and asked why. Um, hello, post cupcake sadness. She looked at me as if she didn’t know what I was talking about.

Post cupcake sadness is a serious condition. While eating one’s cupcake there is happiness and joy, which can last for a while. But the next day, or a few short hours later, when there is no cupcake, there is much sadness, wishing one had waited to eat the cupcake, and hoping cupcakes will magically appear.

But now there won’t be the horrible post cupcake sadness. Now I can go and have a yummy piece of cake, and all will be right with the Universe again.

Photo by Lynn Kelly Author

Photo by Lynn Kelly Author

See, it’s all about being prepared.

How do you prepare for life’s difficult moments?

I hate 8 p.m. at night


Photo by @bastique

Photo by @bastique

Creative brain still going, brain that controls motor function—no better than a drunken monkey.

I get great ideas, all of which I write down because they are priceless, but my ability to do anything else doesn’t exist.

My mind is done. The kids are in bed and I have answered all the questions, solved all the problems, and made all the coherent thoughts that I’m going to for the day.

So why is my creative mind still working? Is it because I can finally hear it now that the constant drone of children is gone? Is the melted mass of brain revealing a creative part opening it up to light and fresh air so it can grow?

Whatever it is I don’t like it. I don’t like knowing exactly how to re-work a scene that has been plaguing me and spending the next thirty minutes trying to write the word “the”.

Of course if I write consistently at the same time every day my functioning mind and my creative mind sync up and all is well in the Universe of which I am the center. But like all things that are good for me I don’t do them as frequently as I should.
Does this happen to you? How do you solve the creative/functional brain issues?

Confessions of the Lies I’ve Told


Photo by scubadive67

Photo by scubadive67

Well, just one of the lies—I need to stretch them out so I can do other blog posts.

So I was an evil child, not wild and crazy , but sneaky manipulative evil.

When I was six and my little innocent sister was five we shared a room, and every night we had to clean our room before bed.

Well one night I got the bright idea to offer my sister cookies the next morning if she cleaned the whole room. My sister, being younger and trusting, was very excited about the idea and began to clean.

The next morning I was worried because I didn’t have any cookies, but a miracle happened. My sister had forgotten! My evil little brain began to whirl and smoke and I came up with a plan. For weeks every night I would promise my sister some elaborate dessert is only she would clean the room and each morning she would have forgotten.
It was brilliant!

I only did this for a few weeks, not only was there a tiny little kernel of guilt forming, but I was really scared of getting caught. I’m pretty sure it would have been a spanking offense.

My poor sister. She didn’t remember until I mentioned it as an adult, but I think the realization does explain some of the more noisy gifts she has bought my children over the years.

Did you have any fun sibling stories? Did you have a sibling like me?

The Betrayal of Glee


Photographed by T Algots

When Glee first came out I was so excited I couldn’t sit still when talking about it. I counted down the days from the pilot to the first show. I bought the DVDs, the CDs, went to the first live show, and got in line at 5 a.m. at Comic Con to see their panel! I was a HUGE Glee fan.

During the second season I stayed true to Glee, looking forward to Wednesday night with great anticipation. I would squeal over the episodes on FaceBook and Twitter, and talk about them with friends. And then something changed, the quality of the show changed, the integrity of the story line shifted, and the last four episodes were such disappointments.

I again went to the live show, and got in line at Comic Con to see the panelthis year in Hall H instead of a smaller ballroom at the Hilton. I was hopeful yet apprehensive as the third season started. By the fourth episode my husband had banned me from watching my once beloved show because I ranted and raved at all the gaping plot holes and huge mistakes in the story line.

Now I see commercials for season four, and the pain of betrayal, the grief of losing a favorite show, and the desire to get back to the Glee they started with is fresh in my heart and mind. I have been told that it has gotten better, and that the new people they are bringing on are amazing. I’ve been encouraged to give Glee another chance, but I’m just not sure. Let’s look at the extent of the betrayal, maybe you can help me decide.

Photographer T Algots

Rule to keep in mind- keep your fiction true. It doesn’t matter if it’s police, teens, or vampires, you must keep true to your story, plot, and world building.
The betrayals:

1. Blaine’s age. There is a wonderful post here on the subject, but basically the writers realized how popular Darren Criss is, and that they wrote a story where half their cast was going to graduate and leave, and they didn’t want their big money train to vanish, so they made him a junior in the third season. A junior!!! Suddenly Kurt is a year older than his boyfriend, um NO no no no. I am sorry, and I understand not wanting your beloved characters to leave, but hello this is what you wrote. Do they not watch BBC, aka the God of television?? You can end a beloved show, a show people still want more of when your story line has ended. If you don’t want to do that, you can still turn to the wisdom of BBC and GET NEW CHARACTERS! Yes people love specific characters, but we also love good writing, directing, and dance numbers. We will mourn the people who leave and embrace the new ones coming in. Don’t believe me? Dr. Who should be proof enough of this.

2. Sue. I love Sue’s character. I adore her evil, barely sane plans, her evil snarky dialog, and her evil track outfits. However, the writers gave her a growth arc. She grewjust a bitin season 2. And then in season 3 she is back with her focus to destroy Glee, again, after they choose to have her grow past this. WTF!!!! This isn’t okay. You, as the writers, are the Gods of this Universe. Choose what will work for the whole series. Don’t backtrack. That is cheap, shoddy writing. Laura K. Hamilton did the same thing in her Anita Blake series, which I loved and now won’t bother reading. Anita slowly grew, she learned, she made different choices, and she tried hard. Then in, what, book 12 or 13, the one with the weretigers, gone. All the growth especially towards her men and their relationships, gone. I no longer have any respect for Anita as a character and Laura as a writer. This was a huge mistake. I don’t care what happens to them anymore. Growth arcs are important and need to be maintained. Be a good writer and don’t write yourself into a corner.

3. Speaking of growth arcs, let’s talk about Sam who had the biggest growth arc in season 2, at least I thought so. Then let’s discuss how he wanted a full-time contract and the jerks at Glee said no and fired him. I can’t begin to describe how pissed I was at Comic Con when the producer told us this. Okay, so, I have paraphrased but the key bits are true. No Sam, and it’s Glee’s producers fault. And I knew in that moment, I knew they would give Mercedes a stereotypical big black boyfriend. And I am so sorry to say I was right. Now they brought Sam back when the fans threw a fit. But still some people over at Glee got too big for their britches and seriously FUBAR-ed on that one.

4. Parents, where are they? I understand that standard teen stories require the absence of parents, but Glee takes this to an unrealistic level. Rachael didn’t become such an egomaniac diva on her own, her parents were there every step of the way except at ALL of the Glee performances. Seriously, Glee, and a live school band, performed to an almost empty auditorium. Really? Not one parent showed up? Not one wanted to see their child sing, dance, play their instrument? I don’t believe that for a second.

5. Quinn. This nitpick isn’t a huge betrayal but still pissed me off. Through her whole pregnancy she wanted to give the baby up for adoption, which she did in an open adoption. Then in season two she seems fine. Season three she loses her mind and is determined to get her baby back. You can’t get a baby back once you have given it up, and in a country with a huge teen pregnancy rate, you choose to make adoption bad/scary/emotionally difficult. Thanks, good karma points there, guys.

6. Coach Beiste in season 3 sits down to lunch, which is an entire chicken. How dare you. How dare you create a show about accepting people for who they are, about honoring who you are, and about friendship and then pull this shit! I felt embarrassed for the actress and I felt bad for heavy kids watching the show. Also, with all they did with weight and body image regarding Mercedes, it just didn’t fit. This was the last show I watched.

7. Parents, part 2, plus the ULTIMATE BETRAYAL. Okay, we have to go back to Blaine again and to the deepest wound in the whole Glee betrayal. THEY LIED TO US AT COMIC CON!!!!! I know, right, how dare they? They (producers and writers) assured a room full of 7,000 fans that Blaine would NOT be leaving Dalton, and that the Warblers would still be around. LIES!!!! First off, where are his parents? What parent in the right mind would allow their gay son, who was beaten up and bullied before in public school, go back to one known for having a huge bullying problems?? AND Blaine was at a prep school, where not only was he safe, but he also was getting the kind of education that changes the opportunities in his life. We are supposed to believe that his parents let him leave a school he was happy at and doing well in to follow his boyfriend to a horrible public school? NO NO NO!! This is simply not right or true or real. No half-way decent parents would allow their child to mess up his future to follow his boyfriend, a boyfriend who is a senior and will be leaving. And how shitty is that of Kurt? To beg his boyfriend to follow him to a crappy school where he’ll get bullied to be with him for a year! And then Kurt will leave him! ACK!!! Now they’ve made Kurt a jerk.

Photographer T Algots

So my dear Spider friends what do you think: should I give Glee another chance?

Have you ever been betrayed by a show or book series? If so please feel free to use the comments section as a safe place to purge your feelings.

Waiting for Spock


Photo by Mary Carson

When my sister and I were little we would dress up in my mother’s old bridesmaid dresses and play games in the yard. Most of the time we played Star Trek. (The original series; the others weren’t around yet.)

We would be princesses of some planet, and we needed to be rescued. We would walk back and forth, yellow and peach taffeta twirling around us, as we worked out the details and searched for our rescuers. I almost always picked Spock to rescue me. My sister picked Kirk. Yes, she has questionable taste.

It worked out well as we never fought about over who would get which man; at least I never remember fighting.
In fact I don’t remember our fighting over anything when we played Star Trek. We fought a lot as kids and teens, but not then. See, Star Trek is a tool for peace.

To this day when I a feel a warm evening breeze, I am instantly taken back to the days when I sister and I were princesses of an alien world in mortal peril with our Star Fleet heroes coming to our rescue.

Who saved you as a child? Or were you the one doing the rescuing?

Cat Radio


Photographed by lasop

I grew up in Alaska, and sometimes it was just too cold and dark to play outside. So my sister and I would play games, watch TV, and eventually get bored. Then we would attack the cats. The poor, poor cats. They would be dressed up in our old baby clothes. We tried to train them, but they were resistant One when I was about eight time they were our special guests on our radio show.

I had a tape recorder; it was pink with those black oil stickers that changed color when you touch them, remember those? The cat, Pooder (my sister named her) was dressed in a lovely white baby dress with blue flowers and lace trim. I held Pooder and my sister, Brandy, asked her questions:

Miss Kitty, how are you today?

Oh good. Tell us about your new movie.
Merow, Meow, grrr
That sounds wonderful!

And the questions went on. But you see, cats don’t just speak on command, and Brandy and I weren’t patient children, and we needed Pooder to speak, so we squeezed her.

When you squeeze a cat, they will meow because, well, honestly, they don’t like it.

So there we were for an hour or so asking very professional questions of a cat in a dress and squeezing her for answers. We had a great time and were grateful that my mom had the cats de-clawed, otherwise our radio show would have failed.

Now Brandy and I were very excited about our radio show and ran downstairs to play it for our parents.
Mom asked very calmly, “Alica, Brandy, how did you get the cat to meow?”

Me (very proud), “Oh we just squeezed her, and she meowed.”

I don’t think my parents have ever laughed so hard in their lives! Our radio show was a success! Brandy and were very proud and imagined a radio empire!

Unfortunately it was our last show, as my parents, once they caught their breath, banned us from ever doing it again.
And that was the end of our radio career. This just meant Brandy and I had to come up with new things to do with the cats. The poor, poor cats.

Photographed Shealah Craighead

Did you traumatize nay pets when you were little?