Wednesday, November 19, 2014

TV Episode Shakes AM~Erica's Core

So anyway...

I haven't watched a lot of TV for a long time. Schedules are crazy & makes it difficult to keep up with particular shows. Thru the day, I get to skim some of my long time faves like Rachael Ray, Live with Kelly & Michael (still trying to figure out how Kelly & I aren't friends yet), The Queen Latifah Show, The Steve Harvey Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show...
...but it's difficult to sit down & watch them. As a stay/sometimes-at-home-mama, my attention is still flagged down from family. That's how it is.

But it's even more difficult when it comes to evening shows. We get to catch bits & pieces of shows, but not a whole lot. That schedule thing still makes it difficult. However, we will DVR The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon...because...well...happiness! That's what he brings.
There's also a couple of shows the family can kind of geek out on together. We keep up with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. That show is SO good right now!! It totally helps it's steeped hardcore in the Marvel Universe...and we love Coulson, of course.
We also keep up on the show Sleepy Hollow. Do you? It's a brilliant show!! Between supernatural entities, folklore, and interesting twists on history...this show is smart and intense!

If you aren't fully aware, Ichabod Crane & Abigail Mills are working together as the biblical witnesses to stand up to the end of days. And, yes...the Headless Horseman is still around.

I'm not going to go into too much of the series here, but I want to touch on this week's episode. If you haven't watched it yet, I don't think I'll be giving away anything, but I want to touch this episode's subject matter...

Abby (Abigail Mills) & her sister, Jenny, had a tough childhood. Their mother was put into the local asylum & eventually took her own life. It's brought up several times throughout the series. And they came face-to-face with her situation.
The previews showed they were going to deal with their mother, but I wasn't prepared for what it really covered. At all.
There's a rise in the number of suicides that happen within the walls of the of the institution. And with so much supernatural weirdness going down in Sleepy Hollow, it ends up in Abby's care to look into.

If you remember MY OWN STRUGGLES, I was absolutely not prepared to deal with patients going thru the process of the suicides & attempts. One of the ways shown has been a fleeting thought of a back up plan of my own.
It was so hard to witness! All of this with some heart-breaking & touching mommy moments...I was so emotionally & physically drained from the whole thing. It really took it's toll on me.

However, after thinking about how much the episode shook me to the core so much...I realized something. Tom Mison, who beautifully plays Ichabod Crane, is an essential part of the show. It hit me that he was hardly in the episode. Ichabod comes down ill & is resting off the sickness while Abby, her sister, and a new-found ally take care of most of the episode. Ichabod is nowhere to be found while the suicides are happening & being investigated on site. It's when the situation is resolved that he shows back up feeling much better.

This struck me.

Since Ichabod is part of the duo who is supposed to be taking down the evil of the world in Sleepy Hollow, and then he can't be there for this one...makes me wonder if Tom Mison has had to closely deal with suicide somewhere in his life. Maybe lost someone to suicide...maybe he's attempted. Either way, his character was no where near the situation.

It makes me want to talk to Tom. I want to find out his personal ties to this situation. Because you don't pull a main character out of the story line unless you physically & emotionally cannot act thru the deep scars of something like this...especially if your character doesn't. I know a great actor should be able to...but this one runs deep & his character would supposed to be semi-disconnected to the act itself. If he cannot separate from it easily...something may have happened quite recently. At least recently for him. Maybe it had to be written in that he was ill & had to sleep it off while all of this was going on.

With that said, my friend, Jenn (who I HAVE MENTIONED BEFORE) has brought up the issue of anyone who is closely tied to losing someone to suicide or anyone who still struggles after a failed attempt has a difficult time when a suicide appears on the small or big screen. She brought up the idea that maybe a warning be shown at the beginning, beyond just the typical "viewer discretion advised," but to add a warning that the act of suicide will somehow be covered.

Even though it's discussed in "What Dreams May Come," the act is never shown. That's why I appreciate how the movie handles it. I don't think I ever really encountered seeing the act on screen. Well, I take that back...GLEE actually highlighted an attempt. I didn't handle it well at all. Another one I've come across was before my own attempt. But I'm only just now realizing that.

What I experienced watching the "Mama?" episode of Sleepy Hollow was more than I could bear. There was so much of it. And to have the processes put out there...was...too much.

I also hope that Tom Mison could be one to step up for this kind of change in the entertainment business, if he, indeed, has had close connections to suicide.

I've slept & feel better today. Last night was draining. Crushing. Even though I've been doing so well, that kind of trigger can take everything out of you in a finger snap's time.

How would you feel about that kind of addition to the warnings at the beginning of shows or movies? Would it help you to brace yourself knowing it was coming, or would it deter you from watching at all?

I think if the warning was there, I could brace for it, at least. It may depend on the form of suicide, too. But I realize that part of the information couldn't be given in the warning if it comes to be.

Now then...if you know someone who has been close to suicide in any way, and if you are watching anything with them, please be sensitive to their freak out if something like this surprises them on screen. It's hard. No matter how long it's been. We all still need the support.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Friday, November 14, 2014

AM~Erica Kicks Off Dumb & Dumber To Weekend

So anyway...

Last night was it!!!

My hubby & I got to go take in the movie...THE. MOVIE.

It's been 20 years...but we were SO excited to be able to go a day early, even!

That's right! If you remember, I got my hubby a REALLY DUMB BIRTHDAY GIFT. And he was SO excited about it!!

Actually, he was so excited, on Tuesday when we were getting our hair cut, he was talking to our hair stylist, Megi (love her!!), while at his turn in the chair. They were talking about our boys coming in on Thursday...and he wanted to make it very clear they had to be home before 8:00!! She said they would be done WAY before then...but he was so excited, he told her about his birthday gift & that we were, in fact, going to see "Dumb and Dumber To" on preview night!!

That's right, it wasn't that I just got my hubby a date night to see the sequel to the flick from our first date, or that it was on opening weekend...but...on preview night!!

So, when Thursday came around, I needed to get in a run, of course. I hadn't run in a week, it had been very cold, but I needed to get in that run! Since it was "Dumb and Dumber To" opening weekend, and the morning of our date, I felt the need to channel some Harry & Lloyd from "Dumb and Dumber" when they got to Aspen, California:

I had recently scored some pretty spectacular furry leg warmers on Halloween clearance, so I layered up, put on some layers including my ski bunny Fair aisle-style leggings as I topped everything with a red track jacket to mimic Lloyd's ski suit...then the furry leggings were the perfect addition to appear as furry boots!!

Oh yeah...I ran thru my 'hood like this! Would anyone really doubt? I do think I entertained about 3-4 trash trucks rolling thru the 'hood as I gagged on their exhaust. was all perfect for the day!

Oh...and I layered my socks, too. Because...uh...COLD!! So I also had some Fair aisle-patterned socks over my Batman & Robin socks. Duh! A total dynamic duo! Much like Harry & Lloyd...and my hubby & me. DUH!

Now that my spectacularly Aspen, CA-inspired running outfit had it's outing, I needed to focus on the excitement of the coming evening...

It was cold out (remember?), so I decided to go out & find long sleeves for hubby & me to wear under the snazzy tuxedo t-shirts. Only one left that happened in the color I needed...and in my size...and only one left in the color hubby needed that was in his size! It was meant to be!! to find the absolute topper to our movie-date-going outfit: the hats!

I had to hope Party City might have something! After finding ONE orange top hat, I was thrilled!! However, in all of their solid color choices...pastels aren't exactly part of the I had to try to improvise...

I found a super cheap white, plastic top hat with a fake velvety-feel to it. So I got it, found some turquoise hairspray (cuz there wasn't any light blue), and then was gonna use light blue Sharpie for the under-plastic side of the brim that would show.

Uh...for the record...that hairspray was STINKY!! Whew!! But that's how it went. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to make an outfit work!

We got dinner, we got ourselves together, grabbed our hats, the sign...and off we went! The 8:00 showing (the first one) of the "Dumb and Dumber To" preview!!

We got to the theater, left our coats in the car, went to will-call to print our tickets as I carried this sign...

The girls behind the counter wanted a closer look at our I lifted it up for them to read. They gushed at how adorable that was & congratulated us and said they would worry about doing something silly & dorky like that!! LOL!! We took it as a compliment! Then...a couple guys seated close by wanted us to turn around so they could read our sign, too! They congratulated us, too, after saying how awesome this was!

Then we took our tickets to the ticket-taker-girl. She tore our ticket stubs & then wanted to read our sign...then she was SO close!

See that pic of us up there with the sign? Study it for a moment...
...did you catch it?

The ticket taker said, "That's awesome...but...shouldn't he be standing on the other side?"


I told her it was part of the joke!!
Did you get it?

Well...believe it or not, she was the ONLY person since the sign was unveiled that even pointed out! When I told her it was part of the joke, she kind of laughed, then apologized for being blonde. She was, but I did tell her she's the only one who caught on to that part of the sign!

We then proceeded to the lobby & by the concession stands to see if we wanted anything. And I just stood there holding my sign. Just wanted to make sure everyone know EXACTLY why we were there!

We decided to wait a bit since we got there so early. Also, we could sense people reading our sign.

Next we killed a little time looking at posters of upcoming movies. Then we decided to make our way into the theater.

We weren't the first ones in there, but not we got some amazing seats!!

Slowly, but surely (I know, I know..."Don't call me Shirley!"), people made their way in. Even though I put the sign away, people could turn the corner into the seating area, and then...*BOOM*...we were right there looking all Harry & Lloyd like. Some were entertained...

Now hubby decided he wanted something from the concessions. We were "debating" who should go get the stuff. I only wanted something to drink, but he wasn't sure totally...we finally decided he should go. And then, as if I couldn't save his seat...this happened:

Yep...the hat stayed. He didn't take the crowning glory of his outfit! *sigh* Whatever...

Eventually he got back...with a giant Coke for us to share & some M&M's...

He then proceeded to tell me about his encounter with the girl at the...uh...concession counter.
It was a counter encounter!! OK, sorry...moving on...

Apparently, he got the the counter & the girl took his order. Then she calmly, in a monotone voice, asked him, "so, is it really you're birthday?" He was a bit thrown off & said that it was on Monday. She replied to him, "yeah. i saw the sign. happy belated birthday," then proceeded to just give him his order. He said it was so weird...and not even a birthday discount! Rude...

Then we got settled in...

...waited for the theater to get ridiculously full (some guy's team of sorts decided to come & fill the rest of the theater) and we were about to go on a long-awaited dumb trip! And we couldn't have been more thrilled!!

As I had said, were we expecting an epic cinematic plot? Nope. We were hoping it WOULDN'T be that!

My hubby heard a critic give a horrible review of it. Like, ripping it to shreds. You know what? If you enjoyed the first one, you can expect a lot of the same of the 2nd. If you saw it the first time, you'll see much of it again. Which is NOT bad!! Plus...we felt this one had more heart. Seriously! And...even though not many have seen it yet...I won't share the quotes we've already been using today. But we were entertained!!

Oh...and treat it like a Marvel movie & stay thru the credits. Trust me! Especially if you saw the first one!!

And my hat still stunk...

Now to the next thing to plan. But I can't tell what it is yet...hehehe...

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Monday, November 10, 2014

AM~Erica Gives a Really Dumb Gift

So anyway...

Today is a special day. Very special!

Today is the 44th anniversary of my soul mate's entrance to the Earth.'s the birthday of the one who was made just for me. My hubby!

Now then, I'm always trying to surprise my hubby with a gift for each of these holidays (i.e., birthday, Christmas, anniversary)...but something usually seems to get screwed up. I can probably count on 1 hand, even with fingers left over, how many times I've actually surprised him. But do still try.

My sons wanted to get their dad a KC Royals postseason t-shirt. I screwed some of that up. I'm pretty slick like that.
( text my son's opinion on a shirt in a group text? What'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?)

Never fear...we did find a different shirt, and it was on point with what my hubby was kind of looking for. WHEW!! Glad it ended up working out!!

But I was trying to figure out what I was going to do. It was tricky...but there was an event coming up just a few days after my hubby's birthday that I was dead-set on getting us a part of!

So, I began planning...
First, I needed to see if I could work timing...
Then, I needed to see about getting us dressed appropriately...
Next, I had to purchase tickets to the event...
After that, I had to figure out how to make a crazy-big deal out of it...
Finally, I had to figure out how to package it up for presentation...

And then it came time! I couldn't wait!!

I presented my hubby with this:

Yep! What sweet, sappy, special gift would a loving wife give her hubby on his birthday? Why a 'Dumb and Dumber To' date! If you remember, I was hoping to BE A PART OF THE MOVIE since we spent part of our 1st date seeing 'Dumb and Dumber'. But since we couldn't get to be a PART of the movie...we would still be seeing it on opening weekend. Of course!

Heck...for 2 years in a row, we have taken our pic in a special spot in Breckenridge to COMMEMORATE OUR FIRST DATE!

My hubby & I channeling Harry & Lloyd's tux colors as we stand in the filming spot
for a second year in a row. Also, my socks are channeling Batman & Robin.

And you know what? My hubby was SO excited about the gift of our upcoming date!!

Yeah...we are wearing the shirts AND taking the sign! BOOM!

He'll be channeling Lloyd Christmas (fitting with his dark hair & Lloyd's last name being "Christmas"), and I'll be channeling..uh...everyone who's left bearing the color of Ellen [DeGeneres].

OK...are we expecting it to be a good movie. Not's not going to be a deep & intellectual epic cinematic piece of is perfect for our relationship. And that's what makes it all worth it!

Maybe the best dumb gift I could probably give...let's see how the date goes with MY PRINCE CHARMING this weekend!

Oh...and I did surprise him! Uh...I think...

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Saturday, November 8, 2014

SpongeBob Teaches AM~Erica: Part Duex

So anyway...

We had to get up early this morning. On a Saturday.


Teen Boy had day 2 of his speech & debate tournament this weekend, so I made sure he was actually up & moving (he doesn't get much sleep on Friday nights before having to be back on Saturday morning), and hubby gets up to drive him to the school...well, we don't get a lot of sleep on these nights either.

So, up & at 'em before the bright of early, we managed to get him up & out the door. Since I was already up, I decided I'd wait a bit for the weekend news to come on to catch the weather & stuffs...mostly the weather. In the meantime, Lil Guy got up...just before the bright of early. Just before I could get the remote to turn on the news...Lil Guy grabbed it!

He turned on the first...
...I got a quick moment with the weather... changed...

Next thing I knew, Nickelodeon was on the TV showing an episode of Big Time Rush.
I questioned Lil Guy about it by exclaiming, "REALLY?!?"

He answered with, "Well, it's what's on right now since 'SpongeBob' doesn't come on yet."

I was a little frustrated in that moment...and then my inner child hit me on the back of the head!

What hit me the hardest was this:
It was recently reported that there was a sad end to my childhood, along with so many others', when the beauty & fun of Saturday morning cartoons officially came to an end. *cries*

Days of waking up early on a non-school day to find sugary-fruity-chocolatey character-type cereal or pop tarts to eat while filling the morning and killing time watching hours of animation on the small screen. Still in pajamas & sitting too close to the screen to ruin our eyesight with brightly moving colors of crazy characters & bizarre hilarity was a weekly staple.

And's gone. All gone...

Come to think of it, my own kiddos had very little of that. Probably because we are all so busy all the time. There was always a practice, a game, a program...something we had to be at on a Saturday morning. There was no time to hang out in pajamas eating cereal too close to the TV to watch cartoons on local networks. We filled our time with crazy schedules...and the demise of Saturday morning cartoons caught the brunt of it...and are now extinct.

Well...that hurt.

And here we are on a Saturday morning, up before the bright of early, to get a kid ready for a tournament...but the other kid here was up by the bright of search out...a cartoon!

I realized he was longing to take in what we have lost. Yes, it took tracking it down on basic cable...but it was a cartoon!

It was a cartoon that our family actually enjoys taking in from time-to-time. Why? It's stupid-simplicity is ridiculously fun & doesn't take a lot of thinking. It's child-like innocence, though brain-numbing at times, can be just the perfect thing to recharge every one of us!

Yes, we need a break from it, too. It can get to the point of annoying...but we still come back to it. We find ourselves watching it, laughing at it, enjoying it, quoting it...

Yes, SpongeBob is a ridiculous cartoon. But what Saturday morning cartoon from our own childhoods weren't ridiculous?'s SpongeBob, again. First, SpongeBob SCHOOLED ME ON HISTORY, and now about my inner Saturday morning child.

Well played, SpongeBob...well played...

It's Saturday morning...I'm in my jammies. Let me finish my cereal while I watch SpongeBob with Lil Guy & hubby. Even with my grown up coffee...I'm taking this little bit to get back in touch with my childhood...again.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Good Cause for AM~Erica to Decorate

So anyway...

It's that time of year again! You know...when October is over right a midnight...all the ghouls & goblins are getting tucked in bed from getting & eating so much candy...and then...BOOM! CHRISTMAS!

You see it a little bit before that as holiday decor & gift sets begin to leak into spiderwebs, masks, makeup & pumpkins...but it just takes over come November 1st!

This doesn't bother a few, but for many it can be really irritating. It's like the precious middle child of Thanksgiving GETS PASSED OVER.

I'm not big on that thought. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas! It's just a bit of overkill of commercialism the moment we flip our calendars to November. No breather between the Halloween hype. Just turn around and we are smacked with the hype of commercialist, materialist Christmas stuff. the elections happened, too. And I am SO thankful the negativity of the mudslinging ads are done, but I'm talking holidays here.

Now then, even though I'm so irritated by the onslaught of Christmas carols loudly piped thru the grocery stores, along with the sound of actual jingle bells & premature twinkling of lights on trees & wreaths, I did some prep work by buying some ornaments, glittery things, clip-on poinsettias, and a tree. Then I went straight to decorating that tree.

Yes. On November 1st, I fell to decorating a tree. But it's not for my home. We certainly aren't ready for that yet!! Instead, it was for an incredibly important cause!

If you remember a couple of years ago, my mom, daughter & I decorated a tree as part of THE ENCHANTED FOREST. It was such an awesome experience, we did it again!

The Marillac Center is an organization that helps children & teens in the mental health department. No matter what payment can or cannot be, they take these kids in to make sure they are put back on track to be able to function in society without hurting themselves or someone else. And I am so proud to be supporting them! We get to help them with creative contributions so that they may auction off these holiday creations to be able to supplement payment for the families who cannot pay for the treatment of their child's mental health.

Find out more about Marillac HERE

So, with an idea I had about 5 years ago, got the stuff, but never got to use it, I got the chance to recreate the idea this year!! YAY!!

We got an unlit tree, gold bow topper, pine cones, gold curly ting ting, poinsettias, ornaments in deep reds, coppers, browns, add gold ribbon, snowflakes & icicles, you get a beautiful tree called "Warm Winter Splendor"...

It was nice to have Teen Girl in town to help decorate. She was amazing wielding the hot glue gun!! And my mom found some beautiful decorations to add to our gorgeous tree! It was definitely teamwork to get this thing together!

Unfortunately, Teen Girl had to head back to college & could not join us for the decorators' reception. But my mom & I fought the insanity of rush hour traffic & parking to get in to a portion of our reception & so we could enjoy taking in & critiquing the other trees & wreaths. It's what we've done for 20 of the past 22 years. And we snapped some pics of our tree set up...

"Warm Winter Splendor" is one of many trees & wreaths up for bid this weekend ONLY! Bidding happens on site, so if you are in the KC area, you can head over to the Overland Park Convention Center to check out the Enchanted Forest for FREE & to make a bid on some beautifully decorated creations!

You can also purchase a ticket to get in to shop at the Holiday Boutique...which also helps benefit local businesses AND help out Marillac!

And if you need an extra push to get there, I want to tell you what happened when the CEO/President of Marillac sat down with my mom & me at the reception. Lynn Lemke introduced himself, sat down with us, and thanked us for donating a tree. He then when into a brief description of Marillac...and then did something amazing! He told us that he'd spent the evening sharing a different story of a child with every person/group he was speaking with. Then he chose to share this particular story with us:

There was a boy who lost his father to an alcohol-related death. His mom was addicted to drugs. He was living with his grandparents, but needed to be helped for his mental health state. He was having a rough time, and was even suicidal. They worked with him until they could get him back living with his grandparents. And at that point, he had told Marillac that he was looking into maybe a career as a therapist thru music! Isn't that awesome?? But the story doesn't end there...
Mr. Lemke went on to say that there was a Marillac fundraising gala recently. He wanted to find one of the kids to speak at the gala to make the awareness very real. He asked Zack (the boy in the story). The grandparents were asked first, and they agreed as long as Zack felt OK with it. Zack was reluctant, but Mr. Lemke informed him that there would be nothing to be afraid of. He told Zack that we are all failures at some point, and it's OK to say that we have issues. And, even though Zack was still going in for outpatient upkeep treatment now, his story would be a great one to share. Zack agreed to speak in front of 200 people. That night, in front of 350 people at the gala, the sound system didn't work the whole time...that was until Zack got up to speak. The sound system worked perfectly for the 20 minutes he told his story to the crowd. Afterward, person after person after person approached Zack with congratulations for a great job, with gushing encouragement, and so many thank yous for him being so open with his story.
This led to Zack telling Mr. Lemke that this experience changed his mind about a career & is now wanting to be a motivational speaker.

Several things about Zack's story resonated with me. And, if you read about MY OWN STRUGGLES, you will know why it hit me so hard & why I tried not to ugly cry in that moment. Only intervention of the Divine led Mr. Lemke to tell us that particular story.

With my recent advocacy with the AFSP (more info HERE), I am also wanting to do more with Marillac. If we can help these kids early, maybe they can be functional prepared & functional adults.

In God's time was it made aware to me why I felt led to do a tree for Marillac after so many years of just attending. But it took until now to truly understand.

So...won't you go to bid on a tree? Not just "Warm Winter Splendor", but any of the trees &/or wreaths to help such a worthy cause?

By the of last night, there was already a it's your turn thru Sunday!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica