Saturday, February 21, 2015

AM~Erica Will Be Calling Him Out...Again

So anyway...

I'm pulling my soapbox back out. So just know that this post is not fluffy or fun. We are gonna get down to business...


This weekend, Teen Boy's speech & debate squad was to be helping run a district-wide, state qualifying tournament with another school, within the school district, due to some coach sharing from crazy chess playing of teachers & admin within the school district. So, the kids from my son's high school missed a day of school while taking the day to set up everything at the other school to be ready to welcome in squads from many other schools in the state.

Our squad had been prepping for  quite some time for this, as well as prepping their own pieces to try to win over judges so they could increase their chances of getting a bid for state, and maybe even nationals. For them to help host this tournament, which is a required tournament to have, is a big deal.

They took the day to get set, find rooms, welcome schools, get tab rooms set up with computers for helping, judges, missing lunch (because they were going to eat right before the official start of the tournament), and much, much more. Imagine our shock when our son called, at the end time of the regular school day, to say the entire tournament was cancelled just minutes before called.



Remember a few weeks ago when I TOLD YOU ABOUT OUR SUPERINTENDENT? It just keeps escalating. Nothing to redeem himself to soften the blow of any of these decisions. Just a seemingly power-hungry guy who took the position from inside the district when the last guy left to take a position just across the state line. Red flags were going up, but we were willing to give this new-to-the-position guy a chance.

There are several things I could go into right now about a lot of this. But I won't. Instead, I will just say again that he has done "nothing to redeem himself to soften the blow of any of [his] decisions."


That being said, and with the reminder from just a few weeks ago, he has struck again.

With schools already showing up to check in for the tournament, even some on charter busses that had obviously come far enough that they were probably staying the night for this tournament, were told to get back on their busses, turn around & go home.

See, it's Missouri. We have weird weather. We know know this. Our winter has been very strange this year. When all the big snows were being called for, they fizzled out quickly & became nearly nothing. But call for "a few flurries," and we get an inch of accumulated snow. Figures.

As it was being called for this weekend, there was supposed to be some pretty nasty stuff maybe starting on Friday night & on Saturday. When Friday morning hit, all the predictions calmed way down. There might be some stuff overnight on Friday into Saturday, but it wasn't the "event" they first thought. So, even with some possible nasty weather overnight on Friday, the tournament could still happen, and the school was ready to possibly cancel/postpone Saturday's events. No big deal...

...but then they got word that our almighty superintendent decided they needed to cancel ALL extracurricular activities for the weekend due to impending weather. Everyone was to close shop and go home! Except... son's high school courtwarming basketball game was the same night. Guess what got to keep going. Ugh. And, according to an tweeted answer to my hubby's frustrated question to the superintendent was that the speech & debate tourney could be rescheduled, but the basketball game could not. Yes...he said that...out in the open, on Twitter.

If absolutely ALL events had been cancelled, it would still be frustrating, but understood. That whole "looking out for the wellbeing of the kids" thing. But...that wasn't really it. It was a publicity stunt. Well, that's how it appears. All the work the kids put in the entire day was a wash. They were told that all the work they'd put in all day had to be taken down as quickly as possible & to find a way home.

When we went to pick our son up from the other school, we were shocked by the hoards of highschoolers leaving to board busses...even the charter busses...and it was obvious they were there for the tournament. Why? They were all in suits & dress wearing letterman jackets from other schools, grouped together by the same school colors. And as quickly as they were leaving, and we were watching the kids from our own squad walking out with steam shooting out of their ears, we began to find out there was the serious problem of the basketball game NOT being called off.

So, as usual, our superintendent was having to deal with a firestorm of tweets. Why do I keep bringing up the tweets?'s the only way it seems he has chosen to communicate with anyone, if he hasn't already blocked them.
My hubby, as I said, sent a tweet to him wanting to know why events like the speech & debate tournament could be cancelled but not the game. Sadly the response said the tourney could be rescheduled & the game could not. He'd also told folks that only one bus would be in danger of the weather instead of several.
*face palm*

If you are in charge of canceling activities because of impending weather so no one will be in danger, but you allow a high-profile game, that makes money, so only a few will be put in danger is such a hypocritical statement to make. If activities need to be cancelled...then cancel ALL activities! The suspicion of sports taking precedence over any other activity became fact in one-fell-swoop of a decision.

Oh, you better know I tweeted him a major thread to him about how he looks to many right now. Our kids, our squads, our faculty were all thrown under the bus (pun honestly NOT intended) in a hurry.

Oh yes...I said all of that. And I know he read it since he followed my twitter feed as I was tweeting like crazy. However, even though I received no response, I know he was done reading my thread by promptly unfollowing me. He couldn't tow the company line with this like he did with with my hubby & many others.

Now then, remember that all of these events were cancelled for the weekend due to the weather. The weather didn't turn out to be much. Some slick spots, but it got above freezing very quickly. Heck, my hubby & I both went for a run in the beautiful sunshine. I'm not kidding.

I would like to point out there has been a lot of frustrated tweets going out with the positive hashtag of #isdstrong. So, of course, this hashtag has been used with much sarcasm.

This hashtag has been used for both positive & negative messages, depending on where you fall in this debacle. So I checked the hashtag results today. Guess what! My son's activities director tweeted the hashtag to let everyone know that the courtwarming dance was still a go for tonight & to have fun when you show up.

Do you feel frustrations rising? What made it worse was the fact that the school's STUCO replied to it saying:

Oh yes, folks...the dance can still happen. But nothing else could. Amm-i-rite?

We all know this could have been rescheduled. I'm all about high school rite-of-passage memories, but they are not set in stone. These can be rescheduled, like most everything else.

So, of course, I had to respond to this and bring in the almighty:

As you can bet, none have responded to me. This all looks so bad right now.

We have national qualifiers, for the school, in the speech & debate squad. These tournaments have many more life skills for these young men & women as they enter their adult life. If you want to look to the futures, the district needs to rearrange their priorities. Theater, DECA, Choir, Band...just to name a few, have much more impact on a larger group of high schoolers dealing with preparing their futures thru these & the competitions involved. Sports do the same, but all focus is put on the sports part. And it's deafening to all the kids being shoved to the side.

So, it's bad enough that the decision to cancel all of this stuff was already made before honestly checking the latest updates of wether, but to shove all to the side for their "safety" but to say the courtwarming game AND dance may commence is a giant slap in the overall district's face.

This is not the sign of a leader. And it's terribly disappointing.

Tax money...ego...TV face money...

And for those who say I should run for school board to help cover this, there's reasons I cannot, and I cannot go into those reasons here. Also, I do volunteer within the schools when I can & stay quite active. Trust me, I'm not the only one who sees this stuff happening. There could be an uprising from this part of the state.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Thursday, February 19, 2015

AM~Erica Celebrate the Green Wood(en)...Horned Animal

So anyway...

Today is yet another celebration!!
(And we should ALL know, by now, how much I LOVE CELEBRATIONS!)

Last year, I made some new discoveries about THIS HOLIDAY, HERE. Even though we hang on to the name of it we've known for so long, I found a new name for it & new things tied to it...

Much like this year.

We are celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year!!

Many do call it the Chinese New Year, and with many other Asian countries adopting the Chinese zodiac year, it's being focused to calling it the Lunar New Year!

Also, I discovered last year, that each year also has an element tied to it. The year 2014 was, technically, Wood Horse.

This year, I figured out there's a color tied to the element, and each color/element combo extends it's stay for 2 years in a row. So, 2014 was actually year of the Green Wood Horse! Interesting, right?

Well, the color/element combo extends into the 2015 year. But the animal changes every year. So we have a new animal, from the cycle, tied to 2015.

We will be celebrating the year of the Green Wood(en) Yang!

Look at that! Is that picture totally confusing? Yep...was for me, too!

As I was looking ahead to plan for our Lunar New Year celebration, I was seeing two different animals being listed: Year of the Goat AND Year of the Sheep...even the Ram.


I know, it's so out baffling! How could you confuse these two things as the same animal of the year?

You know I had to, of course, look into it...

I came across a great article, RIGHT HERE, that helped explain the madness!! Just by using "yang" is actually a very general term.

This is actually a bit more like it...

Even something ornamental, like this:

So there you go! Happy Lunar New Year: 2015 - the year of the Green Wood(en) Yang!

But in the meantime, we're celebrating by enjoying some Orange Chicken (my recipe HERE) with Green Tea Jasmine Rice. It's also a tradition to have an orange with we did.

Of course we hand to have a fortune cookie, too.

So we are just hunkered down with the cold & a-few-flurries-turned-to-surprise-one-inch-accumulated-snow.

Now we have the Pantone Color of the Year for 2015 is Marsala, and now the Lunar New Year is the Green Wood Yang. WHEE!!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Thursday, February 5, 2015

AM~Erica Wants to Describe the Pain

So anyway...

If you have kept up with me the last couple of years, or a little longer, you will know I speak up about my mental health, as well as advocate for treatments, preventions, and hopefully cures.  (reminders HERE) And, even though I am better most of the time, I still have my moments. Sometimes the moments are triggered, sometimes they seem to come out of no where...

Full disclosure at this moment: I'm having one of my days. Not one of my deep dark ones, but I feel my insides feel like I'm dangling my feet over the deep, dark abyss. Trying very hard to stay on top of it. I promise. I recognize it. I want you to know that it's a good thing.

It's a day a feel bad about myself. Like I've done something really wrong. I haven't...but there's the days, the moments, you suddenly feel like the worst person on Earth. It could be stress, not sure. But I know it's there...creeping. It's uncomfortable while making it's presence known. And it's very real.

I want to make that very clear. These feelings are real & exist. And I hate it!

So, I'm putting it out there, today, for a couple of reasons:

1. I have found when I find ways to talk about it, I can keep this thing at bay. So, I'm "talking" about it.

2. This is a good opportunity to explain this invisible illness in yet another way.

Not only do I suffer from depression, but I also get migraines. Ugh. Like a lot of women, as a matter of fact. It bums me out that I'm such a statistic. But I gotta deal with it as these things come.

With my migraines, I try to catch them as early as I can. Because if one of my headaches get rolling & I don't have the chance to try to put on the brakes...the atrocious pain levels become excruciating! Every sound hurts. Every light hurts. Every thought hurts.
Sleep certainly helps in the long run. And I have to hope my nausea doesn't come to fruition...because I will be camped out on the bathroom floor with a rice pack &/or a bag of frozen veggies for my head &/or neck as I try to get comfortable enough.
You can see it in my eyes when one hits. And, when they are bad enough, the thoughts get dark...

...I want help. But not the appropriate help. I get the "suicidal migraines." These are headaches that hurt so much, and you feel you cannot bear it any longer...
For me, I will have the thought, "If I only had a gun to forcefully put a hole in my head, I might be able to relieve the pressure."
Oh man...just putting that out there is breaking my heart. But that's how great the pain can be with my migraines! And? No one doubts when I have one.

No one tells me to think more positively to get rid of it. No one tells me it's a sin that I'm suffering with a migraine.

Here's my point: I liken my migraine pain to my depression pain & beyond.

Even though my suicidal migraine thoughts are actually separate & different than my typical (I promise I'm using the word "typical" loosely), they run quite parallel.

When I have a migraine, no one questions. People want to help. People want it to go away & want to go out of their way to help with what they can. People will leave me alone when they know I need to be alone. But when the pain is so great, and I cannot think clearly any longer, any thought that already hurts can actually become harmful in thought. But I'm so wiped, I would not & could not act upon it.

When I am having a down & empty day, a day when I'm feeling sad & worthless, no one should question. The pain can become so great, I cannot think clearly any longer...and there are the times when I think there is no other way out of the abyss than thoughts of great harm...I want to relieve the pressure. Since the pain is in a different place, it could be very easy for me to act upon it.

My thoughts in my depressive & suicidal states become different. I know how I would want to relieve the pressure. But it's those factors that cannot be around within my grasp. In my lack of logic, and in a state of an off reality (because that off reality is still my reality in that moment), I want to relieve the pressure of a pain that is so great. But...sometimes I can sleep it off. Note: SOMEtimes...

I want to make it clear that not all of my episodes of either state are like this...but...they have been known to get there. Also...I am never "committed" to that! EVER! I DO NOT CHOOSE that kind of state to be in. So the fact I want out of it should say a whole lot.

This goes for anyone else who has been, or is, in that position. They are so ill, they are in a lot of pain. They want out of it. They cannot seem to find another way out. Tomorrow doesn't feel like it will help. And that's where the promise of tomorrow from supportive people come into play.

When someone is feeling so ill, how do you treat them?
If someone comes to you saying they have cancer, do you doubt them? Do you doubt their pain? Do you think it's something they choose? Or do you want to help them anyway you possibly can knowing they want it out of their body?

This week, the Senate actually got along. There was a vote for a bill, called the Clay Hunt Veterans Suicide Act, that went up for vote. It passed, overwhelmingly, 99-0. There was one vote absent, but they were a co-sponsor of the bill. You realize this was a unanimous vote...from ALL sides...right? This means so much...but it also means every person in that room understood the magnitude of this. They were affected in someway (i.e. whether losing someone they love, they know someone who suffers, they may suffer themselves). And it begins with the ones who sacrifice so much of themselves for our own freedoms...many of them suffer. The ones we owe so much to, for our freedoms being defended so fiercely, are finally getting the help they may need recognized.

(Read about it HERE)

It's a huge & important step toward the fight for suicide prevention...and mental illness. And I'm so proud of the Senate for allowing it to start there.

The Clay Hunt Veterans Suicide Act is now on it's way to the White House. And it's exciting! And moving. We have to start why not with our veterans? At least! But I think it should grow from here. And we are on the way to diminishing this ugly thing of mental illness using suicide to take lives.

It is still a touchy subject for many. I have had several come to me, in absolute confidence, about their situation: whether for themselves or about a loved one. I will never breach that trust. It's hard to talk about. But it shouldn't be.

I'm not ashamed when I have a migraine. Why should I be ashamed when I am having an episode of depression...and maybe even thoughts of life escape? It means I'm ill.

Are you ashamed when you have a cold? Allergies? Sinus flair up? The flu? Announcing we have strep throat? When your child has chicken pox?
We put it all out there on social media & in our why can't we talk about the mental illness with the same amount of ease?

So I'm trying. Today I'm feeling under the weather. I'm down. I have an illness kicking up. And I'm talking about it. Because I know it's one of the remedies that works...for me.

And I will be OK.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica