Wednesday, September 30, 2015

AM~Erica is 1 of 25

So anyway...

I'm just going to come right out & say it:
I'm 1 of 25.

For all my fellow Trekkies (or Trekkers - whichever you identify with) out there, I realize that sounds very Borg-like. But I'm not talking about Seven of Nine, but a statistic.

Ugh! I hate being a statistic! But I am like many other women who fight migraines AND depression. But that's not what I'm talking about either...except the depression part does lead to this particular statistic.

Did you know that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death?
Now think about this:
Did you know that for every suicide, there are 25 attempts?

That's right. There are 25 people who attempt suicide for every single one who completes their own. We should be heartbroken enough to grieve for the one we lost, but we should be gravely concerned for the ones that are trying to escape pain; the ones that see no other viable option.

People - that's me. I am 1 of 25.

In just a few days, I will have the opportunity to walk with hundreds of others for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) in Kansas City.  We walk for raising the awareness of suicide; we walk to raise funds to lead to the dwindling, and, hopefully, the prevention of suicide.

Many of these people who walk have lost someone close to them due to suicide. This Out of the Darkness walk is heartbreaking-yet-healing in its own experience. There are so many, in just our area, who have been affected in some way by suicide.

Then, there's those like me. The ones who are part of the 25. The ones with lived experience; the ones who failed their attempt. I failed my attempt. I'm still here. They are still here. We don't know why...but here we are.

Now, I don't ever want anyone to ever be in that position! Ever! But I do still struggle. Many of us who have failed our attempts have tried more than once &/or fight the thoughts to do so again.


When someone shows up to one of the Out of the Darkness walks, pretty much everyone is wearing beads around their necks. Though it seems like something out of a Mardi Gras celebration, it isn't. It's much deeper than that.
These are honor beads. Each color represents a category of why they are walking.

When I showed up for the first time, last year, it slowly begin to hit me when I saw these colors (some had more than one) draped around their necks:
When someone is wearing a red one; when someone is wearing a couple of white ones; when someone is wearing a white AND orange one; when someone is wearing a white AND silver one; when someone is wearing a couple of purples AND a red one...I think you get the picture.

Let me tell you why I walk.

First, I walk because I am 1 of the 25.  Remember? And you know what? I know several others of you reading this right now are part of the 25. I walk so we can break the stigma & speak freely without feeling as we are looked down upon because we struggle, or get backlash because of our pain.

Suicide seems to be such a taboo subject. The things people say to someone who lost a loved one, or who just openly say such callus things about suicide is shocking, and heartbreaking.

I know those who have lost a loved one to suicide. And the things they hear certainly don't help with healing! If no one is going to tell someone who lost a loved one to a heart attack or cancer that their loved one asked for it, then it shouldn't be said about someone lost to suicide.

This thing is bigger than me. It's bigger than you! People are suffering & get to a point, in a skewed reality, that the pain is too great to go on. We must fight for these people!!

With 108 suicides every day, there are 2,700 attempts in the same time frame.

There's so much we are trying to do. So many lives we are trying to save!

So, when I walk, I will wear the GREEN, TEAL, and BLUE honor beads.
I have lived experience & still struggle.
I know of others with lived experience &/or struggle.
I support the cause, because I want to see an end to suicide all together.

Now then, you can help, too.

I am, once again, walking with Team SOLOS. And I am raising funds. Every little bit helps.

Donating online is easy & safe. You can click on my picture, below, to take you to the fundraising page!

Even $5 will bring us closer to a world without suicide. And AFSP is the leader in funding research leading to finding the roots of the fatal suicide side effect of many illnesses.

Being a part of AFSP, we are looking to drop the suicide rate 20% by the year 2025. It is thru the funding for education & research that we can do this, and your support.

Chances are you have been affected by suicide in your life: maybe you lost someone, maybe someone close to you attempted to take their own life &/or struggles, maybe, just maybe, you are 1 of 25.

Maybe you would care enough to join us this weekend. We will be at Berkley Riverfront Park. We will be walking, volunteering, supporting, grieving, hugging...and just be there for each other as we continue to raise awareness of suicide.

You can still register online thru Friday, October 2nd, until NOON (CST) at When you come, which honor beads will you don?

Thank you for any help you are willing give.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica (1 of 25)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

AM~Erica Dress & Talks the Part for Loot

So anyway...

Life has been a bit crazy the past several days, so I'm a little behind in showing you how our Talk Like a Pirate Day went this year. (because I know you've been waiting impatiently for the breakdown)

After a disappointing outing last year (reminder HERE), I was sure hoping this time around would be much better!

First up for the day had to be the morning grog, so got the coffee brewing. It was a perfect fall-like morning, so the back door was opened & coffee was enjoyed by the deck.

In a lot of rushing around, plans for the day, and with some family stuff that came up, it's amazing the adventures that got worked in!

I got myself together, got into my best pirate attire, perched my sidekick for the day, Pipsquawk, on my shoulder, and readied the Sea-Sick Crocodile for sailing the course of this wonderfully weird holiday.

Out of needed 3 items from each list, I covered 8/12 items for Krispy Kreme
and 6/10 for Long John Silvers. I'm an overachiever in this department.

On my shoulder is Pipsquawk. A "parrot on the shoulder" made both, Krispy Kreme & Long John Silver's,
lists of items needed to get free loot - so Pipsquawk is my pet parrot brooch.

I set sail for Krispy Kreme, first.
Now then, I was really thinking about this:
Krispy Kreme has no business getting themselves into the TLAP Day holiday. It makes no sense!! However, they were smart enough to run such a great promo to get in on the fun, they are now nearly synonymous with the holiday!

A few days before that, I came across a t-shirt of Lil Guy's that I did up for him to wear on TLAP Day last year...

          Me: Hey! Wonder if you can still wear this shirt for Saturday.

          LG: Why? What's Saturday?

          Me: Ummm...Talk Like a Pirate Day!

          LG: *GASP* Doughnuts?!?!?

So there you have it. Krispy Kreme has successfully put their mark on the treasure map of TLAP Day.

I headed there, first. When I pulled the Sea-Sick Crocodile into their port, there was an adult male pirate leaving the port. I don't know what the front of him looked like, but the outfit from the back was amazing!! The long coat, the cut off pants the boots, the was fantastic.

So when I went in, things were hopping! A few people were in there to get their free dozen of glazed doughnuts with the minimum amount of work - 3 of the 12 things from the list. Which is fine...good for them. Glad they got in the fun. Plus, it was time for the "HOT NOW" to be everyone was getting a warm, glazed doughnut when they came in...mmmmm....

I walked out of there with my 1 dozen FREE doughnuts. Which is great. But I was wanting to actually BUY a couple other things. However, they handed me my cardboard Talk Like a Pirate Day chest of golden-glazed rings along with a receipt for $0.00 (because...uh...FREE). They seemed to send me on my way, down the plank, without asking if there was anything else they could do for me, or if I would like anything else. Because I DID!! I was hoping to swing back by later, if there was time. So I'll get to that in a moment.

I brought home round 1 of treasure! The boys were very happy...until I told them we were saving it for dessert after dinner. Bwah-hahahaha!!!

Then my hubby had to run a few errands before some other adventures we had planned, so I got cleaned up (What? Pirates can get clean from time-to-time.) and threw my pirate garb back on. I planned on getting a free lunch on the way to a get-together...
The lunch thing didn't work out. By the time my hubby got back home, we were running a bit later than kind of hoped. Plus, he looked at me oddly. (Yeah! NOW he looks at me oddly.) He was waiting for ME to get ready and was filling time. When he, finally asked if I was going to get showered and ready, I looked at my attire, looked at him, and said, "But...I am ready."

He was confused. He thought I was only dressed like that to get doughnuts & not for our other endeavors of the day. D'oh! He was wrong.

Part of it was to get more free food. And I was told I could wear it to the 50th birthday party we were supposed to be attending...that was not pirate-themed...


During some of the downtime, I did enjoy one of our household staples: Pirate's Booty!!

So then we got ready to go, me still in my full-on-pirate gear, and headed to our good friend's 50th birthday party!

I was going to walk in like there was nothing out of the ordinary. I mean, c'mon: for me, this is not far out of the ordinary in my world. We were greeted at the door by a guy who just burst out laughing gleefully! No, I did not know this guy, but he obviously had to be there for my friend's day. He told us to come in, another lady joined him, plus a photographer that looked so much like our friend's mom, it was crazy!
The guy, thru this gleeful laughter, said he hoped I'd show up like that.
Wait...what?? And who are you, again??
But apparently our friend showed my earlier pics (above), and said he hoped I would still have it on for the party. Well, I guess I didn't disappoint then.
Then the photographer jumped right in to say she had to get a photo! Then she introduced herself as our friend's aunt. I totally believed it, too. She looks SO much like her sister!

Anyway...she took our pic as we came in:

See, my friend approached me to let me know the kiddos could come if we wanted them to. I informed him that I might be dressed like a pirate since it was being held on TLAP Day. He said he hoped I really would & that pictures may just happen. This is not a problem for me.

We went and looked at some amazing food laid out on the table. Then we went to track down our friend. He was in the backyard with a slew of other folks celebrating our awesome friend. And for some reason, no one else was dressed like a pirate. Hmmm....

It was a beautiful day to celebrate his 50th, and so glad I could be a moment of party entertainment.

See, honey? I told you I could go to the party dressed like a pirate!!
(Don't worry, people. We already had this conversation.)

We, sadly, couldn't stay very long - my hubby had another thing on his plate he had to get to. So, off we went...with some cake in hand.

*Wave to Presten, everyone! Wish him Happy Birthday (which is actually TODAY)*
(Presten's Aunt Cheryl [sp?] took these great pics)

When we got back home, we had a small bit of downtime, then my hubby was off for a couple of hours. I had some plans, myself...

I prepared the Sea-Sick Crocodile to set sail for some more piratey fun.

Still in my garb, I headed off to the port of Long John Silver's! I was so excited they were taking part again, finally! I went in a pre-dinner timeframe, so not many people were in there. No signage was up to say they were participating...but I thought I'd give it a shot anyway. I know one patron was overly-amused by my entrance. I was so glad he was so entertained. I stepped up, and the girl just looked at me, like any other day, and said, "Is this for here or to go?" So I semi-piratey, almost-defeatedly asked, "Arrrre ya doing the whole pirate promo thing?" She just looked at me & told me yes. I was SO relieved! I, then, joyfully got my free meal, to go, with 2 pieces of fish, 2 hushpuppies & some fries! A couple people were intrigued by my look, I was complimented on my outfit choice, and that one dude was still overly-tickled that he was seeing a pirate IN Long John Silver's!

I got my food & headed out to board the Sea-Sick Crocodile for another port: back to the Krispy Kreme!

Some of you may be disappointed to find out that I was a well-behaved pirate. I went in & told them I had already gotten my dozen doughnuts. I didn't want to tempt my kiddos with more! But I did tell the employees that I just wanted a drink (in the TLAP souvenir cup) & 2 of their fantastic pirate coffee mugs.

All of this seemed to be an issue with the afternoon employees. All I wanted was an iced PSL in the souvenir cup & 2 of their mugs. They could not seem to get a grasp of what was going on...
FINALLY, a manager came to help with the ICED pumpkin spice latte to put in the adorable cup, and then one of the employees was confused as whether or not he should "mess with the display" of cups so I could get a couple of mugs. *face palm*

Back at the Krispy Kreme hoping they get my stuff right

While I waited, a (non-pirate) couple were just staring at my outfit. I told them that if you're gonna do it, you gotta go all out. They just said, "Well, you went all out."
Awww! Thank you, nice non-pirate couple!

So I finally got my mugs when the guy figured out you can sell the mugs on the case...

Then I finally got my cup with the iced PSL...

After setting sail from this time at the port of Krispy Kreme, I needed to make one more stop - the port of Wally World.

See, a pirate really can't get thru the day properly without having at least a splash of rum. Well, we'd already finished the stash we had at the home port, so I did as any other pirate would do: Go to Walmart & get some more!

I may end up on People of Walmart, but I don't care! It got me free food & awesome stuff! So I just removed my tricorn & eyepatch (that I used as a loose choker) to semi-tone down my look. I still got a lot of looks, but I pretended this is nothing out of the ordinary...
Move along, people. Nothing to see here. Just another pirate stopping by the Wally World to get their rum. Like any other day.
Yet I was still getting the stares & stuff. I could feel them. But I just went about my business. I did wave at a couple of kids, though. You know...give THEM that experience of getting noticed by a pirate at Walmart. Amm-i-rite?

I took my stuff up to a speedy check out. I placed my items on the conveyor belt. There was an older gentleman who was that lane's cashier at this point. He never even flinched. He just ran my items over the scanner like any other customer was standing there. He's probably seen a lot at Walmart in his time, so I was probably not a shock for him. He scanned my coconut rum, glanced at me, decided to not ID me (pshhh - whatever) and bagged it without a question. However, when he came to my bottle of Captain, he mentioned, "Well, this is fitting." I laughed a bit, and said, "Well, that's by design."
He asked if I worked in a costume shop or something, so I explained TLAP Day & how I'd already gotten free food. He seemed impressed. And I went about my way.

So, back into the Sea-Sick Crocodile I went, with Pipsquawk still perched upon my shoulder, and it was off to the home port to prepare the evening grub. But not before I saw the overly-amused guy from Long John Silver's going into Wally World as I left...and he was, once again, overly amused. I waved at him.

As per the past couple of years, Cedar Planked Lemon Pepper TiLAPia was on the menu (with Chicken Planks for the kiddos), Golden Lemon Butter Potato Medallions, Pirate's Booty brand shells (aged white cheddar) & cheese with anchors & (aged white cheddar) cheese, plus some greens (for seaweed salad) with some citrus dressing.

Then, we had to have the rum. For pirate day. Amm-i-rite?

So I made a Captain Arnold Palmer! Mmmmmm.....

Then we finally finished off the night with some delicious Krispy Kremes. Mmmm.....

All in all - it was a great & successful day of loot, booty & treasure! SO worth being dressed all over-achiever-like for it.

Even Teen Girl got into the act - we had matching shirts & near-matching boots. The Sea-Sick Crocodile wench is pretty much my mini-me.


Leading up to this, I knew that Long John Silver's was up to great things this year when I flagged people down on twitter to get ready for TLAP Day. Then, this went down:

That's right - they were fighting to give me a pirate name! How awesome is this??

Of course, I was sharing my adventures on social media...and I forgot that LJS actually had a social media contest going. Well imagine my shock when they flagged me down on Instagram with this photo... tell me that I could get a voucher for more free food since they picked me as one of their winners!!! (If you follow me on Instagram, you can go see it!)

** By the way, since dinner was covered, I enjoyed the free fish & hushpuppies the next day, while my boys enjoyed the fries - the kiddos aren't seafood fans & my hubby hadn't been feeling too well.

This year definitely made up for a disappointing TLAP Day last year. And I was SO happy to see LJS back on board, along with the fun liquid holders from Krispy Kreme!

I certainly hope more businesses & brands really hop on the promotion board next year. People get the free food...they post it all over social media AND while they are out & about, so it's free advertising for the day.

And you know I have ideas....

So...tell me - how was your TLAP Day?

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

AM~Erica Be Preparin' Ye Thar, Yet Again

So anyway...

One of my favorite weird holidays is fastly approaching!

The countdown is on to September 19th, and I'm readying my ship, The Sea-Sick Crocodile, to be set for a course of adventure for International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Since I'm preparin', I figured I'd flag you all down to try to do it, too.

First, I want to let you know that, as always anymore, Krispy Kreme is now synonymous with Int'l TLAP Day. This brand should not work on this day...yet it does. They made it work, and now you know you can get free doughnuts for talking and/or dressing like a pirate!! Now then, they do have a list of things that will work for them to consider giving you loot of a dozen glazed doughnuts when dressing like a pirate:

Got it? Good! Or get a better look, HERE!

Also, you can order a nifty 24 oz. drink & get it served in a souvenir TLAP cup!!

You can even get an awesome pirate mug from Krispy Kreme to enjoy your morning grog in, too!

But now the question is whether or not you can take in other great offers from other brands & businesses. Last year, it seemed like only Krispy Kreme was going to celebrate. But now there's a couple more on board!

As it turns out, Long John Silvers appears to be back on board with the day! YAY! After a couple of years of giving free fish to those who ordered like a pirate, they walked the plank last year. My guess is that they got some backlash from backing out of the day, so they came back in strong participatory manner this year! And, they took note from Krispy Kreme.

Check out what more Long John Silver's has on their TLAP page, HERE!

So that's exciting! As far as I can tell, Captain D's is not doing anything. Which is a disappointment. I hope they learn a lesson from this & climb aboard next year!

I haven't seen anything from Joe's Crab Shack or Red Lobster, either. They are missing a great opportunity, for sure, too!

However, one of my favorite brands right now is Pirates Brands. I've talked about them before, but I'm super excited that they are in on the TLAP Day fun! YAY!

Check out their TLAP Day portion of their website, HERE! And make sure to grab some Pirate's Booty!
**NOTE: Not grabbing a pirate's booty. That's something totally different.

Or you can get inspired from what I've done in past years by checking out what I've done before, HERE.

So...who's ready for International Talk Like a Pirate Day? Aye-yam!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Thursday, September 10, 2015

World Suicide Prevention Day & AM~Erica Still Struggles

So anyway...

Only if you are very new to at least a glimpse of my world, or you choose to not to pay attention, would you NOT know about my advocacy, maybe.

Today is September 10th, which is World Suicide Prevention Day. Today we continue raise awareness about the epidemic of those who take their lives due to the fatal symptom of suicide that can come with most mental illnesses. Plus with the amount of types of bullying that attempts to drag down another human being, it can lead to the feeling of self worthlessness, and can lead to the same outcome.

Today I make my yearly plea (because I usually post on this day, for sure, each year) to break the stigma around suicide. Let's talk about this.

Recently, I made sure to just talk about it (HERE). It's a part of my drive to make sure what has happened to/with me is known and very real. I'm also not the only one who deals with this. Even though it can feel very lonely.

I am usually ready to jump on National Suicide Prevention Week. Blogs, stats, quotes, sites, tips, etc...but I haven't done as well this week. As I was trying to keep stuff out there, I have been struggling this week. That empty sadness settled in, and I was having issues just functioning. And it does lead to not even wanting to talk about what you are struggling with...during a week we need to be talking about it!

With that said, I want to apologize for not being more forthright with info this week, but hope you understand at the same time.

I'll be OK. And here to tell you that you are not alone.

Do you remember last year when I did the Out of the Darkness memory walk with Team SOLOS? (reminder HERE) Well I'm doing it again. If you would look to help out & give to the cause, let's get funds raised so it can go to help go toward resources, research & awareness to lead to abolishing suicide! Wouldn't it be wonderful to see this in our lifetime? You can help me out by clicking the photo, below.

Click this photo for my AFSP Out of the Darkness
fundraising page & story.

In the meantime, please be sure to check out my collection of blogs about my own struggles, failed attempt, and other info, HERE.

And thank you for hanging with me. I am a bit out of sorts it seems today. But I wanted to try to continue to get any info I can out there about suicide as I do my best to keep the awareness up. I will try to do better in the future. Because I plan on there being a future.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica