Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Freddie in his element

Freddie gave all he had to every performance, as if it were his one and only. He had a love affair with each audience. This Wembley performance is the epitome of Freddie.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Africa The Serengeti

My sister Jody filmed this footage shortly after she got her first video camera. I gave her a few tips about filming, mainly to move the camera slowly, and she practiced for a few days before her trip to Africa. Her husband Pete did the video editing, and this was also his first serious attempt. I am so impressed with both of them. GO PETE AND JODY! YOU ROCK!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Serenity Has a Brother!


Skyler was two weeks old when I took this video. Serenity was taking a nap. We just missed her. You may be able to see Beth there as well, but Karla insisted she didn't want to be seen in the video. I was able to extract the interview. I think she was just too exhausted and didn't think she looked her best. I thought she was just as beautiful as ever!


In other news, I just got a call from the Wellness Center announcing that two eggs were seen in Angel and Angela's nest. I had put a nesting box in the cage, which they both ignored. So Angela decided to use one of her food bowls! I threw the food out and replaced it with bedding, so that's what they are using. I hope it's sufficient. It's kinda small. Of course I will be poking my camera in there from time to time. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Taco - Puttin' on the Ritz (Original Uncensored Version)

I couldn't resist posting this video. I remember the released version in the 80s, and it did not have the creepy element -- or the offensive black faces. But this was one of my favorite songs of all time for many years. Don't watch this unless you are ready to be creeped out. It is the original uncut version.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Serenity at 17 Months Old and Skyler at 0

Karla's baby "Skyler" is due today. I haven't heard anything yet. She asked me if I wanted to be in the delivery room again, and of course I said yes. Sooo... Until then, here is a video of Serenity at 17 months, along with Karla at 8 months pregnant, Serenity's father Kenny, and Serenity's half sister, Kayla. Skyler's first baby picture is here, too.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sharon Jenkins Tucker wins Clifford Beers Award!

Sharon Jenkins Tucker received the 2009 Mental Health America Clifford W. Beers Award. When getting up every day was hampered by depression, she slept in the back seat of her car rather than be hospitalized. Since 2004 she has been the executive director of the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network, using her experience about the process of recovery, and her training as a peer specialist, to create the Peer Support and Wellness Center run by employed certified peer specialists.
"Does recovery work?" some are asking as they discuss how much to invest in health reform. "I'm the evidence," she told a cheering, weeping, and star-studded crowd.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Beth plus 11 white shirts, yes 11

Okay, this is just some random silliness when Beth stayed with me last May. We had so much fun, especially the last night of her visit. We were both exhausted from working all day (Beth was doing a training) and then shopping, plus Beth had to catch an early flight the next morning. It was one of those nights when nothing made sense and everything was funny. I have no idea if we will make sense to anyone else, but I am posting this video because I had fun with it. There was a lot I couldn't post from the footage because, well, I kinda want to keep this a PG blog.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Mother and daughter reunion - and sisters, too!

I rarely see my mom and my sister Michele. They live down the street from each other in Blue Springs, MO. I hadn't seen them in years when my sister Jody called me and asked if I wanted to meet them in Dallas. I said yes, bought a plane ticket, and the rest is in this video.

Michele is our little sister, and we were not very nice to her growing up. We both thought of her as a brat, and we really couldn't see beyond the brattiness. So now, Michele has a daughter of her own, Katie, who is the reason we decided to meet in Dallas. Katie is a cheerleader, and Dallas was holding its cheerleading championship competition.

Granted, I could care less about cheerleading, but I do care about my little sister and my niece, so this was an opportunity to see them again. My mom was there, too, along with Katie's friend and her mom. The trip turned out to be quite a "mother-daughter" theme. Lots of bickering, especially between Michele and Katie. Apparently Katie is going through a typical "I hate my mother" phase, and Michele, who totally cracks me up, is taking it all in. You can see some of the dynamics in the video, but mostly it is about mothers and daughters in general.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Queen's new frontman?

Queen ready to give Adam Lambert a gig?

That is the headline after the Season finale of American Idol. I am a HUGE Queen fan, as you know from my videos, and I am a HUGE Adam Lambert fan. Adam is a brilliant, flamboyant talent who could easily be Queen's new frontman. I always felt that Adam was channeling Freddie Mercury on stage. He has the black nails, the guyliner, the sexuality, and (my favorite) the Freddie Mercury falsetto. I will buy everything Adam releases and listen to it until I'm sick, just like I did Freddie's music. I can't say that about another American Idol winner. Oh yeah, Adam didn't win. Freddie would not have won either!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Angel and Angela

I took a sick day today, then I got bored and decided to edit some video I took on Memorial Day. I'm sure you remember Angel, but no one has "met" Angela on this blog. So let me introduce our new addition. She is a year old, and she's been with us a few weeks. Angel loves her, but mostly he loves having company instead of being alone all the time. I was heartbroken by how lonely Angel was getting. Now he's back to his old, playful self!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Beth and I a year later. Silliness lives on.

Beth moved to Kansas about the same time I moved into the Peer Support and Wellness Center. We both moved into 444 street addresses! So then a year later, I moved out of the Center and she came to visit me from Kansas for the first time. I had just moved into my new apartment 10 days before, and she helped me with decorating. This is how far behind I've gotten with editing videos! This video is me and Beth attempting to decorate my apartment, but mostly we're goofing off.

I also have footage of me and Beth in DC last April and Beth's visit last week. So stay tuned for more Beth Filson!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lots of things happening. Life, love, doves.

First of all, please forgive me for neglecting this blog for so long. I have been incredibly busy with work, and when I have time, I do things like clean my apartment and eat something decent. Things from my former life have gone by the wayside. YouTube, podcasts, video editing, working out, and Rayne's World. But this blog is too important for me to put aside any longer. I will keep posting on a regular basis from now on and forever more. Crossing fingers...

Okay, with all the excuses out of the way - how are you all doing? I miss my blogger friends. I hope everyone is doing great! I keep up with some of your blogs, so I know what a lot of you have been up to. I'm just glad you're still blogging!

My life is moving incredibly fast. My work is the most important thing in my life, and it has been quite a challenge. The Peer Support and Wellness Center definitely has its challenges. Last time I wrote anything significant, we were still in the infant stage. Since then, we have been through the terrible twos, and now we are at a more reasonable childhood stage. It has felt like raising a child - all consuming, challenging, and rewarding. Yes, rewarding. When we reach a milestone (masked as a challenge) and work though it, coming out ahead, it is like a growth spurt. We have had many of those.

One of the challenges has been Personal Care Home managers. Personal Care homes are, in my opinion, a tragic extention of institutions. They are hospitals without walls, and they serve to keep people oppressed and dependent. There's very little self direction. But the individuals who come to the Center from Personal Care Homes are experiencing self direction at least while they are at the Wellness Center. It is frustrating because I feel that Personal Care Homes have an ideal setup for people to become self directed, if only the managers understood the concept. If only! It just breaks my heart to see so many people who have so much talent and insight to live in another institution. It feels criminal.

So it's very difficult to communicate with Personal Care home managers. We don't speak the same language, and their objectives are opposite of ours. They want to keep people "safe" and "compliant." They don't understand the fact that we do not keep files on our peers, not do we discuss our peers with anyone except our peers. Duh! Case workers and parents often have the same expectation of us. Medicaid van drivers too! So when our peers come to the Center from those environments, many are hearing about self direction for the first time. And practicing it is a challenge as well because once they return home, they have to be compliant again. I understand this, too, because when your living siruation is at stake, you will do whatever it takes to have a roof over your head.

I see the Center as such a reprieve for so many of our peers. Many people who don't have a home will come to the Center for a nice home environment, at least for the day. We work with people on housing issues, and many have found the home of their choosing through networking and resources while at the Center. Others are still struggling with homelessness, and I wish there were more housing resources in this area.

The Center is directed by four core values - making connections, sharing worldviews, creating mutuality, and moving toward (life). When someone comes through those doors and simply wants to sit on the couch and hang her head, another peer will approach that person and attempt to make a connection. I have seen eyes light up and personalities emerge from that simple act. It happens a lot, and tears are falling now from thinking about it. OMG! That's the reason we are here! Nothing is more rewardng than that!

My personal life has been moving fast as well. Yes, I do have a personal life! I moved out of the Center last December 27, exactly one year to the day that I had moved in. I didn't plan it that way! But I have a very nice apartment about a half mile away. It's the most beautiful apartment I've ever lived in, and it's secure and peaceful. I needed to move. The daily participants at the Center have grown in numbers to the point that it was becoming difficult to find a space for myself. And I need my space!

I saved up all I could during the year I lived at the Center and left all my belongings when I moved out. I needed to start fresh and new. I went to Havertys and furnished my new apartment. WOW was that a blast! So when I moved out, everything got delivered to me rather than dealing with all those boxes. It was a VERY pleasant and effortless move!

I left my dove Angel at the Center. I'm there most of the time anyway, and I think he is happy there. He did miss me when I first moved out, though, so I found him a companion dove. Her name is Angela, and she adjusted to her new home immediately. She and Angel are best friends, and soon to be mates. It's just a matter of time. I see them kissing a lot :o)

I still edit videos, but I sure do have a lot of footage that I haven't even touched yet. Beth was here for a visit, and I'm sure you all remember her. She moved to Kansas about the same time I moved into the Center. She's been here to visit twice, and both times we got some good videos. Maybe I'll work on those first.

OH - and the beginning of May, I was invited to DC to a "Innovations in Recovery" seminar put on by SAMHSA, which is the federal division of mental health, so to speak. The feds, I call them. Anyway, the seminar covered several topics, and I was asked to do a presentation on "Crisis/Respite Alternatives." I showed the DVD of the Peer Support and Wellness Center, and people told me they loved it and wanted to come to Georgia and see it for themselves! This event was such an honor for me to attend. I had never traveled to an unknown city by myself before, and now I am no longer scared to do so. I was terrified before the trip, and I even considered declining, but that's not the way to grow, right? I gotta face my fears, and in the end, there was nothing to be afraid of.

Well, those are the highlights of my life since I last wrote. OH yeah - I also went to Dallas with my sister Jody. We met my mom, sister Michele, and niece Katie there to watch Katie compete in the national cheerleading championship. I have footage of that, too, which I will get to one day soon. Oh where do I start with all these videos?

OH yeah! And Karla is due to have another baby in July! A boy!

Okay, I am signing off before I remember something else. I'll be back soon. Thanks for reading my ramble.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Taxpayers foot the bill for ECT torture in MN


OMG! This could have been me not too long ago. Thank god I got away from psychiatry. They come to Ray's front door and forcibly take him away to shock his brain every other week, and it's being paid for by taxpayers! Nothing is more outrageous! It kills me to just think about it, and Ray is living it.

Hey, this could be you if you seek help for depression, nothing works, and you land in a hospital. ECT is for "treatment resistant" depression. I was certainly at risk. Nothing helped my depression. Hospitals made them worse. The oppression of the mental health system made them worse. My inability to cope with stress made them worse. Nothing helped, and just the thought of ECT gave me the creeps. I remember one of my last hospitalizations, in 2000, I was rooming with a young woman who said she had Dissociative Identity Disorder (which used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder, and which was a label I was given for many years). Every morning she would be taken away for ECT, and every afternoon, she would be soooo out of it. I remember asking her if she wanted ECT, and she said absolutely not. She was scared of saying no to her doctor, though, and she continued to go along with his orders. She was very compliant, just like the doctors wanted.

I think back on that... I was an involuntary patient. She and I had the same doctor. He could have forced ECT on me. How many others are getting ECT as I write this? How may choose it? How many are coerced or too afraid to stand up to their doctors? How many are blatantly forced, like Ray? How often does this go on???

I guarentee you this -- one day ECT will be looked upon as barbaric and unthinkable by everyone, like lobotomies are now. Sometimes it's just the era you are born into. Timing is huge. I am so sorry, Ray. I am so sorry. You are incredibly brave, and what you are going through is going to help bring these asshole doctors to their senses one day. OK - not to their senses (duh!) - but it will eventually change the law so these assholes cannot abuse human beings anymore with their "treatments".

If I had the opportunity, I would go to Ray's doctor's front door one morning and drag him to his own clinic and strap that ECT machine to his little pea brain. Before putting him under, I would ask him if he wanted ECT. When he said no, I would tell him that it was for his mental health, then I would zap his brain. Oooh that felt good to just write.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

k.d. hallelujah lang


This song is one of my all-time favorites, and thanks to Gianna, who posted this version to her blog, I am now able to experience it by one of my all-time favorite performers: k.d.lang. I could write a book about k.d.lang and the effect she has had on my life, especially when I lived in a teeny tiny town called Avoca, Arkansas. I wonder if that town can be found on Google Streetview. Her music is...well...I can't express it in words unless I write a book, and even then, it's questionable whether it can be expressed at all.