Saturday, December 31, 2011

Oh What A Year, Our 2011 In Review

What.A.Year.

And if we hadn't chronicled most of it in this blog...so much of it would have been lost among us. Of course the bits we haven't written about, the most disturbing parts, the ones that involve the systemic removal of our core alter (The Other Girl) haven't been put in this blog yet, but are being pieced together...there is a lot to explain.


But this year...

There was Frank (I) took over our system and we came out fully about our past...
...and our mental illness and found personal freedom for us in our system. There's too much written here to provide all the links, but check out the first, of many, sections of our recommendations: http://just-call-me-frank.blogspot.com/p/our-recommendations-weeded-from.html...and all the stuff we don't mention here. You'll find links to poetry we write this year, as well as paitings we have completed (we have three on the go, currently)

We broke the heart and ended the friendship with a long time friend, and on and off lover, Standby (
also mentioned in our later life stories listed above)
We fell in love with and had a somewhat scandalous affair with our friend, and manager, known in the blog as a few names, but primarily Fuck Face.
The "highlights"...
We were "harassed" by people from our recent past
Our family learned about our mental illness, we talk to The Father about it, and we found out recently The Father follows our Twitter Account

We had LOADS of problems with our rental property, a house we lived in until our last relationship ended and we decided not to stay in the house. 

We met a wonderful man on Twitter visa-a-vie this blog and our friend @singlemomdate (James/The Boyfriend) from another country, and now he lives with us
We got canned from our job of just over a year, the longest we've been able to hold down a job in 15 years...But then we got a new job in about a months time and James met Fuck Face...But then we had to leave the job and move into The Mother's basement, saying goodbye to Special Someone, to Fuck Face, and our close friend, Fabulous Person (also on Twitter with us <3)

This year we've met AMAZING people on Twitter, of note Kerry Stott, writer, mental health nurse and our guest blog writer (her most recent entry: 
Our Guest Blogger Writes About Personal Problem Solving ); as well as so many people we can't list them all here, just pay attention to the people we talk to on Twitter, those are the ones we are most thankful for. Twitter saved our life, as it has so many other people on the site, because Birds of A Feather, on Twitter, CAN Flock Together.

So here we are...it's the end of the year. We just booked our flight to London two days ago for January, to go with James to the UK for a couple of months before we come back here and travel the United States for about a year to find a new place to settle.


Oh, and we just got on the wagon, so to speak...(we'll be hopping off tonight though, to celebrate New Years, but then we're getting back on in the morning).


So...there you have it, a year of blogging (a year and a half if we're talking about the whole thing)...there is tons to read here, we've written every single day for a year...nearly. Check out the highlights here: 
http://just-call-me-frank.blogspot.com/p/our-recommendations-weeded-from.html where we write about food, life, relationships, sex, mental illness, social media, philosophy, and so much more; and the boyfriend has some entries there, where we imported writing from his blog where he's talks about life with us.

Anyway, Happy New Year, friends, readers, followers, and all the rest. May your 2012 out-rock your 2011 in every way imaginable.


From ALL of us, to ALL of you...

Hugs, kisses, licks, giggles, stabs, bites, scratches, kicks, glitter and rainbows (in no particular order)

~ Frank, Bethany, Catherine, Cassandra, Brooke, Joy, Ivy, Emmie, Sam, Melody


(New years resolutions? We never make them past "Have a happy year")




Friday, December 30, 2011

On Our Sobriety and Alcohol

*Just a reminder, unless the actual link address is shown here, all links take you to other pages of our blog that we are referencing, this is an ad free blog*
Some people speculated that something must have happened for us to make this decision to become sober, to quit drinking almost entirely.

Sure something happened. We pulled our head out of our ass. We realized that 
continuing to drink a bottle of wine or more everyday was not going to be good for us in the long run, and we'd be better off stopping drinking for an extended period rather than trying to cut down, and we figured it we turned it into a New Years resolution, and drank to the end of the year just because we could, that our success rate would decrease. Who really keeps New Years Resolutions anyway?

What we didn't mention much about in the post where we talked about quitting drinking - a post written by me with many of the et al feelings in mind, but not so much my own reasons - is that  for almost the entire year of 2011
we hadn't been sober for more than two whole days; to be honest, it's been years since we hadn't been at least high every day, until we started drinking every day instead, though we never drank or did drugs AT work though. That is just unacceptable...for us.
Of course there were reasons why we drank, among them chronic pain (caused by the permanent damages of the car accident we were in, which yesterday was the 7 year anniversary of) and internal management (meaning it made the things going on in our head easier to manage, for some of us). We're not unhappy with our life, as a whole, sure we've had some pretty monumental things happen to us this past year and a half (most, but not all, of them are detailed in the pages of this blog), and very few of the positive ilk, but that's no reason to become an alcoholic, in my opinion.  Furthermore, alcohol isn't exactly a pain reliever...and IS actually a depressant (which means if you're drinking because you are depressed...well, that's dumb, it's causing an endless cycle...do other drugs instead...ones that are less likely to make you cry in a puddle of your own snot on your living room floor).

It's been one week sober for us now, and it's actually not entirely as terrible as we thought it would be, though we have spent the last few days with a raging headache. It helps that most of us are stubborn as hell, and just like it's hard for us to ask for help from people, we're not going to pus out and think there is any help at the bottom of a bottle of alcohol. *que Superwoman music*


The only problem we're left with is the 
physical pain (we refuse to use pain relievers unless absolutely necessary), and the chronic headache though some headaches are normal with our "disorder", and we know from experience that no pain reliever will take THAT headache away.

This is not to say we wouldn't love a drink. Fuck it would be nice - but we also have a LONG "trip" that we can barely afford in just under three and a half weeks, and by not drinking we are saving $150-300 a month. 
Not to mention the calories. We were consuming from 600-800 calories a day in alcohol, which was making us stressed out about our weight.

We are treating ourselves to a bottle of wine to celebrate the New Year tomorrow, then following that we'll be sober for the foreseeable future (only exception being when we have cocktails with Tweeple in the UK, and then when we travel the USA next year), because it's the healthy thing to do, and it's also easier when it's not a dry-turkey forever situation, like in things like AA, because we're not an alcoholic, we are just trying to love ourselves better...and if we have to continue to exist, we'd like liver function as long as possible.


~ Frank


The World of Alcohol...and What You Will Think Is Useless Information

Fun little alcohol calorie counter: http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/collegestudents/calculator/alcoholcalc.aspx


Note: Each example below is based on a 4-ounce glass. However, depending on the bar or the restaurant (or how much you pour yourself), glasses may be as large as 8 ounces.

Wine
Type - Calories |Carbs (g)
Cabernet Sauvignon (red) - 90 | 2.5
Merlot (red) - 95 | 2.5
Chianti (red)-  100 | 2.5
Chardonnay (white) - 90 | 1.1
Sauvignon Blanc (white) - 80 | 1.1
Port (Ruby) - 185 | Up to 10


Note: These approximate values are based on 1½ oz of alcohol and 8 oz of mixer. Keep in mind, however, that jumbo-size drinks in restaurants can contain much more. For example, a Long Island Iced Tea can pack up to 16 ounces and 750 calories.

Cocktails
Type - Calories | Carbs (g)
Gin & Tonic - 200 | 4
Vodka Cranberry - 220 | 5
Bloody Mary - 180 | 4
Margarita - Up to 500 | Up to 10
Long Island Iced Tea - Up to 550 | Up to 11

and don't even get us started on the calories in beer...

Read more: http://www.askmen.com/sports/foodcourt_150/150b_eating_well.html#ixzz1i2pqs0Se

--------------------------

Of course none of that makes any sense, or matters, if you don't know how many calories you need just to maintain your current weight:
Calorie intake for Weight loss
Sedentary Lifestyle: 20 calories per kg of body weight [Let's be honest...this is probably where you are at]
Moderately Active Lifestyle: 25 calories per kg of body weight
Heavy Activity Lifestyle: 30 calories per kg of body weight
Calorie intake for Weight Maintenance
Sedentary Lifestyle: 25 calories per kg of body weight 
[Let's be honest...this is probably where you are at] 
Moderately Active Lifestyle: 30 calories per kg of body weight
Heavy Activity Lifestyle: 35 calories per kg of body weight
Calorie intake for Weight gain
Sedentary Lifestyle: 30 calories per kg of body weight
Moderately Active Lifestyle: 35 calories per kg of body weight
Heavy Activity Lifestyle: 40 calories per kg of body weight


Source: http://www.fitho.in/how-many-calories-do-i-need/
--------------------------------------------------------------
This is not us preaching on the fucking dangers of alcohol, unless you're a moron you know drinking is among the few fun AND dangerous/unhealthy things you can do legally, and honestly...we don't care about your health. But in the event you have no idea the effect of alcohol to your internal organs...and you're too lazy to Google it, or you like things served on a silver platter, we present to you liver...(yummmmm, liver paté...on a silver platter). 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Forget Hollywood, Frankie Goes To London!

Alright, for those not hip to our Tumblr account/blog, about a week and half ago we wrote about about James having to go back to the Britain by January 20th, and a little rant on immigration (this is that entry...http://jstcallmefrank.tumblr.com/post/14472346429/what-a-difference-a-day-makes-a-word-on-immigration).

How'd we meet James? If you don't know you can read more about that here: 
http://just-call-me-frank.blogspot.com/2011/07/50000-tweets-and-all-we-got-was.html.

We spent the last week discussing it with James, fretting over the finances involved, and, well...crying. (
mostly him, if we're going to be honest about it), and we came to a decision.

Bottom line is, he doesn't want to be without us (
yeah...we're that great apparently #confused), and of course, you know...we don't want to be apart from him for months either...even weeks. (sometimes days would be okay...just kidding, you). Also, we are not comfortable on a 12-16 hour flight by ourselves. It's just not something we want to try to do, maneuver through the airports on our own, deal with all the people...ugg...all.the.people. and then risk sitting next to some passenger we want to cut to pieces for the better part of 8+ hours.

So, at the risk of having no cash once we get there,
 this morning we booked two one-way flights to the London! We have just enough left in savings to get back when the time comes - a little over two months from now...and with any luck the house we have on the market will sell.

It's a good thing we're used to adapting to living on half a shoe string.


HOLY SHIT WE'RE GOING TO THE UK!


The flight leaves on the 19th of January...and as mentioned in our other post we'll be taking you all with us, through our blogs, Twitter...and our other internet ports of entry, if you so choose to continue to read about us and talk with us on Twitter.


Aside from the money issue, and general stress of finding a place to crash for a couple of months (James' flat is in the middle of a real estate sale...still), we're pretty excited to see England, and if things work out as planned 
Scotland, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy,  (once you are over there, it's really inexpensive to go to all those places...).

Of course we've done a bit of traveling before, but not...just us (
meaning our collective). This time we get to write more openly.

Then of course when we get back to the United States we'll take a little break at The Mothers again before we start off on the second portion of our as for-mentioned and duly nicknamed #2012StabbingTour, 
so we can buy the van we plan on living in for the better part of a year.
The entire travel of 2012 already has a blog dedicated to it which has a portal in a tab above (the blog address: http://ourfrankadventures.blogspot.com/ ) so we can still write personal stuff here when needed (like we do now), as well as export travel entries that might end up here, over to there in case people don't want to read the crap that lands here...also included on the 'Our Frank Adventures' blog is a place where we can upload travel photos, and a page where we provide a map of where we plan to go/or have been in 2012.  Guess we'll see how that evolves...it's only what feels like our millionth location on the world wide web...apparently the internet is our only permanent home.

Crazy you say? We never claimed not to be.


~ Joy (et al)


The travel journals written by one of us...


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Guest Blogger Writes About Personal Problem Solving


Well...we're something like four days into our cessation of drinking (that`s right, we quite drinking - http://just-call-me-frank.blogspot.com/2011/12/quitter-quitter-why-were-bitter.html)...and all is going well.

We are, however, looking forward to New Years Eve when we will have a bottle of wine to celebrate, and then "dry up" for the foreseeable future. The nicest thing about quitting drinking, unlike the other habits we cut out this past year, is that we do not intend on never drinking again, only cleaning ourselves up a bit, and then being more responsible about our consumption. Resetting, it you will.


We survived the holiday weekend...which was easy because we celebrated it with the house unadorned by a single trace of Christmas; and we celebrated Christmas Eve by making homemade pizza (from scratch), eating Twizzlers and watching movies (Bad Teacher & 
Bundy: An American Icon) - Christmas is a bit of a blur, but we spent it with just James, and there was a hippo involved (http://jstcallmefrank.tumblr.com/post/14790794916/merry-christmas-santa-didnt-get-us-what-we)

Now, on to our guest blogger Kerry Stott...granted this piece would have been better posted before the holiday season (
we dropped the ball on that), when people traditionally get overwhelmed with life commitments, and problem solving, but guess what...better late then never (right?), and maybe going into the new year you can employ the steps she lays out in your life, so 2012 can be a year of personal empowerment for you.

We want to comment on the the part where Kerry says "What would Frankie say?", which made us laugh. Truth is, we have been known to fall into the trap of taking on too many responsibilities/commitment, particularly in our last job, and relationships...and getting overwhelmed, which for us can be a drastic problem (internally). It's highly dependent on who (which one of us) the person is asking for the favour,
The Other Girl (eliminated core alter) used to be terrible for getting us involved in copious commitments the last year we were with her, she always wanted to please people, to make people happy, over making herself/us happy; we tend to be better, collectively, at saying no to things now that she is gone...thankfully employing the steps Kerry lays out in her piece.

~ Frank


So, without further ado....


When is a problem not a problem?
Work
Colleague: Kerry can you go to a formulation meeting for me ...
Me: Yeah, sure.
Another colleague: Kerry I’m stuck with a patient, can you co-work them with me.
Me: Well, my caseload is rather full but yes I think I can.
Home
Family member: Kerry you’re good at DIY can you help me put some shelving up.
Me: Of course, but I’m a bit tired.
Friend: can you bring along a cake to the party.  I really like the chocolate cake you make, can you do that one?
Me: Yes, I would love to do it.
Me (thinking): Hell bells I’m knackered and now I have SO much to do.

I am TERRIBLE for saying yes to people.  I don’t want to let people down or disappoint them.  I have a very hectic life; several jobs, coach rugby, family, husband, writing, blah blah blah.  I know that there are 24 hours in everyday and I do pack a lot in but if I say yes to lots of people I end up feeling very stressed and unhappy, but I find it really difficult to say no.  The down side is that I keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again; and I get the same results of feeling unhappy and put upon.  I try saying ‘no’ but often I feel worse and think that I am letting other people down and that I have failed them in some way.  Every strategy I tried I could not pull myself out of my ‘being helpful’ quagmire; aaaahhhhh!  Either someone sabotaged it or I sabotaged myself by relenting, and I would end up feeling a complete pillock.

You have heard me say that there is no difference between myself and my patients.  That we all tend to think and react in the same ways.  Well, before I learnt about Stop and Think therapy I was already putting its principals into action and I would like to share them with you because I have seen how it has helped others and helped me.   Plus *rolls her eyes* there is an evidence base for it so it is not just me spouting some quirky therapy, it works.  In fact, for those of you who regularly read my work, you will know that I am doing some research work and it is this problem solving therapy that the research is about.  It is a group therapy and works because other members of the group help each other but it is not as intrusive or invasive as some group psychotherapies due to its’ rigid structure.  Allow me to explain.

Problem solving therapy, also known as Stop and Think, helps you break down the problems you have and develop strategies to combat the problems so that there you have more options.  The more options the more in control you feel, and then the less stressed you are.  It is called positive problem orientation.  When you feel that there are no options or no way out of a problem, you can (and do) feel very negative about it and can feel rather hopeless about the outcome (negative problem orientation).  Having strategies and options can and does make us feel more positive and confident at getting an outcome we want. 

It breaks down into 6 components.  1) Feeling bad, which looks at the physical feelings of having a problem like a tense tummy, butterflies, feeling sick; some people struggle to realise when they are getting into difficulties.  2) What is my problem, finding out what actually is the issue.  3) What do I want, defining what you want the outcome to be.  4) Options, writing down all the options available good and bad, odd and sensible, legal and illegal; then weighing up all the pros and cons of each option, this is where the group joins in and helps out.  5) Action plan, finding out which short, medium and long term options you are going to use.  6) How did I do, reviewing what when on, what worked, what did not and why it worked or did not work.

On paper it all sounds achingly simple but it’s not.  Giving yourself the chance and more importantly the time to put the brakes on life and reflect upon what you want and not being swept along in the by the tide of ‘you have to’ and ‘I must do/be/try...’.  When was the last time you said to someone at home or at work ‘Hang on, I’m just going to have a think about this before I answer you’?  Thinking about it, it makes sense doesn’t it?  The quality of the answer would be better and the outcome for you would be better.  Like everything in life the more you practice it, the easier it gets.  I used to be terrible for saying yes to just about everything because the pressure was always on and I like to please but this did not take into account my needs and the quality of the work or jobs or babysitting etc. that I was doing.  One of the most powerful things that I have learnt to do is ask for time to think about my answer.  It doesn’t mean that I will say no or yes but it gives me some psychological space.  Also if you practice this technique enough times people start to automatically give you time to think.

By reflecting and reviewing what actual options you have gives you more control and more power.  When people feel helpless and out of control, they can make odd decisions and often have knee jerk reactions.  It does not instil calm and relaxed feelings either in yourself or the person coming to you with the problem.  The really dumb thing is that this therapy works and works well.

I was at a meeting yesterday, I went there out of the goodness of my heart, it was quite far away and I was not getting paid, it was for the research job I start in a couple of weeks.  I needed to shadow someone, for a more technical aspect of my role, and I was asked if I could return the next day.  My gut reaction was to say yes, I was available and it would be good to get a head start on the job so that I could hit the ground running.   But, this would be a 100 mile round trip, I was not getting paid and I had already given up a day off to go to that meeting, going the next day would mean me giving up another one of my precious days off.  You see the pattern, glutton for punishment.  I could feel that stressed feeling rising in my stomach, me wanting to say yes but wanting to keep my day off.  Everyone in the meeting was looking at me, I could feel myself getting hot and going red.

1) Feeling bad: I had a knot in my stomach, my pulse was racing, and I was feeling hot and going red. I also had that worried sinking feeling.
2) What’s my problem: Being asked to do a job when I am not getting paid and in my own time.
3) What do I want: To extract myself and keep my day off.
4) Options:
- Say no and tell them to fuck off – not appealing and my new boss was there I don’t want to lose my job before I start.
- Say yes – I would lose my day off and feel stressed and put upon and back into the same revolving scenarios.
- Make up an excuse – do-able, I could think of at least 3 that I could do make up but I run the risk of being caught out.
- Get up and leave the meeting room – I think I would feel even more of a complete prick if I did this.
- Say no because your time is precious – yes but it would take some confidence and I run the risk of offending my new boss and colleagues.
- Say no and point out that I am not getting paid – pass me that confidence, I need it for this option!
- Say no and highlight that it is not much notice – also do-able but I am breathing into a paper bag now with nerves.

What would Frankie say? Tell them to get lost #stabbytweet.
What would my hubby say? What are you playing at, you’re not getting paid.
What would my mate say? Stop putting other people first, when are you going to learn?

5) Action plan: Say no and point out that it is too short a notice.  If that is not accepted point out that I would not be getting paid and I had not started the job officially yet.
6) How did I do? I said no and that it was too short a notice, I then pointed out that I wasn’t getting paid and that I hadn’t started the job yet.  As it turned out, the world did not end (OMFG).  My new boss admitted that he was getting a bit wrapped up in his work and that of course I had plans, I was a busy and successful person which was why he employed me. THEN he apologised to me!!!! What the actual fuck!  Wow!  How did that happen?

Problem solving can cause us to be either the success we want to be or be very stressful, and all points in between.  Taking stock and giving yourself time to reflect and have strategies is a good plan and it pays off.  To me my example felt and was real, I had a real dilemma but I hope that by using my example from yesterday that you can see that people who are allegedly ‘together’ and ‘successful’ still feel stressed and uncomfortable with the problems that they have.  And if you look around, the ‘together’ people screw up too but because they have a positive problem orientation, they can roll with the punches a bit better and recover faster.

If you are genuinely stuck, write it down on paper, breaking your problem down into the 6 steps. Have a go, give it a try; you might even develop a new strategy for an old problem and break your cycle, but you don’t know until you try.

Good luck and happy problem solving.
Kerry x @kerrystott

More awesome mental health topics from 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Holidays and a Happy Christmas


Listen. Read. Think.


Enough said.


Merry Holidays...

Tree Fighting Ceremony
www.thedailyshow.com


Apparently "Freedom of religion" extends as far as Jesus/God based ones...because as we all know...true freedom is limiting.

Before you hail demonize people for their different, or lack of, holiday beliefs...learn.

The History of Christmas: 
http://www.historyofchristmas.net/

Or watch 'Christmas unWrapped'...by The History Channel

We`ll start you off with part one...

 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Quitter, Quitter, Why We're Bitter


The goal, apparently, now...is to try to quit drinking, to the point where we are not drinking a bottle of wine a night, or more...so for now it's pretty much full stop.

This will be fan-fucking-tastic. #sarcasm

We're not all on board this; but a 9 hours drinking adventure with the consumption of a quarter liter (James says 3/4 litre) of vodka yesterday, and a sleepless night that included a 4am half an hour walk around the neighborhood proved we had some thinking and discussion to do.

This year we quit smoking cigarettes, quit smoking pot (a habit that put us in the league of "pot heads")...so now...join us while we end the year trying to quit our last evil vice...

*sigh*

*whimper*

We'll still have an occasional drink, New Years Eve we'll drink the bottle of Martini Asti sparkling wine we bought a couple of weeks ago...until then, and after...well...it's going to be ugly over here.

Why not try to quit drinking during the holiday season, while under a bunch of stress, while mentally fragile...only good things can clearly come from that fucking great idea...

It's enough quitting this year to make us bitter.

~Frank et al

Archives of our writing from this year - real life sex, love, food, mental health issues, "scandal", and more ... all here: http://just-call-me-frank.blogspot.com/p/our-recommendations-weeded-from.html

We simply refuse to let alcohol be our crutch and control us...we control us, not a substance.