Snapshots of a… Crazy Kinda Life

The Misadventures of Messie Jessie

So this happened today. August 18, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Messie Jessie @ 7:43 pm
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The dog and I are on a steamy summer stroll around the neighborhood. We spot a family across the street. Two parents; in tow are a stroller with a baby, and a little 3 year old girl.

Sadie meme colors.jpg

Yup, this is my dog. Not to be confused with me.

Little girl: “A doggie!”

Me: A friendly smile and a broad wave.

Little girl’s mom: “Look! The doggie said hello!”

Well, actually, the owner said hello. The dog didn’t even notice you. But you know. I guess I can see how you would confuse us two.

No, actually I can’t. That was a really weird thing for that mom to say.

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Wanna bark back and forth for a while? No problem. Throw me a bone at CrazyKindaLife@gmail.com.

 

Versatile Blogger Award Winner– That’s Me! March 30, 2012

Filed under: All about me — Messie Jessie @ 9:31 pm
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Us bloggers, who get to publish whatever the heck we want to, never really know who’s reading our stuff and what readers think of it. Sure, my site stats tell me how many people clicked around. Yeah, it’s great that people who know me in real life tell me they got a rise out of something I published. But, in truth, it doesn’t really tell a blogger all that much about what their larger audience thinks about content on their blog.

So when one of your followers, who’s a fellow blogger, gives you the Versatile Blogger Awardthat’s saying something. That’s the kinda stuff that makes you want to keep writing. That’s the stuff that makes your heart smile.

When Maggie over at FortyAndFeelingIt  nominated me (which equates to awarding), I was honored. Seriously, I was. By awarding me this prestigious accolade, she’s basically announcing to the world that she reads my junk and she loves it. I love that she loves my junk. She’s also announcing that she thinks other people should read my junk because she thinks they’ll love it too. Thanks Maggie, I agree.

In order to accept this award (I accept, I accept!) there’s a few rules I’ve got to follow. I totally prepared an acceptance speech which is now totally moot, but I can be a rule-follower for a day, so here it goes:

  • You must give credit to the person who nominated you and create a link in your post.

THANK YOU, MAGGIE! You’re swell.

As for linking to her blog, I pretty much already did that above but I’ll do it again. And again. And just once more for good measure… again.

  • You must create a list of 15 blogs that you enjoy most and link to those as well. Then you must go and tell them you have nominated them.  That means if you do not have 15, you cannot do this step.  If you do not complete this step, then you cannot claim this award.

Whoa, the pressure is ON. Alright, in no particular order….

  1. DroppedIn – This guy is a philosopher, a card shark, and a kayaker. He’s also a really amazing human being.
  2. The What’s Goin’ Down Episode – This fine lady takes great photos, makes good eats, and is the craftiest crafter to ever craft. A few minutes reading her blog, and you will wish you were a part of her beautiful family.
  3. Mom Hearts Pinot – She’ll make you laugh, she’ll make you cry and she’ll make you wanna make stuff from random crap you found around your house. She’s also got this kid she calls Red.
  4. Simply Gray – A mother, a photographer and an American turned Aussie. She’s got the best, cutest and most lovable kids in the whole world. Who cares if I’m biased? It’s the truth!
  5. Shmitten Kitten – A dating blog for people who would probably never read a dating blog. This gal gets around, but it’s for a worthwhile cause.
  6. Life Is Good – An American living in Saudi Arabia. Did I mention she’s a therapist too? Nice.
  7. The Philly Foodist – Eat well, buy local, love thy neighbor. Warning: do not visit this blog on an empty stomach.
  8. Getting Well For The First Time – One man’s journey. One man’s blog.
  9. Pain On The Rise – An interesting examination on trauma and more sciency- stuffs. Look closely and you might see some totally amazing guest posts!
  10. International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry – Some really great articles on newsworthy mental health topics. Really smart people read (and write for) this blog.
  11. Snarkysnatch – Yo, this girl gets raunch, but she’ll make you laugh. And fear online dating. For reals.
  12. Jessica Spotswood – A Young Adult fiction writer. Even though she just published her first book, she’s been writing for years and is totally excellent at it, I must say.
  13. Pimp Ur Blog – Do I even need to explain this one?
  14. The Oatmeal – Matt (aka The Oatmeal) needs no free promotion from a nobody blogger like me, but I’m a regular reader and a fan so I thought I ought to give him some love.
  15. Damn You Auto Correct – Whenever I need a good laugh, this is the first place I go. Once I laughed so hard I spit out my drink all over my desk, so, you know, click with caution.
  • Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

Alright Maggie, as you probably know, I’m typically a fan of Top 5’s, but here’s my Top 7 just for you:

  1. I eat cottage cheese on a daily basis. I find that small curd is superior to large curd.
  2. I own 14 camisoles, 15 pairs of flip-flops and 18 fashion scarves. This is not an exaggeration for humorous effect; I just counted.
  3. I can be forgetful so I write a lot of To Do lists. If I get lazy with the To Do’s I tend to write myself mean reminder notes. Here’s an example:
  4. I take pictures of chicken bones on I encounter on the street and then put them in an album called “Meat on the Street”. The number of followers this album has amassed is surprisingly large. Who knew discarded meat could be so popular?
  5. I keep a Bucket List which hangs on my wall. Here is a photo:
  6. I have synesthesia. Don’t worry, it’s not contagious.
  7. When I’m in a good mood I like to dance around my kitchen in my underwear. You should try it sometime, I highly recommend it.

Thanks again for the award, Maggie! You’re super cool.

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So now, readers, it’s your turn: Show your support when you Rate, Comment, Subscribe and Share!

As always, feel free to shoot me a line at CrazyKindaLife@gmail.com to tell me how totally awesome I am and how this award is basically just stating the obvious.

 

I’m a Guest Blogger! People Like Me! February 21, 2012

Filed under: All about me — Messie Jessie @ 9:23 pm
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I’ve been pretty pissed at 2012 thus far. Last fall, I forecasted 2012 as “the year all my dreams come true”. I was all kinds of optimistic. Instead, it’s been more like “the year that totally did not go as forecasted”. Granted, we’re only 52 days deep, but still… 2012 has been a real let down. It’s been down right nasty a couple times, even.

Then someone took notice to my writing. Someone liked my writing. In fact, they liked my writing so much that they asked me to write for their blog.

It’s been a project we’d been secretly working on  for a while, but finally, 52 days into 2012, I can share with the world that I AM A GUEST BLOGGER!

I’ll be contributing to PainOnTheRise.wordpress.com monthly. You can go directly to my debut post by CLICKING HERE.  (You may notice that this one is a repost from an article I did a few weeks ago, but future posts will be new content, I promise.)

So please, even if you’ve read it before, check out my post! Then get all click-happy and tap that mouse all over the rest of the site. The blog’s full-time author puts a lot of research into his writing so there’s great content on there worth reading. Plus, you’ll be clicking with purpose: us bloggers measure how much you like our work by how many clicks we get. If you like what you read, click again. If you really like what you read, click everything.

I guess this makes me, like, a for real author now, huh?  Alright 2012, we’re cool again. But still, I’ve got my eye on you…

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In all this excitement, don’t forget to Rate, Comment, Subscribe, Share! (On BOTH blogs, fools!)

Want to send a personal congrats? Email me at CrazyKindaLife@gmail.com

 

Desperately Seeking… Neurotransmitters?: Science of Sadness for the Layman February 10, 2012

Maybe your beloved cat died. Perhaps some super-awesome guy you were dating gave you the old “it’s not you, it’s me” line. It could be that your best friend moved from three blocks away to three time zones away. Maybe you got laid off from your job because the over-paid Execs decided that your position was extraneous and that by eliminating your salary they could increase their profit margins.

No matter which case above applies, they all make you feel the same way: sad.

Sadness is a broad term and has a wide spectrum. Because broad terms and wide spectrums tend to get real confusing real quick, let’s simplify sadness into two basic types: transient sadness and chronic sadness. Transient sadness is when something unfortunate happens and you feel sad for a while, but eventually the sadness passes. Chronic sadness is longer lasting and generally does not pass without some sort of intervention.

All fancy categorization aside, sadness sucks. In fact, sadness sucks so bad that we’re desperate to alleviate this sucking by inventing bizarrely named medications to stop us from being sad. We’re all pretty familiar with using these Suckiness Stopping medications, right? You swallow a pill for 4 – 6 weeks, during that time the Suckiness Stopping pills start changing something in your brain and eventually, if everything goes as it should, the sucking stops and you feel less sad.

Of course, not all sadness requires Suckiness Stopping pills. But whether you’re transiently sad or chronically sad, something was going on inside your brain to make you feel sad. So what’s that all about? What’s going on in your brain that makes you feel all sucky?

Neurotransmitters.

A neurotransmitter is how your nerve cells talk to each other. A cell sends out a neurotransmitter and another cell picks it up, which gives the receiving cell a message that it needs to be doing something. That cell does what it’s supposed to do, then sends out a neurotransmitter to another cell to tell it what to do next.

Imagine you lock yourself out of your house. It’s February, which means it’s flippin’ cold outside. Your goal is to get the front door unlocked so that you can get back inside the house so that you don’t get all hypothermic and what not. You know that your sister is inside the house, warm and cozy in her bedroom on the second floor. Unfortunately for you, you also left your cell phone inside the house so it’s not like you can call her or anything. You decide that the best way to get her attention is to take a pebble from your driveway and throw it at her window. Your sister hears the pebble hit the glass, goes to the window, opens the window and you tell her to unlock the door because you are freezing and might die (which is an exaggeration of the truth, but whatever, it’s cold outside and you don’t care). Because your sister has a broken leg, she can’t get downstairs to open the door before you die, so instead she yells down the stairs to your mother, who is in the kitchen making a chocolate bundt cake. Your mother hears your sister, wipes her hands on her apron, walks through the living room and to the front door, turns the latch, opens the door and let’s you inside. Goal accomplished. You did not die.

Consider you, your sister and your mother to be nerve cells. Consider throwing the pebble, yelling down the stairs and walking to the door to be the neurotransmitters. This is what is happening inside your brain. And your brain is doing this all the time. Like, constantly. Like, right now. And not just one pebble at a time either. There are thousands of pebbles being thrown around your brain at lightning speed at any given moment. That’s a lot of pebbles.

Each of these pebbles are responsible for sending different messages. Some pebbles are responsible for making you do things that you aren’t even thinking of, like breathing and digesting. Some pebbles are responsible for deciphering the symbols on this page into meaningful representations of concepts so that you can read and understand this blog post.

So which pebbles are responsible for sadness? A few actually.

These pebbles are called Monoamines. You’re probably familiar with the names of these pebbles: dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine (also known as noradrenaline). There are other monoamines too, but they’re not really relevant to this article, so they get the shaft (sorry, melatonin). These are your “feel good” neurotransmitters and they each make you feel good in different ways.

Dopamine gets you all excited and motivated and makes you want to do things that feel good. It also remembers what makes you feel good so you are sure to repeat the feel good experience. Dopamine also makes you all yippy-skippy and gets you talking to complete strangers in the elevator because you are, like, totally exploding with feeling-goodness.

Serotonin is the cool, calm and contented feel-good that makes you want to relax on your couch, chill out and listen to some good tunes with some good friends. Serotonin reminds you that life is good and you want to keep it that way. When serotonin was younger, it probably smoked a lot of pot.

Norepinephrine is a lot like dopamine, in that it gets you all excited and wanting to go after things that make you feel good. It also helps you feel confident in stressful situations. Norepinephrine helps you pay attention to things, especially ones that make you feel good, so that you can leap after them with a quickness and get these good things as fast as you can, because you want to feel good as fast as you can. Norepinephrine also helps you make a quick get-away from things that don’t make you feel good.

Dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine sound like a good time, right? Yep, sure do! They probably sound so good that you think you want as many of these neurotransmitters as possible pumping through your cells, right? Well, not really.

Turns out, “too much of a good thing” is a pretty accurate when it comes to monoamines.  At the most basic level, too many monoamines can make you feel too good. Dangerously good. That’s what psychiatrists call “manic”. More specifically, too much dopamine can give you really annoying, not to mention involuntary, muscle movements (also known as tardive dyskineasia). It can also make you paranoid or see and hear things that aren’t really there. Too much serotonin can make you sick to your stomach, pass out and maybe even poop your pants. Too much norepinephrine can make you really angry and want to hurt people.

Too many monoamines = not feeling good.

Fortunately, your body has a way to keep these monoamines under control and on track to feeling good: Monoamine Oxidase. Monoamine Oxidase isn’t a neurotransmitter though; Monoamine Oxidase is an enzyme. Believe it or not, you’ve probably heard of this enzyme before. Does this phrase sound familiar?: “Consult your doctor before taking this medication if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past.” Yeah, you’ve probably heard it a zillion-and-three times through your TV screen, in an advertisement for some new Suckiness Stopping medication. There are different types of monoamine oxidases (MAO). For purposes of this article, we are only concerned with MAO-A.

Enzymes break chemicals down. MAO-A’s primary function is to break down and consume the monoamines in your body (by using oxygen, which is why it’s called monoamine oxidase. “Oxy” = oxygen, “ase” = enzyme. See? Science isn’t that hard to understand!). When everything in your body is working as it’s supposed to and life is treating you pretty ok, MAO-A meanders out of your liver, into your brain, and gently grazes on the monoamines.

But when your cat dies prematurely at the age of 6, in your arms, from an unknown illness, this signals to your brain that something sad has happened. Now, here’s where it gets foggy. Scientists don’t really know what causes your brain chemistry to change, but they do know which parts of your brain get more activated when you are sad. What’s more, they know that the brain activation from transient sadness and from chronic sadness are not that different from each other. These scientists also know that when people are chronically sad they have fewer monoamines and more MAOs in their brain. Since the brain activation between transient and chronic sadness are similar, scientists conclude that the chemical changes that cause these sadnesses must also be similar.

When your brain signals that a sad event has occurred, monoamines start hiding out in the nerve cells. Without any feel-good stimulus (like the knowledge that your dead cat will never nuzzle your cheek again), they have no reason to open lines of cheerful communication between your cells because there is nothing to feel cheerful about.

But don’t forget, your body is still releasing the MAOs, and with food now scarce, they are getting hungry. The MAOs march straight to your brain and consume as many monoamines as possible. For the daring few dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine that are willing to risk the journey, look out– the MAOs are coming right for you, with fork in hand.

The result is very few monoamines and too many MAOs. Without enough dopamine we feel lethargic, unmotivated, unsocial and experience a sense of longing. Too little serotonin makes us feel emotionally empty, causes problems sleeping, decreased appetite and less interest in pleasurable activities. If there’s not enough norepinephrine, we have a hard time concentrating and we get anxious and fearful.

In short, we are sad.

Being sad sucks. If you’re not reading this article because you’re a huge fan of my amazingly popular blog, chances are you found me because you, too, are sad. But hey, guess what? There’s hope for us, the saddened masses! You know that pint of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream you consumed within an hour after super-awesome guy gave you the obligatory, “I still want to be friends”? Or what about that piece of left-over double pepperoni pizza you ate at midnight because you couldn’t sleep after dreaming about the pink slip your boss handed you this morning?

Turns out that comfort food is your ally!

That’s right, there’s evidence that the fatty acids in comfort food improves your mood! The evidence is slim, but at least I don’t have to feel bad about the 20 chicken McNuggets and extra-large Shamrock Shake I housed this afternoon.

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If you want to learn more, click any of the links posted throughout the article. The terminology isn’t as user-friendly as what you just read, so if you just want to wallow in sadness with someone for a while, go ahead and email me at CrazyKindaLife@gmail.com and we can be miserable together.

 

A Swede, a brunette and a vagrant walk into a bar… April 19, 2011

… Ouch!

What the heck is that about, you ask? Well, more on that in a future blog post, but for now I just want to say this:

Life is weird.

I mean it. Really, really weird.

You go along, making your plans, living your life and then one day you make one tiny decision; one that was probably made on a whim. A decision that you don’t think will have any bearing on your life outside those few, precious moments whatsoever…

And then suddenly you find yourself serendipitously in a situation you never foresaw yourself in, thinking thoughts you never thought you’d be thinking, weighing the pros and cons of pros and cons you didn’t even imagine existed, feeling feelings that make you feel happy and sad simultaneously, worrying about things you’d rather not worry about, and reconsidering everything you’ve been planning right up until that very moment and it all makes your head spin because you can’t put your finger on exactly how or when it started but you know you don’t want it to stop, although even if you wanted it to it wouldn’t because now that you’re in it feet over head it’s like this zeitgeist and you have no idea what’s going to happen except that it’s probably going to end really fucking great or really fucking bad.

It’s the Butterfly Effect in all it’s glory, and it’s taunting you from some dark and shadowy corner. Of a bar.

And then in walk a Swede, a brunette and a vagrant.

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P.S. Apologies to my mother for dropping the F-bomb. Twice.

 

Spread the love April 27, 2009

Filed under: All about me,Simple Pleasures — Messie Jessie @ 11:17 pm
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Simple Souvenirs

Life-Is-Good Souvenirs

Gosh darn it, life is good.

I wanted to write all the events in which are making my life so good right now, and how full of general love the last several days have been, but I’ve been so busy getting out there and living life, that instead I will leave you with this:

I encourage you all to go out there and spread the love in as many of the following ways as possible: 

  • Surround yourself with as many friends as possible, as often as possible. And make it clear how much they mean to you.
  • Call up your old friends and invite them for a visit. If they can’t visit, be sure to fully catch up on the phone. Vow to keep in touch more regularly.
  • Enjoy an exquisite meal, spiced with the tastiest laughter you can find
  • Spend some quality time in the sun (and wear sunscreen)
  • Head out to your local animal shelter(s) and play with as many critters in need as possible
  • If you aren’t already, get yourself in the habit of doing a little extra physical activity each day, in whatever way you enjoy most
  • Turn off your air conditioner and enjoy the gift that is this warm air (I know you were all wishing for it a mere few weeks ago)
  • And if you cannot manage any of the above, at least DO THIS- Say to at least 10 people in the next 72 hours these exact words, “you are beautiful“. And you get extra credit for telling a complete stranger- it will show on their faces how much it means (more than you can imagine right now sitting in front of your computer). I’m telling you from experience.

Love is the very fabric of the universe.

Laugh often, love much & live well.

 

Home Sweet Home March 26, 2009

Filed under: All about me — Messie Jessie @ 2:55 pm
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It’s always good to take some time out to recharge your proverbial batteries. I had some “use it or lose it” time at work, and decided to do an extra long weekend in my old country home, The Apple Capital. 

As the old adage goes, a picture says a thousand words. Therefore, enjoy the show:

[rockyou id=135058182&w=426&h=320]

I’ll update this with more photos as I take them… stay tuned.

 

 
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