And now for something completely different… { @galinthegreyhat / @illbemother221b }

You all read of my wold journey to attend Gridlock DC last weekend?  You didn’t?  Well, I’ll wait.

Took you long enough! ;)  Right so I for one had a blast!  I saw everyone I wanted to see, minus some of the folks who couldn’t make it.  But I can tell you I didn’t see them for nearly long enough!  However, this is what visits to NYC and Virginia are for…with better planned travel of course.

I was even able to attend a few panels and I have to say the Gridlock folks put on a pretty amazing first con!  One of the panels I attended was called From Bohemia to Belgravia: Influences of Canon on BBC’s Sherlock.  The purpose was to look at the way the canon (ACD’s stories), fanon, and other adaptations had influenced or shaped the show.  I loved this panel, hell I even spoke up a time or two.  Which is very much unlike me.

What I liked hearing about was how people had come to the BBC show.  Half the folks in the room had read the stories, the others had come from other adaptations, or seen the BBC show and gone back to read the canon.  This got me thinking about my own introduction to Sherlock Holmes.  Which I quickly shared with the group.

Looking back my first introduction would have either been The Great Mouse Detective or Young Sherlock Holmes.

Come on what kid wouldn't love Basil and Dawson?

Come on what kid wouldn’t love Basil and Dawson?

I still have this movie today…on VHS and DVD!  Yup I’m nerdy about my Sherlock Holmes and my first was a mouse.  Of course later squeed at the fact that they used voice clips of Basil Rathbone (my Pops first Sherlock) in the movie.  Young Sherlock Holmes was just ok for me.  At the time I saw it I thought it was a good “kid” movie.  Once I was older I added a copy of it to my movie collection.

In the summer of 1994 my Pop and I went to our local Media Play (remember those?) and he picked up a few of the Basil Rathbone tapes to watch with me. I admit that I liked the stories, but felt there had to be something MORE.  I also felt that some of this stuff had probably never happened in the books that I knew existed.  I was told I was correct and if I promised to read the books my Pop would buy me volumes one and two.  I did and he went out and got them for me the very next day.

Well, A Study in Scarlet had me from paragraph one.  Before I knew it the summer bugs chirping in the night gave way to the sound of hooves on a cobblestone street!  I spent that summer running off on grand adventures with Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson and I loved every moment of it. That fall, my English teacher started off our class on mysteries.  His first question?  “Who lived at 221b Baker Street?”  Three guesses who nearly jumped out of her skin to answer?  Yup it was me.  Also turned out I was the only one who knew.

We read the usual stories in class: Scandal in Bohemia, The Red Headed League, The Final Problem, and The Empty House.  But we were also introduced to the Granada Series staring Jeremy Brett.

Now here was my Sherlock Holmes!

Now here was my Sherlock Holmes!

We watched The Final Problem and The Empty House and I was hooked!  That weekend I was back at Media Play with my Pop begging to introduce him to my Sherlock Holmes.  We bought 5 episodes.  After the first my Pop was hooked too.  By this point the episodes were being rerun every now and again on Saturdays and when they were I would stay at my Pops house and we’d watch all the Sherlock Holmes we could.

I must say a part of what I loved about it was that it was ours, my Pop and me. It even got me writing some of my own mystery stories included my first known fan fic involving Sherlock Holmes getting married of all things!  That manuscript is probably in a dump somewhere…ah memories.

When I went to college my roommate and I lived in room 221.  Yes we added a “b” to the door and began calling ourselves “Holmes” (me) and “Watson” (her). In fact we still sign off on all correspondence with our chosen name.  “Watson’s” mother even bought us deerstalkers.  That was how deep our love for the great detective went!

Fast forward to 2010/11 as I can’t recall when we watched it first.  But we were on Netflix and my husband suggested we watch this new BBC version.  I stomped my feet, I pouted, I even told him “This isn’t going to be Sherlock Holmes!”

I mean just who did they think they were!?

I mean just who did they think they were!?

Then I watched episode one.  I relaxed a little.  When it was over he asked if I wanted to watch episode two?  “If you do, we can.” Was my response.  By the end of episode two the mister was asleep and I was pressing play on episode three!  I was then very disappointed to find there were no more episodes and that it would be two years before I would find out what happened to Sherlock and John!

Do I like the show?  YES!  Do I love the show YES!  Do you need to have read the canon to get it?  No, but it does help as the seasons come out.  Should you read the canon?  Oh yes!  There’s so much in there to read and find!  If you haven’t read the canon does that make you less of a Sherlock Holmes fan? Not in my book, I’m glad you found him!  Pull up a chair, kettle’s just boiled.

Long story short I love the canon, I love the BBC version.  I love The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (seriously go watch it), and I love all the other adaptations out there.  I LOVE IT ALL!

But to be the respectful person I am…I’m taking the majority of my BBC Sherlock talk (as well as other not safe for work or my mom stuff) to a new locked twitter account.  So while you are welcome to keep following me on @galinthegreyhat you can also request to add me at @illbemother221b (not all requests will be granted).

So get on out there and read the stories, write your own, watch the BBC and Granada Series as well as the loads of other adaptations out there.  Here’s a list of a few to get you started on IMDB.  Cheers!

The day I didn’t think was “the day”

For some reason I didn’t think today was “the day”.  The day we found out we lost our second pregnancy at 6 1/2 weeks along.  The day we found out my husband’s cousin was killed in a truck vs. motorcycle accident (PLEASE SHARE THE ROAD).  For some reason I thought I had two days to prepare myself for “the day”.

In fact I thought it was the “other day”…the day that should have been our first child’s 2nd birthday.  But thanks to google I looked up which of these days was a Monday in 2012 and found that day was today…well fuck me.  As you can imagine I had a little cry at my desk.  Then made a post to twitter about it, like you do.  I find letting things out on twitter are pretty freeing.  I mean it will go to your followers and if you add a little hashtag – anyone.

Before I knew it lovely messages were pouring in from friends and new friends a like.  I knew y’all were great…I didn’t know how great.  Seriously you folks helped make a really fucking terrible day amazing.  (I’m allowed to curse a blue street today FYI)

So let me tell you a little about D.  I met D back in 2007 when I went with my then boyfriend to meet “some” of his family in New Hampshire for his grandmother’s birthday.  And let me tell you his Grammy was pretty amazing too (a story for another time).  I spent the weeks leading up to this trip grilling the now mister on who everyone was.  Which included sharing funny stories about all of them as it would help me remember folks.

Long story short I meet D and he says “I bet you don’t know who I am?”  My response was “You have a black Sharpie on you D?”  To which he responded “How the fuck do you know about that?”  This also came with the biggest hug I have ever received.  As for the Sharpie comment…let’s just say D was a budding artist as a youngster and used a part of himself as a canvas…

Who else would wear a wig AND dress to run a Warior Dash race (besides my husband)?

Who else would wear a wig AND dress to run a Warior Dash race (besides my husband)?

Seriously, this guy rocked.  He and my husband ran a Warrior Dash race in dresses.  D. added a wig, the mister and pretty pink hat.  Oddly enough their dresses also matched!  Their cousin J also ran the race in some sort of dress and fake fur boots, they were a sight to see.  Just two weeks later this guy would stand up as best man at our wedding.  Which he attended with his beautiful bride to be.

<3

<3

One of these days when I know she’s ready I’ll gift her this photo.  It was and always will be a favorite of the mister and I.  We attended there wedding the following May, the mister served as a groomsman and life was amazing for a year and a half.  That is until some dumbass blew through a red light in his truck and hit D.  That day our lives changed forever.

But it wasn’t our only loss.  Eight hours before we would find out he was gone we got our own devastating news, the baby I was carrying had no heartbeat.  I was numb from that minute on and for much of the week after (once we had heard about D).  However, it was my niece who said this “So D must have had to go look after both babies (we had lost our first pregnancy between Christmas 2011 and New Year’s 2012)”  Now I’m not a religious person at all, but that helped me.

What continues to help me is the memories of D.  All the wild and amazing things he did in his daily life.  All the adventures and new things he tried.  Most of all – all the love and devotion he had for his family.  That is what I take with me to get through this day.  Besides if he were here now he would clearly tell me “God hates a pussy!”  And so I dry my eyes, look up and smile, thank him for all the love and good times he’s shared with me in the time I knew him and ask him to give my babies a hug from their mommy.  <3 <3

Sherlockian Adventure is Go! (#GridLOCKDC)

By the time you read this I will be perhaps a half an hour from my first stop on my wild Sherlock weekend.  Tomorrow evening I depart via train first to NYC where I will meet up with some very kind NYC Sherlockians who will be keeping me company for most of my 5 hour stop in NYC.

At 3am my second train departs for Alexandria, VA, the site of the inaugural GridLOCK DC Sherlock event which begins around 10. (I arrive at 8am)  I will then try not to sleep through the entire event and see some fine Sherlock loving folks who I haven’t seen in person since April!  There will be hugs, there will be laughter, and of course Sherlock!  The event runs till 11pm.  Someone prop me up in the bar if I say I need to go to bed.

Sunday morning I depart for home.  It may be the wildest weekend I’ve had to date when it comes to travel.  The things I do for my friends and Sherlock Holmes!

So if you see me this weekend send/offer coffee!  For I will need it.  Now to try and sleep as I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve!

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My ongoing battle with anxiety

*Again this post may contain triggers*

After hitting the post but to on last night’s post I felt great. As though a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I also had an outpouring of messages from friends and strangers alike. Some saying I was brave and courageous for coming out, so to speak. But while these messages were pouring in the anxiety came too. And let me tell you friends she is nasty little bitch! My heart started to pound, my palms got sweaty. I started to feel like I was saying “look at me” and that I was a “fraud” with that post (because I do not see myself as brave. I am a chicken). Then, then I took a deep breathe and another as I realized who was trying to crash my cathartic party –  anxiety.

As if to say “you can’t get rid of me”, and she’s right. Because I tired to get to bed last night and there she was keeping me awake until 2am. Plus when she turns up stress usually follows or sometimes she hides in my stress. And sometimes she’s sweet enough to bring my OCD out to play too. Those are special times let me tell you.

Here’s something else folks don’t know about me. I dislike huge social events. They drain me and when I’m drained you know who slips in. So going to a Sherlock Holmes convention last April was a big deal for me. I don’t ever do that. Hell getting ready to go a convention for Sherlock Holmes this weekend has caused a spike in my anxiety. I have no need to be anxious but I am. Look I’ve already started to pack, laying out things, unpacking, repacking.  Mostly trying to psych myself up to go and just be me. After all I know these people. I’ve met most of them last April.  Plus we talk all the time on the Twitter or in a group chat.  But this is what my life is like with anxiety waiting on the sidelines ready to jump in the game.

Right now typing this is causing palpitations. I’ve learned to live with my anxiety. I’ve learned how a few coping mechanisms to “get by”.  For example when I feel my OCD acting up instead of staying in the house and leaving when my husband is ready…I go out and open the garage and get in the car so I won’t be tempted to jiggle the door handle 7 times before I feel I leave. I trust that he’s going to secure the house and I can let it go and send anxiety back to the bench.  Even if it’s only for a few hours.

I know it’s a slippery slope that could lead me right back to depression. So do some of the people in my life. Last Friday I found out I didn’t get a job I had applied for. I was upset and crying about it when I called my mom. Her instant response was “Are you ok, do you need me to come over?” Which I knew was above general mom concern. She was worried something a silly as not getting a new job (when I still have a perfectly good job I love) could lead me to some dark placed. But I assured her I was fine. I ordered food, poured a glass of wine, and chatted with friends about the situation and you know I felt better.

So it isn’t easy. Some days just are easier.

My battles with depression and anxiety #DepressionLies

*Please note this may be a trigger for your own depression or other mental health concern.*

I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Robin Williams this evening.  I’ve read posts on how he impacted people’s lives through his comedy and acting. And I have also read about more personal and closer to home battles with depression among those I am very close to.

One friend spoke about being pushed to the edge.  But that thankfully she was able to step back from taking her own life.  Today she is married to the love of her life and I must admit I am much better for having her in my life even if we only touch base via the internet and now through letters.  But her post as well as Mr. Williams passing has brought me to think about my own struggles with depression and anxiety.

Most people “in the know” about my depression/anxiety would tell you it began around 2004.  But they’d be wrong.  I first saw a therapist when I was a sophomore or junior in college.  I was going through a breakup with who I thought was the “love of my life” at the time and to be honest…my friends advice was not cutting it at the time.  In fact I found it extremely hard to talk to them about what was going on in my life.  I was also five long hours away from home which left me feeling very alone all while surrounded by friends.  But I made it through.  How?  One day for some reason I happened by the college counseling center and knocked on the door.

I’ve never been more grateful that someone answered that door.  Which was not the first time I was grateful someone was there to open a door when I knocked, or pick up the phone when I called.  But Dr. L. did answer the door.  In fact she saw me through a great deal in the time we spent together.  To say that she saved me is an understatement.  She probably had a lot to do with why I stayed at a college five hours away from home.  I am forever grateful to her and was saddened to hear of her passing a few years ago.

At that time I didn’t consider that depression.  From what I knew about any type of mental health concerns (thank you shitty college psychology classes) it was only a problem if your needed medication and at the time I didn’t.  Boy was I wrong.

In 2004 all that would change.  Again I was going through some serious relationship issues as well as some potential life altering medical testing stuff (the medical stuff turned out ok).  But there i was in my early-mid 20’s not feeling like myself.  I didn’t know what I was really feeling, I just knew that it wasn’t good.  So I called my mom.  Who thankfully was only an hour away this time.  I remember clearly telling her “I don’t feel like myself, and I need to see someone.”  She was outside my dorm room in an hour.

This was the first time I was prescribed lexapro, it would not be the last.  I went and talked to my family doctor who prescribed the medication with the provision that I agreed to speak to someone.  Which I did, another school psychologist. Let me tell you she too was a miracle worker.  Then again maybe that was all me.  But I had talked to her about things going on in my life.  Which included not thoughts of taking my own life, but thoughts of what life would be like for others had I not been here at all.

Obviously, this wasn’t the best thought to have either.  But we talked it out.  I kept on with my medication for close to three years.  I was quiet about being on the medication before as I did feel there was a stigma to being on something like that.  But the people I shared it with turns out were also taking medication for their own battles with depression/anxiety/etc.  It was like we had found out we all belonged to this really shitty club.  But we also realized we had each other.  That was something.

Like I said I was able to get off taking the lexapro once the medicine started to not make me feel like me anymore.  Which was my hint that I didn’t need it anymore and honestly things were pretty great for quite a while.  Until August 2012.  By that point we had lost one pregnancy and I was about to find out that I was losing another.  My husband’s cousin (and best man at our wedding) had been killed the very same day we found out that our unborn baby had no heartbeat.  August 22 does not exist in our book.  Fuck that day is the motto in this house.

That’s when depression and anxiety started to creep back into my life to make me feel worthless and to remind me I was a failure because I could not sustain a pregnancy past 6.5 weeks.  The worst part was I listened.  I LET it reach in and put down roots for close to six months.  Then we got the best short lived news ever, we were expecting again.  With that news the feeling of depression seemed to go away.  The same thing happened with with baby number three. This time the depression and anxiety were there and waiting to cover me like a blanket.  They made me think of them as old friends and that this was how life was going to be and that that life was ok.

And again, I let them until one day at work I called my husband in tears and told him I needed to see someone.  I knew I needed to get back on the lexapro again and I needed to see someone to talk again.  Thankfully the one good thing my former primary care doc did was give me Dr. H’s number.  She has been a fantastic therapist.  She along with my family and friends have seen me through the worst of my feelings of depression.  So much so that I again was able to drop the lexapro.  I do have a bottle of fast acting anxiety meds – just in case that I have taken twice in the six months I’ve had them.  I’m grateful that I have the tools to help myself.  I’m grateful for the friends and family who continue to be there for me in person, at conventions, online, or even in an email or a letter.

But it also reminds me that not everyone has the supports in their own life that I have in mine.  There are people you can call if you are in crisis or just need someone to listen.  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.  In most cases they can also assist in giving direction on where or how to get further help.  Please call them if you need to talk to someone.  I know it isn’t for everyone, but it is one option.  Talk to your friends and family.  Hell talk to me here on the blog in the comments or hit me up on twitter (@galinthegreyhat).

The most important things I have learned in my past battle with depression and continued battle with anxiety is that they lie ALL THE TIME.  I have also learned that I matter, and I want you to know if you are reading this that YOU matter. YOU are important and YOUR life means something.

New Cell Phone Needed {aka The Grey Hat needs some help}

My upgrade has come due.  Yippie!  New cell phone for me!  But what to choose?  Do I stay with Apple and just move on up to the 5s?  OR do I go back to Android on the LG G Vista or HTC One?  Of course my 4s is perfectly fine minus the small display.  There in lay the problem.  My eyes have always been bad.  Hell, I’ve had ten eye operations over the course of my time on this planet.

So this is important.  From what I can tell by looking online the LG G Vista and HTC One have a large display and some of the other fine features I’ve come to notice I need in a smart phone.  Where I hear the iPhone display is not much bigger/better on the iPhone.  I’m obviously going to have to go into the store to check these out for myself…that’s a given.  But I want your suggestions folks.

What phone would you suggest and why?  Better yet, what cell phone do you have and why?

 

The Grey Hat goes to Hyde Park

Last Friday the Mister and I hit the road, after the allergy test from hell, for the Hudson Valley and Hyde Park.  It was my birthday weekend and I wanted to see the home of FDR and the Presidential Library and Museum dammit!  Yes, I am a history nerd.  In fact I have a BA in History to prove it.  Plus the last time I was in Hyde Park I was maybe 10 and we’d missed visiting said sites by an hour.  So it was time to return.

We stayed at a lovely B and B called The 1832 Hyde Park Bed and Breakfast.  We also met the hosts amazing dog Ranger.

Super happy doggy.

Super happy doggy.

Our first night in town we headed up to Rhinebeck, NY which is one of those fancy pants towns in the Hudson Valley full of health centered folks and artist types.  Which is fine.  But also means pricey when you are looking to get good eats.  We did find a place called Arielle’s and they had one of those prix fix menus…which was good because man we couldn’t have eaten there otherwise!  We crashed early that night as I had a full day planned for Saturday!

Miracle of miracles the mister got up and out of bed before 11am on a Saturday.  In fact we were in the car and on our way by 9:10am!  I was very impressed to say the least.  In fact we were so good we managed to catch the 9:30a tour of Springwood (FDR’s childhood home).

Does it remind you of the White House?  Well, it should.

Does it remind you of the White House? Well, it should.

We had a lovely tour of the house by one of the volunteers.  Which in all honesty might have been better if the tour was given by one of the park’s rangers.  But it wasn’t and we lived.

This was FDR's bedroom at Springwood after he became President. Note he didn't share it with his wife.

This was FDR’s bedroom at Springwood after he became President. Note he didn’t share it with his wife.

Eleanor actually had the room next to his that connected by a door.  Apparently she stopped sharing a bedroom with him after he contracted Polio.  Yeah I’m actually thinking it was because she knew he couldn’t keep it in his pants (yes I went there)!  But she did stay will him to the very end so good on her.  I wouldn’t have, but apparently that’s “what was done” back then.

We also took a turn through the stable, garden, and then headed to the Presidential Library and Museum.  The first ever Presidential library to be exact.  FDR had high hopes to return here after his second term to write his memoirs and to perhaps live at Top Cottage (a house he built to “get away from it all”) which was a few miles from Springwood.  But we all know that didn’t happen as he died while in office.  But the library was pretty cool.  There was a lot of information from his days as prior to becoming President and of course EVERYTHING he did as President.  I have to say it certainly was impressive!  Imagine a President who actually does what he says he’ll do?  I can’t imagine such a thing.

FDR's desk from the White House and his portrait.

FDR’s desk from the White House and his portrait.

By the time we left the library it was near 2pm and we were HUNGRY.  Thankfully we were smart and bought lunch fixings the night before.  So we drove over to the Vanderbilt Mansion and ate our sammiches and purchased our tickets for the tour.  I had been on this tour years ago and remember it being much longer and you also were able to walk into the rooms a bit more…but apparently that is no longer the case.  Of the two tours this was the lamest.

We headed on back to the B and B to relax a little before dinner and then headed out for some of the best Indian Food I have ever had.

If you read Sherlock Fan Fiction you may understand why I found the name of the place so amusing.

If you read Sherlock Fan Fiction you may understand why I found the name of the place so amusing.

After dinner it was time to pass out early again.  All that fresh air will do that to you!  The following morning we packed up and headed out to one more stop…Val-Kill Cottage.  This was Eleanor’s “get away from it all” aka her mother-in-law place to go.  It was located 2 miles away from Springwood, and a mile hike from Top Cottage.  We managed to make the 10am tour and this time we had one of the rangers showing us around and I feel I got far more out of it.

We were able to see where the former First Lady stayed during and after her years in the White House as well as learn a bit about some of the famous folks who came to visit her here.  Including JFK when he was looking for her endorsement for President.  Which he eventually got after making some promises relating to Civil Rights, which Eleanor held very near and dear to her heart.

I know it wasn’t something my husband wanted to do, but I’m glad we went.  I’d love to go back and spend a little more time at the Presidential Library some time.  I’m sure we will.  But maybe we’d make it a day trip this time around.

If you’d like to see more pictures from the trip visit the Facebook page and take a look at the pictures there.  If you’d like to give the page a “like” while there well, that would be mighty kind of you too.