NEW T.V. SHOW!!! BIPOLAR HOUSE: Rapid Cyclers Edition

 Hosted by Adam Ant, Musical Superstar/Author of Stand & Deliver 

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1980:

Bold Adam Ant becomes an icon! 

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2016

Adam Ant, a mental health advocate still cutting albums, looks fab at 61!

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Join Bipolar House Leaders Carrie Fisher and Tom Cruise on a one-of-a-kind adventure you’ll never forget!

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What’s it like to be a fly on the wall in a small West Hollywood home occupied by ten celebrities who have bipolar disorder?

Bipolar House’s intrepid participants have been given the challenge to plan a benefit concert. Their goal: create a special event with the spirit of the seminal Live Aid Concerts to fight mental illness stigma!

Don’t miss the Solitary Confinement episode in which celebs who break the House Rules spend eight hours in a bathroom as the Enya catalogue is played in high-fidelity stereo!!!

Watch each house guest’s reactions to being placed on a vegan diet/detox cleanse made famous by Gywneth Paltrow!!!

Enjoy Carrie Fisher’s performances of her critically acclaimed one-woman shows to the housemates. She’ll also recite chapters from her upcoming book The Princess Diarist!!!

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Throughout the series, Carrie explains what it was really like working on the Star Wars movies, providing plenty of juicy details. Viewers are in for a treat as she falls in love with a special guest during the eight weeks of shooting, and has a new lease on life!

And in a truly stunning and moving revelation, Tom Cruise comes out to the world that he has bipolar disorder and takes fifteen psychiatric medications!!!

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In the bonus Scientology episode, Tom discusses how being a Thetan and signing a billion-year-long contract with his fellow Scientologists has helped him cope with bipolar disorder.  He closes this episode with a reprise of the song that made him famous in the film Risky Business: “Old Time Rock ‘N Roll” complete with his original costume.  (Or lack thereof.)

Guest Appearances by:

Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Demi Lovato, Jim Carrey and Jean-Claude Van Damme singing whatever their mood swings tell them to sing!

The Bipolar House finale includes a spirited group singalong of hits including “We Are the World”, the Captain and Tennille’s “Muskrat Love” and the entire Frozen soundtrack! 

Prepare yourself for evenings in front of your television where you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll laugh, and maybe you’ll cry again!!!

But that’s okay.

We’ll still love you because you’re…

MORE THAN BIPOLAR!!!

(* Dyane’s original song – she wishes Adam Ant would cover it! Click this link to hear it.)

 While Bipolar House is a figment of my imagination, I wish this show was a reality, because if it was I’d go work on it!

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017, unless Bipolar House gets picked up by Bravo: Watch What Happens. 

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A Polish Mother’s Stern Warning

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I’m thrilled that my friend, mentor and former editor Greg Archer has moved his blog on over to WordPress!

I encourage you to give yourself ten minutes to sit back, relax, and take Greg’s latest post A Polish Mother’s Stern Warning in fully.

Greg’s writing style, like his personality, is warm, immediate, profound and oftentimes hilarious. A prolific writer for decades, he held down one of the toughest writing jobs I could possibly imagine: being the editor of a high-profile, award-winning weekly paper. This paper isn’t some backwoods three-pager; it has a huge circulation and cult-like following. Greg was editor-in-chief at that publication for a whopping fourteen years!

I shiver thinking of the pressure he must have been under all that time, yet he never once complained to me about it. (If you watch Greg’s video he made about gratitude on his blog’s “About” page, you’ll get a glimpse about why he’s wired that why…also, look for that big clock tower that’s behind him in the opening shot. I worked two minutes away from it at the State Parks-related job I wrote about last week! 😉  

Greg boldly left his editorial position to complete his memoir Grace Revealed which received rave reviews. Plus both my Mom and my husband Craig loved it – for those of you who know me, their endorsements speaks volumes.

Since his memoir’s publication, Greg has been searching for his true home. His travels have taken him from Chi-town all the way to Maui and he’s not sure where he’s landing yet.

Through his blog Greg shares his quest with us. The highs and the lows. Even if you’re not looking for your new home at the moment, Greg’s writing will entertain you (there are several laugh-out-loud lines in this piece alone, and I’ll never think of one’s first menstrual period or pickled pigs feet the same way again!). His insights will apply to different areas of your own life – I know it.

Enjoy this amazing writer’s post – and don’t be fooled by the bits of self-deprecation. He’s way too humble about his talent and his wisdom.

Please spread the word about my wonderful friend Greg Archer’s blog

KNOW PLACE LIKE HOME. Thanks so much and I send you all my love.
Dyane

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Worthwhile journeys toward finding the true essence of home and place within (and without) us requires grit. For it is not as if you can call ahead to Starbucks or Gino’s Pizza and place a to-go order for Authenticity. (Extra-large, please. And with a side salad and deep-fried cheese sticks of Courage.) Inevitably, we must turn inward, locate and then befriend our inner GPS. Maybe that is the only way home.

That is not to say this is an easy journey on which to embark.

All this comes to mind, as I glide—OK, fine, occasionally stumble—through another excursion back in my birth home of Chicago before and during the holidays. Truth is, at times, I feel as if I have devolved into a 5-year-old. I’m a wilting flower here—emotionally speaking. I crave fertilizer for my soul, something which felt readily available during my 90 days on Maui. (and Darlings…

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Gift Shop Glee @ Donner Memorial State Park

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We had a glorious time at the new Donner Memorial State Park Visitors Center! Built for $9.6 million dollars, I was expecting a day spa and amuse-bouche as part of our visit, but ’twas not to be. 😦

Years ago in my pre-bipolar diagnosis/pre-child days, I worked at a nonprofit called Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks (also known as Friends). Friends supported free educational programs at the Santa Cruz State Parks. Through my job as office manager, and later on as development assistant, I learned about the natural and cultural history of our local state parks. I worked with incredible staff, some of whom I profiled in articles I wrote for Friends‘ quarterly, award-winning newsletter Park Views. Ever since my Friends job I make a point of visiting state parks wherever we travel, whether it be in Tahoe or Hawaii.

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I worked next to the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe at the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, built in the early 1800’s

Thanks to growing up with a father who loved backpacking in the Sierra Nevada and who was was well-versed in California history, I was familiar with the story of the doomed Donner Party.

Today’s field trip brought us near the site of the Donner Party’s ill-fated venture. If you’re unfamiliar with this tragic, stomach-turning epoch of Sierra Nevada Mountain history, this blurb taken from Wikipedia sums it up:

Donner Memorial State Park is a state park of California, USA, preserving the site of the Donner Camp, where members of the ill-fated Donner Party were trapped by weather during the winter of 1846–1847. Caught without shelter or adequate supplies, members of the group resorted to cannibalism to survive. The Sierra Nevada site has been designated a National Historic Landmark. The state park contains the Emigrant Trail Museum and the Pioneer Monument dedicated to the travelers of the Emigrant Trail.

Donner Memorial State Park is located outside Truckee, California.

(For more info. visit here.)

Whenever I visit a state park I love to check out the visitor center gift shop. Donner’s shop was extraordinary. There were the usual cute stuffed animals like deer, bear, and Tahoe Tessie. 

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The Tahoe Tessie Family

There were historical books galore, key chains and coffee mugs. I continued wandering around the spacious store until I spotted a snack section. Feeling a bit peckish, I went to take a look.

To my delight, there was jerky, but not just any old jerky.

Donner Party Memorial Jerky!

Yes, it’s new! It’s cutting-edge! It’s gluten-free!

And Donner Party Memorial Jerky was calling my name. And each packet had a very special name.

There was Spicy Grandpa flavor, Uncle Ned (now in Teriyaki!), Tangy Clara, and Garlic Black Pepper Annie!

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The Breens didn’t make it into the jerky…

I’m pleased to tell you that 10% of Donner Party Memorial Jerky proceeds benefit the Sierra State Parks Foundation.

 

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I was hoping for a red carpet at the entrance and valet service; c’mon –

$9.6 million dollars???!!! And not even a gold-plated toilet or bidet in sight.

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Mmm, mmm good! Spicy Grandpa sure tasted delicious!

And how could I possibly leave out the “Beef Jerky Time” scene from the classic Coming to America?

This post is:

“…just a fantasy
It’s not the real thing
But sometimes a fantasy
Is all you need.”

Sometimes a Fantasy, Billy Joel

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

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Finding Light Amongst the Darkness


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Jonathan Van Ness, host of the hit series Gay of Thrones 

 

Last week I wrote about my friend who fell and suffered a concussion. Shortly after I published that post, he had two strokes. I just received word that he’s being taken off life support tonight, and I’m in complete shock. I’ve been close with this vibrant, loving, wonderful man for almost a decade. I’ve cared for his grandchildren and he frequently took care of my girls as well. To think of him gone is bizarre. It pisses me off. He’s one of the finest people I’ve ever met.

I was hoping a miracle would pull him through. I’ve witnessed a health miracle once before in my life. My Dad had a pulmonary embolism and according to his doctors, the blood clot should’ve killed him. When I went to visit my father at St. John’s Health Center, he was attached to various tubes and heavily sedated. I thought there was no way in hell he’d make it out of there alive. To my complete amazement, he pulled through that crisis and lived a couple more years.

So, ever since my friend’s fall, each day I’ve gotten out of bed fervently hoping for a similar miracle, yet filled with dread, wondering if I’d find out that he passed away.

Those of you who have read Birth of a New Brain for a while know that I ruminate on upsetting things more than most people. It has been essential to distract myself from my macabre thoughts with humor and fantasy whenever possible. It’s not so easy to do that, as simple as it sounds.

Have you ever heard of a show called Game of Thrones? 😉

Since its 2011 premiere, I was aware of the HBO series’ massive popularity. Even my favorite singer Neil Finn sings about the show in his catchy song Recluse on the Dizzy Heights album;  Finn’s reference piqued my interest more than anything else:

I make any excuse to stay home
But I can’t do that and I must come back
People that stay at home
Watching a Game of Thrones
And wondering what comes next
Well you can’t do that and you must come back

Recluse by Neil Finn

However, I never felt like taking the plunge to watch Game of Thrones until last week when I ordered the first Thrones disc via Netflix.  After ten minutes of Episode One, I was so grossed out that I screeched like an owl.  I wasn’t hooked, to say the least! I turned off my DVD player with a sigh. (Craig was hanging out with our girls in another room as Thrones ain’t exactly akin to The Wiggles!)

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However, the next day I was mysteriously compelled to watch the rest of the Thrones episode. Weird! I watched the second episode…I wanted more. Like it or not, I was under the Thrones spell. Being impatient for Netflix to bring me yet more Thrones, I thought I might find the third episode for free online, so I Google-searched. I couldn’t find anything that didn’t require payment until this winsome fellow lit up my screen, and, my life:

JONATHAN VAN NESS

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I love JVN…and his hair!

Jonathan is the host of Funny or Die’s super-hit show Gay of Thrones in which he briefly recaps Game of Thrones episodes in his inimitable way. As I watched his first recap I laughed out loud so hard that everyone in the house scurried over to my room to make sure I was okay. My laughing uproariously ’round here is extremely rare, you see. Lucy barked so much that you’d think someone was robbing the house.

Please note: If you think you might be offended by any of the following, please skip the next clip: graphic violence, foul language, marijuana references, Game of Thrones spoilers, poking fun at the gay hairdressing world (but by an authentically gay hairdresser) and many other things I’m sure I’m forgetting to include. I know I’ll lose some followers by sharing my brand of humor, but to be honest, I’ve always loved bawdy, clever comedy. My predilection for the profane is actually a large part of who I am…when it hasn’t been blasted away by bipolar depression.  I’ve kept this aspect of myself under wraps, more or less, until now.

I was hesitant to share this post, but I gotta be me!

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Jonathan’s recaps get better and more far out with each episode! He features hilarious clients/co-stars in his styling chair, some of whom actually appear on Game of Thrones. There’s even a brilliant Princess Bride-esque cameo by George R.R. Martin. Martin wrote the fantasy novels (A Song of Ice and Fire) that the Game of Thrones show is based upon.

Until the next Thrones season arrives, Jonathan is working on other projects apart from his full-time hair design. Today his new podcast Getting Curious will be launched on Maximum Fun about Sunni Shia relations.

Jonathan also collaborates with his friend and client Margaret Cho. You can listen to their podcast on Monsters of Talk hosted by Cho and Jim Short.

Jonathan’s YouTube channel show Gay of Everything premiered last week in which he discusses world events.

In a small-but-inspiring touch of synchronicity, Jonathan works at Sola  Salon Studios which is right near where my beloved Granny lived for many years.

I call that a Good Sign!

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Now that I’ve got that out of my system…(well, for now, anyway!)

Other not-quite-so-exciting news: last week I surprised myself by taking a cold-turkey break from Twitter. I didn’t think I could do it, but I did! Today is day #7, and I don’t miss it very much. I was becoming too wrapped up in Twitter-land, a la Facebook, which some of you will recall I quit because I got unfriended twice in one week.

I didn’t have anything super-negative happen on Twitter, thank God, but I read a few tweets from a postpartum organization I followed & supported & genuinely liked very much. I  was frankly shocked they tweeted them for I found those characters offensive and disappointing. I questioned the organization about it, but they patronized me. My reaction to these unethical, hypocritical tweets told me it was time to take a break.

Despite icky tweets, etc. that are inevitable when using social media, Twitter holds a special place in my heart. I would love to return there in January, but only if I can keep my Twitter use & reactions to a low roar. 😉

Plus Jonathan VanNess is on it, so that’s a big plus: @thegayofthrones

I send each of you a big hug and hopes that you have a holiday (or non-holiday) that surpasses your expectations! (In a most excellent way!)

love,

Dyane

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

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David Caruso, Jay Mohr, Christopher Walken & Me

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Warning – if you want intellectual, you’ve come to the wrong post!

 

Most of you are probably too young to remember this famous Almond Joy candy bar jingle:

“Sometimes you feel like a nut – sometimes you don’t!”

Today I feel like a nut in the best sense of that word. Some of you know I’m a tad, how shall I put this…hyper-aware of stigma (Virginia Woolf, anyone?) I’m using “nut” in a goofy 1970’s way…a way that’s innocent, and devoid of mental illness connotations.  

Two of my favorite actors are Christopher Walken and Jay Mohr. If you’re unfamiliar with Christopher Walken, please let me know in the comments and I’ll write a future post all about his glory.

Jay Mohr is an amazing comedian, a bestselling author (his book Gasping for Airtime chronicles his two-year-long stint on Saturday Night Live and his accompanying anxiety attacks) and he’s perhaps best known for his role as agent Bob Sugar in Jerry Maguire.

I also pay homage to actor David Caruso of CSI Miami fame…wait for it. 

I’ll back up a bit here to set the stage. Last fall when I was feeling blue, I watched a 2003 Comedy Central Special with Jay Mohr. In his finale Mohr included his famed Christopher Walken impersonation, but not just any old Walken impersonation – it was Jay Mohr as Christopher Walken as the actor David Caruso playing detective Horatio Caine of the hit show CSI Miami. (Say that ten times fast!)

I love how Jay Mohr does his wacky Walken – while yes, there are other comedians/actors who imitate Christopher Walken (hell, even Kevin Spacey does an impersonation!), and they’re all fun, Jay’s version is my favorite.

Keep in mind I was totally unfamiliar with David Caruso, CSI Miami, and Horatio Caine until I watched the Jay Mohr comedy special. 

Sequestered in my chilly bedroom while watching Mohr’s show on my Kindle, I began laughing so hard that my family came running into the room. They were shocked to hear their Mean, Grumpy Mommy giggling her derriere off.

I didn’t become a singing unicorn after watching my beloved Jay’s performance, but I felt a lot better after laughing like that. 

How good it was to forget about my inner doom and gloom for an hour.  If you’re feeling that way (Seasonal Affective Disorder, bipolar, life anyone?) I highly recommend searching for something on YouTube, Netflix etc. that will make you laugh. Treat yourself to a comedy break because you deserve it – I know you do!!! 

Before you watch Jay’s Walken clip located at the end of this post, please watch a bit of David Caruso as Horatio Caine in this “Endless One-Liners” video first.

f.y.i. there are some graphic crime scene snippets throughout the clip,so please be aware…

And now for Jay Mohr as The Mighty Walken, Master of the Cowbell – this bit cracks me up every time, it just does. Look for the Walken “eye bulge” move – no one else masters the Walken Eye like Jay.

(Don’t watch this around your kids unless you want them talking like a sailor around you!)

Do you have any funnies to share here? Please do so in the comments…

Hope something here has made you smile apart from my shoddy syntax! ;

See you next week, my lovelies!

Dyane

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of the acclaimed book Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

The Magic of the Alpura Cow Dancer

In my last post I declared I’d keep the next post around 500 words or less.  

I think I can do it today, so I’m going for it!  

A few days ago a blogger friend (The awesome http://pluckyyou.org/about-4/) shared a link to the Alpura Cow Dancer with me via Facebook. Now, I’ve run hot and cold when it comes to Facebook, but since it connected me with the Aplura Cow Dancer, Facebook and I are currently on good terms.

When I watched the Alpura Cow Dancer, I fell in love with the dancer’s joyous spirit!  I got such a kick out of how most of the passerby were oblivious to the freaky cow dancer bustin’ his moves right, left, sideways, up and down.  The spunky music made me smile for real.  (Is there a cowbell in there?)  

There are usually good reasons why the YouTube videos go viral like the Alpura Cow Dancer did. I felt inspired to share the Alpura love with those I cared about, hoping to bring a little fun to their day.  

First I decided to play some jokes.  I simply couldn’t help it. My ten-year-old daughter Avonlea has been asking me for years when I’d get a “real job” – apparently writing and blogging are not work in her eyes. (I’ve actually made honest-to-goodness, real money from selling my articles.  I even showed her copies of my paychecks, but it was all to no avail.)  Anyway, I told her that I was going to be an Alpura Cow Dancer and dance at our local Safeway! She cried. (I’m dead serious.)  I immediately placated her; she got over it quickly.

I played the same joke on my seven-year-old, and Avonlea willingly played along with me. As we watched the Alpura clip together, I stood up and mimicked the cow’s moves, pretending that I needed to practice for my “audition”.  (I think I was pretty good!) Luckily Rilla didn’t cry, but she harshly critiqued my moves.  That hurt.  After I spilled the beans to her, she thought it was funny.

My next joke victim was my husband, but he saw right through me and he didn’t believe it three seconds into my act.  Seventeen years together will do that.  I needed one more little buzz, so I wrote the following email to my Mom, a devoted reader of this blog.  The email said:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Dyane Harwood
Date: Wed, Mar 11, 2015 at 4:26 PM
Subject: My potential new job
To: Mom
Dear Mom,
I’ve applied for a part-time position.  It’s $25/hour at local upscale markets where I interact with customers – it’ll be good to get me out of the house and use my fitness background.   Watch the video and let me know what you think! :))
Love,
Dyane

 

My Mom was actually quite excited for my job opportunity, but when I told her the truth, she felt sad. Now, there is a part of me that dreams of being an Alpura Cow dancing my heart out.  But I know the reality is that it would be hard as hell, I’d be sweating buckets in the inflatable suit, and (as difficult as it is for me to admit) I ain’t no Solid Gold-caliber dancer.  (I’m dating myself with that old television show – I turn a whopping 45 this Wednesday, March 18th & Lucy will turn ONE on the very same day as my b-day!  We are connected, I tell you.)  You can send me chocolate if you want.

At least I can watch the Alpura Cow dance every now and then, and I can even dance along with it if I really want to and frighten everyone around me.   I hope you enjoy the clip as much as I do.  🙂

Vaya con Las Vacas de Alpura!

Dyane

p.s. can you believe there’s nothing bipolar-related about this post?  If you’re reading this, Mom, that’s my gift to you!

p.p.s. Oh no – I blew it! I exceeded 500 words!  It’s that delightful Alpura Cow Dancer’s fault – I got carried away. 😦 Ay caramba!