Angels Landing

One of my favorite things about hiking is it provides me with endless metaphors for life. The most c

Mental Health Parity: This is a Really, Really Good Thing

Image courtesy of antpkr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net There is a new regulation going into effect on the

The Fabulous Five Observations of the Week, Part 1

Soooo… I really need to write more often and get back on the horse. This week nothing huge hap

 

Angels Landing

February 23, 2014 in Virgin to Life

One of my favorite things about hiking is it provides me with endless metaphors for life. The most common one I think of is when you’re hiking a mountain, and you feel like you’re in the final turn, but it turns out there are several more switchbacks to traverse. It’s that feeling that you’re never really done and you never really “get it” – you’re constantly learning and climbing, for better or for worse. Or when you find yourself looking at the trail in front of you and forget to look at the view around you. Or when you’ve overcommitted to a trail, and you realize the only way to get to the end is to just put one foot in front of the other over and over again. For no less than a year, I’ve been struggling with depression. It crept up on me, and I believed that it was mostly situational. I did a major move and dealt with job layoffs which are two huge stressors to experience on their own, never mind together. I often think of mood as having a baseline with peaks and dips. When I was in college, my baseline was the lowest it’s [...]

Mental Health Parity: This is a Really, Really Good Thing

November 8, 2013 in Op-Ed

Image courtesy of antpkr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net There is a new regulation going into effect on the national level that is going to help millions upon millions of Americans: insurance companies will be required to treat mental health and substance abuse the same as general physical ailments. This is huge. And it makes me want to tell you a story, because this is something I have personal experience in: My first job out of college was working for a California company that provided mental health case management and claims administration as a carveout to local HMO providers for professional services. Mental health is a very nuanced field in healthcare, and at the time, most HMOs would contract with a company that specialized in that area to handle their members’ needs. The HMOs would pay either as a fee-for-service (which is to say, the carveout would receive a certain amount of money per procedure), or, they would pay a monthly capitation rate (which is a lump sum estimated on the number of lives covered). To make money on a fee-for-service, the carveout simply had to pay the provider of the service less than what they received from the HMO. To make money [...]

The Fabulous Five Observations of the Week, Part 1

October 27, 2013 in Catnip

Soooo… I really need to write more often and get back on the horse. This week nothing huge happened worthy of its own post, so I’m going to fill you in on 5 micro-postings that happened this week and my observations. If you’re tired of me talking about music, skip to number 2. 1. Support Feels Awesome So I finally put myself out there and uploaded two tracks I recorded at home. I cannot thank everyone enough for listening, encouraging, sharing, reposting, etc. Look; I know this isn’t going to lead to anything big. I’m an overweight 38 year-old woman making music in my house. I’m not the kind of person a record company straps two whipped cream cans onto to create some infantilized masturbatory product (not that there’s anything wrong with that if you’re into that sort of thing?). It’s just that my soul comes alive when I write, and it feels special to share that with the internets. I want to share it with as many people as I can and find people who like This Thing That I Do. So thank you everyone. The biggest surprise is how many compliments I’m getting on my voice. I’m hoping [...]

The Elephant in the Room: Here’s Where I Unleash My Music

October 20, 2013 in Music

Note: I’m putting the music on top so you don’t have to read and be like, “just get on with it already!” But if you want some info and background, please read below the widget. BTW, the widget started to look chopped off in my browser – if you only see one song, scroll and the second one is there too. I have no idea why it’s doing that…Also? HELP! GAHH! I’m trying to figure out what I want to do in terms of offering these to download. I would like to start out simply offering to sell these as single downloads for a cheap price – just something to help me offset fees, save up for better gear, etc. I feel really presumptuous asking people to pay, but…I should, right? Should I? I’m new at this and I have no freaking clue what I should be doing. I’m researching things like CDBaby and ReverbNation’s services, and I’m not sure they fit what I’m looking for at this point. So…if any of you have experience with these services and are willing to offer advice, feel free to leave me a comment below or email me (submissions@themenacingkitten.com) Thanks! Email newsletters for [...]

Sorry Everyone, I Suck

September 29, 2013 in Announcements

Hi everyone, It’s been too long since I posted, so consider this an update of sorts. Since my last post, I’ve probably written 5 posts I didn’t feel were good enough to publish, so I’m just going to wing this and get something out to you. So, a few of you know that I took part in the world’s longest layoff, which began well over a year ago when I suspected my position would be nixed. The end of last month was my final month at my former company, which was after receiving several extensions. My original end-date was supposed to be December 2012, so it’s been a long road. I can’t really complain; it’s the nature of the business – the bigger company took over our little company, saw redundancy and eliminated all of us. I worked hard up to the end and got a decent severance, so…I guess that’s fine. Here are 5 random things I’ve observed about the process of being laid off over a period of a year: 1. Brain feels mushy. Not having a career goal for a year is not good for anyone who is goal-oriented. 2. It really sucks laying people off who [...]

Menacing Kitten Services You Part II: The Everyone is Tacky Wedding Edition

June 20, 2013 in Advice

Hello, fair felines, to my second edition of The Menacing Kitten Services You. Through the thick storm clouds of writer’s block and moving stress, a beacon of inspiration has cracked through thanks to this lovely article appearing on Jezebel which involves the tackiest people ever to both give and receive a gift. To summarize if you aren’t up for reading the link: a former boss was invited to a wedding and gave the blushing brides a basket of grocery store items. Well, to be specific: “As a gift, my Girlfriend and I gave [the couple] a wicker box with a hinged lid, filled with food items, most of them PC Black Label, including: tri-color pasta, salsas, Balsamic vinegar and Olive, Gourmet croutons, Panko Breading, Pesto, some baking ingredients, Biscuits from Godiva and a few ‘Fun’ items like Marshmallow Fluff, Sour Patch Kids and Butterscotch sauce.” Bride #1 requested a receipt from the gift-giver, explaining she was gluten-intolerant. The former boss didn’t have a receipt to give, so Bride #2 told him that a basket of fluff and sourpatch kids isn’t a good gift for a $100-a-plate wedding. Well, to be specific: “Hey it’s [Bride 1's] wife Laura. I want to [...]

Arrested Development 2013: 3 Things I Loved, 3 Things I Didn’t

May 29, 2013 in Entertainment Stuff

WARNING: Minor spoilers in the form of spoiling a couple of punchlines The most hyped television event of the year didn’t occur on a network or cable station. Netflix, a company that appeared to be going down faster than the Hindenburg two years ago, resurrected themselves through the revival of Arrested Development.  Their new-found approach to viewing television through on-demand original programming is revolutionary and somewhat exciting to watch unfold. While they’ve had original shows prior to Arrested Development such as the popular House of Cards, you can’t help but feel this was the Big Event to show off the New Netflix to the world and test the waters for this uncharted territory in programming. Of course, this uncharted territory is only revolutionary if the show is worth the purchase of a subscription. So, was it worth it? In my opinion, yes. Due to the scheduling conflicts of cast members, writing around said scheduling conflicts, dealing with a different model of television-viewing, and working with what I’m assuming was a much smaller budget, the long-awaited season of Arrested Development was sure to be a different experience from its network television days. To be certain, the show wasn’t free of problems, [...]

London Calling: The Religion of Nationalism

May 22, 2013 in Travel

For the past week and a half, I’ve been soaking up the sights in London. This is only my second trip overseas, and once again I find myself longing to do this more often. London is an amazing city teeming with excitement, diversity and history (and pubs). As someone who loves art history, it has been a feast for the eyes. I particularly enjoyed exploring both St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey – these two houses of worship are very different from one another, but have a common thread which runs between them. As I walked through them, I found myself thinking about politics and religion in the U.S., and how the concept behind the Anglican Church influences us today. My first stop was at Westminster Abbey. While it was built over multiple eras and has a variety of stylings to show for it, the Gothic signatures are the most dominant – flying buttresses, an enormous rose window, and my favorite – stunning, stretch-to-the-sky rib vaults. The nave is particularly breath-taking; I kept looking upward as I walked along it. The abbey is beautiful and at times seems to defy gravity. Unlike the churches in America or the cathedrals I’ve [...]

The Reach Out Project

May 5, 2013 in Virgin to Life

Death does strange things to a person. My father passed away right before the 4th of July in 2009. We were never close, but we didn’t have a strained relationship either. Years prior, I realized what our relationship was, and I was fine with that. Yet his death changed me. It came at a time when I was growing apathetic to my faith. It also came at a time when all of the walls I put up around me over the years left me with few people in my life. I had no problem moving on and not keeping in touch; it was easy. After he died, I went through what Chris and I jokingly called “The Existential Crisis.” It was the first time in my life I really confronted the idea that when we die, That’s It. Prior to my father’s death, the thought would briefly enter my mind in the darkest part of night and I’d quickly push it out. Ain’t nobody got time for that shit. After he died, the idea consumed every “quiet” moment of my life. I’d lie in bed at night and look outside the window, nearly panicking at the prospect of ceasing to [...]

Breast Cancer: The Divide Between Awareness and Progress

April 29, 2013 in Op-Ed

This past Sunday, New York Times Magazine had an insightful cover story entitled “Our Feel-Good War on Breast Cancer” by Peggy Orenstein. The title jumped out at me for very personal reasons: my best friend is an Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) survivor. When she was first diagnosed in 2009 (at the age of 34), I saw the pink ribbon as a symbol of hope and solidarity. Times have changed a bit. From 2009 to the present, my friend had chemo, a double masectomy, some lymph nodes removed, radiation, reconstructive surgery where they used muscles from her back to create breasts, a part of her lung removed when her cancer metastasized, and then a hysterectomy because they found estrogen in the tumor in her lung and it confirmed to the doctors that she can’t have estrogen in her body if she wants to have any shot of keeping the cancer away. During all of this, Races for the Cure came and went, a local TV station threw annual telethons where they gave out pink canvas bags emblazoned with their station’s pinked-up logo to donors (costing $6 for shipping, by the way), and pink-infused football games trampled on in all their pink-cleated [...]