Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NAMI NYC Staten Island's 24th Annual Awards Celebration Dinner

NAMI NYC Staten Island's 24th Annual Awards Celebration Dinner
Top Row:  J. Jill Sloan V-Neck Sweater, Lane Bryant Lena Pants, LL Bean Trench Coat, The Body Shop LOVE ETC.  Bottom Row:  Black Crew Socks, Aerosoles Army Loafers in Croco, Coach Satchel, Amethyst Pendant, Blue Lace Agate Pendant.

 

This past Thursday, October 23rd, 2014, was NAMI NYC Staten Island's 24th Annual Awards Celebration Dinner.  The event was well-attended.  The mental health community of Staten Island gathered to honor three unique individuals for their accomplishments in support of mental health on Staten Island.  They were:  Rachid Ottley, Peer Specialist at South Beach Psychiatric Center and NAMI NYC Staten Island Board Member; Cathy Holladay, Executive Director of Sky Light Center, a psychosocial clubhouse on Staten Island; and New York State Assemblyman Michael Cusick, of the 63rd District.   Congratulations and many thanks to the honorees on their dedicated work on behalf of people living with psychiatric illness and their families.  

I was smart to go for comfort rather than high style, because I was on my feet a lot that evening!  My friend Patty picked me up after 4 PM, and we got to the venue, LiGreci's Staaten, around 5 PM (rush hour traffic on Staten Island being what it is).  Once there, we went to work getting the room ready for the event.  Various businesses and individuals had donated gift baskets for the raffles, so those were placed on tables in the back of the room, and labeled.  Centerpieces were placed on the diners' tables, as well as programs, a list of the baskets and raffles, and the journal.  This dinner was a fundraiser, and the journal and raffles are a big part of the fundraising.  

As people came in for the awards dinner at 6 PM, there was a lot of meeting and greeting for me to do, so, more running around!  Then the staff began serving the dinner and the ceremony got underway.  Everyone gave beautiful speeches, which all touched on the main themes of the evening:  helping people with psychiatric illness and their families get the services they need, and how those services can be improved, and how successful people can be once they are getting the care and support that can most benefit them.  

After the evening ended around 9 PM, we did the breakdown, collecting the printed material and centerpieces from the tables so the staff could clear everything off the tables.  We left about 9:30, and I got home a little after 10 PM.  It was a long evening, but well worth it! 

A word on my fragrance, LOVE ETC., which The Body Shop has discontinued:  I get many compliments on it.  One of my friends likes it so much that she went looking for it online and the lowest price she was able to find for it was $100!  I don't know what I'm going to do when I run out of it.  It's a lovely floriental.  I'll be hard-pressed to find something I like as much, that's so popular.  I like French perfume, so I may be paying a visit to the makeup and fragrance counters at the local Macys.  There was a really nice place on Staten Island called Scentimental Journey, which sold perfume oils, bath and shower products, and all manner of good-smelling stuff, but they've gone out of business.  They made really nice patchouli and vanilla oils, that delivered a really nice scent when they were combined.  Fortunately, L'Occitane opened a store in the Staten Island Mall, so that may be worth investigating, too.  They have some nice fragrances. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What To Wear To An Awards Dinner?

What To Wear To An Awards Dinner?
Top Row: J. Jill Sloan V-neck Merino Sweater, Amethyst Pendant, Black Tights, Coach Satchel Handbag, Silver Evening Clutch.  Bottom Row:  SWAK Designs Lulu Chiffon Skirt in Black, Black Lane Bryant Ponte Knit Pencil Skirt, Silver Flats, Aerosoles Army Croc Loafers, Dr. Martens Boots. 

 

What to wear, what to wear???  I have an event coming up on October 23, 2014.  It's NAMI NYC Staten Island's 24th Annual Awards Dinner.  It's a semi-formal event, but people come in all manner of dress, from casual to dressy and elegant.  I prefer to look dressy and elegant, naturally.  I've pretty much decided that I want to wear my new violet merino sweater from J. Jill, with either an amethyst pendant necklace or a blue lace agate pendant necklace.  I'm trying to decide between the two black skirts, and whether I should wear silver flats and a silver clutch with the black tights (which I think would look weird, but maybe I could wear black flats with the silver clutch), or the black Doc Martens or black loafers with my black Coach satchel handbag.  Decisions, decisions!  Any advice, my fine peeps? 

Wednesday Night Meeting - Legal Advocacy 10/8/2014

Wednesday Night Meeting - Legal Advocacy 10/8/2014


 

Last Wednesday night, October 8, 2014, my fellow NAMI NYC Staten Island Board Member, Paul Capofari, and his son, Peter, of Capofari Law, P.C., and Dominique DeSantis, of Staten Island CIRT, did a presentation on legal advocacy as it pertains to people with psychiatric illnesses or disabilities.  I have to say, they did a great job of covering everything. 

Paul talked about the criminal justice system, and how Rikers Island is the largest mental health facility in NYC.  Unfortunately, very often the first contact someone with a psychiatric illness has with the mental health system is through the criminal justice system.  This is true throughout the United States.  The US prison system is the largest de facto mental health system in the nation.  Why?  Often people who are exhibiting symptoms of a psychiatric illness fall through the cracks in the system.  They may lose their jobs due to a severe episode of illness, which goes undiagnosed.  Then they lose their homes, either through eviction or foreclosure.  They become homeless, so they're picked up by the police on quality of life crimes, like vagrancy, for sleeping in building lobbies or in public places.  Or they may become symptomatic and get into confrontations with people, either because they are delusional or psychotic (delusional means someone has false beliefs, and psychotic means someone is confused and out of touch with consensus reality) or because they have poor impulse control, OR because their coping skills have just been taxed to the max, and they don't have any internal resources left.  

Hey, you try being cold, dirty, hungry and tired, out in the elements for days on end, outcast and ignored by society.  See how you fare.  Then come back and tell me how well-behaved you were. 

These are the some of the reasons people with psychiatric illness encounter the criminal justice system. 

Ms. DeSantis talked about her agency, CIRT, which is an acronym for Court-based Intervention and Resource Team.  CIRT offers an alternative to incarceration by screening eligible participants who are admitted to Rikers Island, ascertaining that the participant is not charged with a violent felony offense, is assessed by the Department of Corrections to have a low or medium risk of readmission to jail and the participant gives consent to the Department of Corrections to share eligibility with the appropriate borough-based CIRT.  (From the CIRT flyer distributed at the meeting.) 

The participants receive community monitoring, direct support, and court reporting to ensure they return for court appearances while their criminal case is pending.  CIRT also provides comprehensive assessment, treatment planning, case management, onsite group services, cognitive-behavioral groups, and mental status exams by the psychiatrist on staff.  They can also provide help in applying for benefits, such as Medicaid and income support, as well as housing.  They also provide education and vocational training and employment services.  (From the CIRT flyer distributed at the meeting.) 

Paul and Peter also talked about wills, estates, and trusts, and how to plan financially for a child who has a psychiatric disability and is receiving government benefits.  One thing I learned:  MAKE A WILL AND CONSULT A LAWYER.  I cannot emphasize this enough, and it's not just because I like Paul and think he's a good lawyer.  If you own anything or have dependents or a spouse or a partner, and you want to make sure the right stuff goes to the right people upon your demise, you need a will, and you should hire a lawyer to help you write it, because you will want to make sure it can stand up in court under probate.  You may think you're not going to care, because you'll be dead, but do you really want your relatives or loved ones or the people or causes you care about cursing you in eternity because you were too *fill in the blank* to make a proper will?  Probably not! 

And if that's not enough, consider the case of the Swedish author of the famous Millennium Trilogy, Stieg Larsson.  He died suddenly, at the age of 50 of a heart attack, without leaving a will.  He had a long-term partner with whom he lived.  He also had a father and a brother.  Under Swedish law, she did not benefit from his estate.  It all went to his brother and father.  She protested, and this began a long, ugly legal battle over Larsson's estate.  At the time of his death, Larsson was not yet an international phenomenon, and his first book had not yet been published.  However, he was convinced he would make a fortune from his series.  Unfortunately, he did not plan well for this potential windfall, and his loved ones reaped the consequences of his inaction. 

So anyway, that was the evening's topic.  I had therapy earlier in the day, and it was a little chilly, so I wore a long-sleeved shirt and denim shirt and scarf.  At night it was even colder, so it called for a jacket and scarf.  The weather here has been changeable, ranging from warm to cold, sometimes within the same day.  It's confusing trying to figure out what to wear!  But that's what weather reports are for. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fall 2014 Purchases - Read It And Weep!

Fall 2014 Purchases
Top Row: Cacique Seamless Panty in Cafe Mocha, Sassy Panty in Pink, Smooth Satin Full Coverage Bra.  Middle Row:  J. Jill  Sloan V-Neck Pullover in Blue Bell, Sea Breeze and Gray; Cross-Town Coat in Red.  Woman Within Denim Jacket in Stonewash, Parka in Gray.  Bottom Row:  J. Jill Smooth Fit Straight Leg Jean in Atlantic Wash, Tried & True Slim Ankle Jean in Black Wash.  Coach Poppy Small Tote Signature C in Metallic Outline Fabric.  King Size Leather Belt with Classic Stitched Edge.







 In the interest of full disclosure, and also to keep me honest and reassure folks that I didn't go on a manic spending spree (though I know it looks like that from the Polyvore set above), I'm going to post the SHOCKING!!! results of online shopping excursions.  So you can judge for yourselves whether I made out like a bandit or got screwed with my pants on.  

The totals for the Cacique items are as follows:

Bras:  $93.16 for 4 (BOGO 1/2 off)
Seamless panties: $48.00 for 5
Cotton briefs: $37.50 for 5

Total spent at Lane Bryant:  $178.66

Totals for J. Jill items:

Sweaters in Blue Bell and Sea Breeze:  $116.55
Sweater in Gray: $59.25
Cross-Town Coat:  $66.49
Smooth Fit Straight Leg Jean in blue denim: $89.25
Tried & True Slim Ankle Jean in black, total for 3 pair: $79.77

Total spent at J. Jill:  $411.31

Totals for OneStopPlus.com items:

Denim Jacket: $39.99
Parka: $22.20
Belts: $55.98

Total spent at OneStopPlus.com:  $118.17

Total for Coach Tote:  $89.00
 
Total spent:  $797.14

Excuse me, I have to lie down now.  I think I'm going to be sick.  At least I'll look good this fall and winter.  I guess we know what the verdict is ...