September 26, 2014

NOW TAKING INTERESTING COMMISSIONS.

I have had a blank WordPress page open since like, the 18th, with this title. And I haven’t posted anything with this title or written the post that was to go along with this title because I’m not sure commissions are ever a good idea. For me, anyway. Either other people’s ideas don’t inspire me or the deadline aspect gives me diarrhea or (often) I’m not in love with the finished product because I see every imperfection and then I feel guilty taking people’s money. When I’m painting normally, I just paint what’s in my head and if there are imperfections, they’re part of the piece and it’s sold “as is”. Done, chuck it on Etsy. Next! But with a commission, I feel the client is expecting perfection and if they’re not they SHOULD BE because I would, so that’s what I feel I need to deliver no matter how unrealistic that may be.

Right now, though, I ain’t makin’ nothin’ and I only have these vague threads of ideas wafting through my head like the ghostly echoes of the whispers of creativity. The last painting I did was this one, last November. And right now all I do is work. Even when I’m not working, I’m actually still really working and I need to do less of that. A couple of weekends ago, I made an oldschool fan sign for a camgirl I like and I pretty much did it because I had 48 virgin Sharpies, a whole bunch of Bristol board and just wanted to do something – anything – creative while Blake and I finished watching Defiance. Cuz that’s what I do. I make stuff. I watch TV and I make stuff. It is what I’ve always done and probably what I will always do.

I have a ton of creative “shoulds” that are lingering about, things I either started or bought the stuff for. I mean, my god, there has to be at least one million ideas within the 6 x 7.5 foot cubicle I inhabit 17.5 hours out of every day, you would think it would be as simple as picking one and following through, but it’s not and it’s not because all of those ideas to me are old ideas. Stale ideas. No one’s ever seen or heard or been told about them or know they exist, but they’re so complete in my head and the process by which to execute them is so…I don’t want to say “easy” because I don’t want to imply that what I do is easy – it’s not. But definitely unchallenging and I’m probably not going to be surprised by the end result. More than anything I just wanna make shit and the only way I can justify putting in the time or money is if someone else wants it. If there’s a reason for making it.

I’m good at “cut & paste”. When I was in kindergarten or grade 1, there were “stations” in my classroom and one of these stations was “cut & paste” and it was THE BEST station because that was where you could always make the best stuff. I’ve always had a mild interest in various clay mediums and thought the dough station was 2nd best, but as a grown-up I don’t know the science behind making clays do what I want them to do permanently and they’re expensive so I’ve always just stuck to paint, paper, glitter & glue. And like I said, I have these almost tangible wispy ideas as I type this and mentally catalogue all of the “stuff” I have to make other stuff out of, but nothing solid takes shape. And right now I even have money that I could buy all kinds of NEW stuff to make stuff out of but I think that’s a complete waste unless the idea’s really good.

And as if by some cosmic joke, I literally just got the call for entries to Touched By Fire, the art show THEY say you have to be crazy to enter because it’s for artists with mood disorders, but I call it the remedial art show pretty much just because it’s like the Special Olympics of art and I’ve ridden that shortbus all the way to Crazytown a few times so I can make fun of it if I want to. This year it’s being held at the Steamwhistle gallery (which is in a brewery, I think) and the theme is “unspoken” and as I write this, about to make fun of it mercilessly, an idea appears….hmmmm….HMMMMMMMMM I SAY. And the more I think about it, the better it issssssssssssssssss…..oh look at that, 250 empty vegan gel caps and a box of o.b. tampons ordered off the internet. The deadline is in 28 days soooooooo I guess it’s problem solved and game on!

PS. Before I kill myself designing them, would anyone be interested in Xmas ornaments of my girls from Zazzle?  Here are the shapes. I figure I’d price them between $25-$20, depending on which type everyone preferred, if any. Lemme know!

September 17, 2014

I was not a cool kid. I was a ghost.

I work a lot. That’s what I’ve been doing. My grama died in July, my shrink retired in August and just as life was normalizing, I asked for extra hours at work now that I have a car (which I got)  but we also hired 3 new people which means working overtime to train them. On top of that, a couple of Sundays ago, when I was in Militiagan for a wedding (more on that later), my boss messaged me on AIM and asked if she could have a word with me, freaking me out completely  at first because I thought I fucked something up and I hadn’t worked since that Friday morning so for it to have cropped up now, I figured it must be something pretty bad that she’d spent time talking to other people about. I wasn’t far off the mark about her talking to other people, but it wasn’t anything bad. She told me that there was one aspect of our job (our job is not just e-mail, it’s many things) that she thought I did a really good job at and she wanted me to sort of be like, the expert/final decision-maker/manager of this one thing. So that was really cool and I felt really good about myself (although part of me is terrified that she only thinks I suck the least at this thing because I also probably do it the least and now that I’m doing it MORE my fuck up rate is going to go up too). She told me that this would take effect immediately and it would mean that my workload would increase but that was okay because she gave me 9 extra hours per week that she wanted dedicated to this task. BUT I’m training and I can’t train people unless another senior person is working with me (or it’s really difficult to) because while training, it takes at least 10 times longer to get the work done than if I was doing it by myself so even with help, I fall behind on my regular tasks and I don’t have time during my regular shift to do my new task the way I think it’s supposed to be done so that means staying an hour-hour & a half past the time I’m done training, which was overtime to begin with. (Why, yes I *am* proud of that run-on sentence…) In a span of about 6 weeks, I went from working 3 hours a day to 7 minimum, which may not seem like a lot to people who work the standard 40 hours a week but for me that’s a lot.

Having said all that, honestly? Mostly I’m having FUN. I’m being CHALLENGED. I imagine this is what it feels like when people who like working out work out. All 3 new hires are personal friends of mine and I thought it was already pretty sweet working with the group I do because we’re all friends outside of work as well. I mean, I’m getting paid to hang out with my friends on Skype all morning in my pajamas and tell them about the job I love WHICH I NEVER GET TO DO WITH ANYONE BUT BLAKE and he only understands like, 75% of what I bother telling him. (Better than the 5% of his job that I understand, however.) Due to the nature of what we do, who we do it for and who we do it with, we’re just supposed to talk about our jobs as little as possible outside of the company which suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks because our jobs are ridiculously interesting (to me), so it’s awesome to finally be able to be like “WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! PORNO PORNO PORNO!!! XXX!!!” while listening to 80s & 90s rap at 9am. (That is the soundtrack of Sunny’s Porn School.)

My work day still starts at 5am though and doesn’t usually “end” (*cough*at all*cough*) now until, well, 2:30pm for me today. And to compensate for having to be “on” and a fully functional cyborg that early, for that long, I’ve been trying to go to sleep around 7:30 or 8pm so right now it feels like all I do is work, talk about work, talk to work friends, hang out at the site I work for and go to sleep tired as fuck, but I guess I’ve done more than that. Not much more, though.

Like I said earlier, we went to a wedding a couple of weeks ago in Militiagan for Blake’s cousin Helena and fiance Bill, which isn’t his real name. His real name is something super Albanian and unpronounceable so I guess they just call him Bill. They’ve known each other since they were 14 and now they’re 30, so that’s sort of cool. The ceremony was crazy religious and almost entirely sung. There was incense involved, which the priest did at Blake’s grama’s funeral too and I thought was cool and I tried to get video of it but the priest is actually like, this HUGE conservative guy who frowns upon anything newer than last century and there were a couple of signs saying “no cell phones” but Blake’s Aunt Pat was inconspicuously taking pics beside me with hers so I got a short clip of the dude on Instagram but not what I wanted. Oh well, so not the point….anyway, during the ceremony they blessed this and that and the President (no shit) three times, in English AND Albanian, all while singing a call and return with the priest and some lady and his incense shaker had bells on it and made clanging sounds and the whole thing seemed to me like he was trying to get God’s attention for a sec and get him to bless the marriage. There was some heavy old school bare foot and pregnant shit in the vows, but what I noticed in the ceremony is that the priest STARTED with, “do you take this man to be your…?” etc and they did their “I do’s” FIRST so everything after that they technically didn’t agree to in any legally binding way (not that a wedding is “legally” binding, but y’know, if this was a deal with the Devil they could get out of it on a technicality by traditional mythological standards).

I’m not going to post what I wore because I think I looked like crap. I also think me and Blake’s step-monster were the only blondes at the whole event.

At the reception, we got sat at the “cousin table” (and not with Blake’s dad and his bitchfaced wife, who got stuck sitting beside the priest all night heh) and I got to meet all of Blake’s Albanian cousins who have all grown up and have since left Albania for greater things, I guess. Blake’s cousin Shirley is a dentist living with a dude named Stiig who’s an engineer for Rolls Royce in Norway. Blake’s cousin Nonda and his wife Eva live in NY and have two little kids. They met in Albania and came over a while ago. Blake’s cousin Livvy is like, an international free spirit party girl type who lives somewhere in Europe too but I forget where. I wanna say Prague? Not sure.

What kills me about Blake’s Albanian family is like HOW into family they are. It’s so weird to me because my family isn’t like that at all. It’s hard to explain, but like, Blake just met these people for the first time since he went to Albania when I think he was 18 and they were weirdly close considering I’d never heard of these people before that day and I’m pretty sure this was only Blake’s second time meeting them in person. I’m pretty sure you could ask a favour from practically anyone in the room and they would oblige just because you were related and vice versa. There was a lot of hugging and picture taking like, with people who barely knew each other but they were related so HEY LET’S TAKE A PICTURE! NOW LET’S TAKE THE EXACT SAME PICTURE WITH 5 MORE CAMERAS FROM 5 MORE STRANGERS! It was weeeeeeeeeeeeeeird, man. Weird. It was the biggest display of pronoia in action I think I’ve ever seen. Just a whole lotta people conspiring toward good things for a whole lotta other people simply because they’re related somehow.

My family is more…strategic, political, hostile, a little phony and now, extremely small. Almost non-existent. And I don’t foresee that changing any time soon. God, honestly I’m not even sure I have the energy to have it any other way, so whatever. I haven’t talked to my brother since my grama’s funeral because I don’t know what to say to him. I’ve exchanged 2 e-mails with my mom, pretty much the same thing.

At the end of the wedding, there was a coney bar set up because when Blake’s grampa came to America, he opened a coney dog restaurant called George’s Famous Coney Island and this restaurant was the foundation for just about everything in that ballroom. I thought that was pretty neat even though we left before it got set up.

Other than that, the only thing I have to report is that I broke down and bought Sims 4 even though I had initially decided not to get it because I’d heard nothing but bad things about what WASN’T going to be included, but I was bored and I’m a sucker so I downloaded it and while I’ve only had a chance to play it three times, I think I like it. It’s VERY bare bones, a lot like OG Sims, and I kinda like that because the complexity of Sims 3 got so ridiculous with all the expansions that I lost interest in it a long time ago. The emotions system combines with the Sims’ needs, so for example, if my Sim is angry or tense (emotion) AND has to go to the bathroom (need), the interaction “take an angry poop” appears. “Wants” contribute to emotions. Anyway, I’m having fun with it so far and I have high hopes for future expansions.

Annnnnd I’m tired and have to go to bed soooooo peace oot. *yawn*

August 27, 2014

Radical or Pro-Parental

When I was little, I  remember constantly telling my mother in screaming fits that I hated her and she would hold me down and hug me and tell me she loved me anyway. This is what comes to mind when things like #WomenAgainstFeminism or female MRAs permeate my well-maintained bubble of white light, as seems to be the case increasingly these days. This “wave” of anti-feminism is hitting the internet like a tsunami and it’s leaving a lot of feminists on the opposite shore empty and at low tide. Feeling defeated. Feeling like, what’s the fucking point if we, as women in general – feminists and anti’s alike – are just going to fight among ourselves rather than work together for common goals that benefit the whole?  I can’t really speak for anyone but myself and a few friends, but I honest to god had no idea that SO MANY women would be anti-feminist. Because that’s like being anti yourself and that’s just fucking crazy. But no, they’re out there and there’s a whole lotta vum. And rather than react, I’ve been listening – or trying to, as much as I listen to anything – because whether they like it or not, what’s important to them is important to me because as much as they kick and scream and say they hate me, I listen and send them love, as lame as that sounds, because more than anything I want to understand. Anti-feminists and female MRAs are interesting to me in the way a serial killer might be interesting to someone into true crime shit. (Yeah, I did just compared them to serial killers, but I didn’t mean they were actually *like* the serial killers in what they do or anything.) Female anti-feminists are interesting to me because I’m interested in why and how people have come to the conclusions they have or believe the things they do about a topic I’m interested in, when they are (often) the complete opposite of my own beliefs, ESPECIALLY when I feel those beliefs are against the person’s own best interest. It’s like when poor people vote Conservative, I see these political arguments and memes on social media and think, “you realize this guy’s gonna fuck you right?” but they do it anyway because reasons or whatnot. Or worse, when people tell me they actively DON’T vote. Just like, never tell me that. Please. It hurts my heart. Even just tell me you’re too lazy to vote, that’s a completely acceptable answer. Feel free to not vote, do whatever the fuck you want, but my friends know better than to tell me about it because it makes me insane(r).

I actually have a friend who, I’m not sure if she identifies as an actual MRA or if she’s just more on top of men’s issues than anyone else I know, but she’s flat out told me she’s not a feminist. She was the first  woman I’d ever met (or have a relationship with) who didn’t identify as a feminist on some level and when she said it, pretty early on our relationship, it sorta knocked my socks off because she’s, to me, this badass, Amazonian woman with a huge mohawk and piercings, in combat boots; who goes to shows by herself, gives no fucks and listens to Ani DiFranco, whom I recently heard described as being the most misandrous musician ever. (I don’t know any of her music, but Blake likes her so that’s probably accurate.) My friend is also a camgirl and I just kind of assumed all camgirls were feminists by nature of what we do and how we all support one another. This friend especially because I know she’s super pro-sex workers and until that moment, I assumed that was a feminist thing!  But that issue doesn’t “belong” to any one group other than sex workers themselves, so that was pretty dumb of me to think. I also completely understand my friend not wanting a label and that’s why I’m not giving her one now – as being an MRA or being anti-feminist – because she’s never claimed that label and she’s never said she’s actively anti-anything and she has said specifically that she doesn’t want to identify with any groups. That was 3 years ago though, and now there’s been this wave of anti-feminists speaking up, so it’s possible she’s changed and has claimed a label. And that’s okay. Mostly we don’t talk about that stuff, though, because we respect the fact that we each see things differently (although I maintain we have more in common than different). She puts up with my “feminist crap” though (my term, not hers) and that’s all I can ask for in a friend. Tolerance. We come from hugely different places, I think, while still believing a lot of the same things and liking the same things and that’s why we’re friends, but on this one thing, I probably drive her bonkers because I’m cool with the feminist label. I wear it proudly. Blake’s cool with the label. Madison’s cool with the label. Wes wears a pink “feminist” 1″ button on his backpack after we asked him if he thought he and Madison should have the same rights and he said, “duh”. We’re all a pretty feminist family and I post feminist crap all over my social media and while I would not call myself a “hardcore” feminist, it sounds like my friend has met some women who have identified as “hardcore” feminists, who I probably wouldn’t agree with completely either by the way they were described.

Anyway.

It’s awesome having friends with different points of view than you and we should love anti-feminists as hard as we know how, even if they don’t appreciate us, because they are proof of feminism’s success. Feminism has been so successful that a lotta women don’t even feel they need it anymore. Yay us! There’s still so much to be done, but don’t you see that as successful? As progress on some demented level? Because I do. At first it made me sad but after digging around and reading what these women have to say, this is what I think.

I dunno, those thoughts just popped into my head. Work meeting in 40 mins.

August 6, 2014

Whose house?

I’m sort of frustrated with my front yard ditchweed garden. I feel like a planted SO MUCH SHIT and nothing I actually planted ON PURPOSE decided to grow as they have in previous years! I have a few theories on this. The first is that poppies are finicky little pricks. The second is that there’s too much grass in the garden now for certain things to grow, so they just didn’t get enough sun right from the beginning and grew retarded as taller things stunted them further. The third is that I need to give up on planting any type of cosmos that aren’t your standard pink and white ones because they just do not grow in my yard. I thought if I planted LOOOOOOTS of fancy ones in favour of regular ones, some would HAVE to grow, but nope. As with previous years, they did not and neither did the few regular ones I planted either due to problem #2.

Having said all of that, nature’s done a pretty okay job at giving me a base to work with for next year and next year I think I’ll be going back to American Meadows for my seeds because everything this year came from Vesey’s and they don’t have the quantities I need or the variety. American Meadows has better descriptions/information and has a lot of seeds that some people might call weeds, but bees, birds and butterflies call “food”. The bees like the Bachelor’s Buttons usually, but mine only grew to be about 4 inches high and maybe only about 30 flowers total out of a billion and a half seeds:

Nature, however, had another plan for the bees and somehow St. John’s Wort (as identified by awesome tumblr people) has made its way into the garden in little yellow patches. It’s done flowering now so I don’t have any current pics, but here’s one I took a few weeks ago. It was impossible to take a pic of it WITHOUT a bee!

Stunted cosmos.
These are normal ones, not fancy ones because only normal ones will (well, used to) grow.

So much Queen Anne’s Lace!
I need to find something NOT YELLOW that can co-exist with these because they grow tall, fast!

My best guess is that these are Black-Eyed/Brown-Eyed Susans but I honestly have no fucking clue.

These and the Queen Anne’s Lace were the end result of the wildflower mixes that were originally planted when we removed the sod.

Removing the sod that’s grown back (well, next spring) is out of the question because that’ll also remove what grew this year, as well as any flowers that may be the type to flower one year but not the next or whatever. Getting rid of a lawn is serious business, man. I don’t see how we could have done it any other way (with a sod cutter, 8 years ago) so now, like I said above, the name of the game is to find seeds that will co-exist with all this yellow, white and grass that can also be food for fauna. I’ve got a year to plan, so I don’t need to figure it out now, but after seeing what’s been the strongest to survive blind weedings and mowings, it should give me a good idea of what to look out for. Also I think I might ask my favourite seed-nerd, Ana, for a little help.

When I went into the garden this morning to take these pictures, the first thing I was greeted with, though, was SUCCESS. I purposely plant milkweed in my garden for the monarchs to lay their eggs on and sometimes at the end of the summer, if we’re lucky, we’ll find a couple of caterpillars ready to pupate and I have a special terrarium that I use to watch them turn into butterflies. It never gets old. It amazes me every single time. Well, this guy/girl was the very first thing I saw when I went outside today:

She’s big and probably ready to pupate but I like to wait for the caterpillars in the later summer/early fall because I know for sure when those ones are about to pupate because the milkweed starts dying. And when the milkweed starts dying, the caterpillars are like, “welp, buffet’s over, better get to work” and then they begin to pupate. With the caterpillar above, she’s big enough that I could put her in the terrarium with a few milkweed leaves and she’d pupate shortly after they got too wilted to eat because a lack of food can trigger the process if they’re close to it to begin with.

I am by no means a caterpillar expert, this is just what I’ve learned from experience (and I’ve never had a caterpillar or butterfly die before).

What I *didn’t* know, is what this guy is:

I think it’s a milkweed tussock moth.
I found two of them on the older milkweed stalks and that article says monarchs prefer younger plants, which is good to know because I’ve just let the old ones grow back. This fall I’ll rip out the old ones, which I have to do anyway because they’re in the way of my second heliopsis, which is this:

And that’s about all I have to say about my garden.

Honestly, that’s all I really have to say I guess. I had other stuff but Wes and I have started playing Warcraft together again and it’s about time for us to do some quests. Saw Guardians of the Galaxy and Maleficent on Sunday night at the drive-in. Both were awesome. I am now leveling a resto druid on a PvP server named “Iamgroot”. I’m hoping people will think I’m cute and not kill me…

Posted at 1:25 pm in: Gardening , keep off the lawn , Kids , KOTL , Life , Summer , Video Games , Wes , World of Warcraft

Ball & Chain

Posted at 11:14 am in: Blake , facebook , Family , Internet , Life , Misc. , social networking , Summer
July 22, 2014

Meanwhile, back at the farm…

Hi.

So yesterday was my last appointment with my shrink and it was pretty weird because there was no emotion, for either of us, and I didn’t really have anything to talk to her about because nothing’s really happening. My meds are the same (well, she actually weaned me off the gabapentin, which is awesome) I told her my grama died but I didn’t get into the funeral craziness because that’s a can of worms she knows very little about, so I might as well save that for the new shrink. Not that there’s much to really talk about at this stage of the game anyway or that there will be anything in the future. She wrote me a 6 month prescription for all of my meds and said someone would call me eventually to set up an appointment with my new shrink, who we don’t know as of yet.

The biggest thing that’s bugging me right now, and I told her this, is that I haven’t really been driving and I haven’t really been driving for a lot of reasons. A lot of it has to do with the fact that we live in a touristy area with all our beaches so there’s a lot of traffic now that the kids are out of school and the beaches are busy and that’s where I was primarily going. Also Madison has her learner’s permit now and just completed the class portion of Young Drivers (driving school) and I’m scared if we go anywhere she’s going to either tell me I’m a shitty driver or pick up my shitty driving habits that I don’t even know that I have (I took Young Drivers too), but I’m sure I do. I worry constantly that I’m a shitty driver and having someone say it, even someone with like, 2 days driving experience, would freak me right out. Getting Wes to come with me anywhere, even when it benefits him, is like pulling teeth. So far I’ve talked him into getting Chinese food with me and then to Nicholyn Farms, which is my new favourite place.

Nicholyn Farms is basically a grocery store for a farm but in the back they have a little sandwich and ice cream shop so the one day Wes and I went there and got sandwiches and I got him and Madison organic strawberry milk (blech). The rest of the store is full of fridges and freezers full of organic, free range, no antibiotics/hormones meats and meat products; all kinds of vegan and vegetarian stuff made locally; shelves of all kinds of craft spreads and sauces, most of which are veggie or vegan and of course organic produce. The place is magical because there are lots of things there that don’t gross me out. For example, ground beef really gives me the willies and the reason it does – and you can argue that this is completely irrational, maybe it is – is because when you buy ground beef at the grocery store or you get a hamburger at McDonald’s (or anywhere), you’re probably eating the DNA of like, 100 cows. And I don’t think that’s healthy – and this is my own theory, but I think it may contribute to cancer. I don’t think human beings are supposed to eat like that. If they were, cows would be much smaller and easier to catch, kill and cook, if we were still catching and killing our own food, which, again arguably, is how we “should” be eating, if you believe we should be eating meat at all. At Nicholyn Farms, when you buy ground beef, it’s probably from one cow. That is a natural and healthy way to eat. That’s normal. That’s how people have been eating since the dawn of time. That said, I’m still a little “iffy” on the amount of individual DNA in their chicken burgers, but I still figure no matter what, it’ll be less than anything from a grocery store or restaurant.

Anyway, what started us going there was I had a really shitty experience at The Keg, which is a steakhouse chain. A pretty expensive one that we never go to because it’s expensive. What I get there, every single time, is their filet – medium –  which comes with garlic mashed potatoes and is around $40. So the last time we were there was during the period of time where I was having difficulty eating and losing weight like crazy because I was so sick all the time and I put that in past tense because *knock on wood* the marijuana gods have been good to me lately, and the only thing one day that I could think of to eat was steak and it had been like, 3 days since I’d eaten anything so at that point, money was no object, I just needed to get food in me. I order the filet, again, medium. When it comes, I cut into it and it’s pretty rare, which grosses me out and since my stomach was fragile to begin with, it turned me right off food again and I just couldn’t eat. I tried to eat like, the edges, but the rest was just raw and gross. Blake finishes his meal and we ask for a bill. The waitress takes our plates and asks why I didn’t eat my steak. So I said I just didn’t like it and wanted to get the fuck out of there. Well then the manager comes over and he says, “I saw your steak on the way back to the kitchen and it didn’t look very good so I’m going to take $20 off your bill.” So that was nice of them but it still bummed me out because The Keg is now no longer an option and you can’t get that kind/cut of steak at the grocery store here. I didn’t know where people bought good raw steaks, but it wasn’t any of the major grocery stores, that was for sure.

Then one day we were driving past Nicholyn Farms and the sign out front said they had elk for sale so I asked Blake to turn around because elk is awesome. I’d only had it once and was curious to see how much it would be to buy an elk roast (about $50, which is a pretty good deal if you ask me, but not in our budget at the moment).

Well, we go in and start looking at the stuff in the freezers and I open the one with the steaks and they have the same steak I could pay $40 for at The Keg for like $16. They’re vacuum sealed and frozen, like Omaha Steaks, which were the best steaks I’d ever had up until now. Stoked, I get 2 of them (one was bacon-wrapped, I didn’t like that one), and Blake made it for me the next day on the BBQ and it was literally the best steak I’d ever eaten in my whole life. Like, it was almost shocking what beef is SUPPOSED to taste like vs. what grocery store steak DOES taste like. And I don’t like any foofy spices or anything on my steak either, which all restaurants do, so it was a bonus in that regard as well. Ever since, Blake and I have been buying each other steak dinners, courtesy of Nicholyn Farms and it’s been awesome, especially when you pair the steak with potatoes dug out of their own fields.

They also have homemade pierogi and pre-made meals that I love. They have single-serve sizes of a few things but I only like their shepherd’s pie and macaroni and cheese which are $5-6. All mass-produced shepherd’s pie is gross to me (see ground beef) and making it is a total pain in the ass. It’s one of my go-to foods though and up until we found Nicholyn Farms, I’d been paying $14 + tax for it from Flynn’s, it wasn’t that great and it was cold by the time we got it home. We went to Nicholyn’s yesterday and I got one of their pre-made chicken alfredos, so we’ll see how that is. And finally, they have like, honest to god organic , hand-made frozen TV dinners in segregated plastic containers that remind me of my great grama because when I was little, she used to make me TV dinners in pie plates and tin foil that she’d freeze after making a roast or whatnot. This was pre-microwaves. I haven’t tried the chicken one yet, but the beef dinner has three large slices of roast beef with no fat on them with gravy, at least a full cup of carrots and enough mashed potatoes that I’d safely wager that there’s at least a whole potato in each one. A Swanson TV dinner from the grocery store, not on sale, is about $4-5 and everything in it is questionable. They use flaked potatoes. With the Nicholyn Farms ones, they’re $7 but it’s all stuff that’s good for you and when I had the beef one last week, I couldn’t finish it because there was just too much food.

Ah, the benefits of living in farm country. It makes the occasional stench of manure-sprayed fields worth it.

Anyway, all of this is good because it’s stuff I can eat (yay!) and stuff I can make myself (bonus!).

Other than that, not a whole lot has been happening. I’ve been making things that I don’t want to discuss yet for a project that I can’t discuss yet and I’ve been watching a lot of really shitty Netflix movies while I do it.

And that’s all the poop that’s fit to scoop.

July 14, 2014

People are strange, when you’re a stranger…

Thursday was my grama’s funeral. Wait, lemme back up.

Last Friday my mom called Blake and told him that my grama was going to pass either that evening or in the morning and that she didn’t need me there. Somewhere in the communication, I was told it was okay to go though, and I decided I did want to and I wanted my brother to come with me because whether or not my mom needed him, I was pretty sure I did. My Aunt Sandra and her husband John (who is my uncle obviously, but I’ve never called him “Uncle John”, so he’s always just been “John”) were there, along with my Aunt Betty. I hadn’t seen my Aunt Sandra or John in a really long time so I had no idea how that would go and my brain was pinging like crazy with like, PTSD type shit about my grama being on her deathbed in a hospital the same week I’d already been pinging because there is still some traumatic residue from being on my own deathbed 3 years prior. And obviously there’s just the scariness of death and the fact that this would be THE absolute last time I saw my grama ever in my life and she would not be the same lady I hung out with a couple of months ago on her last birthday.

I forget why but my mom texted me from HER finance John’s phone (yep, I’m gonna confuse you with 2 Johns; let’s call them M’John and S’John for “mom’s John” and “Sandra’s John” unless you can think of anything better) as she doesn’t have a phone of her own and she told me that I shouldn’t come to the hospital but lady, I just got out of the shower soooooo too late! If I had a WHOLE SHOWER, it’s serious business. I told her that I had a lot of things in my head from when I was sick that I would rather replace with something more like love and she said that she wanted my last memories of my grama to be spending the day with her on her birthday and I told her I’ll remember what I wanted to remember. And I didn’t say this to HER at the time because it wasn’t the time, but I didn’t want the first death I face as an adult head on to be HERS and my grama’s situation seemed pretty unscary by all accounts. (I was told she was sleeping.) So my mom said okay and I told her that Chad was coming with me and she said okay and by that time Blake had gotten home from work so we left to pick my brother up in Toronto.

To give my family privacy, I won’t describe the scene at the hospital despite really really wanting to. What I will say was that my grama really was just sleeping and she seemed peaceful (but not dreaming) and as things came to me about my own stay in the hospital, I asked my mom questions. For example, my grama was wearing an oxygen mask and I wondered if it was the same kind as I had when I was at St. Mike’s and as it turned out, I had multiple masks, breathing tubes and the trache which just lead to more questions but I didn’t want to bombard my mom completely. My Aunt Sandra and S’John and Aunt Betty left the room and my mom asked Blake, my brother and me if we wanted to say goodbye to my grama. I declined. My brother held her hand and said he thought his goodbye to her. Blake held her shoulder and told her not to worry because he’d always take care of me and the kids. She did not respond to either of them. I declined specifically because I didn’t want her to hear my voice and stay longer than she needed to because it was familiar and because our last conversation in May went like this:

{hugging}
Grama, raspy, breathless voice, crying and like, legit concerned:
Don’t even forget about me, Sarah.
Me, sort of stunned that she thought I *could*, whisper in her ear:
I could neeeeever. I love you. Thank you for everything.
Grama, crying harder:
You’re welcome, you’re welcome.

…and nothing at a hospital could replace that goodbye, for me, we said it. That was it. And this is what she looked like, wearing the birthday tiara I brought for her that day:

That day I brought her a trillium from the forest that I’d dug up the day before because it was kind of a thing between us:

Anyway, she died Saturday, around noon and like, everything between that moment and Thursday is basically one big giant blur of unadulterated panic because I would be seeing certain people for the first time in about a decade and I wasn’t sure who exactly or how they would be to me, but I did know my molester would be there. The one I’d said I’d forgiven but I guess that was just a lie I told myself to try and make it through the funeral because if it were true, I wouldn’t have been freaking out so fucking hard about just looking at him and being triggered. Blake promised me he wouldn’t be an issue. I decided to believe him because I didn’t see that I had any other choice.

Molester sat in the pew behind me, right behind my brother who knows nothing of this whole thing because we’d be in danger of having to bury two people that day if he knew. I just saw his oh-so-familiar profile out of the corner of my eye, pointed him out to Blake and then the funeral started. (Which was super traditional for our family and at a funeral home, not the “simple” graveside service I was expecting.)

When the priest lady or whatever she was, was done her funeral stuff and we were to exit into the salon rooms for food, they went from the front row back and I was in the second row. Blake switched spots with me and I didn’t really understand why, but he told me afterward that with the way it looked like the rows were exiting, molester would have been right behind me if Blake didn’t switch with me. So. Close call. Also I guess when I stopped before entering the salon rooms, Blake said it looked like molester was going to approach me so Blake stood between me and his line of sight.

I have never felt so out of body in my whole life than at this funeral. I was so completely unaware of my surroundings and who was around me. I just trusted Blake. I mostly spent the time eating sandwiches or looking at my shoes in the rectory area rather than deal with people in the salon rooms.

My Aunt Judy, her husband Uncle Clare and her brother, my Uncle Don were there, which I thought was sort of weird. My Aunt Judy lives pretty far away and they’re both from my grampa’s side of the family. My grama and grampa were long divorced before he died 11 years ago. I dunno, I guess it’s not weird, but I just wasn’t expecting them. I hadn’t seen either of them since my great grama Crittenden’s funeral and it was good to see them because I really like them both. I saw my cousin Terri was there (also my grampa’s side of the family) but I didn’t talk to her.

Near the end, we were about to leave and my molester’s brother started talking to Blake. I looked at my shoes because up until that moment, I thought my grama had told him what his brother had done to me and that’s why he was mean to me the last time we spoke. Then I heard, “Elmvale, eh? Near Wasaga Beach? Well maybe I’ll drop by sometime,” and I think my eyes probably got as big as saucers because the way he was talking sounded like my grama – despite all her threats and lies to the contrary – took my “secret” to her grave. Which is a very good thing.

After I got home from the funeral, I looked at Facebook and my cousin Cory (also grampa’s side, my Uncle Don’s son, around my age) reached out to me and sent his sympathies about my grama. I thanked him and said it was good to see his dad because I’ve always liked him and we both agreed that we should have some family time under better circumstances.

Then I was still confused about some things, so after I got my funeral clothes off and we’d been home for a little while, we got in the car and started heading in the direction of my mom’s, where we stayed and chatted for a  few hours and certain things about our family were…illuminated, and now I find myself wondering who my family is right now. Like, after this it feels like it might be bigger than I previously thought. For example, my Aunt Judy totally confessed to Facebook stalking me on a regular basis like a total creeper even though she “doesn’t use Facebook” haha That is SO my Aunt Judy, who I love to death, and who I would absolutely love to spend more time with.

I thought that when my grama died the family would fall apart, but from where I’m sitting now, it looks like my bubble at least, might be getting a little bigger.

July 2, 2014

Blake ate the misshapen fortune cookie.

Not sure I’m capable of a full post. Like. With paragraphs. I may just delete this line entirely.

I thought I was okay and then I saw this (which is awesome and I will read later, but you should read NOW…this post is a bummer and can totally wait) and it was like someone sucked all the air out of the room and I couldn’t breathe.

At least she waited until she probably knew I was done working or maybe she just waited as long as she  could, but this morning I got the first dated e-mail.

You can tell how serious or important something is by whether or not my mother’s dating the e-mails in the subject line.

Grandma. July 2 2014

Not unlike the e-mails people got 3 years ago this summer, “Sarah. July 2 2011″, events to which I had already been thinking about very recently, and as I figure I will for probably the rest of my life:

big sudden decline
grama (except she spells it right)’s been on oxygen since Thursday
increasingly more oxygen
now triple

{sarah reads: GRAMA CAN’T BREATHE, SHE MUST BE SCARED.}

palliative care asap
ps. no internet at grama’s. you may not hear from me until tomorrow.

Sarah pulls up her grama panties, e-mails back something pithy and decides priority 1 is that I e-mail work, tell them, again, that this time, for real this time, it’s gonna happen. I will need time off. I will e-mail with more info as I have it, here’s my schedule, thanks in advance. Luckily I am friends with everyone I work with, on some level anyway, and I’m not too terribly worried about work because I don’t think people have funerals on Saturdays and what are the odds she’ll die on my worst day? (Pretty good, actually, if the history of our relationship is any indication but it was work and I included our boss so I didn’t wanna get slap happy and umb out of shock or whatever, as I may be doing right now.) Time off no questions asked only happens for death and Xmas. I know my bosses would work my shifts if necessary. Both of them.

I am totally completely babbling but see? I’m wearing my grama panties. Work. The responsibility. The money. Priority 1. God I could throw up. I may throw up. The day is young and I am severely undermedicated. I’m betting my mom e-mailed her work/money/responsiblitiesthatarenotmygrama people before she e-mailed me, Blake and my brother. (Or she was wise enough not to take anything on in the first place.) We all have it, whatever it is. It’s AWFUL! No, scratch that, this is one form of crazy my brother was spared. My brother probably e-mailed her with “whatever you need, just tell me, I’ll be there” and like, wanting to be in the trenches and I guess I said that too, sort of, but my response may have included a colon, lowercase o and right parenthesis in succession. I also know for a fact that I am mentally incapable of going to palliative care and I don’t think anyone in the world would hold that against me. Or anyone who remotely mattered, anyway.

I got that far in my thoughts this morning before I had to stop. I thought about taking all my shit outside and working on my garden painting, y’know, IN my ditchweed butterfly wildflower keep off the fucking lawn garden as planned, or as I had planned all morning until I got that e-mail, but suddenly the rain expected at 1pm just had me making idle chatter with a friend who wanted to talk about weed (obviously) while I watched this awesomely shitty Lifetime series that is now on Netflix called Witches of East End and I had just finished the series 1 finale, knowing full well that season 2 was not on Netflix, and may not even exist so I had to come online to know, did it get cancelled? Because it was just SO awesomely shitty that I couldn’t imagine/really hoped there would be a season 2. I got as far as “set to premiere on July 6, 2014″ on the Wikipedia page, stopped reading because I literally want to know nothing, and flipped to Facebook because okay, TV is over, now what?

oh. hi there “Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire“.

welcome, sheer fucking panic because I didn’t even think of clothes.

And then I came here because I couldn’t even get past the first paragraph of the article before having my worst panic attack in recent history.

I am good for one day of public viewing, unless it’s okay to wear the same thing multiple days in a row or it’s okay to wear white/off-white. (Is it?)
Madison will need clothes. As long as it doesn’t rain, we can work around her Docs.
Wes will need clothes from the ground up.
Blake would prefer no clothes, but has a few suits to choose mix/match/dowhateverboysdo from.
He will need shoes, an expense he’s needed for a while that I keep telling him to get that now he can’t put off. Although my grama might, if overhearing my inner debate as to whether or not he can get away with his orthopedic sandals, say, “oh! I don’t need it, I don’t need it”, because that is absolutely the very thing , when last I saw her, she would say. Ball’s in his court on that one. I’m wearing Docs.

Just texted my brother to make sure he has a suit. He’s a grown man, I probably don’t have to ask him this. Too late. Can’t take it back.

John & Chris are good.

That is all my people.

Everyone else can find their own canoe.

June 22, 2014

#YesAllWomen #NotAllMen

Last night I had to work until 2am and around midnight, I asked Blake if he would go get me a slush at the convenience store up the street. So he goes and about 5 minutes later, the home phone is ringing and it’s Blake. So I pick it up and he’s like, “I found this girl who’s hurt, I gave her my shirt, can you let her know that it’s okay to come to our house?” so I’m like, “uhhhhhh…so like, she knows you’re not a rapist or something?” and he says, “you’re on speaker”. So he says where he is which was just a few minutes from our house, just down the street, and I tell the girl that it’s okay to come to our house and we can help her because I didn’t know what else to say and she gets in the car and Blake hangs up.

A couple of minutes later, in walks this girl who is YOUNG, like I didn’t think she was older than 18. (She had to be older than 18 though, which I’ll explain in a sec.) She’s blonde and cute and not wearing shoes. Blake’s not wearing a shirt because she’s wearing it. Blake steers her toward the couch in my office and he tries to get some information out of her, like what her name is, who can we call etc etc etc. She couldn’t remember where she lived. She told Blake she couldn’t remember what happened but she told me when Blake wasn’t in the room that she was running from boys who wanted more than she was willing to give. She couldn’t remember what her boyfriend’s name was, or his phone number. She finally gave us his name and where he worked, which was the Honda plant in Alliston, so Blake googled that and called them and got a hold of someone eventually and they said he wasn’t scheduled to work at that time and wasn’t there. He tells her this and she eventually gives him enough information that Blake ended up calling who she  told me was her step-brother but ended up being her boyfriend’s brother. When she was on the phone she begged him not to tell her dad. She didn’t know where she was. She thought she was in a town nowhere near the town she thought she was in.

Blake took over the conversation and made plans for him to meet this guy with her. As he was on the phone with the, we’ll call him “friend” since I’m not totally sure of their relationship, I cleaned up her scraped elbow the best I could and she showed me her hip, which was all messed up and she said hurt a lot, and her knees, which were red but not scraped because she’d been wearing pants during whatever happened to her.

The dogs seemed to really comfort her. Throughout most of the time she was here, she was sitting beside me and both dogs, like they somehow knew she needed to be comforted, acted their suckiest and let her cuddle and pet them and she told me they were “wonderful”. This made me glad because I really did have to work and I didn’t know what to say to her. In between silences, she would just bury her face in Hoover and sob. :o(

Finally it was time for Blake to take her to Barrie, so they left and she thanked me and I told her if she needed ANYTHING to call us (Blake had written down our information for her in case she didn’t remember anything in the morning).  Then I continued working.

When Blake got back, he said she hugged him when they got to Barrie, which made him super uncomfortable but he understood.

He wasn’t satisfied with the whole thing though, so he went into town to investigate.

As it turned out, there was a buck and doe at the community centre and they saw her run down the alleyway/parking lot behind the bar. So Blake went to the bar and the ladies there said the girl had been with a group from Angus (where the tornado hit this week) and she’d been drunk, took her top off and went on stage to dance around with the band that was playing and basically, what did she expect? She was looking for that kind of attention. The people at the community centre saw a woman in distress and did nothing.

What I think happened, is that she went behind the bar where people go to smoke and guys got rough with her there. Enough so that she would run away crying. That would explain where she came from according to the people at the community centre. Her injuries may have been because she fell, but they could also have been from men hurting her.

Anyway, we’re just glad she’s home safe.

Here’s Blake’s post about it, he probably did a better job at telling the story than I did.

Posted at 4:25 pm in: Canada , Feminism , Life , Misc. , Spring , Summer , Sunnyland , Women
June 18, 2014

We’re Okay!!!

Just thought I’d make a quick post to let everyone know we’re okay from yesterday’s storms. A friend had seen on the news last night that a tornado touched down near us yesterday and wanted to know if we were okay and we are, hence this post. The tornado touched down about 20 mins away and there’s some cool home video of it in this article, as well as disaster porn pics.

I had actually taken the dogs with me to the beach to watch the storms come in over the bay becaaaause…it’s cool? I dunno. There was also no hydro at home because of the weather when I left so I packed a lunch, brought a book and watched the show. Then at about 3:30pm, Madison texted me and said that the school was on lockdown because of a tornado watch. They hadn’t even dispatched the buses because things were so hairy at home. Wes’ school, which is right across the road from Madison’s and also on lockdown, was walking some kids over to the high school through a break in the storm because I guess there wasn’t enough room wherever they had them. Madison texted me and said a tornado had touched down in Midland, according to one of the kids who was on lockdown at the school there and that was about 10 mins from where I was so I figured I had two choices: I could wait it out where I was, which was probably relatively safe, tornados don’t tend to happen on beaches; or I could go home and hope for the best, with the idea that I would go to the grocery store and get stuff we could BBQ for dinner in case there still wasn’t any hydro.

Madison was in constant contact with me via text so I  knew what was going on and I was basically wasting time in the grocery store waiting for her to say that the schools were letting the kids go and I could pick her and Wes up. They ended up keeping the kids on lockdown for about an hour and a half and Madison wanted to stay with her friends until they got on their buses so I came home but looked for Wes on the way and didn’t see him.

I came home and grabbed my purse/camera/lunch bags and let the dogs out of the back seat and we came in the house. Next thing I know, Wes comes screaming out of the living room and into my office (our “front” door is in my office so you have to come through it to get to the rest of the house) and just about knocks me over and makes me puke, he hugged me so hard. He was SOBBING. I was like, “whoa whoa whoa, what’s happening?” thinking a kid kicked his ass or his girlfriend broke up with him or something but he starts telling me about the lockdown at his school and how at one point they were all in the gym and the power went out (there are backup lights, I’m sure, but I can imagine it was scary) and how when they finally let them go home, he ran all the way. He said it wouldn’t have been as scary to come home to an empty house if the dogs had been there but he thought with me AND the dogs gone, that I had to go somewhere safe. (We don’t have a basement.) I asked him if he had my cell phone number and he said he tried calling me but it said I was “unavailable”, which made him freak out more. Truthfully, I *did* get a call when I was at the grocery store but I was so concerned with making the noise of it stop that I didn’t even look at the number to see that it was my own house. I just saw “incoming call”, which ALWAYS means a wrong number because no one who actually knows me would ever use that number to like, verbally speak with me. I don’t answer the phone, especially that phone. That number is text only unless I specifically tell you to call it, which I can’t see myself ever actually doing. This is because I have “issues” with talking on the phone that maybe one day I’ll get int0, but today is not that day. Obviously, being 11, Wes can’t text me, so I now have the home phone in my phone’s contacts with a picture of Wes so I’ll know next time.

Also next time, I will leave a note as to where I am and approximately when I’ll be home. It’s things like this that I just haven’t thought about in 10 years that I need to start thinking about. Another thing, though, is that I’ve been home for Wes after school pretty much every single day of his life and now I’m not, necessarily, so this is change for him too that he’s gonna have to get used to. I think I’m going to have a talk with him about either starting to come with me (and Madison), if I wait until after school, or starting to become more independent like I am. We both need to change. I hope he chooses to start coming with me because I’m really getting annoyed with the fact that he spends every waking moment watching other people play Minecraft on YouTube. But that’s yet another post for another time.

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